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A Head Full of Coronavirus Research, Part 36

By October 16, 2020Commentary

Okay, so without being too deprecating about Californians, I revise my opinion, they are kind of nuts. In the last couple of days I have seen tons of people, walking with no one nearby, in the sunshine, which appears to almost immediately inactivate the virus, wearing masks.  And I have seen at least 100 bicyclists wearing masks.  I am sorry, I know I should be more respectful, but those are ignorant people incapable of absorbing the most basic information about transmission.  But do whatever you want, make your own risk decisions.  Just leave me alone.

Speaking of transmission, this purports to be a comprehensive assessment of viral loads, infectiousness, aerosols, etc.  (Medrxiv Paper)   The authors started with assessing the distribution of viral loads and used modeling and other analyses to estimate the effect on the epidemic.  They also assessed this for the original SARS and flu.  They start with the premise that a few people are responsible for most of the transmission, which I have not seen really clear information to support.  They found 63 studies which they used in their meta-analysis of viral loads.  They found similar loads between children and adults and symptomatic/presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases.  According to their meta-analysis, there is wide variation in viral load and a large difference between the high end and the low end.  The authors believe this variability in viral loads accounts for the superspreader phenomenon.  They also associate viral loads with the likelihood that a person expels aerosols or droplets with viable virus and consider these possibilities for activities like talking, breathing and coughing.

Will CV-19 be endemic, meaning dwelling in the community on a long-term basis and regularly causing infections?  Yes it will, it already is.  It isn’t going anywhere.  This Science article gives a very good commentary on that topic.  (Science Article)   They reach the same conclusion I have and point out that this isn’t so scary and is what has happened with a number of respiratory viruses.  I would also suggest that in addition to potential “reinfections”, CV-19 will have a large pool of unexposed people to work through for several years.

A Harvard public health expert rehashes all the reasons why online education isn’t an educational or social experience at all.  (Harvard Story)   It is a joke to even call it education and it is all politically driven.

An interesting paper examining the Los Angeles County epidemic and finding it was driven extensively by intra-household transmission.  (Medrxiv Paper)   Looking at different communities or neighborhoods, the researchers found that the number of inter-generational households was associated with sustained transmission.  They also tracked the epidemic from its start in relatively wealthy neighborhoods, likely due to more travel, to poorer ones.

This study covered changes in contact patterns among employees at three companies.  (Medrxiv Paper)   This was a survey in which about 10% of employees participated, so self-selection likely at work.  Few contacts were reported, most within the same age cohort except for children of parents.  Not rigorous but kind of interesting.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Mourning Warbler says:

    Maybe those ignorant ones you are speaking of are actually brain damaged/injured. I mean, that might be why they are so difficult to reach about sunshine killing viruses and masks being hazardous and COVID been 1/3rd the magnitude of either the 1958 or the 1968 pandemics. Just went to the grocery. Walked in with mask. Wore it around my neck most of the time and as I left. Nobody stopped me. I guess Governor DeSantas nixed the fines for not wearing masks so it took any teeth out the tyrant commissioners mask law.

  • Alex says:

    “I would also suggest that in addition to potential “reinfections”, CV-19 will have a large pool of unexposed people to work through for several years.”

    And this is the part that worries me. Not the virus but this can be used as an excuse for indefinite ‘new normals’. Let’s just hope cooler and wiser heads prevail.

  • Debbie says:

    You think CA is bad, try going to Iowa City, IA. A state that has no mask mandates. I was outside at an apple orchard/pumpkin patch and it looked like a scene out of the Twilight Zone…everyone masked up, little kids, babies, college students, EVERYONE but me. While in line to enter the building that housed the apple goodies, a young boy about 8 turned and looked at me and said,” you need to put your mask on!” If his grandmother hadn’t been right there, I might have pinched him. All I could think was, what have we done? What a sorry world it has become and more importantly, how are we ever going to get out of this??

  • Michael Timmer says:

    Debbie, Your sentiments are mine also. What our betters have started will be a long time ending.

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