Page 515 of 520 [ 8311 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518 ... 520  Next

SabbraCadabra
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,505
Location: Michigan

05 Nov 2022, 7:47 pm

Image


_________________
he had a lot to say, he had a lot of nothing to say
we'll miss him


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

06 Nov 2022, 11:16 am

SabbraCadabra wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
There were lengthy school closures and mitigation measures when we knew by May 2020 the children were at very minimal risk for severe disease. IMHO the psychological damage plus missed learning were the greater of two evils.

Even if children are less likely to die from Covid, they are still spreading it rampantly at school, and the virus doesn't just stay at school when they come home.
.

The lesser of two evils is still evil and certainly an evil would have been spread to more vulnerable adults. I know several families where one member caught it and nobody else in the family did, and this was during the more contagious Omicron era. By May 2020 we knew enough about COVID that we knew that a family member who caught COVID should completely isolate.

COVID-19 deaths by age group, sex, and race/Hispanic origin
Out of 1,065,261 deaths from COVID in the U.S. as of November 2 1523 of them were people under 19 years old.

SabbraCadabra wrote:
Image

Can be mandatory and should be mandatory are two different things.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


SabbraCadabra
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,505
Location: Michigan

06 Nov 2022, 1:31 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Can be mandatory and should be mandatory are two different things.

Right. And they didn't even ask about mandates, they asked about recommendations :roll:


_________________
he had a lot to say, he had a lot of nothing to say
we'll miss him


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

07 Nov 2022, 11:34 am

Well we are nearing the high point for COVID in the northern U.S. states. So what is happening? Well the first point is that the U.S. government has decided to stop counting. Yes they decided that it was better to not keep track. As a result, there are very little statistics to measure what is happening on the ground.

I came across an interesting website that gives some information.

What COVID-19 variants are going around in November 2022?

According to the latest (United States, 7/24/2022 - 10/29/2022), the following variants are in play in the U.S.:
BA.5 ----- 49.6 %
BQ.1 ----- 14.0 %
BQ.1.1 --- 13.1 %
BA.4.6 ---- 9.6 %
BF.7 -------- 7.5 %
BA.5.2.6 -- 2.8 %
BA.2.75 --- 1.8 %
BA.2.75.2 - 1.2 %
BA.4 -------- 0.2 %


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


SabbraCadabra
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,505
Location: Michigan

07 Nov 2022, 2:28 pm

jimmy m wrote:
Well the first point is that the U.S. government has decided to stop counting. Yes they decided that it was better to not keep track. As a result, there are very little statistics to measure what is happening on the ground.

Counting wouldn't help that much anyway, since most people either aren't testing, or are taking home tests, and those don't get reported.

I don't follow it, but my friend says they test the sewage, and those numbers are still being reported (not sure where, she posts us the numbers every now and then).


_________________
he had a lot to say, he had a lot of nothing to say
we'll miss him


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

07 Nov 2022, 11:47 pm

Paxlovid May Reduce Risk of Long Covid in Eligible Patients, Study Finds

Quote:
People who took the antiviral drug Paxlovid within a few days after being infected with the coronavirus were less likely to be experiencing long Covid several months later, a large new study found.

The findings suggest that for people who are medically eligible for the antiviral — older adults or people with certain health problems — Paxlovid not only reduces the odds that they will be hospitalized or die from a coronavirus infection, but also lowers their risk of long-term symptoms.

“The results are quite provocative and suggest that further investigation of antiviral agents and their effects on long Covid is urgently needed,” said Dr. Michael Peluso, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the new research.

The study, which was published online without undergoing peer review, does not indicate whether antivirals might be beneficial for other patients, like younger people or those without high-risk medical conditions. And it does not give any inkling whether Paxlovid might be a treatment for long Covid itself, a question being investigated by other researchers.

The researchers analyzed the electronic medical records of 56,340 patients who had at least one risk factor for a severe response to coronavirus infection. They found that the 9,217 patients who took Paxlovid within five days of testing positive were 26 percent less likely to have a wide range of post-Covid symptoms about 90 days later than the 47,123 patients who received no antiviral or antibody treatment.

