Covid Corner

garlic cloves

In my country, we have people eating paste meant for livestock while calling everyone else sheep.

I am not so sure I would be hanging my hat on that remedy!!

Indeed. Garlic does have some medical use, well an ingredient in garlic does, but it's definitely not something I'd reach for in a modern world where we have things that are shown to work already. Taking garlic for COVID would be like trying to fight a dragon with a flower while you have access to a perfectly good sword.

How to prevent heaps of garlic and carry a Co2 meter
I thing I'll stick with vaccination and a mask.

Something else strange...NSW Health is now forcing people who are fully vaccinated to get covid tested every 72 hours or you wont be allowed in to their clinics.
Fair question, but that is likely because

Although COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective at preventing infection with the Delta variant than other variants, they still offer protection against severe cases of the disease requiring hospitalization ...24 Aug 2021

Saw a bit of the story on last night's ABC. Inspired me to update my signature.
A VERY, very sobering read.

Delta variant tempts us to trade lives for freedom, a COVID-19 choice we didn't anticipate

Last year COVID-19 seemed simple. It was horrific, but the arguments about what to do were fairly straightforward.

On one side were people alarmed by its rapid spread who wanted us to stay at home and stay away from school and work and socialising in order to save lives.

On the other side were people concerned about the costs of those measures — to jobs, to education, to freedom, to mental health, and to other lives (because if we used too much of our health system fighting COVID-19, other lives might fall through the cracks).

And through it all came a kind of consensus.

The concern about non-COVID deaths turned out to be overblown. Last year Australia recorded fewer than normal doctor-certified deaths, in part because the COVID restrictions stopped deaths from influenza, and in part because they snuffed out COVID-19 early, ensuring hospitals weren't overwhelmed.

Two PPE-clad health workers tend to patient on ventilator

COVID restrictions stopped deaths from influenza last year and stopping COVID-19 spread early ensured hospitals weren't overwhelmed.(
AAP: Supplied by Western Health, Penny Stephens
)Last year, we didn't have to choose

Concern about jobs also turned out to be overblown. By locking down hard and early, and paying employers to keep on staff (through JobKeeper) we ensured the lockdowns would be relatively short-lived, with light at the end of the tunnel.

In none of the states for which there is data was there an increase in suicides.

The insurance company ClearView told a parliamentary committee this June its research found things were better than expected in part because of the universal nature of the pandemic. Everyone knew "everyone was in this together".

Another reason was telehealth. It was easier to get help than before.

And students returned to school sooner than they would have had the lockdowns had been weaker or started later, leaving much of their education intact.

The consensus was that by locking down hard and early we got the best of both worlds — near-elimination of COVID-19 and a quick return to normal life. Anyone who remembers Christmas last year remembers how normal it felt (if you weren't in Sydney's northern beaches).

Economics is called the dismal science in part because it is about hard choices — situations where we can't have our cake and eat it too. Last year it seemed as if COVID wasn't one of them. Starving the virus early gave us both one of the world's lowest death tolls and one of its shortest recessions.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicHard choices are back in sight
And then came Delta.

Far more contagious than the original, and with fewer immediate symptoms (making it harder to trace) the Delta variant became almost impossible to get on top of in the two big states where it took hold.

And without very high vaccination rates — in the view of the Grattan Institute significantly higher than either the NSW, Victorian or Commonwealth governments are targeting — it became all but impossible to reopen without condemning Australians to more COVID deaths.

The new reality is plunging us back toward the territory economists call their own — the world of hard choices.

If the lockdowns don't end, education and mental health and jobs will indeed suffer.

There's only so long businesses can hang on without pulling the pin.

photo of a business closed sign

There's only so long businesses can hang on through lockdowns without pulling the pin. (
Unsplash: Lisa Luminaire

We are getting closer to having to trade off lives against freedoms; getting closer to having to decide how many COVID deaths and how much COVID illness we are prepared to live with in order to return to something more like normal living.

Last week's NSW "roadmap to freedom" implicitly made those tradeoffs.

Calculations prepared by the Treasury and the Grattan Institute make them more explicit.

