Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I am booked for my fifth dose on Sunday. This will be my first dose of a bivalent vaccine. I'll let you know how it goes, but I tend to lose a week after each dose.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I am still masking.

While I have gone to a few restaurants where I felt the spacing and ventilation were okay, I'm still putting on a mask every time I step out of my apartment to put garbage down the chute and I even wear a mask outside even though that isn't necessary. At the office, I unmask in my space but put it on if I step outside.

My mask of choice right now is the Bio Medical Technology KF94 which I buy at a local Korean grocery store. One of the things that I found bizarre and likely due to low information: a lot of people declared that any non-N95 mask was worthless and couldn't protect. That's like saying that any non-Ford car can't start.

N95 may be the most well-known brand and Ford may have been the most prominent car, but prominence isn't exclusivity. Ford isn't the sole manufacturer of internal combustion engines and the electrostatic filtering is not restricted to N95 masks.

KF94 masks are reviewed and regulated firmly by the Korean government and lab tests have shown that KF94s tend to filter about 98 per cent if incoming particles even though they're only legally required to filter 94. KF94 masks have a negligibly lower level of filtering than N95 and KF94 have a boat-shaped side-flap design meaning it sits firmly on the face without having to be tight and can use earloops instead of a headband without creating gaps in the seal.

In contrast, the KN95 mask has proven highly unreliable: tests have shown that they filter as low as 30 per cent in some cases with poor manufacturing; there is no regulatory body to punish manufacturers for making poor KN95 whereas poor KF94 masks can't make it out of the factory. KF94s aren't as tight as N95s, but where KF94s filter 98 per cent, the N95 is only a bit higher at 99 per cent in lab tests, so unless you're regularly walking into operating rooms and biohazard bays, the comfortable earlooped KF94 is absolutely fine for consumer grade use.

But frustratingly... my mask of choice isn't always what I can use. The thing I like about the BMT KF94: it's thin. It's a three layer mask. Most KF94s are four layer, but the BMT KF94 omits a structural (non-filter) layer that's there to maintain mask shape. While the mask flattens to my face more, it's thinner and easier to breathe through. The perfect mask for hot summers.

Unfortunately, supply of KF94 masks is not super-reliable here in Canada. You can always get *a* KF94 but you can't always get the same brand of KF94. My niece's best-fitting KF94 is the Delcure bifold; there was a good five months last year where none could be found. My mother's best-fitting KF94 is the Kleannara; there was a good eight months where none could be found. I currently have about 40 BMT KF94s... but I'm saving them for the summer and wearing a four layer (sigh) ZeroGuard KF94 instead.

In my mother's case, I've bought about 12 months' worth of Kleannara and once a month, I pass through a Korean grocery store, I spend another $6 USD on another six Kleannara masks for her supply, hoping to stay somewhat ahead of the next shortage.

(Anyone who wants KF94 in America can buy them off Amazon. Good Manner has had good reviews: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HRSSTXR/ref=emc_b_5_t )

2,043 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-09-29 05:38:21)

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

Pandemic hasn't ended for me either.  Horrible reaction to vax. Couldn't complete vaccination (obviously) and ongoing impairing medical condition since my reaction (which I suspect a covid infection would worsen).  I kinda have no good options but hey that's life.   I do find the stupidity on managing covid maddening.  I don't think people shouldn't move on at this point if they like but we can have non invasive mitigation measures and we can have a time and place for masking.  Especially in medical facilities.  Which in the U.S. is going by  the wayside.   Biden has a lot of nerve on his words before the election vs. some of his words now.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

So what's the prevailing thought about how the masks with earloops aren't effective?  I think I've heard that you have to have the ones that go around the back of your head to have the right seal.  I don't know if that's true.

I still use the KN94s that ireactions recommended a while back but that thought has nagged me since I read about it.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

So what's the prevailing thought about how the masks with earloops aren't effective?  I think I've heard that you have to have the ones that go around the back of your head to have the right seal.  I don't know if that's true.

I still use the KN94s that ireactions recommended a while back but that thought has nagged me since I read about it.

Taking a short break from work to respond to this because this is a matter of health and safety:

The prevailing thought among mask junkies (and I consider myself one) is that only headband masks are worthwhile. This is not my opinion nor is it the opinion of Aaron Collins, the mask expert/engineer who runs a YouTube account for mask testing.

Earloop masks tend to sit on the face whereas headband masks tend to grip the face. Not every earloop mask fits every face perfectly. The Kleannara KF94 earloop fits my mother's face perfectly, but the BMT KF94 has a huge gap over her nose. (Collins found that the Kleannara filtered 98.7 per cent.)

If there are gaps around your nose or at your cheeks, then the earloop mask you're wearing isn't the best fit. If there are no gaps, then it's fine. The mask doesn't need to be tight, it just needs to sit securely without openings. Unless you have some visual impairment (and some people do), you'll see mask gaps in the mirror if there are any to be found.

In contrast, headband masks exert such tight force around the head that they seal around nearly all faces. (Nearly all faces.) This leads to a lot of N95 headband mask enthusiasts declaring that only N95 headband masks are worth wearing which, to me, is like saying a Bentley armoured car is the only car worth driving.

Yes, the N95 is the best filtration and seal, but at 99 per cent, it's creating a lot of facial discomfort for only one per cent more protection than the KF94. If you're constantly exposed to biohazards and spraying blood and entering a ward filled COVID-19 patients, then yes, wear an N95 and goggles and scrubs. But I'm not sure you need an N95 mask and an armoured car just to go to the grocery store.

I think it's okay for civilians to accept 98 per cent filtration with a KF94, a mask that is more comfortable and easier to put on than a handband design. I cannot stress enough in the name of Quinn's Milky Way poster, Rembrandt's albums, Wade's teddy bear and the Professor's watch that the views of ireactions do not represent those of Sliders.TV and mask obsessives everywhere.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

Pandemic hasn't ended for me either.  Horrible reaction to vax. Couldn't complete vaccination (obviously) and ongoing impairing medical condition since my reaction (which I suspect a covid infection would worsen).  I kinda have no good options but hey that's life.   I do find the stupidity on managing covid maddening.  I don't think people shouldn't move on at this point if they like but we can have non invasive mitigation measures and we can have a time and place for masking.  Especially in medical facilities.  Which in the U.S. is going by  the wayside.   Biden has a lot of nerve on his words before the election vs. some of his words now.

I think the problem with Biden: he is incapable of retreating and admitting that he made premature judgements or that he needs to change direction. In 2021, Biden declared that anyone with two doses of an mRNA vaccine could go mask free. He didn't update or reverse when Delta and Omicron hit; he's still maintaining that vaccination magically means people won't get sick when the reality: vaccines have lost effectiveness in the face of new variants and rather than prevent infection, they are now serving to help people get better after they get sick.

Do you mind me asking which vaccine you got? I'm not a doctor. I'd be curious if the issue was mRNA vaccines and if you might get better results with a more traditional viral vector vaccine like Johnson and Johnson or Novavax. I'd say that vaccines have proven safe for the general population. But you're not a population, you're a specific person and while a vaccine may be safe overall, there are going to be outliers.

AstraZeneca in Canada had four deaths due to a rare 1 in 200,000 blood clotting disorder; it was removed from use even though most politicians got AstraZeneca for their first two doses at their photo op vaccinations. I have one friend who has such extreme reactions to any and all vaccinations in addition to his underlying health issues that he hasn't gotten any doses. I have another friend whose immunodeficiencies mean her doses have to be spaced out: four months between her first and second dose and getting her third under strict medical supervision while being unsure about a fourth.

I would say nine-point-five out of ten times, vaccines aren't going to cause anyone any issues. Kari Wuhrer once said that that nine-point-five out of ten women never experience breast implant encapsulation and sudden hardening and warping of their implants and that she was unfortunately on the wrong side of that statistic. Outliers exist. I'm sorry you had such a bad reaction.

Let me know if I can send you any KF94s.

2,047 (edited by ireactions 2022-10-04 15:07:13)

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

Got my fifth dose today. It's the new bivalent vaccine which targets the original COVID-19 and Omicron strain BA.1 (which preliminary studies indicate will mount a good defence against BA.4 and BA.5). I'm feeling soreness and a headache as I did with my last four doses, but I also feel this sense of being armoured up like Barry Allen waving a hand to summon his Flash-suit from his ring.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

New Omicron subvariants are coming. They may be immune to antiviral drugs. Immunity from previous infections may offer no aid at all.

It looks like the bivalent booster will likely prevent hospitalization and death, but not infection, as was the case when the Delta and initial Omicron variants hit just as the original vaccines were rolling out. However, for optimal protection, we may need a second dose of the bivalent booster within a few months of the first bivalent dose.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03157-x

There is a very simple countermeasure against Omicron, against any subvariant, against any future variant. It's cheap. It's effective against all viruses and bacteria. It's an electrostatic mask with a good seal. N95, KF94, ASTM or something comparable. Boat shaped or bifold. Or 2D surgicals with cordlocks.

If mask mandates were reinstated and enforced on public transit, in offices, in shopping centres, in grocery stores, in movie theatres, in performance venues, we wouldn't be seeing all these mutations and variants; the virus would have far fewer roads on which to spread.

It really is that simple.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

ireactions wrote:

New Omicron subvariants are coming. They may be immune to antiviral drugs. Immunity from previous infections may offer no aid at all.

It looks like the bivalent booster will likely prevent hospitalization and death, but not infection, as was the case when the Delta and initial Omicron variants hit just as the original vaccines were rolling out. However, for optimal protection, we may need a second dose of the bivalent booster within a few months of the first bivalent dose.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03157-x

There is a very simple countermeasure against Omicron, against any subvariant, against any future variant. It's cheap. It's effective against all viruses and bacteria. It's an electrostatic mask with a good seal. N95, KF94, ASTM or something comparable. Boat shaped or bifold. Or 2D surgicals with cordlocks.

If mask mandates were reinstated and enforced on public transit, in offices, in shopping centres, in grocery stores, in movie theatres, in performance venues, we wouldn't be seeing all these mutations and variants; the virus would have far fewer roads on which to spread.

It really is that simple.

Sadly, it appears as if our CDC has given up. They are proceeding with further loosening of guidelines against the direction of expert epidemiologists who are speaking out on Twitter.

This is not going to be over with for a while.

Because of this, I am still wearing my mask and getting my boosters. I've been through this entire pandemic without catching covid-19 and I plan on staying that way.

2,050 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-10-06 22:16:19)

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

Pandemic hasn't ended for me either.  Horrible reaction to vax. Couldn't complete vaccination (obviously) and ongoing impairing medical condition since my reaction (which I suspect a covid infection would worsen).  I kinda have no good options but hey that's life.   I do find the stupidity on managing covid maddening.  I don't think people shouldn't move on at this point if they like but we can have non invasive mitigation measures and we can have a time and place for masking.  Especially in medical facilities.  Which in the U.S. is going by  the wayside.   Biden has a lot of nerve on his words before the election vs. some of his words now.

I think the problem with Biden: he is incapable of retreating and admitting that he made premature judgements or that he needs to change direction. In 2021, Biden declared that anyone with two doses of an mRNA vaccine could go mask free. He didn't update or reverse when Delta and Omicron hit; he's still maintaining that vaccination magically means people won't get sick when the reality: vaccines have lost effectiveness in the face of new variants and rather than prevent infection, they are now serving to help people get better after they get sick.

Do you mind me asking which vaccine you got? I'm not a doctor. I'd be curious if the issue was mRNA vaccines and if you might get better results with a more traditional viral vector vaccine like Johnson and Johnson or Novavax. I'd say that vaccines have proven safe for the general population. But you're not a population, you're a specific person and while a vaccine may be safe overall, there are going to be outliers.

AstraZeneca in Canada had four deaths due to a rare 1 in 200,000 blood clotting disorder; it was removed from use even though most politicians got AstraZeneca for their first two doses at their photo op vaccinations. I have one friend who has such extreme reactions to any and all vaccinations in addition to his underlying health issues that he hasn't gotten any doses. I have another friend whose immunodeficiencies mean her doses have to be spaced out: four months between her first and second dose and getting her third under strict medical supervision while being unsure about a fourth.

I would say nine-point-five out of ten times, vaccines aren't going to cause anyone any issues. Kari Wuhrer once said that that nine-point-five out of ten women never experience breast implant encapsulation and sudden hardening and warping of their implants and that she was unfortunately on the wrong side of that statistic. Outliers exist. I'm sorry you had such a bad reaction.

Let me know if I can send you any KF94s.


Thank you for the offer on the KF94s.  I have quite a bunch of 3M 95s.  Your posting on here about Mask Nerd helped.   Heck, you're Sliders upscaling experiments helped quite a bit during rough patches over the last couple of years. 

I have considered getting an FFP3 for medical settings or high risk settings. I should probably do so.  I have not gotten around to it but should.   

With regard to the topic of vaccines, it's too emotionally charged of an issue for me to say all that much, in a way that will be 100 percent productive.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I'm going to the movies! To see HALLOWEEN ENDS. In a densely packed cineplex.

After two years, I've read and absorbed enough on masking to feel confident in my precautions. In addition to five doses of Moderna, I'm wearing a well-sealed KF94 mask that fits to my face with no gaps. KF94 masks are tightly regulated by the Korean government with masks from each batch needing to be tested before sale. Factories that fail mask tests get fined and their products are destroyed. To meet the requirements, KF94 masks only need to filter 94 per cent; manufactures get them to 97 and higher to be sure to pass.

With a KF94, it's safe for me to go anywhere and be around anyone even if they're not masked. The KF94 is filtering 97 per cent in and out; I won't make anyone sick and no one will make me sick.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I saw No Way Home and Dr Strange at midday screenings during the work week.  There were some people but with the ability to choose my own seats, I was able to avoid people and enjoy the experience.

Because of busyness in my life, I didn't see Thor in theaters.  I think I might try and see Black Adam in theaters but I don't know.  I would like to see Black Panther in theaters next month.

I've always had a sort of appreciation for the Halloween franchise having seen every one of the Michael Myers movies.  But I don't think it will make my theater-going cut.

********

Is everyone eligible for the new variant-specific booster?  I think because of lack of information, I assumed it was only for high-risk and older people.  Is it available for everyone?

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

This is what I'm seeing for Austin, Texas at https://www.austintexas.gov/covid19-vaccines :

18 and Older:

Booster: Updated (bivalent) booster at least 2 months after 2nd dose or last booster, and can be Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

I have to say, it feels a bit condescending for me to lecture you about your own home. Sorry. I owe you a Coke.

In my province (Ontario) in Canada, fourth doses weren't widely available until fall at which point the BA.1 bivalent was rolling out. I was able to get a fourth dose in June because I had signed up for the new Novavax dose (a protein based vaccine rather than mRNA), but the nurse switched it to Moderna at the appointment. (I would have taken the Novavax anyway.) I then got a fifth dose in October of the BA.1 bivalent, but there's now a BA.4 and BA.5 bivalent.

I was hesitant in early 2021 about going out again, but after two years and not having gotten COVID, I think it's pretty clear that electrostatic masks work and they work even if everyone around you isn't masked.

I find that most diligent maskers whose masks failed to protect them in 2020 - 2021 were unfortunately wearing cloth masks (which don't filter), cloth masks with insert filters (which don't cover the entire mask surface area) or surgical masks with unclosed gaps. Some people wore surgical masks under fashionable cloth masks and this worked because the firm seal of the cloth combined with the high filtration of the surgical... but I'd rather wear one good mask than two bad ones.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I have just had to settle and compromise when it comes to masks.