The patients were part of the Veterans Health Administration system and tested positive for the coronavirus between March 1 and June 30 of this year, a period when Omicron variants were dominant. Those who took Paxlovid experienced reduced risk of long Covid regardless of vaccination status or whether they had been infected with the coronavirus previously, the study found.

The study authors and other medical experts said the findings provided additional motivation for medically eligible patients to take Paxlovid soon after becoming infected. Though Paxlovid has been proven effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk Covid patients, some people have become wary of the medication because a small percentage of patients experience “Paxlovid rebound” — a recurrence of Covid symptoms or positive test results. Several high-profile rebound cases, including President Biden and his top Covid adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have added to the concern.

“For people who are already qualified for Paxlovid use, to me, really the choice is clear,” Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the senior author of the study, said. “Do you get a metallic taste, do you get side effects from Paxlovid, can you get rebound? Yes. But we have proven data suggesting that Paxlovid in the acute phase reduces the risk of severe illness, meaning the risk of death and hospitalization. And now we’re showing in the post-acute phase, there’s also risk reduction.”

Dr. Al-Aly and Dr. Peluso said many medically eligible patients were either not getting access to the drug or were declining it. “This study provides further evidence for treating people who have acute Covid with antivirals, especially if they have risk factors for severe outcomes,” Dr. Peluso said.

A Low Point for the Monarchy, in a New Season of ‘The Crown’
Most study participants were male, three-quarters were white, and their average age was about 65, so the findings may not apply to all patients. Still, Dr. Al-Aly said, regardless of race, sex, age or type of previous medical problem, “getting Paxlovid was actually better than not getting it in terms of reducing risk in the acute phase and reducing risk in the post-acute phase.”

One explanation for the findings, Dr. Peluso said, is related to the fact that people who become severely ill in the acute phase of infection are more prone to long-lasting symptoms or to developing new health issues weeks later. So, by helping patients avoid hospitalization and other serious initial consequences, Paxlovid could prevent some post-Covid symptoms “tied to the damage done in the first couple of weeks of infection,” he explained.

He added that another reason a beneficial effect on long Covid seemed logical is that “many of the risk factors for severe Covid are likely to overlap” with risk factors for long Covid. Still, many people who experience only mild symptoms in their initial infections develop long Covid, as do people who did not have previous risk factors.

Dr. Al-Aly said it’s possible that “giving your immune system a hand by suppressing that virus initially is really kind of like nipping it in the bud, producing a risk reduction for the acute stage and also in the post-acute phase.” That would support a theory that one cause of long Covid might be viral fragments persisting in the body, keeping the immune system activated.

For the study, Dr. Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the V.A. St. Louis Health Care System and a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues evaluated the records of veteran’s administration patients whose risk factors included being over 60, being overweight, smoking or having conditions like cancer, heart disease, hypertension or diabetes.

After about 90 days, patients who took Paxlovid — three pills twice a day for five days — were less likely to exhibit 10 out of 12 long Covid medical issues, including fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, blood clotting problems, cardiovascular problems and neurocognitive impairments like brain fog. For unclear reasons, Dr. Al-Aly said, there was no significant difference between Paxlovid and non-Paxlovid patients for two post-Covid issues: new-onset diabetes and coughing.
Overall, for every 100 patients treated with Paxlovid, there were 2.3 fewer cases of long Covid, the study found.

Patients with the poorest health before their coronavirus infection — with more than five risk factors for experiencing serious Covid illness — experienced the greatest risk reduction for long Covid. Patients who had received booster doses of vaccines experienced lower risk reduction than those who were unvaccinated or vaccinated without boosters, probably, Dr. Al-Aly said, because boosters had already given them greater immune system protection.

