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posted by martyb on Saturday May 01, @12:42AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the too-few-flu? dept.

Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemic:

Since the novel coronavirus began its global spread, influenza cases reported to the World Health Organization have dropped to minuscule levels. The reason, epidemiologists think, is that the public health measures taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading also stop the flu. Influenza viruses are transmitted in much the same way as SARS-CoV-2, but they are less effective at jumping from host to host.

As Scientific Americanreported last fall, the drop-off in flu numbers was both swift and universal. Since then, cases have stayed remarkably low. "There's just no flu circulating," says Greg Poland, who has studied the disease at the Mayo Clinic for decades. The U.S. saw about 600 deaths from influenza during the 2020-2021 flu season. In comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were roughly 22,000 deaths in the prior season and 34,000 two seasons ago.

Because each year's flu vaccine is based on strains that have been circulating during the past year, it is unclear how next year's vaccine will fare, should the typical patterns of the disease return. The WHO made its flu strain recommendations for vaccines in late February as usual, but they were based on far fewer cases than in a common year. At the same time, with fewer virus particles circulating in the world, there is less chance of an upcoming mutation, so it is possible the 2021–2022 vaccine will prove extra effective.

Public health experts are grateful for the reprieve. Some are also worried about a lost immune response, however. If influenza subsides for several years, today's toddlers could miss a chance to have an early-age response imprinted on their immune system. That could be good or bad, depending on what strains circulate during the rest of their life. For now, future flu transmission remains a roll of the dice.


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  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:50AM (49 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:50AM (#1144961)

    Obviously socially communicable diseases are going to be very limited in spread when huge portions of the world population are taking measures to avoid contracting said diseases.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:44AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:44AM (#1144971)

      I'm here for the conspiracy theories about how T.H.E.M. are misdiagnosing flu as COVID.

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday May 01, @11:55AM (3 children)

        by driverless (4770) on Saturday May 01, @11:55AM (#1145080)

        Me too. There's bound to be plenty of conspiracy theories about this one, what are some of the best you've heard? This simple, backed-up-by-data result is obviously fake, so what's the real story that they're not telling us? Please wipe before posting when it's been pulled from someone's ass.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 01, @12:28PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @12:28PM (#1145095) Journal
          EF had a great one [soylentnews.org]:

          As if one team owns the word, and as if their scientists are impartial professionals rather than paid expert witnesses. My question is, if Soylentnews is going all-in on the Globohomo, then what besides the lower comment counts differentiates it from Slashdot anymore?

          For you local folks, people are starting to wonder why we only had 17 flu deaths this season compared to 17,000 last season; but for some other odd reason our COVID deaths went through the roof, justifying further lockdowns. And our local D-Rep Susan Davis abruptly stepped down for no given reason (but she was a year or few ago caught insider-dumping American stocks in favor of Chinese stocks)?

          I guess we need to start to wonder why solid evidence in support of the covid narrative is so solid.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:06PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:06PM (#1145197)

            The nutbars are gettimg crazier people! Small note for you oh brainless one, 17k out of 500k+ is not worth conspiring over.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @03:05AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @03:05AM (#1145278) Journal

              Small note for you oh brainless one, 17k out of 500k+ is not worth conspiring over.

              An even smaller note for you oh even more brainless one, 17 is even less than 17k, and worth even less conspiring over.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:07AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:07AM (#1144979)
      Due in part to masks.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:13AM (#1145066)

        Contrails. I thought you were going to say contrails.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @09:17AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @09:17AM (#1145074)

        I am just happy that public mask wearing is being normalized. I have been wearing N95 masks during the spring and summer for years now as they greatly reduce the severity of my pollen allergies outside. Last year was pretty rough with China sucking up the world's supply and then the remainder being rationed. This year they seem to be generally available again, though I will have to look into what the KN95 standard actually entails. My personal experience with using the masks is why I was so annoyed with the original recommendations that no one bother wearing a mask as you would probably do it wrong and so it would do more harm than good. If they were more open about the fact that they were just lying to prevent hoarding rather than just pretending that it never happened, at least some of the population could make more informed decisions instead of seeing a massive amount of contradicting information flying back and forth.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:07PM (#1145101)

          I was so annoyed with the original recommendations that no one bother wearing a mask as you would probably do it wrong and so it would do more harm than good.

          Well they're kinda right about the idiots especially for the USA.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday May 01, @04:07AM (2 children)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday May 01, @04:07AM (#1145014)

      Obviously socially communicable diseases are going to be very limited in spread

      Maybe we should shut down social media for a couple of years to curb the outbreak of stupidity currently gripping the world.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:19AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:19AM (#1145021)

        Maybe we should shut down social media for a couple of years to curb the outbreak of stupidity currently gripping the world.

        If people exist, then it only follows that stupidity exists.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:04AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:04AM (#1145029)

        SHUT IT DOWN!

        SHUT IT DOWN FOREVER!

