Coronavirus 2019-2020 thread (no unsubstantiated rumours!)


vesicles

Colonel
COVID related. It's sort of like, if a person died when that person had common cold, that person died related to common cold but the cause could very well be old age.
If not infected with the virus, this old person will continue to live a pleasant life for many years to come, despite his advanced age. So does the old age kill him? NO!!! He dies because a viral infection tragically cut his life short. So the direct cause his death is the viral infection.

This is not uniquely a COVID phenomenon. It’s the same way of categorizing cause of death for every kind of diseases. An old person lives comfortably and functions normally until he suffers a heart attack. A younger person may more easily recover but an older person may succumb to the disease. Does he die of old age or a heart attack? You have to categorize him as a victim of a heart attack.

Yes, people with other medical issues, such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases, usually tend to develop more severe symptoms when infected with COVID-19. Whatever the underlying issues they might have would be the contributing factors. But the direct cause of their deaths is still a sudden viral infection that has cut their expected lives short. As I said before, whatever underlying issues they might have (old age and/or diseases), they have managed to live with these conditions and may continue to live with these condition for many years to come. Even a late stage cancer patient gets another 3-6 months to live. If they choose not to undergo any treatment, they will live like a normal person for an additional 3-6 months. Some years later when we develop a cure for one of these diseases, they will get a chance to live a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, it’s the sudden viral infection that tragically ends their lives in a few weeks. These COVID patients have no choice whatsoever. They can’t breath. They die because they are drown by their own fluid in their lungs. That’s why anyone who dies directly of COVID-like symptoms will be included in that category.
 
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vesicles

Colonel
The vastly majority of these deaths are minorities who cannot afford hospitalization and medication.

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So you think these deaths don’t matter to you because they are poor? Keep in mind that you share medical resources with these people. Hospitals are not allowed to turn away people with medical emergencies. They are obligated to save them no matter how poor they are. So these poor minorities will crowd the hospitals and use up needles and syringes and saline. Yes, a total collapse of the entire health care system. And when you or one of your loved ones need some medical help, you will find a long line outside any emergency room. When I say a long line, I mean a 10-12 hour wait time. You think you can survive that kind of wait time when you are suffering a heart attack or an internal bleeding of some kind? It affects everyone.
 

Nutrient

Junior Member
Registered Member
[Expect conflicting news, as science often takes a while to reach consensus]

That is fine. What worries me is that some companies may want to make a quick buck. Hence they put out deceptive propaganda, perhaps even with Israel's help, and that hugely enhances their sales and profits.

I agree with you that in time the cheating company will be exposed in scientific literature, but that could take years. And meanwhile, that deceptive company will be making billions of dollars -- which cannot be clawed back, as the US has given them immunity from liability.
 

Quickie

Major
That is fine. What worries me is that some companies may want to make a quick buck. Hence they put out deceptive propaganda, perhaps even with Israel's help, and that hugely enhances their sales and profits.

I agree with you that in time the cheating company will be exposed in scientific literature, but that could take years. And meanwhile, that deceptive company will be making billions of dollars -- which cannot be clawed back, as the US has given them immunity from liability.

I think the reality will eventually come out, but it won't probably take that many years.

And that will have to come from third-party non-partisan countries when their vaccination program is largely in progress using the different vaccines preferably within one country in a year or two years.
 
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vesicles

Colonel
That is fine. What worries me is that some companies may want to make a quick buck. Hence they put out deceptive propaganda, perhaps even with Israel's help, and that hugely enhances their sales and profits.

I agree with you that in time the cheating company will be exposed in scientific literature, but that could take years. And meanwhile, that deceptive company will be making billions of dollars -- which cannot be clawed back, as the US has given them immunity from liability.
Yes, that is a concern, I agree. This kind of deception/fraud usually takes years to uncover. However, the best system that we human have at this moment is to allow individual labs and other companies to gather enough data to eventually verify the data. If you dedicate an agency or another third party to verify things, then that particular agency/third party is also susceptible to everything that you worry about, such as corruption, greed, ambition, etc. Just take a look at Jin Yi Wei of the Ming dynasty. The founding emperor of the Ming dynasty established the agency to expose corruption of his officials. In the end, Jin Yi Wei became the most corrupted entity of the entire dynasty. Then the following emperors built other agencies to watch over Jin Yi Wei. All of them became corrupted as well. We have hundreds of thousands of individual labs, whose primary investigators (heads of these labs) all have their own ambitions, greed, integrity, discipline, etc. It would be impossible for anyone to satisfy all of them. Let's face it, many PIs' ultimate personal ambition is to prove others are wrong. I myself enjoy that very much. I have a dream that, one day, I will prove a Nobel laureate wrong. Then these labs will eventually uncover the truth. All of this will undoubtedly take a long time.

