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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 08:56PM

I just heard a Canadian physician say our problem here is vaccine hesitancy, not refusal. That gives me hope that many people can still read or hear something that will prompt them to be vaccinated, hopefully soon.

In my thread about the Alberta premier asking people to get vaccinated “for the love of God”, there were some excellent replies about the larger issues of viruses, diseases, variants and vaccines. I’ve taken those posts and put them here in a separate thread as they’re instructive far over and above the one Alberta issue I focused on.

As Lot’s Wife commented in that thread, “It would be nice to get the input, additions or clarifications, from those among us who are real experts in the field.”

summer started off the wider discussion I’m focusing on here, writing the following:

“I looked up the timeline for the Sabin oral polio vaccine, which was licensed in the U.S. in 1963 (like Covid, polio is also a virus.) From the time that it was licensed, it took more than 30 years to eradicate polio in the Americas, nearly 40 in Europe, and more than 50 years to get polio nearly eradicated worldwide.

“I am starting to think that the eradication of Covid may be a long haul as well.”

Lot’s Wife answered:

“The percentage of a population that must be vaccinated to gain herd immunity depends on the speed with which the disease spreads. That speed is measured by R(o), which is the number of unsuspecting people whom any one individual will infect. With the original COVID, the R(o) was around 2.5 and implied a required vaccination rate of something like 60-80%.

“Some of the subsequent variants have much higher R(o)s. Delta's, for instance, is somewhere between 5 and 8. If that is correct, herd immunity will require something closer to 100% vaccination. I don't think that is possible in today's world, so herd immunity may no longer be in the cards.”

Lot’s Wife again:

“There's a second scenario besides eventual conquest.

“Polio is a conservative virus; it is relatively stable over time, which is why there hasn't been a need for radically new vaccines since the 1950s and 1960s. Such a virus is relatively easy to vanquish.

“There are other viruses, however, that are unstable and mutate so fast that they cannot be conquered. Influenza is one of those. Every year (well, twice a year) scientists must design new vaccines to catch up with the virus's mutations. Some years the scientists guess right and the vaccines work well, sometimes they are not as effective and people only get partial protection. So people have no choice but to live with annual shots and frequent bouts of the illness.

“COVID looks more like influenza than polio, as evidenced by the rapid emergence of new variants and the diminution in the efficacy of existing vaccines. I don't think the odds are high of eradicating COVID given the speed of its mutations and its prevalence in parts of the world that are both densely populated and medically backward. So my hunch is that it's too late to eradicate the disease.

“If that's right, then we'll eventually fall into a pattern of periodic vaccinations that are more or less potent against the latest COVID strain/s. It will be like a very dangerous version of the flu. That's the price of having failed to nip it in the bud either in Wuhan, before China let millions of people travel for the New Year, or soon after its spread to other parts of the world.”


“The one hope is that it's thought that the Spanish flu eventually mutated into a milder strain. However given the "cleverness" of the Covid virus in mutating into more virulent strains, that scenario doesn't seem likely anytime soon.”


“The ideal situation would be the emergence of a variant that is far more communicable than the other strains and yet whose symptoms are mild. That would vitiate COVID and save us all this trouble. But if the milder strain were less communicable than more virulent variants, it would die out.”

Brother of Jerry:

“A couple of points:

“The formula for % required for herd immunity is pretty simple (as formulas go :)

“Herd immunity threshold = 1 - 1/R0

“So if R0 is 5, herd immunity is 1 - 1/5 = .8 = 80%

“If R0 is 8, herd immunity starts at 1 - ⅛ = .875 = 87.5%

“Measles has a ferocious R0 of about 18 if I recall correctly, so herd immunity is 94.4%. Damn near everyone needs to be vaccinated to stop measles.

“The hard part of figuring herd immunity is coming up with the correct value for R0 in the first place. Plus, R0 can change over time, as it has with Covid. Delta variant has a higher R0.

“As for eradicating covid, I'm pretty sure that is not possible. Polio and smallpox were viruses that were so specialized to humans that they could not naturally infect any other animals. Therefore, if you can eradicate the virus in humans, job done - it's eradicated.

