Current surge: second worst

Source: https://biobot.io/data/

The current surge is now the second worst in this pandemic. As of July 13th, the average wastewater viral load for the US as a whole is 1087 copies/mL. The third highest peak was 915 copies/mL on April 22nd, 2020. The fourth highest was 814 copies/mL on September 1st, 2021. The fifth highest was 813 copies/mL on January 6th, 2021.

Several of the people I follow on Instagram and YouTube have recently been infected. This includes YouTuber Mic the Vegan. While studies have shown that a plant-based diet reduces the risks, Mic the Vegan proves that it’s not a panacea.

The viral load figure is one reason why I’m much more cautious this year than I was last year at this time. The other is that breakthrough infections are FAR more common now compared to a year ago. So I’m following many of the same precautions I was taking during the worst periods in the past. (These times are this past winter’s big surge and the period before I was vaccinated.)

The world really, really needs these things:

  1. UPDATED vaccines
  2. More physical distancing (until things get better)
  3. Vaccine mandates (probably indefinitely)
  4. Mask mandates (until things get MUCH better)
  5. Universal Vitamin D supplementation and testing: If I had my way, everyone would be taking at least 2000 to 4000 IUs per day. Also, people would be getting tested so they can figure out how much Vitamin D supplementation they need. (Some people require far more than others.)
  6. Universal selenium consumption: If I had my way, everyone would be consuming 100 to 200 or so micrograms per day through Brazil nuts and/or supplementation.
  7. Universal Vitamin B12 consumption: If I had my way, everyone would be supplementing with this nutrient, because it’s hard to get it from food. I get my Vitamin B12 from the Nutricost Vitamin B complex supplement that I use to make my own homemade vitamin water.
  8. Healthier diets: Some things taste better than skinny feels, but NOTHING tastes better than healthy feels.
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Most places now…almost no one wearing a mask, even in crowded conditions. I still wear one when shopping, etc.

On Saturday in Porto lots of people were not wearing masks on the metro where it is mandatory. One couple even took off the masks to cuddle and kiss. I guess they could not wait to get home to a comfy bed.

No one objected, no one complained!

The Captain

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Most places now…almost no one wearing a mask, even in crowded conditions. I still wear one when shopping, etc.

Okay, I’ll take the heat since nobody else will admit it. I have not worn a mask for several months.

PSU

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Most places now…almost no one wearing a mask, even in crowded conditions. I still wear one when shopping, etc.

Why*?*

IIRC

Germs are so small it takes a microscope to see them.

Viruses are so small it takes an electron microscope to see them.

Any mask that would protect you on those levels would suffocate you.

Your mask prevents your coughs & sneezes from contaminating the air others breath.

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I have not worn a mask for several months.

Same here.

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  1. DesertDave,

With the greatest respect let me say that our facts regarding the size of the virus are correct but your conclusion is dead wrong.

95 masks were designed to attract and trap particles carrying the electron microscopic sized viruses on the fibers within the breathing passages of the masks, as are the filters of most elastomeric masks, and they all have worked to protect spread of viruses for decades and continue to work.

Please, all of us need to be very careful about repeating factitious falsehoods.

  1. I am NOT going to get this damn disease, and I AM doing vaccinations and masking but mostly I evade proximity to idiots, fools, and excellent decent folk who have bought into convenient notions such as DD’s silliness about masks. I have not had it and I am determined not to get it. It takes work.

  2. We are now entering a new wave of international infection, and front line people driving buses and working cash registers and etc are exhausted and they and government will no longer risk abuse injury death to protect idiots and ignoramuses and the huge number of “I am sick of this mask stuff and so am retreating to being a spoiled child”. Even if you cannot be bothered to do so simple a thing as to mask up for your own sake, set an example for the children and childish adults around you.

Come on people. Grow Back Up! This is only a tiny challenge compared to all the rest of the crud about to hit the fun. Why am I so in your face and vehement?! Maybe because I am the last surviving person infected and carrying active HIV since before 1980 in the world, and I know what the hell I am talking about. Want to stay alive? Get smart and stay smart.

david fb

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With the greatest respect let me say that our facts regarding the size of the virus are correct but your conclusion is dead wrong.

95 masks were designed to attract and trap particles carrying the electron microscopic sized viruses on the fibers within the breathing passages of the masks, as are the filters of most elastomeric masks, and they all have worked to protect spread of viruses for decades and continue to work.

Just to further clarify David’s point… Yes viruses are super small. They also don’t spread as individual tiny particles, but rather exit the infected persons body by riding along on water droplets. Masks will catch those water droplets (and aerosols), and therefore the virus particles along with them.

