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Thread: Disease and pandemics thread (because it's science)

  1. #2311
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    There is a new book out called “Leading Through A Pandemic “ by Dowling.
    A claim is made that water hoses had to be purchased in order for some ventilators to work.

  2. #2312
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    There is a new book out called “Leading Through A Pandemic “ by Dowling.
    A claim is made that water hoses had to be purchased in order for some ventilators to work.
    I'd like to see specifics before I believed that one.
    There were plenty people making noise about building improvised ventilators from cheap over-the-counter components, including garden hose (I know of one in Mississippi, one in Doncaster). The media loved them, but these 1950s-style ventilators would have actually been worse than useless (literally, harmful) if connected to the sick lungs of a Covid-19 patient.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #2313
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    Many people or institutions have different reasons for the same actions for reopening of society. EDUCATION HEALTH U.S. WIRE
    CDC director warns high-school-age suicides and overdoses outpacing teen COVID deaths https://www.wnd.com/2020/08/cdc-dire...mCToTPBWCYowzU
    The moment an instant lasted forever, we were destined for the leading edge of eternity.

  4. #2314
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Many people or institutions have different reasons for the same actions for reopening of society. EDUCATION HEALTH U.S. WIRE
    CDC director warns high-school-age suicides and overdoses outpacing teen COVID deaths https://www.wnd.com/2020/08/cdc-dire...mCToTPBWCYowzU
    The Western Journal is an exceedingly dubious information source.

    Copernicus, you continue to test our ability to keep this topic on a scientific basis. If you continue, you will either get yourself infracted or the thread closed, or both.
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  5. #2315
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    Wow, Russia is distributing a vaccine that hasn’t gone through phase three testing, perhaps not phase two, but nobody knows because they haven’t made test information public. I guess the idea is that they think the vaccine is unlikely to have nasty side effects whether or not effective, but it sounds like a very risky move to me.

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    I found a suggestion that established T-cell immunity is contributing to the numbers needed to achieve herd immunity.
    The argument appears persuasive with various references to published papers, but I would welcome some more experienced views on the subject.
    Be aware that towards the end of the thread there may be some woo. I don't think this affects the initial premise though. Tweets 1 to 16 remain on topic.

    Unrolled Twitter thread is here https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1...716433416.html

    I suspect section 4 would be the (first) point at which the theory lives or dies. The author says
    Moreover, blood samples from all 23 individuals showed “robust cross-reactivity” against SARS-CoV-2.

    This can be called crossover immunity.
    "This can be called..." is where it gets slippery for me. Can cross-reactivity be called crossover immunity?

  7. #2317
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    Quote Originally Posted by headrush View Post
    "This can be called..." is where it gets slippery for me. Can cross-reactivity be called crossover immunity?
    He's putting a particular spin on cross-reactivity, implying that it produces immunity; but later suggesting that cross-reactivity doesn't prevent infection, but does reduce or abolish symptoms in infected individuals. So I'd say that's a rhetorical device, designed to push a specific agenda. Todaro is against lockdowns, for hydroxychloroquine, and was an attendee at the recent self-styled "Frontline Doctors" conference in Washington, DC.

    What he reports on the thread has all been floating around for a while. We know that, even after your common cold coronavirus antibodies disappear, subsequent infections are relatively asymptomatic, suggesting that cellular immunity persists. And we know that various studies have picked up immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in people who have not been exposed to it--indeed, there was a suggestion that this may account for the initial success of some East Asian countries in containing their Covid-19 outbreaks. The fact that they're now experiencing repeated outbreaks seems to suggest otherwise, though. And we know that something is leading to falling cases in Sweden despite seroprevalence well below the naive "herd immunity" proportion--but Sweden is actually not operating "business as usual", so it's not a huge surprise that the R0-derived herd immunity value isn't applicable to their current society. And we know that seroprevalence in hard-hit areas tends to peak out at 20%--but that may just be an effect of lockdowns being imposed at similar points in the epidemic progression, and there are exceptions, with some areas of New York showing immune prevalences up to 60%, IIRC.
    So it would be nice if all these bits of evidence were telling us that "all" we need to do is have a horrible mortality rate for a while, and then the epidemic will go away without ever hitting an apocalyptic mortality rate, but it's all a bit equivocal at present, and I wouldn't at present bet my granny on Todaro being right.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So it would be nice if all these bits of evidence were telling us that "all" we need to do is have a horrible mortality rate for a while, and then the epidemic will go away without ever hitting an apocalyptic mortality rate, but it's all a bit equivocal at present, and I wouldn't at present bet my granny on Todaro being right.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks Grant, me neither.