“I think various other animals can be infected with covid. A variant may eventually arise that is both more contagious than other variants, pushing them out of the human population, and can only be caught by humans. Then it can be eradicated. In the meantime, we get to pass it back and forth between ourselves and other animals, which is part of why influenza is still around.”

Lot’s Wife:

“On R(o) and herd immunity, the more conservative experts want to build in a cushion in case the estimates are too low. The figures I presented, including the "nearly 100%" prediction, are from Osterholm, who's obviously worried that the R(o) calculations may be too optimistic. An ounce of prevention. . .

“Second, I am not aware of any evidence that the COVID variants emerged from animals. It appears at first glance that the virus is surprisingly unstable within human populations. It may be that the influenza-type interaction between birds, pigs, and humans is not necessary for COVID to mutate lightning fast.

“I like your reference to measles, a disease whose R(o) is too high for eradication to be practically possible. Given the problems inherent in such a large global human population, an R(o) of 10 might be too much insofar as it's impossible to get 90% of humans vaccinated. Polio, after all, is still with us. That's the worst-case scenario for COVID, and we are getting closer to it all the time.”


>Polio, after all, is still with us.

“The CDC says that of the three variants of Polio, two have been eradicated. "The last evidence of wild poliovirus type 1 transmission in Nigeria was in September 2018, leaving only two polio-endemic countries (having never interrupted the transmission of indigenous wild poliovirus type 1), which are Afghanistan and Pakistan."

“This website was linked by the CDC. It lists 39 known cases worldwide of Polio as of Sept. 2, 2021.

Lot’s Wife:

“Pakistan and Afghanistan are great examples of countries in which their own governments' writs do not run. There's little chance of getting control of the virus while there is so much instability there.

“Measles is still with us, too, of course. BoJ puts the R(o) there at 18, which is the high range of the estimates (12-18). But if we take his number, a vaccination rate of 94% would produce herd immunity. If you take the lower calculation of 12, the required rate would be 92%. Empirically, I don't think either is achievable.

“Your suggestion of a uniquely communicable but symptomatically mild variant is, I suspect, the most promising, albeit remote, possibility.”


“For the sake of argument, I also looked up measles, which dates back to the 10th century. At the turn of the 20th century, measles killed about 6,000 people in the U.S. per year, Per the CDC, the first effective, licensed vaccine was available in 1963. Measles was considered eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 through widespread vaccination efforts, although there have been a couple of outbreaks since.

“A CDC linked website:

“ETA: You might very well be correct that a high vaccination rate for Covid might very well be unachievable in the current political climate. I'm starting to wonder if a more hard line approach might be required, i.e. employers requiring the vaccine for employment.”

That was the end of the discussion I wanted to highlight from my previous thread.

At the end (in response to a secondary issue for my purposes here) Lot’s Wife made a comment that summarizes the crucial points by saying:

“With a little luck you can knock off an emerging disease if you hit it early and hard but the odds of success go down the longer you wait. We waited a long time with COVID.”

Yes indeed, a long time.

On another note, I’ve been wanting to say a big thank you to CZ who has given us space and leeway to discuss all the many and varied facets of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It may at first seem to be off-topic from Mormonism, the subject of this forum. But it isn’t because it involves research, reason, logic, rational debate and deep thought (the latter in particular to wrench a person’s affiliation from an idea or a group to which they may be illogically or mistakenly or unthinkingly wedded. Besides, as I’ve often said, to me the most intriguing facet of Mormonism is that absolutely every topic on earth seems to apply to it in one way or another. It keeps the subject interesting indeed. Certainly much more so than any SM I ever attended, not all that many in number, comparative to the bulk of RfM posters certainly, but as many as I could stand before I just walked away. I was lucky, nobody ever called me to come back. Good riddance, I can imagine them saying. Because. Questions. They don't like questions.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 09:33PM

Thanks for your summary, Nightingale. I, too, am grateful that we can discuss Covid here. I remember a board member here sounding the alarm about Covid long before most people in the U.S. were worried about it.