Dr. Al-Aly said many additional questions about antivirals should be explored, such as whether taking Paxlovid for more days or in higher doses would further reduce risk for long Covid.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

11 Nov 2022, 10:48 am

As we approach the winter, a new set of numbers is being given by the CDC for the U.S. This is the latest estimate as of
November 5, 2022

BA.5 ----- 39.2 %
BQ.1 ----- 16.5 %
BQ.1.1 --- 18.8 %
BA.4.6 ---- 9.5 %
BF.7 -------- 9.0 %
BA.5.2.6 -- 3.1 %
BA.2.75 --- 2.3 %
BA.2.75.2 - 1.3 %

The U.S. is tracking COVID concentration using waste water. That is an interesting way of monitoring trends. It is a little like looking into the future and seeing where we are headed. The following is their latest results:

COVID Data Tracker’s Wastewater Surveillance tab tracks levels, changes, and detections of SARS-CoV-2* viral RNA in wastewater at over 1,200 testing sites across the country.

Currently, about 38% of the country is reporting moderate to high SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater. About 12% of sites reporting wastewater data are currently seeing some of the highest levels for those sites since December 1, 2021.

About 33% of sites are experiencing a decrease in SARS-CoV-2 levels, and about 58% are reporting an increase.

COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

15 Nov 2022, 10:11 am

Nov 11 - The U.S. national public health agency said on Friday that Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 were estimated to account for about 44.2% of COVID-19 cases in the country for the week ending Nov. 12, compared with 32.6% in the previous week.

The two variants, which are closely related to Omicron's BA.5 sub-variant that drove COVID-19 cases in United States earlier in the year, made up less than 10% of total cases in the country last month, but currently have surpassed Omicron's BA.5, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While there is no evidence linked to the increased severity of the new variants compared to BA.4 and BA.5, they have shown an increasing presence in Europe, Singapore, Canada, among other places.

Source: COVID variants BQ.1/BQ.1.1 make up 44% of U.S. cases - CDC

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, had been quickly gaining ground in the U.S. in recent weeks. On Friday, they officially overtook BA.5, accounting for an estimated 44% of all new infections nationwide and nearly 60% in some parts of the country, such as New York and New Jersey, according to the CDC's estimates. BA.5 now accounts for an estimated 30% of all new infections nationwide.

Recent laboratory studies indicate that new mutations in the virus's spike protein appear to make BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 as much as seven times more "immune-evasive" than BA.5.

That said, a new study suggests that getting reinfected with the virus still can pose significant risks, both for short term and long-term complications, including an increased risk of hospitalization, symptoms of long COVID and even death.

"The risk of reinfection is definitely not trivial," says Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and an author of the new study. "So going into the winter surge now people should do their best to try to prevent getting reinfected."

"You're basically playing Russian Roulette again," he says. "You may dodge the bullet the next time around, but it may not be the case."

"The bad news is that it's likely that people who've been vaccinated and/or infected will still get infected" with these new subvariants, says Dr. Daniel Barouch, a virologist at Beth Deaconess Hospital in Boston who's been studying the new strains.

"The U.S. is going to see a winter surge in COVID infections," predicts William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "And I think that if nothing else changes BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are likely to be very significant players."

Source: New omicron subvariants now dominant in the U.S., raising fears of a winter surge


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

15 Nov 2022, 10:09 pm

Moderna says new Covid booster better against omicron BA.5, triggers immune response against BQ.1.1

Quote:
Moderna’s new Covid booster triggered a stronger immune response against omicron BA.5 and also appears to work against the emerging BQ.1.1 subvariant, according to the company.

Moderna in clinical trial data published Monday, found that the new booster triggered five times more antibodies against omicron BA.5 than the old vaccines in people with prior Covid infections. The boosters triggered more than six times more antibodies against BA.5 in people without prior infections.

The study examined 500 people ages 19 to 89 who received the new booster. It is the first human data Moderna has released on the boosters.

Moderna said it also found the new booster triggered robust immune response against omicron BQ.1.1, an emerging Covid subvariant in the U.S. However, the response was not as strong against BQ.1.1 compared with BA.5. The antibody levels were about five times lower against BQ.1.1.

