Proper Science comments

Posted in: Contagious and concerning: What we know about COVID-19 variants See in context

The short thing about this is, variants are nothing more but mutations, they happen in many viruses, including influenza, and it's nothing new at all, the main variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been changing, for example, the original SARS-CoV-2 that appeared in Wuhan is not the same variant as the one that became dominant in Europe back in march of the last year.

One of the points that the media and fear mongers have been pushing is this idea that variants are somehow deadlier, more contagious, ineffective against the vaccine and many other things that make it somehow "worse".

The truth of the matter is, even thou there are some variants that do appear to be more contagious, and that do appear to be less effective at avoiding complete contagion from person to person after vaccinated, none of the known variants are actually deadlier, or are not affected by vaccination.

I repeat, vaccines are still very effective against ALL known variants. Some of them are a little less effective, in the sense that you might actually get some minor symptoms, but your chances of actually getting a serious infection become extremely low, and the same thing with death, which is the most important role of the vaccines.

Also, because the main vaccines have already been developed, developing specific vaccines for a variant would be extremely easy, so EVEN IF, and I repeat, this has NOT YET HAPPENED, but even if a variant would somehow escape the current vaccines, creating a new vaccine against that variant would be very simple.

In other words: "Variants" are normal, there is really nothing among current variants that is of mayor concern to the general population.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan to introduce 'vaccine passports' for international travel See in context

Love the one you are with, love the country you live in.

Sorry, but these are condescending platitudes.

Tell that to someone with a mother dying of cancer, to someone who hasn't been able to see their families for years, and were planning on seeing them in 2020, people who have been told they have just a few months to live.

One of the reasons why this is so infuriating is because there is no clear timeline or real path to any return to any kind of normality.

The Japanese government have removed all of the time limits originally put when all these restrictions started, and now they are kind of permanent.

It is also infuriating because most people in Japan really could not care less about these restrictions. Even people who like to go travel to other countries just see it as a minor inconvenience, which isn't the same when part of your life is in another country, but international people are a minority and therefore we do not matter.

It is infuriating that business and well connected people have been able for the most part to do whatever they want and continue to travel without much inconvenience.

I mean, the quarantine rule works mostly if you have a place to crash in Tokyo, or have enough money to pay for a good and expensive hotel, where you will be able to work without much problem.

For the rest of us, these quarantines make travel mostly imposible, specially if you live far away from Tokyo, and do not have the luxury to just take a 2 week plus vacation, just to comply with quarantine requirements.

Yeah, I can "chat online" with people in other countries, but it actually has become painful to talk with a good friend of mine who lives alone in London, looking how his mental health has been getting worse and worse as these lockdowns and restrictions go on. I was supposed to go see him last year, and he was supposed to go to other countries to visit some other friends, because basically all of his friends are in other countries... but he hasn't been able to do that.

He suffers from clinical depression, and its just painful to see him in his current state. I'm thinking of even going to London, to be basically on house arrest just to be with him for a few days, and then waste a lot of money time and effort just to comply with quarantine. In fact most of my schedule and budget would be spent in quarantine measures.

And, once again, for what exactly?

What are we gaining with these border closures?

What are we gaining with these ridiculous restrictions?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan to introduce 'vaccine passports' for international travel See in context

The scientific basis for this are just complete non-sense to no existent.

The fact that it will only be implemented on borders tells you about the real agenda of this, which is more overreaching border regulations. The virus is already widespread inside Japan, so this, even if it worked extremely well, will not stop a virus that is already inside the country.

This also means that the well connected will be the first in line to be able to travel freely, because of easy access to vaccines, and also shows a complete lack of care of people who cannot and should not be vaccinated, like small kids, for which there has been NO vaccine approved anywhere in the world, and for which the vaccine is completely useless, and the risk of the vaccine in this population are higher than COVID itself.

They also are talking about vaccine passports without talking about removing all other restrictions that exist right now at the border, which mean that it could very well be something you will be required to do ON TOP of the existing regulations.

This also mean that for the foreseeable future, no one under 65 will be able to travel.

And, for what?

What is exactly gained with this policy?

The main point is getting as many people as posible vaccinated, and that's about it. COVID-19 will never disappear, but there would be enough community immunity so that there will be no big outbreaks like those experienced in 2020 and 2021, and if the risk groups, which are the main targets of the vaccine, get vaccinated, mortality and hospitalization rates will just return to normal...

So once again, what is the point of this policy?

The virus is already in the country, so for stopping the virus entering the country is completely useless.