With that being said, the most efficient short-term solution, in my opinion, would be the peer review process. This is also why I am also looking for the peer reviewed publications for any findings. Peer review is usually done anonymously by experts requested by the editors of the journals. Also, reviewers for scientific journals do NOT get compensated in any way at all. There is no money involved, no fame involved, nothing. I don't want anyone to know that I just rejected a manuscript from the lab of a Nobel Laureate for fear of retribution. That big kahuna will end my career in no time... I better keep it quiet and simply be satisfied that I just rejected a Nobel Laureate... The only thing useful about being a reviewer is I can show a list of journals that invite me to be their reviewer on my CV. This is to show that I have been accepted to be an expert in my field. There is no other incentive involved with being a reviewer. It's a thankless duty you must fulfill.

Good and high-impact journals typically find highly established and world recognized experts as reviewers. And for good journals, editors usually respect the wishes of the reviewers more. These reviewers are very experienced scientists and can pick out mistakes, over-interpretations, misleading statements, as well as intentional frauds easily. Good journals, like Science, Nature, Cell, Lancet, NEJM, etc, accept only 5-7 % of the manuscripts submitted to them. These journals kick out ~95% of studies submitted to them. So in other words, these journals act as the most efficient vaccines and ward off vast majority of low quality manuscripts submitted to them. They can be trusted more. Take the Pfizer or Moderna or any other vaccine publications for example, when these manuscripts are submitted to journals like NEJM or Lancet, their editors usually intentionally invite academic scientists to be reviewers who usually have nothing to do with any of the companies. These reviewers have their own independent labs at universities and do their own independent research. And their labs are typically funded by NIH and/or NSF, independent of private companies. They are typically considered as impartial.

Is the peer review process perfect? Absolutely not! There are many flaws with the system. I have my own complaints as well. I have my colleagues and myself being hurt by those who exploit the loopholes of the system. I have been personally attacked by a reviewer once. I have my suspicion who they are, but have no way of confirming it since no journal would ever reveal their reviewers. One of my colleagues had his manuscript delayed and dragged on for 3 years because a reviewer of his manuscript was trying to publish their study in a similar topic. They delayed his manuscript so that their study can come out first. But whatever flaws the system has, this is still the best system that we have. It still has the most expertise and is so much more credible, more professional, more disciplined, and less prone to corruption and fraud, than any media or government agencies or third-party entities.

So in the short run, the peer review process is the most reliable mechanism that will filter out the bad things for us. As such, I trust the peer reviewed publications for the most reliable information. In the long run, I will look for follow-up publications from many individual labs from all around the world. In the coming years, we will reach a consensus for these vaccines. Again, at the current time, it is simply physically impossible to learn the truth that will make most people comfortable. We will have to make a decision based on the most reliable information available to us...

Another thing is how you make a decision based on the pros and cons of your own situation. In the US, the pandemic has become so serious that the vaccines are now the only way out of this mess. Everyday we step out of our homes, we risk getting infected. The benefits of the vaccines outweigh the side effects. What about the long term effects, you ask? What long term effects are you talking about when you cannot even be sure you can survive the next few weeks??? If you are in China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, you have almost no virus around you, the potential short- and long-term side effects become important. You have the luxury to wait a bit. If you don't need to travel in the next few years, you might as well wait a few years and see how the vaccines behave. You need to make your own decision. There is no universal answer for all of us.
 
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gelgoog

Captain
Registered Member
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It's not surprising that the AstraZeneca vaccine is more effective with a longer time between doses because it uses an adenovirus vector and you get injected with that same adenovirus twice. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine which also uses an adenovirus vector uses two different adenoviruses one for each shot to prevent habituation. The AstraZeneca vaccine seems a bit more sloppy in concept than the Sputnik V to be honest and the available data indicates that it's less effective.

But still it is better than nothing. I think South Africa not using the vaccine because of reduced performance is kind of overdone on their part. But I do understand them. Their alternative is to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is single shot and should be easier to distribute and cheaper. A lot of people said they were being reckless by delaying vaccination, but, to be honest even if you delayed the vaccination by a week or two the fact the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single shot means the vaccination will proceed a lot more quickly.
 

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