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  • In random testing of positive samples in Hannover region in North Germany (about 1.5 million population) 43% of samples have been proven to be variant B.1.1.7 and 2.7% other mutated variants.

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    • Originally posted by kato View Post
      The delH69/V70 mutation specifically also does not occur in South African and Brazilian variants, but does appear in the Danish variant infecting minks. It is also a known mutation in other coronaviruses that successfully sidestep an immunoresponse in immunosuppressed patients.
      .
      According to Czech research the delH69/V70 mutation has independently congruently emerged in six different unrelated variants of Covid-19 so far:

      B.1.1.7 ("British variant")
      B.1.258 (Scotland, Slovakia, Czech Republic)
      B.1.258.5 (England)
      B.1.258.11 (Denmark)
      B.1.1.298 (Denmark)
      B.1.375 (USA)

      Research in the Czech Republic has shown that a"significant fraction" of mutant infections previously assumed to be B.1.1.7 are actually B.1.258. delH69/V70 in general is assumed by the Czech scientists to have doubled infectivity compared to original Covid-19.

      B.1.258 somewhat interestingly shows how international travel - and likely migration in this case - affects mutation as a variant confronts a target audience with a different immunocompromised background.

      1) an original variant was first identified in England in March 2020.
      2) a variant with a first mutation to evade immunoresponse (N439K) first identified in Romania in May 2020.
      3) a variant with this and a second mutation to evade immunoresponse (delH69/V70) found in England and Scotland with no definitive date.
      4) a variant with both mutations and additional minor substitutions denoting different subvariants first identified in England (4a) and Switzerland (4b, 4c) in August 2020.

      For 2) there are subvariants in Ireland and England, indicating it travelled back from Romania.
      For 3) there are subvariants in Scotland and England, indicating a separate travel event.

      Variant 4 (nicknamed B.1.258Delta) as the most successful in comparison to competing variants spread out:
      4a) from England has spread out (been found in) Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark.
      4b) from Switzerland has spread out (been found in) England, Wales, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands.

      The mutual presence indicates that active travel in particular between Switzerland, England and former Czechoslovakia was likely a relevant factor in its spread.



      Coincidentally also found this awesome website:
      https://cov-lineages.org/index.html
      It tracks where exactly worldwide which lineage has been identified. Example for B.1.258 : https://cov-lineages.org/lineages/lineage_B.1.258.html
      Numbers there are entirely based on actually sequenced genomes, i.e. not just simpler tests such as for variants in the Spike protein.

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      • Originally posted by kato View Post
        Results are officially not fully representative as they did not fully cover all positive tests taken in the week, nor were samples evaluated weighte to population. But they're very indicative - the data actually closely matches relevant full genome sampling, in which 5.73% of a far smaller sample set within the same week were evaluated to be variant B1.1.7 (British).
        Update two weeks later: B.1.1.7 now has an estimated 20-22% share among corona infections in Germany.

        This conforms to other countries, in which typically the B.1.1.7 share doubles every week.

        B.1.351 is still low, at 1.5% by comparison.

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        • Originally posted by kato View Post
          Update two weeks later: B.1.1.7 now has an estimated 20-22% share among corona infections in Germany.
          Baden-Württemberg state (where i live) ordered full sequencing of all positive PCR samples on January 30th. At the time they started the recognized share of mutations was 6%. Since then 19% of new samples have been VOC mutations.


          After dropping off with the end of the second wave infection numbers have leveled out at an incidence rate of about 44-45/per rolling 7 days per 100,000 people statewide. R value is right now fluctuating around exactly 1.0 (between about 0.96 and 1.03 last couple days). Guess the third wave is incoming.

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          • Just to mention it in general : B.1.525 has arrived on the global stage - with individual infections on a global scale, in total still only a couple hundred proven by now.

            B.1.525 ("Nigerian") combines traits of B1.1.7 (British) with B.1.351 (South-African) and first appeared in December. It is assumed to be more infectious than the British variant and considered to be potentially evading antibodies from previous infection or immunization.

            In Germany it was found in 0.5% of all positive samples between mid-January and mid-February.

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            • German RKI institute is projecting a third wave "higher than the second wave", with incidence rate nationwide to exceed 350/100k/week for the 14th Calendar Week (Easter, first week of April).

              The reason for this is British variant B.1.1.7. Since the second calendar week (3 months ago) new infections with mainstream variants fell by 19% every week - whereas B.1.1.7 doubled every two weeks. Currently - since mid-February we're at the point where the reduction in mainstream Covid and the increase in B.1.1.7 exactly outweigh each other, hence the seemingly stable plateau inbetween the 2nd and 3rd wave. B.1.1.7 currently accounts for 55% of new infections in Germany and has thus just taken over as the dominant variant.

