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MERS Coronavirus warning

Blogg

LE
Not being a doctor, does this mean "Be careful if converting statistics to real numbers. A false-positive percentage relates to the number of tests, not to the size of the population"? So you can't estimate the number of cases in the general population based on the results of a tested sample, the reason being that there are too many other factors to consider.

It means that WHO now agree that PCR tests are being cranked through an excessive number of cycles so that "weak" positives are for example being generated by people whose immune system has killed off the virus and all that is left are viral fragments which are non viable.

These people are not unwell. They can transmit nothing, but none the less are labelled as "cases" which is dangerous nonsense but provides scary numbers which suits the purposes of the lockdown fanatics.

This is what the likes of Dr Mike Yeadon and others have been saying since March 2020. And been branded as dangerous Covid deniers for their trouble.

Countries which follow this updated WHO guidance will almost certainly start reporting significant reductions in Covid cases.
 
It means that WHO now agree that PCR tests are being cranked through an excessive number of cycles so that "weak" positives are for example being generated by people whose immune system has killed off the virus and all that is left are viral fragments which are non viable.

These people are not unwell. They can transmit nothing, but none the less are labelled as "cases" which is dangerous nonsense but provides scary numbers which suits the purposes of the lockdown fanatics.

This is what the likes of Dr Mike Yeadon and others have been saying since March 2020. And been branded as dangerous Covid deniers for their trouble.

Countries which follow this updated WHO guidance will almost certainly start reporting significant reductions in Covid cases.
Doesn't that depend on the proportion of PCR tests that are being done as mass surveillance as opposed to those with suspected symptoms?
 
EU in general & French in particular disorganisation & bureaucracy.
Agreed but I am trying to get a 76 year old non-IT neighbour in, and not having a lot of luck.
The stuff just isn't out there from what I am seeing here.
Talk is now of a third wave and we haven't even left the second one yet!
Dunno how Biden is going to get 100 million Americans jabbed in 100 days either.
 

Blogg

LE
Doesn't that depend on the proportion of PCR tests that are being done as mass surveillance as opposed to those with suspected symptoms?
Exactly. And why mass testing of the asymptomatic is of itself potentially capable of creating a vast problem if you simply say All Positive PCR = Case

Which we and many other countries have done.
 
Countries which follow this updated WHO guidance will almost certainly start reporting significant reductions in Covid cases
Or maybe they won't. A consequence is that the published survival rate would drop as well.
 
I wonder whether we are also still seeing some late reported deaths from over Christmas and new year.

Aside from vaccinations, I’m not sure what else the government can do to slow the rate of infection. Stricter rules for the lockdown could help, but we don’t have the police to enforce them, and to many people are all me me me and would do everything they could to break/bend the rules.

Allow Council appointed officers to issue the FPN's. They can issue FPN's for other things, but not CV19. Police, and crucially PCSO's can issue FPN's.
It instantly means that there is vastly more chance of catching a FPN for failure to abide by the laws. Lets put it this way, my cities Police city centre team has six Police officers and three PCSO's to cover the entire week. The council has ten appointed officers, and has employed a further ten CV19 marshals (Not sure about giving the latter FPN generating abilities though).

What are the chances of seeing a police?
What are the chances of getting clobbered by the Council?
 
Agreed but I am trying to get a 76 year old non-IT neighbour in, and not having a lot of luck.
The stuff just isn't out there from what I am seeing here.
Talk is now of a third wave and we haven't even left the second one yet!
Dunno how Biden is going to get 100 million Americans jabbed in 100 days either.
I'm hoping that as the other half who is CEV has had all her shielding letters with no problem, notification of her vaccination won't be a problem either.
 
Oh look:

"WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases.

This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity."



Stand by for wonderous drop in "cases" as single high cycle PCR test no longer = Covid
The notice is mainly about how to set the threshold for the test for patients with low amounts of virus in their system.

The bit about the following
WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases (2). This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity.
is relevant to situations where there isn't much disease about. That is, you will always have a few marginal cases. When you are in the middle of a raging pandemic marginal cases aren't much of an issue because there are so many serious cases present that the marginal ones are a drop in the bucket in comparison.

