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Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Speedy
Date: March 24, 2020 09:30PM
[theweek.com]

A model predicting the progression of the novel coronavirus pandemic produced by researchers at Imperial College London set off alarms across the world and was a major factor in several governments' decisions to lock things down. But a new model from Oxford University is challenging its accuracy, the Financial Times reports.

The Oxford research suggests the pandemic is in a later stage than previously thought and estimates the virus has already infected at least millions of people worldwide. In the United Kingdom, which the study focuses on, half the population would have already been infected. If accurate, that would mean transmission began around mid-January and the vast majority of cases presented mild or no symptoms.

The head of the study, professor Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford theoretical epidemiologist, said she still supports the U.K.'s decision to shut down the country to suppress the virus even if her research winds up being proven correct. But she also doesn't appear to be a big fan of the work done by the Imperial College team. "I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model," she said.

If her work is accurate, that would likely mean a large swath of the population has built up resistance to the virus. Theoretically, then, social restrictions could ease sooner than anticipated. What needs to be done now, Gupta said, is a whole lot of antibody testing to figure out who may have contracted the virus. Her research team is working with groups from the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent to start those tests for the general population as quickly as possible. Read more at the Financial Times. Tim O'Donnell



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: GGD
Date: March 24, 2020 09:53PM
I've been constantly wondering if something that I had in mid January might have been a mild case of it. It lingered much longer than a typical chest cold.

Several others on the forum had something similar

[forums.macresource.com]
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 24, 2020 10:10PM
I guess the question with that is...why are the hospitals suddenly overwhelmed now? The virus didn't selectively pick healthier people first then save the more vulnerable ones for now, it's not that smart.
Yes it's been circulating locally outside China since January, that's confirmed in Seattle. That's known already. How does that translate to 50% of the UK population already infected? The related deaths and hospitalizations from that period just are not there.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Acer
Date: March 24, 2020 10:21PM
Perhaps there is/was a milder strain providing protection to a stronger mutation that arrived on the scene later. It affected those not exposed to the milder one.

There's a similar theory about why 1918 affected younger people so much. The protective version came through decades earlier, not a month. But who says the milder corona strain wasn't around months or more before?

Interesting.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2020 10:23PM by Acer.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: graylocks
Date: March 24, 2020 10:35PM
this morning my son asked what ended the 1918 Pandemic. we looked it up. basically, 1/3 of the world's population died and the rest developed immunity. sure made the rest of the day seem rather gloomy.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 24, 2020 10:36PM
Quote
GGD
I've been constantly wondering if something that I had in mid January might have been a mild case of it. It lingered much longer than a typical chest cold.

Several others on the forum had something similar

[forums.macresource.com]

I had a bad cold in late Jan/early Feb. I thought once or twice what if this was it and I laughed out loud each time. No way. If that was the case, why are severe cases spreading now? why are these people dying now and they didn't die in Jan and Feb (in UK and US)?
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 24, 2020 10:39PM
Quote
Acer
Perhaps there is/was a milder strain providing protection to a stronger mutation that arrived on the scene later. It affected those not exposed to the milder one.

There's a similar theory about why 1918 affected younger people so much. The protective version came through decades earlier, not a month. But who says the milder corona strain wasn't around months or more before?

Interesting.

Reading that it's a stable virus and not mutating much. Which the smart people say means it will be easier to create a single vaccine (instead of an annual one like the flu shot)
[nymag.com]

According to the current research, the virus that causes COVID-19 has a low “error rate,” meaning that its pace of mutation remains slow despite its rapid spread. Because it remains more or less stable as it travels through hundreds of thousands of patients, researchers state that it is less likely to become more dangerous (or less) as it spreads. “The virus has not mutated to any significant extent,” University of Iowa virologist Stanley Perlman said. “Just one ‘pretty bad’ strain for everybody so far. If it’s still around in a year, by that point we might have some diversity.”
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 24, 2020 10:41PM
And in terms of how long it has been in each country, the folks at nextstrain.org have that pretty well documented. The article in the OP is behind a paywall so I'm wondering what research the people at Oxford are looking at or if they disagree with all the genetic sequencing that has been done at Johns Hopkins and other places.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 24, 2020 11:05PM
Carl T Bergstrom, biology prof at Univ of Washington, thinks this Financial Times headline is bogus and misrepresents what the scientists are saying.

He tweeted "abysmal reporting from FT. The paper explores how inferences from epidemiological models would be affected IF most people did not have serious disease. It does not conclude that they don't. A headline suggesting that half of Britain might have been infected is gravely irresponsible."

IOW the paper is a hypothetical.

Lots of scientists on "science twitter" have weighed in on this headline, in the same vein. They're pretty unhappy with it and see it as propaganda by Financial Times, maybe an effort to sway public opinion towards the early lifting of restrictions.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2020 11:08PM by Lemon Drop.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: March 24, 2020 11:12PM
They should be able to falsify this theory pretty quickly with a small randomized study.

...My guess is that she's wrong, but maybe not completely.

If we have any immunity, it's from similar viruses with similar proteins for our antibodies to attack (SARS, for example, was something like an 85% match to the genetic code of COVID-19 and SARS survivors may have some ability to fight off COVID-19). It would not be from the same virus blowing through in successive waves (yet).