But, and here is the sad thing about this, borders and international travel are NOT protected by the constitution, so they are the one point for which the Japanese government can do whatever they want, and no one can even say anything about it, and since they removed the 2 year limit to the "Swine flu and similar infections law", which is what gives power to borders to put these restrictions in the first place, this could well be permanent.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

reluctance to vaccination would prove the opposite from the supposed hysteria from the disease

No, it would be because people like yourself continue to propagate false information about vaccines, saying that they might not work against preventing infection, and basically making it seem like vaccination doesn't really work. The media has also pushed that narrative, so it makes A LOT of sense that people are becoming reluctant to vaccinate if it won't help at all.

the reference from America would also “prove” the disease is being underestimated for political reasons

Not sure if you read the article, but 1~5% was the correct answer. most people, from either side of the political spectrum got it wrong, and basically almost no one said 0%. Don't really get how that be translated into "underestimating", but either way, that doesn't mean that MOST people haven't been overestimating the threat level, which the poll pretty clearly shows to be true.

 NHK source do not prove the worries or measures taken by the public are unjustified as you said

It is literally the second question from the poll.

第2問 あなたは、新型コロナウイルスに感染する危険を、どの程度身近に感じていますか。 

Your last source even contradicts your whole point. Saying that 59% of the transmission is caused by people without symptoms

That study includes pre-symptomatic people, and I've already addressed that pre-symptomatic people are a different risk category from asymptomatic ones. So no, it doesn't contradicts my point.

pre-symptomatic people count as asymptomatic up to the point they begin showing symptoms

Already addressed this previously. So I'm going to quote myself again from a previous comment

"The main push by experts to isolate asymptomatic patients come from the fear that they might be pre-symptomatic, but then if that was the only real fear the time of isolation should be a few days after a positive test to see if the patient develop symptoms, but currently quarantines of asymptomatic patients can go from anywhere of 2 weeks to more than a month."

measures are made with the principle of being rational and assumed to be efficient based on the experience and authority of the experts

I can name you different experts with the same level of expertises and authority in the academic community with completely contradicting positions. In fact, many of well respected experts that have been against many of these measures, like John P. A. Ioannidis from Stanford, yet, experts against measures have been largely ignored, and many times, depending on the level of hysteria, they have been unfairly attacked by the media.

John Ioannidis is an excellent example, because he was highly criticized by the media for a serology study he did, and was attacked without no evidence that he was paid by political groups to fabricate the study.

A year after this, many other studies of the same nature have shown up, and most of them have basically the same type of results.

Appeal to authority isn't science, and blind fate in authority will not make good to anyone. Experts are ordinary people with the same kind of biases than anyone else, and their opinion isn't clear of those by any stretch of the imagination, and the way policy makers have been pick and choosing what experts to hear paints a different story.

We need independent risk assessments of the measures, yet, they have been implemented without proper risk assessments.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

Saying that asymptomatic transmission is a minority is completely different from what you said

It is not, I told you that was the main reason why this over focus on asymptomatic people makes no sense

One report does not make consensus, specially before pre and post peer review, there is nothing wrong with waiting until clear evidence is available to validly say vaccination prevents transmission.

You really are an antivaxxer.

There is already clear evidence that vaccines work, so stop talking like if they have not been proved to do that.

Your sources talk about using masks when in close proximity in locker rooms (not while exercising heavily) and to prevent possible exposure while confirming infection

Yet, all gyms in this country have implemented rules to use masks everywhere, even selling "sport-masks", whatever that pseudoscientific thing is. Do you want links to every single gym that has those rules?

www.nas-club.co.jp/info/virus_infection_prevention.html

www.anytimefitness.co.jp/mask/

www.konami.com/sportsclub/inquiry/detail.php?p=10019

www.s-re.jp/special/info_safety/

that is again completely different from supposed recommendations to use masks everywhere and at every time (inside cars) as you misrepresented.

news.infoseek.co.jp/article/kurumanews_247075/

Your source says nothing about reclassifying COVID after evidence of incomplete control

It does, talk about reclassifying COVID as a Category 5, like I just explained. I don't know what kind of wording you are looking for or what "evidence of incomplete control" even means, but here is one of the quotes:

「保健所長の中には5類にすべきだと考えている人もいる。指定を続けることについて、理由付けをしてメッセージを出すことが重要だ」(山口県環境保健センター所長の調恒明氏)という指摘もあった。

 the law was modified to preserve these measures over the preliminary time

The law already allowed them for 2 years of leaving the designated infection classification, with a single extension at the end of that year. As far as I'm aware not even 2 years have passed, yet, they modified the law the next month after the extension to allow the classification to be "indefinitely", meaning, it is not "preliminary time", now that there is no pressure to properly classify the illness, it can be permanently in that category

You said patients from COVID were treated as if they had Ebola, that is false

Never said that patients with COVID were treated as if the had Ebola, I said, and I quote from my previous comment "Because of the classification that the government continues to use for SARS-CoV-2, putting it in the same category as the black death and Ebola, most hospitals actually cannot and will not take any SARS-CoV-2 patients".

Read the comments properly first instead of creating these strawmans.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

What expert recommendation consists on letting asymptomatic patients live their normal life without isolation as you said? none.

The WHO, CDC and many other health organizations have said that asymptomatic transmissions are rare. The main push by experts to isolate asymptomatic patients come from the fear that they might be pre-symptomatic, but then if that was the only real fear the time of isolation should be a few days after a positive test to see if the patient develop symptoms, but currently quarantines of asymptomatic patients can go from anywhere of 2 weeks to more than a month.