Two independent studies from Columbia and Harvard universities found that the boosters did not do a much better job against omicron BA.5. The FDA pushed back against those studies, arguing that they were too small to draw definitive conclusions about the shots.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


SpiceWolf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2008
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 788

16 Nov 2022, 3:14 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Two independent studies from Columbia and Harvard universities found that the boosters did not do a much better job against omicron BA.5. The FDA pushed back against those studies, arguing that they were too small to draw definitive conclusions about the shots.


I'd take independent studies from Harvard anytime over the self done studies of a company that wants to sell me something.
Especially with their recent track record of bullshitting people.

And when did the FDA suddenly grow concerned about small studies, because they had no problem with 8 mice as the safety data.



ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

19 Nov 2022, 5:52 pm

Family: Brother with Asperger's punched, sister harassed for wearing masks at Long Island bar

Quote:
A pharmacy technician who attended a live music performance at a Long Island bar says he was sucker punched for wearing a mask, and his sister, who was also wearing a mask, says she was harassed.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, the family is offering a reward to track down the man responsible.

Justin and Melody are 25-year-old twins -- we're not sharing their last name -- say they were hurt physically and emotionally.

The only ones wearing masks Thursday for live music at Prohibition Bar in Massapequa Park, Justin, who has Asperger's syndrome, said they received glaring looks from a large man at the bar, followed by a hard punch.

"He said, 'What the 'F' are you trying to prove?' And I just ... all I said was, 'I'm not trying to prove anything,'" Justin said.

He said he walked away but moments later says the same man punched him from behind.

"He just comes charging into me, sucker punching me hard into the back, left side of my back, and I go flying into the band," Justin said.

"He had knuckle marks on him," Melody added.

Melody said the same man harassed her.

"I feel someone pull the back of my jacket and my shirt and pour something down my back," she said.

Nassau County police were called and are investigating.

"We are the only ones wearing masks because it's our choice," Melody said.

The siblings said they have good reason to protect themselves and others because COVID-19 struck close to home.

"It has been so traumatic, the tremendous loss of our grandfather," Melody said.

"Any family member who has lost someone to COVID would understand. We are more cautious," Justin said.

"They would never hurt a fly. They went out. They hardly ever go out," their mother said, adding they are often mocked. "Now to have people being assaulted and harassed by other people just for protecting themselves, it's disgusting."

Nassau police say witnesses to the unprovoked attack can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS or the 7th Precinct. 

It's so hypocritical that some who yell "Freedom of Choice" think people deserve to be physically assaulted for making a choice they don't like.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

20 Nov 2022, 8:06 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
It's so hypocritical that some who yell "Freedom of Choice" think people deserve to be physically assaulted for making a choice they don't like.


That is the way much of society operates. It operates on a principle of GROUP THINK.

I remember that several months ago, my wife was verbally assaulted in a large restaurant for NOT WEARING A MASK.
She was fine. She had all her COVID shots and it was summer time when COVID threat was minimal in northern states.

BUT PEOPLE OPERATE ON A GROUP THINK PRINCIPLE.


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

20 Nov 2022, 8:37 am

Earlier in 2022, experts had noted that the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants seemed to have the ability to elude some of the antibodies produced after vaccinations and infections, including those caused by some Omicron subvariants. In November, the FDA updated its fact sheet for bebtelovimab, saying the treatment is not expected to neutralize Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. But in the same update, the agency noted that other treatments, including the drug Paxlovid, are expected to “retain activity” against the new subvariants.

When they first started to study Omicron, scientists were concerned about a key distinguishing factor in the variant. Unlike Delta and other coronavirus variants, it carries an abundance of mutations—about 50 in all, including 26 that are unique to the variant—and more than 30 on the spike protein, which is the viral protein that vaccines train the immune system to recognize and attack. Grubaugh said some of Omicron’s enhanced transmissibility could come from its ability to evade some immune responses, especially in people who were previously infected, but not vaccinated.

