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Kevin Hewell

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I really want to see "West Side Story" in the cinema, but I still don't feel comfortable going there when so many people here are acting like there is no problem.
 

Mark Booth

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I *really* wanted to go see ‘No Time To Die’ in the theater. But we just didn’t feel comfortable with that yet. So, I waited to buy the digital to watch at home. It would have been more expensive to go to the theater. In this case, I’m glad the pandemic saved me some money. No Time To Die was a disappointment.

I‘ve pretty much resigned myself to the idea that we won’t be going to a theater for a long time.

Mark
 

TravisR

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I really want to see "West Side Story" in the cinema, but I still don't feel comfortable going there when so many people here are acting like there is no problem.
As always, you should only do what you're comfortable with but the way WSS is playing, you probably wouldn't have much trouble finding a show during the week that is pretty empty.
 

Mark Booth

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Learning about friends or friends of friends that have tested positive for COVID has pretty much been a daily occurrence the last week. Omicron is spreading like wildfire. It went from 0% to 75% of positive cases in less than 3 weeks. Its R factor is said to be between 3 and 5, which means its spread can potentially double every 2 days.

I fear January 2022 will be just as ugly as January 2021. Still too many unvaccinated and WAY too many that haven't gotten their boosters.

Be careful, everyone!

Mark
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Just got back from driving to a Walgreens in another city 35 miles away, because it was the closest place I could get an at-home rapid antigen COVID test. When I went to the in-store pickup line, there were like twenty other test kits for other people who did the same thing.

Unfortunately, once the vaccines proved so successful, they dismantled a lot of the testing infrastructure. Now that Omicron is on the march and the vaccines are less effective, there's way more demand for testing than supply.

Half my office is quarantined due to an unvaccinated colleague coming down with COVID, so I got swabbed for a PCR over the weekend. That was negative, but they say it can take up to five days to test positive after being infected. The packed Spider-Man screening I went to on Friday night (with very little mask wearing among the audience) left me wanting to test again before I visit family on Saturday.
 

DaveF

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Friend went looking for OTC tests this week. Said they were hard to find and $50 for a two pack when he did find them.
 

David Norman

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Was at a couple WM and Sams today picking up Christmas dinner food and fixings who said they had Binax 2 pack in stock ($14), but both stores sold out. Pharmacist at Sam's said there were at least a dozen 2-packs on the shelf last night when she left.

I wish I could have skipped today, but some things just had to get done so I bumped back to my KN95 masking and tried to time the trip for lower traffic volume. Luckily so far we're still at the lowish end of out numbers of the last 4 months and are just now seeing numbers bumping up a little

Walgreens and CVS locally say they have in stock Binax 2 pack for $24, but I haven't looked to be sure. I didn't check for the other brands since the Binax seems to be very highly rated, easy to use, and inexpensive.

I actually put in a pick up order for tomorrow at my second closest store for 2 dual packs. Will see if they
are able to fulfill it or if the online inventory is incorrect,
 
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Mark Booth

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I woke up Christmas morning with a slightly irritated throat, slight nasal congestion, and a little bit of a runny nose. I was in a jewelry store on Wednesday (purchasing a 40th anniversary gift for my wife). The shop was busy but everyone was wearing a mask (I was double-masked, including a KN95). Still, it felt a bit too confined, given COVID circumstances. It took about 30 minutes to conduct my transaction. And, three days later, my symptoms. Argh!

I got some home test kits from Amazon (coincidentally, delivered on Christmas Eve) and I used one the tests Christmas morning. It was negative, thankfully. But the home test kits can give a false negative so I was up at the crack of dawn today to go get a PCR test. Our provider’s only Sunday test site was supposed to open at 8:30am but I got in line at 7:15am. 50 cars ahead of me had the same early arrival idea. Still, lucky I got here when I did. They opened early (about 7:40am) and, by that time, there were about 100 cars in line behind me.

Once the line started moving it went quickly. They've got this test thing down pat. Fast & efficient. Even 50 cars back, it only took about 15 minutes until I got my turn of up the nose with the long swap. This one burned a bit more than previous PCR tests, it looked like the swap was a bit larger (maybe, maybe not).

At any rate, the waiting game is on for the test result. Maybe not until tomorrow but, hopefully, later today. In the meantime, I'm wearing a mask around the house and generally trying to stay in a different room than my wife (who hasn't developed any symptoms at all). I'm avoiding our cat too.

I'll say one thing.... If I've got COVID then just about EVERYONE is eventually going to get COVID. I am downright surgical about how careful I am when outside the house. If not for the very important 40th Anniversary (coming up in exactly one week), I would NOT have been in a jewelry store. Unfortunately, part of the purchase needed to be ordered so I must go back to the jeweler at some point. Maybe I can convince them to just bring it outside the store for me?

If I test positive it's a moot point, I won't be going anywhere for at least 10 days.

Mark
 

Carlo Medina

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Hoping for the best Mark.

If it's any solace, we had a friend and her family visit and they all were sick. But all were covid negative (tested multiple times, both PCR and Antigen, rapid and 36 hour results). They basically had an upper respiratory virus (which was detected by the PCR). So something's going around that isn't the flu and isn't COVID.