When you have only a small number of cases present however, then the marginal ones become more significant in proportion.

Given the numbers of cases and deaths we are seeing at present, it's probably safe to say that we don't need to spend much mental effort worrying about marginal cases. It may however be something to keep in mind when the pandemic is over and we are dealing with only a few cases here and there.

A number to keep an eye on is the test positivity rate. This is the proportion of tests which come back positive. When the test positivity get down into the small fractions of a percentage then this issue might be something to keep in mind. That won't happen until the pandemic is effectively over however.

I earlier posted a set of test guidelines from Ontario which stated that positive tests should be repeated to eliminate false positives. This was early in the pandemic when there were few cases and there was plenty of testing capacity. That became obsolete when case loads rose, but it could be implemented again when case loads are very low. That should address this issue if necessary.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
5,000 military medics? Are there 5,000 medics in the British Army?

Defence Medical Services (DMS) in the UK​

The DMS is staffed by around 12,100 service personnel (8,100 regular and 4000 reserve) and 2,500 civilian personnel and provides healthcare to 135,360 UK Armed Forces personnel (as at 1 Oct 2020: The UK armed forces quarterly service personnel statistics).


SOURCE

For civilians looking for a role:



Edited to add:

This young lady saved a soldier who had been shot in the mouth. Whilst under fire she raced to his rescue and administered life saving support.
If you think lockdown is tough then just think of her.

Kate Nesbitt

No alt text provided for this image

Activate link to view larger image.
 
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Truxx

LE
It means that WHO now agree that PCR tests are being cranked through an excessive number of cycles so that "weak" positives are for example being generated by people whose immune system has killed off the virus and all that is left are viral fragments which are non viable.

These people are not unwell. They can transmit nothing, but none the less are labelled as "cases" which is dangerous nonsense but provides scary numbers which suits the purposes of the lockdown fanatics.

This is what the likes of Dr Mike Yeadon and others have been saying since March 2020. And been branded as dangerous Covid deniers for their trouble.

Countries which follow this updated WHO guidance will almost certainly start reporting significant reductions in Covid cases.
And yet acute hospital cased are at an unprecedented high.

Which is, of course the key here. The test result could have a huge margin of error, but if so that error would remain relatively constant over time, thus predictions made from the rate of change of totals would still be a decent combat indicator of hospital trouble to come. Or not, if there were a decline.

Which, it seems to me, is exactly how those making the actual decisions, rather than headlines, are using the figures
 
And yet acute hospital cased are at an unprecedented high.

Which is, of course the key here. The test result could have a huge margin of error, but if so that error would remain relatively constant over time, thus predictions made from the rate of change of totals would still be a decent combat indicator of hospital trouble to come. Or not, if there were a decline.

Which, it seems to me, is exactly how those making the actual decisions, rather than headlines, are using the figures
As the actual paper says, the margin of error is only significant when the disease is rare. COVID-19 is quite common at the moment, so the margin of error isn't an issue we need to worry about right now. It may be something to take into account a year or more from now, but as we can see it is already being kept in mind.

At the point when the disease becomes rare, then the only people being tested will likely be those who are already suspected of being infected due to displaying symptoms or due to known exposure to one of the few people who tested positive. We are very unlikely to be doing any mass testing then.
 
Here's the COVID-19 summary for Thursday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

Travellers to the US will now need a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding, and will need to quarantine upon arrival. This was one of the orders signed by the new president.
International travellers entering the U.S. will need to quarantine on arrival, according to Biden's plan. Travellers will also need a negative COVID-19 test in order to board a plane for the U.S.

Also in the US, the federal government will now reimburse states for the full cost of using their National Guard to set up vaccination clinics. That includes vaccines, supplies, and PPE as well as personnel.
There's also support for states. Biden is ordering FEMA to reimburse states for the full cost of using their National Guards to set up vaccination centres. That includes the use of supplies and protective gear as well as personnel.

India have sent one million doses of the Oxford vaccine to Nepal, apparently free of charge. This vaccine will be given to health care workers. India are producing the Oxford vaccine under license.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India has sent one million doses of a coronavirus vaccine to Nepal, a gift that is likely to help repair strained ties between the two neighbours. Nepal's health minister says the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, will be given to health workers and other front-line personnel. He says Nepal would like to purchase four million more doses, and asked for the Indian government's help.

