Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Raggs
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Raggs »

ONS report from a few days ago has them believing we're currently around r0 of 1 if I'm reading it right (basically saying same number of cases week on week).

Makes re-opening stuff further next week not look too smart. Though I guess we've got another week of cases to see if it holds.
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Rinkals
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Rinkals »

6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
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CM11
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by CM11 »

Rinkals wrote:
6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
Yet it seems all the 'best' countries have wide mask use.
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CM11
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by CM11 »

So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
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Ted.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Ted. »

CM11 wrote:
Rinkals wrote:
6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
Yet it seems all the 'best' countries have wide mask use.
NZ never has.
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Farva
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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CM11 wrote:So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
Well I’m not sure that’s the case though.
The idea is that those that get sick might have immunity for a couple of years. Vaccines might mean a booster each year but that’s doable.
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CM11
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Farva wrote:
CM11 wrote:So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
Well I’m not sure that’s the case though.
The idea is that those that get sick might have immunity for a couple of years. Vaccines might mean a booster each year but that’s doable.
Well it is the case that people who had covid and antibodies no longer have them today. It's a question of what that means. In general they're people who got it mildly or were asymptomatic. And they'll probably get it similar again if they can get it. But it'll probably also mean they're contagious.

I guess the vaccine will try to generate a level of antibodies that are seen in bad cases but I can't see a huge uptake from the not at risk population unless it's made mandatory.
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CM11
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by CM11 »

Ted. wrote:
CM11 wrote:
Rinkals wrote:
6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
Yet it seems all the 'best' countries have wide mask use.
NZ never has.
Sigh.
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Farva
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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CM11 wrote:
Farva wrote:
CM11 wrote:So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
Well I’m not sure that’s the case though.
The idea is that those that get sick might have immunity for a couple of years. Vaccines might mean a booster each year but that’s doable.
Well it is the case that people who had covid and antibodies no longer have them today. It's a question of what that means. In general they're people who got it mildly or were asymptomatic. And they'll probably get it similar again if they can get it. But it'll probably also mean they're contagious.

I guess the vaccine will try to generate a level of antibodies that are seen in bad cases but I can't see a huge uptake from the not at risk population unless it's made mandatory.
With the exception of the anti vac community I really hope you are wrong. I’ll definitely get it when available. And I think a lot of others will too.
I’d make it a law. People need to have it and bugger freedoms here.
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Saint
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Saint »

CM11 wrote:
Farva wrote:
CM11 wrote:So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
Well I’m not sure that’s the case though.
The idea is that those that get sick might have immunity for a couple of years. Vaccines might mean a booster each year but that’s doable.
Well it is the case that people who had covid and antibodies no longer have them today. It's a question of what that means. In general they're people who got it mildly or were asymptomatic. And they'll probably get it similar again if they can get it. But it'll probably also mean they're contagious.

I guess the vaccine will try to generate a level of antibodies that are seen in bad cases but I can't see a huge uptake from the not at risk population unless it's made mandatory.

Antibodies aren't the only way our immune system fights off viruses and diseases.

Effectively we have two types of "memory" immune responses - B cells, and T cells.

B cells are the ones which create antibodies, and the ones we can easily test for with serology tests. T cells are more akin to direct responses- they actually go a kill infected cells directly. Almost all infected patients have shown strong T-cell responses, even while some have low antibody responses.

The trouble with T-cells is that we don't really have a way of measuring whether you have an active T-cell "memory" for Coronavirus other than empirical evidence - but T-cell "memory" for other coronaviruses is typically much longer lasting.

So it's entirely possible that a vaccine could have a 2 year plus effect even if it doesn't generate a long lasting antibody effect
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by ovalball »

Farva wrote:
CM11 wrote:
Farva wrote:
CM11 wrote:So, if we're assuming no real immunity conferred (apart from possibly those who got it really bad), where does that leave us? Hard to create a vaccine in those circumstances. So treatment plans all the way and hope it dies off/mutates into something less severe?
Well I’m not sure that’s the case though.
The idea is that those that get sick might have immunity for a couple of years. Vaccines might mean a booster each year but that’s doable.
Well it is the case that people who had covid and antibodies no longer have them today. It's a question of what that means. In general they're people who got it mildly or were asymptomatic. And they'll probably get it similar again if they can get it. But it'll probably also mean they're contagious.

I guess the vaccine will try to generate a level of antibodies that are seen in bad cases but I can't see a huge uptake from the not at risk population unless it's made mandatory.
With the exception of the anti vac community I really hope you are wrong. I’ll definitely get it when available. And I think a lot of others will too.
I’d make it a law. People need to have it and bugger freedoms here.
I think the take up will be very high, especially amongst the vulnerable.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Rinkals wrote:
6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
People are wrong. Not only should masks inhibit transmission, but they do. The "seatbelt effect" is as real for masks as it is for seatbelts, i.e. not at all.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.13553
https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.07353
Last edited by 6.Jones on Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Thanks Saint. I'm aware of the T cell response but wasn't aware it was possible to confer 'immunity', more that it just meant you had a strong immune system against all comers.

So, you'd still be hopeful that those who had a strong T cell response wouldn't be able to pass it on if they got it again?
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by eldanielfire »

6.Jones wrote:
bimboman wrote:
6.Jones wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
MungoMan wrote: Another thing that should be a tad worrying for countries in the NH is what is happening in Brazil. The virus is spreading like the bejesus on roller skates in areas recording temperatures not far removed from summer temperatures for coastal NW Europe.

The warming NH weather may not slow the spread as much as some seem to anticipate.
That's OK the measures we've taken over the last 4 months have slowed the rate to less than 1 for 1 in most NH countries. There was a hope of assistance from the weather not an expectation.
Except most seem to be unwinding them, in the hope [not expectation] that the virus has given up and the current R0 will stick. There's no reason to think so. Victoria's R0 has risen from below one to 2.5 in a week


They aren’t “hoping” they realise the risk, they also know lockdown cannot be a permanent thing.
That doesn't really make sense. When the R0 goes back over 1 [which it will] they'll be forced to lock down again. They're hoping it won't. It's purely political.