And as I said, in patients who are young, without contact with vulnerable people, people who had COVID-19 in the past and vaccinated patients, isolating them is just a pure waste of time and effort, specially vaccinated people who are the group less likely to transmit the virus even if infected.

A proper risk management approach looks for wastes of resources and points where taking action translates in very little change.

These are not real points of concern for experts, but for the general population, media and opportunistic politicians, they cannot talk about anything else. I mean, just look at yourself continue to talk about this instead of talking about more important things like vaccinate the vulnerable.

Produce this recommendation if you are so sure they have been done, because I have never seen them except on very extraordinary situations (like cohabitation with a positive case)

Masks on those cases have been proven to be useless. As the WHO recommendation says, the mask recommendation is not supposed to replace the social distance recommendation, and in fact, the WHO has many times talked how social distancing is a magnitude of times more important than mask wearing, as social distancing has actually pretty solid data behind, unlike masks that most of the evidence are pretty simplistic observational studies.

Not only that, places like Saitama has called for people to use masks inside their homes if they "feel bad", so it is not just for positive cases. www.pref.saitama.lg.jp/a0701/ouchi-mask.html

 have seen neither the government pushing for use of masks during heavy exercise but instead to close the gyms or working out keeping a prudent distance. This is not hysteria at all and specially not one being originated by the government.

The ministry of health, in their "senarios to avoid clusters" have made an example of a gym, and made the recommendation to use masks to "avoid clusters". www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000654503.pdf

All of the gyms, the main reason why they are doing this, and implementing as many rules as posible is so that they do not get targeted by the government and get shut down, and they really do not care if they put people's life at risk because of this.

And the government for the most part here in Japan has ignored gyms because of this.

It really doesn't matter what the source is thou, the WHO has recommended for exercise to occur without masks, and all the sports gyms in this country have done the complete oposite of that rule, and I don't see anyone really giving an f about that, because that is not the type of "follow the science" that flies in the middle of a mass hysteria event like this.

Produce a source for this, 

Here you go: www.m3.com/open/iryoIshin/article/856370/

This explains the whole rationale behind the extension of putting SARS-CoV-2 in a separate category for another year, when the original 1 year as a designated illness was about to expire.

They made the point that "we still do not know many things", as an excuse, and following the true intentions to do this, because if they just let the law expire, they would have to remove things like the quarantine measures for borders, and that inside the "Japanese Association of Public Health Center Directors" there were people who thought that SARS-CoV-2 should be classified as a Category 5 disease.

Basically they are just buying time for either the public opinion to change, or for creating a new law and category specially just for SARS-CoV-2.

Why are you going to quote something if you are not going to read it at all? it clearly says "by pandemic standards" 

Tell me of other pandemic that has done this. The original 2009 law was actually modified on February of this year, so that the classification could remain without a time limit.

This has never been done in another pandemic, so where are this "standards" you talk about coming from?

The patients do not require treatment on the very few specialized hospitals and complete and strict isolation independently of symptomatically, hospitals are allowed to keep, test and even send samples to other institutions without problem, everything they use do not require special processes of disposal and disinfection but just the usual infected material protocols, a very long etc

You did not answer my question at all. You are basically explaining the difference of treatment between Ebola and COVID-19, which has nothing to do with the categorization.

Once again, process of disposal and such has to do with the BSL of the handled material, and has nothing to do with the category of the disease in the infectious disease categories.

And which diseases require a BSL of samples that is simmilar to COVID-19, influenza or Ebola?

What are you even talking about. I was talking about the categories of infectious diseases by law and the rules around them. BSL has NOTHING to do with that, so stop talking about it, it has absolutely nothing to do with this.

Strawman, again this is not about avoiding "any kind of infection" but the world class standard of avoiding completely unnecessary infections from a well known vector of spreading that are the asymptomatic patients

Oh my god. The WHO has said that asymptomatic transmission is rare. If you are so scared of asymptomatic transmission, once again, why don't we do this for ANY other illness with similar or higher infection rate?

Polio, which has a magnitud of times higher fatality rate, is a category II infection, and it DOESN'T require asymptomatic people to be isolated.

And the references? at what times were those polls made? where?

I'm starting to get sick that I have to provide sources for everything, while you can just continue to talk all you want without having to back up your statements with nothing.

Here are some polls:

kyodonewsprwire.jp/release/202103282912

www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/briefing/atlanta-shootings-kamala-harris-tax-deadline-2021.html

www.nhk.or.jp/bunken/research/yoron/pdf/20210118_1.pdf

today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2021/03/30/americans-nervous-socializing-after-pandemic-poll

Your personal opinion is, again, completely irrelevant, how about an official declaration from a well recognized scientific or medical professional institution that supports specifically that there is no need to focus in isolation of asymptomatic cases?