Source: Omicron and the BQs: A Guide to What We Know


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,683
Location: Indiana

20 Nov 2022, 8:53 am

According to British Scientist

Meanwhile, BQ.1, a BA.5 sublineage, was first raised as a signal on 12 September. Notably, this subvariant has a spike mutation (R346T) on a site that has been associated with a growth advantage. As at 24 October 2022, 3207 samples had been uploaded to GISAID from 48 countries, across six continents, with the highest prevalence in the US (1060) and UK (717).

The latest reports indicate that BQ.1, alongside another omicron lineage variant, BQ.1.1, have now become dominant in the US. Together they make up around 44% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections, while BA.5 now accounts for just 30%.

But according to the article, the surge was short lived.

In the week ending 8 November an estimated 1.73% of people in England (one in 60) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, a decrease from 2.43% the previous week.10 In Northern Ireland around 1.86% of the population (one in 55) people tested positive, down from 2.17% the previous week; and in Scotland this figure was 1.85% (one in 55), a decrease from 2.04%. In Wales, in the week ending 9 November, an estimated 1.84% (one in 55) people tested positive, down from 2.38% the previous week.

Source: Covid-19: Is the UK still tracking the virus


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

22 Nov 2022, 12:26 am

MRI Reveals Significant Brain Abnormalities Post-COVID

Quote:
Using a special type of MRI, researchers have uncovered brain changes in patients up to six months after they recovered from COVID-19, according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

About one in five adults will develop long-term effects from COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neurological symptoms associated with long COVID include difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, sleep problems, lightheadedness, pins-and-needles sensation, change in smell or taste, and depression or anxiety. However, studies have found that COVID-19 may be associated with changes to the heart, lungs or other organs even in asymptomatic patients.

As more people become infected and recover from COVID-19, research has begun to emerge, focusing on the lasting consequences of the disease.

For this study, researchers used susceptibility-weighted imaging to analyze the effects that COVID-19 has on the brain. Magnetic susceptibility denotes how much certain materials, such as blood, iron and calcium, will become magnetized in an applied magnetic field. This ability aids in the detection and monitoring of a host of neurologic conditions including microbleeds, vascular malformations, brain tumors and stroke.

“Group-level studies have not previously focused on COVID-19 changes in magnetic susceptibility of the brain despite several case reports signaling such abnormalities,” said study co-author Sapna S. Mishra, a Ph.D. candidate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. “Our study highlights this new aspect of the neurological effects of COVID-19 and reports significant abnormalities in COVID survivors.”

The researchers analyzed the susceptibility-weighted imaging data of 46 COVID-recovered patients and 30 healthy controls. Imaging was done within six months of recovery. Among patients with long COVID, the most commonly reported symptoms were fatigue, trouble sleeping, lack of attention and memory issues.

“Changes in susceptibility values of brain regions may be indicative of local compositional changes,” Mishra said. “Susceptibilities may reflect the presence of abnormal quantities of paramagnetic compounds, whereas lower susceptibility could be caused by abnormalities like calcification or lack of paramagnetic molecules containing iron.”

MRI results showed that patients who recovered from COVID-19 had significantly higher susceptibility values in the frontal lobe and brain stem compared to healthy controls. The clusters obtained in the frontal lobe primarily show differences in the white matter.

“These brain regions are linked with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches and cognitive problems,” Mishra said.

The researchers also found a significant difference in the right ventral diencephalon region of the brain stem. This region is associated with many crucial bodily functions, including coordinating with the endocrine system to release hormones, relaying sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex and regulating circadian rhythms (the sleep-wake cycle).

“This study points to serious long-term complications that may be caused by the coronavirus, even months after recovery from the infection,” Mishra said. “The present findings are from the small temporal window. However, the longitudinal time points across a couple of years will elucidate if there exists any permanent change.”

