“In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season.” CDC: Lab Alert
The PCR test was used all over the world to detect “cases” of COVID. Implied in the CDC notice is that the test detected influenza as well. Which would explain why there was no “flu” this past flu season. If you tested positive on the PCR you were regarded as a case of COVID but you might well have had plain old flu.
[Update: My 20 year old bio-chemist, lawyer and reader, son, Sam, points out that the CDC is pulling one PCR test of 20 or so which are approved. PCR lives! (Still far more cycles than there should be, but he has a point.)]
From Israel, a heavily vaccinated country, we have the Prime Minister stating, “We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less…the Delta mutation leaping forward around the world, including in vaccinated countries such as Britain, Israel and the US.”
In BC, having seen our numbers steadily drop heading into summer, our case count is rising again. Given the lifting of virtually all public health restrictions this is not surprising but it is a bit worrying.
The “vaccine will fix everything” strategy is examined by a professor in this Twitter thread. (h/t SDA)
On this beautiful summer day (though some mention the whole drought thing) it is worth thinking a little about what happens next with COVID. The good news on vaccines is that, so far, while they do not stop infection or transmission they do seem to reduce the severity of the symptoms for people who are infected. And, yes, it may well be that even without the jab those people would have had mild infections, but the hospitalization and death numbers seem to be encouraging. The jabs don’t seem to do as well against the variants but that is not yet a huge problem.
At the moment there is a fair bit of media enthusiasm for assorted coercive measures to be taken against the unvaxed. Vaccine passports are all the rage in the dimmer reaches of Ontario and Quebec and Manitoba seems to have implemented such a scheme. It is obvious nonsense from a direct public health perspective because the vaccinated an be infected and spread infection, but it seems to satisfy the more basic urge to “punish” the non-conforming.
The back and forth on testing, case rates, the need for non-pharmacological measures, the efficacy of vaccines and the safety of those vaccines, not to mention treatment and prevention options can make for interesting Twitter threads but there is a real flu season coming up shortly. To prepare for that season is something everyone, every family, can start doing right now.
If COVID and the flu continue to circulate, and there is no reason to believe they will not, jabs not withstanding, there will be non-medical consequences which may be more severe than the illnesses themselves.
Right at the moment, supply chains in BC and in Canada generally, are holding up quite well. However, they have been under considerable stress and the dislocations caused by gov’t reaction to increased case counts could be severe. It would be prudent for families to stock up on non-perishable essential goods. (Looking at the current crop conditions in Canada and much of the US it would be prudent for economic reasons as well.) Simple things like rice, flour, pasta, sugar, salt and beans are a starting point. Canned goods are good to have. A well stocked freezer – on sale ground beef, on sale frozen fruits and vegetables – may come in handy. And, why yes, toilet paper and paper towels are great to have. Cash – and while 100’s a lovely they can be hard to spend if things go sideways. 20’s are more practical.
Believe it or not, now is likely the time to buy PPE – mask, gloves, hand sanitizers. And, yes, indeed, I don’t think any of those items made a speck of difference in the first waves. However, right now they are practically being given away and it is not at all out of the question that the Phi variant or some such will be surface contact transmissable.
Stock up on your vitamins and supplements: Vit D & C, quercetin, zinc. Ivermectin if you can get it. There are plenty around at the moment, that could change.
Now, normally, this is the moment where people say, “And get the vax!” I am still waiting to see how well it performs and what side effects emerge. Your mileage may vary and you may not alreadly lead a largely self-issolated life. You do you.
My own scenarios for the Fall and Winter range from a nothingburger where, like the Great Influenza of 1918, COVID burns itself out and we see no substantial third wave, all the way to “the vaccine has compromised vaxers immunity and, like the ferrets, the vaccinated are all very sick and many of them die.” Being neither a virologist nor an epidemiologist, I have no idea what is going to happen come “seasonal upper respiratory virus” season. And I have no idea what the government/public health reaction is going to be. My only thought is to be prepared for the worst.
Being able to hunker down for a few weeks is never a bad thing. Depending on the severity of the Fall wave, you may want to close your door to the world for a month without the government telling you to.
Meanwhile, good long walks, trimming that last 5, well, 15 really, pounds, avoiding MSM are all useful things to do right now.
With luck, COVID will be a bad memory by Christmas. I hope so.