COVID-19 is changing and we cannot let our guard down. Keep wearing masks.

Even if you have recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Even if you have gotten the vaccine.

Even with the vaccines we have now, there is a chance that new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) variants could evade capture by the antibodies it causes us to produce. The article anthropomorphized the virus and while it is misleading it does paint the picture. Each time it gets into a new host cell it can wind up making a copying mistake and they could result in new variants that can survive and go on to infect others.

This could be one of the variants that has been reinfecting people who previously had overcome COVID-19. They just weren't able to recognize and eradicate this version.

This is not to say the vaccines are bad. They are quite effective - at helping us kill some COVID-19 variants - but those vaccines have been in development for several months, ie. targeting older versions of COVID-19.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/12/health/coronavirus-mutation-south-africa-variant/index.html?utm_source=twCNNi&utm_term=link&utm_content=2021-01-13T01%3A09%3A20&utm_medium=social

A quote from the end of the article "It just goes back to the first rule of virology: don't underestimate your virus."

So far, at least Pfizer's vaccine appears to work against E484K (this new variant). But again, I stress, THIS variant but maybe not new ones to come along.

https://abc7ny.com/pfizer-vaccine-covid-coronavirus-variant-uk/9529275/


damn viruses.

what was God thinking?


By the way, if folks are wondering what things like E484K, K417N and Q493R mean, it's a little like military abbreviations. The first letter is the original amino acid, the number is the position in the chain of amino acids that form the protein, and the second letter is the new amino acid caused by the mutation. 

A mutation (point mutation) of a single RNA base can change what amino acid a codon (a triplet of bases [A, C, U, or G]) codes for when the mRNA chain is translated into a polypeptide (chain of amino acids).

So:

E484K - Glutamic acid at position 484 is now Lysine

K417N - Lysine at position 417 is now Asparagine

Q493R - Glutamine at position 493 is now Arginine

Each of the amino acids has a single letter code, kinda like how the 50 states were given a two-letter abbreviation (TN instead of Tenn, PA instead of Penn, etc.)


I'm having a harder and harder time sleeping.


bikefixed said:

I'm having a harder and harder time sleeping.

 Me too. Curious if you just chalk it up to anxiety or something else?


No, existential dread about the pandemic, sedition, partisan bitterness, economic distress. That and the ongoing sequelae of a TBI. Other than that, I can't quite put a finger on it.


Can't "like" your post, bikefixed, just want to sympathize.  It really is a lot to handle. 


Glad to see you here, bikefixed. You've been a huge asset to the community for a long time. Hope things get better.


@bikefixed

Ditto the above posters. I did appreciate your sense of humor in that last sentence. At least I'm hoping it was humor, because I could use a bit more sleep myself.


OP has bought the oft-repressed  worries and fears of so many of us out in the open.  Thank you for that.  


By all means if you are inside with others with poor ventilation, keep wearing those masks.  But DO NOT wear them outside.   


notupset said:

By all means if you are inside with others with poor ventilation, keep wearing those masks.  But DO NOT wear them outside.   

 why not?  last i heard they are required outside in NJ when you can't socially distance.


Well, it doesn't do anything except virtue signal when you wear one outside.   Ick    

You can't get Covid from someone outside unless you are in their face for a while  

So don't sing or shout next to people who might have Covid when you are outside  

But for God's sake, don't wear a mask walking down the street or running or walking in the park   


In some parks, like the Essex County park system, mask are required.  Following the rules is not virtue signalling.  Why the overkill here with ALL CAPs and "for God's sake."?  So maybe some people are being overly cautious.  Why is that agitating you?


notupset said:

Well, it doesn't do anything except virtue signal when you wear one outside.   Ick    

You can't get Covid from someone outside unless you are in their face for a while  

So don't sing or shout next to people who might have Covid when you are outside  

But for God's sake, don't wear a mask walking down the street or running or walking in the park   

 You sound upset.