The researchers are conducting a longitudinal study on the same patient cohort to determine whether these brain abnormalities persist over a longer time frame.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,447
Location: Long Island, New York

22 Nov 2022, 12:43 am

jimmy m wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
It's so hypocritical that some who yell "Freedom of Choice" think people deserve to be physically assaulted for making a choice they don't like.


That is the way much of society operates. It operates on a principle of GROUP THINK.

I remember that several months ago, my wife was verbally assaulted in a large restaurant for NOT WEARING A MASK.
She was fine. She had all her COVID shots and it was summer time when COVID threat was minimal in northern states.

BUT PEOPLE OPERATE ON A GROUP THINK PRINCIPLE.


It’s Gotten Awkward to Wear a Mask
Quote:
Last week, just a couple of hours into a house-sitting stint in Massachusetts for my cousin and his wife, I received from them a flummoxed text: “Dude,” it read. “We are the only people in masks.” Upon arriving at the airport, and then boarding their flight, they’d been shocked to find themselves virtually alone in wearing masks of any kind. On another trip they’d taken to Hawaii in July, they told me, long after coverings became optional on planes, some 80 percent of people on their flight had been masking up. This time, though? “We are like the odd man out.”

Months after the vanishing of most masking mandates, mask wearing has been relegated to a sharply shrinking sector of society. It has become, once again, a peculiar thing to do. "If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” President Joe Biden declared last month on 60 Minutes. That’s an overstatement, but not by much.

This trend may be long-standing on the population level, but for individuals—and particularly for those who still wear masks, such as my cousin and his wife—it can lead to moments of abrupt self-consciousness. “It feels like it’s something that now needs an explanation,” Fiona Lowenstein, a journalist and COVID long-hauler based in Los Angeles, told me. “It’s like showing up in a weird hat, and you have to explain why you’re wearing it.”

Now that most Americans can access COVID vaccines and treatments that slash the risk of severe disease and death, plenty of people have made informed decisions to relax on masking—and feel totally at ease with their behavior while paying others’ little mind. Some are no longer masking all the time but will do so if it makes others feel more comfortable; others are still navigating new patterns, trying to stay flexible amid fluctuating risk. Saskia Popescu, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at George Mason University, told me that she’s now more likely to doff her mask while dining or working out indoors, but that she leaves it on when she travels. And when she does decide to cover up, she said, she’s “definitely felt like more of an outlier.”

For some, like my cousin and his wife, that shift feels slightly jarring. For others, though, it feels more momentous. High-filtration masks are one of the few measures that can reliably tamp down on infection and transmission across populations, and they’re still embraced by many parents of newborns too young for vaccines, by people who are immunocompromised and those who care for them, and by those who want to minimize their risk of developing long COVID, which can’t be staved off by vaccines and treatments alone. Theresa Chapple-McGruder, a Chicago-area epidemiologist, plans to keep her family masking at least until her baby son is old enough to receive his first COVID shots. In the meantime, though, they’ve certainly been feeling the pressure to conform. “People often tell me, ‘It’s okay, you can take your mask off here,’” Chapple-McGruder told me; teachers at the local elementary school have said similar things to her young daughters. Meghan McCoy, a former doctor in New Hampshire who takes immunosuppressive medications for psoriatic arthritis and has ME/CFS, has also been feeling “the pressure to take the mask off,” she told me—at her kid’s Girl Scout troop meetings, during trips to the eye doctor. “You can feel when you’re the only one doing something,” McCoy said. “It’s noticeable.”

For Chapple-McGruder, McCoy, and plenty of others, the gradual decline in masking creates new challenges. For one thing, the rarer the practice, the tougher it is for still-masking individuals to minimize their exposures. “One-way masking is a lot less effective,” says Gabriel San Emeterio, a social worker at Hunter College who is living with HIV and ME/CFS. And the less common masking gets, the more conspicuous it becomes. “If most people met me, they wouldn’t know I was immunocompromised,” McCoy told me. “There’s no big sign on our foreheads that says ‘this person doesn’t have a functioning immune system.’” But now, she said, “masks have kind of become that sign.”

