25 October 2020

Negative

Shirley and I were randomly chosen to  participate in our national "Covid-19 infection survey" run by The University of Oxford in partnership with The Office for National Statistics.

The Sunday before last, a  phlebotomist arrived at our house in a shiny 4x4 vehicle and we had swabs and bloods taken on our doorstep.

On Thursday we received our swab results and yesterday our blood results arrived. We were  "negative" on both counts. No current COVID infections and also no anti-bodies indicating past infection.

Now that is a little strange. As you may remember, Shirley is a part-time practice nurse working at a health centre. She undertook identical tests at her workplace a couple of months ago and her blood sample indicated that she did have anti-bodies. 

Was the initial test faulty? Have the anti-bodies left her blood system? Perhaps it simply tells us that testing is not 100% accurate.

There will be other tests for us in the future - more swabs and more blood letting.

Why, you might ask, have I agreed to participate in this survey? Perhaps it's from a sense of civic responsibility as our nation wrestles with the invisible monster in our midst? Not at all. My reason is purely mercenary.

The initial tests provided me with a £50 e-voucher that I spent yesterday at Cole Brothers (John Lewis) in the centre of our Tier 3 Yorkshire city. Future tests will earn me £25 a time. We should make £300 each over the next year. Who said there wasn't money to be made from pandemics? Incidentally, we are also contributing to a laudable scientific study.

With my £50 I bought a pack of new "Canon" printer cartridges. Why the hell do printer cartridges cost so damned much? Maybe that is a subject for another blogpost. To our esteemed leaders I might well say - forget COVID-19, just reduce the cost of printer cartridges!  I am sure that I would once again receive a negative result.

46 comments:

  1. Interestingly I was listening to a medic making the point that anti-bodies may not stay in the body for very long particularly if exposure had been very mild. That is not uncommon with covid infections I understand. I have read that even when there is a vaccine developed it may not protect for very long ie may need to be an annual injection.

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    1. Well it's the same with annual flu vaccines isn't it Graham?

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    2. Yes it is. There are different flu viruses each year and they simply take an educated guess as to which ones will be attacking us this year. I think it's a cocktail.

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    3. You mean like Sex on the Beach?

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    4. I second your last sentiment, Graham. I am as yet undecided whether YP's affliction is preferable to that of another blogger who seems to thrive on anything vaguely related to excrement.

      Since you mentioned the trials of bad weather the other day; hope your winds have calmed. I managed to take advantage of a window withOUT rain just now. There was a time in my life when I believed that if only I ran fast enough I could run underneath the drops and emerge dry.

      U

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  2. Important information to pass on, Graham. I had my annual flu vaccination at Boots a week ago; a yearly vaccination for Covid-19 could become routine as well.
    The survey run by the University of Oxfam is most welcome, and no one will grudge Sir Yorky his gift voucher for taking part.

    Having good will towards all men, and towards Yorkshiremen in particular, I have set up Sir Yorky with a part-time job (only 79 hours per week) as a security guard in the planned Sheffield Curlew Theme Park. He can treat Shirley to a nice winter coat.

    There will be all-night shifts while construction is underway, but Yorky will be able to catch up on his reading, and write that Parallel Worlds Novel he's been planning all these years.

    I promise him a great blurb: *Not since Olaf Stapledon's novel 'Sirius' has any writer created such a world-shaking vision of Yorkshire's future.*

    As his agent I only expect 20 per cent of international sales, movie, television, comic, and computer game spin-offs.
    As my Paw used to say, *It's an ill wind that blaws somebody gude.*






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    1. I have most of the qualities required of a security guard - including the essential thick skull, ugly mutt and size eleven clodhoppers. Now all I need is a few tattoos up my arms. I think I will have "Meatloaf", a bulldog and a few dolphins leaping. After all, we all want to swim with dolphins...don't we?

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    2. It must be wonderful to be on a cruise and watch dolphins, whales too. Let me abuse the Japanese for their crimes against whales, and the French too, when they exploded nuclear bombs in the world's oceans, though not anywhere near Cannes or Nice.

      My last living uncle celebrated his 100th Birthday earlier this year. He always had horses and Alsatian dogs. He told me Alsatians had almost human intelligence, and if properly trained always obeyed instructions.
      He commended bulldogs too, and the Staffordshire Terrier.

      As for horses, he said he thought it took at least two years for a stallion he had purchased to trust him entirely. Or to *bond* with him.
      George lives in a village in Devon, near his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. His daughter is a community nurse, busy because of the crisis.

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  3. It is rather astonishing that we still know so little about this virus. And I'm sure that even as we learn, it mutates into something else. Viruses are tricky little bits of life.

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    1. God must have been having a bad day when he came up with the idea of viruses. It was probably the same day he approved "At Home With The Kardashians".

