44% of people in California say they have experienced a mental health issue as a result of the epidemic and the actions to suppress it. If I lived in California I would be depressed all the time living under that government. (Cal. Story) Over 70% of young adults said they had these mental health issues. Yep we really care about our young people.
South Korea got a lot of plaudits for handling the epidemic. South Koreans have one of the highest mask wearing levels in the world. Yet South Korea is experiencing a resurgence of cases. Yeah, you can really suppress this virus. And yeah, mask wearing will prevent any resurgence. (S. Kor. Story) The cost of trying to suppress a largely harmless virus is mammothly out of proportion to the deaths or serious illness caused by the virus.
Here is a timely paper on likely reinfection rates. (Medrxiv Paper) The study was done in Qatar and looked at all situations where the same individual had a positive PCR test at least 45 days after an initial positive test. 243 out of 133,266 confirmed (supposedly) cases fell into this category. Of these 54 had good evidence for actual re-infection. One was hospitalized, the rest were basically asymptomatic. Most of the cases were discovered by accident, as a result of contact tracing for example. Antibody surveys suggest half the country’s population has been infected so the author’s took the results as indicating that the immune response is strong and protective from reinfection. No discussion of false positives the first time around. I am now leery of studies relying on PCR testing. Seven of 13 supposedly reinfected patients for whom antibody results were available had negative results in those tests, which supports my suspicion that some of these “reinfected” patients were not infected the first time around.
Yet another immune response paper that the panic crowd will ignore. (Medrxiv Paper) The research comes from Israel and some patients were followed for as long as 6 months. Blood from 54 current patients and 57 recovered ones was examined, with 11 patients followed for an extended time. The patients had strong antibody responses, which did fall off over time, but memory B cells, which are responsible for prompting antibody production remained strongly present. There is no reason for the body to have tons of antibodies floating around for an essentially non-threatening virus. Memory B cells are doing exactly what they are supposed to do, act as sentinels if the virus produces another serious infection. Once again, however, the researchers fail to examine the complete picture of adaptive immunity and don’t examine T cell response. I continue to be baffled by experts who don’t seem to use common sense or follow basic principles in their fields.
This study dealt with supposedly detected patterns of death and immunity in 45 countries. (Medrxiv Paper) An international team in Europe conducted the research. I am not completely sure what the authors were attempting to demonstrate but they examined difference in country age distributions and tried to infer a case fatality rate using antibody survey data. They found a pretty consistent pattern of mortality rates by age across countries, especially in people under 65, and in those over 65 if you removed nursing home residents. Their estimates of case fatality rates went from .001% for those aged 5 to 9, to 7.27% for those 80 and over. Differences in the number of nursing home residents can cause seeming differences in the mortality rate for the elderly.
A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research addresses what the authors call four relevant facts about the use of lockdowns and other mitigation tactics in response to the epidemic. (NBER Paper) The study was done by economists, some from the Federal Reserve and economists tend to be quite a bit sharper on their math and statistics than epidemiologists, as we have seen. The authors observed that early in the epidemic there were widely dispersed death growth rates, with some locations having rapidly growing ones and others slower growth. But in all locations within 25 to 30 days after 25 cumulative deaths, the growth rate had decayed and slowed dramatically. The dispersion in growth rates had also dropped substantially. Failure to take these trends into account might suggest that the mitigation tactics were more effective than they actually were. The authors’ interpretation is that transmission rates fell quickly after the initial phase of the epidemic. This might be due to voluntary behavior modifications. But it is equally like due to the most susceptible to serious illness getting infected earlier on and the many cases of mild illness not being detected. Transmission rates may not have changed, just the rate of case detection. I do agree that studies are grossly exaggerating the effect of lockdowns, etc.