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-11/pfizer-biontech-covid-vaccine-blocks-most-spread-in-israel-study

time.com/5850256/who-asymptomatic-spread/

www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/hcp/hcwrecs.pdf

www.sooeveningnews.com/story/news/2021/03/08/asymptomatic-spread-vaccines-quarantine-covid-19-questions-answered/4626333001/

And I can go on and on and on...

 if there is a small cost of acting with a margin of safety and a huge cost from doing the opposite it is perfectly valid and understandable to choose safety,

Where is the risk assessment for these measures? There have been absolutely no cost estimation for measures taken, and have been taken mostly impulsively without any risk assessment done.

The WHO and UNICEF have made recently an statement that 228 million people, mostly children, are now at risk for diseases such as measles, yellow fever and polio because of disruptions caused by measures taken for the COVID-19 pandemic.

I really do not understand how 228 million people at risk of dying is seen as a "small cost"

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

There has been no "complete hysteria" in the communications from experts nor in the general treatment of the media, that is an imaginary complain.

It is hysteria, because "expert recommendations" have been ignored depending on how much popular support they have.

Let's start simple with mask recommendations, which the WHO only recommends usage of masks on closed spaces when social distancing is not posible, yet, the government and media has pushed for everyone using their masks even outside, in their own cars, and even in their own homes.

Other recommendation by the WHO is the one about masks when doing exercise. The WHO says that using masks when exercise is actually dangerous, yet, in places like this country if you go to a GYM now you are forced to use a mask, which by WHO expert recommendations is dangerous.

And I can go on and on, like the WHO recommending against closing borders, experts recommending against surface "deep cleaning", and experts saying that people with vaccines, depending on the age, have up to 99% protection against serious illness, even with "variants", but the media and some politicians keep this fear narrative of how vaccines do not work with variants, which is 100% false.

People need to isolate, your personal feelings about it are irrelevant and you have absolutely no understanding of how leprosy patients have been treated, go to Higashimurayama and see the National Hansen's Disease Museum so you can actually see what this would mean.

I don't live in Tokyo, so I really cannot go there.

People who are vulnerable should isolate until they are vaccinated, and people who are in contact with vulnerable people should be careful and probably not come into contact with vulnerable people even if they are asymptomatic.

And I agree, this has nothing to do with my feeling, neither yours. Which is why it is a little bit ironic that this hysteria talk around the pandemic has made it worse. People with symptoms are not going to hospitals because they are afraid they might end up with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, which could and have meant that they lose their jobs and income, so people just keep their mouths shut, which is actually WORSE.

Not to mention that I know personally of a case of someone who was almost killed because of this over focus on COVID-19, in which hospitals would not even take a good look at him because he had a fever, and ended up having a bacterial infection, which almost made him lose his fingers and hearing just because he wasn't given timely attention.

The classification change is valid and old by the pandemic standards

This classification was created in 2009, so no, it is not old at all. The old way of doing things was by allowing one year of special classification of an illness to allow more freedom to handle an emergent virus, for which you still do not know how to properly treat, after that the disease would be properly classified according to things like the mortality rate of the virus, seriousness of infection, and spread rate.

SARS-CoV-2, as it has been said by experts here in Japan, should be classified as a Category 5 disease based on the objective points I just said, which is why the government now had to use yet another special classification, instead of Classifying it as one of the 5 normal categories.

This special classification was created on 2009 when there was another, even way more ridiculous health scare panic with the "Swine Flu" pandemic, which ended up being way less deathly than normal seasonal flu, but it created fear enough to push politicians to create this new classification, which allows a disease to ignore the objective classification rules, and give disease who would had get a lower classification using the normal rules a higher classification.

 that means you are still mistaken and the disease is not even close to be treated as the Plague or Ebola

The rules are basically the same, so, please explain me how am I mistaken?

Category I diseases are extremely different, require BSL4 contaiment facilities and specialized personnel to be managed that obviously do not apply for COVID-19, the rest of the treatment for the patients is again much more similar to H5N1 and SARS, as it should be.

BSL or biosafety level a completely different thing, which has to do with how safe or unsafe it is to handle biological matter and pathogens, and it has nothing to do with the disease category classification. For example, the Black Plague is a Category 1 infectious disease, but it has a BSL3 level of risk.

Please don't mix things that have nothing to do with one another just to push your narrative.

This is standard around the world, and completely contradicts your mistaken idea that asymptomatic people should be left to live normally. 

It is standard for COVID-19 because of panic, but doesn't mean it is how we normally do things, or the way things should be done. Asymptomatic spread is limited, and your main concern is avoiding hospitalizations and deaths, so this over focus with isolating asymptomatic cases is just a waste of resources and time, because not only you will never catch all asymptomatic patients, you are putting a lot of pressure on factions of the population that are the less affected by the virus.

Once again, let's think with rational risk management instead of the "let's do everything and anything to avoid any type of infection".

