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Post-vaccine Amtrak travel

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west point

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About deaths. What is being ignored is the excess deaths. That is total deaths from all reasons minus the number of Covid-19 deaths Usually that is compiled week by week.. Then that number is compared to the number of deaths in past 10 years adjusted for population . Any numbers of excess deaths con be indirectly linked to Covid-19.

A fictitious example ::::: Average total deaths last ten years for Covid-19 time line

400,000 Total this year is 750,000. Covid -19 to date 251,000+

'So 750,000 - 400,000 - 251,000 = 95,000 excess deaths . So for this fictitious example the excess deaths are 95,000 from persons who did not get medical care for accidents, heart problems, cancer, pneumonia, mild accidents that become deadly infections and other reasons. The last figure I heard was last summer of 120,000+ and of course that number will have increased.

The CDC reports 300,000 deaths so far this year
.

expect 400,000 by end of year.
 

Lonestar648

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2022 appears to be the Post Vaccine time frame when maybe people can legitimately relax on the required protocols. The big question will be what will the new normal look like? For Amtrak, will people ever travel like they used to travel? Will people have the money to travel after the pandemic? There are a lot of unknowns, like if there are new shutdowns, can the economy survive? Amtrak has an advantage right now if they had wanted to market it, that is safe travel with distance and private rooms. With the reduction in service, presumed to last until people travel again, how long will people put up with the current state of passenger rail? Regional and NEC service is all that will remain unless Congress makes Amtrak change direction.

Amtrak will likely see a dip in number of passengers as more Cities and States order shut downs with this Winter spike which could be much worse than this Spring, so will they reduce frequency during this spike?
 

Rasputin

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I have not yet seen much discussion in the media about what the protocols will be for passenger transportation once a vaccine becomes widely available. Will airlines, cruise ships and Amtrak require that all passengers be vaccinated before they can board? Once cross border trains begin to operate will Canada and the U.S. require all passengers entering their respective countries to be vaccinated.? Will some countries require airlines to transport only vaccinated passengers to their country?

If vaccination is not required for common carrier travel, will airlines and Amtrak make any attempt to segregate vaccinated from no-vax passengers on trains and planes? If not required by law, will there be a good business reason for doing so?
 

Devil's Advocate

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This is not like other vaccines that have been carefully tested over a long period of time. This vaccine has been rushed into production. How can we know how many people will experience serious adverse effects until it has been tested by a large number of people over a period of time?
These are reasonable concerns and for a while we can wear masks and remain distanced while others are vaccinated, but barring a disaster we will eventually need to shift gears and focus on innoculating or isolating the remaining holdouts. Amtrak can't keep a 50% block on seats forever. Soon the bailout money will dry up and Amtrak will need to fill as many seats as possible just to keep our trains operating. We can't let a vocal minority hold us back forever. If we play by their rules the recovery will stall out and die. The irony of this whole experiment is that the countries which implemented actual lock downs kicked the virus months ago and were able to go back to mostly normal lives while we held back and stuck with weakened half measures and full strength confusion that did more damage over the long run.

While I read that 50% would not get vaccinated at all anyway. At 73, never had a flu shot and don't plan to get injected by anything from the "Government"! Can't wait to see the new Civil War when the Government mandates Biden Injections!
You can't wait for a new Civil War? The things people shout in public grow crazier and more unhinged by the day.
 
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Qapla

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Who knows ... if post-vaccine travel takes a year or so to return - that may give them time to do needed track and rolling stock maintenance and repair to provide a better product then is currently being used
 

jis

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You can't wait for a new Civil War? The things people shout in public grow crazier and more unhinged by the day.
Well, these days many appear to wear their "unhingedness" on their sleeves as the most supreme achievement of their life. So what to expect? 🤷‍♂️ Anyway, in this specific case it would appear to be a Starwman stood up and then sent off to Civil War. :D

However, as far as vaccine goes, first of all it is not necessary for everyone to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, and secondly vaccination can be handled mostly as a voluntary recommendation thing as a starter and see how far we can get using that protocol. It is likely that with a 95% effective vaccine you just require the sum of already infected plus vaccinated within each 6 moth-ish window to be not necessarily more than 70-75% anyway to achieve pretty good control. And those who really care enough can continue to practice safer protocols in most occasions. Those who don;t won't.

