Personality Traits Linked to Toilet Paper Stockpiling

The most robust predictor of toilet paper stockpiling was the perceived threat posed by the pandemic; people who felt more threatened tended to stockpile more toilet paper. Around 20 percent of this effect was also based on the personality factor of emotionality — people who generally tend to worry a lot and feel anxious are most likely to feel threatened and stockpile toilet paper. The personality domain of conscientiousness — which includes traits of organization, diligence, perfectionism and prudence — was also a predictor of stockpiling.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. “Personality traits linked to toilet paper stockpiling: High levels of emotionality and conscientiousness are indicators for stockpiling behavior.” ScienceDaily. (accessed November 25, 2020).

In case you haven’t noticed it’s happening again. Where’s the toilet paper?

Why Lockdowns Worked in March and Why Lockdowns No Longer Work

The researchers found that after one day of total isolation, the sight of people having fun together activates the same brain region that lights up when someone who hasn’t eaten all day sees a picture of a plate of cheesy pasta.

“People who are forced to be isolated crave social interactions similarly to the way a hungry person craves food. Our finding fits the intuitive idea that positive social interactions are a basic human need, and acute loneliness is an aversive state that motivates people to repair what is lacking, similar to hunger,” says Rebecca Saxe, the John W. Jarve Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the senior author of the study.

The research team collected the data for this study in 2018 and 2019, long before the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Their new findings, described today in Nature Neuroscience, are part of a larger research program focusing on how social stress affects people’s behavior and motivation.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A hunger for social contact: Neuroscientists find that isolation provokes brain activity similar to that seen during hunger cravings.” ScienceDaily. (accessed November 23, 2020).

Oxford vaccine shows 90% efficacy in Phase-3 trial — Science Chronicle

Interim data analysis of Phase-3 trial of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 candidate vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019) showed different efficacies in preventing COVID-19 disease. In the case of the regimen where a halved dose was used as a prime (first dose) followed by a standard dose of booster, the efficacy was 90%. However, when full doses (standard doses) were […]

Oxford vaccine shows 90% efficacy in Phase-3 trial — Science Chronicle

College Presidents Fail to Protect Students from Covid-19 – College Clusterfuck Update 11.22.20

In fact, university Presidents — leaders, let us remember — did not mobilize to protect students from Covid. Frankly, I never thought they did, because I do try to pay attention to these things, but to prove it to myself, I went through 33 pages of headlines for the Coronavirus tag in the Chronicle of Higher Education, all the way back to the first entry on February 24 (“Coronavirus-Themed Party at Albany Draws Criticism“)…

As it turns out, protecting students from Covid was never a top priority for University Presidents. The American Council on Education (“a membership organization that mobilizes [ha] the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice”) has published periodic surveys on what University Presidents consider pressing issues.

College Presidents Fail to Mobilize to Protect Students from Covid-19

The author of this article doesn’t attempt to hide his bias or contempt for the so-called leaders of our colleges and universities. I’ve made no attempt to hide my disdain either (sharp eyed readers will note my title above deletes two words from the original article title). The college clusterfuck has been one of my recurring themes:

Colleges’ Opening Fueled 3,000 COVID Cases a Day (College Clusterfuck Update)

“I slept on the floor, and woke up to ants crawling on my bed.”

College Clusterfuck 2.0 – “It’s a Dystopian Hell” – Updated

College Town Clusterfuck

The full article contains some pretty sorrid stuff. Enjoy!

Online education will become the standard operating model for higher education. Thousands of colleges and universities will go belly up. Professor Galloway at NYU says it’s simple math. See Galloway’s comments here: Post Pandemic Changes in Consumer Behavior

MMR Vaccine Study Shows Possible Protection Against Covid-19

More research is needed but if this study findings hold up we have a game changer.

“We found a statistically significant inverse correlation between mumps titer levels and COVID-19 severity in people under age 42 who have had MMR II vaccinations,” said lead study author Jeffrey E. Gold, president of World Organization, in Watkinsville, Georgia. “This adds to other associations demonstrating that the MMR vaccine may be protective against COVID-19. It also may explain why children have a much lower COVID-19 case rate than adults, as well as a much lower death rate. The majority of children get their first MMR vaccination around 12 to 15 months of age and a second one from 4 to 6 years of age.”

American Society for Microbiology. “MMR vaccine could protect against COVID-19, study shows.” ScienceDaily. (accessed November 22, 2020).

Meanwhile in Oklahoma – Follow the Science

With a mask mandate in place since spring, free drive-through testing, hospitals well-stocked with PPE, and a small army of public health officers fully supported by their chief, the Cherokee Nation has been able to curtail its Covid-19 case and death rates even as those numbers surge in surrounding Oklahoma, where the White House coronavirus task force says spread is unyielding.