The law of diminishing results always apply to these over reactions, and the damage created can be even higher than the damage avoided.

people are not in fear and most are simply taking perfectly logical measures to prevent infection, All in line with the recommendations of the medical and scientific community of the world.

They are not. Once again, I already explained it, but people are using masks outside of the science based recommendations by the WHO. There have been polls of how deadly the average person believes SARS-CoV-2 to be, and just about 20% of the population gets it right, with more than half of the population believing it is way way way way way more severe than what it actually is.

People are not being rational, and the way, for example, things like border rules are implemented is arbitrary and completely useless, and creates way more damage than what SARS-CoV-2 could ever do to the population.

I hate this, because SARS-CoV-2 is a serious disease, but instead of taking the actions necessary to avoid the vulnerable populations, we are causing way more damage to society than the risk of SARS-CoV-2, which I already said it is a serious disease, so the damage here is very serious.

Your beliefs about panic being the reason why hospitals are not receiving any significative support are a non-argument, you simply don't understand the meaning and use of the national law of infectious diseases and think a hospital can magically be prepared to safely deal with COVID patients without putting in risk their personal and other patients AND very importantly without going bankrupt for the lack of their usual business.

If the personal are all vaccinated as they should, their risk is virtually NONE. Once again, if people who are at risk get vaccinated, their risk is also virtually none, so it really doesn't matter at that point.

There is where the focus should be, but it is almost like everyone has become antivaxxer who believes that vaccines "are not the solution to this problem".

Thanks to vaccines, deaths from SARS-CoV-2 can now really be classified for the most part as preventable.

Once again, the problem with SARS-CoV-2 is that it has a somewhat high mortality rate with some sectors of the population. We should try to avoid these people getting infected, or protect them with vaccination, instead of this over focus with number of cases, and if someone has a fever, which do nothing more than create fear and panic and solve no problem at all.

What you suggest is not "dropping the fear" it only means dropping the scientific based regulations and measures necessary for the control of the disease for a personal bias against the valid treatment of a disease that must be treated with proper care in order to avoid widespread contagion and the consequent unnecessary deaths, as it is easy to see from the tragic examples of other countries.

Many of the regulations that have taken place during this pandemic are not based on any hard science, but on simulations and opinions.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

And them promptly close, because that would be a much better business than losing money being open. There is no law that can make a hospital to keep running debts.

Changing the tone from complete hysteria to rational risk management from the media and politicians, as well as speeding up vaccination for vulnerable people would solve this problem.

If anything, I find it highly immoral that people who are victims of SARS-CoV-2 are treated as almost leprosy patients were treated a few decades ago.

No, that is old news, from February COVID-19 has been designated 新型インフルエンザ等感染症 or "infectious disease of the type of new influenza strains" and still category II is the closest to it, it is completely in a separate group and not similar at all with category I, wich is what you mistakenly said.

The classification change was just a change on the law that rules the designed special classification, as the original designated classification law just allow for temporary designation, and a year passed, so they made use of the law created in 2009 on the wake of the swine flu scare, which allows them to keep this classification almost indefinitely.

The specific rules of the classification have actually not changed that much. It is still way more similar to Category I. You don't have to take my word, you can look at this simple comparison table: idsc.nih.go.jp/iasr/29/341/graph/t3412j.gif

That is not correct at all, first because asymptomatic transmission is perfectly possible and even common so asymptomatic patients should be isolated until there is no realistic possibility of transmission from them

If your goal is zero risk, then yes, but that's not the way we treat any other illness.

If the risk is low as it is with asymptomatic people, specially young people, healthy people, people who already have good immunity because of a previous infection or because of the vaccine, it makes little to no sense to restrict them.

and second because even symptomatic people would be treated this way, it is obviously worse for the control of a disease to reduce its category.

Once again, risk management is the main point of a good public health policy, not health panic and scares like this whole debacle has been handled.

Symptomatic people have way more risk of becoming contagious, which it would make more sense asking them to stay at home until most of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated, but even then it is still a problem of risk management, and common sense should continue to apply.

They are treated as an slightly different category II for perfectly valid reasons and your suggestion would only complicate things and facilitate (even more) spreading of the disease, all because of a mistaken assumption that you could obligate private hospitals to treat patients instead of actually compensate them so they considerate the idea as sure bankruptcy.

The whole "category II" thing is what the government has been saying, but once again, when you see the specifics of the current categorization, it is way closer to Category I.

The reasons are really not that valid, outside of fear and anxiety by the public. Last year they were already considering dropping the virus to category 5, and it would have probably dropped if it wasn't because of the constant fear mongering and panic porn portrayed by the media and some opportunistic politicians.

Once again, let's have a little more perspective, specially here in Japan, there are way more deadly diseases that do not receive this special treatment, so why would this one be different?

It is quite simple, the government could give support to the hospitals right now so they could be included as places where COVID-19 can be treated, but it is not doing it. 