Or are you saying that countries will continue to unwind social distancing rules, regardless? If so, good luck.
It may depend on the countries motivations. The UK governments motivation for lockdown was specifically not to overwhelm the NHS then maintain some social distancing practices.

The issue of course is you can not have eternal lockdown measures and there is no cure of vaccine. As some of us pointed out these early death numbers as a measure of how well governments are doing were misdirected seeing as we could be living with this virus for the next winter or possible years and no government will be willing to maintain the strictest measures given the economic damage.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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6.Jones wrote:
Rinkals wrote:
6.Jones wrote:There is one thing countries can do that'll decrease the spread and allow countries to be more open, and that's wearing masks. The evidence is piling up now that masks substantially reduce transmission.
We've had this argument before and the overwhelming opinion on here is that masks are ineffectual because, not only do they fail to inhibit the passing of the virus through the mask, but they encourage what I am informed is "the seatbelt effect" whereby using an apparatus designed to protect you actually encourages risk.

Also, they encourage touching of the face, apparently, which is bound to lead to more transmission.

None of this makes sense to me, but it seems to be the prevailing wisdom, particularly among the English.
People are wrong. Not only should masks inhibit transmission, but they do. The "seatbelt effect" is as real for masks as it is for seatbelts, i.e. not at all.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.13553
https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.07353
Thanks.

Next time I'm pulled up for suggesting that masks are necessary for curtailing the spread, I'll be sure to link to that.

Not sure that the posters who decry the use of masks would be convinced though. Is there a study done in England?
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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CM11 wrote:Thanks Saint. I'm aware of the T cell response but wasn't aware it was possible to confer 'immunity', more that it just meant you had a strong immune system against all comers.

So, you'd still be hopeful that those who had a strong T cell response wouldn't be able to pass it on if they got it again?
I don't think it's quite that simple. Immunity in this sense means that if you catch it again, your body can rapidly fight it off again before it really mounts an attack. I don't think it means that you aren't contagious yourself in the period of time between catching it and your body defeating it again - but it should reduce your level.of contagion, as you will be carrying a smaller viral.load, for less time - which would drive r0 significantly lower (probably below 0.5)
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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6.Jones wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
MungoMan wrote: Another thing that should be a tad worrying for countries in the NH is what is happening in Brazil. The virus is spreading like the bejesus on roller skates in areas recording temperatures not far removed from summer temperatures for coastal NW Europe.

The warming NH weather may not slow the spread as much as some seem to anticipate.
That's OK the measures we've taken over the last 4 months have slowed the rate to less than 1 for 1 in most NH countries. There was a hope of assistance from the weather not an expectation.
Except most seem to be unwinding them, in the hope [not expectation] that the virus has given up and the current R0 will stick. There's no reason to think so. Victoria's R0 has risen from below one to 2.5 in a week
I agree but that has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with economic desperation
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by 6.Jones »

Anonymous. wrote:
6.Jones wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
MungoMan wrote: Another thing that should be a tad worrying for countries in the NH is what is happening in Brazil. The virus is spreading like the bejesus on roller skates in areas recording temperatures not far removed from summer temperatures for coastal NW Europe.

The warming NH weather may not slow the spread as much as some seem to anticipate.
That's OK the measures we've taken over the last 4 months have slowed the rate to less than 1 for 1 in most NH countries. There was a hope of assistance from the weather not an expectation.
Except most seem to be unwinding them, in the hope [not expectation] that the virus has given up and the current R0 will stick. There's no reason to think so. Victoria's R0 has risen from below one to 2.5 in a week
I agree but that has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with economic desperation
Yes.
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CM11
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by CM11 »

Saint wrote:
CM11 wrote:Thanks Saint. I'm aware of the T cell response but wasn't aware it was possible to confer 'immunity', more that it just meant you had a strong immune system against all comers.

So, you'd still be hopeful that those who had a strong T cell response wouldn't be able to pass it on if they got it again?
I don't think it's quite that simple. Immunity in this sense means that if you catch it again, your body can rapidly fight it off again before it really mounts an attack. I don't think it means that you aren't contagious yourself in the period of time between catching it and your body defeating it again - but it should reduce your level.of contagion, as you will be carrying a smaller viral.load, for less time - which would drive r0 significantly lower (probably below 0.5)
:thumbup:
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by bimboman »

6.Jones wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
6.Jones wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
MungoMan wrote: Another thing that should be a tad worrying for countries in the NH is what is happening in Brazil. The virus is spreading like the bejesus on roller skates in areas recording temperatures not far removed from summer temperatures for coastal NW Europe.

The warming NH weather may not slow the spread as much as some seem to anticipate.
That's OK the measures we've taken over the last 4 months have slowed the rate to less than 1 for 1 in most NH countries. There was a hope of assistance from the weather not an expectation.
Except most seem to be unwinding them, in the hope [not expectation] that the virus has given up and the current R0 will stick. There's no reason to think so. Victoria's R0 has risen from below one to 2.5 in a week
I agree but that has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with economic desperation
Yes.


And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/27/worl ... matic.html

Have a read lads. Any of the anti mask nutters still banging about on here?
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Sandstorm »

bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
I thought the Boomers did that already?
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Duff Paddy wrote:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/27/worl ... matic.html

Have a read lads. Any of the anti mask nutters still banging about on here?
Raggs was the main one taking me on on this but he may well have come round.

Bimbo and his group of hangers-on, I think. Including Message.

Raggs offered this little gem, which I thought was quite ingenious.
Raggs wrote:When it comes to life and death, I'll go with studies rather than self-evidence. Right now, there seems to be reasonable evidence that even a basic mask can prevent a person coughing from spreading the illness, if they cough through the mask. But these are people that shouldn't be out anyway. The question then becomes how much does a mask stop asymptomatic spread, what are peoples habits with regards to adjusting the mask etc, and feeling more confident, and starting to touch and spread through that medium.

Here's an example of self evidence.

Image

So army personnel saw where aircraft were shot, and put extra armour on them in those places during the war. Many obviously thought it was evidence that this is where the mostly get shot. Actually it wasn't. Really what's happening is completely different. Those planes that made it back survived those bullets. Exactly the opposite was in fact happening. Research (just a little) would have showed that any plane that made it back, survived, ergo, it's all the other places that actually needed armour, since shots there were deadly.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

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Duff Paddy wrote:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/27/worl ... matic.html

Have a read lads. Any of the anti mask nutters still banging about on here?
Can you C&P? Cünts want me to give them my email address.
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Gavin Duffy »

Symptomless transmission makes the coronavirus far harder to fight. But health officials dismissed the risk for months, pushing misleading and contradictory claims in the face of mounting evidence.