Lockdowns without end are unsustainable
There are few important things to note. One is that we might yet be able to get the best of both worlds.

We might yet be able to effectively eliminate the Delta strand, restoring both health and freedoms (as we did with the earlier strand).

It won't happen if we ease restrictions before transmission has stopped, as some states are planning to.

Another is that unending lockdowns are untenable. While last year's lockdowns didn't do the psychological and health and educational damage that was feared, lockdowns without end would.

One type of damage clearly evident in the comprehensive report on last year's lockdowns from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is family and domestic violence. The longer lockdowns continue, the longer elevated violence is likely to continue.

And another thing to note is that in a world where we have to make tradeoffs there are no particularly good options. Allowing the disease to spread in order to restore freedom of movement would itself curtail freedom of movement.

An analysis across US states suggests 90 per cent of last year's collapse in face-to-face shopping was due to fear of COVID rather than formal COVID restrictions. That fear will grow if we lift restrictions and COVID spreads.

The Grattan Institute has suggested lifting lockdowns only when 80 per cent of the entire population has been double vaccinated (not 70-80 per cent of people aged 16+ as the NSW and national plans envisage, which amounts to 56-64 per cent of the population).

Grattan believes its plan would cost 2,000-3,000 lives per year; a cost it believes the public would accept.

The NSW and national plans (Victoria's isn't spelled out) would cost much more.

No option is particularly good
The Commonwealth Treasury finds, perhaps counter-intuitively, that an aggressive lockdown strategy that saved more lives would impose lower economic costs (about $1 billion per week lower) in part because it would end up producing fewer lockdowns.

They are the sort of calculations we hoped never to have to make.

There's still a chance we might not. With a Herculean effort NSW and Victoria could yet join Taiwan, New Zealand and every other Australian state in being effectively COVID-free.

But they are running out of time.

Peter Martin is visiting fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
Covid and affect on education . We have been educating our daughter now 15 since whilst up North where she was bullied . Home educators, its been hinted have be fairing better during lock down since they already had a system and regime in place, whereas others may not.

Anyway home education is taking a sabbatical for our daughter since yesterday she started College with a group of other "home educated" at a venue which also serves as University. So she has a lanyard and all that ..Great place I did my ptlls level iv there some years ago
In my country, we have people eating paste meant for livestock while calling everyone else sheep.

Indeed. Garlic does have some medical use, well an ingredient in garlic does, but it's definitely not something I'd reach for in a modern world where we have things that are shown to work already. Taking garlic for COVID would be like trying to fight a dragon with a flower while you have access to a perfectly good sword.
the main use i assume is that it helps one keep aloof from others - breath kills flies at 10 metres !
China’s Delta variant outbreak in Fujian surges as Covid-19 cases hit 165 in a week - South Morning China Post

Q&A about the Mu variant
From WebMD [1]:
Q: The Mu variant was first identified in Columbia in January, so it's been around for 8 or 9 months. Any idea why is it getting more attention now?
A: Like with any new variant, once you see it identified or spreading around parts of the country, it's something to take notice of. One is seeing Mu, not in any high numbers or high percentages, but we are detecting it in different places throughout the United States. That makes it of interest.

Q: According to the CDC website that tracks the proportion of variants in the United States, Delta still dominates, while the Mu variant accounts for only about 0.1% of cases. Any variant can become a variant of concern, but why do you think Mu is getting attention at the moment?
A: What is most likely driving the increased interest is the idea that we are looking at mutations associated with variants that we already know about, like Delta. It looks like Mu has mutations already in Delta but it also has mutations from Alpha or B.1.1.7, which was also known to be highly transmissible. There's this idea that if you take a mutation from one variant and combine it with a mutation from another, you get a ‘super mutant virus’ that is going to wreak havoc. When in fact that is not necessarily the case. I would say at this point – wisely so – it's a variant of interest.

Q: On the other hand Mu has been identified in over 40 countries and 49 states – every one except Nebraska. Does that say something about transmissibility?
A1: That would depend. But these variants can arise via two different pathways. One is a single source of a new variant that gets transmitted globally – and it can be traced to a single, emergent event. In my view that is very unlikely.
The other scenario is 'convergence evolution,' when the variant emerges in multiple, separate instances. They perhaps provide some fitness to the virus. There can be multiple pathways through which a virus can arrive at this combination of mutations, which is probably more likely.
Also, if it does have an enhanced rate of transmission, we would expect to see a higher proportion of cases relative to the Delta variant.

A2: I would say at this time it's way too early. We really need to focus now on getting over this fourth wave of COVID, which is really Delta-driven. It will be important, as this slows down or this wave comes to an end, to see which variant will show up next.

Perhaps now that the population is more immune to that [Delta] virus, then another variant may come up. Our population is ever changing, with different proportions of people vaccinated in a city, state or the country. Again, the population immunity changes over time. That immune pressure helps to select a variant for that particular area.

Q: Is there any reliable information on Mu's potential to evade vaccines?
A: Mu has the E484K and the K417N mutations identified in the Beta variants. The Beta variant is currently more immune-resistant than even the Delta variant. So it's definitely a valid hypothesis, and we're still waiting on more data to confirm.

A preprint study (not yet peer-reviewed) came out Sept. 7, and indeed demonstrates that Mu is slightly more vaccine resistant than the Beta variant.

When we talk about vaccine escape, we have to be very careful to specify this is escape from infection, not from serious disease. Even against the most vaccine resistant variant out there, the vaccines still protect against disease.

Q: Since Mu has mutations from both the Delta and Beta variants – is that a reason for concern?
A: This raises the question of whether this variant is going to be more resistant to antibodies generated by the vaccine. That was always a major concern for the Beta lineage. But for whatever reason, it did not seem to be as fit as the Delta variant in the U.S. and worldwide. Delta replaced everything. It goes to show you that, at a particular time and at a particular place, there is a variant that seems to be a better fit [that is able to become dominant] because it is the perfect variant at the perfect time.

Is the Mu variant going to be like that, and the answer is we don't know. So we need to keep track of it and look for the early signs of what will be the next wave when it comes.

Q&A: Children and Masks
From WebMD [2]:
Q: Are There Any Benefits of Wearing Masks in School?
A: Yes. According to experts, children and adolescents can spread SARS-CoV-2 virus to others, including parents, grandparents, and teachers, even if they don’t have symptoms or have a mild reaction. Wearing a well-fitting face mask that covers both your nose and mouth indoors can reduce coronavirus infection rate to less than 1% if everyone is wearing a mask.

Q: Can They Make It Harder to Breathe in Oxygen?
A: No. While some parents are concerned that wearing masks for long hours could cause low blood oxygen levels, there’s no need to worry. Masks are made from materials that are designed to allow a healthy flow of oxygen as your child breathes. It doesn’t affect their ability to focus either.

Q: Are There Health Risks for Children Wearing Masks?
A: No. Children can safely wear masks all day. There’s a myth that wearing masks for long hours could mean breathing in too much carbon dioxide (CO2), which could lead to hypercapnia -- CO2 poisoning. However, if your child is 2 years old or younger, experts note that it’s best for them not to wear masks as they can’t remove it if they need to or ask for help. Children with severe breathing issues or cognitive issues may find it hard to wear masks for long periods of time. They may need to take extra precautions to socially distance themselves in order to protect themselves from the virus.

Q: Can Masks Interfere With Children’s Lung Development?
A: No. Wearing a mask for long periods of time at school won’t affect your growing child’s lung development. In fact, the mask allows oxygen to properly flow in and around it while protecting your child from coming in contact with spit, coughs, sneezes, or other airborne particles that could carry the COVID-19 virus. Preventing or limiting the spread of COVID-19 with masks is one way to make sure your child’s lungs stay healthy.

Q: Do Masks Interfere With Development of a Healthy Immune System?
A: Not at all. Wearing masks won’t compromise your child’s immunity or increase their risk of catching COVID-19 or other infections. In fact, because face masks cover your nose and mouth, they stop your child from constantly touching their face.

Q: Can Face Masks Delay Speech and Language Skills?
A: There’s no evidence to show that face masks negatively impact speech and language learning skills in children. In fact, when wearing masks, experts note that children learn to pay close attention to gestures, changes in tone of voice, emotions through eye movement, and words to develop the same speech and language skills.

