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Coronavirus and Walt Disney World general discussion

DisneyFan32

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
  • The CDC says Omicron is not in the US yet.
  • But Dr. Charity Dean, a former top health official in California, who warned about the spread of COVID-19 in the US early on in the pandemic and long before federal experts did, says there's no way that's true.
  • "Our case ascertainment rate is zero," Dean said, but she has "no doubt that there are in fact cases here."
Dr. Charity Dean has a solid track record of knowing what's up when it comes to watching the coronavirus move around the world, and then forecasting what that means for how the virus is spreading through the US.

Dean, a former top-tier official at the California Department of Public Health, was one of the first people to sound the alarm that the coronavirus was alive and moving around the US in early 2020, among people with no travel history to China, where the coronavirus was first discovered.

Her warnings in those early days of the pandemic became so prescient that she was chosen to star in Michael Lewis's latest book, "The Premonition."

White House staffers in the Trump Administration, as well as the nation's top infectious disease advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, listened in on briefing calls where she sounded the alarm as early as February 2020.

Now that Omicron is on the scene, a new variant with a dizzying number of fresh mutations, Dean is once again attempting to warn people that the new viral variant might already be in their backyard.

"I have no doubt that there are in fact cases here in the US right now," Dean told Insider of Omicron. "In fact, my dirty math based on a number of assumptions, including international travel — I would estimate there's around 2,000 cases in the US right now."

Dean bases that assumption on the fact that the Omicron variant has already been found at least 20 countries around the globe, including South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK. At least 226 cases have already been confirmed, according to the White House. Given that wide spread, Dean suspects the only real reason the US hasn't found Omicron within its borders yet is simply because the country is not looking hard enough for the new variant.

"The challenge for the United States is we are not doing a sufficient amount of genomic sequencing to have detected that," Dean said.

America's viral surveillance has ramped up significantly since the early days of the pandemic, when the US was sequencing less than 1% of coronavirus cases.

Dean says this means "the United States is on the right path" when it comes to viral surveillance, "but we're not quite there yet."

Over the past six months, the US has sequenced and shared nearly 7% of its positive COVID-19 tests, though sequencing capabilities are unevenly spread across the country, meaning surveillance is far better in some areas than in others. Recently, labs haven't been doing as much sequencing as they once were, either. After all, sequencing machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to procure, and once health departments do, it generally takes at least 24 to 48 hours to sequence a single sample.

"So many labs ramped down their sequencing efforts, understandably, throughout the Delta surge, when everything was the Delta variant," Dean said.

That cost-saving move means it's harder to be on alert for Omicron now.

"The challenge with having an inadequate amount of genomic sequencing in the US is it makes it much harder to detect a novel variant when it emerges," she said.

The UK and southern Africa have more efficient systems to track Omicron​

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident that the country is standing ready to find the new variant as soon as it may arrive.

"We are actively looking for the Omicron variant right here in the United States," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. "Our variant surveillance system has demonstrated we can reliably detect new variants."

But the reality is that other nations (including South Africa and the UK) have far better health systems in place, to not only sequence the virus, but then link up that information with a person's vaccine status, as well as whether or not they're hospitalized, and how severe their case is.

"Right now, there is no evidence of Omicron in the United States, the Delta variant remains the predominant circulating strain, representing 99.9% of all sequences sampled," Walensky said.

Dean, however, interprets the same finding quite differently.

"Right now, the US has zero detected cases of Omicron, which means our case ascertainment rate is zero," she said. "Genomic sequencing and genomic epidemiology is the disease control of the future."
 

DisneyFan32

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes

New Jersey on Monday reported another 1,843 COVID-19 cases and five confirmed deaths, as statewide coronavirus hospitalizations topped 900 for the first time since Oct. 11.

The state’s seven-day average for new positive tests increased to 1,882, up approximately 13% from a week ago and up 66% from a month ago.

