Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

CORONAVIRUS may NEVER “Go Away”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 4, 2021

Welcome to the “new” reality.

But, just for a moment, let’s play “What if?”

What if the United States’ failed response (because of the inactions and deliberate failures of the previous administration) was the primary cause of the mutated, more virulent variants?

It’s entirely plausible.

Otherwise, how to explain that the United States, with the world’s 3rd most populous nation – China and India each have WELL OVER 1 BILLION MORE – has ABSOLUTELY THE WORLD’S WORST COVID-19 INFECTION RATE?

Other nations, most notably New Zealand, have had phenomenal success in keeping the disease at bay, relatively speaking, as have a few other nations, including China, India, Greenland, Australia, other Scandinavian nations, and… well, you get the picture.

Perhaps there should’ve been a sign:

Choose One: Your Life, or Your Freedom.


“When Will It End?” : How A Changing Virus Is Reshaping Scientists’ Views On COVID-19

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-variants-insight/when-will-it-end-how-a-changing-virus-is-reshaping-scientists-views-on-covid-19-idUSKBN2AV1T1

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chris Murray, a University of Washington disease expert whose projections on COVID-19 infections and deaths are closely followed worldwide, is changing his assumptions about the course of the pandemic.

Murray had until recently been hopeful that the discovery of several effective vaccines could help countries achieve herd immunity, or nearly eliminate transmission through a combination of inoculation and previous infection. But in the last month, data from a vaccine trial in South Africa showed not only that a rapidly-spreading coronavirus variant could dampen the effect of the vaccine, it could also evade natural immunity in people who had been previously infected.

“I couldn’t sleep” after seeing the data, Murray, director of the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Reuters. “When will it end?” he asked himself, referring to the pandemic. He is currently updating his model to account for variants’ ability to escape natural immunity and expects to provide new projections as early as this week.

A new consensus is emerging among scientists, according to Reuters interviews with 18 specialists who closely track the pandemic or are working to curb its impact. Many described how the breakthrough late last year of two vaccines with around 95% efficacy against COVID-19 had initially sparked hope that the virus could be largely contained, similar to the way measles has been.

But, they say, data in recent weeks on new variants from South Africa and Brazil has undercut that optimism. They now believe that SARS-CoV-2 will not only remain with us as an endemic virus, continuing to circulate in communities, but will likely cause a significant burden of illness and death for years to come.

As a result, the scientists said, people could expect to continue to take measures such as routine mask-wearing and avoiding crowded places during COVID-19 surges, especially for people at high risk.

From the beginning, the new coronavirus has been a moving target.

Early in the pandemic, leading scientists warned that the virus could become endemic and “may never go away,” including Dr. Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies programme.

Yet they had much to learn, including whether it would be possible to develop a vaccine against the virus and how quickly it would mutate. Would it be more like measles, which can be kept almost entirely at bay in communities with high rates of inoculation, or flu, which infects millions globally each year?

For much of 2020, many scientists were surprised and reassured that the coronavirus had not changed significantly enough to become more transmissible, or deadly.

In late January, the impact on vaccines became even clearer. Novavax’s clinical trial data showed its vaccine was 89% effective in a UK trial, but just 50% effective at preventing COVID-19 in South Africa. That was followed a week later by data showing the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine offered only limited protection from mild disease against the South African variant.

The most recent change of heart was considerable, several of the scientists told Reuters. Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, described it as “scientific whiplash”: In December, he had believed it was plausible to achieve so-called “functional eradication” of the coronavirus, similar to measles.

Now, “getting as many people vaccinated as possible is still the same answer and the same path forward as it was on December 1 or January 1,” Crotty said, “but the expected outcome isn’t the same.”

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