I don't think the unhinged will get their Civil War at least on this subject anytime soon, since most are not as unhinged as them. :D

Now making it specific to riding trains, once we have got upto the 70%-ish level, those that are at greater risk and are concerned that the 5% inafficacy of the vaccine poses a risk are free to practice more stringent protocols including continuing to wear masks in close quarters, hand hygiene (which I don't know why anyone would stop practicing anyway, but you know? unhinged) etc. Others can carry on with life shedding many of the more egregious parts of the protective protocol. Things will slowly return to normal (possibly a new one) even if 20-30% refuse to get vaccinated and also do not naturally get infected to recover and get immunity for the 6month to a year window (apparently) or die.

Interestingly, India has recently restarted its legendary crush load Suburban electric service in Mumbai and Kolkata and there has so far not been any spectacular growth. New cases are generally headed downwards in India. But I am also not sure anyone really knows why anything happens in India the way it does. But generally trains are considerably less crowded. They started intercity service about 8 weeks back in a limited way and are adding trains almost every week since then. Original daily services have been reintroduced as daily and with full complement of cars in the consists (Rakes as Indians call them), No vaccine yet, but lot of practice at making the cleanliness protocols as habit I suppo
 
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Bob Dylan

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Well, these days many appear to wear their "unhingedness" on their sleeves as the most supreme achievement of their life. So what to expect? 🤷‍♂️ Anyway, in this specific case it would appear to be a Starwman stood up and then sent off to Civil War. :D

However, as far as vaccine goes, first of all it is not necessary for everyone to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, and secondly vaccination can be handled mostly as a voluntary recommendation thing as a starter and see how far we can get using that protocol. It is likely that with a 95% effective vaccine you just require the sum of already infected plus vaccinated within each 6 moth-ish window to be not necessarily more than 70-75% anyway to achieve pretty good control. And those who really care enough can continue to practice safer protocols in most occasions. Those who don;t won't.

I don't think the unhinged will get their Civil War at least on this subject anytime soon, since most are not as unhinged as them. :D

Now making it specific to riding trains, once we have got upto the 70%-ish level, those that are at greater risk and are concerned that the 5% inafficacy of the vaccine poses a risk are free to practice more stringent protocols including continuing to wear masks in close quarters, hand hygiene (which I don't know why anyone would stop practicing anyway, but you know? unhinged) etc. Others can carry on with life shedding many of the more egregious parts of the protective protocol. Things will slowly return to normal (possibly a new one) even if 20-30% refuse to get vaccinated and also do not naturally get infected to recover and get immunity for the 6month to a year window (apparently) or die.

Interestingly, India has recently restarted its legendary crush load Suburban electric service in Mumbai and Kolkata and there has so far not been any spectacular growth. New cases are generally headed downwards in India. But I am also not sure anyone really knows why anything happens in India the way it does. But generally trains are considerably less crowded. They started intercity service about 8 weeks back in a limited way and are adding trains almost every week since then. Original daily services have been reintroduced as daily and with full complement of cars in the consists (Rakes as Indians call them), No vaccine yet, but lot of practice at making the cleanliness protocols as habit I suppo
Want a Retirement Job as DOT Sec???
 

MARC Rider

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So you must be indicating that Police or Military will be assigned to the entrance of every store, restaurant, school, etc. etc to "check your papers" before entry?? Sounds like something that happened once in History before.
Gee, I went to the dermatologist a few months ago, and I had to show ID before being allowed into the office building. And I've shopped at stores where they want to see your sales receipts before you leave. This sort of thing isn't exactly unprecedented in this country. We've had madatory health restrictions during epidemics for years, and now, all of a sudden, it's a problem?
 

MARC Rider

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Once cross border trains begin to operate will Canada and the U.S. require all passengers entering their respective countries to be vaccinated.? Will some countries require airlines to transport only vaccinated passengers to their country?
I know this is ancient history, but when I made my first overseas trip in 1971, it was recommended, though not absolutely required by the country I was visiting that I get a smallpox vaccination. Which I did, and I got a real nice yellow vaccination booklet that was sized to fit into your passport that had the vaccination records. Many countries absolutely required vaccinations as a condition for entry. I think there is ample precedent for transportation providers to demand proof of vaccination.
 

caravanman

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I have needed vaccinations when I have travelled in Asia. They have protected me.

If folk don't want a Covid-19 vaccination, then don't travel on Amtrak, don't mix with others, it's your health risk, not mine... I will have the vaccine, travel, and that will help protect me.

I understand that if lots of folk get vaccinated it will also help protect the unvaccinated by lowering the chance of transmission, but in the meantime, let the unvaccinated sort their own priorities out...

We know over a million people have died from Covid-19, is it such a tragedy if a few dozen have an adverse reaction to a vaccine, if it saves millions more?
 

tricia

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...