My mother's been tough to mask. She has a very flat nose bridge. Most masks don't seal well on her face; they hang half an inch off her face at the top, they leave huge gaps. Only the Kleannara KF94 boat shaped mask (98 percent filtration) and the Delcure KF94 bifold sit well. Delcure's been hard to find lately. Kleannara has been plentiful, but there's another problem: in the summer, she says she can't breathe through a Kleannara due to hot air. This four layer mask (water resistant layer, meltblown electrostatic layer, structural layer, skin friendly layer) is too thick for her, hot air gets hotter passing through this thick layer and she can't breathe enough.

In the past few summers, I've settled for having her wear ASTM Level 1 surgical masks. She found the three layers (fluid resistant/electrostatic/skin friendly) breathable. They left gaps at the nose and on the sides because they're a 2D shape for a 3D face. But with cordlocks to tighten up the earloops... well, the side gaps were gone, but there was still a bit of a gap on the sides of her nose.

I told myself that the gaps were mostly sealed and that she'd be fine with the 95 per cent filtration of ASTM L1... but I suspect that was wishful thinking. Most surgical masks, due to the gaps at the cheeks and around the nose, filter around 60 percent of particles due to the leakage. Likely, the surgical was filtering maybe 70 - 75 per cent with the gaps around the nose. It wasn't ideal, but it was the mask that my mother was able to wear from June to September. But it still worried me.

In 2020, Korea temporarily banned exports of KF94 masks. The company Air Queen started manufacturing a "nano"
a boat-shaped, KF94 style mask for international sale, but they didn't submit it for KF94 approval and didn't use KF94 materials. The Nano doesn't use electrostatic material to catch particles. Instead, the Air Queen Nano uses nanofiber material that is thin but densely interwoven to catch incoming particles; a net as opposed to a magnet.

The Air Queen Nano is thinner than KF94s and even surgicals and the company boasted 97 per cent particle filtration. Actual tests from mask experts, however, revealed that the Air Queen Nano actually filtered 87 - 90 percent, a bit lower than the average 98 percent filtration of KF94s and the 99.9 percent filtration of an N95. In 2020, with N95s expensive and rare and KN95s unreliable and with the most common mask being non-filtering cotton cloth, the Air Queen seemed like a godsend. In 2022, I find it inadequate and ridiculously overpriced ($1.20 - $2.50 USD per mask when you can get a KF94 for 75 cents each).

But, worried about summer in eight months' time, I bought a small quantity of Air Queen Nano masks and... they fit my mother's face really well, just as well as the Kleannara. And they feel as thin as Kleenex. My mother will find it  breathable in the summer. The lack of gap around the nose thanks to the boat shape means it seals better than the surgical ever could. But the Air Queen Nano filters 87 - 90 percent, a drop from the Kleannara KF94 filtering 98 percent.

I've bought my mother enough Air Queen Nanos for the summer. These are her summer masks now. They're not the best and I would never wear one myself or encourage anyone to buy them... but they're the best that my mother can wear.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I never knew how strong I was until a couple of months into pandemic season.
I started an excersize regimen of jumping jacks/pushups/lifting/running laps and eating healthier. Dropped three pants sizes and went shopping for a new wardrobe. Took notes in my journal, and eventually started playing basketball, got in touch with friends that I haven't spoken to in years. I love jumping jacks!

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I got my bivalent booster yesterday and MAN, it knocked me on my butt.  I felt worse than I did with the second original shot or the regular booster.  Chills, fever, fluish symptoms.

But still VERY MUCH worth it and VERY grateful to have received it.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I'm relieved Slider_Quinn21 got his booster. I... don't know if I should have gotten the bivalent booster.

They made me sign a waiver at the pharmacy noting that the usual schedule for a booster was six months between doses and that I was getting my fifth dose a mere 3.5 months after my fourth. I explained that with new variants coming, prevailing public health advice was to get a booster ASAP and not to wait for the longer interval. With winter fast approaching, it seemed best to get quintuple boosted. But I was warned that I wouldn't get as strong an immune response without waiting the full six months.

Previous vaccinations and boosters have taken me out of action for seven days. This fifth dose took me out for... two days. Does that mean it's not as effective?