More news about increasing pandemic restrictions in northern China. The Chinese Lunar New Year is due next month and it is a big time of the year for travel and family gatherings. However, there are now requirements for negative tests prior to travelling, and quarantines are being imposed in many areas. The official government line is not to travel and to not hold gatherings.
China is imposing some of its toughest travel restrictions yet as coronavirus cases surge in several northern provinces ahead of the Lunar New Year. Next month's festival is the most important time of the year for family gatherings in China, and for many migrant workers it is often the only time they are able to return to their rural homes.

This year, however, travellers must have a negative virus test within seven days of departure, and many local governments are ordering quarantines and other strict measures on travellers.

A national health official had this message Wednesday for Chinese citizens: "Do not travel or have gatherings unless it's necessary."

Things are looking increasingly dire in Africa, and there seem to be shortages of medical oxygen as well.
The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says access to medical oxygen is a "huge, huge critical need" across the continent as Africa's case fatality rate from COVID-19 is now above the global average and health centres are overwhelmed.

John Nkengasong said the case fatality rate across the African continent is 2.5 per cent while the global average is 2.2 per cent. And while confirmed coronavirus cases in the past week across Africa dropped by seven per cent, deaths rose by 10 per cent.

"It's beginning to be very worrying," Nkengasong told reporters Thursday. He noted that a Nigerian colleague has said struggling health workers are having to decide which cases to manage and which not to manage in Africa's most populous country.

Mexico recorded another record number of deaths, with 1,803 on Thursday. They have the world's fourth highest death total.
In the Americas, Mexico's Health Ministry confirmed 1,803 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, marking a record high since the pandemic began last year, as fatalities continue to tick up in the country with the world's fourth-highest death toll.

In Lebanon, lockdown has been extended to the 8th of February. They are seeing a steep rise in infections and deaths and the health care system is overwhelmed.
In the Middle East, authorities in Lebanon on Thursday extended a nationwide lockdown by a week to Feb. 8 amid a steep rise in coronavirus deaths and infections that has overwhelmed the health-care system.

The EU say that the three virus variants first reported in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil present a high risk to Europe. The EU Commission are proposing that high risk "dark red" areas of the EU be defined and that travel out of these areas which was not essential would be "discouraged". It's not clear whether this "discouragement" would be in the form of suggestions to residents, or whether it would be enforced by road blocks.
In Europe, three mutant variants of the coronavirus that were first reported in Britain, South Africa and Brazil pose a high risk in Europe and will lead to more COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Europe's disease surveillance agency said on Thursday.

The variants, which contain mutations or changes to parts of the COVID-19-causing coronavirus that scientists say make them more transmissible, have already been detected in many countries in Europe and will likely continue to do so, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a risk assessment.

The European Commission proposed to EU leaders on Thursday identifying "dark red" coronavirus hot spots from which all but essential travel would be discouraged after a meeting to discuss the mounting challenge from more infectious virus variants.

France now recommend the use of medical masks in public because fabric masks are not considered to be good enough.
The French government will recommend that people wear surgical masks in public because fabric masks do not provide enough protection from COVID-19 transmission, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday.

France already requires masks to be worn in public places, but until now has not made recommendations about the type of masks that should be worn in that setting.

Portugal have ordered schools closed for two weeks. They have a rise in infection rates which the government have blamed on more infectious virus variants.
Portugal's government on Thursday ordered the closure of schools for two weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 infections that the prime minister blamed on the rise of a more contagious variant.

The Swedish government have further tightened pandemic restrictions, including requirements to work from home and a ban on selling alcohol after 8 p.m. The requirement to wear masks on public transportation has been extended through the spring.
Meanwhile, Sweden's government extended on Thursday several national COVID-19 restrictions, including requirements to work from home and a ban on selling alcohol after 8 p.m. Both were extended to Feb. 7.

A requirement that face masks be worn on public transportation was also extended through the spring.
 
There was a fire at the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest producer of vaccines. They are producing the Oxford vaccine under license and are expected to supply much of the third world with this vaccine.