By Matt Apuzzo, Selam Gebrekidan and David D. Kirkpatrick
June 27, 2020
MUNICH — Dr. Camilla Rothe was about to leave for dinner when the government laboratory called with the surprising test result. Positive. It was Jan. 27. She had just discovered Germany’s first case of the new coronavirus.

But the diagnosis made no sense. Her patient, a businessman from a nearby auto parts company, could have been infected by only one person: a colleague visiting from China. And that colleague should not have been contagious.

The visitor had seemed perfectly healthy during her stay in Germany. No coughing or sneezing, no signs of fatigue or fever during two days of long meetings. She told colleagues that she had started feeling ill after the flight back to China. Days later, she tested positive for the coronavirus.

Scientists at the time believed that only people with symptoms could spread the coronavirus. They assumed it acted like its genetic cousin, SARS.

“People who know much more about coronaviruses than I do were absolutely sure,” recalled Dr. Rothe, an infectious disease specialist at Munich University Hospital.

But if the experts were wrong, if the virus could spread from seemingly healthy carriers or people who had not yet developed symptoms, the ramifications were potentially catastrophic. Public-awareness campaigns, airport screening and stay-home-if-you’re sick policies might not stop it. More aggressive measures might be required — ordering healthy people to wear masks, for instance, or restricting international travel.

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Dr. Rothe and her colleagues were among the first to warn the world. But even as evidence accumulated from other scientists, leading health officials expressed unwavering confidence that symptomless spreading was not important.

In the days and weeks to come, politicians, public health officials and rival academics disparaged or ignored the Munich team. Some actively worked to undermine the warnings at a crucial moment, as the disease was spreading unnoticed in French churches, Italian soccer stadiums and Austrian ski bars. A cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, would become a deadly harbinger of symptomless spreading.


ImageLondon’s Columbia Road flower market was packed as usual in March.
London’s Columbia Road flower market was packed as usual in March.Credit...Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Image
Officers in protective gear boarded the the Diamond Princess in February to move a person with the coronavirus to a hospital.
Officers in protective gear boarded the the Diamond Princess in February to move a person with the coronavirus to a hospital.Credit...Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms.

Behind The Curve: The Silent Spread of Covid-19

This series of articles examines the missteps, misunderstandings and missed warning signals that allowed Covid-19 to spread around the world.

The two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures. The resistance to emerging evidence was one part of the world’s sluggish response to the virus.

It is impossible to calculate the human toll of that delay, but models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. Countries like Singapore and Australia, which used testing and contact-tracing and moved swiftly to quarantine seemingly healthy travelers, fared far better than those that did not.


Image
Enjoying a sunny day at the Louvre in Paris in mid-March.
Enjoying a sunny day at the Louvre in Paris in mid-March.Credit...Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Image
Patients awaiting test results in March at a hospital in Brescia, Italy, one of the first parts of Europe to be hit hard by the coronavirus.
Patients awaiting test results in March at a hospital in Brescia, Italy, one of the first parts of Europe to be hit hard by the coronavirus.Credit...Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times
It is now widely accepted that seemingly healthy people can spread the virus, though uncertainty remains over how much they have contributed to the pandemic. Though estimates vary, models using data from Hong Kong, Singapore and China suggest that 30 to 60 percent of spreading occurs when people have no symptoms.

“This was, I think, a very simple truth,” Dr. Rothe said. “I was surprised that it would cause such a storm. I can’t explain it.”

Even now, with more than 9 million cases around the world, and a death toll approaching 500,000, Covid-19 remains an unsolved riddle. It is too soon to know whether the worst has passed, or if a second global wave of infections is about to crash down. But it is clear that an array of countries, from secretive regimes to overconfident democracies, have fumbled their response, misjudged the virus and ignored their own emergency plans.

It is also painfully clear that time was a critical commodity in curbing the virus — and that too much of it was wasted.

‘She Was Not Ill’
On the night of Germany’s first positive test, the virus had seemed far away. Fewer than 100 fatalities had been reported worldwide. Italy, which would become Europe’s ground zero, would not record its first cases for another three days.

A few reports out of China had already suggested the possibility of symptomless spreading. But nobody had proved it could happen.

That night, Dr. Rothe tapped out an email to a few dozen doctors and public health officials.

“Infections can actually be transmitted during the incubation period,” she wrote.

Three more employees from the auto parts company, Webasto, tested positive the following day. Their symptoms were so mild that, normally, it’s likely that none would have been flagged for testing, or have thought to stay at home.

Dr. Rothe decided she had to sound the alarm. Her boss, Dr. Michael Hoelscher, dashed off an email to The New England Journal of Medicine. “We believe that this observation is of utmost importance,” he wrote.

Editors responded immediately. How soon could they see the paper?


Image
Dr. Michael Hoelscher in his office during an interview with a local TV station.
Dr. Michael Hoelscher in his office during an interview with a local TV station.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Image
Dr. Rothe swabbing a volunteer during a Covid-19 study in a nursing home in Munich this month.
Dr. Rothe swabbing a volunteer during a Covid-19 study in a nursing home in Munich this month.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
The next morning, Jan. 30, public health officials interviewed the Chinese businesswoman by phone. Hospitalized in Shanghai, she explained that she’d started feeling sick on the flight home. Looking back, maybe she’d had some mild aches or fatigue, but she had chalked them up to a long day of travel.

“From her perspective, she was not ill,” said Nadine Schian, a Webasto spokeswoman who was on the call. “She said, ‘OK, I felt tired. But I’ve been in Germany a lot of times before and I always have jet lag.’”

When the health officials described the call, Dr. Rothe and Dr. Hoelscher quickly finished and submitted their article. Dr. Rothe did not talk to the patient herself but said she relied on the health authority summary.

Within hours, it was online. It was a modest clinical observation at a key time. Just days earlier, the World Health Organization had said it needed more information about this very topic.