        Our experiment moves into the next phase.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Saturday May 01, @04:07AM (33 children)

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Saturday May 01, @04:07AM (#1145015)

      I wish that were obvious to more people than it actually is.

      Reason magazine is beating the drum about lockdowns not working, and I've lost track of the number of people saying masks don't work. There is a widespread problem of people not knowing that preventive measures do prevent disease.

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @04:44AM (16 children)

        by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @04:44AM (#1145024) Journal

        I guess they think surgeons just wear masks so you can't see them laughing at people's birthmarks.

        • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:08AM (15 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:08AM (#1145030)

          ^ The blind leading the blind, causing mass death in the process by ignoring the primary route of transmission is not going to be stopped by masks (less than N95s) or 6 ft of social distancing.

          The new anti-science position for you to support is that you don't need mucosal immunity to prevent infection and transmission from the respiratory tract. Many more will die because of that pseudoscientific belief.

          • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Saturday May 01, @05:50AM (1 child)

            by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Saturday May 01, @05:50AM (#1145034)

            One reason I've been reading about the mucosal immune subsystem is that it might be the perfect thing for a friend of mine with an organ transplant. He is of course on drugs that suppress the internal immune responses but a nasal spray vaccine might take better.

            A paper arguing for paying more attention to our first line of defense is at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.611337/full. [frontiersin.org] Reading partway down, it turns out the systems aren't completely separate (I'd call it bad design if they were). Plasma-derived IgG does migrate to the upper respiratory tract, the authors say.

            That's consistent with the negative swabs that more often come out of vaccinated people and with the disproportionate drops in infection rates that have happened in several places that hit 60-85% immunity. Those were not controlled experiments, so take with a shaker of salt.

            In a few months we'll have hard data from the university student study about how much the Moderna vaccine reduces transmission. This being biology, it's got to be less than 100%. If we can improve whatever the number is with a snorted vaccine it's going to make life harder for the virus.

            I want to make life very hard for the virus: https://xkcd.com/2448/ [xkcd.com]

            • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:45AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:45AM (#1145045)

              A drops in infection rates happened 2-3 times last year, most notably when spring turned to summer. The vaccinated are also not tested as frequently. The cycle thresholds for a positive will also be lowered in many places reducing the reported cases by 10x.

              Still, between 5x drop in immunity after 6 months of waning, 2-15x due to variants, 2x or so in the frail vs young and healthy, and 1,000x lower mucosal than humoral immunity, it will become obvious. I don't think it can be hidden without some extreme CYA maneuvers, and some big players can benefit from continuing the pandemic.

              Politicians are about to institute vaccine passports based off this and it will be a disaster, no point in arguing it now. I am just pointing it out so no one can say "who could have known?"

          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @05:55AM (12 children)

            by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @05:55AM (#1145036) Journal

            You do know that surgeon's masks are not N95, don't you? As for mucosal immunity, that would be preferred, but isn't necessary to greatly reduce the spread of COVID. For one thing, IgA is not the only form of antibody that reaches the mucosa. For another, an infection that reaches a person's mucosa then dies out will be communicable for a much shorter time than one that goes systemic. But you knew that, right?

            Or were you just parroting someone who was parroting someone who mis-understood what was being said in the first place?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:47AM (11 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:47AM (#1145048)

              I know surgeons don't generally wear N95s. The masks they wear are not expected to stop transmission of aerosols.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @08:57AM (10 children)

                by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @08:57AM (#1145070) Journal

                They do have a proven benefit to the patient. They may not stop all aerosol, but they do block some.

                Try this, take a regular old surgical mask. Spray some perfume through it. Now sniff, did it catch any of the perfume? Observe while spraying. Did the spray pass through the mask?

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:24PM (4 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:24PM (#1145143)

                  The old, tired lie expecting people not to know the size difference between a droplet, a bacterium, and a virus. For shame.

                  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @05:09PM (2 children)

                    by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @05:09PM (#1145154) Journal

                    The thing on a perfume bottle is an ATOMIZER.

                    But pick your favorite source of aerosol and give it a try.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52PM (#1145220)

                    if the bacteria and viruses are inside the droplets then stopping the droplets should stop the bacteria and viruses, regardless of their size.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:35PM (4 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:35PM (#1145147)

                  They do have a proven benefit to the patient.

                  Can you provide links to said proof that they do?

                  There are however multiple studies proving that they do NOT and worse, and THAT is what you find when you do a search.
                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1853618/ [nih.gov]
                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20524498/ [nih.gov]
                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27115326/ [nih.gov]
                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30035033/ [nih.gov]

                  • (Score: 3, Touché) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @05:23PM (3 children)

                    by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @05:23PM (#1145159) Journal

                    You did a fine job of finding studies showing the surgeons weren't currently suffering from communicable diseases when the studies were done. What you should be doing is looking at studies of the actual efficacy of the masks such as this [nih.gov] where it found that even a t-shirt pulled up over your nose is (barely) better than nothing.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:39PM (1 child)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:39PM (#1145182)

                      "An overview of filtration efficiency through the masks: Mechanisms of the aerosols penetration"

                      Seems you don't grasp the difference between theory and practice.

