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Do you guys not get the news ?
I think many people are able to stick their head in the sand, or ignore information that they don't like.

Here's what I'm seeing. Among my friends, I already know two entire families who caught covid during the Christmas break. My friend's mom is now in the ICU.

We should not be looking at the USA as a model. 0.25% of their population died from covid vs <0.10% in Canada. State of Florida is even worse.
Exactly. And the omicron infections have just started increasing exponentially in Florida. The government shows no interest in protecting the public. The US and states like Florida are a disaster. We need to look instead to countries that have done reasonably well through the pandemic, like South Korea and Taiwan.

Canada has done much better than the US at protecting our population and keeping people alive. There is nothing to admire about the US.
 

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The government likes to pretend they can protect the public against Omicron.
They can't.
Look at New York. Look at Quebec. Look at Italy. Look at France.
Sure they can. They just have to stop being stupid, and actually close down things which are posing a very high risk.

It's the reluctance to inconvenience people which has allowed omicron to spread like wildfire. We're coddling the public too much, letting them do any damned thing they want to do. Everywhere I looked in the last two weeks, I've seen packed restaurants, cafes, large groups of friends gathering, gyms open, sports events open, and of course huge amounts of travel between provinces.

The biggest failure of government was trying to pretend everything is normal and letting people have Christmas fun. They should have shut down all non-household gatherings before Christmas, but they didn't want to do this. Apparently it was more important for people to have huge Christmas gatherings -- and hopping around between parties.

Christmas and New Years = super spreader events

Now we'll pay the price.
 

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Yes there was a quote from the US media that home tests were only 50% accurate at detecting positive cases. That leads to horrible conclusions that lead to more spreading by the false negatives. Whose idea was this?
Yeah, I agree with @MrMatt that there's a big problem developing (a false sense of security) using rapid tests at home. That's even assuming people are using them correctly, which is unlikely.

The rapid tests have a good chance of picking up an infection near the peak infectiousness, when a person has symptoms. Otherwise the negative result doesn't mean much.

PCR tests, on the other hand, give accurate positive and negative results. But we now have to conserve these tests to be able to screen healthcare and other essential workers.
 

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I'm not sure, I know someone who had a close contact before Christmas, they had 3 Negative PCR tests, then their whole family got positive rapidtest results, so it is anecdotal, but maybe the PCR isn't that great either.
Interesting. Maybe it depends on the type of PCR performed (and there are many variations). The method of collection can also make a big difference. When preparing for my trip to the US, I watched several youtube videos of people documenting their drive-through PCR experiences and this is when I realized that many of those tests will be useless, because people (who were swabbing themselves) were doing it incorrectly.

Aside: MrMatt you have consistently had some of the most sensible observations and intuitions during this pandemic.
 

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In this case the vaccine seems to have very weak protection against the current Omicron strain, unless a dose was received recently.
The immune system has several layers of protection. The first level defense -- antibodies which can stop the thing before it causes an infection -- are indeed weak against omicron. This is what we originally hoped for, preventing symptomatic illness.

However it appears the other layers of immune system protection are intact. These come from different kind of immune system cells which come out to fight the virus. The infection still occurs, there are symptoms, but it's less serious and less deadly. The vaccines do appear to do their jobs.

@MrMatt don't get too hung up on symptomatic disease. That is the antibody response (first level protection) but it's a lost cause. What is far more important is the multi layered immune response (memory B cells, and T cells), even if someone has symptomatic disease.

 

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Ontario is estimating that 1% of everyone who catches omicron will end up in the hospital.

That's pretty damn serious, since just about everyone is going to catch this.
 

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Ukrainians and Americans celebrate new year in Ukraine. Gathering restrictions, what gathering restrictions? Masks, what masks? Curfews, what curfews?
How sad. Ukraine has a rate of 2,225 covid deaths per 1M population. Canada's death rate from covid is 796 deaths per 1M population.

That's what ignorance and poor government gets you. Ukraine has suffered nearly triple the death rate as Canada.

I wish the people of Ukraine could have had a better situation. To begin, they could start wearing masks and avoiding having large gatherings.
 

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Yes, hospitalization is a huge issue, but people aren't listening.
They don't realize that even with a much lower hospitalization rate, if you dramatically increase the number of cases you still have a problem with overload.

