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posted by martyb on Monday May 03, @10:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Reaching 'Herd Immunity' Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe:

Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term "herd immunity" came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives.

Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.

Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.

How much smaller is uncertain and depends in part on how much of the nation, and the world, becomes vaccinated and how the coronavirus evolves. It is already clear, however, that the virus is changing too quickly, new variants are spreading too easily and vaccination is proceeding too slowly for herd immunity to be within reach anytime soon.

Continued immunizations, especially for people at highest risk because of age, exposure or health status, will be crucial to limiting the severity of outbreaks, if not their frequency, experts believe.

"The virus is unlikely to go away," said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. "But we want to do all we can to check that it's likely to become a mild infection."

The shift in outlook presents a new challenge for public health authorities. The drive for herd immunity — by the summer, some experts once thought possible — captured the imagination of large segments of the public. To say the goal will not be attained adds another "why bother" to the list of reasons that vaccine skeptics use to avoid being inoculated.

Yet vaccinations remain the key to transforming the virus into a controllable threat, experts said.


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(1) 2
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Monday May 03, @10:29PM (7 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @10:29PM (#1145832) Homepage Journal

    They died off, almost went extinct, before they developed herd immunity to those pesky flying lead pellets.

    --
    "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:43PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:43PM (#1145836)
      Not sure I get it... are you quoting lyrics from an obscure country song?
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Monday May 03, @11:34PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @11:34PM (#1145856) Journal

        An elegy for Runaway and his kind, yes.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:44PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:44PM (#1145838)

      OK, everybody. It looks like the little runaway has now given all of us the green light for hunting season on him and all his family. Just make sure to get your permits before you start shooting!</sarcasm>

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:15AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:15AM (#1145868)

        Unlike the buffalo, Runaway shoots back.

        Remember, you come at the Runaway, you'd best not miss.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:24AM (#1145927)

      They died off, almost went extinct, before they developed herd immunity to those pesky flying lead pellets.

      You mean "Just like the homo sapiens", and there's no herd immunity to ginormous asteroids striking Earth.

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Monday May 03, @10:44PM (19 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday May 03, @10:44PM (#1145839)

    Isn't "herd immunity" for humans the same as "incubation pool" for virus mutations?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday May 03, @11:43PM (18 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @11:43PM (#1145857) Journal

      Complementary, actually. The virus mutates where the infected bodies cannot fend it off before it mutates.

      Most likely the herd member are the ones that don't allow the virus to mutate before killing the infection, the freeloaders are the ones to support the active infection until they get to the other side with immunity got by natural means or they get out of the pool by dying.

      The lines are a bit blurred, because the mutants developed in free loaders aren't necessary killed off that fast in the bodies of the herd.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Tuesday May 04, @12:37AM (3 children)

        by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Tuesday May 04, @12:37AM (#1145876)

        "Herd immunity" means the entire herd is de facto immune as soon as enough members are immune to stop a chain reaction.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @12:52AM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @12:52AM (#1145883) Journal

          "Herd immunity" means the entire herd is de facto immune as soon as enough members are immune to stop a chain reaction.

          In general, you are right.

          Taking it in the particular context of covid-19. We aren't in a situation to erradicate covid-19, short term, by a fast vaccination campaign.
          With only long term remaining**: there's nothing like herd immunity for the common cold sicknesses caused by corona viruses, why one would expect that for covid-19?
          The only promise for the current vaccines: you aren't gonna die when you pick it up next year, when your immunity will allow the virus to infect you again.

          ** not before the immunity level drop and/or the virus mutates.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @04:45AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @04:45AM (#1145989)

            There are some important differences between the still young SARS-CoV-2 and other members of its cladistic family that make herd immunity still obtainable compared to them. And there are things about that family of viruses that makes herd immunity easier than other viruses that are endemic. That is one reason why there are multiple universal Coronavirus vaccines in testing that take out the entire family in just a couple of shots. In a few years, we could have an approved vaccine for all of them, even ones that cannot infect humans yet, and that is precisely because COVID isn't the Flu.

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @05:06AM

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @05:06AM (#1145996) Journal

              Having SARS-CoV-2 as a benign endemic would be good enough to my mind, but Ok, let's hope we can do better.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @01:27AM (6 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @01:27AM (#1145893)

        there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever

        So, public announcements from public health experts are saying: don't wait for herd immunity, get the vaccine to protect yourself... and that's a fine message.

        What I'm so frustrated with is the fact that our politicians have encouraged this big breeding pool of infected people, making such a large number of mutations available for spreading and thwarting vaccination effectiveness. If we had taken shutdown a bit more seriously, a bit earlier, a bit longer, the vaccines would still have come out at the same time, but they'd be dealing with less than 10% of the mutations / variants in the wild. They also clearly established patterns of untrustable communications regarding the virus and how best to protect yourself and society - big win for supporters of small government, I guess.

        --
        My karma ran over your dogma.
        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:33AM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:33AM (#1145895)

          And The Holy Vaccine will say unto the virus: "Do not mutate!" And the virus will... what?

