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JohnRice

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Well, my County is going back to mask mandates next week. Two months ago at least 80% of people were still wearing them in grocery stores, which has dropped to about 10%. I stopped for a few weeks, but went back 2-3 weeks ago as infection numbers steadily rose.
 

Mark Booth

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This coming Saturday might mark the first time I've taken off my masks to eat in an inside setting around a largish group of other people (since the pandemic began). It's our Miata club's annual meeting (election of officers, etc.). Our meeting is held inside an upstairs room at the San Diego Auto Museum. Nearly the full length of the room is open to the museum floor below, so it's not a tightly confined space. Air movement is reasonably decent.

I will be masked for the majority of the event. But lunch is being served and I'd like to participate. I am considering taking my plate outside to eat, but there are very few convenient spots to sit.

I will be faced with similar circumstances for two club holiday parties in December. Fingers crossed new case rates continue to decline.

Mark
 

Johnny Angell

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This coming Saturday might mark the first time I've taken off my masks to eat in an inside setting around a largish group of other people (since the pandemic began). It's our Miata club's annual meeting (election of officers, etc.). Our meeting is held inside an upstairs room at the San Diego Auto Museum. Nearly the full length of the room is open to the museum floor below, so it's not a tightly confined space. Air movement is reasonably decent.

I will be masked for the majority of the event. But lunch is being served and I'd like to participate. I am considering taking my plate outside to eat, but there are very few convenient spots to sit.

I will be faced with similar circumstances for two club holiday parties in December. Fingers crossed new case rates continue to decline.

Mark
Up until 1992 we lived in the San Diego area, had a Miata, and were in the local Miata club. Small world.
 

Mark Booth

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Up until 1992 we lived in the San Diego area, had a Miata, and were in the local Miata club. Small world.

From 1989 to 1996, the Miata club that covered San Diego County was SOCALM. SOCALM covered all of Southern California, from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Sometimes it was a looooong drive to get to the start of events.

In 1996, myself and 10 others got together and formed the San Diego Miata Club. I was the founding President. The club has been going strong ever since. At its peak, the club had over 600 members.

Participating in the club has resulted in forming many lasting friendships with people I would have never otherwise met. It's an extended family. Many of us have travelled on extended road trips together, driving hundreds or thousands of miles.

Now that (hopefully), COVID seems to be calming down. Perhaps we can soon begin another road trip adventure?!

Mark
 

Johnny Angell

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From 1989 to 1996, the Miata club that covered San Diego County was SOCALM. SOCALM covered all of Southern California, from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Sometimes it was a looooong drive to get to the start of events.

In 1996, myself and 10 others got together and formed the San Diego Miata Club. I was the founding President. The club has been going strong ever since. At its peak, the club had over 600 members.

Participating in the club has resulted in forming many lasting friendships with people I would have never otherwise met. It's an extended family. Many of us have travelled on extended road trips together, driving hundreds or thousands of miles.

Now that (hopefully), COVID seems to be calming down. Perhaps we can soon begin another road trip adventure?!

Mark
I don’t think I had my Miata more than a year before moving to Arkansas and with the cold winters and hot summers there was less reason to keep it and now it is a fond memory. Yeah, I would have been a SOCALM member.
 

Mark Booth

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The first confirmed U.S. case of the Omicron variant is in Northern California. The person is fully vaccinated and reportedly having only mild symptoms and is already improving. So far, his close contacts have not tested positive. He was in South Africa about a week ago.

This new variant is making me just a little bit more edgy than before. We are still planning to attend an indoor Holiday party on Dec 5 and another on Dec 13. We will be wearing double masks except for the roughly 20-30 minutes we eat dinner. We are going to try to isolate ourselves away from others in the room as best we can.

Mark
 

Malcolm R

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This new variant is making me just a little bit more edgy than before.
As reported so far, most cases seem to be mild and on par with all the other variants that have been circulating (there have been eight named variants since delta; no one seemed to care about those). I'm not sure why everyone is freaking out about this one, especially before we even have any facts/research on it. Plus they're finding out it has likely already been circulating in a number of countries well before it was even identified. I imagine it's been in the US well before yesterday.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm not sure why everyone is freaking out about this one

It’s the fastest that a variant has been designated a “variant of concern” and I think the speed at which it’s been discussed/acted on along with the higher than average number of mutations is what’s causing additional concern.
 

Mark Booth

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Yes, the high number of mutation to the spike protein is what is raising concern. The Delta variant has 9 mutations to the spike protein. Omicron has 37 mutations to the spike protein.

It may turn out that those mutations are meaningless (with regard to vaccine efficacy) but the dramatic increase in mutations is, nonetheless, worthy of concern UNTIL we know more about the variant.

Mark
 

TJPC

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I believe a viruses “job” is to spread itself as far as possible through causing the symptoms of the infected. It is not successful if it causes the host to die and this stops.

Could the Omicron version have mutations which allow it to mildly infect more people in a population and thus be more “successful”? Isn’t this what happened with the plague?
 

LeoA

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I believe that's the hope and limited anecdotal evidence points to that possibly being the case, but it's very early so everyone is approaching this new variant with extreme caution.
 