Although it is much less risk, there is evidence of outdoor transmission. So wearing a mask outside is still protective -- not virtue signaling:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/09/10/2020.09.04.20188417.1.full.pdf


I wear a mask when I walk my dog.  If it does nothing, that’s fine.  If it does nothing but make me and other walkers feel more protected, that’s fine.  If it actually ends up protecting me or someone else, that’s great.  It doesn’t hurt me to wear it.  It causes me literally no inconvenience at all (in fact right now it helps keep my face warm).

If you have a problem with me wearing a mask, well that is just added stress to your life isn’t it?  


I encourage people to wear masks, even outdoors. Or at least consciously move away from people you pass on the sidewalk/street if you are not wearing one. Perhaps notupset did/has not read reports that variants can become more likely to spread, like the one recently characterized from the UK that is now popping up here. Random mutations could make it somehow more likely to stick to our nasal, oral and bronchial epithelial linings. That would imply a lower concentration of virus particles floating about on the breeze is necessary for transmission. I sure hope not but it isn't impossible. A rapidly changing virus is unpredictable and the more hosts it infects, the more chances for some random mutation causing a dangerous shift.

And what about our likelihood of always putting that mask on BEFORE entering an enclosed space if we're not wearing it? Do you have it around your neck for easy access or is it in a pocket?

I know it is a real pain and I still wander around in disbelief at how we must wear these things but I want people to stay alive and so I do it.


sprout said:

Although it is much less risk, there is evidence of outdoor transmission. So wearing a mask outside is still protective -- not virtue signaling:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/09/10/2020.09.04.20188417.1.full.pdf

 There is nothing in this study that suggests passing by someone on the street or in the park will put them at risk.  Outdoors is virtually not risky at all, and the people who got sick from being outdoors were milling around and circulating with people.    Maybe wearing your mask walking isn't virtue signaling, but there is not science that suggests people get sick that way.   I hope no one is out there shaming people who are walking without a mask or walking to the other side of the street or something.  


I go to the dog park every day.  It's often crowded, people stay there for a while, and sometimes form little talk circles.  In that setting, masks make sense and almost all dog park visitors wear them (and, again, it's a rule). 

I find that these days, when people approach each other on sidewalks, especially when one person is unmasked, one of them either walks into the street or crosses.  I don't view it as shaming.  It is often the unmasked person who does it.   It's not a self-righteous statement. 



notupset said:

Well, it doesn't do anything except virtue signal when you wear one outside.   Ick    

You can't get Covid from someone outside unless you are in their face for a while  

So don't sing or shout next to people who might have Covid when you are outside  

But for God's sake, don't wear a mask walking down the street or running or walking in the park   

 you are a danger to others.  you CAN get covid outside with a mask and social distancing...masks and distancing just lower the chance greatly.

it is okay to not wear a mask outside IF you are NOT in a crowd and CAN distance from those not in your family.  The other day I tried to go to Best Buy (vauxhall). There were 2 lines waiting to get in (1 returns, 1 shopping I think).  People were standing practically on top of each other.  If any of those people within 6 feet had covid, the others would be at HIGH risk of catching covid.

There was a scientific story of a woman got was exposed for 5 minutes from 20 feet away inside a restaurant.

There was another story on how the breeze spread the virus.  While most of the time air flow helps dissipate, it can also blow it to other people who become infected.

there is no magic 6 foot wall the blocks all germs and germs don't magically disappear outside.

they say 15 minutes total exposure puts you at risk...so if all you are doing is passing people outside....you should be okay...but not all people outside are just walking through.  If you are going to be in any type of group (outside close friends/family) outside, you need to wear a mask....that includes a crowd in the park (if you can't distance).

I have no problem with people not wearing a mask through the parking lot.  I don't put mine on until I get out of the parking lot and onto the walkway...but I also park and get on the walkway well away from the door with no people around.  My mask is around my neck so I can quickly pull it up if I am nearing  others.  I trip easy and have other health issues that make functioning with a mask more difficult.  I don't  want to risk falling in a parking lot where a car might come through and not see me.