The Cherokee Nation, with about 140,000 citizens on its reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, has reported just over 4,000 cases and 33 deaths.

“It’s dire, but what in the world would it look like if we weren’t doing this work?’” said Lisa Pivec, senior director of public health for Cherokee Nation Health Services. Pivec leads a team that jumped into action in late February, holding coronavirus task force meetings twice a day, instituting procedures to screen thousands of employees, stockpiling PPE, protecting elders, ensuring food security, and educating residents in both English and Cherokee language. With no guidance on contact tracing available from the CDC early in the pandemic, Pivec researched the World Health Organization’s Ebola response to set up tracing protocols; after the first case appeared on the reservation March 24, she made many of the contact tracing calls herself.

‘They’ve been following the science’: How the Covid-19 pandemic has been curtailed in Cherokee Nation —

Take a few minutes and read the full article. You will be impressed as I was.

Oxford vaccine found safe and immunogenic in Phase 2 Trial Results— Science Chronicle

Results of the Phase-2 trial of the Oxford vaccine show that the vaccine is safe across age groups — younger (18-55 years age) and older adults (over 56 years age). In fact, older adults better tolerated the vaccine than younger adults, the results show. The vaccine also induced T cell immune responses and neutralising antibodies […]

Oxford vaccine found safe and immunogenic even in older adults — Science Chronicle

ATTENTION Anti-Vaxxers — (you probably don’t want this vaccine either)

The 30,000-person trial included 11,000 volunteers from communities of color, making up 37% of the total study population. It also included more than 7,000 volunteers over the age of 65 and more than 5,000 people under 65 who have high-risk medical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering from a severe infection, should they contract Covid, things like diabetes, severe obesity and heart disease. 

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is strongly effective, early look at data show –

Refrigeration Requirements

The mRNA-1273 vaccine can be shipped and stored for up to 6 months at –20° C (about –4° F), a temperature maintained in most home or medical freezers, according to Moderna. The company expects that after the product thaws, it will remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2° to 8° C (36° to 46° F) for up to 30 days within the 6-month shelf life.

Because the mRNA-1273 vaccine is stable at these refrigerator temperatures, it can be stored at most physicians’ offices, pharmacies, and hospitals, the company notes. In contrast, the similar Pfizer BTN162b2 vaccine ― early results for which showed a 90% efficacy rate, as reported by Medscape Medical News ― requires shipment and storage at “deep freeze” conditions of –70° C or –80° C, which is more challenging from a logistic point of view.

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 can be kept at room temperature for up to 12 hours after removal from a refrigerator for patient administration. The vaccine will not require dilution prior to use.

Moderna: Interim Data Show 94.5% Efficacy for COVID-19 Vaccine, Will Seek FDA EUA —

Game changer!

COVID-19: Study Suggests Durable Immune Response After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 might last for years, according to a study posted on the preprint server bioRxiv.

Some 185 adults who recovered from COVID-19 (most had mildly symptomatic disease) provided blood samples for analysis. The majority provided a single sample, but roughly 20% provided multiple samples over several months.

The researchers found that levels of spike-specific memory B cells (which make antibodies as needed) increased with time — and were higher at 4–6 months than at earlier time points in most participants who gave multiple samples. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG titers were generally stable, showing only modest declines at 6–8 months.

COVID-19: Study Suggests Durable Immune Response After SARS-CoV-2 Infection —

I hope these findings are replicated in other studies.

Time to Hunker Down

Be safe this year in whatever form of holiday celebrating you choose to do.

The holidays are upon us, which means a spike in gatherings of people who do not otherwise see one another. Such get-togethers, especially if they are multi-generational, can spark more outbreaks. I take no joy in saying this, but all of this means that any gathering outside one’s existing quarantine pod should be avoided for now—especially if it is indoors. Think of it as a postponement and plan to hold it later. Better a late Christmas than an early medical catastrophe. Pods should not expand unless absolutely necessary. Order takeout instead of dining indoors. Make game night virtual. Shop in bulk, so you can do fewer trips to the store. It’s not the right time for wedding receptions or birthday parties.

Young people present one of the biggest challenges. Many colleges are ending school and sending students home, for what could be a country-wide super-spreader event. That age group—young adults—is especially dangerous; while they can get infected, they are less likely to get very sick, so they don’t stay put the way sick people would. That means they pose a great risk to their more vulnerable parents and other older relatives as they go about their lives. Ideally, colleges should offer the students already on campus the option to stay in the dorms over winter break, and those who live in off-campus housing should consider staying put. If they do go home, the students should quarantine for the recommended two weeks to the greatest degree possible.

It’s Time to Hunker Down —

Meanwhile in Tulsa County Oklahoma…

Zip codes in severe Covid-19 risk category —

and Garfield County Colorado…

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

What will Thanksgiving look like this year? We asked a turkey farmer. Read for some insight into…turkeys.