311 thoughts on “Open Thread For June”

  1. 5100 year old case of Yersina pestis found in Latvia.
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    Football Sweden – Ukraine went into extra time (UEFA EURO 2020).
    The Ukraine won.
    Never mind, whoever won that match, the winner would have a blue-yellow flag (I think it goes back to an alliance between the Swedish king and Ukrainan rebels at the beginning of the 18th century).
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    The vaccine of Moderna and the vaccine by Pfizer/Biontech can give a protection that lasts years according to Nature.
    There you are; I found good news to balance the bad.
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    While the last one so far to die of covid died a week ago, we can expect register lag to deliver a few more.
    Then we will see some cluster transmission among unvaccinated people during the summer, plus some vaccine breakthroughs. Inevitably, some vulnerable people will die.
    We should get proper herd immunity in August/September. The current vaccine target is everyone over 18 but adolescents from 16 and up will hopefully get shots by the time school is getting started.

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  2. Tomorrow will be a big day – the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, and the 24th Anniversary of Hong Kong returning to Chinese sovereignty.

    It will be a public holiday in HK, and I imagine also in the Mainland. At least I know Daughter will not be working. Her plan for the day: sleeping.

    In HK there will be 10,000 police officers on the streets. They have no specific intelligence that anyone is planning any big acts of violence, but they are not taking any chances.

    This week they arrested two guys who were manufacturing explosives and making home-made firearms and ammunition, and say it is likely that they were planning to do something big on the anniversary, having vowed on social media that they would cause “blood to flow in police stations.” Seems a bit dumb to advertise their intentions, but maybe they thought what they put online was securely encrypted and could not be read by the cops – think again, dummies; HK cops are hi-tech and are tapped into a lot of the secret ‘resistance’ networks, small isolated groups of violent extremists left over from the 2019 riots.

    These two guys had large quantities of explosive materials in a residential building – insanely dangerous. They are just the latest of a whole string of people caught by the cops making explosives, so far fortunately with no public casualties, but some of the things they were planning would have been *extremely* nasty if they had managed to pull them off before being nabbed by the cops.

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  3. Covid patient statistics as of Tuesday evening, June 29th.
    Total patients, and in intensive care*

    Nationwide 221 48
    Stockholm 34 11
    Gothenburg 56 6
    Västerbotten 5 1

    *Some databases show patients *excluding* those in intensive care. I pick whatever database is most recently updated.
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    As I know Martin is an ardent royalist, he will no doubt be pleased to hear the royal family has started traveling around the country again to perform the various ceremonies…

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  4. …aand since yesterday evening, the number of intensive care patients have dropped to 40 (nationwide) 9 (Stockholm) 4 (Gothenburg) and 0 (Västerbotten).

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  5. The air particles from burning fires inside primitive neolithic dwellings such as those in Catalhöyuk would have made air quality extraordinarily poor, and contributed to disease.
    .
    Last two covid deaths: Tuesday June 22nd, and Monday June 28th.

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  6. Schadenfreude.

    Dubya’s defence secretary and torture enthusiast Donald Rumsfield has died.
    The Manhattan district attorney’s office may charge the Trump organizarion for tax evasion
    tomorrow.
    .
    There may be a second season of Good Omens.

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  7. Fears of a Delta breakout in HK are easing. I quote the relevant stuff from the SCMP:

    “A 24-year-old woman whose colleague is believed to have contracted the Delta coronavirus variant at Hong Kong airport has the same strain, a local university has found, suggesting she was infected by her co-worker.
    The two Covid-19 cases, which emerged late last month, first put Hong Kong on high alert because one of them was untraceable, raising fears that community transmission had resurfaced.
    But the concern was eased on Tuesday when the government officially reclassified the two infections as “epidemiologically linked with imported case”, after the woman’s colleague, a 27-year-old airport employee who also worked with her part-time in customer services at Uptown Plaza in Tai Po, was found to have identical genome sequences with three previous imported cases from Indonesia.”

    Being able to get the full genomes is really very helpful – it takes three days, but it enables them to figure out who got infected by whom, right down to the specific individual, which is frankly fucking impressive. There remains a slim possibility that the 24 year old woman might have been infected by some other (unknown) person in the community (because she had three mutations different from the 27 year old guy, but that happens), but it is very unlikely, and no further cases have surfaced. This strongly suggests that the government acted fast enough to ring-fence the thing (the woman was already in quarantine when she was found to be infected, because she was a close contact of the 27 year old bloke) and prevent a community break out.

    So, some fair minded citizens are giving credit where it is due to the government for this, but everyone who is commenting on this wants to know why a guy working at the airport who had direct contact with incoming passengers from high risk countries like Indonesia was not mandated to be vaccinated. And why both he and the 24 year old woman were not mandated to be vaccinated because they were working in customer services in Uptown Plaza, which is a very large mall with hundreds of shops and restaurants, so they were directly in contact with thousands of people.

    I declined to attend a meeting with colleagues tomorrow, because we were scheduled to meet face to face in a very small meeting room with totally inadequate ventilation, and I am confident that neither of them has been vaccinated. The company has strongly encouraged all of the staff to get vaccinated, but they can’t really mandate it – well, they could; they could say if you don’t have evidence that you have been vaccinated, then don’t come into the office and have direct contact with colleagues, clients or workers on construction sites. But that would impact the company financially, and money speaks louder than death.

    Now that I am feeling somewhat more relaxed about the possibility of Delta being loose in the community, I will probably agree to meet with them next week – unless of course some more cases surface in the interim.

    Delta is really nasty – there is one known case of transmission that occurred during a contact that lasted 14 seconds. So, watch out. If it is in your community, you need to stay well away from other people. Even a momentary close contact can be enough to get you infected, unless you have been vaccinated.

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  8. I spoke too soon. This just defies belief. Now a part time cleaner at a quarantine hotel has tested preliminary positive for Delta. And no, of course she was not vaccinated. Requiring staff working in quarantine hotels to be vaccinated would make far too much sense. And of course she worked as a part time cleaner at a couple of other places as well, so of course she had plenty of contacts.

    I give up. No one in HK has a functioning brain.

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  9. While Martin et al are risking heat stroke at the excavation, I have been enjoying cool beverages while listening to covid news 😊
    Total number of covid patients / intensive care:
    Nationwide 203 / 43
    Stockholm 19 / 11
    Gothenburg 53 / 4
    Västerbotten 4 / 1
    -What ¿#¥ have people been doing in Gothenburg?

    Last three fatalities: one each on Tuesday 22th, Friday 25th and Monday 28th .
    .
    I met my sister’s family today and we had dinner at an indian restaurant, enjoying the relaxed distancing rules (Purrs contentedly).

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  10. Notice to people in Gothenburg: covid variants are not like pokemon. You are not supposed to get one of each.
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    A detailed occupational history of the Denisova cave has been constructed using DNA from sediment samples.
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    Asteroid-hunting telescope NEOWISE gets two year mission extension.

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