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The virus that causes the common cold can effectively boot the Covid virus out (bbc.com)
221 points by discocrisco 53 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 283 comments

"From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man's weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain."

There's a concept in domestication that it's not always clear in a symbiotic relationship as to which party is in 'control' of the relationship, especially when one party gets a huge boost in reproductive rates from the other. Did humans domesticate dogs, or did dogs domesticate humans?

Viruses are specialized. They won't attack aliens. Bacteria might. It's the fungi in many respects that are the masters of this planet. If we manage to destroy ourselves so badly that we take out most multicellular organisms as well, it'll be the fungi that rebuild the ecology.

It'll probably be the fungi that the aliens have to worry about too.

Viruses will attack anything they can successfully reproduce in, they have absolutely no preferences. They are binary, they survive and thrive or they don't. That's why some viruses can sucessfully jump species, and some can't, some viruses are able to survive in multiple hosts through dumb luck. Yes, they all need specific types of conditions in their hosts to survive, but they don't care if it's a big, a dog, a human, or an alien. If it gets what it needs, it'll go there.

Note: I'm not saying viruses don't have conditions they need met, they do, obviously. I'm saying they can attack an alien just as likely as they can a human.

Viruses have evolved to hijack DNA- I'd find it highly unlikely a truly alien biology would be susceptible to earth viruses. Maybe some truly primitive precursor virus may have been able to, but I'd think any of those would be long gone.

We have no idea if they'll be DNA based or not, but there's a nonzero chance they might. If Earth found DNA the easiest path, so might another world.

DNA is "translated" from code to proteins using codons. There's a very good chance that the codons used would be completely different from our own, disrupting viral replication.

But will the alien viruses attack us?

If they operate on a chemical/biological structure that humans have then yes. Just nobody go designing viruses for hypothetical aliens, ok?

We don't really know whether other forms of life would use proteins, or make the same ones the same way we do.

Both of those things are important to all of the viruses we have experience with.

Proteins are just groups of amino acids which occur in stellar nebulae. It could easily be a widely used building block of life.

I'm saying they can attack an alien just as likely as they can a human.

For that to be true, you need some governing rule of life, not 'could easily be a widely used'.

(You'll note, I phrased my other reply in terms of us not knowing)

Yes, viruses don't care. But at the same time, I am doubtful that they could.

This is one of the things that I like about the expanse series. When people first start moving out to alien ecosystems, they specifically go into how alien viruses etc are probably not going to be a problem. The metaphor they use is "mining" basically. Where they're not concerned that people will get infected, but they're concerned that some organism will find out that people are full of some resource that the organism can use.

And in fact they bump into some sort of algae that lives in the atmosphere that really likes the saline mixture that makes up most of the liquid in our bodies.

I’ve never heard of the Expanse series but your mining comment is both terrifying and intriguing! DuckDuckGo tells me it’s both a series of novels and a Syfy TV series - I’m curious which one (or perhaps both?) you’re referring to so I can add it to my read and/or watch list.

They both tell more or less the same story (the show is based on the books) but I believe they were referring to the tv show.

I experienced the Expanse by watching the first season, binging all the books because I was impatient, then watching the rest with my partner.

I feel I've gotten the best of both by doing that.

I prefer the books but the episodes I saw were all really good. I think I watched to seasson 3.

The series is streaming on Amazon Prime, FYI

> which party is in 'control' of the relationship

Any one taking care of a cat knows this well.

It's the toxoplasmosis in control, right?

HG Wells?

Yes: War of the Worlds

It is.

"the tiniest creatures God in his wisdom put upon this earth"

The writing is nice but flawed. Since War of the Worlds, we have advanced tremendously and no longer need intelligent design or creation myths to explain microorganisms.

Reproducible, testable science demonstrates that in the primordial oceans, self-replicating molecules which were slightly better at self-replicating produced globules of matter capable of inheritance. Small mutations over millions of years led to the tiniest organisms, not "creatures", and most microorganisms don't even interact with higher life forms. It's only after epochs of time that complex mammals arose, breathing air, and these mammalian hosts then did provide the harbor for pathogens we know today.

The writing is nice because it's nicely written. It's fiction, Wells was a fiction author.

Give the dude a break on the athiest rant, he's been dead half a century.

HG Wells would have been well aware of this, being an athiest of a kind we'd consider close to New Athiesm nowadays.

Yeah, you'd almost think he was writing in the voice of a fictional character or something bizarre like that.

Or that God was maybe a writing device instead of literally referring to God.


I do not understand what you mean here.

Grandparent comment misspelled atheism; parent comment is being obnoxious about it.

I read it as aversion to the "New" part of "New Atheism", a term I don't think I've heard of before.

New Atheism refers to a specifically anti-religious/anti-theist viewpoint-- see Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc.

I am not familiar enough with H.G. Wells's religious leanings (or lack thereof) to make any kind of comparison between Wells's views and those of New Atheism's proponents, although I will note that War of the Worlds was written early enough that Wells may not have been atheist yet.

"Reproducible, testable science demonstrates that in the primordial oceans, self-replicating molecules which were slightly better at self-replicating produced globules of matter capable of inheritance."

Hang on. Are you implying that science created artifical life from just elements? Because that would be news to me.

We don't understand how abiogenesis happened exactly but we do know that electricity from lightning is liable to be able to produce amino acids from simpler chemicals and we have theories as to how the early earth would have been amenable to such formation in a way the current earth is not.


Given the history of shamanistic figures explaining the natural world in terms of magical spirits and having magical definitions replaced with natural ones thousands of years one can perhaps be forgiven for concluding that the original of life was just another domino waiting to fall.


This is interesting, but it also says nothing about fine-tuning, which is likely outside the realms of the scientific method.

Why is it outside of the scientific method? Speculate based on the other things we know about the universe, devise way of test theory, rinse repeat.

By definition, you can propose theories that are untestable. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

You would need to prove all theories that describe the beginning of life on earth will be untestable.

Sure, I’m alluding more towards, for example, the existence of hydrogen itself versus the beginning of life on earth which comes much later.

Why would you need to go back to the formation of matter to understand how life formed billions of years later?

Because the existent of hydrogen might be more unlikely than the existence of the resulting life.

What does that have to do with it. When you want to figure out what the climate was like 2000 years ago the existence of a mountain might be relevant but explaining it's formation millions of years ago is not required.

Science does not and will not be able to explain the origin of life. The statement still holds. It's very arrogant of us to assume otherwise.

That depends on whether your question to the origin of life begins with "How" or "Why".

Of course science informs us about the origin of life.

Science is a matter of theorization and subsequent development of confidence through testing theorization.

It is arrogant and manipulative to view science as black and white and then call everything white due to a lack of 100.000% confidence.

It's simply a matter of science being limited to observations in the natural world. We will not be able to go back to before t=0 when the universe was created. Such knowledge is beyond the real of space and time, and we do not have access to it.

Is the theory of gravity still something to be considered only a theory?

A theory, yes. Those who say “only a theory” tend to confuse theory with hypothesis, which is much looser. A theory is a coherent set of principles serving to explain a range of phenomena. Emphasis on coherent, meaning not only internally consistent, but also consistent with related knowledge. The road from hypothesis to theory can be long and tortuous.

My question was meant to be rhetorical in response to the OP.

We have many things labelled to be a theory that are complete enough to be acceptable answers while still being considered relatively incoherent or insufficient to science.

Presumably so especially since both Newton's and Enstein's understanding of gravity is obviously incomplete.

Why wouldn't it. If it has an answer science can find it.

> science can find it.

There is no thing called "science" that finds answers. There are scientists who can form hypotheses about the universe they can see and perceive and check whether they are consistent with what they can see and perceive.

We are mostly ants on a balloon:


We do not know where the balloon came from.

> There is no thing called "science" that finds answers.

That’s equivalent to suggesting people can’t do chess. Semantically it may be accurate, but it’s intentionally obtuse.

Language doesn’t actually work that way.

Anyway, science isn’t experiments and building hypothesis etc. That’s part of the process, but really quite small pieces of a greater whole. It’s the long processes of generations refining and testing earlier ideas that finds truth.

I am not sure I understand the statement about chess.