Now making it specific to riding trains, once we have got upto the 70%-ish level, those that are at greater risk and are concerned that the 5% inafficacy of the vaccine poses a risk are free to practice more stringent protocols including continuing to wear masks in close quarters, hand hygiene (which I don't know why anyone would stop practicing anyway, but you know? unhinged) etc. Others can carry on with life shedding many of the more egregious parts of the protective protocol. Things will slowly return to normal (possibly a new one) even if 20-30% refuse to get vaccinated and also do not naturally get infected to recover and get immunity for the 6month to a year window (apparently) or die.

...
The only problem I see with what you're proposing is that AFAIK masks are much more effective preventing the mask wearer from infecting others; less so for protecting themselves. I'd propose that everyone on a train (or other enclosed space with other people present) must either provide proof of vaccination or wear a mask.

Edit to add: Maybe I've misread you, and you're suggesting that in addition to a vaccine, folks at higher risk might want to wear a mask too? Belt and suspenders?
 

jis

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The only problem I see with what you're proposing is that AFAIK masks are much more effective preventing the mask wearer from infecting others; less so for protecting themselves. I'd propose that everyone on a train (or other enclosed space with other people present) must either provide proof of vaccination or wear a mask.

Edit to add: Maybe I've misread you, and you're suggesting that in addition to a vaccine, folks at higher risk might want to wear a mask too? Belt and suspenders?
The last paragraph is what I am thinking.

BTW, I would imagine what should be more important is the presence of immunity, rather than merely having got an injection. Immunity can occur in at least two ways - having been infected and recovered and vaccination. So it might be more meaningful to require a certificate of a high quality (specificity and sensitivity) serum test showing presence of immunity rather than just having taken a vaccine which may or may not trigger an adequate immunity response in all individuals, depending on the state of their immune system.

BTW, I think it would be difficult to administer a "proof of vaccination or wear a mask" protocol in reality, specially in the face of a bunch of demented morons running around trying to make a political point.
 

tricia

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The last paragraph is what I am thinking.

BTW, I would imagine what should be more important is the presence of immunity, rather than merely having got an injection. Immunity can occur in at least two ways - having been infected and recovered and vaccination. So it might be more meaningful to require a certificate of a high quality (specificity and sensitivity) serum test showing presence of immunity rather than just having taken a vaccine which may or may not trigger an adequate immunity response in all individuals, depending on the state of their immune system.

BTW, I think it would be difficult to administer a "proof of vaccination or wear a mask" protocol in reality, specially in the face of a bunch of demented morons running around trying to make a political point.
Dunno about the "presence of immunity" without a vaccine. IIRC, having had COVID doesn't preclude catching it again.

I disagree with your "difficult to administer" point. My hairdresser, who weighs maybe 98 lbs, manages this quite nicely: No mask, no entry to salon. So do a bunch of stores I patronize--some also set up a hand-sanitizer station at the front door and require both mask and de-germed hands for entry. I live among many Trump voters, BTW.

If the larger chain stores would actually enforce the mask mandate currently in place in my state, I believe infection rates would plummet and wider public acceptance would follow. Instead, many stores put up a sign that masks are required, but refuse to confront anyone in their store who's not wearing a mask.

Bringing it back to Amtrak, on their trains they seem to have mostly got this right, treating it like they do smoking: If you're not wearing a mask, you're refused entry or put off the train. At least one exception has been posted on AU (in the Lounge, I think, but don't remember which train--it was one of the regionals IIRC). And I personally experienced an all-night bustitution due to a freight derailment on the Sunset Ltd's line, where mask wearing and social distancing weren't enforced.

Amtrak can and should do better, and be absolutely consistent about enforcing its COVID protocols. Once a vaccine is widely available, those protocols will need to be altered--and the details of that will depend on how effective the vaccine is, now long it remains effective, and perhaps other factors.
 

jis

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Dunno about the "presence of immunity" without a vaccine. IIRC, having had COVID doesn't preclude catching it again.
So you really believe that getting the disease does not produce immunity, but vaccine does? Immunity is conferred by the body reacting to what it thinks is an infection. This can be either through a real infection or a vaccine, which fools the body into thinking it is getting infected but in a way that the bad effects of infection are mostly absent.

And of course, immunity acquired by whatever means clearly last for a limited period and no one is quite sure how long that is yet. So actually having COVID or getting vaccinated does not preclude catching it again. The question is how soon after acquiring the immunity.

