Coronavirus science and statistics(no politics)

pnewortham

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something people have touched on in their posts

For all the rhetoric about being 'guided by the science', and whether our scientists are ultimately becoming deified or vilified, I actually think there hasn't been enough science.

We need more, and better, and more accessible, science. Not the stuff filtered into political verbiage, but proper, honest, Open University late night TV science.
 

Sepp Blatter

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For all the rhetoric about being 'guided by the science', and whether our scientists are ultimately becoming deified or vilified, I actually think there hasn't been enough science.

We need more, and better, and more accessible, science. Not the stuff filtered into political verbiage, but proper, honest, Open University late night TV science.
Fully agree - would love to see some better quality science programs.

Talking about science generally, Al-Khalili raises some very good points. IMO, too many scientists don't study the philosophy of science as part of their degree (my university didn't teach anything - it was only in an exchange semester in Sweden that I learned about it).

Without that, and a grounding in what science is for, how it is perceived by others, and why we follow certain processes, it is always going to be difficult for scientists to explain concepts and defend their position.

Plus, scientists have to accept that science can and should be challenged. Not only is that an inherent part of the scientific method, but it's the only way science adapts and evolves.
 

pnewortham

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Fully agree - would love to see some better quality science programs.

Talking about science generally, Al-Khalili raises some very good points. IMO, too many scientists don't study the philosophy of science as part of their degree (my university didn't teach anything - it was only in an exchange semester in Sweden that I learned about it).

Without that, and a grounding in what science is for, how it is perceived by others, and why we follow certain processes, it is always going to be difficult for scientists to explain concepts and defend their position.

Plus, scientists have to accept that science can and should be challenged. Not only is that an inherent part of the scientific method, but it's the only way science adapts and evolves.
I can recall almost to the minute, the point in my own career where I became 'aware'. My own little enlightening. Literally the day of the week it happened.

I went all the way through uni and post-grad thinking it was all about the science, the numbers, the results. That was enough. Do good science. Then get a job, enter the world of commerce, start on the career ladder. Then the epiphany hits and you understand there's these external forces at play. You start to see senior decision makers, making apparently 'odd' decisions. Call it politics, or whatever.

Those who can't hack it spend their lives in the shadows of academia, buried in books and leaving that stuff to others.

Those who embrace it become gold dust - scientists who can form a sentence and hold an audience captive on the podium. Using light and shade. Science as a mechanism to inform and enthrall and educate.

Brian Cox, I suppose.
 

Sepp Blatter

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I can recall almost to the minute, the point in my own career where I became 'aware'. My own little enlightening. Literally the day of the week it happened.

I went all the way through uni and post-grad thinking it was all about the science, the numbers, the results. That was enough. Do good science. Then get a job, enter the world of commerce, start on the career ladder. Then the epiphany hits and you understand there's these external forces at play. You start to see senior decision makers, making apparently 'odd' decisions. Call it politics, or whatever.

Those who can't hack it spend their lives in the shadows of academia, buried in books and leaving that stuff to others.

Those who embrace it become gold dust - scientists who can form a sentence and hold an audience captive on the podium. Using light and shade. Science as a mechanism to inform and enthrall and educate.

Brian Cox, I suppose.
Mine was a lecture in Stockholm with a Scottish philosopher of science, Dugald Murdoch - for the first time, I realised that science is not just about 'how' you do things and follow particular methods, but also 'why.' Arguably, the latter is even more important.

He also showed that science cannot place itself on a pedestal of infallibility, above all other forms of knowledge, and is linked to many other equally valid areas studied by humanity. Found it all absolutely fascinating.

Think that one of the reasons I have always had a certain scepticism when it comes to science is because I studied fisheries - probably one of the scientific fields most prone to political interference, lobbying, compromises, and social pressures. Fisheries scientists understand this and soon learn how to play the game. How you say something is just as important as what you say.
 

pnewortham

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Mine was a lecture in Stockholm with a Scottish philosopher of science, Dugald Murdoch - for the first time, I realised that science is not just about 'how' you do things and follow particular methods, but also 'why.' Arguably, the latter is even more important.

He also showed that science cannot place itself on a pedestal of infallibility, above all other forms of knowledge, and is linked to many other equally valid areas studied by humanity. Found it all absolutely fascinating.

Think that one of the reasons I have always had a certain scepticism when it comes to science is because I studied fisheries - probably one of the scientific fields most prone to political interference, lobbying, compromises, and social pressures. Fisheries scientists understand this and soon learn how to play the game. How you say something is just as important as what you say.
Well, he certainly sounds Scottish 😁

How did fish take you to Greece?
 