                      When you are talking about preventing infection, the studies about preventing infection is what you should be referring to. Too bad if those conflict with your beliefs, but changing the subject is not a way out. Leave "aerosol penetration" to discussions of such.

                      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday May 01, @07:01PM

                        by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 01, @07:01PM (#1145193) Journal

                        It seems you just don't want to read anything that shows experimental evidence for something you don't want to believe it, so you instead look only at odd corner cases and conveniently ignore that it's not actually an examination of the scenario at hand.

                        Darwin's coming for you...

                    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:51AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:51AM (#1145319)

                      Not really. The first article has some very serious methodological errors, including selection bias, non-clean surgeries receiving prophylactic antibiotics, overly-specific outcome (pus or cellulitis requiring surgical debridement/drainage and antibiotics), and and use of masks during "maskless" operations. The next two of those articles are metaanalyses that reviewed the same articles with similar flaws in their analysis so it isn't surprising to come to the same conclusion. And the fourth disagrees with their position. It really makes me wonder if people even read the articles they cite or if they just google it and pick the first few that look like they support them. Also, and not surprisingly, they left out the numerous papers that disagree with them.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:02AM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:02AM (#1145028)

        How do surgical or homemade masks stop aerosols? The fact is that according to science, the masks don't work.

        According to highly confounded, inconsistent statistical models and politicians, masks work. The denial that covid primarily spreads as an aerosol has been very harmful this entire time.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by fakefuck39 on Saturday May 01, @09:04AM (6 children)

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Saturday May 01, @09:04AM (#1145071)

          The denial that coughing into a napkin

          catches most of the phlem is what has been very harmful the entire time. 1 person in a 1 mile radius can pick your lock doesn't mean locking your door doesn't reduce the chance of your door being broken.

          shit comes out of your mouth and nose. the more shit comes out, the more danger you spread. the less shit comes out, the less danger you spread. most 5 year olds comprehend this logic. you are literally dumber than a 5 year old.

          > How do surgical or homemade masks stop aerosols
          they don't, and no one besides retards making a strawman claimed they do. good thing that's not why a mask works.

          you don't need statistical models to know coughing into a piece of cloth instead of into open air will catch most of the shit coming out. you just need to have had a mother who didn't guzzle jack daniels when she was pregnant with you.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:07PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:07PM (#1145137)

            Hey, that's how my mother got pregnant in the first place, you insensitive clod!

          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:21PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:21PM (#1145142)

            shit comes out of your mouth and nose. the more shit comes out, the more danger you spread.

            The description of what you are doing here?

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by VLM on Saturday May 01, @05:01PM (2 children)

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @05:01PM (#1145152)

            you don't need statistical models to know coughing into a piece of cloth instead of into open air will catch most of the shit coming out

            Well, you kinda do, if you're trying to make public policy.

            Clearly, based on enormous amounts of gathered data, the percentage of the population wearing masks in any locale and time seems to have zero statistical impact on covid infection rates a couple weeks later.

            Say you want to answer a question like how many more infections will happen if the local school district ditches masks. The science today based on months of data seems to imply the answer is zero.

            To give you an interesting analogy, lets say you're trying to model and make public policy for AIDS or rabies. Those aren't transmitted by coughing so disease spread rate for those specific diseases don't depend on how many masks someone wears...

            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by fakefuck39 on Saturday May 01, @06:00PM

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Saturday May 01, @06:00PM (#1145169)

              > Clearly, based on enormous amounts of gathered data

              clearly you get your enormous amount of gathered data from people with a GED, like yourself. now tell me about jew lasers in space.

            • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:20AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:20AM (#1145312)

              Clearly, based on enormous amounts of data from random people who think vaccines are dangerous, the moon landing was faked, and Donut Dump is on god's mission to find pedos in the deep state, the election was stolen. Enormous data. Very data. Everybody's saying it.

              Clearly, you are dumber than the shit I just took, and more gullible than a literal baby.

              Hint: when you say something is clear to you that completely disagrees with consensus of the peoole who went to college for 8 years in the field, and do it for a living, you are actually simply announcing to the world you are a dumb moron. Ever have a little kid with chocolate on his face come up to you at the pump and tell you to put diesel in your gasolune car, because he saw his dad use the other hose for his car, so you're Clearly using the wrong fuel? This is how dumb you sound. But we both know that kid was you, decades ago. And we both know that wasn't chocolate on your face. It was your shit brain leaking out.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:55PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:55PM (#1145398)

            You might want to learn at some time that trying to rely on intuition instead of data for complex issues is a pretty bad idea. You are a textbook example of the Dunning Kruger Effect.