So wear your masks even if the selfish and misinformed do not.

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95 masks were designed to attract and trap particles carrying the electron microscopic sized viruses on the fibers within the breathing passages of the masks, as are the filters of most elastomeric masks, and they all have worked to protect spread of viruses for decades and continue to work.

david fb,

I think you might want to reread DD’s comment. He is not anti mask.

As in…“…they all have worked to protect spread of viruses for decades and continue to work.”

Or to quote Rosanna adanadana…oh never mind…

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Leap1

Yes. Thank you.

To be clear, I did not counter David for being antimask but rather for spreading a factitious falsehood of the sort that has led millions to not wear masks, thereby spreaading diseases and getting ill and dying. I went after everybody, especially those on the thread, including DD, who have gotten lazy and thereby have put themselves and others at risk.

I have great respect for DD.

david fb

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2. I am NOT going to get this damn disease, and I AM doing vaccinations and masking but mostly I evade proximity to idiots, fools, and excellent decent folk who have bought into convenient notions such as DD’s silliness about masks. I have not had it and I am determined not to get it. It takes work.

3. We are now entering a new wave of international infection, and front line people driving buses and working cash registers and etc are exhausted and they and government will no longer risk abuse injury death to protect idiots and ignoramuses and the huge number of “I am sick of this mask stuff and so am retreating to being a spoiled child”. Even if you cannot be bothered to do so simple a thing as to mask up for your own sake, set an example for the children and childish adults around you.

I said upthread I would take the heat on this. One reason is that there are a vocal few on here that discusses masking on here and I feel pretty confident that there are quite a few here not masking that prefer to stay quiet on the issue.

First, my decision has nothing to due with what DD posted. I came to this decision on my own. First, I believe Covid is never going away. There will be variants every year just like there is with flu. There will not be a cure just like there isn’t for flu or common cold. So either we wear masks forever or we do a risk analysis and determine what is an acceptable risk. I’m at the point where the vaccines and treatments have reduced the risk level to a point where it is okay to now not wear a mask. I don’t go for the argument of “do it for the children” since those same people were not mask wearing before Covid where 30,000 or more people died of flu every year. Back then, thousand of flu deaths were not enough reason to require masks. Now that the Covid vaccine is available for children 6 months or older, that argument is further reduced.

Since Covid is never going away, the question back to you is when will it be acceptable to remove the masks?

PSU

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I will probably spend the rest of my life wearing a mask in crowded places because the mortality rate is much higher for COVID than it is for flu, and there is a growing body of evidence of long term brain and heart damage even from apparently mild cases of covid, and increased damage from subsequent covid infections.

But it is, as you say, a risk assessment that each of us must make. I also exercise a lot, minimize my sugar intake, and don’t smoke because I like being healthy.

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We do not wear a mask for the current strain of the Spanish Flu.

We were not wearing masks for flu. Many people mask-less for decades go into nursing homes spreading the flu.

There is a point where we treat this as a flu. We have vaccines if there is any intelligence. The medical establishment has treatments. Far few people are dying.

If you or a loved one’s immune system is compromised this is still a very scary time. Fully understood.

The death rate currently is very low. More people might be dying of the flu even now in the summer time.

All that said I am wearing a mask on the flights to and from Ireland. I do not want this bug to bugger up my family’s trip. We are hoping others on the flight are wearing masks. If not that lets down our efforts.

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I think of you and dd in the same way I think of smokers. Good people likely to suffer the consequences of making a dumb decision.

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Germs are so small it takes a microscope to see them.
Viruses are so small it takes an electron microscope to see them.
Any mask that would protect you on those levels would suffocate you.

It’s truly scary how right this is and at the same time, how misleading.

Yes, the only mask that will be perfectly effective is a scuba or deep sea diving mask. But you seem to be under the impression that you are trying to trap virus particles. You’re not.

Let me back up. Different viruses overwhelm the immune system at different saturations. MERS takes several thousand virus particles to infect you while SARS can do it with only a few hundred. (This is individual and depends on variations in each person’s immune response general health, etc.) It is thought that the Covid variants take between 500-1000 viral particles to get a good hold on an adult human.

Back to masks: no, they won’t stop “viral particles.” They will, however, stop moisture particles, and that is where you get concentrations of viral particles. So you can fend off the occasional random particle, but spittle, not so much.

