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A Head Full of Coronavirus Research, Part 74

By December 7, 2020Commentary

Final weekend catchup on research before the new week deluge begins.  Here is an article from Massachusetts which again suggests that a number of hospitalizations listed as CV-19 really aren’t.  (Mass. Article)  It is a relief also to read an article about hospitalizations that is somewhat rational and not laden with hysteria.  But buried far down in the article is the critical number.  As many as 30% of the people listed as CV-19 hospitalizations were admitted for another reason, tested positive, are asymptomatic and there for not being treated for CV-19.  Hospitals are heavily incented to turn every admission into a CV-19 one, because they can get paid as much as 20% more.  So hospital labs are tending to use very high PCR cycle numbers to churn out “positive” results.  Why isn’t Minnesota telling us how many hospitalizations are not really for CV-19.  And I want to again caution that hospitals, especially in the winter during flu season, typically run at very high percents of capacity in both the general beds and ICU beds, over 90% is quite typical.  That is how they make money–matching capacity to demand.

Uh-oh, this isn’t going to make the masked bandits happy.  A completely ignored study finds that masks, of the common types, do impede pulmonary function, at risk and during exercise.  (Mask Study)   The study was done in Germany with 12 healthy male subjects, all of whom were apparently physicians so they know how to wear masks properly, and evaluated both common surgical masks and N95 type masks.  The subjects were tested at rest and during and after exercise.  Various measures of pulmonary and cardiac function were taken.  The comfort of the mask was also assessed, and they were found to be very uncomfortable during exercise, with the N95 more uncomfortable than the surgical mask.  Without going into detail on the outcomes, I will just quote some of the conclusions.  “both masks have a significant negative effect on exercise parameters…”  Both masks significantly reduce pulmonary parameters at rest … and at maximum load…”  “Wearing the masks was perceived as very uncomfortable with a marked effect on breathing resistance with the (N95 type) mask.”  As the authors note, these were the results in healthy volunteers, in patients with pulmonary or cardiac disease, the results could be expected to be much worse.  We should stop pretending that mask wearing can’t have adverse health effects.

And here is an additional study from a researcher who seems to have done a lot of work in the field of mask performance.  This study is from 2010 and found a very small effect of cloth masks on stopping particles in the size that could contain virus.  (Mask Pen. Study)   And this study by the same lead author found not the greatest performance by surgical masks.  (Surg. Mask Study)

This study looked at a potential relationship between influenza vaccination and CV-19 mortality.  (Flu Article)   A number of studies have suggested that various vaccination types seem to be associated with a lower risk of being infected and having serious disease.  One prior study found the reverse effect.  This researcher looked across 30 countries and tried to see what association might exist between influenza vaccination rate and CV-19 deaths per million and case fatality rate.  A number of factors which might affect any of these rates were adjusted for.  The found a limited association, which if anything appeared to be positive at higher levels of vaccination, that is a higher rate of vaccination was associated with more deaths.  There was a clear trend of more mortality in western countries versus eastern ones.  There also was no evidence that lockdown or mask policies reduced mortality.

Is there a difference in infectiousness and disease severity based on differences in the genome sequence of CV-19?  This research explored that question.  (Arxiv Paper)   An interesting study, but probably needs confirmation.  The authors looked at the sequences from over 20,000 samples and identified a specific mutation that appears associated with asymptomatic transmission.  They believe this mutation also appears to limit infectiousness.  Interestingly, the rate of the mutation appears to be decreasing, suggesting it does not confer some evolutionary advantage on the virus.


Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • dell says:

    Re. the mask / exertion study.

    I’ve seen that masks on average cut intake by 20%.
    In this case surgical masks cut intake by about 11% and N-95 masks by about 23%.

    I am glad doctors have lots of extra working brain cells if intake means oxygen.
    IQ, average = 100, 20% = IQ 80? No wonder TV programs are half-brained!

    20%: 130 IQ = 106!
    11%: 130 = 116
    I guess you don’t want to be reading Jean-Paul Sartre wearing a mask -or doing surgery?

  • Colonel Travis says:

    Tried to have a conversation about how a blanket term of hospitalizations isn’t good enough to understand what’s going on and how to make policy, that there are more things we need to know about those who are hospitalized. I was told I’m a head-in-the-sand lunatic for asking “tangential” questions.

    I have no idea when pertinent questioning became heretical. It is stunning how fast our society has summitted itself. Now when I see masks, I see “shut up and obey.”

    People are treated as the virus.

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