            Viruses don't spread just through phlegm, but through viral exposure. And the viruses remain in the area in a fashion more similar to invisible clouds than directed particles. For a better intuitive understanding, think about a fart. If somebody let's a nasty one rip, it [practically] doesn't matter how many layers of clothing they're wearing, or if they have 20 surgical masks attached to their ass - you're going to be sucking that stuff up your nose. It's the same for viruses.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 01, @03:00PM (6 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 01, @03:00PM (#1145126)

        What I encounter most frequently is black and white thinking: "I've been vaccinated, I can't get or spread COVID." "People can still catch COVID even when everybody is wearing masks, therefore masks are useless and there's no point in wearing them at all, or wearing them correctly." "I'm not likely to die if I catch COVID, therefore it's not my problem."

        There's a total lack of appreciation for facts like: long term after effects when surviving COVID can be serious, vaccines are not 100% effective, vaccines are even less effective against new variants of COVID, while successful variants are usually more mild than the original disease they can also be more deadly and/or long term debilitating, the cost of a short highly effective shutdown is much less than the cost of a protracted battle with death and disease, etc.

        It feels to me like COVID was managed in the US by the same crew that gave us Vietnam: for a long and profitable run.

        --
        My karma ran over your dogma.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:16PM (#1145140)

          Maybe people start with observing the same things that led you to your conclusion, and from there go to their "black and white thinking" and not vice versa?

          When the people in the know and in control are vying for riches and power instead of bunkering down, one can infer the level of danger they really assign the Fear-of-the-year(s) from the way they act. And being more catholic than the Pope or more royalist than the King is never a rational course of action.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:30PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:30PM (#1145403)

          I would argue you're engaging in the same exact issue you are critiquing others for. You are effectively offering a solution without considering the fact that there is substantial evidence that is not a solution. In particular you are suggesting that a "short highly effective shutdown" is (1) clearly effective and (2) possible.

          I think both are probably false. On effectiveness, I won't waste your time ddging for "studies showing COVID lockdowns don't work" and I'd appreciate the same. Suffice to say that the evidence is mixed enough that you can "scientifically prove" whatever you want. Consequently, you certainly cannot simply comfortably claim that 'lockdowns work'. By one degree in one location by one form of measurement? Yes. By another measurement, or in a location? No.

          Possibility is perhaps the even bigger deal. Whether it's people getting tired of lockdowns, some black guy getting shot, or a politician you like getting elected - people will invariably break the lockdown at a whim for anything they prioritize to a higher degree. And on top of this you'd also need to completely stop illegal immigration and other issues during this time. These things just simply aren't going to happen. Even on top of all of that there's the pragmatic issue that people do not need to come into contact during lockdowns. And these contacts, even if limited and cautious provide another avenue for spread.

          And then of course there's the fact it's a coronavirus. One of the interesting and unique things about coronaviruses is that they can spread between humans and animals. One of the hypothesis for the original source of this virus was an animal to human transmission in China. That issue's not going anywhere, nor are you going to eliminate COVID from all animals. And vaccines that work-but-not-really are just creating a prime breeding ground for mutations since they create an evolutionary pressure on the virus without being anywhere near effective enough to provide actual immunity to it (as is the case for something like e.g. small pox).

          ------

          All of this said I'm one person who will not be getting a vaccine and the reason is precisely what you hit on in the final part of your post. The primary motivation behind all of this nonsense increasingly seems to just be money. Vaccines for COVID stand to be a trillion dollar business. And if it sticks around, mutates, and requires even more booster shots and boosters for your boosters? All the better - more profit. Wars have been fought, and countless killed, over far less money than is at stake in the COVID business. To think massive corporations, and their government tools, are not putting long-term earnings ahead of long-term outcomes for society is just hopelessly naive to the past [forever] of human history.

          • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Sunday May 02, @10:34PM (3 children)

            by Mykl (1112) on Sunday May 02, @10:34PM (#1145502)

            ...you are suggesting that a "short highly effective shutdown" is (1) clearly effective and (2) possible. I think both are probably false

            Australia and New Zealand would like a word.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:39AM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:39AM (#1145610)

              Australia and New Zealand are extremely isolated island nations with relatively negligible international travel, no bordering nations, and a sparsely distributed population. Hoping that works for them can work with nations with extensive illegal immigration from bordering nations, numerous regions with extremely dense populations regularly flowing between one another, and of course also working as a hub for international trade, travel, and transit is unlikely to result in positive outcomes.

              New Zealand and Australia's outcomes are sufficiently well explained by security through obscurity to the point that I don't think they even really qualify as exceptions to the rule. The only real exception to the rule is China. And how they have managed to have such good outcomes is a much bigger question. But suffice to say that I do not think a typical once a century plague is a great motivator in even considering mimicking the Chinese socio-political system.

              • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Monday May 03, @10:36PM (1 child)

                by Mykl (1112) on Monday May 03, @10:36PM (#1145834)

                It's true that Australia and New Zealand have a ridiculously low population density when you look at them from a whole-of-country perspective. However, the vast majority of Australia's population lives in about 5% of its landmass, and 89% of its population lives in urban areas [wikipedia.org] - higher than the US.

                You're right about the bordering nation issue, however I don't think that the issue of COVID transmission falls to illegal immigrants bringing it into the country. If that were the case, US border states would have had much higher rates (which they didn't and haven't).

                The reason that Australia and New Zealand have had great results in containing COVID is that we imposed hard lockdowns whenever cases flared up and we followed basic health advice - social distancing, mask wearing and testing.

                • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:56PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:56PM (#1146252)

                  I was definitely trying to compare apples to apples. As per your link Sydney has a population density of 1,120 people/square mile. NYC has a population density of 27,755 people/square mile.

                  Similarly for immigration stuff. I'm most certainly not blaming US COVID cases on illegal immigration. What I was implying is that illegal immigrants will continue to offer a normal vector for resurgent outbreaks even if your country does manage to contain the virus through whatever measure. Imagine we stuck Mexico (and its case rate) right next to Australia with a comparably sized land border. And we also give Australia a similar political system to the US where the the political establishment is all but endorsing illegal immigration, with many from Mexico taking up the call. You'd see your country's phenomenal rate end up getting wrecked in short order.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @07:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @07:07AM (#1145331)

        "Masks works" and "masks doesn't work" are both true! People just doesn't know the law of physics.

        The air flows through the path of least resistance. So, if your mask is not fitting your face correctly (say, a small vent around your nose or chin), then the air will squeeze itself into this vent until the pressure matches the pressure needed for the air to flow through the filter layers or your mask. As a result, a lot of air that you'll breathe will be unfiltered.

        That's why some people says masks don't work.

        A mask with proper fitting to your face (no vents) will work!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:10PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:10PM (#1145102)
      Sexually transmitted diseases are up between 25 and 50 percent depending on the disease. This helps explain the community spread despite lockdowns. People really know how to fuck up things by being selfish or cheating on their partner.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:11PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:11PM (#1145112)

        We can't have nice things because there's a ton of selfish people out there that were programmed to do whatever the hell they want because if they don't, it means there's something wrong with them. Personally, I haven't found that to be the case, in most cases, going along works out just fine, it also means that when you don't go along, there are allies there and people take it more seriously.

        My wife thinks everybody likes me because of my appearance, but the fact of the matter is that a larger part of it is that I'm just a decent person that considers other people's POVs without trying to automatically steamroll everybody I come into contact with. Most of the people that are "out to get her" aren't, they just aren't giving her what she wants reflexively.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:40PM (#1145118)

          How does your wife and you ever get along? What could you possibly have in common with her? Did you settle for her for some physical reasons or what is wrong with you?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:06AM (#1144964)

    Flu, you punk, yo days are numbered, fool. You fucked up. You ded, you hear me? Imma eat yo dna, rna, zna, yo shell, yo mama, yo daddy, yo dog, yo chicken, and yo hamster. And yo pornhub subscription. Yu ded bitch.

    So spake covid-19.

  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by js290 on Saturday May 01, @01:46AM (18 children)

    by js290 (14148) on Saturday May 01, @01:46AM (#1144972)
    Generally, does flu cases get test confirmation or just based on symptoms?

    Was our belief in 50K seasonal flu deaths per year in the United States ever substantiated, or is it just a way to sell vaccinations? All I know for sure is that I've never heard of anyone dying of seasonal flu complications, and I've been around awhile.

    — Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) February 21, 2021 [twitter.com]

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:59AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:59AM (#1144974)

      What does the Gell-Mann report say about Scott Adams infectious disease creds?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:15AM (#1144982)

        Probably the same as it does for Bill Gate$' creds.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:04AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:04AM (#1144978)

      He has a point. It's anecdotal of course, but I'm in my fifties and I've never known anyone to die of the flu either.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @03:29AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @03:29AM (#1145006)

        Most people don't die of the flu, they die of the pneumonia that the flu developed into and/or softened them up for.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @03:55AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @03:55AM (#1145010)

          So just like COVID?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:11AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:11AM (#1145031)

            Possibly. COVID is better at bring it on, so it kills all the people flu would have killed first, then COVID does a few victory laps and kills 3 more that flu wouldn't have.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:42AM (#1145044)

          Traditionally, the Influenza is called "the Old Man's Friend", because when nothing else will, it induces pneumnoia, the actual "Old Man's Friend", since it gives you something to die of. Better than "The Bus", because that seems rather arbitrary, and accidental.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:13AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:13AM (#1144981)

      If they are bad enough to kill you, absolutely. As for not knowing anyone who died of influenza, not surprising given the numbers but he also isn't in the demographic where he would directly know a lot of people who would die of flu or be told that those he indirectly knew who died of flu in the first place.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:18AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:18AM (#1144983)

        I was 30 when I heard that an acquaintance had died at age 20 from the flu. Completely surprised, but it's a lesson that in life shit happens when you least expect.