  9. #2319
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    Is it even possible to obtain herd immunity if people are only immune for about 3 months after recovery?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Is it even possible to obtain herd immunity if people are only immune for about 3 months after recovery?


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    If the information in my previous post is correct then the immunity may last many years. But it's a big if at present.

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    Disease and pandemics thread (because it's science)

    I was referring to the following, but agree that it is still unclear how long immunity lasts - despite the headline.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...nfection%3famp

    ETA: The link works with my browser, but not in Tapatalk.

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    Last edited by Extravoice; 2020-Aug-15 at 12:28 PM.
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  12. #2322
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    There's a mixture of evidence at present. Some studies show a sharp decline in neutralizing antibodies, some show stability that has the potential to last for years. Neutralizing antibodies are far from the whole story however--we know that memory B cells can fire up and produce antibodies in response to a new infection, and we know that T cells are also important.
    The article in The Hill is rather misrepresenting what the CDC guidance says. They're setting a prudent lower bound, not any kind of upper bound.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I learned the other day that a sister of my cousin who died of Covid on Easter also has had it, along with her family. They have mostly recovered but are having after-effects. It's a pretty nasty illness.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Wow, Russia is distributing a vaccine that hasn’t gone through phase three testing.
    They botch this, and faith in vaccines takes a whopping blow. Ugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    They botch this, and faith in vaccines takes a whopping blow. Ugh.
    Hard to say. Antivaxers might use such an event in their claims, but they are far from objective about it anyway. Would others ignore that they are going ahead with very limited testing, which has already been pointed out? I don’t know. There is the possibility of the opposite issue: If it turns out to work well there might be a push to introduce vaccines with much more limited testing.

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  16. #2326
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    Is there any science behind the following change in CDC testing recommendations?

    “The guidance now states that healthy people who have been exposed to COVID-19 "do not necessarily need a test," as long as they don't have symptoms.”

    News source:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...ot-be-n1238013


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  17. #2327
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Is there any science behind the following change in CDC testing recommendations?

    “The guidance now states that healthy people who have been exposed to COVID-19 "do not necessarily need a test," as long as they don't have symptoms.”

    News source:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...ot-be-n1238013
    Check the relevant CDC page:
    • If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms:
      • You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.
        • A negative test does not mean you will not develop an infection from the close contact or contract an infection at a later time.

      • You should monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should evaluate yourself under the considerations set forth above.
      • You should strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols, especially if you are interacting with a vulnerable individual. You should adhere to CDC guidelines to protect vulnerable individuals with whom you live.

    I think it's primarily a response to real-world behaviour, because people are widely misunderstanding the science.
    If you test negative a couple days after being in contact with an infected person, it essentially means nothing--you could easily go on to develop the disease in a few more days. But the perception of the general public (and politicians) is that a negative test rules out the possibility of infection. We're currently running into that situation in my part of the world, where a little cluster of infections has led to widespread testing among contacts. Some of the contacts who received negative results have subsequently broken quarantine in the belief that they are guaranteed not to be infective. So we're needing to modify the way we communicate about testing and quarantine.
    It's a misperception that's turning up endlessly at present. I've seen airport managers demanding to know why passengers returning from regions of high Covid prevalance can't just be tested at the airport, rather than obliged to quarantine for 14 days; schoolteachers demanding their pupils be tested daily; pub owners suggesting that punters could get a test the day before they went out drinking; and so on.
    I think the CDC could have presented it better. Now, of course, they're having to deal with an outcry, which is largely based on misunderstanding, IMO.