It is important to understand that scientists are individuals with individual incentives. While some have an inherent drive towards getting closer to truths via the application of the scientific method, others may find other things more important.

Abstracting "the science" from scientists is a convenient way of training other people in the acceptance of the proposition that there are inherently qualified arbiters of truth.

Chess is an abstract set of rules not the thought process behind making a move or the physical action of moving a piece. As such nobody actually does chess.

You can play chess, as in follow the rules, or be a scientist, as in contribute to the progress of science, but nobody is the physical embodiment of chess or science.

Edit: To be as clear as possible, the President isn’t Democracy, but Democracy still exists in that you can meaningfully destroy it.

> To be as clear as possible, the President isn’t Democracy

I am afraid I am lost.

Democracy is emergent behavior, you need free and fair elections and the general public to vote. Elected officials are a tiny part of that, just as an individual cell of your body is no more you than a single person is a country.

Science is similarly emergent behavior. You need the exchange of ideas, not just say a science fair where people go through the motions of experiments, but those experiments don’t get used by others to design new experiments etc.

science is our method of finding answers. When we say science can find it, we mean scientists using the scientific method.

Science is a method of finding answers, it's not the only one.

Because it's beyond the realm of space and time. We can't go back before t=0 when the universe was created.

Until we know the nature of the universe, that may not be correct.

It may not be correct, but it may be correct

Your statement "If it has an answer" only holds if you say that any truth science can't prove doesn't exist

But this isn't true. See Halting problem etc. There are things for which the answer can exist & yet be undeterminable

This is fine. I prefer to look at it this way: science is searching out a subset of knowable truths. The origin of the universe is interesting only insofar as we can dredge up relevant information, but coming up with an origin story or not isn't what proves the validity of science

Science isn't about getting all the answers, it's about getting the answers right & at it's best admitting when we got the answers wrong

When someone asks "If God doesn't exist what created the universe?" I say "I don't know, I don't care"

Life is believed to have emerged at ~t=9 billion why couldn't we formulate a theory of how it emerged?

Life connects back to time zero because everything prior was an important boundary condition, e.g. heavy metals made through exploding stars supporting elemental composition of life, etc.

You don't have to understand everything to understand anything. Scientific theories are always abstractions that reduce the complex interconnected universe to a workable surface area we are trying to explore in order to produce a model that can be used to make predictions about the larger world that in turn can be tested, refined, or shit canned as appropriate.

You can say we can't possibly understand how the heart works because we do not understand the entire evolutionary tree leading up to the human race and how the circulatory system evolved over billions of years and ergo heart transplants are impossible. This is trivially false and its false for the same reason parent posters assertion is false. Everything is how it is because of initial conditions ergo everything connects back to time zero but we can still use the abstract understanding we do have to make models and predictions.

> Life connects back to time zero because everything prior was an important boundary condition, e.g. heavy metals made through exploding stars supporting elemental composition of life, etc.

The initial conditions were so uniform that it doesn't take the same level of detail to understand what happened, and we can look all the way back to the CMBR. A particle-by-particle reconstruction of interactions since the big bang won't make much of a difference in our understanding of what happened on Earth. Virtually all of the interactions arrived in our solar system in a very noisy fashion during star formation and it was up to the resulting sun to pump negentropy into the rocks and other matter.

He means to say that science does not have the tools to reproduce the beginning of the Universe. If it's not reproducible it's not Science. Confident assertions non-withstanding, the Human mind is a slave to nature, in that can never hope to uncover it's deepest secrets and thus, it's true.....nature?

By that definition science is entirely unreal because we can't reproduce an apple pie from scratch without first creating the universe. We explore geology including theories about the formation of the earth without making new planets.

What is supposed to be reproducible is the act of collecting and processing data to ensure that your conclusion isn't based on error, falsehood, or happenstance. What he is promoting is a basic misunderstanding of both science and logic.

People with preconceived anti science attitudes do this all the time. They face you down at high noon in their fancy duds, six guns ready at their hips sure of themselves and ready to kill and draw pearl handled.... water pistols.

They went looking for the correct answer to satisfy their religion not a commitment to truth and found cheaply manufactured baubles they are sure are deadly weapons because the very skills that would enable them to see it clearly would prevent them from looking for such easy answers in the first place.

let me rephrase; science has limited itself to understanding the laws of Nature. It can never tell us how the world -and thus life- came to be. I admit your argument was a good one. But not the anti religious points. Essentially atheists has declared Nature as the true god. In the rules he has imposed, he has left us with no choice. Science has hardly managed to do away with god, it has merely managed to exchange him as it were.

I will also argue that atheism is a religion. There is nothing more exciting than being able to throw off the rules of one god by replacing him with another who asks for nothing.

Only theists conceive of God as an essential element and thereby perceive a god shaped hole in atheists world view? What religion does your cat practice for example?

Nature is like gravity it is a label we attach to things in order to communicate about some aspect of our mental models of the universe we share or imagine we share sufficiently to communicate theories about the underlying thing those models point to. It isn't in most cases not imagined to be a sentience modeled after ourselves but rather an abstraction around some aspects of everything in the overarching model.

Religion, Philosophy, Science are all systems of models of the world but they belong in different category based on characteristics in the same way that a trout, a dog, and an duck are all animals but they aren't all fish just because they all swim.

Religion especially western religion has classically been a pre scientific exploration of different theories about how the world came to be lacking virtually all actual understanding and focused on the idea that something much like man writ large was responsible for the universe and that the man who acted as conduit to the wishes off that man would derive some measure of that beings power mirroring primitive social structures and extending them skyward to the fanciful creations of our own mind. As if an ant had imagined the entire world was a giant burrow made by giant ants who could make their wishes known to lesser ants by way of the arrangements of your dogs droppings in your yard.

Science is merely a system for harnessing the same imagination but directed towards testing our fanciful explanations and building an increasingly powerful set of facts and models that are extremely likely to be somewhat true. We by the nature of our brains are builders of models and we must have them to exist and to progress but we don't need to build a system that glorifies the very flaws to which our minds are most heir to and exploits them. That is to say we haven't replaced God with nature we have simply built mental models of the universe that don't contain a first cause because we don't believe there is a conscious act at the center of it all.

Those of us who have wings know that a wing isn't a different kind of fin and a rocket engine isn't a different sort of wing and naked is not a style of pants.

There is no reason that we can't at the end of a long road have a pretty good idea how how life on earth came to be in the same way as we have a pretty good idea of how to continents came to be as they are. It wont be perfect but it will keep getting better every year as we learn more.

Your god was invented thousands of years ago so someone could claim to speak for him and attain status within his or her tribe without hunting more animals a trick that amazingly still works NOW. Throwing off the yoke of his adherents doesn't free one from the obligation of life, meaning, your family, or your fellow man. It is a harder obligation not an easier one. You incorrectly frame casting out comforting lies and facing down a terrifying truth as an easy way out but nothing could be further from the truth.

If a lie it is and I for myself call it a lie then adhering to it would be an unacceptable act of cowardice. If you truly believe it then to you it is courage to adhere to it but neither of our experiences is a lie and you definitely do not understand mine or any other alike.

> Your god was invented thousands of years ago so someone could claim to speak for him and attain status within his or her tribe without hunting more animals a trick that amazingly still works NOW.

Another fallacy and incorrect assumption that's clouding the discussion. Don't group all religions together then toss them all out as equally invalid.

>neither of our experiences is a lie and you definitely do not understand mine or any other alike.

They're not talking about personal experiences, they're talking about objective truth, and of those there's only one.

I'm talking about subjective understanding of objective truth. I of course think the objective truth is there is no God. The majority in America differ.

This article by an MIT prof might be interesting: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/03/miracles...

tl;dr At some depth, you ask questions beyond the scientific method itself.

Your argument is a straw man.

Instead of throwing out the names of logical fallacies as if they applied to this argument please explain how this is a straw man?

You are projecting your own understanding of how and what religion is, and then attacking it. That is a straw man

In what way do may statements and reality diverge? Be specific with quotes.

For example

> science does not have the tools to reproduce the beginning of the Universe. If it's not reproducible it's not Science.

What followed in this thread wasn't a discussion of religion. The post you are directly replying to directly dealt with the charge that it is impossible to scientifically examine the beginning on life on earth because it wasn't reproducible and ergo not science based on your misunderstanding what reproducible means.

If you look again up thread you will see that religion was discussed in a different part of the thread. Did you mean entirely different statements were strawmen? If so what and again please be specific.

I have myself been very specific in the arguments I refuted so you can do the same.

Where you implied that all religions are anti-science by nature, and that their followers are not interested in finding out the real truth.

Again, be specific with quotes. No such statement was made. What was said:

People with preconceived anti science attitudes [..] went looking for the correct answer to satisfy their religion not a commitment to truth

This says "people", not "all religions". Moreover it says "people with [attribute]", which is a properly defined subset. If you take this statement to mean "all religions", it is you who is conflating "anti-science attitudes" with "all religious people", not the GP.

I suggest you defend that position instead of stating it so boldly and asking us to accept your reasoning.

I mentioned in another comment just one counter example: we cannot go back to before t=0 when the universe was created. There is knowledge beyond the realm of space and time which we have no access to.

If the universe "began" at t=0, and life began at, let's call it t=100, then all we need is access to t=99, not all the way back to the beginning. I'm not saying that's actually achievable, I'm just saying your argument is not persuasive.

I gave it as an example to close the debate fully, because I'm aware of this line of arguing. The point remains, (1) life will not be possible without the universe, (2) the universe exists, and (3) we do not have access to the knowledge about how the universe was created, nor before it was created.

Lets go to Wile E. Coyote for this one.


Anvils would not be possible without the universe ergo we cannot possible predict solely on our knowledge of Warner Brothers physics and prior plot lines that the anvil trap he is laying will fall on his own head comically flattening him yet somehow leaving him alive and ready to chase the road runner again in the next sketch.

Our models don't capture every aspect of the world but good models capture enough to make increasingly good predictions about the past and future and the more we test them and winnow out the bad we approach but can never achieve perfection. The origin of life isn't inherently any different than the evolution of the continents, the planets, or the tree of life over the eons. No fundamental barrier stands in the way of our understanding. You didn't "close the debate fully". Nobody who didn't start out agreeing with you now does and its because they understand things you do not.

I wonder what the odds are of a single Looney Tunes episode coming into being without intelligent design, let alone our infinitely more complex universe. I also wonder about Wile E's ability to comprehend the ways of Messrs. Hanna and Barbera.

In a universe where it never happened we just never had this discussion.

Neither will religion.

It is very arrogant of any ideology to pretend it can explain things it can't.

Depends on which religion. It's a fallacy to group all religions under a single umbrella called "religion", no such thing exists.

You can create a list of religions that don't try to explain things with superstitions, and then we can discuss them one by one.

Superstition: "A belief, practice, or rite irrationally maintained by ignorance of the laws of nature or by faith in magic or chance."

Islam passes with flying colors because it isn't superstitious.

I don't see the contradiction honestly. They are creatures and they are here. Maybe you misinterpret what a creature is.

It's a figure of speech...

It's always those that are the least confident in their atheism that feel the need to constantly defend it.

Doesn’t that go for any ‘ism?

Sure, I was just being specific for this case.

All human coronavirus diseases, including COVID-19, are colds. Always have been. This one from 1890 might have been caused by OC43:


I think this misunderstands what a "cold" is. Merely being a respiratory infection doesn't make something a cold. We call something a cold when it's 1) a mild upper respiratory infection that 2) is viral, but 3) is not specifically attributable.

There are colds caused by influenza viruses, but because "the common cold is defined on the basis of its clinical presentation, a mild influenza infection can accurately be diagnosed as a cold, meaning that the two infections are not completely distinct disease entities."[0] Once someone with a cold tests positive for the flu, though, we would generally correct the description to a mild case of the flu and no longer say they have a cold.

[0] https://www.hmsreview.org/issue/2015/1/the-most-common-illne...

Ah, so in other words, a cold is a syndrome.

This is a pretty interesting hypothesis. Maybe there’s nothing really special about SARS type coronaviruses besides their novelty.

Is it possible that all coronaviruses, including the ones that cause a common cold, have a similar morbidity profile to COVID? Very minor infection in the young or those with previous exposure, extremely deadly in the old and naive. Except we all catch a bunch of colds in childhood, so nobody has to worry about a cold wiping out nursing homes.

No it's not possible. The thing that makes Sars-Cov-2 unique is its binding site in the human body. Sars-Cov-2 binds to the ACE2 receptor, which is found in just about every organ in your body. Unlike many other viruses which target receptors more localized to e.g. your throat/airway, Sars-Cov-2 can infect cells in your nasal cavity, stomach, lungs, heart, olfactory neurons, you name it. And every cell it infects will be destroyed; either by bursting to release the viral replicas, or by an immune system response.

I'm not sure that damage to various organs around the body beyond respiratory system is that a unique of a property - see myocarditis and the like related to influenza infection, which is a significant cause of mortality.

I'm not sure I've seen the difference described so clearly and succinctly! How would you describe the seasonal flu in this same regard to receptors?

Seasonal flu is multiple different strains that can exchange genetic material, as contrasted with COVID that doesn't have different strains but small mutations

I have been saying this for many years, and have been condescended to a lot (by friends, even) for saying it.

We clearly don’t have the faintest understanding of the long-term dynamics of something like SARS, when all the conventional model parameters go to such extremes. And when the disease is evolving. And when people retreat inside and stop getting sun. And so on.

>I have been saying this for many years, and have been condescended to a lot (by friends, even) for saying it.

What exactly have you been saying?

He maintains that he has been laughed off for his wild conspiracy theories.

I'm unclear what the specific claim that he's been making for years exactly is - that coronaviruses have a morbidity profile similar to COVID, from the GP? Or that we can't believe long term dynamics for disease models because the parameters go to extremes?

Paraphrasing: “The academics who claim that we narrowly avoided a SARS/etc holocaust, have a fatal conflict of interest, and are completely full of shit.”

I'm confused - this sounds like an entirely different claim than your original comment. Could you elaborate?

Yes that's possible, at least for some other coronavirus. HCoV-OC43 is an endemic betacoronavirus very similar to SARS-CoV-2. It typically causes common cold symptoms in healthy people but is extremely dangerous to the elderly.


> are colds.

What constitutes a "cold"? Is there some kind of definition for it?

It's a lay term for the various respiratory viruses that are pretty much constantly in circulation, especially when the infection is symptomatic.

So I think you have an implied question as to whether there is some more specific meaning, the answer to that is no.


> The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the respiratory mucosa of the nose, throat, sinuses, and larynx.

further down,

> Well over 200 virus strains are implicated in causing the common cold, with rhinoviruses being the most common.[13]

Exactly! Colds are poorly understood, and can be very dangerous.


That link appears to be about the flu, not the common cold. They're different, but something I've learned over the past year is that most people think of the flu as another name for the common cold.

Here in Britain at least, having 'the flu' is basically having a particularly miserable cold - rather than a bout of influenza which fills the lungs with fluids and decimates armies.

“Objectives: To define the epidemiology and outcomes of non-influenza respiratory viral infections in hospitalized adults.”

I'm not sure this will really add anything to the discussion, but I think the common usage of the term "cold" is for an endemic, mostly-harmless disease, not just any viral respiratory illness.

Also, my quick read of that paper was that it was mostly concerned with immunocompromised individuals, and with secondary pneumonia infections. Secondary pneumonia is certainly a problem for old people, or otherwise vulnerable people with colds. Antibiotics can be pretty helpful but they have limitations.

...I don’t see the word “cold” in that paper.

I hate statements like this because even if they’re true they end up in the average person’s hands who’ll claim “COVID is just a cold” like they do with “evolution is just a theory.”

No. Colds are upper respiratory tract infections and only affect the nose and throat, as opposed to viral pneumonia. Different coronaviruses have different proteins and corresponding cell receptors (ACE2, DPP4, etc), which result in different organs being infected. Saying that all coronavirus diseases are colds is about as accurate as saying that all coronavirus diseases are SARS.

All I can think of is the Simpsons gif of Mr Burns being alive because he has so many ailments they all cancel each other out.

[0] https://twitter.com/ddiamond/status/951930408261881856

Mr. Burns is Indestructible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0euMFAWF8

Ah, The three stooges syndrome, whoop whoop whoop whoop!

Maybe this could be an explanation for the most unexpected dip in COVID-19 infection around January. Does data for rhinovirus infections get collected to such an extent that it would be possible to compare curves?

Flu cases are way down, so by proxy, I'd assume colds are also down unless a lot more people got flu shots this season.

Flu case numbers are way down. I wouldn't be so sure that flu cases are down

I thought the January dip was from the end of holiday travel.

Short answer is nobody knows. The winter spike began around late October so you can't say it had much to do with holidays really -- maybe it's weather, made worse by holiday travel, made worse by students being back in school.

I always wondered why religious pilgrimages and retreats where so common back in the history. The motivation is often some sort of healing. Sunshine, Mountain or Forest air is described in literature as things to seek when sick. Just curious if for example molds found in forest air, might play a similar function. Or perhaps being in close contact being exposed to bacteria from other people. Or if viruses can swap genetic code, is there some pathway through which our immune system can import antibodies or genetic information from other people we are in contact with through pheromones to boost its own defences. Perhaps its the drinking of water from new sources along the journey that has benefits. Why does fiji water taste so much better than other waters.

Exposure to forests improves mood. Mood affects outcomes. It's a question of whether the exertion of going somewhere healthier is great enough to kill you (and if anyone attributes your death to the attempt, which I don't think we always did).

Also post-industrial Europe and especially London had awful, awful air quality. I'll bet if you look at the 'seasons' for going to Bath, for instance, that they overlapped with the worst weather for creating smog in London.

There are many different viruses that cause the “common cold”, including various coronaviruses; this is specifically about some rhinoviruses.

There has been a lot of (IMHO unsupported) speculation that the almost complete eradication of influenza in 2020 was due to competitive inhibition from SARS-CoV2. However, data I've seen suggests that rhinovirus is still circulating at its usual rate [1].

If it's true that rhinovirus is such a potent inhibitor of SARS-CoV2, at the very least, the interplay between SARS-CoV2 and other respiratory viruses is non-trivial, and doesn't explain the complete suppression of influenza. Any simple hypothesis involving "competitive inhibition" is likely to be wrong.

The fact that rhinovirus continues to circulate so widely should also make people at least question the dominant narrative concerning masks and respiratory viruses. But I digress...

[1] https://syndromictrends.com/metric/panel/rp/percent_positivi...

If I'm reading that chart right, it is the percentage of sicknesses caused by each virus type, not the rate of sickness in the population. So we don't have information in this chart on the absolute prevalence. The change in relative rates may suggest which measures are relatively more effective on different viruses, but doesn't help us analyze the effectiveness of the current narrative.

On the research presented in the original article, what predicted implications would this research have had for March 2020? I thought 2020 seemed like a fairly average year for colds up until March, when COVID spiked. Is that suggesting this benefit/effect weaker in a population than the test measures in a individual, or just that March could have been much worse across the world? (for example, was hypothetically Italy having a very low rate of colds at the time?)

> If I'm reading that chart right, it is the percentage of sicknesses caused by each virus type, not the rate of sickness in the population. So we don't have information in this chart on the absolute prevalence. The change in relative rates may suggest which measures are relatively more effective on different viruses, but doesn't help us analyze the effectiveness of the current narrative.

That's exactly correct, and instead the poster is continuously misinterpreting a rate as a fixed quantity.

> the poster is continuously misinterpreting a rate as a fixed quantity.

I am not. It is a measurement of the percentage of samples in a surveillance network, positive for each pathogen. Here is the methods paper:


Here is the relevant section:

> To calculate the pathogen detection rate (as displayed in Figure 2 [second data view] and on the Trend website), we compute the rate for each organism at each institution as a centered 3-week moving average. To adjust for the capacity differences between sites, a national aggregate is calculated as the unweighted average of individual site rates. Only data from sites contributing more than 30 tests per week is included to avoid noise from small numbers of tests. Because the calculation of pathogen detection rate includes results from patients with multiple detections, the detection rate for all organisms can, in theory, add up to greater than one. In practice, this does not occur.

The data says exactly what I described: influenza prevalence has declined to nearly zero. Rhinovirus has continued to circulate at normal levels.

I think this will be my final reply on this topic. I appreciate you posting links to support your view, but I don't believe you're taking time to reflect on what I'm saying.

> The fact that rhinovirus continues to circulate so widely

This statement cannot be made from the link you posted. This is a rate. A frequency rate among sampled data. However it does not track the number of samples occurring. No amount of averaging can cover that. As a result, a person cannot make a conclusion to support the above statement on frequency of circulation of rhinovirus.

> Rhinovirus has continued to circulate at normal levels.

This statement is not supported by the data you list. The description you provide above even supports my argument. They are adjusting for capacity differences, but are still reporting a rate.

This is the key statement they make supporting my point:

> To adjust for the capacity differences between sites, a national aggregate is calculated as the unweighted average of individual site rates.

They are averaging rates of infection. You cannot use that to make the statement that you're making that "Rhinovirus has continued to circulate at normal levels."

This is all very well understood stats. The only thing I can suggest at this point is to do some background reading on statistics, sampling and statistical inference.

I'm trying to both be cordial about it, as you have been cordial in your tone and appear to have an earnest interest in this topic - but also trying to make clear that you are unintentionally spreading false information.

You are doing something that statistics 101 makes clear is invalid to do. I'm not certain how else to put it. My only request is that you refrain from repeatedly posting. It is incorrect information, and it turns out it isn't just an invalid conclusion, it's actually the opposite of what is occurring.

Keep the enthusiasm, but just understand the math/stats a bit more.

> This statement cannot be made from the link you posted. This is a rate. A frequency rate among sampled data. However it does not track the number of samples occurring.

It does. Click the link [1]. Figure 2 [2] shows the number of samples. They explain it clearly:

> The FilmArray RP test utilization rate (TUR) metric is defined as the non-normalized number of RP patient test results generated each week across the Trend sites (computed as a centered 3-week moving average).

"Non-normalized number of RP patient test results" => count of samples

> To calculate the pathogen detection rate (as displayed in Figure 2 [second data view] and on the Trend website), we compute the rate for each organism at each institution as a centered 3-week moving average

They calculate positive rates for each pathogen, using the the number of samples as the denominator.

> They are averaging rates of infection.

They are not. They are computing an unweighted average rate across sites. Look at figure 2. Read the text again.

This surveillance data is showing you that the rate of samples positive for rhinovirus in their network is ~unchanged. The rate of influenza has disproportionately declined. There is nothing wrong with the data.

> Keep the enthusiasm, but just understand the math/stats a bit more.

Thanks for the advice.

[1] https://publichealth.jmir.org/2018/3/e59/

[2] https://publichealth.jmir.org/2018/3/e59/#figure2

Your statements seem mostly correct to me, but may be read in a misleading manner to imply the prevalence of colds is similar this year to past years. That data also does exist somewhere (since it was used to compute the plot in your first link), it just isn’t shown in that particular plot. From comparison to the paper, we seem to only have plot 1 for 2020, and not plot 2. Plot 1 (rates) showed the relative effects, but we need a link for plot 2 (counts) for 2020 before we can make statements about the absolute effects.

Hope that helps clear up the misunderstanding. And if you have a link to the counts data also, do share!

If that's exactly correct why doesn't it always add up to 100%?

I’ve only spent a couple minutes looking at the plot, but it appears they don’t know why half the patients are showing symptoms in a normal year. This year, something new that they didn’t add to their test aggregation—I assume COVID—increased the “other” category and decreased the “flu” category. But note that means ~80% of the data is categorized as missing last year, so extrapolate this observation at your own risk.

> doesn't explain the complete suppression of influenza

Influenza isn’t infective enough to spread during the summer months anyway (i.e. it is completely suppressed), unlike rhinoviruses, so it’s easily most plausible that a few additional hygiene measures have suppressed influenza further.

The data I linked to covers the winter -- the same "hygiene measures" were in place in the winter, and clearly affecting both viruses differently.

If you're saying that rhinoviruses are more contagious than the flu because they're less seasonal...there's really no evidence to support that. They're more-or-less the same [1]. It's possible that influenza is more sensitive to heat, light, etc.

My point is, the story isn't likely to be simple or reductionist.

[1] https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.04.20020404v...

This covers the bases. There isn't a huge mystery here, although there are some unknowns that need more research.


R0 rates are just an indicative estimates. They don't account for different modes or vectors of transmission.

So it's not a given that mask wearing, social distancing, temperature, UV, humidity, and hand washing would necessarily all have identical effects on Covid, flu, and the various virus families that cause colds.

That Nature story is a great example of the speculation I was talking about in my first post: a sample of "experts", chosen by reporters, repeating opinions.

There's a pretty decent coverage of the level of uncertainty involved, but the reporter still can't resist the urge of "crafting a narrative" that bypasses the uncertainty. For example:

> In May...when some of the strictest lockdowns were in place, health workers noted an abrupt and early halt to the 2019–20 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere. That might partly have been an artefact caused by fewer people coming to a clinic for testing, experts say, but it was also attributable to the effectiveness of policies such as social distancing.

Pretty definitive statement, there. But not even two paragraphs later:

> “Some South American countries haven’t done such a good job controlling COVID, but even there flu is low,” says virologist Richard Webby at St Jude’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. “I don’t think we can put it all down to mask wearing and social distancing.” He suspects that the dearth of international travel played a part.

So...yeah. We don't know the answer. The article makes it sound like we do. The headline and photo captions really makes it sound like we know.

Reporters are constantly putting their thumb on the scale by crafting editorially convenient narratives. Richard Webby's opinion doesn't properly emphasize the impact of of social distancing? Bury it under a vaguely definitive-sounding lede, and quote some other "expert" who does agree.


You haven't mentioned social behavioral change in your speculation about the decimated 2020-2021 flu season. I'd wager that has a very large part in why the flu hasn't spread: everyone is socially distanced, remote, masked, extra hygienic, and extra aware of illness.

everyone is socially distanced, remote, masked, extra hygienic, and extra aware of illness.

Flu has been eradicated by lockdown, but lockdown must continue because COVID has not. That appears to be the policy right now.

I didn't mention it because it's not addressed by this article, which is specifically about competitive inhibition.

That said, if you're going to claim that all of these things we have done have eliminated the flu, you should take at least a few moments to reflect on the fact that they have done ~nothing to rhinovirus.

Flu has an R0 of about 1.3, Rhinovirus has an R0 of around 2.7, and Covid is estimated to have an R0 of 2.7 or higher. So it makes sense that the measures we have taken have stopped the flu but not stopped covid or rhinovirus.

Sources: https://www.qps.com/2020/10/05/covid-19-versus-the-seasonal-... https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S246804271... https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1891

You are leaning way too hard on point estimates of R0. The way people estimate R0 is noisy, and the error bars on these estimates are significant. It's fairly pointless to take any two papers and compare the values as if they're precise.

This literature review has estimates of R0 for flu running from 1.06-3.4, and rhinovirus running from 1.2-1.83:


Given the uncertainties involved, these ranges are effectively identical, with flu maybe being a bit more contagious.

OK I've got a better idea:

In the particular conditions we created in 2020, the Rhinovirus was better able to spread than the Flu. Why?

Because people were on the lookout for fever (and other things like continuous cough etc). Flu causes fever, and anyone who got a fever and was sensibly-minded would self isolate at least for a few days until they got test results or until symptoms abated. Whereas Rhinovirus is much less likely to cause a fever, so people twig that they've 'just got a cold' and carry on going about their day.

Especially for schoolkids - if they've got a fever, they're kept at home. If they've just got a snotty nose then they're likely to still go to school.

So Rhiniovirus was able to fly under the radar whereas Flu wasn't.

Could be. Covid is certainly more flu-like than rhinovirus-like. Kids were also not in school, and kids are historically a big spreader of influenza.

I generally think people look for "fancy" explanations for the trends, when simpler explanations (i.e. people weren't going to the doctor) work just as well.

> That said, if you're going to claim that all of these things we have done have eliminated the flu, you should take at least a few moments to reflect on the fact that they have done ~nothing to rhinovirus.

Why do you keep saying these measures have done nothing to rhinovirus?

The link you've shared does not support that. It shows relative percentages - and you're confusing that for absolute infection counts.

Unless you also believe that 60% of the population has a stomach virus on a daily basis (data from their other chart).

> Why do you keep saying these measures have done nothing to rhinovirus?

Because they haven't.

> The link you've shared does not support that. It shows relative percentages - and you're confusing that for absolute infection counts.

I am not confusing it. It shows you the percentage of samples they test that come up positive for rhinovirus (and other things. They test for all of the things listed, in parallel.)

Influenza A & B, RSV, and some other viruses have been virtually eliminated across their sampled population. The rate has dropped to zero. Rhinovirus has not -- the rate of detection is unchanged.

Again, you're confusing percentages.

To use some simplified numbers to explain it - consider that normally 100,000 people are infected with some form of respiratory virus on a daily, basis and 20% of those are rhinoviruses, then that means there are 20,000 daily rhinovirus infections. And let's also say that strains of influenza are another 20% and 20,000/day.

Now what is happening, is in a covid world, due to masks and distancing, the number of people infected on a daily basis drops from 100,000 to 10,000. Rhinoviruses are sill 20% of that, but they are now down to 2,000. Masks and social distancing has had a drastic affect on them.

Influenza drops down to only 2% so only 200 cases daily. Masks and distancing have an even more drastic effect in influenza.

As a result, we're seeing exactly the graph you've linked.

Rhinovirus is 20% rate, but of a much smaller pie. And you're mistaking that as masks and distancing having little or no effect.

I am not "confusing percentages". You (now) agree with me on what the data says, you just don't like how it fits in with your theory.

> Now what is happening, is in a covid world, due to masks and distancing, the number of people infected on a daily basis drops from 100,000 to 10,000. Rhinoviruses are sill 20% of that, but they are now down to 2,000....Influenza drops down to only 2% so only 200 cases daily. Masks and distancing have an even more drastic effect in influenza.

Yes, I understand your hypothesis: masks make influenza go down to almost 0, but somehow rhinovirus ends up at exactly the same percentage as it was before. In other words: masks work exceptionally well for flu, don't work at all for rhinovirus.

This is a theory. It is...implausible...but if you want to believe it explains the patterns in the data, you're certainly welcome to do so.

question the dominant narrative concerning masks and respiratory viruses

My limited understanding of that narrative is that COVID19/SARS-CoV-2 needs larger droplets to spread, and thus common masks help. But other viruses may be able to spread further as aerosols and last longer on surfaces, thus common/non-fine-particulate-filtering masks may not help.

Why is so much in this article contradictory? It opens by saying viruses allow or inhibit other viruses by way of differing methods of entering cells but only a few paragraphs later says the difference is entirely due to triggering an immune response.

Further experiments showed rhinovirus was triggering an immune response inside the infected cells, which blocked the ability of Sars-CoV-2 to make copies of itself.

What? What defenses do cells have after already being infected with viral RNA?

"We could see surges in flu. We could see surges in other respiratory viruses and other respiratory pathogens," she said,

Why? Why does covid mean we're going to see unusual winter surges in non-covid diseases?

Cells have ways to detect non-self RNA and react to it, like stopping protein expression and releasing alarm chemicals to call in immune system cells. Viruses of course try to block these cell defenses.

This is actually a big problem for mRNA vaccines, which are also foreign RNAs, and to overcome it for example Pfizer/Moderna use unnatural RNA bases, among other things, to bypass these detection mechanisms.

It's not exactly clear how cells can distinguish self/non-self RNA, some markers are known, like different RNA cappings, different letter frequencies, some chemical modifications.

This reminded me of Julius Wagner-Jauregg using malaria-induced fever to cure syphilis, though the mechanism appears to be different.


This seems unlikely to scale out of the lab. The experiment used a "replica of the lining of our airways, made out of the same types of cells, and infected it with Sars-CoV-2 and rhinovirus". Although rhinoviruses primarily target receptors found in the airway, Sars-Cov-2 targets the ACE2 receptor, which is found in just about every organ in your body. If the airway cells were "occupied" by rhinoviruses, then Sars-Cov-2 could just travel to the lungs and infect the cells there. Or to the cells of your olfactory system, and cause loss of smell. Or to your stomach. Although it is interesting that these viruses compete when targeting the same cells, using rhinoviruses to prevent Sars-Cov-2 seems very unlikely in the real world.

Are you a doctor or biologist?

Yeah but once you're better, covid is free to infect you.

Then just make sure you are infected with both.

Does this mean that masks and distance can be harmful because this also reduces rhinovirus spread?

This seems to support easing the lockdown approach once vaccines are widely deployed.

or even if the lockdown approach is good at all, given how well it has not worked.

Rhino Virus


3yo account whose only comment urges people to doubt the experts? Not sure I understand how that happens....seems suspicious.

damn dude you're high IQ I can't believe you snuffed out such a highly sophisticated astroturfing campaign like that. +1.

some of these fucking people are so damn insufferable nuke my account into oblivion please.

seriously, if all you can do is muster up an ad-hominen attack on my fucking account ("HUR DUR ONLY 1 COMMENT AND HE'S DOUBTING EXPERTS!! CAN YOU BELIEVE!! OMG SO SUS") and instead of simply looking up what I said, you are a fucking braindead moron.

99.9% of people just lurk you fucking asshole. Jesus fucking Christ not all of us can have 10000 karma points like you on a fucking Internet forum.

/rant /willbebanned /sorry_pg

>all the natural immunity we squandered by locking everyone down

especially when it comes to children. It has already been established that the too sanitized modern existence leads to increase of allergies/autoimmunes/etc. Now the lockdowns and masks (which judging by the numbers haven't so far helped much with Covid) denied to children the early immune system "cross-pollination" of kinder-gardens/schools/etc. , thus one can expect even more immune system related issues down the road.

>experts are to be doubted. always

different experts were saying different things (like those epidemiologists saying that blocking people from beach is meaningless to say the least - i mean it is obvious even for non-experts, yet politicians still did it in order to "Do Something"). The key here is the choice of an expert to listen to, the choice made by the politicians and the populace scared by them.

> It has already been established that the too sanitized modern existence leads to increase of allergies/autoimmunes/etc.

This is called the Hygiene Hypothesis and it has not been established in the sense of having been empirically demonstrated and widely confirmed. It's still a theory with proponents and critics.

Hmm yes very good distinction to make. Certainly heard plenty of arguments on both sides and I'm pretty split.

I think this is separate, though - we're talking about an individual illness (common cold) driving out another individual illness (covid-19). Not so much to do with general hygiene than it is to do with specific bio-interactions between viruses.

thank you. sorry if you see my prior rant.

Add me to the list of people who think this sort of reporting is dangerous to the public health.

It's well known that a primed immune system (in non-immunocompromised individuals) will combat viral infections more readily. The innate immune system (as opposed to the adaptive genetically diverse B/T-Cell antibody system) is a Thing and this is why people were discussing giving standard vaccines (including Flu, BCG, and others) before there were COVID specific vaccines. Saying that the "common cold" (which isn't a single virus, but a set of conditions), can "boot out" COV2 is silly gibberish and completely unsupported by evidence. Furthermore infecting people with unknown "colds" could in fact infecting them with (or covering up) "pre-symptomatic" COVID.

Sorry, but you need to bring the actual Bigfoot/Nessi in for people to believe outrageous claims at this point. Wearing "protective amulets" against them is more likely to cause problems that promote solutions.

We've know this since last may.

Then why weren't we mass producing pills of cold viruses for people to take?

After the cold runs its course COVID can infect the cell again, it still hangs around until it gets the opening

I wonder if we will find out, as time goes on and the studies are finished, that parents of school-age children were significantly less likely to come down with severe COVID.

It's an interesting thought. It is true that the further one is from being around school-aged children (age wise), the more likely they are to die.

well guess we are all f'ed anyway ... many countries are reporting record low numbers for the common cold ... because covid. in many places the common cold is the new covid, it seems.

and my fifi's got massively offended by the usage of the word "trump". my inner ninja karen is about to pull the facemask and do a reeeeeeeeeee mortal kombat finish move

There is no virus that causes the common cold, so this is just more nonsense speculation.

Do yourself and your lineage a favor and research Dr Hamer's Five Biological Laws.

Saying virus particles are the cause of illnesss is like saying ashes are the cause of fire. Both are at the scene of the crime, and neither are at fault.

Another reason I personally would not like to get vaccinated. Nature and evolution solve all problems sooner or later.

Unfortunately for us, nature and evolution "solving problems" frequently involves us all just dying and/or Earth spending a long period of time as a magma ocean and then several aeons as a hot rock.

"The planet is fine. It's the people that're fucked!" -- Carlin

You do understand that nature/evolution's plan or 'solution' can be to eradicate you?

Should I cry that mother nature doesn't like me? It's not like I can do something about natural disaster(hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcano eruption etc.) killing me.

If a Cat 5 hurricane is heading directly towards you, would you stay and say "If nature wants to kill me it can. Nothing I can do", or would you idk... go somewhere else?

When the tide comes in while you're on the beach, do you stay and accept your fate? Or do you move?

So centuries of civil engineering advances by the Netherlands and Japan don't count as 'doing something'?

Doing as an individual not as a society. Of course I can go to engineering school and help build defense mechanisms but as an average Joe I can move the needle only so much. I was speaking about a life of an individual not of human society or human civilization.

You can choose to move away (although then you might have to deal with lightning and tornadoes and droughts), or you can choose to live in areas with better code compliance. Those are still in your control.

Yea I or you should evaluate risk factors but there is always a degree of randomness involved. There is no place on Earth you are 100% safe from natural disasters.

Yep, and that’s why I suggested things you can do in place, like new construction.

No but you should not assume that defaulting to the victim's mindset will help your chances of survival. Your initial comment implied that nature has your best interest in heart; and your child comment is contradicting it?

What's so hard about taking a cautious approach and proactively increase your chances of survival? I.e get to higher grounds (floods), evacuating(hurricanes), get vaccinated (covid + new diseases?), etc.

I don't have time to explain you anymore but I will say this. I'm liberal, pro God and pro Science. I don't have anything against God or nature taking my life away or improving it (evolution) and I don't have anything against defense mechanisms like natural disaster controls or public health measurements like vaccination but I want my freedom. Someone said vaccination is our evolution I agree maybe we are approaching singularity but nobody can forbid me to work or travel because of 1 pathogen. I took all vaccines prior to this but I will not take this one so I can laugh at COVID passport because I live in free Europe and not in Hitler's Europe anymore. If this pandemic is something nearly close to Spanish Flu or Black Plague which took hundreds of millions of lives I would be the first one to take vaccine but not like this.

WHO's dubious approach and dubious rhetoric only made me suspicious. I'm still waiting for their investigation on where and how pandemic originated.

Why do you think this pandemic isn’t worst than the previous? If you gauge by economic impact alone it can be the worst ever. The lower number of lives lost is because of quicker lockdowns, vaccines, advanced health care, and information networks

The "later" part is the problem so.


If you absolutely have to resort to trial and error, at least don’t be the error.

Natural Selection is as dumb as a box of rocks and slow as molasses; when it comes to achieving a goal we humans do far better, far faster.

There’s obviously the merest whiff of trolling here, but come on.

*Edited so as not to besmirch the good name of frogs.

I will (most likely) not have kids, but even if I’m weak I don’t see it as my duty to die in order to not dilute the species.

But if you're not "weak", you could inadvertently spread it to someone who is "weak", and they could spread it to many other "weak" people, and then they all die and don't pass on their genes. It's true that this is a form of eugenics and natural selection, but it's not the kind that's compatible with the values of most humans.


> I discussed months ago here on HN that looking legally causing someone's death without intent is not criminal because you had no intent of killing

Intentional killing is usually first degree murder, or voluntary manslaughter, depending on premeditation. Second (in some schemes third) degree murder (depraved indifference) and involuntary manslaughter, and negligent homicide all are crimes, and do not require intent to kill.

So, you are very, very wrong.

> I have no intent or knowledge that I'm going to harm anyone

The source you link notes that there are other levels of mens rea supporting criminal offenses (recklessness, negligence) as well as offenses which are not dependent on mental state at all (strict liability offenses.)

I understand what involuntary manslaughter is but does it apply to spreading a virus? I'm not a lawyer but if it does I will act accordingly and try not to commit involuntary manslaughter hypothetically speaking.

> I understand what involuntary manslaughter is but does it apply to spreading a virus?

Neither depraved heart murder nor involuntary manslaughter has an exception for viral-agent-as-mechanism on any jurisdiction I'm familiar with.

You better hope that the judge handling your case doesn't stumble upon this comment thread. Your lack of Mens Rea isn't going to fly if you're caught meta-discussing the whole thing.

Also, manslaughter?


> I have no INTENTION of HARMING anyone.

I feel the same way when I'm doing 150mph down the highway. And yet...

If you kill somebody you will be charged for involuntary manslaughter or constructive manslaughter depending on what speed limit was but if I sit next to you unvaccinated in a waiting room should I be charged as well?

Are you asking for an ethical opinion, or legal one? I am no lawyer, I have no idea if you could be on the hook for reckless endangerment. If you know that your choice is risky, and you fail to act, then there are circumstances when you could be criminally liable. But usually these are situations where the law prescribes a duty to act.

Are you comfortable endangering those around you because protecting them is an inconvenient imposition on your freedom? That's an entirely different issue.

I mean if you're against vaccines, the best public health measure since soap, perhaps you're the weakest link we're begging natural selection to act on. Hope you don't use glasses, take antibiotics, receive surgery, or benefit otherwise from the million and one things humans have invented so as to not deal with random selection dependent on changing external stimuli

>I mean if you're against vaccines, the best public health measure since soap, perhaps you're the weakest link we're begging natural selection to act on.

I'm not against vaccination I'm against mandatory vaccination and limiting my human rights if I don't vaccinate. Nobody will prevent you from visiting a country if you don't use glasses, take antibiotics or anything else you mentioned.

I never visited Africa but I heard there are some security measures regarding Malaria but c'mon forbidding someone to work or travel only because he or she didn't get vaccinated against 1 pathogen is over the top.

I guess you're against sovereignty of nations other than your own? Plus how are they going to buy your country's vaccine if you/your countrymen won't take it?

And btw I understand what manslaughter is but again I'm not a lawyer. Refer me to any case or cases where someone is guilty of spreading a virus without intent(Involuntary).

Laws adopted in the course of the HIV pandemic in many jurisdictions made various acts that were more likely to spread the virus criminal if you knew you were infected unless other people put at risk were informed of the fact and consented to the risk, whether or not you intended to cause harm.

First google result: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/circuit.... It's not difficult to find more examples.

If you know or could reasonably suspect you have a lethal virus and still go out without taking proper precautions then that is absolutely something people have sued over many many times.

It is unclear whether defendant was aware of having a HIV. It seems like he had no intent of spreading a disease and had limited or no knowledge of having it.

"I didn’t really do it intentionally but when we were drunk it ended up happening”."

How the case ended?

Legality and ethics are two distinct things.

I know but legal system is based on ethics. E.g. not stealing or not killing etc.

and now we’re evolved enough to have brains capable of giving us a competitive advantage against diseases!

unless you think that brains somehow aren’t part of our biological machine.

How about IVF and that it becomes almost a necessity for all their children.

Or the increased necessity of glasses at a young age.

It's not the beneficiaries particular brain that gave the competitive edge ;)

This is only an issue if everyone wants or needs kids. Glasses are similarly not a big deal. I feel like you could have used better examples to argue in favor of eugenics but at the end of the day it's still eugenics? People should have access to any and all medical advancements, better to address the problem than ignore it with selective breeding

So, why don't you move to the wilderness and leaves the internet for us, the weak ones?

Natural selection gave us the social structures that allow you to buy your cold cuts and quietly hoard your wealth so that you don't have to face an ounce of real hardship in your life.

> I mean it is natural selection if I'm weak I will die if I'm not I will pass my genes to my kids.

That's not how natural selection works.

What strength is there in being able to resist COVID-19 specifically, which is just one arbitrary sickness out of many that can still arise? One that didn‘t even exist until recently?

Strength and weakness are completely dependent on the environment and we are shaping that environment, for example by vaccinating.

It’s not you dying that’s the problem with your statement so much as the other people you’re going to kill because of your choice not to get vaccinated.

That’s one step away from a family member of mine saying recently, “You all can live in fear but I choose to live my life in faith that God will take care of me.”

You augment your memory with Google searches and your running speed with cars, why not augment your natural immune system with vaccines.

Well, I am about to get vaccinated with astrazeneca in half an hour ... but my counter argument would be: relying on vaccination and sterilisation too much, causes the immune system to be weak, too. Immune system needs practice, too.

That's literally what the jab does?

I came to counter him with a joke, but the downvoters beat me to it. Anyways:

The vaccine is more like going to the gym. We could continue our ancestor's practice of trying to run from lions, which was possibly better adrenaline practice, and even mostly successful. We might not be scientifically certain of the long-term side-effects of going to the gym, but I'll just rely on the gym nonetheless. And good for you going to the gym too!


> relying on vaccination and sterilisation too much, causes the immune system to be weak

I think you fundamentally misunderstand the mechanism of vaccination.

I think I do, but do you?

Because the way I understand it, vaccination trains only a very specific part of the immune system. Which is then indeed effective against the very specific virus, but does not really increase your general immune system strength.

Huh, it's almost as if the vaccine is to innoculate me against a specific lethal pathogen that I don't want to risk training my immune system on

If you want a better overall immune system eat better and excercise, there is zero reason to avoid a vaccine unless you're immunocompromised or allergic

"there is zero reason to avoid a vaccine unless you're immunocompromised or allergic"

sigh did you really get all the vaccines, that exist?

I doubt so. I actually never heard anyone recomending that. Quite the contrary. The idea is to get vaccinated against diseases you are likely to get in contact with - and then you still have to think about it, if it is worth it. Because EVERY vaccination has potential negative side effects, some quite severe.

So now there is a great chance to get in contact with Covid - so yeah, it makes sense to take that vaccine. I think I said, I did today.

But taking every vaccination?!? Come on. Or provide a source that the WHO or alike do recommend it. That would surprise me, as I traveled quite a bit and therefore discussed various vaccines with various doctors before.

And also, I never implied that you should skip a vaccine to get training on that disease. I said if you rely too much on sterilisation and vaccines - it does not help your immune system overal. Counterclaims to that? I doubt it. I am a bit annoyed by that bite-reflex of the crowd here. Maybe save that for the anti-vaxxers?

Vaccines are immune system training on literal steroids. Overall I get your point so, as we see with increased allergies.

Antibiotics, maybe. But vaccines stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies.

Vaccine is the practice

Reply to all:

(you all missed the sterilisation part and the "relying too much")

And well yes, vaccination is training. And training is good. Thats why I just did it. But training is not a real fight. Real battle experience beats training experience by far. At least in martial arts.(and as far as I know with the immune system, too. the immune system is a little bit more sophisticated than "antibodies". And the vaccinations mostly train only one part of it - the antibodies)

Meaning when your body would be vaccinated against everything known in a sterilized environment - he would never have to fight for real. Just against cripled germs or parts of them. So chances would be, a great disadvantage when facing a new disease it did not train for. A disease that is actively attacking and not just providing dna to read and store.

And my immune system is in a quite good shape(I travelled a lot off grid), which is why I actually was indeed more sceptical to the vaccination than the actual disease. Because it is a new technology. And nobody can guarantee, that the side effects are not worse for me, than the disease would be. Especially in the long run. Autoimmune diseases are increasing a lot. I can only trust the developers that their genetically modified cure does not mess with my immune system. I recon chances are low, so I got the shot.

People should be free to make choices regarding their own body but the notion of "nature" as an anthromorphic problem solver and superiority of genes is pretty out of sync with our reality. There are many augmentations we use to help survive and vaccines are no different. Glasses for instance are not "natural" but I don't see many people arguing that we should only let those with 20/20 vision survive. Going down that route leads to a lot of toxic notions. Writing this during the 15 minutes cool down after getting the first vaccine shot. So I know where I stand.

> Glasses for instance are not "natural"

There is quite a bit of pseudoscience on the internet that people don't really need glasses, they can train their eyes to work without them. See, for instance, the so-called Bates method[0], which had been well-debunked already in the mid-20th-century but, like so many quack claims, got a new life from the web.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_method

>Glasses for instance are not "natural" but I don't see many people arguing that we should only let those with 20/20 vision survive.

I agree with you. Glasses and vaccine are great achievements of human civilization but I raised questions about freedom, biology and moral.

I'm not against vaccination I took many of them as a child and I have glasses which help and enhance me significantly but I'm not for mandatory vaccination or COVID passports that my European Union wants to enforce and I'm not for European Union limiting my human rights. We are going back to the days of Hitler where it was more important who you are "biologically" than looking at the fact that we are all humans and that we all have equal rights.

>However, Covid would be able to cause an infection again once the cold had passed and the immune response calmed down.

>Dr Murcia said: "Vaccination, plus hygiene measures, plus the interactions between viruses could lower the incidence of Sars-CoV-2 heavily, but the maximum effect will come from vaccination."

Vaccines are an end product of nature and evolution, too, and are much more reliable than hoping you always happen to get infected with rhinovirus near the same time you're exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

>Vaccines are an end product of nature and evolution, too, and are much more reliable than hoping you always happen to get infected with rhinovirus near the same time you're exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

I agree with you but how safe is mRNA vaccine in the long term? I would rather take "classical" vaccine.

I'd love to hear that from you when you're going to die.

Evolution gaves us very powerful brains. Why not use it?

Tell that to the dinosaurs.

They grew wings and spread to every corner of the Earth? We call them "birds" now.

Pretty sure dinosaurs didn't die from Covid.

(But it's a good theory, who really knows, amirite?)

Humans are a part of nature and vaccines are an evolutionary adaptation

Well, I prefer to prove my fitness by having the sense to be vaccinated rather than trying to fight against drowning in mucus.

Talk about confirmation bias!


Not the GP, but I have a question for you: if the vaccine works, why would I be putting others in danger by not getting it? Can't they get vaccinated instead?

If they can't, doesn't that just mean the vaccine is defective? As far as I know, vaccines are meant for those who are weaker, so if they can't get it, it seems to me that the vaccine is defective.

Also, the CDC has admitted that the asymptomatic transmission rate is far less than previously thought. (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7004e3.htm?s_cid=mm...)

With all of that put together, it seems to me that if I am healthy, it would be better for me to save the vaccines for those who want them and need them and let my immune system build my immunity.

If we have a significant population of unvaccinated people, that provides the breeding ground for the virus to multiply and mutate into new strains that may bypass the current vaccine induced immunity which would require yet another round of vaccines.

Vaccinated people are still breeding grounds for a virus; they can still be carriers. Vaccines just give people the antibodies to not be affected by a virus.

But they are vastly less likely to shed if they have been vaccinated, therefore less transmission.


That article gave no numbers. It made a claim and didn't back it up.

There's links in the article to Scientific American which also had papers from October 2020.

Cool. Where does that dispute the fact that those who are vaccinated are still breeding grounds for new variants of the virus?

If they shed less then they are less transmissible, it's in the article. It isn't about completely erradicating tranmission but bringing it to a level where the problem receeds. It's statistics, not a binary thing.

Please get vaccinated, it's good for society and yourself.

Not the GP.

Because society has accepted liability for vaccine injury (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Childhood_Vaccine_Inj... and https://www.medicallicenselawyers.com/blog/covid-19-vaccine-...), it seems to me that it would be good for society for me to make the best choice for myself about the vaccine. Since society will pay if I get hurt, it would be best for me to weigh that in the decision to get vaccinated.

I will if government requires it but it was not my free will.

That would still be your free will. You'd still be presented with a choice:

A) Don't do the thing you don't want to (Vaccination)

- or -

B) Don't do the thing that having a vaccination would let you do.

That's still freedom of choice - you're free to decide what you want more. Having constraints on you isn't removing your free will.

that’s barely freedom of choice. a robber pulling a gun on you and saying your money or your life isn’t what any reasonable person interprets as free will. free will would be not going to jail or being banned from society if you chose not to take the vaccine.

Is there any such discussion about being banned from society or going to jail? That seems incredibly hyperbolic. What I've heard is discussions of things like cruises and international travel to certain destination, which are entirely optional activities.

Funny, I’m the opposite. I would have no significant reservations if it wasn’t for the creepy fascist vibe oozing from beneath the facade of “science”.

As it stands, I’ll go to war today and die to guarantee my and your and everyone’s right to refuse, should TPTB actually try anything that stupid. Shouldn’t be a problem though, the people in favor seem to be mostly bullies making noise. They tend to shut up when you let them know that their only path forward is to start, and then try to win, a war.

"I believe the vaccine works and I'll die for your right not to take it" is one hell of a take, and I'm just happy there really aren't that many of you out there.

You may want to remove the link in your profile where you express skepticism that we'll hit millions of deaths worldwide, as it's going to make people question your already questionable viewpoints even more.

It's hardly a surprise that someone who believes strongly in personal freedom might fight to defend it for (what are supposedly) liberal societies, especially given that several very large wars of the 20th century (hot and cold) are often described as fights for freedom, and usual for the freedom of of others and of all.

This is basically the default position of every liberal (not in the misapplied American parlance) for at least 150 years now and surely far longer.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

John Stuart Mill, 1862


That's my stance. I'll get vaccinated, I'd recommend it to others, but wouldn't want to live in a society where it was mandatory.

there are a lot of things that are mandatory in this country, some of which I think should not be, and some of which I think should be

I think vaccines are a good one to be mandatory

Which country are you talking about?

A wild bully appears!

> skepticism that we’ll hit millions of deaths worldwide

Here’s the exact quote from the blog, in case any bystanders suspect that this person might not be arguing in good faith:

“Personally I don’t think that millions of healthy people will ever drop dead from one of these diseases in the space of a year, like they once did from a flu in 1918.”

> I’m just happy there really aren’t that many of you out there.

Should it come to the point where “dying for rights” is a real thing again (in America), I guess you’ll find out.

Question- since there are plenty of vaccines that are already mandatory for various things in the US, shouldn't you already be dying for your rights?

Not the GP, but those laws are unconstitutional. If we don't assert our rights, we will lose them.

"Those who will give up liberty for security [from a virus] will lose both."

not only are you not the GP, you also didn't and can't answer my question

If you are not willing to die for them, you will lose them.

We are, in fact, losing them now, so yes, now is the time to be willing to die for them.

No one is holding people down and injecting them with a vaccine. Everyone has the right to refuse. But society also has a right (and an obligation) to ensure that externalities are costed appropriately. You refusing a vaccine is a choice, but it also negatively affects others around you.

Whether its in the form of tax penalties, barred admission from public services, vaccination "passport" campaigns, or what have you, there needs to be a cost to associated with the damage your personal decision does to our society. If refusing a vaccine is truly that important to you, you are welcome to pay the cost. But I suspect many anti-vaxxers are simply societal freeloaders whose "principles" will melt away when they actually cost them something.

I share your skepticism. Vaccines are a relatively new technology, with various buggy vaccines coming out that were actually more harmful than helpful. Time will tell if the mRNA "Vaccine" will be a net positive. I am totally okay with other people injecting whatever they want in their bodies, as long as they don't try to make me do it, too. I would rather die of natural causes than a rushed-to-market product.

What do you mean "Vaccines are a relatively new technology"?

We've had vaccines since 1796 [0] when Edward Jenner developed a vaccine for smallpox, a terrible disease that we fully eradicated thanks to vaccination. A disease that you and me don't have to worry about because of vaccines.

(Likewise for Cholera, Tetanus, Polio, Tuberculosis, Meningitis, etc)

Also, trains, cars, planes, cameras, lightbulbs and every invention of Edison are newer technologies than vaccines.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_vaccines

Maybe they mean "mRNA vaccines"? COVID vaccine is the first of this kind, so some side effects, especially long term ones, are still unknown. It's still unlikely that they would be very serious but we won't know for sure until 10 years from now.

In case people really have concerns about the newer mRNA vaccines, perhaps they can choose the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is a more traditional one.

Both are more or less new. The AZ method is only known from Ebola vaccines but they were not not used globally.

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