What the authors did not know, however, was that in a suburb 20 minutes away, another group of doctors had also been rushing to publish a report. Neither knew what the other was working on, a seemingly small academic rift that would have global implications.

Academic Hairsplitting
The second group was made up of officials with the Bavarian health authority and Germany’s national health agency, known as the Robert Koch Institute. Inside a suburban office, doctors unfurled mural paper and traced infection routes using colored pens.

Their team, led by the Bavarian epidemiologist Dr. Merle Böhmer, submitted an article to The Lancet, another premier medical journal. But the Munich hospital group had scooped them by three hours. Dr. Böhmer said her team’s article, which went unpublished as a result, had reached similar conclusions but worded them slightly differently.

Dr. Rothe had written that patients appeared to be contagious before the onset of any symptoms. The government team had written that patients appeared to be contagious before the onset of full symptoms — at a time when symptoms were so mild that people might not even recognize them.

The Chinese woman, for example, had woken up in the middle of the night feeling jet-lagged. Wanting to be sharp for her meetings, she took a Chinese medicine called 999 — containing the equivalent of a Tylenol tablet — and went back to bed.

Perhaps that had masked a mild fever? Perhaps her jet lag was actually fatigue? She had reached for a shawl during a meeting. Maybe that was a sign of chills?


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Dr. Merle Böhmer and her team wrote that patients appeared to be contagious before showing full symptoms, not before showing any symptoms.
Dr. Merle Böhmer and her team wrote that patients appeared to be contagious before showing full symptoms, not before showing any symptoms. Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

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Dr. Hoelscher said he refused to change the wording of Dr. Rothe’s report and to replace her name with those of members of the government task force.
Dr. Hoelscher said he refused to change the wording of Dr. Rothe’s report and to replace her name with those of members of the government task force.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
After two lengthy phone calls with the woman, doctors at the Robert Koch Institute were convinced that she had simply failed to recognize her symptoms. They wrote to the editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, casting doubt on Dr. Rothe’s findings.

Editors there decided that the dispute amounted to hairsplitting. If it took a lengthy interview to identify symptoms, how could anyone be expected to do it in the real world?

“The question was whether she had something consistent with Covid-19 or that anyone would have recognized at the time was Covid-19,” said Dr. Eric Rubin, the journal’s editor.

“The answer seemed to be no.”

The journal did not publish the letter. But that would not be the end of it.

That weekend, Andreas Zapf, the head of the Bavarian health authority, called Dr. Hoelscher of the Munich clinic. “Look, the people in Berlin are very angry about your publication,” Dr. Zapf said, according to Dr. Hoelscher.

He suggested changing the wording of Dr. Rothe’s report and replacing her name with those of members of the government task force, Dr. Hoelscher said. He refused.

The health agency would not discuss the phone call.

Until then, Dr. Hoelscher said, their report had seemed straightforward. Now it was clear: “Politically, this was a major, major issue.”

‘A Complete Tsunami’
On Monday, Feb. 3, the journal Science published an article calling Dr. Rothe’s report “flawed.” Science reported that the Robert Koch Institute had written to the New England Journal to dispute her findings and correct an error.

The Robert Koch Institute declined repeated interview requests over several weeks and did not answer written questions.

Dr. Rothe’s report quickly became a symbol of rushed research. Scientists said she should have talked to the Chinese patient herself before publishing, and that the omission had undermined her team’s work. On Twitter, she and her colleagues were disparaged by scientists and armchair experts alike.

“It broke over us like a complete tsunami,” Dr. Hoelscher said.

The controversy also overshadowed another crucial development out of Munich.

The next morning, Dr. Clemens-Martin Wendtner made a startling announcement. Dr. Wendtner was overseeing treatment of Munich’s Covid-19 patients — there were eight now — and had taken swabs from each.

He discovered the virus in the nose and throat at much higher levels, and far earlier, than had been observed in SARS patients. That meant it probably could spread before people knew they were sick.


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Dr. Clemens-Martin Wendtner’s work also suggested the risk that patients could spread the virus before they realized they had it.
Dr. Clemens-Martin Wendtner’s work also suggested the risk that patients could spread the virus before they realized they had it.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

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Dr. Rothe helping a participant fill out a Covid-19 questionnaire at a nursing home.
Dr. Rothe helping a participant fill out a Covid-19 questionnaire at a nursing home.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
But the Science story drowned that news out. If Dr. Rothe’s paper had implied that governments might need to do more against Covid-19, the pushback from the Robert Koch Institute was an implicit defense of the conventional thinking.

Sweden’s public health agency declared that Dr. Rothe’s report had contained major errors. The agency’s website said, unequivocally, that “there is no evidence that people are infectious during the incubation period” — an assertion that would remain online in some form for months.

French health officials, too, left no room for debate: “A person is contagious only when symptoms appear,” a government flyer read. “No symptoms = no risk of being contagious.”

As Dr. Rothe and Dr. Hoelscher reeled from the criticism, Japanese doctors were preparing to board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. A former passenger had tested positive for coronavirus.

Yet on the ship, parties continued. The infected passenger had been off the ship for days, after all. And he hadn’t reported symptoms while onboard.

A Semantic Debate
Immediately after Dr. Rothe’s report, the World Health Organization had noted that patients might transmit the virus before showing symptoms. But the organization also underscored a point that it continues to make: Patients with symptoms are the main drivers of the epidemic.

Once the Science article was published, however, the organization waded directly into the debate on Dr. Rothe’s work. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Dr. Sylvie Briand, the agency’s chief of infectious disease preparedness, tweeted a link to the Science article, calling Dr. Rothe’s report flawed.


With that tweet, the W.H.O. focused on a semantic distinction that would cloud discussion for months: Was the patient asymptomatic, meaning she would never show symptoms? Or pre-symptomatic, meaning she became sick later? Or, even more confusing, oligo-symptomatic, meaning that she had symptoms so mild that she didn’t recognize them?

To some doctors, the focus on these arcane distinctions felt like whistling in the graveyard. A person who feels healthy has no way to know that she is carrying a virus or is about to become sick. Airport temperature checks will not catch these people. Neither will asking them about their symptoms or telling them to stay home when they feel ill.