    Grant Hutchison

  18. #2328
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    This forum does not allow me to say why I think the change was made.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  19. #2329
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    Well, I can only comment on the science, and what is written on the CDC website (full of caveats as it is) looks like a valid response to a widespread real-world misperception about the purpose and usefulness of testing.
    But I already see it being misquoted and taken out of context. That's why I cut-and-pasted the original text here, which is much more nuanced than has been portrayed in some quarters.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Further to the above. One thing to look at, if you're worrying about testing rates falling in your community, is the test positivity rate. If you're seeing falling numbers of tests, and the positivity rate is going up, then you probably need to do more tests; but if your test numbers are falling and the positivity rate is also falling, then you may be seeing a genuine fall in the need for testing.
    The relevant graph for the whole USA is here, but there's wide variation across states at present.

    Grant Hutchison

  21. #2331
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    Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage?

    In their new article, Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture?, published with free access in August, K&D Sirotkin explore the suggestion that the COVID 19 virus was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan. The journal is BioEssays, published by Wiley online. The comments below are fully referenced in the article.

    The article suggests the novel coronavirus could have come from dual‐use gain‐of‐function research, as the process of viral serial passage mimics a natural zoonotic jump, and offers explanations for SARS‐CoV‐2's distinctive features, raising ethical questions about the risks of this area of research.

    Noting that this virus acts like no microbe humanity has ever seen, the authors contend that the natural origin hypothesis fails to account for its unique genomic characteristics. As well, the suggestion of natural mutation ignores the long history of serial passage as a method to manipulate viral genomes by forcing transmission between species, with the same signature but shorter time frame compared to natural mutation.

    The dual‐use "gain‐of‐function" research tool of serial passage was first applied to an influenza virus in 1977. Then in 1979, a Soviet lab leaked weaponized anthrax through an improperly maintained exhaust filter, but Soviet authorities blamed the resulting deaths on contaminated local meat. This cover-up, with the same reason provided as in Wuhan, withstood inquiries until after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when analysis of genetic distance proved the weapons lab was to blame.

    In 2011, serial passage between ferrets created viruses that were transmissible by aerosol. One highly virulent strain was said to “make the deadly 1918 pandemic look like a pesky cold.” Since then, gain‐of‐function serial passage through ferrets has increased viral virulence and transmission.

    One virulence feature of COVID 19 is a furin cleavage site. In influenza, these come from serial passage in laboratories or farms. They are absent from coronaviruses that have more than 60% similarity to COVID 19. The artificial generations added by forced serial passage create the appearance of evolutionary distance, as found with SARS‐CoV‐2, which is distant enough from any other virus that it has been placed in its own clade.

    Acquisition of the furin cleavage site was one of the key adaptations that enable SARS‐CoV‐2 to efficiently spread. This could have been spliced directly into the novel coronavirus's backbone in a laboratory using classic recombinant DNA technology, with use of serial passage to remove any sign of direct genetic manipulation. A furin cleavage site introduced to a coronavirus via recombination appeared to increase lethality while also damaging respiratory and urinary systems, paralleling SARS‐CoV‐2 systemic multi-organ symptoms for lungs, the cardiovascular and nervous systems and kidneys.

    The University of North Carolina and Wuhan institutions such as the Institute of Virology have researched gain‐of‐function in bat‐borne coronaviruses since 2013, when a coronavirus that targets the ACE2 receptor like SARS‐CoV‐2 was isolated from a wild bat. Another gain‐of‐function experiment reconstructed the SARS coronavirus to impart affinity for ACE2 by isolating a civet progenitor and serially passing it through cell lines. Then a chimeric bat‐borne coronavirus directly manipulated a spike‐protein gene to produce a virulent strain which produced a dire warning from the Pasteur Institute about its trajectory if it escaped.

    A private repository has over 1500 strains of largely undisclosed viruses to draw from for experiments. Published work to manipulate bat coronavirus genomes is consistent with the wet‐work that would be needed to engineer this novel coronavirus in a laboratory. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has refused to release the lab notebooks of its researchers, which are expected to be meticulously detailed given the sensitive and delicate work that takes place in such laboratories. These notebooks would likely be enough to exonerate the lab from having any role in the creation of SARS‐CoV‐2.

    The SARS‐CoV‐2 could not be intentionally engineered, but it could well be selected for after serial passage through ferrets or cell cultures in a lab, considering that it spreads readily among ferrets and among minks, a closely related subspecies. A viable pathway for its emergence could be infected bats defecating on commercial mink farms in Hubei.