          • (Score: 5, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @01:51AM (3 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @01:51AM (#1145908) Journal

            And The Holy Vaccine will say unto the virus: "Do not mutate!"

            Invalid premise. The vaccine will cause the immune system to trigger the elimination of the virus.
            If the virus mutates, the immune system doesn't need that much time to adapt to something resembling the original form [xkcd.com] - it may still kill the mutated virus before it gets to infect others.
            The virus needs lots of mutations to escape the immune system long enough to start spreading. While not impossible, the probability is much lower.

            And the virus will... what?

            In the vast majority of the cases, the virus will not get to be infectious before it mutates, killed by the immune system of a vaccinated host.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday May 04, @02:04AM (1 child)

              by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @02:04AM (#1145915)

              You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.

              • (Score: 4, Touché) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @02:10AM

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @02:10AM (#1145917) Journal

                April is autumn, what heat the idiot saying that expected? (large grin)

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:33AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:33AM (#1145931)

              How can anyone argue against The Truth taken from xkcd comix?..

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:16PM (#1146267)

          "get the vaccine to protect yourself... and that's a fine message."

          you're a fucking idiot

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:08AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:08AM (#1146033)

        There's one major nuance you're ignoring, that makes what you said very misleading. The main reason mutant strains take over the main strain with viruses is because of an evolutionary stressor.

        Think about something antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. The way they come to be is by people treating an infection to the point that they are no longer suffering severe effects, and then stopping - but while they still have the bacteria within their body. They've applied a stressor, the antibiotic, but not to the point of completely killing off the bacteria - so the bacteria is able to work to adapt to the stressor in the form of mutations. This leads to, over time, bacteria that start to become resistant to antibiotics.

        You can also even think of this in terms of animal evolution with things like Darwin's birds. The "mutant" beaks only succeeded when they provided a substantial evolutionary benefit, such as being able to access foods that the normal beaks could not. Absent such a "stressor", the birds would have retained the, more or less, same beaks indefinitely.

        Our current vaccines are not vaccines in the notion of providing immunity. Instead they are now being measured in terms of their ability to prevent severe effects - exactly like a weak antibiotic. They are effectively creating a dream breeding ground for mutations by providing a stressor for the virus, but not being effective enough to actually kill off the viruses. The virus spread happily around the world for the better part of a year with relatively few major mutations. Now following the advent of vaccinations we are multiple rapidly branching mutations.

        Weak vaccines could end up being much worse, in terms of overall outcome, than no vaccines at all. Of course mutations just mean more vaccines, more shots, and more profit. There are a lot of very perverse incentives within commercialized (or investable) healthcare which rely solely on the ethics of pharmaceutical CEOs to not exploit. And pharmaceutical CEOs have shown them to be rather lacking in that department. It's probably an unsolvable problem as well. Pharmaceutical companies primary means of revenue generation is profiting off human suffering - and they make immense amounts of money. Like insurance, it's not a great industry to get into for those with a strong ethical/moral compass.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @08:26AM (5 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @08:26AM (#1146052) Journal

          The main reason mutant strains take over the main strain with viruses is because of an evolutionary stressor.

          Yes, I do understand it and I'm not underestimating it. Keep in mind tho' that the rate of mutation is not governed by the stressor (e.g. there's no virus or bacteria that I know which evolved to resists 70% alcohol, in spite of it being used in most hospitals)
          It's only the rate of selection that the stressor influences.

          For a "natural" rate of selection, it usually takes at least one or two years for the prevalence into the population of a bacteria strain that evolved resistance to a certain antibiotic.
          For COV-SARS2 to get around the vaccine it may take longer (it's a virus, less complex than a bacteria), as it needs to accumulate a large number of mutation to get around that the vaccine taught the immune system to recognize (e.g. current version of vaccines still offer somewhere around 60% efficiency for strains with multiple mutations in circulation today).

          Granted, if the vaccine doesn't evolve, there will be a moment in which the mutated virus will get an upper hand, but even then it is likely that reinfections with different strains (in different season) will still offer the protection against the lethal effects of the virus.

          Moreover, the mRNA technique seems quite potent in designing newer version of vaccines, it delivered one for a brand new virus in... what... 9 months? I imagine that designing one for the prevalent strain in a geography/season may be way easier.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:14PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:14PM (#1146321)

            Polio (complete) and HPV (ongoing) are typical examples.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, @07:47AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, @07:47AM (#1146735)

            Yes, but again you're not considering the fact that antibiotic resistance is something that comes about in large part due to the isolated actions of a very small number of people. Most people are not prescribed antibiotics. And of those that are, most do complete their antibiotic regimes. The stressor providing a selection bias (but not entirely killing off the bacteria) are an extremely minuscule portion of society. With these vaccines were are aiming to inoculate literally every single person with vaccines that create a stressor against the virus, but do not effectively kill it off.

            This, in my opinion, is why we are seeing such emergence of successful mutations. And yes you're correct that new vaccines (which I believe we should start calling shots when we get into this sort of acceptance since this is more akin to a flu shot than the traditional notion of a vaccine) could deal with mutations, at least until they couldn't. But ideally we should not be aiming to create some industry where each year people need to go get a half dozen shots, but rather working to do the least we can to effectively destroy the viruses.