        And it's still pointless to panic about it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @04:41PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @04:41PM (#1145415)
          So that’s what they were calling AIDS then?
    • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Saturday May 01, @04:01AM

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Saturday May 01, @04:01AM (#1145012)

      Lab confirmed cases are a small minority.

      That small minority does show a dramatic trend.

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/2242113-australia-sees-huge-decrease-in-flu-cases-due-to-coronavirus-measures/ [newscientist.com]

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mhajicek on Saturday May 01, @04:01AM (1 child)

      by mhajicek (51) on Saturday May 01, @04:01AM (#1145013)

      One of my classmates died from the flu in fifth grade.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:58PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:58PM (#1145099)

      Nobody dies “just of the flu.” The estimates are just that. The error bars cover an order of magnitude, even for the historical flu pandemics.

      I’ve had one flu shot - let myself be talked into it. When the H1N1 pandemic f 2009 struck, I didn’t get vaccinated and I’m still here.

      There simply are no reliable stats for flu - it’s not a mandatory reported disease. But I’ve never heard of anyone dying of the flu either.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday May 03, @04:49PM

        by Freeman (732) on Monday May 03, @04:49PM (#1145723) Journal

        Very young, very old, and/or immune compromised individuals can die from the flu. It's not "literally dying from the flu", because those that die from the flu don't die as direct cause of the infection. They die from dehydration or other complications from having the flu.

        It's not like when someone dies from Ebola or Cancer, where your body is being destroyed.

        --
        "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
    • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @02:10AM (2 children)

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @02:10AM (#1145266)

      First to answer your question - it depends on why you're at the hospital. If they're going to give you treatment, like an antiretroviral, yes you get confirmation first. Usually it's a rapid test of a stick up your nose (antigen test), and takes 10 minutes. If you just got a little fever and a runny nose, and aren't in a risk group, chicken soup and a tylenol is your treatment and you don't need a test for that - in fact, wtf are you even at a hospital.

      When someone dies of the flu, they don't usually die of the actual flu, not do they have the flu when they die. They get their lungs filled with shit and die from that a couple of weeks later. Or their liver stops working from the added body stress. Yes, it's a flu death. Kinda how if I rammed someone with a car and they fell into the lake and drowned, it's a car accident death. Kinda how when someone healthy and younger with the flu gets covid and dies, it's a covid death.

      now, let's flame on some faggots:

      > or is it just a way to sell vaccinations
      a flu vaccine is $15. treating the flu or its symptoms symptoms clearly makes a shitload more money. this man is a dumb faggot.
      https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/awardees/vaccine-management/price-list/ [cdc.gov]

      > 50K seasonal flu deaths
      people don't take the flu vaccine because they don't want to die. yeah, a few old feeble people do. the majority is taken by people who, wait for it... don't enjoy having the fucking flu. this man is a dumb faggot

      >I've never heard of anyone dying of seasonal flu complications
      He's never heard? Where did he "hear" about the 50k deaths? Oh, he means he doesn't know of anyone who has died from it. Cool. I'm sure he doesn't know of anyone who's died from aids or chicken pox. those aren't real then. I dont' know anyone who's died in a plane crash either - so those aren't real. this dumb faggot is not a man.

      Cheeeee(tos) - I wonder, if he thinks there are 50k deaths in a country of 330mil, what exactly does he think his chances are of knowing one of those 50k who died.
      — Scott Adams (@rides the short bus, @is a dumb faggot, @likes big bear penis, @velcro shoes)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:07PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:07PM (#1145421)
        Those 50,000 deaths were an estimate - the CDC admits as much and its right in the article that it’s only an estimate.

        It’s always been only an estimate.

        Today’s estimates are based on historical estimates (not historical body counts), from a time when peopte died much younger.

        The true numbers are so blatantly obviously much lower that the only reason people accept them is because they are the only numbers out there. But the whole thing should trip your baloney detector.

        Does it really matter? Yes, because bullshit like this fuels general vaccine skepticism, and some vaccines do work.

        It’s the same as when governments lied about masks, saying they didn’t work for the general public because they wanted to make sure there was enough for the hospitals. Anyone could go on Wikipedia and research the 1918 flu pandemic and read about how cities that had mask mandates had fewer deaths and the economy recovered quickly, and those that didn’t had more deaths and took longer to recover. So we knew more than 100 years ago that masks helped reduce exposure.

        And yes, they had anti-maskers then too.

        The CDC lied, saying masks were ineffective: https://m.jpost.com/International/CDC-asks-public-to-stop-buying-facemasks-as-they-dont-prevent-infection-619333 [jpost.com]

        The surgeon general and the WHO pulled the same shit: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-cdc-says-americans-dont-have-to-wear-facemasks-because-of-coronavirus-2020-01-30 [marketwatch.com]

        Until they release the spreadsheet used to estimate flu deaths (yes, it’s formulas in a spreadsheet , not real data) and the rationale for the assumptions behind their extrapolations, fuck them. Fool me once, shame one me, fool me twice, you won’t get a third chance. Show us the raw data or STFU.