Experiments have demonstrated:

**Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second. In a closed, stagnant air environment, they disappear from the window of view with time constants in the range of 8 to 14 min, which corresponds to droplet nuclei of ca. 4 µm diameter, or 12- to 21-µm droplets prior to dehydration. These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments.**
https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2006874117

Masks stop infection by stopping things orders of magnitude larger than viral particles. More to the point, “it has long been recognized that respiratory viruses can be transmitted via droplets that are generated by coughing or sneezing. It is less widely known that normal speaking also produces thousands of oral Luis droplets wit a broad size distribution” [ibid]

Sound engineers will tell you how hard it is to design a microphone which doe not “pop” when people speak, even in normal tones, using explosive consonants (p, b, k, etc.) Beat-boxing takes advantage of this to form percussive rhythms for music of the last decade.

Masks work by stopping HIGH CONCENTRATIONS of particles attached to moisture. Period. You (and I) may not like the idea of wearing a mask for the rest of our lives, but Asian cultures have adapted to it quite well, and for years.

I have generally stopped wearing a mask, but I have also started carrying one with me. In a large store, with plenty of space between me and everyone else, I feel no need to mask up. In close quarters: sometimes standing in line at that same store, or in a crowded section, or (like today) in a popular movie theater, I’m in a mask.

I have lost 7 people I know to Covid, 3 of them in-law relatives. I know of several others sick enough to be hospitalized, a couple intubated, and several friends who have been careless and repeatedly infected. I don’t intend to be one of them, or at least I’m not going to help it - if I can help it, if you get my drift.

So, yeah, your choice: Your chance to prove that you can be careless and irresponsible and get away with it. I hope you do, but I know a lot of people who won’t. 6.3 million have died worldwide. Maybe you need better research, or at the very least, to stop repeating internet tropes that come from talk show radio hosts who know less about biology than your average high school student.

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Leap1: There is a point where we treat this as a flu.

Except there is no ‘long flu’. And here’s just one of the ‘macro economic’ components of the disease: nearly 1 in 5 adults who have had COVID-19 in the past were still experiencing at least one symptom of long COVID. The number jumps to more than 1 in 3 when considering adults who have experienced the condition at any point in the pandemic after COVID-19 infection.

That number could amass into a new wave of chronic illness that will continue to grow with guaranteed implications for the economy as well as health care systems. A Government Accountability Office report published in March found that long COVID has “potentially affected up to 23 million Americans, pushing an estimated 1 million people out of work,” and that number is likely higher now.

Nearly 13.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Data from more than 20 studies suggest that about 25% of children and adolescents who have had COVID-19 have long COVID.

So what are the ramifications for health care systems and the economy from long COVID?

Leap1: The death rate currently is very low. More people might be dying of the flu even now in the summer time.

Well, no. Currently, about 436 Americans are dying every day from COVID-19. The CDC estimates that from October 1, 2021 through June 11, 2022, there have been between 5,000 and 14,000 flu deaths. So even now with the death rate down significantly from its peak, COVID-19 is still killing between 11 times and 30 times more people than the flu.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html…

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-e…

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-07-08/…

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I came to this decision on my own. First, I believe Covid is never going away. There will be variants every year just like there is with flu. There will not be a cure just like there isn’t for flu or common cold. So either we wear masks forever or we do a risk analysis and determine what is an acceptable risk.

At some point we are going to die no matter what. The question is, “Is the bother of wearing a mask worth it?” While we were clueless about Covid the odds were in favor of masking until the time we had enough information to make a qualified judgement. That time is now, PSU makes a good case.

David’s point about mask misinformation is valid. Spiffy99’s point about water droplets certainly adds clarity but that is not the whole story. When wearing a mask in cold weather my glasses fog up which means that air is escaping between the mask and my face, the seal is not airtight so my virus laden droplets are escaping. I’m not protecting the community. While inhaling the seal improves so I am protecting myself!

My decision is to mask only where legally required and to stay clear from crowds whenever possible.

The Captain

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N95 and KN95 masks are manufactured to carry an electrostatic charge that attracts and traps the virus particles in their fibers.

It’s very clever. That’s why these masks are exceptionally effective, even when the tiny virus particles are not carried by water droplets.

I thought this was common knowledge by now.

Simple explanation:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/well/2022/1/13/22879126/mask-gu…

Detailed explanation:

https://www.wired.com/story/the-physics-of-the-n95-face-mask…

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Any idea what percentage of masks being used are N95 or KN95? I have no idea what mine are.

The Captain

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http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=countri…


             Deaths per 100K    Mask
               7d average      Mandate
New Zealand      0.38           Yes
Australia        0.23           No
US               0.13           No

DB2

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