The W.H.O. later said that the tweet had not been intended as a criticism.

One group paid little attention to this brewing debate: the Munich-area doctors working to contain the cluster at the auto parts company. They spoke daily with potentially sick people, monitoring their symptoms and tracking their contacts.


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Dr. Rothe and her team preparing for the day.
Dr. Rothe and her team preparing for the day.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

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Dr. Hoelscher said The New England Journal of Medicine paper had become a “major, major” political issue for him.
Dr. Hoelscher said The New England Journal of Medicine paper had become a “major, major” political issue for him.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
“For us, it was pretty soon clear that this disease can be transmitted before symptoms,” said Dr. Monika Wirth, who tracked contacts in the nearby county of Fürstenfeldbruck.

Dr. Rothe, though, was shaken. She could not understand why much of the scientific establishment seemed eager to play down the risk.

“All you need is a pair of eyes,” she said. “You don’t need rocket-science virology.”

But she remained confident.

“We will be proven right,” she told Dr. Hoelscher.

That night, Dr. Rothe received an email from Dr. Michael Libman, an infectious-disease specialist in Montreal. He thought that criticism of the paper amounted to semantics. Her paper had convinced him of something: “The disease will most likely eventually spread around the world.”

Political Paralysis
On Feb. 4, Britain’s emergency scientific committee met and, while its experts did not rule out the possibility of symptomless transmission, nobody put much stock in Dr. Rothe’s paper.

“It was very much a hearsay study,” said Wendy Barclay, a virologist and member of the committee, known as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. “In the absence of real robust epidemiology and tracing, it isn’t obvious until you see the data.”

The data would soon arrive, and from an unexpected source. Dr. Böhmer, from the Bavarian health team, received a startling phone call in the second week of February.

Virologists had discovered a subtle genetic mutation in the infections of two patients from the Munich cluster. They had crossed paths for the briefest of moments, one passing a saltshaker to the other in the company cafeteria, when neither had symptoms. Their shared mutation made it clear that one had infected the other.

Dr. Böhmer had been skeptical of symptomless spreading. But now, there was no doubt: “It can only be explained with pre-symptomatic transmission,” Dr. Böhmer said.

Now it was Dr. Böhmer who sounded the alarm. She said she promptly shared the finding, and its significance, with the W.H.O. and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Neither organization included the discovery in its regular reports.

A week after receiving Dr. Böhmer’s information, European health officials were still declaring: “We are still unsure whether mild or asymptomatic cases can transmit the virus.” There was no mention of the genetic evidence.


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Dr. Böhmer had been skeptical of symptomless spreading, but her research ultimately provided genetic proof that it was happening.
Dr. Böhmer had been skeptical of symptomless spreading, but her research ultimately provided genetic proof that it was happening.Credit...Laetitita Vancon for The New York Times

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“This was a misleading statement by the W.HO.,” Dr. Wendtner said of remarks in February by the agency’s technical lead about symptomless spreading.
“This was a misleading statement by the W.HO.,” Dr. Wendtner said of remarks in February by the agency’s technical lead about symptomless spreading.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
W.H.O. officials say the genetic discovery informed their thinking, but they made no announcement of it. European health officials say the German information was one early piece of an emerging picture that they were still piecing together.

The Coronavirus Outbreak
Frequently Asked Questions and Advice
Updated June 24, 2020

What’s the best material for a mask?
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.

Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?
The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

What is pandemic paid leave?
The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?
So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?
Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

How does blood type influence coronavirus?
A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

How can I protect myself while flying?
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

What should I do if I feel sick?
If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

The doctors in Munich were increasingly frustrated and confused by the World Health Organization. First, the group wrongly credited the Chinese government with alerting the German authorities to the first infection. Government officials and doctors say the auto parts company itself sounded the alarm.

Then, the World Health Organization’s emergency director, Dr. Michael Ryan, said on Feb. 27 that the significance of symptomless spreading was becoming a myth. And Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the organization’s technical lead on coronavirus response, suggested it was nothing to worry about.

“It’s rare but possible,” she said. “It’s very rare.”

The agency still maintains that people who cough or sneeze are more contagious than people who don’t. But there is no scientific consensus on how significant this difference is or how it affects the spread of virus.

And so, with evidence mounting, the Munich team could not understand how the W.H.O. could be so sure that symptomless spreading was insignificant.

“At this point, for us it was clear,” said Dr. Wendtner, the senior doctor overseeing treatment of the Covid-19 patients. “This was a misleading statement by the W.HO.”

‘If This Is True, We’re in Trouble’
The Munich cluster was not the only warning.

The Chinese health authorities had explicitly cautioned that patients were contagious before showing symptoms. A Japanese bus driver was infected while transporting seemingly healthy tourists from Wuhan.

And by the middle of February, 355 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship had tested positive. About a third of the infected passengers and staff had no symptoms.

But public health officials saw danger in promoting the risk of silent spreaders. If quarantining sick people and tracing their contacts could not reliably contain the disease, governments might abandon those efforts altogether.

In Sweden and Britain, for example, discussion swirled about enduring the epidemic until the population obtained “herd immunity.” Public health officials worried that might lead to overwhelmed hospitals and needless deaths.


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Diners enjoying a night out in Stockholm in April.
Diners enjoying a night out in Stockholm in April.Credit...Andres Kudacki for The New York Times

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A crowded train in São Paulo, Brazil, last month.
A crowded train in São Paulo, Brazil, last month.Credit...Victor Moriyama for The New York Times
Plus, preventing silent spreading required aggressive, widespread testing that was then impossible for most countries.

“It’s not like we had some easy alternative,” said Dr. Libman, the Canadian doctor. “The message was basically: ‘If this is true, we’re in trouble.’”

European health officials say they were reluctant to acknowledge silent spreading because the evidence was trickling in and the consequences of a false alarm would have been severe. “These reports are seen everywhere, all over the world,” said Dr. Josep Jansa, a senior European Union health official. “Whatever we put out, there’s no way back.”

Looking back, health officials should have said that, yes, symptomless spreading was happening and they did not understand how prevalent it was, said Dr. Agoritsa Baka, a senior European Union doctor.

But doing that, she said, would have amounted to an implicit warning to countries: What you’re doing might not be enough.