        Because this sort of shit just fuels vaccine hesitancy.

        • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Sunday May 02, @06:00PM

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday May 02, @06:00PM (#1145439)

          you either clicked reply on the wrong comment, or by the time your eyes get the visual data to your brain, a tumor changes the words you just read. you should get an mri. your reply has zero to do with what you replied to.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Saturday May 01, @02:00AM (8 children)

    by looorg (578) on Saturday May 01, @02:00AM (#1144976)

    The "winter vomit" thing (Norovirus) is more or less gone and didnt really happen this/last year and that usually kills a few hundred thousand people per year alone worldwide. There have been basically no seasonal flu infections. I don't think I have had a "common" cold in over a year. Clearly there are some upsides to this whole social distancing thing and the frantic washing of hands and rubbing everything down with alcohol.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 01, @02:42AM (7 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 01, @02:42AM (#1144997)

      rubbing everything down with alcohol.

      There are downsides to aggressive sanitation also, particularly wiping out "friendly" bacterial colonies making way for fast spreading pioneer species which are usually less benign to the host.

      When "normal" behavior returns, "normal" flu spreading will return as well, but the startup season or two will lack effective vaccines (are they ever all that effective anyway?) due to the unpredictability of which flu strain will spread the most rapidly in the re-connected population.

      All in all, how are COVID deaths tracking as compared to the reduction in flu deaths? I was reading a few months ago that the overall mortality rate is still up significantly, enough to drop the US life expectancy by nearly a year since the pandemic started - while places like New Zealand have actually boosted their overall life expectancy slightly during the pandemic - though they returned to more normal behavior sooner, so they may be keeping their normal flus circulating closer to their normal rates.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Saturday May 01, @05:59AM (4 children)

        by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Saturday May 01, @05:59AM (#1145037)

        >are they ever all that effective anyway?

        No. 40-60% efficacy and reduced severity are enough to be useful but it's not awe-inspiring.

        >how are COVID deaths tracking as compared to the reduction in flu deaths?

        Way way down from their peak, as could be expected from having vaccinated the people who would have been most likely to die of it. Not really comparable though to the epic crash in flu numbers.

        >the unpredictability of which flu strain will spread the most rapidly in the re-connected population

        I wonder how long it will take to get an mRNA flu vaccine approved so we can mass-produce something targeting the circulating strains.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:07PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:07PM (#1145100)
          We don’t know the true efficacy of the flu vaccine in the general population because we don’t actually measure infection and deaths from the flu. There’s simply no mandatory reporting of either infection or death.

          All I know s that the people who get the annual flu shot often end up also getting the flu. Same a the pneumonia shot and then getting pneumonia every damn year!

          Some vaccines are great, some are shit. But people should not be bringing colds and flus to work, school, or other people’s homes. We know that we can drive the flu to virtual extinction. We should do so.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 01, @03:03PM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 01, @03:03PM (#1145127)

            We know that we can drive the flu to virtual extinction. We should do so.

            That's a nice sentiment, but the cost is quite high. While I prefer living in a semi-locked down world, it's not likely to be politically sustainable - too many people with power want to see the masses working 40+ hours per week.

            --
            My karma ran over your dogma.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:14PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:14PM (#1145424)
              The cost isn’t that high. Only symptomatic people can spread colds and flus, so tell them to stay home. If they don’t, then fire their sorry asses.

              Same with schools and daycares - no admittance if you have symptoms.

              Considering how shitty flu vaccines are (as low as 10% some years), and we have NO vaccine for the common cold, better and cheaper to precursor spread.

              Better to have one person lose a week than many others sick.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:01PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @04:01PM (#1145135)

            We know that we can drive the flu to virtual extinction.

            No, the thing we KNOW is that we can NOT.

            A new flu strain can jump from animals to humans exactly the same as the new coronavirus strain did.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by EvilSS on Saturday May 01, @08:34PM (1 child)

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @08:34PM (#1145218)

        There are downsides to aggressive sanitation also, particularly wiping out "friendly" bacterial colonies making way for fast spreading pioneer species which are usually less benign to the host.

        Yep, this is why I refused to wash my hands when I worked in food service.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:16PM (#1145425)
          The old RMS rationale for not bathing … and eating toe jam boosts his immune system.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Saturday May 01, @05:18AM (3 children)

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Saturday May 01, @05:18AM (#1145033)

    So xkcd is always on topic?

    https://xkcd.com/2306/ [xkcd.com]

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:46AM (#1145047)

      Yes, it is. +3 Nerd Mod points. If only moderation here was not alt-right bacon.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:53AM (#1145064)

      This one is also on topic,
            https://xkcd.com/2457/ [xkcd.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:15PM (#1145103)
      I doubt the common cold strains are going to die off. Looking at the numbers Covid-19 is more likely to become a nastier "common cold" strain than die out.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:50PM (#1145098)

    First, we all know that colds and flus are pretty much gone. That’s beyond dispute, because ow anyone coughtis told to get the fuck away. Go home. And lots of hand washing.

