Here is my nugget for the day, which may help you understand why I ridicule some so-called public health experts. Most of these experts seem to be resting on their laurels, incapable of engaging in innovative thinking, and not really keeping up on the data and research, so that they might adapt their background knowledge to the current situation. So on November 19, the good Dr. Osterholm, who quite frighteningly is one of leading lights on the incoming administration’s CV-19 advisory group, said that in two to three weeks we would have hospitals literally collapsing. I believe we are now past that deadline and I don’t believe any hospital anywhere has collapsed. The inventor of the Osterheimlich maneuver has become the true Dr. Doom and hasn’t been right about any of his forecasts regarding the epidemic. So it is completely justified to ask why anyone pays attention to his recommendations. This is the guy who literally thought we should shut down every activity in the country and we could just magically produce unlimited amounts of money to give to citizens for whatever time it took to completely suppress the virus, which isn’t going to happen in any event.
Gov. Wolfe of Pennsylvania is pretty much a despicable human being as far as I can tell and he has attempted to foist the most extreme lockdowns on his state and has been a true mask nut. He got infected. So much for masks and anything else stopping the virus when it gets going.
I am still in catchup mode on Minnesota briefings, but I did watch yesterday’s, which was mainly about vaccine distribution again. The one thing to note is the state is saying they won’t know if there was a bump from Thanksgiving for some additional time. That is just ridiculous, any increase in transmission from gatherings around Thanksgiving would have appeared by now. The incubation period is not four weeks, it isn’t two weeks, it probably isn’t a week. The research is very clear on that. Furthermore, it was suggested that if there wasn’t a bump it was because people changed their plans. I don’t know how much clearer it could be that the trend in case growth had reversed by the period around November 7th to 10th.
A very interesting paper on pre-existing immune responses. (Medrxiv Paper) As have other groups, these researchers tried to identify common fragments across coronavirus strains and how the human immune system, in particular T cells, may react to those. The T cell response resulting from exposure to CV-19 did not appear strongly related to seasonal coronavirus fragments. But many people did appear to have some existing T cell response to CV-19. This suggests that there may be defenses based on the ability of the immune system to identify certain sequences as likely being from viral or bacterial genomes, rather than a specific response built from prior coronavirus exposure.
A somewhat related article on why children don’t seem to be infected as often or as seriously. Among the possible explanations are stronger and more diverse general immune responses, some potential greater cross-reactive immune response from seasonal coronavirus infections and different numbers of the receptor in children’s airways. (Nature Article)
This study examined school cases in Germany. (Medrxiv Paper) The researchers looked at 12 kindergartens in Berlin in September and tracked them during the start of the second wave to determine if these children might be a source of transmission. Signs and symptoms of possible infection were present in 29% of staff and 24% of children. There was not one positive PCR test and there was one staff member with antibodies. They had colds. How many false/low positives might there be when we start testing everyone with the sniffles in winter.
Is there such a thing as long CV-19 disease. I am very dubious. There may be a few people with lingering symptoms after severe disease, but I don’t think it is very many. This study looks at the question. (Medrxiv Paper) This was a meta-review, 28 studies qualified for inclusion, the longest follow-up period in a study was only 111 days. The quality of evidence was judged to be low and the risk of bias high. The conclusion seems to be that it may exist, but isn’t well-defined and studies on it are poor quality to date.
An interesting article on why there does not currently appear to be a strong wave in parts of Asia with similar conditions to areas in North America and Europe that are getting hit. Theories are presented but there is little actual research to support one. I suspect it is more due to pre-existing or general immune responses than to genetics. Might be some difference in virus strain, but that would have been likely to have spread back to Asia by now. A very good question for future research. (Unherd Article)
This paper examined comparative mortality for the last few years in Norway and Sweden. While Sweden gets criticized for excess deaths during the epidemic, the authors pointed out that in the prior year there was lower than-expected mortality in Sweden and that following the first wave, mortality has returned to below average. In addition all excess deaths occurred in ages above 70. The authors say this suggests that mortality was merely displaced, not increased overall. (Medrxiv Paper)