‘Stop Buying Masks!’
While public health officials hesitated, some doctors acted. At a conference in Seattle in mid-February, Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University professor, said his research suggested that Covid-19’s rapid spread could only be explained if there were infectious patients with unremarkable symptoms or no symptoms at all.

In the audience that day was Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist and former U.S. energy secretary. “If left to its own devices, this disease will spread through the whole population,” he remembers Professor Shaman warning.

Afterward, Dr. Chu began insisting that healthy colleagues at his Stanford University laboratory wear masks. Doctors in Cambridge, England, concluded that asymptomatic transmission was a big source of infection and advised local health workers and patients to wear masks, well before the British government acknowledged the risk of silent spreaders.

The American authorities, faced with a shortage, actively discouraged the public from buying masks. “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams tweeted on Feb. 29.


By early March, while the World Health Organization continued pressing the case that symptom-free transmission was rare, science was breaking in the other direction.


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Shoppers wearing masks lined up outside a Costco in Livermore, Calif.
Shoppers wearing masks lined up outside a Costco in Livermore, Calif.Credit...Max Whittaker for The New York Times

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Producing cloth masks in Bangkok.
Producing cloth masks in Bangkok.Credit...Adam Dean for The New York Times
Researchers in Hong Kong estimated that 44 percent of Covid-19 transmission occurred before symptoms began, an estimate that was in line with a British study that put that number as high as 50 percent.

The Hong Kong study concluded that people became infectious about two days before their illness emerged, with a peak on their first day of symptoms. By the time patients felt the first headache or scratch in the throat, they might have been spreading the disease for days.

In Belgium, doctors saw that math in action, as Covid-19 tore through nursing homes, killing nearly 5,000 people.

“We thought that by monitoring symptoms and asking sick people to stay at home, we would be able to manage the spread,” said Steven Van Gucht, the head of Belgium’s Covid-19 scientific committee. “It came in through people with hardly any symptoms.”

More than 700 people aboard the Diamond Princess were sickened. Fourteen died. Researchers estimate that most of the infection occurred early on, while seemingly healthy passengers socialized and partied.

Government scientists in Britain concluded in late April that 5 to 6 percent of symptomless health care workers were infected and might have been be spreading the virus.

In Munich, Dr. Hoelscher has asked himself many times whether things would have been different if world leaders had taken the issue seriously earlier. He compared their response to a rabbit stumbling upon a poisonous snake.

“We were watching that snake and were somehow paralyzed,” he said.

Acceptance. Or Not.
As the research coalesced in March, European health officials were convinced.

“OK, this is really a big issue,” Dr. Baka recalled thinking. “It plays a big role in the transmission.”

By the end of the month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced it was rethinking its policy on masks. It concluded that up to 25 percent of patients might have no symptoms.

Since then, the C.D.C., governments around the world and, finally, the World Health Organization have recommended that people wear masks in public.

Still, the W.H.O. is sending confusing signals. Earlier this month, Dr. Van Kerkhove, the technical lead, repeated that transmission from asymptomatic patients was “very rare.” After an outcry from doctors, the agency said there had been a misunderstanding.

“In all honesty, we don’t have a clear picture on this yet,” Dr. Van Kerkhove said. She said she had been referring to a few studies showing limited transmission from asymptomatic patients.


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Dr. Rothe at home.
Dr. Rothe at home.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

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Dr. Böhmer published a study in The Lancet last month that found “substantial” transmission from people with no symptoms or exceptionally mild, nonspecific symptoms.
Dr. Böhmer published a study in The Lancet last month that found “substantial” transmission from people with no symptoms or exceptionally mild, nonspecific symptoms.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
Recent internet ads confused the matter even more. A Google search in mid-June for studies on asymptomatic transmission returned a W.H.O. advertisement titled: “People With No Symptoms — Rarely Spread Coronavirus.”

Clicking on the link, however, offered a much more nuanced picture: “Some reports have indicated that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus. It is not yet known how often it happens.”

After The Times asked about those discrepancies, the organization removed the advertisements.

Back in Munich, there is little doubt left. Dr. Böhmer, the Bavarian government doctor, published a study in The Lancet last month that relied on extensive interviews and genetic information to methodically track every case in the cluster.

In the months after Dr. Rothe swabbed her first patient, 16 infected people were identified and caught early. All survived. Aggressive testing and flawless contact-tracing contained the spread.

Dr. Böhmer’s study found “substantial” transmission from people with no symptoms or exceptionally mild, nonspecific symptoms.

Dr. Rothe and her colleagues got a footnote.
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Anonymous 1
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Anonymous 1 »

bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
Yes Bimbo we know how you view it
bimboman wrote: They’ll be fine. I put in last Monday and Friday . Do the basic numbers on if 150 million non productive people die. It doesn’t change much.
Nolanator
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Nolanator »

Cheers, Gav. Interesting read.
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fishfoodie
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by fishfoodie »

A grand total of Two; count them Two, US States are reporting a decline in the number of positive cases; versus a week ago !

This includes Alaska; where bears probably outnumber people; & Hawaii; which is even more geographically isolated than NZ.

The winning States were Rhode Island & Connecticut.

The realization of just how fucked things could get, does seem to be getting thru to some people in the Administration; as Pence has cancelled a couple of campaign rallies he had planned for AZ & FL
bimboman
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by bimboman »

Anonymous. wrote:
bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
Yes Bimbo we know how you view it
bimboman wrote: They’ll be fine. I put in last Monday and Friday . Do the basic numbers on if 150 million non productive people die. It doesn’t change much.