My point about masks is, it is much easier to enforce a "masks for all" protocol than "masks for a selected few" protocol, specially over a long period of time, such as train rides are.

Incidentally at present most of the international travel waivers of COVID related travel bans is based on testing for infection and immunity, and if only testing for infection, it involves 14 day quarantine upon arrival, after traveling based on tested lack of infection before flying.
 
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Barb Stout

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So you really believe that getting the disease does not produce immunity, but vaccine does? Immunity is conferred by the body reacting to what it thinks is an infection. This can be either through a real infection or a vaccine, which fools the body into thinking it is getting infected but in a way that the bad effects infection are mostly absent.

And of course, immunity acquired by whatever means clearly last for a limited period and no one is quite sure how long that is yet. So actually having COVID or getting vaccinated does not preclude catching it again. The question is how soon after acquiring the immunity.
Usually both having the infection and getting vaccinated will provide future immunity for a certain amount of time, but not always. Early in my clinical laboratory career, I encountered a situation where an individual (my co-worker, actually) failed to generate an antibody response to rubella vaccinations. Rubella can cause severe birth defects, like deafness, mental retardation, death, in fetuses/babies of infected mothers, so it's part of prenatal care to check the antibody levels in the mothers and if not detectable, get vaccinated for it, and check it again. My co-worker had gone through 3 rounds of vaccinations (I think with different rubella formulations, but I'm not sure), but still did not generate any anti-rubella antibodies. Her immunological system was in all other ways normal to the best of her knowledge (and she had some!), but her body would not respond to rubella vaccination. I therefore suspect that one possibility that some people can get Covid19 again is related to a combination of their own idiosyncratic immune system (Everybody's idiosyncratic in their own way...!) and the dose of Covid19 they got for their infections and indeed perhaps the timing, but I'm hoping it's not strictly the latter.

Edit: My co-worker was not yet pregnant, but wanted to have another baby.
 

jis

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Usually both having the infection and getting vaccinated will provide future immunity for a certain amount of time, but not always. Early in my clinical laboratory career, I encountered a situation where an individual (my co-worker, actually) failed to generate an antibody response to rubella vaccinations. Rubella can cause severe birth defects, like deafness, mental retardation, death, in fetuses/babies of infected mothers, so it's part of prenatal care to check the antibody levels in the mothers and if not detectable, get vaccinated for it, and check it again. My co-worker had gone through 3 rounds of vaccinations (I think with different rubella formulations, but I'm not sure), but still did not generate any anti-rubella antibodies. Her immunological system was in all other ways normal to the best of her knowledge (and she had some!), but her body would not respond to rubella vaccination. I therefore suspect that one possibility that some people can get Covid19 again is related to a combination of their own idiosyncratic immune system (Everybody's idiosyncratic in their own way...!) and the dose of Covid19 they got for their infections and indeed perhaps the timing, but I'm hoping it's not strictly the latter.

Edit: My co-worker was not yet pregnant, but wanted to have another baby.
This is exactly the sort of issue that I was thinking about. Ultimately it is the presence of the antibodies that matters, irrespective of how they got there I think. And yes, neither an infection, nor a vaccine necessarily guarantees anything. It is all a percentages game, and how long it lasts is another thing that we don't know for sure in case of COVID-19 yet.
 

MARC Rider

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BTW, I think it would be difficult to administer a "proof of vaccination or wear a mask" protocol in reality, specially in the face of a bunch of demented morons running around trying to make a political point.
I'm not so sure, if Third World banana republics can enforce vaccination requirements for entry, surely Amtrak can do the same. After all, we're now close to being a banana republic ourselves. All it would require is a major deployment of APD at the entrances to the platforms checking vaccination certificates and being suitably intimidating to the demented morons who run around without masks. A few arrests should clear the air and let the demented morons know that management is serious about health protocols.

Some years ago, the gate dragons used to actually check tickets before they let you out on the platform. It was a pointless pain in the neck, but it wasn't difficult to administer. A health check would actually have some purpose, so I wouldn't complain about it like I did with the ticket check.
 

John Santos

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This is exactly the sort of issue that I was thinking about. Ultimately it is the presence of the antibodies that matters, irrespective of how they got there I think. And yes, neither an infection, nor a vaccine necessarily guarantees anything. It is all a percentages game, and how long it lasts is another thing that we don't know for sure in case of COVID-19 yet.
Not quite, as far as I understand it. Antibodies do show your immune system would react quickly to a new infection, but not necessarily quickly enough to prevent a case of the disease. (Bad news, and perhaps why people can get Covid-19 more than once.) On the other hand, the immune system can remember antigens and build a very quick response when stimulated by an antigen, thus creating immunity, even when there are no antibodies present in the normal, unstimulated state. IIUC, immunity to many diseases, whether induced by the disease or by a vaccine, works this way.