I wonder if the Covid vaccine can be folded into other vaccines, i.e. the MMR, the MMRV, or the flu vaccine. We have to find a way to make it routine and unremarkable.

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Posted by: skeptic_9999 ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 11:09AM

I doubt that the problem is plain ignorance. You can see this in the aggressiveness of the mask-= and vac deniers.

There is something else going on--something political. And interestingly, it's "artificially" political, in that the underlying issue really has no honest political dimension.

After all, you can see in 5 seconds that literally hundreds of millions of folks have tkaen the vaccine and are doing fine.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 10:35PM

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 10:44PM

"maybe trump supporters are taking the horse medicine because they want to be stable geniuses"

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 10:50PM

That horse has left the stable.

(Sorry, mean, but I couldn't resist the pun, that's all, no political comment).

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 11:29PM

That ship has created a monster that has come home to roost between a rock and the deep blue sea.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 06:18PM

I thought you were seeing yourself out?

Is this a seasonal thing…or a seasonable thing?

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 11:11PM

Lively thread, if we are on page 2 already!

Interesting thing about the herd immunity formula is that it is pretty sensitive to R0 (the 0 is supposed to be a subscript, but we are operating in a textually impoverished environment here :) -- it is senseive to R0 when R0 is close to 1. In fact, if R0 is 1 or below, the amount of vaccine needed for herd immunity is 0%, which means you don't need a vaccine at all. The disease will naturally die out.

OTOH, for large R0 values, a fairly large swing in R0 changes the % immunity needed for herd immunity very little. So for measles, if you take R0 as 12 or 18, you need 92% or 94% immunity respectively. In either case, since there are always a few percent of people who can't be vaccinated because of compromised immune systems (chemotherapy or whatever), very nearly everyone else needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

I'm not an epidemiologist, and I didn't even play one on television, though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once. As I understand it, we in the US do have herd immunity against measles. That vaccination is mandatory. A few years ago there were several outbreaks in California, and the legislature and the public health people about had a collective heart attack. California had some sort of exemption for getting that vaccine. I don't know the official nomenclature, but it boiled down to "if you don't want to get it for religious, personal, or philosophical reasons, you don't have to".

The reason for the collective heart attack was that they knew there were groups of people who were well below the herd immunity levels in CA, even if the overall state average was high enough. If an outbreak happened among one of the low vaccination groups, things could get out of hand very quickly. Exonential growth will always get out of hand, given enough time. If the exponent is in the double digits (R0 is the exponent in exponential growth of infection) the infection will get out of hand with blinding speed.

Anyway, I don't recall all the details. Perhaps a Californian paid more attention to them and can enlighten us. What I do recall is that the legislature basically said no more touchy-feely exemptions. Unless a child has a health reason for not being vaccinated against measles, vaccination is mandatory, period. All the personal choice rhetoric got unceremoniously defenestrated.

BTW, I used the figure of 18 for R0 for measles because that's what I saw used in the Main Stream Media. Ya just can't trust those guys. They can't resist spicing up a story. ;)

One additional item LW brought up. The covid variants did not come from animals AFAIK, but the original outbreak did, either directly, or via the Wuhan lab. There have been minks and other animals that have become infected. Like swine flu and bird flu, we will be susceptible to catching covid from an animal host as long as there are animal hosts around.

A second "one additional point". On Sicty Minutes tonight a researcher was interviewed whose group is working on a general corona virus vaccine that hopefully will be effective against any and all corona viruses. They are hoping for a five year timeline. It could of course crash and burn, but if it does work, that would be cool beyond words.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 11:50PM

It's not just California. Basically any big city and many impoverished rural areas in the US has pockets of people who do not have the basic vaccinations. To the extent that the standard childhood and adult vaccines are not provided free of charge, poor people won't get them. Since the United States is unique among rich countries in not having national health care that offers those medications without question and without charge, it is also uniquely exposed to a range of infectious diseases that don't threaten Japan, South Korea, or Western Europe.