            This is what drives my view that the ideal solution here would be to vaccinate every single person that is at a relatively high risk of a bad outcome from COVID, and encourage normal cautionary measures for the rest of society. You minimize the room for mutation, safety of the vaccines becomes a non-issue because you are targeting only the population who are already at major risk from the virus, and you also minimize the overall amount of compliance required to achieve 100% "deployment" of the strategy.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @09:42AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @09:42AM (#1147125)

              Your idea has the opposite effect. Mutations are random. The more people getting infected with the actual disease, the more opportunity there is for a random mutation to occur. The more opportunities for random mutations to occur, the higher the chance of one that is bad for us to be selected for. Then that one will break through and all hell breaks loose, again. Just look at the shitshow in Manaus for how well your idea is working.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @06:36PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @06:36PM (#1147272)

                The more opportunities for random mutations to occur, the higher the chance of one that is bad for us to be selected for.

                Please explain how and why we are not yet all dead fifty times over from the flu, then.

                Just look at the shitshow in Manaus for how well your idea is working.

                The "show" part is the only realistic statement in your zombie thriller here. Even if an inadvertent one.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @11:09AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @11:09AM (#1147132)

              Yes, but again you're not considering the fact that antibiotic resistance is something that comes about in large part due to the isolated actions of a very small number of people.

              Because what you imagine as "fact" is anything but.

              The real source of antibiotic resistant stuff is the hospitals.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital-acquired_infection [wikipedia.org]
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_antibiotic-resistant_bacteria [wikipedia.org]
              And the cause is widespread lack even of basic hygiene among the staff, not to mind proper disinfection procedures. Which lack they are attempting to compensate for with moar antibiotics. Which works about as well as you can expect.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:47PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:47PM (#1145841)

    Within a few years, antivaxxers like Jenny McCarthy will be dead and the next generation of children will have genes that allow them to tolerate strangers sticking untested drugs into them without complaining.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by FatPhil on Monday May 03, @11:23PM (11 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Monday May 03, @11:23PM (#1145853) Homepage
      No untested drugs have been jabbed anywhere, your pondlike-length memory is failing you.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:30PM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:30PM (#1145854)

        The FDA has granted "Emergency Use Authorizations" (EUA) for the current US vaccines from Moderna, Pfiser and J&J. They do not have formal approval. As such, they are still experimental. The process to get them through the formal approval is still on going.

        Granted, saying "untested" is untrue. So is saying they are "fully tested". The truth is in between.

        • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:23AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:23AM (#1145869)

          He is trying to claim there was no "drug." Failing to realize that the concaction they inject is jlnot technically a vaccine either (and no, changing dictionary.com entry for vaccine doesn't magically make it a vaccine).

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday May 04, @02:19AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @02:19AM (#1145923) Journal
            Seems more likely that he's protesting the "untested" part. Those experimental drugs are tested, just not as much as would be needed for present formal approval by the FDA. I get the result is that the public is undertaking some of that testing now. But that seems reasonable given the serious nature of covid.
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Wednesday May 05, @01:38PM

              by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday May 05, @01:38PM (#1146453) Homepage
              This. Thank you. Not that it should have been necessary - my statement was perfectly clear and had only one likely interpretation.

              Remember, of course, that even drugs that have passed all the usual FDA tests for approval are still in a state of us not knowing every possible side effect or interaction with other medication or environment. There's no magical waving of a FDAiry Godmother's wand that mystically transforms a substance from being unsafe into safe. Everything's Bayesian - we're always modifying what we know depending on what new information becomes available.
              --
              I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:30AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:30AM (#1145872)

          Let the free market invisible handjob solve it.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by sjames on Tuesday May 04, @12:50AM (5 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Tuesday May 04, @12:50AM (#1145881) Journal

          Emergency Use Authorization still requires that the safety tests have been done. Some of the later phase tests might not be complete but it is as safe as a fully approved drug. It's not like they just cooked something up in a test tube and shouted "It didn't explode this time, start injecting everyone!"

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by HiThere on Tuesday May 04, @03:12AM (4 children)

            by HiThere (866) on Tuesday May 04, @03:12AM (#1145940) Journal

            The problem with "Emergency Use Authorization" level drugs is that rare effects may well not have been noticed. But the important word there is "rare". And actually, even ordinary drugs can have life threatening side effects in rare cases. An EUA drug will already have been tested sufficiently to pick up unpleasant side effects that happen more frequently than, say, once in 10,000 cases, but probably not ones that happen once in 100,000 cases and definitely not once in 1,000,000 cases. The trials aren't made with a large enough statistically randomized population to pick those up.

            OTOH, COVID has unpleasant lasting effect above the once in 1,000 cases level. So the EUA drug is a very reasonable choice.