They were all boosted recently (like within the last month)
 

Josh Steinberg

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We’ve also had a cold floating around in our bubble for the past few weeks that is not COVID. Colds are back.

A COVID rapid antigen test taken while symptomatic is something like 99% accurate when it says negative. If you’ve got cold symptoms, took that test and it came back negative, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that it’s a cold. The area that rapid tests are weakest at is confirming a positive result in an asymptomatic individual.

If by some infinitesimal chance the rapid test was wrong and it is COVID, that is still worth viewing as a success story. That means the vaccine worked and changed what could have been a life threatening illness for you into a nuisance illness. Nuisances are still, well, nuisances, but that’s still a far better outcome than seemed plausible 18 months ago.
 

Mark Booth

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I hope it's only a cold. But what I want to know is how the hell do I catch a cold when I'm being so exceedingly careful about avoiding COVID.

There is part of me that feels there must be a possibility that fully vaccinated/boosted persons can get COVID and only have cold-like symptoms and never test positive. Since Omicron has genetic material from the common cold virus, perhaps many of these people with "colds" are really carrying COVID and either didn't get tested or their test resulted in a false negative.

My wife's sister (who I spoke with yesterday after I woke with cold-like symptoms) said that she would never have bothered to get tested based on her symptoms. She only got tested because her daughter tested positive (and, ultimately, everyone in the family got it). But my SIL said had she just picked up the virus somewhere else and never knew she had been exposed, based her symptoms, should have just assumed it was a cold (not COVID) and wouldn't have bothered to get tested.

Mark
 

Josh Steinberg

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But what I want to know is how the hell do I catch a cold when I'm being so exceedingly careful about avoiding COVID.

Cold can transmit in ways other than the ways COVID does, so our COVID protections don’t protect against every possibly type of infection under the sun. Believe me, it’s a mystery as to how my two year old got his cold in the first place. It’s not like he’s got a social circle or runs errands!

Since Omicron has genetic material from the common cold virus, perhaps many of these people with "colds" are really carrying COVID and either didn't get tested or their test resulted in a false negative.

That is extraordinarily unlikely that so many people are getting false negatives - the different particles that the different tests look for are unique to covid; that COVID is one of many coronaviruses out in the world doesn’t make a difference. The areas of the earlier covid-19 strains that mutated into the omicron strain aren’t what the tests are looking for when they’re detecting covid.

I understand both anxiety and frustration with all of this but if both your rapid and PCR tests ultimately say you don’t have COVID, then you don’t have COVID.
 

Mark Booth

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Thanks, Josh. I posted about this on my Facebook page and a doctor friend responded that the best time to avoid false negatives is 5 days after you are first symptomatic. Yikes, that seems like a long time to wait to find out if you are potentially spreading a potentially fatal disease!

If my PCR test comes back negative, I might decide to do another rapid antigen home test in 2-3 days. Just to triple check.

If my PCR test comes back positive, I am almost certainly going to do another rapid antigen test (right away) to see if it actually detects the virus this time.

Mark
 

Josh Steinberg

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If my PCR test comes back positive, I am almost certainly going to do another rapid antigen test (right away) to see if it actually detects the virus this time.

The interesting thing about that would be… the PCR tests are extraordinarily sensitive and don’t really distinguish between “had an infection from the virus, still shedding dead cells but no longer actually sick and no longer contagious” and “you have the plague and are a danger to everyone around you.” Whereas the rapid antigen test is a much more narrow snapshot of “you have the virus and are actively contagious at this very moment.”

Therefore, it’s entirely possible that someone could test positive on a PCR for a case that they’ve cleared (showing that there are dead virus cells still leaving your body), while testing negative on a rapid antigen test (showing that you’re not actually sick or contagious).

All of this stuff would be really fascinating academically if it didn’t come with real world worries attached.
 

DaveF

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Hopefully you’re not sick, cold or covid. Being sick is no fun, even for a mild cold.

And if you are sick, you’ve done the best you can. Wore a mask, three-shots vaccinated, all that and more. Take care, rest, isolate, and get better. :)
 

Mark Booth

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It doesn’t. So it can’t work like that.


My comments were based on this article:


Mark
 

Carlo Medina

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I think the confusion stems from Dr. Rasmussen's tweet seeming to imply that only a rhinovirus causes a cold. The problem is, the definition of a "common cold" is squishy. Basically it's just a catch-all term for a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract infection that isn't caused by influenza, pneumonia, or something more serious. There are several other viruses that cause "cold like symptoms" that aren't a rhinovirus, and those can include:
  • Human Metapneumovirus - this is what my friend's family had, and which their PCR test identified...it was actually spelled out in the lab results they got, and I had never heard of this term before reading that test result, because did we ever try to sequence our colds prior to March 2020? :laugh:
  • And yep...the Common Human Coronavirus - this is likely what the Reuters article was referring to when it implied that the Omicron variant could have recombined with "the common cold virus".
So because the definition of "common cold" is so ill-defined, both the Reuters article and Dr. Rasmussen's tweet can be simultaneously correct and also not in conflict with each other.
 

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