              B.1.351, of much lesser concern, is remaining relatively stable at around 1% of new infections.

              According to RKI head Lothar Wieler infection rates are also rising massively among under-15-year-olds in Germany since mid-February.

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              • https://www.eurointelligence.com/column/vaccines

                23 January 2021
                Our worst policy error


                With its disastrous vaccine procurement policy, the EU committed the ultimate mistake: it has given people a rational reason to oppose European integration.

                By Wolfgang Münchau


                It looks like I might have been a bit premature when I predicted that austerity would go down as the EU’s worst policy error during my lifetime. In one sense this prediction from the time of the eurozone crisis will probably turn out to be correct. Austerity triggered economic divergence that will be hard to reverse.

                But the EU vaccine’s policy must be a close contender for that title. As of January 22, the EU had vaccinated only 1.89% of its population, whereas the UK vaccinated 9.32%. Moreover, the daily rate of increase is faster in the UK. UK vaccinations not only started earlier, the gap is still widening.

                You can't blame logistical errors. What happened is that the EU did not secure enough vaccines. That, in turn, slowed down the pass-through. The Commission's headline numbers are not deliveries. Already in November, the head of Moderna warned that the EU was dragging out negotiations. AstraZeneca, which is distributing the Oxford vaccine, said deliveries to the EU will take longer than previously anticipated. Pfizer, which distributes the German BioNTech vaccine, is now warning the EU of supply bottlenecks because of problems with a production site in Belgium.

                What happened here is that the EU did a Brexit trade deal with the pharma industry: it tried to lock in a perceived short-term price advantage at the expense of everything else. Instead of prioritising the speed and security of supplies at any price, the EU prioritised the price. The EU paid 24% less for the Pfizer vaccine than the US, for example. For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the price gap is 45%. The UK almost certainly paid a lot more. It is no wonder that the manufacturers are prioritising orders on a first-come, first-serve basis, and from countries that pay the full price. The price difference is macroeconomically irrelevant. But if vaccine shortages lead to longer lockdowns, the indirect effect of that short-sighted policy will be massive.

                At one point, the cost of this policy error will also be measurable in terms of human lives. This is not possible now because we don’t know the future spread of the virus. We know that the UK mutant has arrived on the continent, but has not yet unleashed its full pandemic force. In the most benign scenario, the current lockdown might prevent the worst. In the worst case scenario, the vaccination delay would be a calamity that could costs tens of thousands of lives.

                So why did EU governments shift responsibility for vaccination procurement to the EU in the first place? Angela Merkel reasoned that it would have strained EU cohesion if Germany had procured privileged supplies of the BioNTech vaccine. What she did not consider is that the EU is ill-equipped for this task. To this day, the EU's DNA is that of a producers' cartel. Its priority is not to secure supplies, but reduce costs and achieve some balance between French and German interests. Triangulation is what Brussels does for a living. Whatever-it-takes is not part of its culture.

                On a broader perspective, the vaccine disaster is the culmination of a trend that started with the Maastricht Treaty. Until then, the EU did only a few things well: the customs union, the Schengen travel zone, and to a lesser extent, the single market. The EU's competencies have progressively widened since, but the results are mostly disappointing. In the early 2000s, the EU obsessed about the Lisbon Agenda for structural reforms, which brought few concrete benefits. Nor did the Juncker investment programme a decade later. The vaccination disaster differs in only one respect: it will be blamed for the loss of human lives.

                There will undoubtedly be calls for resignations. But for me, the more important issue is the conclusions EU citizens will draw from it. For starters, the EU has just provided a hindsight argument in favour of Brexit. The UK would not have proceeded with vaccinations as quickly if it had subjected itself to the same policy. The last thing the EU ever wants to do is give people a rational, non-ideological reason for euroscepticism.

                It has just done that.
                There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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                • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                  By Wolfgang Münchau
                  Classical Keynesian btw, with all that entails. That "Eurointelligence" group was founded by him. Tends to be very EU-skeptic, especially whenever anything tangentially connected with Brexit is concerned (and the whole vaccine thing, after all, is all about Brexit). The Daily Express uses him as a main source regularly...

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                  • good context, and dated back in January -- but the glaring issues that the EU has had with vaccines is even more apparent now that US distribution is beginning to ramp up significantly.
                    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

                    Comment


                    • Rightly or wrongly, it can't b denied that the uk vs Europe vacine rollout is atleast temporarily damaging to the EU. Wolfgang's point is well made. Ultimately if we can't make a compelling case for the EU whereby such a mistake would significantly damage the whole thing than we have bigger problems.