I don't cross streets, but I do step as far to the side as I can.

in a park, i would want to be at least 20 feet from others to go maskless if I was sitting on a bench reading.....it would also depend on the number of people in the park...if there were hundreds walking through, i would want a mask even while distancing...if i only say a few people passing a mask wouldn't really be necessary


I don’t wear a mask when I walk my dog, but that is because for every ten times I take her on a walk I might see another pedestrian one time, and it’s easy to cross the street.

When I go to the supermarket I put my mask on before I leave the car.  There are lots of people in the lot, there are congregation spots (getting a cart, walkway to the entrance, cart corrals) so waiting until I’m at the threshold to put my mask on might technically be following the mandate, but it is taking a risk I’m not comfortable with.

My neighbor from when I lived in Maplewood caught COVID over the summer, confirmed.  She wears a mask when around others.  Chances are she still has enough antibodies that she can’t catch it, but why take a chance.  We don’t know at what point someone is able to catch it a second time.  She isn’t virtual signaling, she’s taking a simple step to try to do her part to stop the spread.


wendyn said:

I wear a mask when I walk my dog.  If it does nothing, that’s fine.  If it does nothing but make me and other walkers feel more protected, that’s fine.  If it actually ends up protecting me or someone else, that’s great.  It doesn’t hurt me to wear it.  It causes me literally no inconvenience at all (in fact right now it helps keep my face warm).

If you have a problem with me wearing a mask, well that is just added stress to your life isn’t it?  

 Completely agree. I think other people appreciate that you are trying to protect them as well as yourself. 


sprout said:

Although it is much less risk, there is evidence of outdoor transmission. So wearing a mask outside is still protective -- not virtue signaling:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/09/10/2020.09.04.20188417.1.full.pdf

 I’ve been outdoors and approached by a maskless person getting waaaaaaay too close. I think a mask can be a visual reminder of the need for social distancing. 


birdwatcher said:

sprout said:

Although it is much less risk, there is evidence of outdoor transmission. So wearing a mask outside is still protective -- not virtue signaling:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/09/10/2020.09.04.20188417.1.full.pdf

 I’ve been outdoors and approached by a maskless person getting waaaaaaay too close. I think a mask can be a visual reminder of the need for social distancing. 

 reminders don't seem to work.....people can't even manage to distance 6 feet in a store with the floor marked in the checkout line....if you still need reminders at this point, you have serious issues.


This seems to be consistent with what I've been seeing in recent days re Covid peaking.  I hope its true.  Im wondering, however, if the spread of the more infectious variations changes the picture:

https://www.mysuncoast.com/2021/01/16/ihme-model-shows-covid-currently-hitting-its-peak/.


Just saw this on Nate Silver, which goes to my question about the affect of the new strain(s) on peak and decline of the virus:  https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/1350800165419048962?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet


Re masks and parking lots - there are signs at all Summit Medical Group facilities (or at least the several that I've been to) that say masks are required throughout their facility INCLUDING in the parking lots.


notupset said:

sprout said:

Although it is much less risk, there is evidence of outdoor transmission. So wearing a mask outside is still protective -- not virtue signaling:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/09/10/2020.09.04.20188417.1.full.pdf

 There is nothing in this study that suggests passing by someone on the street or in the park will put them at risk.  Outdoors is virtually not risky at all, and the people who got sick from being outdoors were milling around and circulating with people.    Maybe wearing your mask walking isn't virtue signaling, but there is not science that suggests people get sick that way.   I hope no one is out there shaming people who are walking without a mask or walking to the other side of the street or something.  

Apparently, you are willing place a bet on your own life, and the lives of your loved ones, that being maskless outdoors in casually passing situations is 100% safe.

Many others, including myself, are not willing (or feel no need) to place that bet.

I was in Paterson yesterday, and almost everyone I passed on the sidewalks, parking lots, and in the parks, was wearing a mask (even little kids). It's not some SOMA 'virtue signaling' thing.




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