Q: What About Kids With Certain Health Conditions?
A: Depending on your child’s specific health needs, the decision to wear a face mask should be something you as the parent or guardian should decide along with the professional advice from your child’s doctor.

Q: Is There Psychological Damage to Kids From Wearing Masks?
A: No. According to experts, there’s no evidence that face masks have a negative impact on your child’s mental and psychological well-being. Moreover, no studies show that wearing face masks can lead to depression or anxiety among kids.

FDA Warns: Don’t Get Under-12 Children Vaccinated Yet
From WebMD [3]:
- FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, and Peter Marks, MD, of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Research and Evaluation said they hoped a vaccine for younger children would be authorized in coming months, but they didn’t say when that might happen.
- Different age groups may need different doses of vaccine, they said. The vaccines for children under 12 being studied in clinical trials may not be the same as those authorized for older children, they said.
- While children generally don’t get as sick with COVID-19 as other age groups, a growing number of children are being hospitalized because of the Delta variant, especially in states with low vaccination rates.
- In May, the government authorized Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for children 12-15. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for 18 and up. Clinical trials for younger age groups are now under way.

Coronavirus digest: Southeast China cases soar amid delta outbreak
From DW News [4]:
- China is racing to control new local COVID-19 infections which have more than doubled in its southeastern province of Fujian.
- The Australian Capital Territory, home to Canberra, will remain in lockdown for another four weeks. The ACT first went into lockdown for a seven-day period last month after it recorded its first COVID-19 case in the community since July 2020.
- New South Wales and Victoria saw new infections slightly ease on Tuesday, but officials said they would need to see a steady drop in daily cases before concluding that the infections had peaked.
- In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after coronavirus cases emerged in his inner circle. He has cancelled plans to appear in person at a regional summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan later in the week.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a strategy for giving vulnerable groups and the elderly a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- South Africa's president has announced the easing of some restrictions and urged citizens to get vaccinated. Less than 20% of South Africans are fully vaccinated as the authorities urge a boost in vaccine take-up.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to fine cities and counties that would mandate employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Global daily statistics - Reuters World Coronavirus Tracker And Maps

This is not directly connected to Covid....and yet it is in a way......

Is this happening internationally?

The number of people that died from COVID and publicly decried the vaccines and mask mandates keeps going up. Them dying is not necessarily a bad thing, as it means they're no longer a risk for spreading the virus. Maybe their deaths will change minds, though it's kinda late for that.

I'm vaccinated and still wear my mask, partially because I don't want anyone to think I'm one of those people. ;) Seriously, however, the schadenfreude is absolutely delicious. I have exactly zero sympathy for the willfully unvaccinated.

I kinda do, as I am a bit fond of the Buddhist philosophy - a topic for another time.

There are a few subs on Reddit that post these types of stories, and it has been hundreds at this point.

I tried to keep my sympathy, but I just can't. I realize that it's largely the uneducated being led by the malicious and uneducated, but at some point you've gotta be responsible for your own choices. The vaccines are out there. Are they perfect? Far from it. Yet the numbers indicate that not only do they lower your chances, they lower your risk of serious symptoms from the virus. The numbers indicate that they're overwhelmingly safe.

Somewhere along the lines, we lost track of reality. Your (or mine) 'research' isn't valid. We've got idiots in my country eating livestock dewormer paste while calling the rational people 'sheep' and thinking they're smart. This has led to multitudes of deaths, including children who had no choice but to be abused by their parents. And yes, yes it's abuse when you deny your child medical care.

So, my sympathy bone is broken. I'd like to lay the blame at media, misinformation, and deficiencies in education, but at some point you're responsible for your own choices.
I will never understand these Anti-Vaxxers.

These fools just don't want to live and how quickly people forget what life was like without vaccines.

Imagine being in an Iron Lung for the rest of your life because of Polio
when a simple vaccine prevented it, and now a simple vaccine prevents you dying from covid.

I also have no sympathy for these Anti-Vaxxers, we have plenty of them in Australia but with covid we'll have a lot less. :)

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