                      But it is worth pointing out that small eu nations would not have been able to get themselves to the front of the line with regard vaccine nationalism. Can't say if the citizens know that. Obviously the brexiteers are delighted, but technically they have already left so the damage is already done, it just pisses off brussels that they get to feel good about themselves.

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                      • Originally posted by tantalus View Post
                        But it is worth pointing out that small eu nations would not have been able to get themselves to the front of the line with regard vaccine nationalism. Can't say if the citizens know that.
                        I've heard that sentiment quite explicitly stated from people living in some of those smaller nations (e.g. Finland).

                        There is however some dissonance about it too: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...e-distribution

                        Basically Austria - with support of Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic - is accusing that there's some sort of bazaar with secret negotiations resulting in in particular the Netherlands and Malta getting far more vaccine doses than appropriate proportionally by population. The Netherlands have already publicly rejected the accusation, while the EU has stated that the reason why e.g. Bulgaria, but also "other Eastern members" are receiving less doses is because they're ordering less than they could of the pricier mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and rather use the cheaper and easier-to-distribute stuff that everyone else is throwing in the garbage right now (AstraZeneca).

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                        • Third wave is hitting hard here.

                          Town of Schrozberg, about 6,000 people, about 100 km from me. Incidence rate of currently 1,200 - and rising, mostly because they "haven't filed all cases yet". Couple other towns around them are similarly high, e.g. Blaufelden at above 700, nearby larger town of Crailsheim (35,000 people) is hovering around 500. District-wide incidence rate is at around 300 - and mostly that low because the western half with the district capital isn't much affected yet. The area is rather rural.

                          British variant initially spread through kindergartens in the district (400 cases traced just to that part), then through the children went into families, then from there on into industry in Crailsheim and into Crailsheim's three central refugee housing areas.
                          • Entire district is now locked down with curfews and daytime "mandatory travel only" orders. Stores other than essential supply are closed again, essential supply now requires 20 m² space per customer on premise. Schools and kindergartens are closed.
                          • a mobile test station is moving through the district, with testing focusing on schoolkids, in order to reinforce local testing capacity. First places on the list are Schrozberg, Crailsheim and Blaufelden.
                          • In Schrozberg they issued a general mask order today, with surgical masks or N95 masks to be worn at all times outside (exceptions: doing sports alone, carrying a medical certificate or being under age 6). The mask order was drafted and passed with such urgency that the official version even has annotations made by hand with a pen.
                          • In Crailsheim they're gonna be going through business premises of local industry both this and next week checking for violations of hygiene requirements - e.g. employees not observing minimum distance, both during work and on breaks. If necessary closing down businesses.

                          Of course the virus ... or the news ... conveniently waited until after our state election last weekend, in which the conservative education minister promoting fully opening all schools only had her party suffering minor losses as their lead candidate (she has since "retired from politics", and her party is trying to save their minority spot continuing the Green-Conservative coalition government).
                          Last edited by kato; 19 Mar 21,, 16:52.

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                          • Originally posted by kato View Post
                            Third wave is hitting hard here.

                            Town of Schrozberg, about 6,000 people, about 100 km from me. Incidence rate of currently 1,200 - and rising, mostly because they "haven't filed all cases yet". Couple other towns around them are similarly high, e.g. Blaufelden at above 700, nearby larger town of Crailsheim (35,000 people) is hovering around 500. District-wide incidence rate is at around 300 - and mostly that low because the western half with the district capital isn't much affected yet. The area is rather rural.

                            British variant initially spread through kindergartens in the district (400 cases traced just to that part), then through the children went into families, then from there on into industry in Crailsheim and into Crailsheim's three central refugee housing areas.
                            • Entire district is now locked down with curfews and daytime "mandatory travel only" orders. Stores other than essential supply are closed again, essential supply now requires 20 m² space per customer on premise. Schools and kindergartens are closed.
                            • a mobile test station is moving through the district, with testing focusing on schoolkids, in order to reinforce local testing capacity. First places on the list are Schrozberg, Crailsheim and Blaufelden.
                            • In Schrozberg they issued a general mask order today, with surgical masks or N95 masks to be worn at all times outside (exceptions: doing sports alone, carrying a medical certificate or being under age 6). The mask order was drafted and passed with such urgency that the official version even has annotations made by hand with a pen.
                            • In Crailsheim they're gonna be going through business premises of local industry both this and next week checking for violations of hygiene requirements - e.g. employees not observing minimum distance, both during work and on breaks. If necessary closing down businesses.

