Why are we dawdling?


This fellow is talking about containing the Ebola virus, but the basic lesson are applicable to all epidemics.

One thing he doesn’t address is another emerging problem: the longer you wait, the more you let the virus proliferate, the more evolution you get — the more opportunities for the virus to mutate and act as a shifting target. We’re already seeing COVID-19 variants. It’s nothing to panic over yet, but the longer you wait, the greater the opportunity for the virus to hit the jackpot.

When the virus wins, we lose, you know.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    When the virus wins, we lose, you know.

    My evo instructor taught us:
    “In the short term, cheaters win. In the long term, everybody loses.”

  2. wzrd1 says

    The Trump administration moved very quickly, nearly immediately. In denying that the virus was a threat or becoming a problem.
    So, the suggestion in the video was followed. Perhaps, one should try to avoid doing the wrong thing after all.

  3. says

    Regarding “we’re already seeing Covid-19 variants”. I’d qualify that by saying “… that make a difference in the course of the infection.” Because we’ve been seeing SARS-Cov2 mutants all along. They occur about once every three infections,. They are tracked in the major databases such as nextstrain.org, and they are how virologists determine who has infected who. There is a tendency for the press to say “OMG the virus has mutated!” It’s been doing that since the beginning.

  4. komarov says

    “community acceptance is hugely important”, “coordinated, coherent”, “need to be prepared”

    Oh deary me…

  5. raven says

    It is for sure that the Covid-19 virus will evolve through time.
    That is likely how it got into the human population in the first place.
    In general, rapid transmission selects for virulence while slow transmission selects for attenuation.

    Right now, we are in a rapid transmission phase.
    And a more transmissable strain seems to be what we are getting.

    The UK Covid-19 variant is more transmissible and affects more people under 20, new research shows
    From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Kara Fox December 31, 2020

    The new Covid-19 variant first found in the UK is growing rapidly, is more transmissible than other variants, and affecting a greater proportion of people under 20, according to a study.

    The research is a collaborative effort from scientists and researchers at Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Birmingham and the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium.

    “There is a consensus among all analyses that the VOC [the Variant of Concern or new variant] has a substantial transmission advantage,” the study said. It added that the difference between the reproduction number of the mutation, in comparison to other variants of the virus, is 0.4 to 0.7 higher. The reproduction number reflects the number of individuals that one infected person transmits the virus to.

    According to the study, the reproduction number for the new variant is currently between 1.4 and 1.8.

  6. raven says

    The data that this new UK variant is more transmissable isn’t all that much. From the UK study,

    Using whole genome prevalence of different genetic variants through time and phylodynamic modelling (dynamics of epidemiological and evolutionary processes), researchers show that this variant is growing rapidly.

    Basically they say it is more tansmissable because it is spreading.

    They just found it two weeks or so ago.
    We would all like to know why it is more transmissable.
    There are some reports that it produces higher virus levels in infected patients and makes people in their 20’s and school children sicker.
    That data right now is more observational than conclusive.

  7. says

    The data that this new UK variant is more transmissible isn’t all that much. From the UK study,

    Using whole genome prevalence of different genetic variants through time and phylodynamic modelling (dynamics of epidemiological and evolutionary processes), researchers show that this variant is growing rapidly.

    Basically they say it is more transmissable because it is spreading.

    There is also the fact that daily new COVID cases in the UK have quadrupled since the start of December, far outpacing the growth anywhere else in the world that has been a COVID hotspot.

    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases

  8. Jazzlet says

    And in response to this Nicola Sturgeon has put Scotland into lockdown from midnight tonight. Boris is going to do a televised address to the rest of the nation later today. Instead of just anounciing lockdown so people have more time to prepare.

  9. Tethys says

    Hmm, because the modern day GOP nazis running the zoo are all about eugenics, bootstraps, and survival of the fittest? See- the congressman elect from Louisiana who denied the danger of covid because businesses and economy was so “crucial”, and is now dead due to covid.

  10. raven says

    See- the congressman elect from Louisiana who denied the danger of covid because businesses and economy was so “crucial”, and is now dead due to covid.

    The economy or your life is a false choice.

    You can’t have a healthy economy when there are sick and dead people all around you. One of which may be you.
    Most people have a well developed survival instinct and will do what we are doing now anyway without government forcing. Which is social distancing, masks, limiting indoor exposure, and so on. In fact, the governments can’t really enforce their mandates unless most people follow them voluntarily. They aren’t willing to risk their lives for the well being of the 1% oligarchies.

    A few of the Red states like Iowa, South Dakota, etc., refused to mandate much of anything and stayed open. Their economies still took the same hit as all the other states.
    They were still de facto locked down.

  11. Who Cares says

    @Reginald Selkirk(#1)

    When the virus wins, we lose, you know.

    My evo instructor taught us:
    “In the short term, cheaters win. In the long term, everybody loses.”

    That is just one part.
    You can’t quit, you can’t break even, you can’t win.
    The three laws of thermodynamics in a nutshell.
    Also applicable to anything that works under said laws it seems.