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    2. Ever read the Irwin Shaw story, *God Was Here But He Left Early*?
      His son Adam, who lives in Paris, is interviewed on YouTube. The kind of guy you could have a beer with.

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    3. Dan Schneider Video Interview #79: On Irwin Shaw.
      April 11, 2016. Cosmoetica. YouTube.

      This might be the time for me to re-read Irwin's story, *Tip on a Dead Jockey*.

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  4. Doctors still don't know how long antibodies stay in our body post COVID infection. Either or both of Shirley's tests could have been wrong, as no test is 100%. Or she could have had antibodies and no longer does. There are people who have been infected twice with COVID, yay, because once isn't enough apparently.

    As for flu vaccines, we get a different combination every year, depending on their best guess of what is circulating.

    The problem with viruses is that they have no cell wall like bacteria do. Viruses hide inside our own cells and hijack our cells to do their dirty work, replicating. They also can easily mutate, hence the many varieties of the common cold, although coronaviruses are only responsible for about 15% of colds, the rest are rhinoviruses.

    And yes, I wanted to be a microbiologist before I became a nurse. I took some premed courses and my favorite course was microbiology.

    Printer cartridges are always handy.

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    1. Thanks for that little bit of education Lily. I am so ignorant about such things but I deny ever having relations with a rhino!

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    2. *Covid-19 and Zinc.*
      Dr. John Campbell. YouTube. October 15, 2020.

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  5. If you had tested positive for the antibodies, do you think they have would also have paid you to donate your blood plasma for research or for therapeutic purposes?
    For several years now we have bought our printer cartridges from suppliers via Amazon. Much cheaper and so far no problems with them at all.

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    1. Many modern printers are designed not to accept "fake" cartridges. My Canon pixma printer will only accept Canon branded cartridges.

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  6. On the subject of cartridges and printing my question would be how much do you print? I print mainly photographs for photo cards that I use in correspondence and many other purposes. I use an HP printer with the Instant Ink option. For that I pay £3.49 per month for 100 prints (one can pay less or more for fewer or more prints). I actually have two printers on the same arrangement but that's another matter. It seems to me by far the cheapest way of operating an inkjet printer.

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    1. The last time I had to put new cartridges in our printer was August 2019. I mostly use if for printing off maps for walking.

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  7. I have read that ancestry DNA companies sell DNA to companies. Could governments and private companies be selling our DNA too?

    Do you remember when you use to go to the chemists to drop your negatives off to be developed and go back a few days later for your prints and pay for photos that were blurred and had red eyes? I do.

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    1. If DNA is not being currently traded, it will.
      In the globalised free market anything goes, and multinational corporations are not answerable to democratically elected governments, indeed they have hotshot attorneys who can sue governments.

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    2. If they use my DNA they will be well on the way to creating a race of superhumans.

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    3. You mean the Hybrids, cloned from human DNA, and harvested by those horrid Grays? Poor John Mack, nearly lost his chair at Harvard, for believing it.

      I see a lot of tall Chinese girls here in Glasgow, maybe they are the Hybrids.
      Funny thing, you never see them in pubs, they live apart in flats, just down the road from me. There are cafes catering for Chinese students.

      I liked the TV series *Taken* (DVD) produced by Spielberg because there were so many images from children's storybooks, with the Aliens pretending to be furry talking animals. ETs are our version of the Faerie, a world beloved by George MacDonald, who abandoned his Calvinist ministry for New Age.

      Jackie Gleason said JFK rang him up and asked if he wanted to see the crashed spaceship in the desert. Jackie was a joker, and a heavy-duty drinker.

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  8. I am disgusted. Not with you, YP. But with the system. Why do "they" think they need to incentivise people? Forget the Categorical Imperative. Show people the money and they'll get a test many of us can only dream of.

    Naturally, the above is partly sublimating my envy that I wasn't chosen. Free testing. Who wouldn't pay a fiver to know? Vouchers thrown in for free. And, yes, the price of ink is shocking. Particularly when you find yourself, momentarily, impecunious.

    As an aside, and maybe you know this already, I read the other day that sometimes it's cheaper to buy a new printer (even if it is a Canon; or particularly a Canon) than to replace cartridges. Apparently, if you don't use your printer often enough the ink outlet (don't hold me to technical specification lingo) dries out and you are effed. New cartridges or not.

    Careful what life's freebies showers upon you. Beware Greeks bearing gifts. Do look into the horse's mouth and all that - there may be a dental bill (for the horse and you to pay) in the offing.

    U

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    1. *They* have these incentives to show us they *care*. You'd need to be a bloody mug not to see through their chicanery.

      The world economy has crashed because of lockdown. The deregulated financial industries caused the last crash (not a single banker went to jail: indeed they got even more massive crooked pay-outs from a Labour Government).

      And then the governments of Cameron and May used austerity as a brutal political cudgel to keep the workers frightened and demoralised. Zero-contracts? You'll be on it for life! Think yourselves lucky you have a job!

      Wait till we see what *they* have in store for us when the full cost of lockdown is made public. Beggars and homeless on our streets now? We haven't seen anything.

      *Robert Kiyosaki. 2019 Speech That Broke the Internet! Keep them Poor!*
      YouTube. August 6, 2019. MotivationHub.

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  9. It's also good that your Govt. is doing this survey. Very little is known about covid so they had better get to work and at least put a few things together.

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    1. It feels good to be part of a nationwide study that could benefit us all.

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  10. I have found over the years that it is more advantageous to buy a new printer than to pay for new supplies for the old one!! Which disgusts me no end! Think of the waste, think of the landfills full of discarded printers. Places don't even want to fix your car anymore, just replace the part ...

    They are saying, Mr. Pudding, that some people keep antibodies for a long time and others just a short time. I have a friend who has battled cancer a couple of times and who also contracted Covid. She managed to recover quickly and without trauma to her system. She has rich, great antibodies and has been donating them at least once a month for six months now. One never knows with this virus. Please stay cautious and safe and healthy. Oh, and Happy Anniversary!!!

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    1. Thanks for remembering our anniversary Mama Thyme - you have a good memory! As for printers. My daughter just bought a Canon printer for £35. It came with cartridges! Go figure as they say! My new cartridges would have cost me £50 if not for the e-token.

      P.S. Please Vote Biden!!

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  11. With or without an incentive it is good to take part in such a program hoping it will help the medical authorities to learn more about covid. A program such as you described does not provide any physical threat to you only an occasional blood test. It is possible that a person may have only temporary antibodies. That is another important thing they need to learn. If you make a little money off the deal then all the better for you and Shirley!

    Don't even get me started on printer cartridges! If you are willing to void the warranty and get an off label brand you can buy a large assortment of cartridges from Amazon that will last much longer than just one set from Canon and cost a little less at the same time.

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    1. My Canon printer rejects unbranded cartridges Bonnie.

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  12. How strange, about Shirley's antibodies. Isn't there some evidence that immunity to Covid after an infection is only temporary? Maybe Shirley got it and had antibodies for a while, and then they dissipated. Just a guess! (Or, as you said, maybe the testing is imprecise.)

    I don't blame you at all for doing it, given your £300 payout! I'd do it too!

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    1. I would sell my soul to The Devil if the price was right.

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  13. Wish I was getting paid for my research tests (see my latest post)

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    1. Okay. I will check out your blog later ADDY.

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  14. That's what happens when you visit a post too late. It has all been said. There was a brief period here perhaps a decade where it was cheaper to buy a new printer with full sized cartriages than just replacement cartriages. Then cartridge size in printers was reduced.

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    1. Mmm.. I wonder why they reduced cartridge sizes? Surely it was not about squeezing more money out of printer owners!

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    2. My last 2 printers have come with a note saying that the cartridges were, and I can't recall the exact wording, for limited use for setting up and 'getting used to' the printer. They don't make money on the printers but on the cartridges so had obviously realised that people were discarding okay printers because it was cheaper to buy a new one than a set of cartridges.

      At £1.99 for 50 copies (ie £24 a year) you would still probably be cheaper than paying £50 for new cartridges.

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  15. Either way glad to hear you and Shirley are "negative" Keeping well is the objective... keeping afloat (mentally & physically) - essential! Cheers, Elle

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    1. The more this goes on, the more our mental well-being is challenged. "Keeping afloat" is not always easy is it Elle?

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  16. There was briefly a time here about a decade ago when it was cheaper to buy a new printer than the replacement ink cartridges. Of course that didn't last long.

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    1. It is still the same, Andrew. In the wake of YP's post I looked into it AGAIN. And what do you know? To replace my Canon printer (cum scanner), cartridges included, is cheaper than buying the cartridges. On top of which, and otherwise I'd not even consider replacing a perfectly good piece of hardware, I have been reliably informed that unless your printer is, more or less, in constant use the ink outlets will dry up, not letting fresh through.Holy what's it.

      Reminds me of the obsolescence. A concept my father explained to me before I had ever bought a pair of tights or stockings. Apparently, the technology is there to make the "silks" bullet proof, lasting a life time. Instead of which those garments are being put into die "Zerreissmaschine". Yes, it's as painful (for your purse) as it sounds. So before the end product is packaged they make sure there is a fault lurking somewhere. Leading to a ladder. Even without your sharp fingernails doing accidental damage.

      I walked barefoot for a long time.

      U

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    2. What you will find now is that the ink cartridges in a new printer contain very little ink.

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  17. Good to know that you both tested negative YP. Will you need to carry the results around with you and produce them when challenged? Do they give you freedom to carry on walking - we'll miss the photos if you can't get out and about!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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