Just another 149,500,000 to go.
ovalball
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by ovalball »

Anonymous. wrote:
bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
Yes Bimbo we know how you view it
bimboman wrote: They’ll be fine. I put in last Monday and Friday . Do the basic numbers on if 150 million non productive people die. It doesn’t change much.
I think he's being a tad harsh on Stockbrokers, Financial Consultants, HR personnel, telephone sanitizers, etc..
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A5D5E5
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by A5D5E5 »

ovalball wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
Yes Bimbo we know how you view it
bimboman wrote: They’ll be fine. I put in last Monday and Friday . Do the basic numbers on if 150 million non productive people die. It doesn’t change much.
I think he's being a tad harsh on Stockbrokers, Financial Consultants, HR personnel, telephone sanitizers, etc..
You are Douglas Adams and I claim my free towel.
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eldanielfire
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by eldanielfire »

An interesting study now showing only 13% of adults want to return to the Old Normal post COVID-19. In the meanwhile people have discovered that they have found family life, a more balanced life and flexible working. You know, something closer to what the Nordic countries have enjoyed in their economies in recent years. The study was taken by a nursery provider so probably leans towards families.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... old-normal

Whatever the new normal is post Covid-19, we don’t want it to be anything like the old one. At least, when it comes to earning a living.

Lockdown has given people a chance to sample new ways of balancing their jobs and family lives and they have concluded that something must change. Just 13% want to go back to pre-pandemic ways of working, with most people saying they would prefer to spend a maximum of three days in the office.

A survey of 1,500 people carried out for Bright Horizons, the nursery provider, suggests that many working parents realise that large parts of their jobs can be conducted remotely. And they believe that their employers will agree.

Nearly two-thirds think their employers will be open to remote or flexible working in the future as the widespread adoption of Zoom and other online tools has kept many businesses functioning even as physical workplaces have been shuttered.

Almost half – 48% – of those who worked in an office before lockdown said they were considering asking for some more remote working.

“This could be a pivotal moment in determining how jobs work in future,” said Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons. “But companies and organisations need to seize the moment by ensuring that jobs are as flexible and human-sized as possible in future.”

Almost one in four believe that a more flexible working life would have a positive impact on them and, by extension, their employers. But there is no strong appetite to work fewer hours – just 21% favour a reduction. More than half of respondents – 53% – believe flexibility would increase their productivity, and well over half – 58% – agree that it would increase their loyalty.

Most of those surveyed – almost four-fifths – said their employers had been sympathetic to their needs to juggle work and childcare.

“Our findings show that most line managers and businesses have really stepped up to the plate to help their staff find ways of balancing the demands of family and work during lockdown,” said Liston-Smith.

However, the survey suggests that many parents are now really starting to feel the strain of home schooling and working from home.


A new normal: how has working from home been for you?
Read more
As one interviewee explained: “We are not managing. I am working full-time from home including conference calls, emails and resource prep as well as looking after a three-year-old. I am constantly failing to give 100% to any part of my life.”

Advertisement

Another said: “Absolute stress. We work in between our conference calls. If I’m not on the call, I’ll spend time with kids. When I’m on the call then my husband takes over. Hubby does breakfasts, I do lunches and dinners. After kids have gone to bed we tidy the house, kitchen and then go back to work till midnight. We sleep around five hours. Absolutely exhausted.”

CASE STUDY
Maggie Bennion, who works in corporate fundraising for a charity, is a single mother with two daughters, Grace, 15, and Imogen, three, and a son, Charlie, 13.

“My workplace decided that I would not be furloughed and instead I was asked to work full time. I began to feel low moods, lethargy and began snapping at my children for the silliest of reasons. My productivity went down to around 30%.

Maggie Bennion with daughters Grace and Imogen.
Maggie Bennion with daughters Grace and Imogen
“I took the difficult decision to reach out to my GP, who started me on a course of antidepressants, a low dose but enough to give me the resilience I needed.

“I found time outdoors with my three-year-old hard to navigate as she did not fully understand why she had to abide by the rules I had set.

“I have seen the effects of lockdown echoed in her behaviour and it made me very sad. She started to have bouts of anger and would lash out when frustrated. I recognised instantly that she needed more one-on-one time with me and I decided to take some annual leave.

“After my break, around five weeks into lockdown, I began feeling very disconnected from work. I had relieved the stress about balancing my responsibilities, but started to feel disdain when I had to work again. I had a glimpse of how rich my life was without the added pressure.

“Despite my struggles I have drawn one very strong positive – I have a much deeper connection with my children. I have refocused my attention and feel re-energised and happier as a result.”
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fishfoodie
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by fishfoodie »

eldanielfire wrote:An interesting study now showing only 13% of adults want to return to the Old Normal post COVID-19. In the meanwhile people have discovered that they have found family life, a more balanced life and flexible working. You know, something closer to what the Nordic countries have enjoyed in their economies in recent years. The study was taken by a nursery provider so probably leans towards families.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... old-normal

<Snip>
I've seen a few articles too about families with kids with special needs, noting how they're thriving in the new reality of families spending more time together, & being more involved in their children's education; & where the Education systems have been forced to enable this, & provide plans & materials.

It'd be nice if there were some winners in this.
ovalball
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by ovalball »

A5D5E5 wrote:
ovalball wrote:
Anonymous. wrote:
bimboman wrote: And therefore the correct decision. Blighting human existence for a generation isn’t an actual option.
Yes Bimbo we know how you view it
bimboman wrote: They’ll be fine. I put in last Monday and Friday . Do the basic numbers on if 150 million non productive people die. It doesn’t change much.
I think he's being a tad harsh on Stockbrokers, Financial Consultants, HR personnel, telephone sanitizers, etc..
You are Douglas Adams and I claim my free towel.
:thumbup: :D
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Gavin Duffy
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Gavin Duffy »

Nolanator wrote:Cheers, Gav. Interesting read.
Enough to make me buy some masks, but they are a pain in the ass if you wear glasses.
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Saint
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Saint »

eldanielfire wrote:An interesting study now showing only 13% of adults want to return to the Old Normal post COVID-19. In the meanwhile people have discovered that they have found family life, a more balanced life and flexible working. You know, something closer to what the Nordic countries have enjoyed in their economies in recent years. The study was taken by a nursery provider so probably leans towards families.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... old-normal

Whatever the new normal is post Covid-19, we don’t want it to be anything like the old one. At least, when it comes to earning a living.

Lockdown has given people a chance to sample new ways of balancing their jobs and family lives and they have concluded that something must change. Just 13% want to go back to pre-pandemic ways of working, with most people saying they would prefer to spend a maximum of three days in the office.

A survey of 1,500 people carried out for Bright Horizons, the nursery provider, suggests that many working parents realise that large parts of their jobs can be conducted remotely. And they believe that their employers will agree.