            --
            Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday May 04, @07:37AM

              by sjames (2882) on Tuesday May 04, @07:37AM (#1146039) Journal

              Agreed. Though at this point, we have a much larger sample size albeit with less rigorous followup than a typical trial would have.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:02AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:02AM (#1146078)

              EUA drug will already have been tested sufficiently to pick up unpleasant side effects that happen more frequently than, say, once in 10,000 cases, but probably not ones that happen once in 100,000 cases and definitely not once in 1,000,000 cases.

              Except even those have now been caught so your point is moot?

              • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday May 04, @02:02PM

                by HiThere (866) on Tuesday May 04, @02:02PM (#1146137) Journal

                Try "Except even some of those have now been caught

                Some effects are more rare than others, some have longer time delays, and there isn't a consistent follow-up on cases in the general population. It's pretty clear that COVID is a lot worse, but that's not exactly the same point.

                --
                Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
            • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday May 04, @02:01PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @02:01PM (#1146136) Journal

              The problem with "Emergency Use Authorization" level drugs is that rare effects may well not have been noticed.

              No argument there.

              But on the other hand, there is that word "Emergency" in Emergency Use Authorization. On balance, this has been tested to some degree, and is considered safe enough, under the circumstances, to be authorized for use. The incidences of problems and severity of problems are far less consequential than the problem it prevents.

              As you say, "rare effects may well not have been noticed". Also, you can get struck by lightning. It DOES actually happen. You might get hit by a bus or a train. You could get HIV if you don't wear a, . . . um . . . mask.

              --
              The opposite of Pro is Con. The opposite of Progress is ___gress.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Monday May 03, @10:57PM (13 children)

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Monday May 03, @10:57PM (#1145842)

    They're open with some precautions, and with a 60% vaccination rate their case load dropped by 98%.

    Unless that's a coincidence, and it might be, it suggests we could be seeing some real changes in the US as soon as this summer.

    I think the US is going to wind up with a patchwork, having some places where the virus just can't manage a chain of transmission and others where it just keeps going and going.

    If we don't get to herd immunity but we do protect all the old people and vulnerable people, at least we'll just be dealing with long COVID cases and will have way fewer deaths.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @01:29AM (7 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @01:29AM (#1145894)

      I think it's going to take near-personal experiences with long COVID cases to convince a lot of people on the vaccine fence to go ahead and get it. I know my neighbors thought the whole thing was overblown hype, right up until their parents (who live next door) got it and almost died.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:36AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:36AM (#1145898)

        Should not have ignored that vitamin C then.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @12:53PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @12:53PM (#1146113)

          He's a 70 year old practicing nephrologist at the local hospital, traded his confederate flag for a Trump flag in 2016... I'm surprised he didn't try some quinine and bleach.

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, @01:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, @01:09AM (#1146342)

          The humans are leaving all the good stuff on the shelves while guzzling the rubbing alcohol. Plenty of green leafy vegetables and citrus fruit at discount prices.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by epitaxial on Tuesday May 04, @12:21PM (1 child)

        by epitaxial (3165) on Tuesday May 04, @12:21PM (#1146099)

        We can't get people in this country to agree on the earth being round. I see little hope for these morons. Look at the school in Florida saying don't show up if you're vaccinated.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, @04:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, @04:29PM (#1146502)

          If there is a period of increased susceptibility as with flu vaccines, telling the recently vaccinated to stay home is probably for the best. I haven't seen any data on that though, and their rationale seems to have been entirely political from the coverage I've seen.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @04:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @04:21PM (#1146212)

        You say that, and there is some truth to it, but it's not quite as bad as you think. It's not that people need near-personal expriences, it's that they need information from somebody they trust. For some, that is their doctor, their politician of choice, their priest, soylentnews, facebook, or others.

        Let's talk about your neighbors. They had a personal experience, so they have first hand knowledge and think COVID is a "big deal." They know 5-50 friends, who are like-minded to them (friends to be similar). They'll tell many of them "OMG, COVID is a big deal, it almost killed my parents." Now those people will have some substantial impact... especially if they get the same story from another friend or two.

        Yes, it's bad... but it's not quite as bad as this makes it sound like it is.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:24PM (#1146323)

        Unfortunately I think you're right.

        I am forced to interact with more people than I'd like. "Why are you wearing two masks?" is a question I get a lot. I find talking about Long COVID's erectile issues with guys, and brain fog/unable to walk up stairs with women, is engaging. I typically try to direct to knowledgeable local websites - I won't link here, since, local.

        That aside, I find people fall into three camps:

        • have known someone with severe or long COVID
        • have not known someone with severe or long COVID
        • liminal, just found out that someone they know is severely or long-term ill.

        And you can easily guess which group doesn't bullshit much.

        It's like teenagers who have never known someone to die in a car accident vs those who have. One group doesn't mind extremely risky behaviour, drag racing, etc. One group gets a sad pensive look and says 'nah' while thinking about Jerome or whoever, who they won't see again.

        Tangent: RIP Jerome C.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:35AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:35AM (#1145897)

      Ummm, you are forgetting that viruses mutate with each passing generation. We need to get as many people as possible vaccinated ASAP. Otherwise, we are going to be back just about where we started a year ago. Yeah, I'm bummed too.

      • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Tuesday May 04, @03:35AM

        by ChrisMaple (6964) on Tuesday May 04, @03:35AM (#1145952)

        From what I've read, COVID has a relatively low mutation rate for a virus. In addition, existing vaccines have been shown to be fairly effective against the mutants that have arisen. Another bit of good news is that the vaccines have not shown loss of efficacy 6 months after injection, and there is no reason to believe that effectiveness won't last for years,

        In short, the U.S. is in good shape. We should see the number of new cases become insignificant by the end of June. Yes, vaccinations should continue rapidly, but No, it's not something to panic about.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday May 04, @01:51AM (2 children)

      by driverless (4770) on Tuesday May 04, @01:51AM (#1145907)

      You're referring to a country that isn't the US. The US has so many virus-collaborators that they'll never get herd immunity there because the collaborators will ensure that it continues to thrive. Other countries will be on a continuum from ones like Israel at one end to the US at the other, hopefully with more at the Israel end than at the US end.

      • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Tuesday May 04, @02:02AM (1 child)

        by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Tuesday May 04, @02:02AM (#1145914)

        The US could get to 60%. The county where I live is going to be at 2/3 in a month. It's already near 2/3 with at least one dose.

        Though you could be right if their success hinged on the indoor mask rules and the population's willingness to go along with the Green Pass. I will point out that Israelis are not necessarily highly compliant people.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by driverless on Tuesday May 04, @02:14AM

          by driverless (4770) on Tuesday May 04, @02:14AM (#1145919)

          I will point out that Israelis are not necessarily highly compliant people.

          It depends on what the stakes are. A lot of countries rate themselves as "not X" or "too much X", but when shit gets real they'll act differently from the stereotype.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:59PM (19 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:59PM (#1145844)

    "It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle -- it will disappear." - DJT

    I guess he was actually talking about herd-immunity.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Tork on Monday May 03, @11:01PM (15 children)

      by Tork (3914) on Monday May 03, @11:01PM (#1145846)
      No, he was lying to the American public so they'd accept why he wasn't doing anything about the virus.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:32PM (11 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:32PM (#1145855)

        Historically, heard immunity did get achieved during pandemics. And the pathogen did indeed go away. Every. Single. Time. Including that horrible one in Europe several hundred years ago. He was right. Just a matter of time - and allowing herd immunity to build up.

        • (Score: 5, Touché) by Tork on Monday May 03, @11:45PM

          by Tork (3914) on Monday May 03, @11:45PM (#1145858)

          He was right. Just a matter of time

          Uh, yeah, speaking of time here's what he said just the day before: "the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero—that's a pretty good job we've done."

          What he was actually predicting absolutely did not happen. Otherwise I could claim my name was the cover of a magazine... provided you count the address label.

          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by HiThere on Tuesday May 04, @03:21AM

          by HiThere (866) on Tuesday May 04, @03:21AM (#1145945) Journal

          Some of those pandemics, though, killed off a very large fraction of the population (2/3 is the number that sticks in my mind, but I don't remember which plague that was, or whether it was 2/3 of a city, or of Europe) in the course of reaching "herd immunity", and some of them took over a century to reach it. At least we know better than to spread the disease by burning the houses lived in by infected people.

          P.S.: That 2/3 number *was* an estimate. There weren't any accurate records. I seem to recall it was during the time when the fornix https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fornix [wikipedia.org] (see the last definition) was a standard part of church architecture, where people could be unobserved...and that that's where fornicate comes from.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 5, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday May 04, @03:31AM (2 children)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @03:31AM (#1145950)

          Including that horrible one in Europe several hundred years ago.

          Your extreme ignorance is showing. There was no herd* immunity to bubonic plague, and people continued to die from it in huge numbers until antibiotics became available.

          Trust a flat-earther to confuse a bacteria with a virus. [wikipedia.org]

          Without treatment, plague results in the death of 30% to 90% of those infected. Death, if it occurs, is typically within 10 days. With treatment, the risk of death is around 10%.

          * Heard? Heard of what?

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @05:13AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @05:13AM (#1145999) Journal

            * Heard? Heard of what?

            In opposition to occult immunity, I reckon, one that very few hear about (grin)

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:49AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:49AM (#1146043)

            Pfft, COVID is nowhere near 10% lethal, why bother?? /s cuz too many real dolts round here

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by dry on Tuesday May 04, @03:37AM

          by dry (223) on Tuesday May 04, @03:37AM (#1145955) Journal

          When I was a kid, various infectious diseases regularly came around. I had measles, mumps, and chicken pox. All viruses that only hit once and most everyone had had them, they still returned.
          Also check out the history of smallpox, regular pandemics, even after there was a vaccine. At that reading about a pandemic in Montreal back in the 1880's IIRC, it was the same problem with a good chunk of the population refusing the vaccine, and that's with how deadly smallpox was.
          Herd immunity is fleeting when it does happen.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Tuesday May 04, @06:41AM (3 children)

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday May 04, @06:41AM (#1146028) Homepage
          Of the ones in living memory, every single time there was a pandemic that died out, herd immunity was acquired through continued mass vaccination.
          It doesn't "magically" anything - it takes not just incredible research and development effort, but then incredible logistics and deployment effort too. For decades.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
          • (Score: 2) by Socrastotle on Tuesday May 04, @03:47PM (2 children)

            by Socrastotle (13446) on Tuesday May 04, @03:47PM (#1146190) Journal

            Can you give an example of a modern pandemic that was effectively killed off by vaccines? In other words not one of the more traditional success stories (MMR, smallpox, etc).