  12. unclefrogy says

    having grown up watching many movies and reading many novels about apocalyptic and post apoplectic stories it seems to me more and more that we are living in the pre-apopleptic story but only just.
    uncle frogy

  13. says

    The new Covid-19 variant first found in the UK is growing rapidly, is more transmissible than other variants, and affecting a greater proportion of people under 20, according to a study.

    Probably also because schools are the only places that had to stay open…
    We went to distance learning three days before the winter break (as usually with very little time to prepare. It#s almost as if they want to traumatise the kids further) and will stay like this at least until the end of January.
    We need to get the vaccines distributed worldwide and stop community spread before it outmutates the vaccine.

  14. Rich Woods says

    @Jazzlet #8:

    Boris is going to do a televised address to the rest of the nation later today. Instead of just anounciing lockdown so people have more time to prepare.

    Boris does love his set pieces. He thinks they make him look like a statesman and show that he has gravitas, rather than accentuating the fact that he’s a chancer who is inevitably covering up three weeks of dithering and poor decisions running opposite to the one he’s now finally been forced to make.

    So now we’re going to be on our third national lockdown, from the early hours of Wednesday. And he’s dangling the carrot of starting to lift lockdown by mid-February. That of course assumes the government doesn’t cock up the vaccine rollout.

  15. tacitus says

    UK schools are going to remote learning until half-term (mid Feb) except for at-risk kids and kids of front-line workers.

    I don’t want to worry anyone, but I’m in the UK right now (caring for 90 year old parents) and heading back to the US in about a week (after the required negative Covid-19 test). I will be masked up from the moment I hit the local train station to when I’m delivered to my door, and will be spending at least 10 full days after that holed up at home to ensure I don’t become patient zero for the new variant in my neck of the woods. I’m even planning on changing my clothes after landing at my local airport to minimize any risk of contaminating my friend’s car on the ride home.

  16. cvoinescu says

    My understanding, based on the second half of a radio interview with a scientist I happened to listen to, is that the rtPCR test used in the UK distinguishes between the variants. The UK test checks for three short genetic sequences. One of the mutations in the new strain happens to be in one of these regions, so the new variant tests positive for two sequences and negative for the third, while the “classic” variant tests positive for all three. This allows the UK, uniquely, to have very good data on the prevalence of this variant, including a good picture of how it spread. Other European countries use different tests that do not make this distinction. They have much less data about the new variant, because they need to test for it separately. The UK also performs more detailed analysis (full sequencing) on a larger proportion of samples than most other testing programs.

    Take this with a grain of salt.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    “That of course assumes that the government doesn’t cock up the vaccine rollout ”
    And I am assuming the sun will not rise tomorrow.

  18. chrislawson says

    cvoinescu@17–

    Yes. The only way to track mutations for sure is to do complete genome sequencing on all samples. Clearly not feasible. The various PCR tests should be seen as surrogate markers, albeit very useful surrogate markers.

  19. chrislawson says

    raven@10–

    The best data on this is provided by Sweden, which went with the criminally negligent “herd immunity” strategy to protect their economy. Per capita they’ve had 4-10x the death rate of surrounding Scandinavian countries that adopted an aggressive containment strategy. And yet their economy crashed to the same degree as Denmark and much worse than Finland or Norway (GDP change from 2019: -8.3% Sweden, -8.5% Denmark, -5.3% Norway, -5.2% Finland).

    It’s almost as if a global pandemic is not good for business! And the economic hit from containment is no worse than the economic hit from a huge wave of avoidable deaths!

  20. chrislawson says

    Robert Johnson@7–

    I’m not saying the new strain isn’t more infectious, but we need more data before we can say so with confidence as there are several confounding factors. Firstly, we’re getting into the coldest time of year in the UK when we expect to see spikes in respiratory virus cases. Secondly, the UK has been one of the worst OECD nations when it comes to pandemic response, so it may have more to do with public health delivery. Thirdly, the Tories and the Murdoch press will look for any reason to assign blame outside themselves and a newly aggressive mutation makes for a much more palatable explanation than mismanagement and cronyism.

    Also, several other countries have observed huge spikes in the last 1-2 months. The UK surge has nothing on South Africa’s (quadrupling is bad, but SA’s rate has gone up by a factor of 10 since mid-November — and SA is coming into summer!).

  21. davidc1 says

    Over here in good old Gb ,that utter twat faced twat johnson has declared another lockdown ,did i mention he is an twat faced twat ?
    @13 If 2020 had been a 50s sci fi /horror movie ,the respected grizzled old Professor would have shown up about March ,early April ,his Beautiful daughter would have shown up .Just in time to leap to her dads defence against the Mayor and sheriff of the threatened town .Plus at the same the good looking hero with the chin ,who had been holding down a menial job ,who had been framed for the murder of his wife ,,,,,sorry just finished watching the Fugitive .
    The good looking hero with the chin ,who was a Dr of being a good looking hunk who made women swoon ,and also knew his way around a nuclear reactor ,would have turned up ,then the plot would go all lovey dovey for a few minutes ,while the creature /monster /alien would be twiddling their appendages .
    Then would come the final scene where the hero saves the town ,and kills the monster ,and gets the girl .
    The end .

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