Also staffing is a HUGE issue. It is one thing if 1-2% are out sick, that's around normal and we can accommodate it.
10,20,30% that has a notable impact on capacity/quality.
These are all good points. I don't know why people refuse to take the hospitalizations seriously. We're only a couple weeks into this exponential spread, and look how many people have already ended up in hospital.
 

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Because we don't know if those people end up in the hospital because of COVID. Once we do find out, then perhaps there will be a reason to worry about.
Why do you think that hospitalization curve is spiking upward then? A sudden national surge of broken legs?

It started when Omicron started spreading. It's extremely likely to be hospitalizations due to COVID.
 

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It would be smart to be very cautious now, and not mix with any other household outside your own.

I've already heard from several friends who have seen their families catch covid. One friend said his mom and dad caught it. Another told me the whole extended family caught it. Their mom is in the ICU.

Another friend texted me tonight and said her brother (and his wife) now have covid.

Officials are advising people with normal symptoms to recover at home. Seek medical help if you have persistent chest pain, trouble breathing, insufficient breath, or blue lips.
 

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It's definitely fast spreading now, daily case counts drawf all the previous waves by a significant margin. I know two people that got it this week. Gonna be a sad month or two coming up. Not sure which will have a worse impact, a large % of people being off sick or hospitals overrun ... likely a combination of both I guess.
In my case, I just don't want any of my family members to end up having to visit a hospital or clinic. Although I earlier planned to visit my parents, I'm calling that off, and will not visit them until this wave is over.
 

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I did a bit of public outreach today, trying to help some local store workers. I discovered a local supply of CAN95 masks. They're impossible to find, even Costco is sold out, but I found some. They're just hiding in a corner that nobody seems to have discovered.

So I popped into a grocery store, where there are quite a few employees who appear to be over age 50, and tipped them off about this hidden stash of N95s. Hopefully it helps them out. These employees are still wearing surgical masks on the job, and that's just not going to cut it.
 

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I personally bought a few boxes of N95's about 100 or so, for the kids to wear to school if they open up.

Apparently in BC they're sending kids back without N95s for kids or teachers, which IMO is irresponsible.
Smart. I think the kids should wear N95s until we have a better grasp of what's going on at the moment. We have such poor numbers, very poor monitoring and stats on the current situation.
 

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So if I were this person, I'd try to book a booster shot for the not-too-distant future, but I wouldn't stress too much about it if I couldn't get one right away. My understanding is that the original series (no booster) is still providing good protection against severe outcomes, even after 6 months.
Yes that's how I understand it as well. Previous vaccinations do seem to still protect against severe outcomes, as far as we know right now.

The boosters are attempting to prevent symptomatic infection. I'm worried that this effort is somewhat futile though. Two shots have just about 0% effectiveness against omicron for symptomatic infection. But perhaps even worse, the third shot -- according to an Ontario study which went to preprint just a few days ago -- is only about 30% to 40% effective against symptomatic infection.

So if someone receives a booster shot, it's not like they can just go right back into high-risk settings. With how much omicron is circulating right now, they're still very likely to catch it and get sick.

And once vaccinated people are sick, they do spread it to others. They contribute to disease spread. We really have to rethink those vaccine passports, because those environments are not as "safe" as everyone seems to believe.

The boosters may be useful for strengthening the ongoing immune strength, but I'm not sure the boosters are too useful for protecting you from the CURRENT wave.
 

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I see boosters strictly as a means to help keep people from going to the hospital.
Yeah good point, they are supposed to boost the immune response which is especially valuable for the elderly and people who might not have had sufficient immunity from the previous shots.

Apparently, the older one gets, the faster one loses the immunity from previous vaccinations. I guess boosters try to make up for that.
 

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Saw one of my neighbours on the floor of my building...

This young woman in her 20s never wears a mask in the common areas (I've seen her do this several times). She goes into the elevator like that too. She's a waitress at a restaurant, so she spends all day in a very high risk covid environment. Then comes back to the building, goes into elevators without a mask.

And then a senior comes in and takes the elevator next.

Today I asked her politely to wear a mask, and she said "I know". She's violating the rules of both the property and province. The next time I see her do it, I will tell the building manager.
 
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