            The first example I thought of was the Asian Flu in the US in 1957, but there the virus continued to be transmitted for years to come and would eventually mutate into what caused the Hong Kong Flu in 1968. And *that* virus is still with us to this day.

            • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday May 05, @01:27PM (1 child)

              by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday May 05, @01:27PM (#1146449) Homepage
              The global eradication of smallpox was a 70s thing, nothing "traditional" about that - that's in the active memories of the people who were involved in it.
              --
              I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
              • (Score: 2) by Socrastotle on Wednesday May 05, @04:04PM

                by Socrastotle (13446) on Wednesday May 05, @04:04PM (#1146492) Journal

                The distribution was not traditional, but the vaccination there was also much more straight forward than for any of the modern challenges. Exposure to cowpox, which is mostly harmless, provides near 100% immunity to smallpox. The entire field of vaccines derived from the observation that cowmaids were somehow seemingly immune to smallpox, which otherwise had a mortality rate in the ballpark of 30%. Vacca = cow in Latin. Smallpox vaccines date back literally hundreds of years.

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:11AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:11AM (#1146035)

          Historically, heard immunity did get achieved during pandemics. And the pathogen did indeed go away. Every. Single. Time.

          Dunno about Every. Single. Time. being right. Quite a few are still around [wikipedia.org], and very nasty when caught.

          A bit less ideology and a bit more book larnin' might be good for ya.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday May 04, @06:32AM (2 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday May 04, @06:32AM (#1146026) Homepage
        He wasn't doing nothing - he stopped flights from China. OK, not all flights - he permitted flights from China that had Americans on-board, but they're American, so they're safe, right?
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @03:19PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @03:19PM (#1146168)

          No, not safe, American. As Americans, they are our responsibility. Also, they were quarantined immediately after landing on US soil. You would know this if you had been paying attention.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @12:16AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @12:16AM (#1147000)
            The word you left out was 'voluntary'.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday May 03, @11:56PM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @11:56PM (#1145861) Journal

      I guess he was actually talking about herd-immunity.

      No mate, that's your interpretation of the words of someone in a deep incoherent trance.
      You know? The kind of trance those oracle priestesses were in when drugged by inhaling hallucinogenic fumes inside those ancient temples.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by RamiK on Tuesday May 04, @12:49AM (1 child)

        by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday May 04, @12:49AM (#1145879)

        OP miscredited the wrong tv evangelist nutjob while you're miscrediting the choice of hallucinogenics and temples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JPRvxTjfOk [youtube.com]

        Or to quote Reverend Maynard: "I think we can skip right over the wine. Let's take that water and turn it into tequila!".

        --
        compiling...
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @12:56AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @12:56AM (#1145884) Journal

          I... I... I simply can not argue with that.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:03PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:03PM (#1145847)

    Thanks to all the anti-mask/anti-vaccine people. Instead of trying to get this under control they pull stunts like trying to print fake vaccination cards. Someone on the radio said that the Republicans want to keep this pandemic going to use it against Biden. At first I thought it was complete nonsense but my opinion is changing. Stronger versions of the virus will emerge from all of this stupidity. I can't wait to hear them cry for government health care assistance as soon as long term COVID-19 kicks their ass financially.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:48AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:48AM (#1145904)

      Naturally. The pharma execs and their cronies telling you ever-changing bullshit for an year absolutely cannot be responsible for anything. The rich and powerful are not safe to blame.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:56AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @01:56AM (#1145910)

        I am so happy I'm not plugged into crazy-person news 24/7. I get my fill around here with people like you!

        • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:29AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:29AM (#1145929)

          The default line in the script is so very default.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @06:23AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @06:23AM (#1146022)

            What a simple scripted reply that is so conveniently easy to apply to any comment. Don't break the bank on those AI nets.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by ChrisMaple on Tuesday May 04, @03:54AM (1 child)

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Tuesday May 04, @03:54AM (#1145967)

      Leftists are all about immediate gratification, and nothing gives them better orgasms than bullying other people. They love this disease.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @07:52AM (#1146045)

        Here I thought you cons loved the orange hamburglar because he is a bully. Guess it must be a tribal thing.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:12AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:12AM (#1146082)

      Sad but true. It's rather sad how a party funded on liberalism and anti-slavery has morphed into a Nazi-like fascist mob but against even basic science. Dumb-down the message (because otherwise they can't comprehend it), pit them against the the 'elites' (you know, anyone educated) and push the nationalist message to the max (by claiming invasions or whatnot) is now the core messages of the GOP.

