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Old April 12th, 2020, 11:09 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Covid-19 times - How are you?

Thought I'd start a thread to see how the members here are spending their time, and how this Pandemic is affecting them.


By way of introduction I'll post an academic article I found in a journal I read on the disease and then invite those reading to give some information about how you are spending your time, whether you've contracted Covid-19, how it's affecting you and so on.


Firstly the article by Zania Stamataki, she is a senior lecturer and researcher in viral immunology at the University of Birmingham UK



Quote:
I am fascinated by defence systems. There is none more impressive than the human immune system, equipped as it is with a rich arsenal to defend against different types of pathogen. Viruses have evolved to trick, bypass and evade these defences. Our immune systems have, in turn, learned to recognise and deter these virus stealth tactics. In Covid-19, the enemy is a tiny piece of genetic material wearing a lipid coat and a protein crown.

So how is our immune system able to defend against viral infections, and how does this apply to Covid-19? The virus that causes Covid-19 is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-Cov-2), and was first detected in humans around five months ago. It is a coronavirus. “Corona”, in Latin, means crown. The virus is adorned with an outer layer of protein covered in spikes, like a crown. These spikes help the virus attach itself to target cells. The research community is fast learning about immunity to Covid-19, and we are also applying our knowledge of similar respiratory viruses to predict what to expect in this infection.

Importantly, Covid-19 cannot gain entry to our homes or bodies by itself – we have to let it in

Think of a virus as a robot; it cannot reproduce so it needs a factory of materials – proteins, lipids and nucleotides – to build copies of itself. The coat allows the virus to attach itself to the target cell’s membrane. The virus then fuses with the cell and releases a shopping list of instructions on how to build and assemble new viruses. This shopping list, the virus genome, is written in nucleotides (RNA). The first job of a virus that enters our bodies is to invade target cells so that it can comfortably remove its coat and deploy its RNA.

Once inside, the virus commandeers the cell and borrows cellular machinery to build more viruses before immune cells detect the intruders and raise the alarm. Antibody proteins that are able to stick to the virus-spike proteins, and prevent attachment to the target cells, are called neutralising antibodies: generating them is often the goal of protective vaccination.

Our infected cells make the ultimate sacrifice and invite their own destruction by displaying distress signals for T-cells, which swiftly detect and kill them. T-cells are cytotoxic – powerful serial killers that can recognise peptide fragments of virus displayed on the infected cell surface. When they do, they release a payload of toxic enzymes that kill the infected cell in a “kiss of death”. This strategic martyrdom is organised by the immune system to deprive the virus of its replication factories and can lead to the reduction of viral load in the patient. It takes several days for antiviral T-cells to expand and antibodies to be generated. Here’s the silver lining: memory cells ensure that if we encounter the same virus again, we can react immediately with pre-existing defences. Sars-Cov-2 is new to humanity so we have no protective immunological memory. Vaccines prepared using harmless parts of the virus can help us build protective memory.

The virus’s enemy superpower is spreading. The virus achieves this through “shedding” from infected patients. Sars-Cov-2 is expert at hopping from person to person, and in some people, it achieves a stealthy existence with mild or no symptoms. Once many copies of the virus are made, it needs to jump to another host. It hitches a ride on droplets that can be coughed or sneezed to a distance of up to two metres. Droplets can survive on surfaces for several hours enabling pick-up by a new host, or they can be directly inhaled if another person is in close proximity. Studies are emerging into animal hosts – so far the virus has been detected in a few ferrets, cats, tigers and dogs. No animal deaths have yet been reported, and we don’t know if animals can transmit back to humans.

The age differential in fatalities for Covid-19 suggests, with some exceptions, that a healthy immune system is usually able to control infection. Meanwhile, an ageing or weakened immune system may struggle to deploy a protective arsenal. Importantly, Sars-Cov-2 cannot gain entry to our homes or bodies by itself – we have to let it in. This is why official advice has centred around cleaning our hands and avoiding touching our faces.

We know that a healthy immune system is usually able to eliminate infection in a couple of weeks. However, we have no understanding of the components of our immune arsenal that contribute to this feat: some vaccines work by creating potent neutralising antibodies; other vaccines generate powerful memory T-cells. Antiviral antibodies emerge as early as three to four days after virus detection, but are they protective against future reinfection? We believe that antibodies to other coronaviruses (Sars, Mers) last from one to three years. Because this is a new virus, we don’t yet know the answer to this question. Public Health England is recruiting 16,000 to 20,000 volunteers to monitor antibodies once a month for six to 12 months to confirm whether we can generate long-lasting antibody responses to Sars-Cov-2. Determining the quality of these antibodies will be important to understanding long-term protection.

What is our most potent immune weapon against Covid-19? Cytotoxic T-cells may play an important role. Immunologists and virologists are working together to discover the correlates of protection, to design vaccines that offer long-term defences against Covid-19. Years of investment in research means that we can use existing approaches to respond to this new threat, and early mobilisation of research funders, philanthropists and academics are diverting resources to bolster these efforts on an unprecedented scale. Experience has taught us that vaccines are able to eradicate infections from this planet (for instance, smallpox), and medicines against viruses that don’t embed their genetic material to our own (for example, hepatitis C) can also achieve this.

Our secret weapon is research. Scientists are working hard on understanding Covid-19, and collaboration is key to this effort. But until a vaccine or treatment is available, we ought to work hard to protect ourselves and our families: isolate and prevent transmission by using physical distancing, face masks and sensible hygiene. If we all do our part, this little virus holding the world to ransom won’t stand a chance.