Aparna Nair, a historian and disability scholar at the University of Oklahoma who has epilepsy, told me that she thinks masks are becoming somewhat analogous to wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, and her own seizure-alert dog, Charlie: visible tools and technologies that invite compassion, but also skepticism, condescension, and invasive questions. During a recent rideshare, she told me, her driver started ranting that her mask was unnecessary and ineffective—just part of a “conspiracy.” His tone was so angry, Nair said, that she began to be afraid. She tried to make him understand her situation: I’ve been chronically ill for three decades; I’d rather not fall sick; better to be safe than sorry. But she said that her driver seemed unswayed and continued to mutter furiously under his breath for the duration of the ride. Situations of that kind—where she has to litigate her right to wear a mask—have been getting more common, Nair told me.

Masking has been weighed down with symbolic meaning since the start of the pandemic, with some calling it a sign of weakness and others a vehicle for state control. Americans have been violently attacked for wearing masks and also for not wearing them. But for a long time, these tensions were set against the backdrop of majority masking nationwide. Local mask mandates were in place, and most scientific experts wore and championed them in public. With many of those infrastructural supports and signals now gone, masking has rapidly become a minority behavior—and people who are still masking told me that that inversion only makes the tension worse.

San Emeterio, who wears a vented respirator when they travel, recently experienced a round of heckling from a group of men at an airport, who started to stare, laugh, and point. Oh my god, look at what he’s wearing, San Emeterio recalls the strangers saying. “They clearly meant for me to hear it,” San Emeterio told me. “It didn’t make me feel great.” Alex Mawdsley, the 14-year-old son of an immunocompromised physician in Chicago, is one of just a handful of kids at his middle school who are still masking up. Since the start of the academic year, he’s been getting flak from several of his classmates “at least once a week,” he told me: “They’re like ‘You’re not gonna get COVID from me’ and ‘Why are you still wearing that? You don’t need it anymore.’”

Alex’s mother, Emily Landon, told me she’s been shaken by the gawks and leers she now receives for masking. Even prior to the pandemic, and before she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and began taking immunosuppressive drugs, she considered herself something of a hygiene stan; she always took care to step back from the sneezy and sniffy, and to wipe down tray tables on planes. “And it was never a big deal,” she said.

It hasn’t helped that the donning of masks has been repeatedly linked to chaos and crisis—and their removal, to triumph. Early messaging about vaccines strongly implied that the casting away of masks could be a kind of post-immunization reward. In February, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky described masks as “the scarlet letter of this pandemic.”

To reclaim a mask-free version of “normalcy,” then, may seem like reverting to a past that was safer, more peaceful. The past few years “have been mentally and emotionally exhausting,” Linda Tropp, a social psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told me. Discarding masks may feel like jettisoning a bad memory, whereas clinging to them reminds people of an experience they desperately want to leave behind. For some members of the maskless majority, feeling like “the normal ones” again could even serve to legitimize insulting, dismissive, or aggressive behavior toward others, says Markus Kemmelmeier, a social psychologist at the University of Nevada at Reno.

It’s unclear how the masking discourse might evolve from here. Kemmelmeier told me he’s optimistic that the vitriol will fade as people settle into a new chapter of their coexistence with COVID. Many others, though, aren’t so hopeful, given the way the situation has unfolded thus far. “There’s this feeling of being left behind while everyone else moves on,” Lowenstein, the Los Angeles journalist and long-hauler, told me. Lowenstein and others are now missing out on opportunities, they told me, that others are easily reintegrating back into their lives: social gatherings, doctor’s appointments, trips to visit family they haven’t seen in months or more than a year.

Americans’ fraught relationship with masks “didn’t have to be like this,” Tropp told me—perhaps if the country had avoided politicizing the practice early on, perhaps if there had been more emphasis on collective acts of good. Other parts of the world, certainly, have weathered shifting masking norms with less strife.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman