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Bank of Canada Rate Decision December 2021
December 18, 2021
10:05 am
Vatox
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The outlook isn’t good and the recovery will likely be stalled.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-dec-16-2021-science-table-modelling-omicron-1.6287900

https://globalnews.ca/news/8455478/ontario-covid-modelling-
december-2021/

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/tam-urges-christmas-caution-as-modelling-shows-potential-for-covid-19-surge-1.5702131

I’m betting most are fed up with not being able to have normal living and entertainment gatherings. So I’m thinking it’s going to be nasty infection numbers come January. The economic outlook isn’t bright.

Inflation will be staying, especially with food costs.

December 18, 2021
10:18 am
Loonie
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Vatox said

Loonie said

The problem is, these things are all entwined. Economic decisions are effectively being made based on assumptions about vaccines and other public health measures. People are allowed to keep businesses open on the theory that vaccines will be adequate.

That’s not a complete assessment. Since some are vaccinated and some are unvaccinated, the only measures are, infection numbers and hospitalizations. The efficacy of vaccines doesn’t determine restrictions, lockdowns or the economic decisions. Talking about infection numbers and hospitalizations would be relevant, but the vaccines say only one thing, the more people that get them, the better off we will be. Therefore it’s completely irrelevant to discuss efficacy of the vaccines. They don’t make any economic decisions based on vaccine efficacy, only on the results of the virus transmission and severity.  

I disagree. Vaccine efficacy is critical to hospitalization and infection rates. It's all connected.

December 18, 2021
10:36 am
Bill
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I agree, Norman1, there is always bad news but I'm just saying there are some positive indicators too. And I prefer the 3rd to 4th wave comparison in South Africa to the South Africa vs Denmark comparison, to me a more apples-to-apples comparison plus omicron's been in South Africa longer so more (better?) data, and the hospitalization decrease is significant there. Plus pandemics do peter out, viruses become weaker over time, I've heard, so I like to think the virus is on the defense now and thus is sacrificing virulence for transmissibility in an attempt to keep going (is my amateur, maybe childlike, positive spin) so prepare for the worst but expect better is my view now. The timing is very bad for businesses, to lose the holiday time money, but hopefully the economic hit won't be too long-lasting this time.

December 18, 2021
10:56 am
Loonie
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The Science Table report also noted significant demographic and vaccination differences between S Africa and Canada. S Africa has a much younger population.

We need to recognize that both the virus and the data are in flux and are likely to remain so for some time.

December 18, 2021
11:10 am
Kidd
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https://data.ontario.ca/en/dataset/covid-19-vaccine-data-in-ontario

dec-18th.jpg

South Africa have 25% of their population vaccinated.
Canada has 77% of their population vaccinated.

South Africa are reporting... Omicron does NOT require as many hospitalizations as Delta. https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/south-africa-hospitalization-rate-falls-91-in-omicron-wave-1.1697267

December 18, 2021
11:39 am
Norman1
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Bill said
I agree, Norman1, there is always bad news but I'm just saying there are some positive indicators too. And I prefer the 3rd to 4th wave comparison in South Africa to the South Africa vs Denmark comparison, to me a more apples-to-apples comparison plus omicron's been in South Africa longer so more (better?) data, and the hospitalization decrease is significant there. Plus pandemics do peter out, viruses become weaker over time, I've heard, so I like to think the virus is on the defense now and thus is sacrificing virulence for transmissibility in an attempt to keep going (is my amateur, maybe childlike, positive spin) so prepare for the worst but expect better is my view now. …

Unfortunately, the comparison is spin just like the deal made over the year-over-year CPI numbers.

What that article doesn't mention is that South Africa entered the latest fourth wave with 90%+ of the population having immunity. That's because previous variants had swept through the population in the previous waves. Almost everyone there has antibodies from surviving an actual COVID infection.

On top of that, about 30% of their population are "super" immune from being both fully vaccinated and being actually exposed to one of the variants! Kind of like getting a third booster.

So, it is not real news that Omicron recently showed up there and the resulting hospitalization rates are much lower than from the same point in the previous wave.

Viruses don't weaken over time. It's the vulnerable victims who disappear over time. People either survive their infection or they don't. The survivors end up immune. Those who die can't be re-infected either!

December 18, 2021
11:45 am
Vatox
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Loonie said

I disagree. Vaccine efficacy is critical to hospitalization and infection rates. It's all connected.  

That’s absolutely true. And the more people that get vaccinated the better. However, that doesn’t mean hospitalizations will decrease, because not everyone gets vaccinated and in the case of the elderly and people with underlying conditions, they are still ending up in hospital. The vaccine is the best choice, but it’s the results of transmission and hospitalizations that are the deciding factors. The entire population could be triple vaccinated, but people could be still be overwhelming the healthcare system.

The vaccines simply help, they don’t determine economic decisions. It’s the resulting outcomes and future fears, that they look at. We have herd immunity already and they aren’t stopping restrictions.

December 18, 2021
11:47 am
Kidd
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Omicron largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses.

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/232698/omicron-largely-evades-immunity-from-past/

December 18, 2021
12:28 pm
HermanH
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Norman1 said
Viruses don't weaken over time. It's the vulnerable victims who disappear over time. People either survive their infection or they don't. The survivors end up immune. Those who die can't be re-infected either!

Very true. The strong survive (and get stronger). The weak do not and thus cannot provide additional paths for infection.

Vatox said
We have herd immunity already and they aren’t stopping restrictions.  

One major reason behind this continuing problem is that some folks actually believe that herd immunity actually exists for CoVid. Inoculation only protects the individual and no one else.

December 18, 2021
12:44 pm
Norman1
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We don't have herd immunity.

One study found two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, only has about 30% effective against Omicron infection.

That's not enough for herd immunity, even with 100% of the population vaccinated with the two shots.

December 18, 2021
1:00 pm
Vatox
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Norman1 said
We don't have herd immunity.

One study found two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, only has about 30% effective against Omicron infection.

That's not enough for herd immunity, even with 100% of the population vaccinated with the two shots.  

And that is exactly why the results determine the economic decisions. Talking about vaccine efficacy could show different results at any time with any new variant. So let’s stop talking about vaccines. We want to focus on financial and economic outfall. It doesn’t look promising. Inflation is staying and economic disruptions seem likely.

December 18, 2021
1:32 pm
Loonie
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You may have misunderstood me, Vatox. I have never believed that vaccine is our "magic pill" or that results form it are consistent or completely predictable. But we need to keep an eye on its efficacy, improvements in protocols etc because it's very clear that it does affect hospitalizations and so on. It doesn't make sense to me to look at ICU rates without looking at the variables that affect how people got there.
But we may just have to disagree on this.

It's quite true from what the Ontario Science table said last week, as I recall, that 2 doses of Pfizer is only somewhat effective against omicron, especially if you had them a while ago. If I remember correctly, 3 doses brings up to 75%. It's very misleading when the media talk about people being "fully protected" with 2 doses and no regard for when they got them

December 18, 2021
1:39 pm
HermanH
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Loonie said
It's very misleading when the media talk about people being "fully protected" with 2 doses and no regard for when they got them  

It's not just mis-leading, but downright dishonest for the media to suggest that individual protection somehow translates to community protection. Understandably, this leads to individuals to attend sites with their useless passports and then transmit/receive infection from other individuals. It is particularly galling that public health officials are complicit in this deceptive messaging by outright ignoring any mention of infectious transmission by the inoculated; as if CoVid can only be passed by uninoculated.sf-yell

December 18, 2021
5:49 pm
Bill
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This from a few hours ago, Guardian newspaper, I'm going to take scientist Chan's word over those who claim viruses never weaken in terms of their severity:
"A third piece of hopeful news is that scientists have uncovered a possible biological explanation for Omicron’s apparent reduced severity. This work was carried out by Michael Chan Chi-wai at the University of Hong Kong who found that although the new variant is much more efficient, compared with Delta, in reproducing in the upper respiratory tract, where it can be coughed out onto others, it is far less efficient in spreading in the lungs where it would pose the greatest danger to an infected person.....In this way, the variant may spread between individuals far more quickly but not reach more vulnerable parts of their anatomies. This would reduce the severity of illness it can trigger.....However, Chan has counselled caution in interpreting the implications of his work. “By infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death, even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic,” he said. “The overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant.”"

December 18, 2021
6:22 pm
Loonie
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As I read it, it sounds like Chan is saying that the omicron variant of the covid virus behaves in this particular way. I don't hear him saying that it weakens; rather, it is different - very strong in some ways and weaker in others. Other variants we have not yet encountered might be different again.

I think one has to be cautious about the positive spin being put on this story by the Guardian, although it is generally a reputable paper. We would all like to hear "good news" stories. The only quote from Chan is at the very end, and he is much more cautious.

I don't have enough background in virology to say if a particular variant can weaken but I doubt it.

December 18, 2021
7:46 pm
Norman1
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I'm aware of those findings. 70X spread in the respiratory tract, 0.1X in the lungs.

What The Guardian says is spin. It is not what the researcher said in HKUMed finds Omicron SARS-CoV-2 can infect faster and better than Delta in human bronchus…:

…They found that the novel Omicron variant replicates faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and Delta variant in the human bronchus. At 24 hours after infection, the Omicron variant replicated around 70 times higher than the Delta variant and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. In contrast, the Omicron variant replicated less efficiently (more than 10 times lower) in the human lung tissue than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, which may suggest lower severity of disease.

‘It is important to note that the severity of disease in humans is not determined only by virus replication but also by the host immune response to the infection, which may lead to dysregulation of the innate immune system, i.e. “cytokine storm”,’ said Dr Chan. ‘It is also noted that, by infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic. Therefore, taken together with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant.’

As I wrote earlier, if Omicron were 70X more infectious but only caused 1/10X the severe cases of Delta, the net is still 7X the severe cases of Delta.

December 19, 2021
5:03 am
RetirEd
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We need to understand that Delta was already rising exponentially before Omicron. And that the vaccines we have are not invincible - and especially that all COVID-19 variants can be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers.

We will need much stronger isolation measures to get us through to when boosters and possibly re-sequenced vaccines are available.

Even a small amount of breakthrough in such a rapidly multiplying system will mean never getting rid of the pathogen in circulation.

This is NOT a time to loosen restrictions for commercial profit.
RetirEd

December 19, 2021
5:33 am
mordko
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Circulating pathogen isn’t anything unusual. We have lots already. The question is whether it will overwhelm hospitals. There is uncertainty but we are not in March 2020 because:
1. Vaccines exist and reduce severity even in breakthrough cases. Rapid tests exist too and availability should be improved.
2. Hospitals have learnt how to treat patients - and have drugs that work.
The problem with “restrictions” is threefold (apart from profit):
1. People are tired of them and might no longer follow the rules.
2. Enforced shutdowns have been damaging for kids and young people.
3. Government expenditure during forced shut downs is unsustainable and will ultimately undermine the whole financial system.

December 19, 2021
6:33 am
Bill
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A virus that replicates 10X less efficiently in my body, that "may suggest lower severity of disease" once in my body, even if only partly due to its own "weakening", is good news as far as I'm concerned for those of us who are careful to isolate, etc. For those who are out and about, travelling around, yes, might very well may end up with more bad cases due to 70X more infectious.

mordko is very right, increasingly in our approach we are considering the other (non-financial) costs that we've put in the background so far, e.g. increased cancer and other disease deaths due to system's focus on virus, developmental effects on children growing up in a perpetually-scared society, effects on all people's mental health due to shutdown of activities and personal interaction, and many more. Even the provincial head doctors on TV now increasingly refer to these other health costs, that we have to balance other health matters too now instead of our so far laser-focused view, especially now that we've got tools to fight this thing we didn't have earlier on.

Re gov't spending, I don't think people care about it, maybe because they figure all the countries are doing it.

December 19, 2021
6:44 am
mordko
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People might not care or they might even love government stimulus but they won’t love the effects. Different countries “stimulated” differently; few were as profligate as the likes of US, Canada and Turkey.

In the US stimulus was released in waves with the first batch being necessary, second questionable and the third redundant. Inflation spiked after the third batch. Canada also carried on printing money for far too long. Monetary policy can be tinkered with for a time but the the market always wins in the end.

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