There were 950 patients hospitalized with confirmed (906) or suspected coronavirus cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Sunday night, an increase of 57 from the previous 24-hour period. That’s the highest number of patients since Oct. 7

Of those hospitalized, 193 patients were in intensive care (nine more than the night before), with 99 of them on ventilators (10 more). At least 88 patients were discharged statewide in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday night.

Hospitalizations have climbed nearly 36% this month — there were 700 patients on Nov. 1 — but are still down almost 14% since Sept. 1. Nearly all of those hospitalized are not vaccinated.

The statewide positivity rate for Thursday, the most recent day available, was 9.23%. That number, however, is likely reflects a significantly lower number of tests administered on the Thanksgiving holiday than on a typical weekday. The percent positivity for Wednesday was 5.57%.

The transmission declined Monday to 1.18 from 1.2 on Sunday. Any transmission rate above 1 indicates the pandemic is expanding, as each infected person is passing the virus to at least one other person.

The new numbers come amid the discovery of a new coronavirus variant known as omicron that was first identified in southern Africa. The variant sparked concern across the globe Friday though many unanswered questions remain.

“We do not yet know what the omicron variant means for us, but we are still not yet done with delta,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday at his latest coronavirus briefing in Trenton. “I urge everyone who is eligible to get out and get their booster. And if you have not even started your first vaccination course, I urge you to do that now.”

Murphy was administered his booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Monmouth Medical Center Sunday.

The World Health Organization declared it a “variant of concern,” meaning it may spread more easily, cause serious disease or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments. It’s not yet clear how significant a threat the variant is or how effective vaccines will be in mitigating it.

To help curb the spread of the variant, the United States restricted travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday. And New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency to prepare for winter spikes in COVID-19.

In New Jersey, state officials have recently said they expect statewide COVID-19 numbers to rise as colder weather forces more residents inside and the holiday season brings big gatherings.

They said the latest surge should peak sometime in January — the same as last year — at possibly 2,000 hospitalizations or more.

Officials are encouraging everyone 18 and older in New Jersey who has received their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines six months ago or longer to get a booster shot. That’s after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this month that it opened booster shot eligibility to all adults. Anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was already eligible for a booster two months after their single shot.

As of Monday, New Jersey has reported a total of 54,260 breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people, leading to 1,160 hospitalizations and 314 deaths, though those represent a small percentage of total cases.

From Nov. 8 to 14, the state reported 12,138 positive tests. Of those, 3,116 were from fully vaccinated people and those cases led to 16 hospitalizations (out of 602 total) and one deaths (out of 85 total).

“We know that for some the initial vaccine courses have begun to wane in terms of preventing infection, but the effectiveness for keeping these same folks out of the hospital or the morgue ... continues to prove the importance of that initial vaccination — and it speaks to the even greater and more immediate importance of getting that booster,” Murphy said Monday.

All of New Jersey’s 21 counties are listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission, according to CDC. The agency is recommending that all people in high transmission counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.

More than 6.17 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey — a state of about 9.2 million residents — have now been fully vaccinated. More than 8.09 million people in the state have received at least one dose, and more than 1.23 million people have received third doses or boosters.

As of last week, at least 87,500 children between the ages of 5 and 11 in New Jersey have received vaccine doses since federal authorities approved the Pfizer shots for that age group two weeks ago, according to the state.

New Jersey last week publicly reported for the first time the total number of student and staff positive coronavirus tests regardless of how the infections occurred.

The update provided Monday includes 2,449 new student cases and 593 new staff cases through Nov. 21, bringing the totals so far this school year to 27,052 (22,244 student and 4,808 staff cases.)

Those numbers about 62% of the state’s schools providing data (up from nearly 60% last week). More than 85% of school staff are now fully vaccinated in those 2,152 schools providing data.

The delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious than previous variants, represents more than 99% of all cases circulating in New Jersey right now.

New Jersey has now reported 28,348 deaths in the state, including 25,521 confirmed deaths and 2,827 probable deaths - since March 2020. The probable deaths increased Monday by four fatalities.