Regarding the Sixty Minutes interview, which I did not see, I hope it was not Geert Vanden Bossche's group. That guy (who is granted credibility because he was with Gates for a few years) has been arguing for a "universal" coronavirus vaccine for seven or eight years on the basis of all sorts of strange scientific "assumptions" (I read an article by him in which he used that word eight times). More recently he has been one of the greatest purveyors of misinformation about the COVID vaccines, ranking right up there with Joseph Mercola.

Those who embrace GVB choose to ignore his obvious conflict of interest. In short, no one has funded his idea and he has been condemning the existing COVID vaccines and begging for money to pursue his own variant dream.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2021 11:51PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 01:30AM

The death rate for measles before the vaccine was quite lower as well, about 8,000 per year in the U.S. Compare that to Covid with more than 400,000 deaths in the first year. We are going to have to give Covid vaccinations as much attention as we've given to measles vaccinations if we're to have any hope.

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Posted by: Regular Update ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 04:44PM

Israel is now demanding people take their FOURTH shot. They are currently switching off the vaccine passes if you haven't had the third one and no doubt the fourth, when it comes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2021 06:14PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 05:02PM

Here’s a good article from Sept 1 about what’s occurring in Israel:


“Israel has so far fully vaccinated around 62 per cent of its population. But that still leaves a significant number of people unvaccinated, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician and member of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine task force.

"You've got a million unvaccinated folks, plus a very contagious delta variant, plus opportunities for the virus to be transmitted," he said. "So you can't get surprised that there's a big rise in cases."

"It seems that some mistakes were made when we thought we won the war, and now we understand we only won the battle. The war is still here, and we have to continue and to explain and push all the people to get vaccinated," Israel's coronavirus czar, Prof. Salman Zarka, said in a recent interview with the Times.

"... fear that a rise in severe infections would overwhelm the health-care system, prompted Israel to become the first country to launch a booster shot campaign, with a third dose going to those aged 60 and over. Boosters are now available to everyone aged 30 or older."

Apparently, Israel withdrew safety measures related to COVID-19 (i.e. mandatory masks) and then the virulent delta variant struck. Now previous mandates have been re-instituted.
Simple, reasonable explanation for what’s happening, as has been mentioned and explained here a few times recently.

I don't see anything, in this article at least, that mentions that Israel is "demanding people take their FOURTH shot".

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2021 05:02PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 05:17PM

The Times of Israel, Sept 6, 2021


“Israel’s national coronavirus czar on Saturday called for the country to begin making preparations to eventually administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

“Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,” Salman Zarka told Kan public radio.

“He did not specify when fourth vaccine shots could eventually be administered.

“Zarka also said that the next booster shot may be modified to better protect against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, such as the highly infectious Delta strain.

“Zarka made similar comments in an interview with The Times of Israel last month.

“It seems that if we learn the lessons from the fourth wave, we must consider the [possibility of subsequent] waves with the new variants, such as the new one from South America,” he said at the time.

“And thinking about this and the waning of the vaccines and the antibodies, it seems every few months — it could be once a year or five or six months — we’ll need another shot.”

“Zarka said that he expects that by late 2021 or early 2022, Israel will be giving shots that are especially adapted to cope better with variants.”


Again, nothing about "demanding" or "forcing" a fourth vaccine.

If vaccines are mandated as a necessary public health measure I guess that is some people's definition of being forced.

Here in B.C. we have mandates for certain types of work and venues (i.e. workers in long term care facilities must be vaccinated) for the protection of vulnerable people. This is due to the fact that a high percentage of the COVID deaths in our province occurred in long term care facilities and many of the cases were caused by the virus being brought in by a visitor or a worker. Visitors could be banned but workers not so much.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2021 05:21PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 05:06PM

>>>This is all information, not "misinformation". Good luck trying to post it on Facebook where the thought police will censor you.

Well there's most your problem right there. Facebook is not the place to get the facts unaltered by opinions by people who barely understand mitosis from meiosis.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 05:09PM

>Israel is now demanding people take their FOURTH shot.