I don't think that is the main reason why there are so few hospitals treating people with COVID-19. It has to do with panic and hysteria. It makes to an extent sense to limit the number of hospitals if people are so scared of going to the hospital and "catch the virus" that they let their cancer grow, which ends up killing them.

Drop the fear at the same time you drop the category, and a more risk based, rational approach to COVID-19 could be posible.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

That blindly assumes any hospital would be willing to take COVID-19, or that it would not have a negative economic impact on their functioning, this is not necessarily true.

It's not a blind assumption, they would be required by law to accept them, as the Japanese law do not allow hospitals to refuse patients, as long as they do not have an illness higher than Category 3 of the infectious disease categorization.

Also, COVID-19 is considered in the Japanese law for infectious diseases as a category II, same as MERS or particularly dangerous strains of influenza, not in the category I of Ebola or the Plague (and therefore can be treated in hundreds of hospitals in the country, not just a handful). 

It is actually not categorized as category II, but as an "designated infectious disease", and the rules they are applying are actually higher than category II and category I.

One of the key differences between category II and category I is that category I adds measures for asymptomatic patients, which is totally something that has been done with SARS-CoV-2.

From that, they added 2 new rules that put it higher than category I, which are "Asking for people to not leave their houses" and "Restricting access to buildings".

And classifying it as a level V would make things worse, because it would mean no requirement for notification of cases

False, cases need to be notified, but instead of requiring notification immediately, it has to be done within 7 days.

no requirement either for patients to be hospitalized or isolated (they could continue their normal life if they wanted) 

Which is actually good for people who are asymptomatic. Specially if they have already been infected previously, have the vaccine, or have no contact with people who are vulnerable.

no support from the government to reduce expenses for treatment nor hospitalization (neither for the patient nor for the hospitals), 

The government could give support if they wanted without the infection having to be treated as the Black plague.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers defend request for 500 nurses as virus spikes See in context

Because of the classification that the government continues to use for SARS-CoV-2, putting it in the same category as the black death and Ebola, most hospitals actually cannot and will not take any SARS-CoV-2 patients, which is the main reason why the healthcare system has been stressed, since just a very few hospitals are the ones taking all the COVID-19 patients, and these hospitals, depending on the number of patients, can become quite overstressed.

Moving these 500 nurses will not stress more the system, because no COVID-19 patient will ever be on the care of those nurses, since, once again, most hospitals are actually not taking COVID-19 patients, so this is a misguided rage.

The real rage should be set at the classification of SARS-CoV-2, and asking the government to put them in category 5, so that all hospitals can actually take COVID-19 patients, therefore ending the problem of lack of resources.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Posted in: What does Japan's virus state of emergency mean this time? See in context

Sadly, more variant fear mongering and plain lies are the final result of these kinds of interventions.

Vaccines work extremely good, even for variants, to prevent serious illness and death, which is what you want, but some media outlets, governments officials are creating misinformation by implying that if, for example, a variant which is more contagious, meaning, easier to spread, means that it could infect easier even people vaccinated are COMPLETELY loosing the whole point of the vaccine.

The vaccine is to prevent bad outcomes, not to eradicate the virus.

Instead of doing these half-meassures that just keep people scared, anxious and in the edge of their seats, the Government should instead focus on speeding up vaccination of vulnerable populations, so that even if there is high community transmission, hospitalizations and deaths can be avoided.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Some foreign residents in Japan consider traveling to other countries for vaccines See in context

Gov may be happy with those - no tourism, little immigration, increased repatriation of foreigners. That's a Christmas present for right-wingers who favour their ideology over economics.

Indeed, It has been pretty common see in places like Twitter Japanese nationalists praising all border closures, and have jumped pretty easily to blame any increase in infections on the few thousand people that are allowed monthly into the country with pretty restrictive measures, saying that "the measures are not good enough", and trying to appear like they care about SARS-CoV-2 infections... but they do not.

I pointed out in a previous comment, but Japan numbers of arrival are actually pretty similar to those of Australia, and the border restrictions have continually gotten more and more crazy, to the point that right now there is a very high chance that what they are doing might be illegal, but they are trying to justify it because they force you either sign a contract at the border, or face even more extreme measures, like isolation in a government facility based on the quarantine act.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Some foreign residents in Japan consider traveling to other countries for vaccines See in context

Circumstances change, and they can change quickly.

Your point is still disingenuous, because the rate is low for both countries. There are days the UK still surpasses Japan, so they are not even that far off.

You make it sound like Japan is just in such a bad state right now, and objectively, looking around the world, even today Japan is still in pretty good position.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Some foreign residents in Japan consider traveling to other countries for vaccines See in context

Daily deaths in Japan have surpassed those in the U.K.,

This is just pure disingenuous manipulation of the facts. The UK is not experiencing the spring seasonal rise, probably in part because of high vaccination levels, so UK death rate is low, and at low rates, like it happened back in 2020 during the summer, there were many times Japan had a higher death rate than UK.

You are basically comparing the UK current low with Japan's current high, so that generates a false idea that those 2 are even comparable in any shape or form.