    • (Score: 2) by AssCork on Tuesday May 04, @05:50PM

      by AssCork (6255) on Tuesday May 04, @05:50PM (#1146250) Journal

      Someone on the radio said that the Republicans want to keep this pandemic going to use it against Biden. At first I thought it was complete nonsense but my opinion is changing.

      Hey, it worked for the blue team. Why wouldn't the red team give it a shot?

      --
      Just popped-out of a tight spot. Came out mostly clean, too.
  • (Score: 2) by slinches on Monday May 03, @11:17PM (12 children)

    by slinches (5049) on Monday May 03, @11:17PM (#1145850)

    There have been over 32 million confirmed cases and by all reporting there's a large number of unreported asymptomatic cases at a >5:1 ratio. That means that over 160 million people in the US have been exposed to Covid and should have some level of immunity. There will be some overlap between the that group and those who have been vaccinated, but even if its only 1/3 that weren't previously infected then we are looking at nearly 60% of the population having some immunity. If the asymptomatic cases ratio is more like 6:1 and the vaccine overlap closer to 50%, then it's more like 75%. We should be a lot closer to herd immunity than they seem to be indicating.

    • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Monday May 03, @11:56PM (3 children)

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Monday May 03, @11:56PM (#1145860)

      It used to be 10:1 between real and detected cases, I'd been seeing 3:1 lately, so 5:1 is believable. No matter which we've got a lot of people recovered.

      We've got evidence natural exposure is making a difference. The four Northeastern states where cases are dropping and the California prison system both had suffered wide virus spread before the vaccination program. I don't have the numbers for NY/NJ/MA/CT but the California prison case rate dropped by 98% when they hit 75% with antibodies.

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday May 04, @12:35AM (2 children)

      by drussell (2678) on Tuesday May 04, @12:35AM (#1145875) Journal

      Where are you guys getting these 5:1 and 10:1 asymptomatic numbers from?

      I'd love to have a citation on that since the percentage actually testing positive for people randomly getting tested here does not seem to support those kind of ratios...

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @01:35AM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @01:35AM (#1145896)

      some level of immunity

      That's not like "a little bit pregnant." You can have some level of immunity and still catch a variant. If the message in OP is genuine and not just behavior shaping to promote vaccination, the basis for what they are saying is: variants are slipping past the vaccines faster than the vaccines are getting distributed. That's the "no herd immunity, ever" scenario.

      We put our kids back in brick and mortar school in Fall of 2020, but then pulled out of the big high school after Thanksgiving when cases spiked up - ultimately much higher than the initial surge, and the number of cases hasn't fallen to pre-Thanksgiving 2020 levels still. All Spring we've been tracking case rates and they just stubbornly stay high around here... maybe by the Fall they'll be down to something "acceptable" - whatever that is. It doesn't help when your "County dashboard" reports 10 cases out of 100,000 students, but your bus driver tells you about 6 cases out of 15 students on the bus...

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @01:57AM (1 child)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @01:57AM (#1145911) Journal

        If the message in OP is genuine and not just behavior shaping to promote vaccination, the basis for what they are saying is: variants are slipping past the vaccines faster than the vaccines are getting distributed.

        In itself, that may not be such a big problem if the older vaccine teaches the body not to overreact and shed fragments of the lung lining to the point there's not enough left to breathe.
        The humanity is living with the common cold for ages.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @02:23AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @02:23AM (#1145925)

          the older vaccine teaches the body not to overreact and shed fragments of the lung lining

          We can hope... what is mind-numbing is the sheer scale of mutation potential numbers, when there are a billion humans infected, each with approximately 10^10 virus particles in their body, literally anything that can happen with a single, double even quadruple mutation is likely happening somewhere on earth right now, and if it happens in someone who transmits the mutation to other people with an R anywhere over 1.01, then we all have a chance to experience this new sensation...

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:31AM (#1145930)

        6/15 what's that, like a quarter? At that rate they'll be herd immunized in a couple of weeks.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by dry on Tuesday May 04, @03:41AM

      by dry (223) on Tuesday May 04, @03:41AM (#1145960) Journal

      OTOH, there are cities in Brazil where almost everyone got infected, then got infected again.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:21PM (18 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @11:21PM (#1145852)

    Fortunately evolutionary pressure is on our side - there's really no advantage to the virus to being highly lethal. If it can reproduce and be passed on it can survive - what happens to the host after that point has little influence n the virus's success as a virus, it already succeeded in reproducing and spreading. In fact a live host can spread the disease further and faster than a diseased corpse.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by istartedi on Tuesday May 04, @12:03AM (5 children)

      by istartedi (123) on Tuesday May 04, @12:03AM (#1145863) Journal

      Yes and no. HIV did pretty well with a 10 year latency period before killing people. There are two sides of the coin to "it doesn't care about killing you". The bright side is that it needs you to live long enough to spread. The dark side is that that's *all* it needs.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:13AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:13AM (#1145866)

        > HIV did pretty well with a 10 year latency period before killing people.