New Jersey has the third-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S., behind Mississippi and Alabama.

New Jersey has reported 1,084,414 total confirmed cases out of more than 16 million PCR tests conducted since the first case was announced March 4, 2020. The state has also reported more than 165,040 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

At least 8,687 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data. There are active outbreaks at 123 facilities, resulting in 644 current cases among residents and 575 among staffers.

As of Monday, there have been more than 261.7 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 5.2 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 48.2 million) and deaths (more than 776,600) of any nation.

There have been more than 7.6 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
 

mmascari

Well-Known Member
It looks like this is the Healthcare specific order that's under the National Emergency umbrella. Interesting that the news story calls the judge out saying "'indefinite states of emergency' pose 'grave risks' to civil liberties". This is definitely true, but it's hardly new. There should be news stories calling this out for many years. According to Wikipedia there are currently 39 active National Emergencies, and the oldest started November 14, 1979.

Since the en banc decision in the 9th circuit went the other way you are correct. This decision needs to go the appeals court asap so it can be settled. Some seem to want to drag this on
Is that the OSHA one or a different order under the National Emergency umbrella?

It's hard to keep track of which order under which authority or which rule under which process something came from and who challenged each. Along with if the challenge is process and authority or action related.

This rule by executive order (by both parties) needs to be reigned in by the courts.
The ping pong of executive order only actions and the inability of Congress to ever clarify and deal with the issues in a more permanent fashion is definitely a problem. I'm not sure it's the Courts that need to fix it, so much as Congress dealing the underlying issues that drive orders instead.
 

Kevin_W

Well-Known Member
The ping pong of executive order only actions and the inability of Congress to ever clarify and deal with the issues in a more permanent fashion is definitely a problem. I'm not sure it's the Courts that need to fix it, so much as Congress dealing the underlying issues that drive orders instead.

That's a good point. The inability of congress most of the time to actually do anything is what drive the increases in executive orders.
 

mmascari

Well-Known Member
now we are into politics so that’s all I’m gonna say.
We were, but it was all very broad, general, and definitively not actually opinion directed. It's was pretty safe and very civil. :)

Imagine if Disney Corporate couldn't make a decision about something and just had a vague idea of it. Then, if MK, Epcot, AK, and HS all created their own unique and different implementations to move towards that goal.

The threads would be endless here, longer than even this one. There would be those that are sure MK is doing it "right" and the rest are all ridiculous. While others would be AK fans as the "right way". The contrarians would be all over that the goal wasn't even right so they were all doing it wrong differently.

PS: We all know a scrappy group of scrappy managers at Typhoon Lagoon would be the only ones with the real "right" solution. :p
 

DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
The ping pong of executive order only actions and the inability of Congress to ever clarify and deal with the issues in a more permanent fashion is definitely a problem. I'm not sure it's the Courts that need to fix it, so much as Congress dealing the underlying issues that drive orders instead.
I agree. The courts need to send the message to Congress to fix it.

If there were term limits in Congress then maybe they'd tackle the issues instead of trying to straddle the fence to keep getting re-elected. They certainly aren't going to pass a term limit law on themselves and I don't think the states will band together and make it a constitutional amendment.

Therefore, we'll probably continue to see executive orders and court challenges of the orders for the rest of our lives.
 

mmascari

Well-Known Member
...Congress to fix it.
We could debate for hours on the best way to fix it, but alas that likely would devolve into very political discussion. That they need to fix it is a fairly safe topic, the how is more exciting.

Therefore, we'll probably continue to see executive orders and court challenges of the orders for the rest of our lives.
This is probably true. It's certainly the Executive branch historic direction to gather more and more into itself without needing Congress.
 

Diamond Dot

Active Member
I don't understand the American political system, the party that won should govern without having to rely on the losing party. Bipartisan politics rarely works. It's like giving all the kids who ran the egg and spoon race at school sports a prize, even the ones who finished a long distance behind the winner.
 