The UK has seen 1,867 deaths per million, while japan is at just 77, that is about 24 times lower than the UK, so they are not even comparable.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Posted in: Do you think vaccination will be the silver bullet against the coronavirus? See in context

This poll I think is a pretty great representation of how misinformation from mainstream media, mixed and contradictory statements from some health officials have completely stained trust in vaccination, way more than Anti-vaxxers.

SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been showed time and time again to reduce mortality rates dramatically, which is the main focus of the vaccine in the first place, to the point that for people vaccinated, even if vulnerable, the risk of dying of covid becomes completely irrelevant.

If that is not a "silver bullet", then nothing will ever be.

Irrational fear around scary variants, and speculation around what "might happen" in some future is just pure panic porn perpetrated by news organizations.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

Now, we are talking about B.1.1.7. There are several countries which are concerned that it seems to be spread more easily by children and that further studies are needed. Do you really believe they took in account only the number of cases ?

You are the one not reading what I wrote. The available evidence does not point out to higher distribution of cases among young people, and B.1.1.7 has not been found to have more severe effects or anything of the kind.

Not to mention that you are just speculating, as none of the authorities cited a concern for B.1.1.7 as a reason to close schools.

That is not closing school which create that but not putting in place tool to get education. And as said before, what is around education should not be overlooked either. And we are talking about children most likely being out of school for most likely 1 month in Osaka prefecture, so it is not like it is some kind of over-difficult issue to deal with.

But it is.

First, online education is not common in Japan. One of the big reasons is that in Japan most people do not own a PC of any kind, so for many people they would have to probably use their own phone in order to take classes, which isn't really a good thing.

Also, a lot of people are not aware, but Osaka is a pretty big prefecture, and there are a LOT of rural areas, with schools with pretty limited budgets and limited resources, no experience AT ALL on online education.

There is a reason why UNICEF has said that we are in the middle of an education emergency, and has constantly called governments to stop school closures.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Do we need masks outdoors? Experts weigh in See in context

Let me be very clear about one point, the WHO has said since the beginning of the pandemic, and it has never changed its position that, people should only wear masks inside when social distancing is not posible.

But sadly masks have not only become political, but also a social issue to the point that it has become almost like a religion or a creed, and instead of science, misinformation not based on any type of recommendation by experts is spread under the false label of "science".

The media being the main culprit, but also political stunts, and misguided recommendations from governments have most of the blame.

Just looking at comments, a lot of people will ignore the recommendation of experts.

Also, another problem that is not talked here but has also been a consistent position of the WHO is the fact that people should not wear a mask when doing exercise, yet, for example here in Japan, virtually all Gyms have made it mandatory to wear masks.

There has been evidence and recent studies that have found that it is actually dangerous to do exercise while using a mask, but this recommendation by the WHO is also ignored, and replaced by something that is overkill.

It seems that, as long as it makes people feel safe, or feels like "doing something", people will ignore science at that point and go their own way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

We are talking about B.1.1.7 in Osaka. The data about traditional SARS-CoV-2 are kind of outdated as children seems to have become more keen to spread the virus

I would recommend you to read the data and not just the bombastic headline.

I'm going to quote the BMJ news report you shared:

in Israel in mid-December, the proportion of new daily cases accounted for by children aged under 10 had risen by nearly a quarter (23%).

What this means is that the number of cases of children under the age of 10 raised by 23% of the previous number, which is still not much if the original case number is actually small, so lets see Israel's data.

The distribution of cases was 7.7% in July, and 10.85% by December, and the distribution of cases is still lower than for most groups, with the 10-19 and 20-29 having the biggest share of distribution of cases, with about 40% of all cases.

But number of cases is not the only statistic that has been used to show how schools are not places where COVID spread, as the WHO has multiple times made press releases and recommendation updates saying the schools HAVE NOT been shown to be a major source of spread in the community.

Transmission in Schools in highly associated with transmission in the community as a whole, and in fact, for example, for college infections it has been identified that most of the transmission that occur in within the staff, and not with students.

So even if they seem to not be more affected by it :

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642%2821%2900030-4/fulltext

Please, stop just skimming articles you post if you want to "make a point" out of them.

One, this is a correspondence piece for The Lancet. This is not a scientific paper, and it doesn't pretend to be, it is a quick correspondence piece trying to clarify currently available information and data with what has been said in the media, and the conclusion is actually that they didn't found much evidence of that variant affecting more children.

I'm going to quote from the piece:

These early second wave data show that many children and young people have been admitted to hospital. This might be due to the higher prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 within our local community. Indeed, the number of adult patients admitted to King's College Hospital in the second wave has also increased by about a third. Importantly, we have found no evidence of more severe disease having occurred in children and young people during the second wave, suggesting that infection with the B.1.1.7 variant does not result in an appreciably different clinical course to the original strain. These findings are in keeping with early national data. Severe acute respiratory COVID-19 remains an uncommon occurrence in children and young people.