I'm spending my time confined to my house, I can go out to shop and to exercise locally but not much else. I have plenty of TV movies and shows saved on my PVR from over the years that' I'm slowly working my way through.


How is everyone else surviving this?
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  #2  
Old April 14th, 2020, 07:18 PM
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Jintan Jintan is offline
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I live by myself in a fairly rural area, and have no TV to watch, so really not noticing much different. I did watch an older documentary about the 1918 pandemic, and learned the value of masks and social distancing. I wear a mask in stores, although it's just a dust mask for work at home.
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Old April 15th, 2020, 04:41 AM
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Jaytee Jaytee is offline
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Due to the fact that I am part of a specific target group of old people. I am lonely and miss the contact with my kids. Daughter, Granddaughter, and two great grandchildren (6yo girl and 1yo boy) I could not attend the boys birthday as I am not in his social bubble. I get to email my shopping to my daughter who shops then dumps the stuff in my unit ( while I am sent 2 metres away) we get to know how long this purgatory lasts on the 20th inst. As the NZ rate of infection continues to drop I seriously hope for better things..
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Old April 17th, 2020, 12:31 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Seagoon View Post
I'm spending my time confined to my house, I can go out to shop and to exercise locally but not much else. I have plenty of TV movies and shows saved on my PVR from over the years that' I'm slowly working my way through.
I spoke too soon, the 2Tb drive on my 8 year old PVR has just crashed, so much for viewing all those movies I've saved over the years. Off to try and pick up a replacement drive locally tomorrow, if not then an online search is in the pipeline.
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Old April 18th, 2020, 12:42 PM
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I have a friend in Kenya. A single mom with three kids. Her goal right now is to make sure they eat everyday.
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Old April 18th, 2020, 01:40 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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I have a friend in Kenya. A single mom with three kids. Her goal right now is to make sure they eat everyday.
Sure puts our problems into perspective.
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Old April 25th, 2020, 02:17 PM
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Jintan Jintan is offline
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Ran across this song, which brought the current problem into perspective for me. Disastrous times are nothing new.
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Old April 25th, 2020, 06:50 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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That song would be very meaningful to many people especially vets. Yesterday was Anzac Day here in Australia, quite different this year with the whole country in lockdown.
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Old April 25th, 2020, 09:34 PM
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Here in NZ. The PM calls us team five million. We have had severe lock down for the past five weeks. Lost our liberty, finances and (for us oldies) family contact. Tomorrow night at midnight the restrictions ease slightly to allow non contact business to re-open in a modified form. Reason for this tiny easement is our national statistics over the Covid-19 period
Cases to date 1461
Recovered 1120
Active 325
Deaths 19
Daily new cases 4.6 average for the past week
I am not sure how these figures scale against places like the USA. However I am convinced the sticking to the rules has saved us from "the age of destruction" here in little old NZ...
Be kind to each other..
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Old April 26th, 2020, 12:58 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Here in Australia each state is locked down, with no travel between states permitted except for some specific exceptions where special quarantine provisions apply.

In Queensland, my state we have a similar population to NZ, just over 5 million.
Cases to date 1030
Recovered 926
Active 98
Deaths 6

Some restrictions will be reduced at midnight next Friday. Travelling with family or a friend to a park for a picnic, or to non-essential shopping within 50 kM of home, provided social distancing is maintained, will be allowed.

The Commonwealth Health department has today released a contact app for mobile phones which will log any contact longer than 20 mins and closer than 1.5 metres. Should any contacts become infected, users will be notified to go and get tested.

I've just installed this despite some reservations about privacy and misuse, but I've used an abbreviation of my name that I don't use elsewhere, to detect the source of any strange messages I may receive.
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Old April 26th, 2020, 06:17 PM
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Jintan Jintan is offline
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NZ has done it right, and has a much better looking leader than the US.

Neddie, contact tracing is just not something I'll up for. Read that reading blue tooth nearness app checking is really unreliable, and what about false positives? Or the scarlet letter issue.
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Old April 26th, 2020, 07:41 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jintan View Post
Neddie, contact tracing is just not something I'll up for. Read that reading blue tooth nearness app checking is really unreliable, and what about false positives? Or the scarlet letter issue.
Yes I have reservations also, but the government has said that if enough people take up the application they will consider lifting some other restrictions earlier.

A false positive will result in a covid test, which will be a drive through test and a few days home quarantine while the results are assessed, which is not much different to the current lockdown just no going out to shop or no work for those still at work. I don't know what a scarlet letter is, please explain?
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Old April 26th, 2020, 08:14 PM
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I don't know what a scarlet letter is, please explain?
Me too Jintan. Maybe Island life is too isolated:..surprised..
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Old April 26th, 2020, 09:48 PM
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The Scarlet Letter, 1850 by author Hawthorne. Single woman has a child, and the court rules she must wear a red A on her forehead. Readers assume it meant Adulterous. All my life been looking for a gal with a red letter A, so I could ask her to dance.
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Old April 27th, 2020, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jintan View Post
The Scarlet Letter, 1850 by author Hawthorne. Single woman has a child, and the court rules she must wear a red A on her forehead. Readers assume it meant Adulterous. All my life been looking for a gal with a red letter A, so I could ask her to dance.
Thanks Jintan. May we call you Yoda???
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