Mark Booth

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Just learned our niece tested positive for COVID. She is fully vaccinated but her two sons are not. Her symptoms are mild and she is feeling better today (vs yesterday). Her mom (my wife’s sister) is having congestion today, which is one of the symptoms our niece had yesterday. She is going to get tested tomorrow (she is also fully vaccinated). Our niece and her family were at her mom’s house earlier in the week.

New cases are increasing exponentially again, thanks to Omicron.

Mark
 

David Norman

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Just learned our niece tested positive for COVID. She is fully vaccinated but her two sons are not. Her symptoms are mild and she is feeling better today (vs yesterday). Her mom (my wife’s sister) is having congestion today, which is one of the symptoms our niece had yesterday. She is going to get tested tomorrow (she is also fully vaccinated). Our niece and her family were at her mom’s house earlier in the week.

New cases are increasing exponentially again, thanks to Omicron.

Mark

Sad part it that the Omnicron is just now planting seeds and the current spike is likely mostly still Delta and the Older variants
 

Mark Booth

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Sad part it that the Omnicron is just now planting seeds and the current spike is likely mostly still Delta and the Older variants

I'm not inclined to believe that Omicron is "just" getting started. Scientists now know that there were already thousands of infected persons in the U.S. when the supposed "first" case of COVID was diagnosed back in January 2020. Similarly, I believe the odds are high that Omicron has been in the U.S. for at least a month already.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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My wife's sister has tested positive too. Other family members that were at the Thanksgiving gathering and/or around our niece are getting tested today.

Meanwhile, my wife and I are attending a Miata club Holiday party tonight. Sixty-four people have signed up to attend. My wife and I will be wearing our (double) masks the entire time. Dinner is being served but we are unlikely to take our masks off inside the same room as 62 other people (plus servers). We are bringing some sandwiches in a cooler and will excuse ourselves to our car when the time comes to eat.

Just not comfortable with my mask off around other people at this point. Not with case rates on a rapid rise.

Mark
 

Wayne Klein

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I believe a viruses “job” is to spread itself as far as possible through causing the symptoms of the infected. It is not successful if it causes the host to die and this stops.

Could the Omicron version have mutations which allow it to mildly infect more people in a population and thus be more “successful”? Isn’t this what happened with the plague?
Depends. Sometimes they are more lethal, sometimes they aren’t. Either way it’s endemic now and will be with us No matter what.
 

David Norman

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I'm not inclined to believe that Omicron is "just" getting started. Scientists now know that there were already thousands of infected persons in the U.S. when the supposed "first" case of COVID was diagnosed back in January 2020. Similarly, I believe the odds are high that Omicron has been in the U.S. for at least a month already.

Mark

I have little doubt Omicron is more widespread regionally that has been reported yet, but over the last couple weeks (even the last week) the CDC says 99.9% of current tested cases are Delta. Even if Omicron didn't have a complete designation until 7-10 days ago, an O variant shouldn't have been classified as Delta, it was have gotten and unknown or indeterminate case. Everything I read in the Journals and from CDC doesn't support that the recent 30-40% upswing in cases over the last month is anything due to an unknown variant. Unfortunately, I suspect the short term next surge over the next 4-6 weeks will be Delta with it's known Severity, but then the next surge which I suspect will come 2-4 weeks after Christmas will be Omicron. If the 2 surges overlap it may be hard to tell exactly which is which though if you see a significant acceleration curve above 10% per week, that will be a clue.

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
The "other" group for the last 3 weeks is well less than 0.1%. Again since a lot that data tends to come from fairly narrow groups of people, the numbers could certainly be worse, BUT I certainly wouldn't expect a 5-10% result (a 100-1000 fold error rate). Practically these numbers are always going to be a couple weeks behind the curve, but you'd think you see some expansion of the other category fairly quickly with a rapidly spreading variant.

Not looking for any optimism, but maybe at least something to blunt an extreme pessismistic/disaster level anxiety -- interesting to speculate if Omicron is significantly jumping the line and nudging Delta out of the way (or shoving it if some of the early S.African numbers show) and has substantially lower severity, the 4-6 wk Death Surge may not necessarily follow. If a large portion of the Unvacc population suddenly gets hit by a much milder variant that could even be good news in the mid term as it will at least temp immunize a lot of folks who are unwilling to take the vaccine until the next downturn can occur. I certainly wouldn't bet my life or my kids on that outcome (literally), but if you are looking for a less disastrous winter then it's at least possible.

I think real world data from S Africa in 2-4 weeks will be critical in predicting hosp/death numbers. With S Africa showing a nearly 50 fold rise in case rates from 300-500 new cases daily to 17000 a couple days ago and far too early to see where the peak is -- it's either going to show a horrible curve fairly quickly or something more positive (or at least less negative) may come out of this. I'm still more than a little concerned with a couple early reports showing the under 10-20yo increases since that group has been largely spared the worst of Delta, but is still the highest unvacc reservoir. The worst case scenario if either if Omicron turns out only slightly mildly esp in the high risk US groups compared to the overall younger/healthier population in S Africa OR if the overall severity risk is less BUT is significantly worse in a younger group suddenly which I think is everyone's nightmare scenario if a new variant suddenly shifts it's seriousness in the under 30yo group.
 

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