Also, the immune system works by detecting some foreign protein or genetic material (antigen) produced by the germ (virus, bacteria, or other parasite) and remembering it for future infections. The antigen or antigens selected by the immune system are not necessarily the same as the ones contained in a vaccine, and sometimes the antigens in a vaccine are MORE effective or produce longer lasting effects than natural immunity. It depends on the virus and the vaccine. In other words, the immunity from a vaccine might last less time or longer than the immunity from the virus. The problem is at this time, we just don't know.

We also don't know if immunity (from the virus or from one of the vaccines) always wears off in a few months, or if it usually lasts for years but in some people or under some conditions, wears off quickly, or if the re-infection cases are actually false positives in either the initial or second case, or the person never actually recovered and still had an active infection even after appearing to recover. The virus could hide somewhere, like chicken pox, and then re-emerge months later. This is another unknown. But after almost a year and millions of cases, there should be enough repeat cases to draw some limits. The answers should emerge in a few months to some of these questions. It will take anywhere from 6 months to several years to know how long vaccine-induced immunity lasts.

The good news about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the 90-95% effectiveness comes from actually observing the rate of infection in double blind tests. The people who got the real vaccine showed 5 to 10% of the number of cases as the equal number of people who got the placebo, and the number of cases in the people who got the placebo is close to the expected number for unvaccinated people, so there isn't some hidden selection effect. (For example, there weren't far more insusceptible people in the experimental group than in the general population.)

Another item of good news is that even if the immunity is only short-lived, at 90%, with good penetration, it should knock down infection levels low enough that contract tracing and isolation of exposed people would be able to stamp out any outbreaks in the long run. Better, cheaper, faster testing would help enormously with this, but only if the infection rate is low enough.

I recently heard of a home test that works be smearing a nasal swab (Q-tip) onto a specially treated strip of paper and observing if it changes color. It costs about 30 cents, and takes less than a minute. If this is true (it could be totally bogus or a ridiculous exaggeration), then it would make contact tracing and isolation much easier. If you were exposed to infected person X, someone will come to your door with a box of a weeks worth of strips and tell you to isolate and test everyone once a day. If no one is positive in a week, you're all clear. If anyone tests positive then call the 800 number. And give us a list of everyone you've been in close contact with since you were exposed to person X. This kind of contact tracing really only works if there are a very small number of infected people, but it is extremely effective.

Very few people are immune to Yersinia pestis, there is no vaccine for it, it is endemic in animals in many parts of the world but very few people die of bubonic plague any more because of good tracing and effective treatments. There is hope!
 

jis

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At the end of the day as far as tests go, what matters is what their specificity and sensitivity ratings are, in order to get some idea of how useful they will be. There are a lot of rather poor tests going around these days which may give a false sense of security.

In the US we have indeed got to get our detection and tracing act together. But until this silliness about "personal responsibility will take care of everything without any organized attempts to do anything" and "vaccines be damned" crowds can be effectively dealt with, there is low probability that we will get to any semblance of normality anytime soon
 

Rasputin

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Over the past few years I have been in the habit of printing out and saving restaurant reviews that I have come across online for various cities that we intend to re-visit in our Amtrak travels.

It occurred to me recently that most of those reviews are probably now worthless because many of the restaurants have closed and may not reopen. I should throw them all out and start collecting reviews again only a few months before our intended trip.
 

Lonestar648

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These rush to market vaccines, cutting as much as 9 years off the testing cycle, pose an unknown, long term side effects. Because they will stay unknown when the first public distribution commences, Because of this concern, I just read some leaders want to start vaccine distribution in prisons. Hopefully, there will not be any major side affects, but if there are, we need to be prepared for another delay. With everything learned and spent on this pandemic, I would expect our government to be better prepared for the next event, but I am not holding my breath.

So, if there are additional delays, how long can Congress financially support our transportation systems, specifically Amtrak?
 
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tricia

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These rush to market vaccines, cutting as much as 9 years off the testing cycle, pose an unknown, long term side effects. Because they will stay unknown when the first public distribution commences, Because of this concern, I just read some leaders want to start vaccine distribution in prisons. ...
No one should be given any medical treatment without informed consent in a setting where they're free to say no. Using prisoners as guinea pigs is deeply wrong.
 
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