In other words, it seems the increase of children been admitted is probably because of higher prevalence on the community (meaning, there are more cases overall), and this variant doesn't seem to have any difference from the original in young people.

And closing school doesn't mean depriving children of education. Education do not need to cram bunch of children together in one place. The problem with closing school is more related to what is around the education part and was overlooked.

You can talk about how "education should be" and how to have a "better education", and that's good and all, and I probably even agree with you in that part, but we need to see what we have NOW, and admit that reality.

Closing school does mean for a lot of people depriving children of an education, or at list, making it more difficult for them to get a proper education.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan tightens rules on COVID-19 test certificates for travelers See in context

This is likely illegal, or a misrepresentation of the article of the actual change, as you cannot prohibit the entrance of Nationals into the country, which was one of the main reasons why that caveat existed in the first place.

It is also weird how they are taking more and more extreme measures in the border, when the border has been virtually closed for most people for more than a year now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

from March 2020 to February 2020

Correction: from March 2020 to February 2021

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

Japan could have done like New Zealand and shut the country to anyone entering or leaving but I can imagine the freak-outs many here would have if it had done that.

Japan for the most part has been doing just that.

The number of arrivals are actually similar to Australia's numbers, with just a few thousand travelers per month.

The total number of arrivals to Australia from March 2020 to February 2020 is 1,059,250 persons, compare that to Japan on the same time frame, and you get the similar 1,380,965, and that's without even taking into account that Japan has 5 times the population size of Australia, and most of the arrivals in this time period from both countries have been nationals.

Let me add that the WHO has never been in favor of border restrictions as a control measure for a virus, and has in many times called for countries to stop doing border restrictions as a control measure.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Fully vaccinated NZ airport worker tests positive for COVID-19 See in context

These kind of articles really proves the point that the media is way worse at discouraging people from vaccinating and spreading misinformation about vaccines than actual anti-vaxxers.

SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, like most vaccines, is mainly to stop vulnerable people from dying.

This applies to all vaccines, but you can still get "infected" by the virus, but probably will show no or minimal symptoms, and your capacity for spread will be minimal.

A positive test just says that the RNA was on the sample, but really doesn't tell you much more, so stop making articles with disingenuous titles as a form of click bait.

Sadly, this is a very effective and very common way to spread misinformation, and people do not seem to be aware of it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

Most of these measures, as it usually happens nowadays, lack any type of evidence, or go against evidence, crucial sectors which are actually affected by the virus get widely ignored, and these measures just fuel people getting on each other throats because of panic and hysteria.

The most egregious one is the school measure. All evidence have shown time and time again that children are not a main focus for contagion or spread, children are not vulnerable, but on the other hand, education is CRUCIAL for proper development and career future.

This is about 80% politics, and 20% science.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan under pressure on fiscal 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target See in context

"If we consider the level of public acceptance to nuclear power and the situation regarding the restart of nuclear plants, it is indispensable to raise the ratio of renewables to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to boost energy self-sufficiency," the association said.

Here is your main reason right there for this.

After 2011 people in Japan became scared of Nuclear Power after constant fear mongering from news media organizations, and now talking about Nuclear Power is no longer politically viable.

Prices of electricity have gone up, and will continue to go up. Also things like the blackout a few years ago in Hokkaido also showed how because the capacity for electric production has gone down, and the grid in Japan has become less redundant and robust, because Nuclear power was one of the main sources of energy on this archipelago.

This is all because of misinformation and deeply rooted non-science based beliefs about Particle Science and Nuclear Energy, which many politicians now exploit all the time in order to win elections.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia-New Zealand travel bubble begins after 400 days See in context

This would have made more sense if the virus didn't got widespread around most of the world.

The moment they open their borders they will have outbreaks, even if they can "lower it" with vaccination in place.

And because of the political theater that has happened around SARS-CoV-2, if there is any increase in cases, even if most are asymptomatic or mild thanks to the vaccination program, they will close down again the borders, and/or put extreme measures for people trying to enter or leave the country, so it is a success as long as you don't think about that.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Posted in: Australia, largely free of COVID-19, in no hurry to reopen borders: PM See in context

@Fuzzy

Do you really believe border closures may become permanent? Seriously?

Probably I misspoke, since I do beleive that eventually they will have to open, but restrictions and the way travelers will be treated will be mostly permanent.

Also, Australia and NZ are in a conundrum, since they were able to remain mostly without widespread thanks to border closures, as this virus is not going away in any future, the moment they open, even with vaccines, there will be some sort of outbreak unless they continue indefinitely with very strict measures.

As I said before, for people who have International lives this is pure torture, but sadly no one really cares about those people, not even some in the same situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia, largely free of COVID-19, in no hurry to reopen borders: PM See in context

It's discouraging looking at comments from people who supposedly are international citizens cheering border closures that could become permanent.

There are people who are still stranded because of this policy, and anyone who has family or friends on other countries have become irrelevant to the eyes of those who push for these policies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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