Chat about Novel Coronavirus - 2019-nCoV - COVID-19

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  • She did research it first, as she can’t have live vaccines, but none of the Covid vaccines are. She also contacted her consultant who advised her that it would not be an issue.

    My wife takes Methatrexate and a generic Humira drug, if that means anything to you?

  • Have we had this yet?

    Roger Edward Adlard - (shared from Facebook)

    I have heard that a lot of people are confused by the statement that the new variant of the coronavirus is ‘70 % more transmissible’ than the original variant.
    I thought I would give a brief (ok not THAT brief) explanation as to what this means for those that can’t get their heads round it - apologies to friends and colleagues who I’m teaching to suck eggs!
    It also helps explain why coronavirus is not just a simple flu and why we are seeing far fewer cases of flu this year and yet the coronavirus is still spreading.
    All viruses have different rates and means of transmission - whist HIV is blood or body fluid born, some can be transmitted purely by touch (eg human papilloma virus) by contact with mucus membranes like the mouth (eg herpes simplex virus) whilst colds and flu (and coronavirus) are droplet born and are therefore present in coughs, sneezes or even just the air that we exhale when talking or breathing.
    Even between those viruses that are droplet born there can be differences in how transmissable they are. This depends on factors around how the virus is constructed and will influence, for instance, how much they are excreted from say the mucus membrane cells in your nose and mouth and to how long they can exist outside of the body before breaking down or ‘dying’. It also depends on how long a person is ‘contagious’ with virus - if they are producing the virus for just a day there is clearly a lot less chance of catching it than a virus that is expressed in droplets for days on end.
    Consider two different groups at the extremes of virus build. In one group the viruses are heavily excreted by cells with a high density of the virus in droplets in say a sneeze and can last for a long time on surfaces or in the air and at a wide range of temperatures. In the other group they are barely excreted at all, with droplets containing very little virus, and they are almost instantaneously broken down outside of the cell from which they are made. This makes viruses in the former group highly transmissable and those in the latter group barely transmissable at all
    It’s difficult to measure this transmissibility experimentally so the data is calculated mathematically by looking at the number of people within a studied population that are expressing the virus and how this changes in a daily basis. This will give you the famous ‘R’ number we keep hearing on the news.
    An R=1 means that one person, say with a particular strain of flu virus, is likely to infect one other person with that virus whilst they are contagious with it. If R=3 they are likely to give it to 3 people during the course of their illness and so on.
    The R number for seasonal flu under normal circumstances is about 1.3 though some years the flu is worse than others. The R number for Spannish flu was about 1.8.
    Any R number above 1 means the spread is dramatic and logarithmic. This is beccause, for instance with an R number of 5:
    Week 1 - 1 person with the virus gives it to
    Week 2 - 5 persons with the virus, gives it to
    Week 3 - 25 persons with the virus, gives it to
    Week 4 - 125 persons with the virus.
    So one person has spread it to 125 by 4 weeks in this scenario.
    For seasonal flu you normally become contagious and able to spread the flu virus between 1 and 4 days and almost immediately become symptomatic (only 20-30% are asymptomatic carriers). For coronavirus it is between 3 and 10 days - a lot longer period in which to spread the virus and moreover, it is thought up to 80% maybe asymptomatic during this time whilst with seasonal flu, it’s normally quite obvious that you are ill and you don’t feel like leaving the house!
    For coronavirus, before mask and social distancing was introduced its R number was between 3 and 5. When mask and social distancing was introduced its R number dropped to 1.4 and during the first lockdown to 0.8. Clear evidence that the measures taken reduced the spread.
    So a summary or R numbers in various scenarios:
    Seasonal Flu with no measures. R=1.3
    Seasonal Flu with social distancing R=0.6
    Normal variant Coronavirus R=3-5
    Normal variant Coronavirus with social distancing. R=.1.4
    Normal variant Coronavirus with lockdown R=0.8
    By dropping the R number to 1.4 by social distancing and mask wearing - that’s a reduction in transmissibility by over 50%. This reduction has also caused a similar reduction in transmissibility of seasonal flu but as its R number is only 1.3 without measures taken, the social distancing and mask wearing has dropped its R number to less than 0.6, so few people are catching the flu and being below the magic R=1 number it’s spreading far less than would be normally the case.
    The new variant is ‘70% more transmissable’.
    This means if the R number of the original variant is 1 then its R number would be 1.7. So extrapolating the data from the R numbers in for the normal variant, the new variant will have R numbers as follows:
    Variant Coronavirus with no measures R=5.1-8.5
    Variant Coronavirus with social distancing etc R=2.38
    Variant Coronavirus with lockdown R=1.38
    Remember, any R number above 1 means the number of people getting the virus is increasing and so it is easy to see why this new variant and its high transmissibility maybe a problem even if people behave similarly to how they did in the last lockdown!

  • Tx! That's really in-depth.

  • Unless I'm missing something, I'm not sure it works the way Roger Edward Adlard thinks it does. The r number being reported is not the same as the r0 number for the virus. You can't extrapolate one from the other in the way he has. While the r0 number of the variant may be higher, the impact of interventions may be just as successful (or ineffective, depending).