        34 million people living with the worlds most preventable disease isn't an evolutionary success for the virus.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Tuesday May 04, @07:10AM (2 children)

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday May 04, @07:10AM (#1146034) Homepage
          A curious stance. Here's my counter-argument:

          34 million people living with the worlds most preventable disease is an evolutionary success for the virus.

          And here's where my argument is stronger than yours: It's still out there propagating, which is the only thing it was ever inclined to do - and therefore it's *definitionally* succeding.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:28PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:28PM (#1146241)

            Not sure Darwin would have agreed, point being that the "success" of HIV is not due to evolutionary adaptation but human stupidity.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:15AM (#1145922)

        HIV did pretty well with a 10 year latency period before killing people.

        It evolved in animals which normally do not live that long. For a cat with their FIV it is quite rare to develop a disease in its lifetime, same thing with monkeys and their SIV. Not SIV's problem some longer-lived primates insisted on doing nasty things with its shorter-lived hosts.

        In Africa where HIV is left pretty much on its own, it may well evolve to be even slower, in time; to leave its hosts their full reproductive period for the work of spreading it.

    • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Tuesday May 04, @12:07AM

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Tuesday May 04, @12:07AM (#1145864)

      I gave that a deserved up-mod but that won't stop me arguing :-)

      The asshole virus has had over a year to adapt to living in humans, and although fatalities are a small minority of cases it's still killing enough people that we have to burn their corpses in parking lots.

      If only it had read Kipling.

      Kill not for pleasure of killing,
      And seven times never kill man!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:34AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:34AM (#1145874)

      Evolution doesn't give a shit if it accidentally kills off an entire species by being too lethal. Dead end, try again.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:48AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @12:48AM (#1145878)
        If it kills off all humans, that’s not the end. It’s already spread to millions of mink.
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 04, @02:00AM (1 child)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @02:00AM (#1145913) Journal

          Bats in China are living with it without problems.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:26AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @02:26AM (#1145928)

            Bats in China are living with it without problems.

            Does the vaccine make you batty?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 04, @01:38AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 04, @01:38AM (#1145900)

      Evolution toward a less deadly strain is the eventual long-term outcome, but it doesn't preclude more deadly strains from cropping up along the way - after all, mutation is a random process. The more people we have percolating "symptom free" cases, the more opportunity the virus has to mutate into all kinds of variants.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday May 04, @03:27AM

      by HiThere (866) on Tuesday May 04, @03:27AM (#1145948) Journal

      That argument only works when it's hard to find new targets to spread to. If it's easy to find targets, you can do best by concentrating on spreading, and not worrying about whether you're killing off your current host. Which is another reason why wide-spread immunity is highly desirable.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @05:14AM (#1146000)

      It depends on the exact situation it finds it in. Evolution does not find the global maximum, it finds the local maximum. There are plenty of diseases that are better off becoming more deadly. Two of the most obvious examples are Rabies, due to the way it spreads, and Ebola, due to the way it spreads in the face of mitigation measures by humans. Because COVID spreads the most at the late incubation, the prodrome and the early illness phases, that is where the selection pressure will be the strongest. What happens after that, including death of the host, can easily be outbalanced by the pressure that comes from the increase in transmissibility from mutation.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 04, @12:35PM (2 children)

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @12:35PM (#1146105)

      The death rate by age group is pretty interesting for COVID.

      Anti-science types will screech, but none the less the danger to little kids rounds down to approximately zero, raising to less dangerous than automobiles for their parents age group. On the other hand for extreme elderly the death risk becomes worse than Russian Roulette odds.

      Note that low danger does not mean no danger. COVID kills about ten times as many kids as lightning in the USA. Either way you're talking about numbers that are in the realm of one in a million per year.

      As long as it doesn't affect moms and kids, it could become a permanent "solution" to the social security problem. Which would benefit the folks in charge so don't expect them to fix it any time soon.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:36PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @11:36PM (#1146324)

        Sorry, new variants around here are hospitalizing 18-30yo as often as 40-55yo, per case. Since 18-30yo are also practicing less safe behaviour, more than half of occupied COVID ICU beds are 18-30yos and it's been in the news. The lethality is now also very high, well over 1%. We're seeing infections in schools and though we've seen little mortality there so far, there's nothing to suggest we should NOT expect continued regression to the mean: it's a devastating disease when it takes hold in over-18yos and new variants are increasingly able to take hold in the under-18 categories. Why, as strains able to colonize those groups emerge, should we expect that the effects would be different than in every other colonized group?

        (I mean, yes, we should expect youth to have different outcomes, absolutely, due to physiological differences (hormones!); but we do NOT have evidence to suggest that youth will continue to have lower short and medium term severity of outcome!)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @05:04AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, @05:04AM (#1147067)

          According to the latest epidemiological report from Florida, one-third of infections a pediatric and the median age is steadily dropping. In addition, that age range is slowly seeing worse outcomes and are more likely to have longer convalescence and chronic sequalae.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @06:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @06:05PM (#1146256)

      Fortunately evolutionary pressure is on our side - there's really no advantage to the virus to being highly lethal.

      You are not nearly so special as you seem to think you are. Hint: the virus can propagate even if the human population is wiped out.

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