The fire was in a building which was under construction, and which was to be used to expand production of COVID-19 vaccine. Existing production facilities were not affected.

At least five construction workers were killed. There is no news at the moment as to the cause of the fire.

5 killed in blaze at Indian producer of COVID-19 vaccine
 
The following is a bit of business news, but it has a COVID-19 related aspect.
'Almost non-existent' cold, cough season costs 30 jobs at P.E.I. lozenge plant

A maker of cold and cough lozenges in the province of Prince Edward Island Canada has had to lay off staff at their Charlottetown production plant due to lack of demand.

Apparently the normal cough and cold season is "almost non-existent" this winter due to people wearing masks, keeping distance, and washing their hands. These measures appear to be very effective at preventing the common cold.

"Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News.

"While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation.

Other areas of their business continue to be doing well though, and they are preparing to expand to meet demand for vitamins and other health products.

This is interesting news alongside earlier reports of how normal seasonal flu is also almost non-existent in Canada this year. I saw a report a few days ago which said that there hasn't been a single diagnosed case of flu in the part of Canada in which I live since the end of August, which is also when mask wearing was made mandatory in this health unit.

So it seems that these measures are very effective at cutting the transmission of infectious respiratory diseases, and it is reasonable to assume that COVID-19 problems would be far worse without them.
 
The International Olympic Committee and local organizers are still insisting that the Tokyo Olympics will still go ahead.
'Focused on hosting': Tokyo Olympics, IOC refute report of cancellation

"All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and the IPC [International Paralympic Committee] are fully focused on hosting the games this summer," the statement said.

"We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure games."

This is apparently in response to reports in The Times which quoted an anonymous government official who said the games were unlikely to take place.
"No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it's too difficult," the source said. "Personally, I don't think it's going to happen."

The Times also said that Japan were hoping to get the 2032 Olympic games (the 2024 and 2028 games have already been awarded). This seems to imply that if the 2020 games (to be held in 2021) are cancelled, the 2032 games would be a sort of compensation.
The Times said Japan hoped to land the 2032 Olympics. The IOC has already awarded the 2024 Olympics to Paris and the 2028 version to Los Angeles.

The idea of Tokyo waiting a decade seems unlikely, given the cost of maintaining venues, negotiating new leases, and so forth. Tokyo has already spent about $25 billion US to organize these Olympics, most of which is public money.

There are proposals to make the games a television-only event. However, the Tokyo games are largely financed by the Japanese government, who won't see much economic benefit from a television-only event. The IOC however get most of their revenue from television licensing, and so are pushing for the games to go ahead, even if as television-only event.

The Japanese public are 80 per cent in favour of either cancelling the games or postponing them again.

I would not be surprised to see the games cancelled altogether. If so however, then I would expect to see lawsuits from various parties over it. A possible compromise may be to postpone the event until 2022. The real issue seems to be the amount of money which the IOC and various businesses have riding on this.

Personally it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if the OIC and the sports promotion businesses took a massive loss on this and if some of the rampant commercialisation were to be drained out of what is supposed to be amateur sport as a result.
 
The following is a story on how European countries are not pleased at the cut back in vaccine supply from Pfizer as the company shuts down temporarily in order to expand production.
Several European countries deal with impact of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine disruption

It's not clear just what the exact situation is, but from the descriptions given it appears that different European countries are being affected to different degrees rather than the vaccine being distributed evenly.

There is also apparently a looming shortage of syringes which will become a new bottleneck once vaccine supplies resume.
 
And finally, here's an article on the risks of transmission of COVID-19 when outdoors.
Here's what we know about outdoor transmission of COVID-19 during winter
The short version is that the risks of transmission when outdoors in winter is very low. For example, in a study of 7,000 cases only 5 occurred outdoors. Provided you keep a 2 metre distance, the risks of outdoor transmission is very low.

The main risk is indoors. During winter we spend more time indoors. Plus, the dry air prevalent in winter results in smaller respiratory droplets which stay in the air longer. Humid conditions reduce that risk.

The lesson from this seems to be that you are relatively safe when exercising outdoors provided you maintain the 2 metre distance. However, you need to be more cautious when indoors as the indoor risks are higher in winter than in summer.
 

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