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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: RgrF
Date: March 24, 2020 11:51PM
Quote
graylocks
this morning my son asked what ended the 1918 Pandemic. we looked it up. basically, 1/3 of the world's population died and the rest developed immunity. sure made the rest of the day seem rather gloomy.

It's a very scary time for young people, their entire world has turned on it's head and no one they rely on has answers for them. My oldest grandson is in that group, he's approaching 25 with a wife and the floor has fallen out from under him. His solution is to become a leader and take responsibility for grandma and me, he's found a talent for issuing orders and whipping guilt - good he lives 100 miles away.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 25, 2020 02:31AM
Quote
graylocks
this morning my son asked what ended the 1918 Pandemic. we looked it up. basically, 1/3 of the world's population died and the rest developed immunity. sure made the rest of the day seem rather gloomy.

The 1918 influenza was bad, but not that bad. Estimates are that about 500 million were infected, about a quarter of the world's population at that time. Due to many areas not having good tracking of deaths from the flu, the death figures are not as certain. The consensus figures range from 17 to 50 million, with outliers of up yo 100 million deaths.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: RgrF
Date: March 25, 2020 03:07AM
The 1918 influenza was bad, but not that bad.

The way they died was horrible - beyond description.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 25, 2020 09:00AM
Quote
RgrF
The 1918 influenza was bad, but not that bad.

The way they died was horrible - beyond description.

Very true, and seen as more horrible because of who died. For most influenza the mortality is highest among the young and the old, for the 1918 flu it was much higher than normal among those aged from about 20-30 or so. The devastation caused in some communities where deaths clustered is another aspect of the view on horrible it was in some locations.

But thinking 1/3 of the world's population died, that is not what happened. At the very highest estimate the deaths were of 5% of the population, and probably half that or less.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2020 09:08AM by JoeH.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: March 25, 2020 09:12AM
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: graylocks
Date: March 25, 2020 10:04AM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
RgrF
The 1918 influenza was bad, but not that bad.

The way they died was horrible - beyond description.

Very true, and seen as more horrible because of who died. For most influenza the mortality is highest among the young and the old, for the 1918 flu it was much higher than normal among those aged from about 20-30 or so. The devastation caused in some communities where deaths clustered is another aspect of the view on horrible it was in some locations.

But thinking 1/3 of the world's population died, that is not what happened. At the very highest estimate the deaths were of 5% of the population, and probably half that or less.

rechecked what i remembered reading and i misspoke . 1/3 of the world became infected. an estimated minimum of 50 million died. this is from the CDC piece on the 1918 flu.

in describing how people died one article said sufferers turned blue. is this because the ventilator hadn’t been invented yet?



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2020 10:04AM by graylocks.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 25, 2020 10:07AM
Quote
space-time
Quote
GGD
I've been constantly wondering if something that I had in mid January might have been a mild case of it. It lingered much longer than a typical chest cold.

Several others on the forum had something similar

[forums.macresource.com]

I had a bad cold in late Jan/early Feb. I thought once or twice what if this was it and I laughed out loud each time. No way. If that was the case, why are severe cases spreading now? why are these people dying now and they didn't die in Jan and Feb (in UK and US)?

The fun part is that we can't disprove this theory.

I've been hoping my every cough is the end of a covid-19 case. The best possible news is that we've all had it and all survived.



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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 25, 2020 10:59AM
Quote
mattkime
Quote
space-time
Quote
GGD
I've been constantly wondering if something that I had in mid January might have been a mild case of it. It lingered much longer than a typical chest cold.

Several others on the forum had something similar

[forums.macresource.com]

I had a bad cold in late Jan/early Feb. I thought once or twice what if this was it and I laughed out loud each time. No way. If that was the case, why are severe cases spreading now? why are these people dying now and they didn't die in Jan and Feb (in UK and US)?

The fun part is that we can't disprove this theory.

I've been hoping my every cough is the end of a covid-19 case. The best possible news is that we've all had it and all survived.

You'll be able to know if you got the virus or not when the antibody serum test (or whatever it's called) is ready. The spread and origins of the virus has been pretty specifically tracked already by phylogenists (fun new word I learned this month). They study the evolution of groups of organisms, such as viruses.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: March 25, 2020 12:06PM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Carl T Bergstrom, biology prof at Univ of Washington, thinks this Financial Times headline is bogus and misrepresents what the scientists are saying.
....
.

Dr. Bergstrom is the scientist who brought us the "flatten the curve" graph that spurred governments to finally take action.
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Re: Half the UK may be infected, and that’s not a bad thing.
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 25, 2020 12:49PM
Quote
graylocks
in describing how people died one article said sufferers turned blue. is this because the ventilator hadn’t been invented yet?

Probably, The lungs fill up with fluid from pneumonia that is sometimes associated with flu and that interferes with oxygen uptake, hence the "turned blue". A ventilator can increase the partial pressure of oxygen in the lungs which can aid in uptake.

But basically they were describing patients slowly suffocating from lack of oxygen, as they literally drowned in their own fluids filling their lungs.
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