    However, the graphs are useless. They look like random noise. Why not just 1 line - flu? What are the half dozen other lines?

    Flu deaths are not subject to mandatory reporting. This is why the CDC reports “estimated deaths” for previous years. A reporter trying to find the raw data found there is none. It’s just some numbers plugged into a spreadsheet to come up with an estimate. However, those guesstimates are based on assumptions that may have held true a century ago, with crappy nutrition, war, etc., but even those numbers from a century ago are subject to a range of an order of magnitude - and we simply can’t trust either the historical or current estimates. Because you can only know what you actually get off your arse and measure.

    Flu might push some people over the edge, but they were going to die of other pre-existing conditions anyway.

    Flu vaccine efficacy is estimated to be between 10% and 70% in any one year, with an average of 40%, which doesn’t explain why people who get their annual flu shots get the flu much more often than prehistoric don’t get the shot.

    So serious, why bother? I’m not an antivaxxer (got my Pfizer Covid vaccine), but I won’t be bothering with the flu vaccine. I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold - a decade, turn of the century? the 80s … or ever? So screw the flu vaccine. You have the flu, stay home, or you’re an asshole creating a toxic work space. You won’t leave? So I will, and you can explain why I won’t work with you.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:54PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @01:54PM (#1145111)

    Remember the Spanish flu? You should see what the Chinese are doing in their flu research labs... wait, you will next year.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:23PM (#1145428)
      The Spanish flu came from Kansas, not Spam : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu [wikipedia.org]

      The probable source was pig farming.

      Also, need to kill off a lot more than 10% of the population to have any hope of a sustainable future. >p> When you breed like crazy, diseases eventually break out to thin the herd. This time we’re the herd.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:31PM (#1145114)

    Sapienti sat

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:43PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:43PM (#1145120)
    I asked my relatives why they were going to get the flu vaccine during the covid-19 lockdowns. I mean if they're doing things right to not get covid-19 they wouldn't be getting flu, and going to get vaccinated in a place where tons of people are likely to go to (to get vaccinated) is definitely riskier compared to staying at home.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52PM (#1145219)
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @05:26PM (#1145429)
        We know the Covid vaccine protects against Covid in most cases. The flu vaccine doesn’t even protect against the flu that well, and the flu just isn’t circulating any more anyway
  • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by VLM on Saturday May 01, @04:47PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @04:47PM (#1145149)

    public health measures taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading also stop the flu

    I'm curious what measures pragmatically worked and how much. Plenty of public data available.

    It seems that changes in the reproduction rate of covid has zero relationship with changes in mask wearing and changes in social distancing. Even lockdowns never had any effect in the data I've seen.

    My guess is school districts opening too early "but its 100% safe because we're wearing holy masks" killed a couple thousand old people in my state, in the sense of how filtered cigarettes kill people by providing a false sense of security.

    The only public response I've seen that seems effective is the school districts around here go absolutely apeshit over any cold cough fever symptoms which likely eliminated the local flu season. In theory "in the old days" sick kids were sent home, but in practice mom's gotta work to pay the bills so schools were diseased all winter long, leading to flu outbreaks, but with covid paranoia any kid with a common cold got quarrentined which wiped out the flu.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @05:10PM (#1145155)

    Holy cow! I had no idea that the world's greatest virologists and doctors are all on this forum. So much brain power here! So much knowledge! Not.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:51PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:51PM (#1145207)

    "The reason, epidemiologists think, is that the public health measures taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading also stop the flu"

    lmao! more like the medical tyrants are lying pieces of shit!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:19AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:19AM (#1145604)

      Oh yes, those medical tyrants across the entire planet all saying the same things. Yet we still have weirdos listening to internet video blog misinformation saying shit like "more like the medical tyrants are lying pieces of shit!"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:08PM (#1145800)

        all controlled by the same strings, fucktard.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @12:24AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @12:24AM (#1145244)

    So social distancing and the masks nicely work on the flu. As did all the obsessive disinfecting.

    As a result we'll just have a serious flu that changes to overcome this in a few years. A pandemic worhty of the name.

    People thinking they diagnoed flu as covid, think again. They just used more sensitive PCR thresholds when the populace needed a scare. Covid is going to covid as efforts like removing solitary swimmers from beeches don't quite stop the spread.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @07:22AM (#1145605)

      So COVID was a hoax, then it was real but no big deal, then it was a big deal but vaccines are evil and also the virus is not really a big deal anyway, and now we're down to "the mask mandates will create super-flu!" Just wot m8?

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