    The novel coronavirus appears to be far more adapted to human ACE2 receptors than those found in bats, which is unexpected given that bats are the virus's assumed source. Surprisingly, the virus was perfectly adapted to infect humans since its first contact with us. It had no apparent need for any adaptive evolution at all, an unexpected finding since viruses are expected to mutate substantially as they acclimate to a new species.

    A study of people who live near bat caves found minimal exposure to bat coronaviruses, and no antibodies in Wuhan, casting doubt that SARS‐CoV‐2 was circulating in humans prior to the outbreak, and making a zoonotic jump less likely. Natural jumps leave wide blood serum footprints due to the evolutionary ‘trial‐and‐error’ that must occur before mutations that allow adaptation to a new host species are selected.

    The scientific community at large could examine all past gain‐of‐function serial passage research to study its other definitive genomic signatures in addition to the creation of furin cleavage sites, in case more can be found in this novel coronavirus. For example, SARS‐CoV‐2 appears to cloak from white blood cells, as does HIV, and it has a genomic region like bacteria which may contribute to cytokine storms.

    The Sirotkin paper concludes that gain‐of‐function research is troubling, with potential conflict with the Nuremberg Code ban on experiments that could endanger human life unless potential humanitarian benefits significantly outweigh the risks. The Center for Arms Control and Non‐Proliferation has calculated that the odds that any given potential pandemic pathogen might leak from a lab could be better than one in four. The creation of virulent Bird Flu strains using serial passage contributed to the NIH imposing a moratorium on dual‐use gain‐of‐function research from 2014 until 2017, after which it was relaxed to allow study of influenza and coronaviruses. This moratorium was meant to limit “the potential to create, transfer, or use an enhanced potential pandemic pathogen.” The increased pace of research into coronaviruses would have increased the risk of a lab leak. These viruses were pinpointed in 2006 as a viable vector for an HIV vaccine, and research into a pan‐coronavirus vaccine has been ongoing for decades. The fact that gain‐of‐function research creates opportunities for pandemic viruses to leak out of labs calls for a re‐examination of the moratorium against this practice.