Sepp Blatter

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Well, he certainly sounds Scottish 😁

How did fish take you to Greece?
Not a lot, to be honest - worked as a fish farmer for a while before being made redundant. Worked in retail for a few years before somehow ending up here - and ending up working as a writer mainly due to the threat of imminent starvation!
 

pnewortham

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Not a lot, to be honest - worked as a fish farmer for a while before being made redundant. Worked in retail for a few years before somehow ending up here - and ending up working as a writer mainly due to the threat of imminent starvation!
That's a strange old career path!

I might say a fishy tale. But I won't.
 

europne

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We are told this new strain is extremely infectious, but in what way, I understand that it sticks to you in a more aggressive way but is that it or is there something we aren’t being told.

Has anyone got any more info .....?
 

pnewortham

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We are told this new strain is extremely infectious, but in what way, I understand that it sticks to you in a more aggressive way but is that it or is there something we aren’t being told.

Has anyone got any more info .....?
The mutation involves a change to the receptor binding domain on the spike protein. This makes it easier to latch onto the the body's cells and sneak inside. But there's actually several mutations in this case (there can be thousands of mutations on a virus particle, but very few ever cause an issue), but here there's a second one where part of the spike protein has been removed, which is related to the mink in Denmark.

A lot of it is still mathematical modeling at the moment though, so a bit of a holding pattern.
 

europne

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The mutation involves a change to the receptor binding domain on the spike protein. This makes it easier to latch onto the the body's cells and sneak inside. But there's actually several mutations in this case (there can be thousands of mutations on a virus particle, but very few ever cause an issue), but here there's a second one where part of the spike protein has been removed, which is related to the mink in Denmark.

A lot of it is still mathematical modeling at the moment though, so a bit of a holding pattern.

So it doesn’t hang in the air longer or anything like that?

It’s purely how it adheres to the body?
 

pnewortham

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So it doesn’t hang in the air longer or anything like that?

It’s purely how it adheres to the body?
A virus particle is massive (relatively), so it can't naturally hang around in the air. It's millions of times bigger than a Nitrogen molecule (which is what air mostly is), so it will naturally fall down to the ground. Any slight variations in its molecular structure won't change that.

The theory goes - we cough out (or exhale) the virus in either large droplets (like that horrible super-slo-mo video showing the bloke coughing out a load of liquid across the room), or in much smaller aerosol form. The large drops will fall quickly, but the smaller aerosol can float around much longer and travel greater distances, but will still eventually fall earthwards. But actually this is much more due to the weight of the water rather than the virus itself.

Typically 2 metres or so. Although depends on many things.

The mutations are all about how it interacts on a cellular level, once inside your airways.
 

pnewortham

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In this cold weather when you exhale and you can see your breath it just shows how far it actually travels......and that’s just what you can see.
If you're close enough to smell somebody's cigarette smoke or a lady's perfume, you're close enough to inhale their virus. A handy way of thinking about it.

It's Brownian motion that keeps their smoke and perfume particles jostling around in the air, as with pollen, fart, and anything else.

When it's cold (the air is denser), or windy, then the airborne stuff will hang around for longer and/or travel further. The further away you are, the less material you suck into your lungs. At a certain point the viral load (i.e. concentration) becomes too low and you're safe(r).
 
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jakehake

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Not forgetting also the Chinese and Uni of Florida studies that found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission.
The University of Florida study that didn't say that and the Researchers have had to take to Twitter to stop people saying that's what they found?

 

pnewortham

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Another large study finds 100 % natural immunity from symptomatic COVID-19 6 months after first infection.

Maybe this is why TalkRadio got their youtube channel deleted ?
This would be a very important breakthrough, although would fly in the face of much of the received wisdom. The current assumption is that artificial vaccination gives greater immunity than after a natural infection. (Which is certainly the case with flu.)
 

paddysr

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This would be a very important breakthrough, although would fly in the face of much of the received wisdom. The current assumption is that artificial vaccination gives greater immunity than after a natural infection. (Which is certainly the case with flu.)
It would be great if that were the case given we were originally working on the basis of 3 month immunity. A lot of it depends on the reliability of the testing and how much exposure there has been.

If be interested to see them all retested with the spread of the new variant and see if the results are the same.

Obviously given the experience with my dad I am still very sceptical about false negatives on the pcr testing. (I've also had the reason behind this explained to me by the medical team but I'll do a post about that another time)
 
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