You hold your breath walking thru the place? Percy, that sounds a bit paranoid. You have had all pokes + boosters, yes? But no mask? If you are that paranoid, and have reason, why are you not masked? Self-generated social pressure or do they actually throw things at you?
We have decided as a couple that when the current surge has run its course, which looks about two to three weeks out, that we'll resume a normal life and no longer wear masks indoors. We haven't worn masks outdoors since the summer of 2020. We're going to be in NYC the week of the 19th, so we'll probably give up masks then. NYC's case rate is around 40 right now and was declining until a few days ago. The New York metropolitan area is one of the hotspots in the Northeast.
To me paranoid is when your fears exceed the dangers, but we don't actually know the degree of danger. Sure, the local case rate is only 24 per 100,000 on a 7-day moving average, but we know the actual case rate is much higher because most people use home tests now and never report the results. A reasonable guess for our actual case rate would maybe be 100.
And how dangerous is omicron? The case rate is also much higher nationally, but the hospitalization rate has remained low, so omicron is obviously less dangerous when it comes to critical illness, but how much less dangerous is it in other ways, and in what ways is it less dangerous. The data isn't in yet, but clearly it does a lot less lung damage, because that's what most often sent people to the hospital. But does it cause less anosmia and ageusia (loss of taste and smell)? Does it cause less reduction in brain mass and of cognitive function? Does it do less organ damage that doesn't become apparent until months or years later? Does it cause fewer blood clots that cause random wear and tear damage at random places around the body?
So our decision to resume normal life soon is based upon insufficient information.
I think what you're doing might be called paranoid if speaking casually, but what you're actually doing is applying a high degree of caution in an environment where some important information is either unknown (e.g., the actual case rate) or not yet available (e.g., how dangerous omicron is).
No one looks askance at mask wearers here, either. I mostly see them in the grocery store, around 10%-15% of shoppers, and I wonder why they're wearing masks. There's no effort by local officials to warn the public, getting an accurate grasp of the risks from reading on-line articles isn't within the ability of most people, all mask mandates are gone, so why are they wearing masks?
For older mask wearers I speculate that maybe 10% have made an intelligent and informed decision based on the current case rate and what we know of the risks, maybe 5% have covid and feel a responsibility not to infect others, maybe 10% find it hard to break the habit, maybe another 10% has had a recent illness and just want to avoid getting sick again, and the rest are in some way immunocompromised.
For younger mask wearers, I figure they're in the health care industry or are knowledgable enough to not want to contribute to the spread.
And in all age groups, one reason they take the virus very seriously could be because they've lost someone they love very much.
I thought holding my breath while walking to through the restaurant was pretty funny, too, but I didn't feel like bringing a mask along because they're a nuisance because there's nowhere to put them while you're eating. I wear the semi-rigid N95's, so the pocket is out, and my wife doesn't carry a pocketbook when she doesn't need to.
Our own Northeast region has been consistently improving over the past month while the rest of country has been in pretty good shape, but over just the past week or two the rest of the country has getten noticeably worse. Here are two case rate maps, one from May 7, the other from today, June 8, a month later. The difference is dramatic:
Except for the Northeast, practically everywhere in the country has gotten worse.
Take off the masks too early and this is what happens.
I can also see that this will knock out those people who are more vulnerable to covid , even as young, and the early exposure as kids, as well as it knocking out the more vulnerable before they reproduce will cause evolutionary pressure.
The Times must have updated their hospitalization data last night because today's map is far worse than yesterdays. The Northeast is still the only part of the country that's improving. This is the May 19 hospitalization map followed by today's:
The vaccines provide a significant reduction in the chances of catching COVID and provide a very high level of protection against severe ilnesses that cause hospitalisations and death. This is now beyond all scientific doubt.
Why are you lying?
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved." - Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.
You're making a common mistake, and it's because "immunity" is the wrong word. Unfortunately it's the one we're stuck with, but it conveys the wrong impression.
Vaccines do not really convey immunity. What they do is prime the immune system with antibodies to fight off infection. Vaccines are not a guarantee that an infection won't take hold because there is no guarantee that the vaccine generated sufficient antibodies to rebuff the invader.
Here's what happens when you breath in water droplets containing the covid virus. The virus immediately begins invading cells and replicating, usually somewhere in the nasal passageways, but it could be elsewhere. The immune system detects the invaders and two things happen. Antibodies that already exist begin fighting off the virus, and if enough antibodies exist then the infection might be fought off right at the outset and you'll never even know you were infected.
But if the number of antibodies is insufficient then the second line of defense is B-cells, whose job it is to manufacture more antibodies specific to the type of viral infection. If they make enough antibodies then the infection is fought off and you're sick for only a week or so.
But what if you're not vaccinated and have never had covid before. That means you have no covid-specific antibodies in your system to fight off the initial infection. And you have no B-cells to produce antibodies. The construction of B-cells and then of antibodies will have to begin from scratch, which could take a couple weeks. During the period where your immune system is ramping up to fight the virus, the virus itself has free range within your body, and with the more lethal forms of covid, like the original form and delta, there is a much higher probability of a negative outcome, such or hospitalization, ventilation, even death.
You may also have heard that the virus evolves. The vaccines we have were for the original version of SARS-CoV-2. Skipping the minor evolutionary branches, since 2020 it has evolved into delta and now omicron and then into omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, which currently dominate the US, mostly BA.5. BA.5 has come a long way from the original SARS-CoV-2, and the vaccines that began development over a couple years ago for the original virus are far less effective against it. You may also have heard that there is an effort to produce a new version of the vaccine that is more effective against BA.5. Best case scenario is that it will be available toward the end of September.
But SARS-CoV-2 will continue to be a moving target. Once there's a vaccine effective against BA.5 the virus will be pressured to evolve into yet another variant who's infectiousness and lethality cannot be predicted.
When Biden stated last year that getting vaccinated meant you can't get covid he was wrong. What he should have said is that it greatly reduces your likelihood of getting covid, and if you do get it it reduces the likelihood of hospitalization and death.
It is unlikely that Fauci ever said that only a vaccine can give herd immunity. It would be like a mathematician saying that 2+2 is the only way of arriving at 4. I can only guess that he was misinterpreted while making the point that it is much preferable to develop herd immunity through vaccination than through widespread infection.