    For example, there can be an intervention which brings the r rate to zero in theory (by limiting all interactions between people). Using the maths above, this would result in a r rate which is still above 0 for the new variant. That obviously wouldn't be the case.

    Reports seem to be showing that the current lockdown is bringing the r rate below 1.

    (oops, this wasn't meant to be a reply to @Acliff)

  • Yeah, I'm familiar with both. I'd seen some stuff in the press about the potential for using some of the arthritis drugs for Covid, but when I last saw my consultant she said all the evidence they had at this stage was that the benefits of taking Humira etc. definitely outweighed the immunosuppressive effect.

  • Isreals initial data found a 50% reduction in cases amongst people who have had 1st dose of vaccine, has anyone smart enough done the maths on the impact this has on the R rate?

  • has anyone smart enough done the maths on the impact this has on the R rate?

    It's too tricky to say now but the answer will probably be 'very little indeed'.

    The UK has given a first dose to roughly 1 in 20 of the population so far (and a 2nd dose to a much smaller number).

    Those 1 in 20 will be a mixture of people that are very unlikely to be contributing to transmission (e.g. people in care homes) and people who are likely to be asymptomatic spreaders (key workers like NHS staff).

    If that balances out and you consider everyone in that 5% to be roughly equal in terms of transmission (aligned with the general population) then a 50% reduction in cases amongst those 5% would mean a 2.5% reduction overall.

    1.3 * 0.975 = 1.2675

    So that's statistically meaningless given that 1.3 is an approximation anyway and probably likely rounded to the nearest 1dp and 1.2675 rounds to 1.3.

    (That's my guess anyway!)

  • so, something like this?

    % pop. 1st dose vaccine/ est. r
    10 / 1.24
    20 / 1.17
    30 / 1.1
    40/ 1.04
    50/ 0.975
    60/0.91

  • The problem with extrapolating is that by the time we get anywhere near 20% of the population having had the first dose (let alone 60%) the situation will almost certainly be quite different.

    Huge efforts go in to modelling these things, with PhDs and supercomputers. A single equation that can be done on a calculator like that is not going to be statistically reliable at all.

  • Yup, exactly what hers said. She’s very careful about her medication and has been pretty scared about the whole Covid thing, so having the first jab has given her a big lift, God knows we could all do with one these days.

  • Heard the Welsh first minister on Today this morning defending an absolutely brain meltingly stupid decision on their vaccine programme.

    Apparently they have a limited stock of Pfizer (another delivery next month) so have deliberately slowed the pace of administration to stretch it until the next shipment “because we don’t want our vaccinators sat around with nothing to do”.

    Who the fuck is advising these people?!?

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  • My Mum, who is late 70s with serious underlying conditions is getting her first vaccine dose tomorrow.

    My Dad, late 70s and in excellent health is getting his first dose on Thursday.

    Both scheduled for their 2nd jab on April 7th

    They haven't been told which vaccine they are getting yet.

  • Mum was due to receive her first dose this Thursday but has just come back positive from a test after showing symptoms.

    Here's to hoping it's a swift recovery.

  • My parents (both >70) outside London. No message about vaccine.

  • 1610 deaths

  • As someone just tweeted - if you convert that to passenger planes, it is the equivalent of 9 full planes crashing. In one day.
    Shocking.

    Parental anecdata from the midlands - Dad (80) has had jab 1, no invite for Mum (76) yet. Nor for shielding wife down here.

  • Ah - that sucks! - here's hoping for a swift recovery too.

    Out of 4 parents for our family, three have had their first jab, all on the pfizer juice, and just my mum remains. She's late 60's. My Dad (late 70's), my partners mum (late 70's) and partners dad (late 80's) all got it on the same day last week. Mine are in Cheltenham, hers in Rugby. No ill effects reported.

    Will start relaxing when my Mum gets the jab. She still works and until recently had still been going to the (relatively deserted) office. Could be a while yet though.

  • Can’t wait for my parents to get jabbed, it will be a while though as they are only 68.

  • 1610 deaths

    Worth repeating that the most deaths we have had in a single day so far this year is 1,064. It will be four or five days until we know how many people actually died today.

    Just starting to get to the point we will beat the worst day for deaths from first wave. (1073 on 8th April 2020)

    I know I'm an insufferable pedant but it does annoy me that the media often incorrectly report the newly announced deaths figure as the daily deaths figure.

  • Hertfordshire nan on Mrs Y side (94) only got her invite beginning of last week. I don't know if stage 4 heart failure may have contributed to the delay.

  • I think most understand it to not be a single day. However I don’t think many would think it would span back as far as it sometimes appears to.
    So why are they still using this figure on the press conferences? Perhaps it made more sense at the beginning. I’m not sure it helps public confidence now.

  • I suppose it can be argued that it doesnt matter as long as the number is presented in a consistent way. 1,610 new deaths did happen, after all.

    I suspect they use the "date reported" number because the "date of death" number always lags behind by anything up to a week. 1,000 died last Tuesday doesn't have the same effect as 1,610 deaths reported today I guess.

  • Yeah exactly. I think it makes more sense at the start, adding a load from was it May (as supposedly happened the other day) seems less sound.

  • My Grandad is 86, and lives in Nottingham and hasn't even been contacted yet.

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