Vegas Disney Fan

Well-Known Member
I don't understand the American political system, the party that won should govern without having to rely on the losing party. Bipartisan politics rarely works. It's like giving all the kids who ran the egg and spoon race at school sports a prize, even the ones who finished a long distance behind the winner.
That would cause massive policy swings every couple years, it would create chaos.
 

DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
I don't understand the American political system, the party that won should govern without having to rely on the losing party. Bipartisan politics rarely works. It's like giving all the kids who ran the egg and spoon race at school sports a prize, even the ones who finished a long distance behind the winner.
It isn't a "party based" system. It's "supposed" to be that the Senators represent the interest of their states and the Congressmen/women represent the interests of their constituents.

It isn't like what I understand of the system in the UK where the majority party picks the Prime Minister. Here, the President can be (and often is) from the opposite party of the one that controls one or both houses of congress.
 

Flugell

Well-Known Member
Thanks to everyone who has explained the situation regarding mandates versus the courts!
I found the justification for not allowing it to remain in place till the courts decided because vaccinations could not be removed from people very interesting. However it is equally true that people who are infected and die as a result of non vaccinated contact can not be brought back to life! This is hopefully a much smaller number though.
I now feel I have a better understanding of the contrasting points of view. The Disney thread is educational as well as allowing me to still feel connected to Disney from afar!
 

Andrew C

You know what's funny?
I don't understand the American political system, the party that won should govern without having to rely on the losing party. Bipartisan politics rarely works. It's like giving all the kids who ran the egg and spoon race at school sports a prize, even the ones who finished a long distance behind the winner.
Essentially, it is recognized that the minority still have rights and a voice, and having majority rule leads to one group imposing their will on the minority without regard. Some type of consensus/debate is supposed to be required to avoid tyranny from the majority.
 

LuvtheGoof

Grill Master
Premium Member
Essentially, it is recognized that the minority still have rights and a voice, and having majority rule leads to one group imposing their will on the minority without regard. Some type of consensus/debate is supposed to be required to avoid tyranny from the majority.
One of the major problems we have nowadays is that the minority is increasingly vocal and sue happy to get their way, thus negating the majority. I would be willing to bet that the majority of guests to WDW would have zero problems with showing their vaccination status to get a wrist band, and thus be allowed to do certain things that others cannot. But we all know that the vocal minority would sue and claim all kinds of nonsense so that it doesn't happen.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Could you please name the newspaper/magazine etc where this was published? Thank you.


Edit - @helenabear has provided the source.
Admittedly I couldn't find it anywhere else. I did see a few of the thoughts in many other articles though. Like this article stated how they hadn't admitted anyone.

"Dr. Angelique Coetzee told the BBC that neither she nor her colleagues had admitted anyone who had the strain to the hospital so far. Her patients had experienced extreme fatigue but no loss of taste or smell, which are often telltale symptoms of Covid-19, she said."

 

Gringrinngghost

Well-Known Member
Breaking from Associated Press:


WASHINGTON (AP) — A person in California became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the COVID-19 omicron variant, U.S. officials said Wednesday as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new strain of the virus.

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from Southern Africa where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations. Two U.S. officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they could not speak on the record.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking steps to tighten U.S. testing rules for travelers from overseas, including requiring a test for all travelers within a day of boarding a flight to the U.S. regardless of vaccination status. It was also considering mandating post-arrival testing.

Officials said those measures would only “buy time” for the country to learn more about the new variant and to take appropriate precautions, but that given its transmissibility its arrival in the U.S. was inevitable.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious than previous strains, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.

The announcement of the first U.S. case comes before President Joe Biden plans to outline his strategy on Thursday to combat the virus over the winter. Biden has tried to quell alarm over the omicron variant, saying it was a cause for concern but “not a cause for panic.”

Biden and public health officials have grown more urgent in their pleas for more Americans to get vaccinated — and for those who have been vaccinated to get booster shots to maximize their protection against the virus.
 

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