Also, the booster I got was the BA.1 version whereas the current booster that SQ21 probably got is on BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants which should mount a more targeted defense against the newer strains.

It may have been more to my advantage to wait to the 4 - 4.5 month mark and get the BA.4/BA.5 booster then. Hopefully, we won't have to find out, and as of now, I'm comfortable waiting until April 2023 for my sixth dose.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

ireactions wrote:

Previous vaccinations and boosters have taken me out of action for seven days. This fifth dose took me out for... two days. Does that mean it's not as effective?

It's funny you say that - my mother said the same thing.  While I had a fever, exhaustion, and a little bit of stomach discomfort (wouldn't characterize it as nausea), my mom said she didn't feel anything.  Her cousin lost his sense of taste temporarily.

So she wondered if she got the wrong shot.  I told her that different people have different reactions and not to worry about it.  I don't know if that was the right answer, but she felt better.

I also feel better.  My arm is still a little sore but I feel like I'm on my way back.

2,059

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I got boosted Tuesday and I still feel terrible.  Previous shots didn't hit like this one.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

A lot of people will get a COVID vaccination with no perceptible reaction. The vaccine is still working; the immune system of these particular people are is able to incorporate this specific dose of vaccine without raising the 'volume' of the body's defense mechanisms. However, in my case, the pharmacist did warn me that I wouldn't be getting the same protection of a booster as people who waited six months rather than 3.5..

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

You know, I brushed off my COVID bivalent booster quite easily, but this year's flu shot has really taken it out of me. I fell asleep watching LOWER DECKS.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

So Trump is running in 2024.  I don't see how this isn't a good thing for Biden (or whoever runs in 2024).  If it's Biden vs Trump, I think people will vote for the same person they voted for in 2020.  I can't imagine anything in the last two years would indicate that people would've changed their votes.

But for Trump's side, he has to beat DeSantis first.  And I think that makes things so much harder.  Trump will either p*ss off a bunch of DeSantis voters (who I assume would stay home rather than vote for Biden) if he wins, or DeSantis beats him.  And if DeSantis beats him, I think there is no chance that all Trump's voters get in line.  I think you'd see record numbers of people write in Trump, or Trump would just keep running.

Because I think there's no chance Trump would accept that he lost a primary.  It'd be like 2020 except he'd just keep running afterwards.  I don't know how that would even work with the Republican Party - they obviously can't have two candidates.  I think the GOP's best bet is to tell DeSantis not to run, but that might make him want to run even more.

Either way, even with Biden being historically unpopular, I don't see how Trump running doesn't significantly help him.

Re: American Politics: Discuss and Debate

I'm currently in the process of converting SLIDERS REBORN, which my therapist described as the equivalent of a graduate school thesis, into ePub format. I've blocked off some time over the holidays to get it all done. One of the ideas in the story is "Teslanium", a concept created by the brilliant Nigel G. Mitchell who helped me world-build an alt-Earth where the global water supply has been contaminated by a toxic fuel substance created by Elon Musk. This featured in Part 3 of SLIDERS REBORN.

Nigel offered the name and I referred to Musk because, back in 2015, I was under the impression that Musk was a diligent, ambitious, self-driven engineer with a desire for positive social and technology change as opposed to being Donald Trump with a crappy car company. I referred to Musk because Nigel's Teslanium seemed to provide reference to Musk's Tesla cars even though Nigel was, of course, referring to revolutionary scientist (and later madman) Nikola Tesla.

Given Musk's trajectory to becoming a deranged alt-right loon...

I actually find it fitting that "Teslanium" turns out to be a toxic substance in SLIDERS REBORN that poisoned an entire Earth; and I had a throwaway line in Part 6 where the sliders have, between Parts 5 and 6, found a way to remove Teslanium from that Earth's water. However, I'm no longer willing to use Musk's name or anything tangentially connected to this man in my writing. I've removed the reference to his name and I'm going to rename the "Teslanium" to be "Newtonium".

May God and Nigel G. Mitchell forgive me.