Nearly two-thirds think their employers will be open to remote or flexible working in the future as the widespread adoption of Zoom and other online tools has kept many businesses functioning even as physical workplaces have been shuttered.

Almost half – 48% – of those who worked in an office before lockdown said they were considering asking for some more remote working.

“This could be a pivotal moment in determining how jobs work in future,” said Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons. “But companies and organisations need to seize the moment by ensuring that jobs are as flexible and human-sized as possible in future.”

Almost one in four believe that a more flexible working life would have a positive impact on them and, by extension, their employers. But there is no strong appetite to work fewer hours – just 21% favour a reduction. More than half of respondents – 53% – believe flexibility would increase their productivity, and well over half – 58% – agree that it would increase their loyalty.

Most of those surveyed – almost four-fifths – said their employers had been sympathetic to their needs to juggle work and childcare.

“Our findings show that most line managers and businesses have really stepped up to the plate to help their staff find ways of balancing the demands of family and work during lockdown,” said Liston-Smith.

However, the survey suggests that many parents are now really starting to feel the strain of home schooling and working from home.


A new normal: how has working from home been for you?
Read more
As one interviewee explained: “We are not managing. I am working full-time from home including conference calls, emails and resource prep as well as looking after a three-year-old. I am constantly failing to give 100% to any part of my life.”

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Another said: “Absolute stress. We work in between our conference calls. If I’m not on the call, I’ll spend time with kids. When I’m on the call then my husband takes over. Hubby does breakfasts, I do lunches and dinners. After kids have gone to bed we tidy the house, kitchen and then go back to work till midnight. We sleep around five hours. Absolutely exhausted.”

CASE STUDY
Maggie Bennion, who works in corporate fundraising for a charity, is a single mother with two daughters, Grace, 15, and Imogen, three, and a son, Charlie, 13.

“My workplace decided that I would not be furloughed and instead I was asked to work full time. I began to feel low moods, lethargy and began snapping at my children for the silliest of reasons. My productivity went down to around 30%.

Maggie Bennion with daughters Grace and Imogen.
Maggie Bennion with daughters Grace and Imogen
“I took the difficult decision to reach out to my GP, who started me on a course of antidepressants, a low dose but enough to give me the resilience I needed.

“I found time outdoors with my three-year-old hard to navigate as she did not fully understand why she had to abide by the rules I had set.

“I have seen the effects of lockdown echoed in her behaviour and it made me very sad. She started to have bouts of anger and would lash out when frustrated. I recognised instantly that she needed more one-on-one time with me and I decided to take some annual leave.

“After my break, around five weeks into lockdown, I began feeling very disconnected from work. I had relieved the stress about balancing my responsibilities, but started to feel disdain when I had to work again. I had a glimpse of how rich my life was without the added pressure.

“Despite my struggles I have drawn one very strong positive – I have a much deeper connection with my children. I have refocused my attention and feel re-energised and happier as a result.”

I think.one thing people do need to understand is that the lockdown is not the typical WFH. Issues with childcare, as per the article, have been a real lockdown problem, and us one major reason why I don't forsee a real return to the office till September when the schools reopen.

From a practical perspective, there will be a lot of flexible working and wfh until social distancing stops - and at that point it's likely to be ingrained in work culture for many businesses. At the same time, I'm already aware of a number of businesses closing down offices and terminating leases, but keeping staff on in a permanent WFH basis

London is going to look VERY different in 5 years time compared to 6 months ago
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eldanielfire
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by eldanielfire »

fishfoodie wrote:
eldanielfire wrote:An interesting study now showing only 13% of adults want to return to the Old Normal post COVID-19. In the meanwhile people have discovered that they have found family life, a more balanced life and flexible working. You know, something closer to what the Nordic countries have enjoyed in their economies in recent years. The study was taken by a nursery provider so probably leans towards families.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... old-normal

<Snip>
I've seen a few articles too about families with kids with special needs, noting how they're thriving in the new reality of families spending more time together, & being more involved in their children's education; & where the Education systems have been forced to enable this, & provide plans & materials.

It'd be nice if there were some winners in this.
Good stuff. I wonder if the UK shoudla dopt something like the Netherlands working week:

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/in ... 20a%20week.

"With 29-hour work weeks, the Netherlands has the world's shortest week for business professionals, according to an OECD study. As illustrated in a BambooHR infographic, women in the Netherlands typically worked 25 hours a week, and men typically worked 34 hours a week."
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Salanya
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Salanya »

eldanielfire wrote:
fishfoodie wrote:
eldanielfire wrote:An interesting study now showing only 13% of adults want to return to the Old Normal post COVID-19. In the meanwhile people have discovered that they have found family life, a more balanced life and flexible working. You know, something closer to what the Nordic countries have enjoyed in their economies in recent years. The study was taken by a nursery provider so probably leans towards families.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... old-normal

<Snip>
I've seen a few articles too about families with kids with special needs, noting how they're thriving in the new reality of families spending more time together, & being more involved in their children's education; & where the Education systems have been forced to enable this, & provide plans & materials.

It'd be nice if there were some winners in this.
Good stuff. I wonder if the UK shoudla dopt something like the Netherlands working week:

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/in ... 20a%20week.

"With 29-hour work weeks, the Netherlands has the world's shortest week for business professionals, according to an OECD study. As illustrated in a BambooHR infographic, women in the Netherlands typically worked 25 hours a week, and men typically worked 34 hours a week."
Times like these do make me wonder why I moved..... :(
Nolanator
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Nolanator »

Gavin Duffy wrote:
Nolanator wrote:Cheers, Gav. Interesting read.
Enough to make me buy some masks, but they are a pain in the ass if you wear glasses.
I actually got some masks a few days ago, and wore one in Sainsbury's earlier after reading that.
Feel like a bit of a twat when no-one else is, but I think I'll manage with the dip in street cred.
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Bokkom
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Re: Coronavirus Thread. Virus v humans

Post by Bokkom »

This whole mask issue to me shows, again, the (non too subtle) inherent arrogance of the Anglo Saxons towards the rest of the world (in general) and the Far East (in particular).
They have learned very little since the Opium Wars and subsequent conquests.
A leopard definitely doesn't change its spots.
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