                            Of course the virus ... or the news ... conveniently waited until after our state election last weekend, in which the conservative education minister promoting fully opening all schools only had her party suffering minor losses as their lead candidate (she has since "retired from politics", and her party is trying to save their minority spot continuing the Green-Conservative coalition government).
                            So you are showing kindergarten kids as being a strong vector for the British variant? Do you know how the virus affected kids of that age as in no physical affect other than being a carrier? Yet, here we have many demanding grades 1-6 to fully open. Only Asian-American parents are more than happy to keep their kids in remote learning given multiple generations in a house and the possibility of harassment by classmates.

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                            • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
                              Yet, here we have many demanding grades 1-6 to fully open. Only Asian-American parents are more than happy to keep their kids in remote learning given multiple generations in a house and the possibility of harassment by classmates.
                              School situation here:

                              Grades 5-6 fully opened on March 15th here - due to a pretty heavy fight over it between majority and minority partners in our state coalition government in the run-up to the election on the 14th.

                              The counter-move for the opening was requiring mandatory testing twice per week at schools for kids that age. Since the party opposing the opening won further measures are now being implemented step-by-step, such as requiring medical masks for schoolkids in grades 1-6 (instead of "community masks"). Schools can also switch back to cohorts for grades 5 and 6 if they see it as necessary, i.e. with classes split into groups that alternate one week remote learning with one week presence. There are currently plans under discussion to switch fully back to distance learning for grades 5 and 6 in districts with an incidence rate above 200.

                              For school kids in grades 1 to 4 presence learning is offered, but the legal requirement to attend schooling is currently inactive since July 2020 (ie. kids may be kept at home - in several surveys it was found that 1% of parents use this option). For school kids in grade 5-7 "emergency schooling" (presence) is offered if both parents work (used for about one-third of kids before the opening of grades 5-6) - rules for this are currently pretty loose, i.e. not restricted to e.g. critical infrastructure jobs and also including e.g. teenage parents who are in graduating classes.

                              The opening supposedly led to an immediate rise in cases among kids, with numbers claimed at 20% of case numbers since the opening - there's some propaganda spin involved in that of course. Among cases reported this monday apparently 13% were children and teenagers.

                              Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
                              So you are showing kindergarten kids as being a strong vector for the British variant?
                              Since January 1st there have been 1,216 "clustered outbreaks of VoC cases" with 5,418 cases involved in the state. 98% of VoC cases were British variant.

                              It seems like among certain groups in these outbreaks more cases are involved, i.e. the virus spreads further within that group before the outbreak is detected:
                              • general population: 1064 outbreaks with 4376 cases (4.1 cases per outbreak)
                              • care homes for elderly: 34 outbreaks with 146 cases (4.3 cases per outbreak)
                              • schools for older kids: 27 outbreaks with 133 cases (4.9 cases per outbreak) - note: ca age 6-10 / grades 1-4
                              • kindergartens and nurseries: 91 outbreaks with 763 cases (8.4 cases per outbreak) - note: ca age 0-5
                              The caseload for kindergartens is also remarkable in that these outbreaks make up 14% of all VoC cases - while that also includes employees at kindergartens as part of the clusters the children of that age only account for 4.9% of the population, and that includes the 0-1 year olds that tend to be not in kindergarten yet.

                              With regard to asymptomatic runs as previously assumed for children it is rather notable that for elementary school kids the case rate per outbreak is far closer to the general population, i.e. it seems these cases tended to run as symptomatic as in general. Younger children seem to remain asymptomatic in most cases, with outbreaks rather detected only when employees are tested.
                              Last edited by kato; 23 Mar 21,, 12:34.

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                              • Originally posted by kato View Post
                                Younger children seem to remain asymptomatic in most cases, with outbreaks rather detected only when employees are tested.
                                OK, as I thought young children tend to be silent asymptomatic carriers much like I was although I stayed out of the public sphere. What is interesting is that we are arguing about going back, not going back, elementary school is safe, elementary school is not safe without in depth safety procedures, and over there in Germany there one can see in real time how it can move through children into staff yet that info is not on the radar here. That kind of info backs up the fears I hear from my patient teachers in their 50s and 60s who have husbands at home somewhat older and some with pre-existing conditions. They don't like remote teaching but also don't like taking a risk with their loved ones either.

                                My son's elementary school of 1-6 started their hybrid schedule last week and already had two cases at the school. Who is not known as the Admin hasn't released that info at this time. My son elected to stay in remote learning till the end of the school year in June.

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