"Israel’s national coronavirus czar on Saturday called for the country to begin making preparations to eventually administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccine."

Hardly demanding it.

>Best part of this is that a significant number of those hospitalized are vaccinated

"By late July, a total of about 26 adults per 100,000 vaccinated people had been hospitalized for COVID-19. That’s compared with about 431 hospitalized people for every 100,000 unvaccinated individuals — a rate roughly 17 times as high as for those who were vaccinated."

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Posted by: Henry B. Eyeroll ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 06:21PM

Covid has now killed more Americans than the population of the entire *state* of either Wyoming or Vermont.

At #48 in population, the State of Covid could be eligible for its own set of senators and 3 electoral votes.

Covid City now ranks #26 nationally, having recently moved ahead of Las Vegas. Next up is Portland, to be surpassed by the weekend.

The 675,000 fatalities of the 1918 flu will likely be exceeded before the end of September.

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Posted by: Henry B. Eyeroll ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 06:26PM

Okay, #49. So sue me. (I'm not counting D.C. as a state BTW.)

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Posted by: Free Man ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 12:04AM

There have always been states worth of death from different causes.

I recall the CDC said 94% of covid deaths involved one or more co-morbidities, like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.

So I assume that covid will replace the other causes of death, and their numbers will go down.

Though I understand during the lockdown, there were increased numbers of deaths due to lack of screening and treatment of heart disease, cancer, etc, so perhaps total deaths will go up.

Many said the lockdown caused more death than covid, but apparently only covid deaths matter.

I read this in June 2020:

These statistics demonstrate that people with cancer are missing necessary screenings, and those with heart attack or stroke symptoms are staying home during the precious window of time when the damage is reversible. In fact, a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians and Morning Consult found that 80 percent of Americans say they are concerned about contracting the coronavirus from visiting the emergency room.

Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed grievous outcomes as a result of these delays. Recently, a middle-aged patient with abdominal pain waited five days to come to a Mayo Clinic emergency department for help, before dying of a bowel obstruction. Similarly, a young woman delayed care for weeks out of a fear of Covid-19 before she was transferred to a Cleveland Clinic intensive care unit with undiagnosed leukemia. She died within weeks of her symptoms appearing. Both deaths were preventable.

The true cost of this epidemic will not be measured in dollars; it will be measured in human lives and human suffering. In the case of cancer alone, our calculations show we can expect a quarter of a million additional preventable deaths annually if normal care does not resume. Outcomes will be similar for those who forgo treatment for heart attacks and strokes.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 12:20AM

Okay, so the US lost 650,000 lives to COVID and 250,000 to other causes due to the effect of COVID on hospitals. That means the total COVID losses were approximately 900,000.

What exactly would you have had us do? Refuse to treat the people who were hospitalized with COVID? That would have prevented 250,000 deaths due to other causes, according to your source, but the number of people who died from COVID would inevitably have been much higher than 650,000 and the total excess deaths would almost certainly have exceeded one million--probably by a significant margin.

So what is your point? You claim that "many said the lockdown caused more death than covid. . ." Few in fact said that other than your fellow travelers, and it is empirically wrong, but let's put that point aside.

Is it your position that "only non-covid deaths matter?"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2021 03:31AM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 12:45AM

Yes, the same old argument he has been making for the past year:
we shouldn't try to control the covid pandemic because of all of the people dying of other causes because they are afraid to go to the hospital because there are covid patients there. But somehow those same people would go to the hospital if there were more covid patients there - not to mention the fact that when they got to the hospital there would be no beds for them (as we are seeing now) - unless as you mention we just don't hospitalize covid patients.

The deaths in the US from 2015-2020

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 12:49AM

Yeah, read what he wrote right below. Free Man is impervious to evidence, reason, and the human ability to learn.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 01:32AM

Also, he seems to only reference things that are a year or more old.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 07, 2021 02:03AM

He reached his conclusions long ago and doesn't feel any need to absorb new information. A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it.

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