  22. #2332
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    In their new article, Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture?, published with free access in August, K&D Sirotkin explore the suggestion that the COVID 19 virus was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan. The journal is BioEssays, published by Wiley online. The comments below are fully referenced in the article.
    Though this publication is published online by Wiley, I am a little concerned that this may be in conflict with our ATM rules. As best as I can tell this is not peer reviewed and this is not based on experimental data, but is the opinion of the authors. It certainly seems like it is a non-mainstream view. No foul Robert Tulip, but let's be cautious going forward.
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  23. #2333
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Check the relevant CDC page:
    I think it's primarily a response to real-world behaviour, because people are widely misunderstanding the science.
    If you test negative a couple days after being in contact with an infected person, it essentially means nothing--you could easily go on to develop the disease in a few more days. But the perception of the general public (and politicians) is that a negative test rules out the possibility of infection. We're currently running into that situation in my part of the world, where a little cluster of infections has led to widespread testing among contacts. Some of the contacts who received negative results have subsequently broken quarantine in the belief that they are guaranteed not to be infective. So we're needing to modify the way we communicate about testing and quarantine.
    It's a misperception that's turning up endlessly at present. I've seen airport managers demanding to know why passengers returning from regions of high Covid prevalance can't just be tested at the airport, rather than obliged to quarantine for 14 days; schoolteachers demanding their pupils be tested daily; pub owners suggesting that punters could get a test the day before they went out drinking; and so on.
    I think the CDC could have presented it better. Now, of course, they're having to deal with an outcry, which is largely based on misunderstanding, IMO.
    Well, my interpretation seems to align with what the CDC director has now said on the topic:
    Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives. Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.
    (I haven't provided a link, because the statement is so widely reported in the media today that you'll be able to search it down, and I don't find a source that doesn't include political commentary of one kind or another.)
    Some journalists report being confused by this; I honestly don't see what's confusing about it, if you read the actual words on the CDC's website.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, I can only comment on the science, and what is written on the CDC website (full of caveats as it is) looks like a valid response to a widespread real-world misperception about the purpose and usefulness of testing.
    But I already see it being misquoted and taken out of context. That's why I cut-and-pasted the original text here, which is much more nuanced than has been portrayed in some quarters.
    The problem I think is that there is a real world issue. On one hand, the CDC guidance seems rational, as you have said. On the other hand, there is a situation in the US where a major political figure, with influence over the CDC, has said specifically that he thinks there should be less testing because more testing leads to more cases and makes the US look bad. So it's a bit hard to tell whether the CDC decision was made primarily because of the science or because of pressure from above. I really don't know.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    The problem I think is that there is a real world issue. On one hand, the CDC guidance seems rational, as you have said. On the other hand, there is a situation in the US where a major political figure, with influence over the CDC, has said specifically that he thinks there should be less testing because more testing leads to more cases and makes the US look bad. So it's a bit hard to tell whether the CDC decision was made primarily because of the science or because of pressure from above. I really don't know.
    Yes, I'm aware of the politics, but trying hard to concentrate on the science.
    Take a look at the graph I linked to earlier. If tests were being deliberately reduced despite rising or stable disease incidence, the test positivity rate would normally go up. If testing reduces in response to reduced incidence, then the test positivity rate would normally remain the same or go down. The graph for the whole USA, recently and so far, shows tests and positivity both falling. Which suggests that a fall in disease incidence is driving the fall in testing, rather than a fall in testing distorting the reported number of cases. Which I personally find reassuring.
    You can also explore the data for individual states, which may well be of interest to many here.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, I'm aware of the politics, but trying hard to concentrate on the science.
    Take a look at the graph I linked to earlier. If tests were being deliberately reduced despite rising or stable disease incidence, the test positivity rate would normally go up. If testing reduces in response to reduced incidence, then the test positivity rate would normally remain the same or go down. The graph for the whole USA, recently and so far, shows tests and positivity both falling. Which suggests that a fall in disease incidence is driving the fall in testing, rather than a fall in testing distorting the reported number of cases. Which I personally find reassuring.
    You can also explore the data for individual states, which may well be of interest to many here.
    Yes, I think that makes sense. In fact, it does seem that there is a slowly decreasing incidence in the US and actually in many other places of the world. So it does make sense to reduce testing. I didn't mean to imply that it was a political decision, simply that there might have been that element, and I'm happy to concentrate on the science as that is much more constructive.
    As above, so below

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    I heard (or may have mis-heard) a bottom of the hour news report that one “hot spot” coincided with a gathering of disease researchers strangely enough. Anyone else remember this blurb?

    I would like to see labs off world at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I heard (or may have mis-heard) a bottom of the hour news report that one “hot spot” coincided with a gathering of disease researchers strangely enough. Anyone else remember this blurb?

    I would like to see labs off world at some point.
    I think what you're talking about is the Biogen conference in Boston in February. It has been linked to 20,000 cases, according to a study. What you have to remember though is that in February, people were not really aware of the seriousness of the situation. I actually went to an international conference in Seattle in February, and nobody was taking precautions at that point. We were worried it would spread to other places in the world, but at that time it was mostly something happening in China. And so a few people got it from somebody, and then spread it in their communities when they returned.
    As above, so below

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    Any truth to a claim that COVID alone (no other factors) killed 9,700 with no other complications?

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Any truth to a claim that COVID alone (no other factors) killed 9,700 with no other complications?
    I have no idea where that came from, and I'm not even exactly sure what it means. Normally you die from COVID because of complications, such as the inability to breathe due to pneumonia, or blood clots, or organ failure, or whatever. I don't know exactly what it would mean to die without complications, because to take a crude example, when a person is decapitated they don't die of the decapitation itself, strictly speaking, but by the unfortunate complications, mainly the inability of blood to reach the brain and the inability to breathe due to the spinal cord being severed. If you could do a surgery to move all the blood vessels and nerves and things out of the way, and then severed just the muscle and bone and stopped the bleeding, and I think you would be able to survive decapitation.

    I suppose it's also possible that this figure is based on people who were known to have COVID and died at their home, for example, and no autopsy was done so there is no clear indication of what caused the death?

    ETA: Also, I would want to ask, 9,700 people out of what? Out of total COVID deaths worldwide, which is like 850,000? That would be like one out of a thousand people.
    As above, so below

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