Might have to come up with a new title shortly, or just give up on this.
Although I said something nice about Dr. Osterholm yesterday, I have to take it back today. He claims the next 6 to 14 weeks will be the darkest period of the epidemic yet. I believe he made the same prediction last March, last April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, but in December it was hospitals will be literally be collapsing. He might want to look at some actual data and apply his supposedly phenomenal epidemiologic skills to explain for all of us the geographic and seasonal pattern we see to cases, and then forecast forward. Might be a little more accurate than just repeating the same doomsday predictions.
And I am not the only one who has noticed that our incomparable IB is most notable for the torrent of words he unleashes on the population, signifying nothing. In regard to his latest proposal to hike takes, which affects everyone, Doug Tice at the Star Tribune, wrote an editorial which I could have produced, but he was actually kinder than I would be to the Governor’s ability to say nothing sensible or logical in a blizzard of words that just leaves the public confused. I feel vindicated.
First up a pretty extensive study from Norway proving that schools can be open for in-person, i.e., real, learning with little risk. (Eur. Paper) The authors used contact tracing and testing to ascertain whether there was transmission from school children. The study took place in the fall, when transmission was increasing in Norway, as in most of Europe. All index cases aged 5 to 13 were tracked. Testing was performed on self-collected saliva samples. There were only 13 index cases, four of which had mild symptoms. Among the 292 child and adult contacts of these index cases, only three additional cases were identified. Among other things, the study demonstrates that teachers have low risk of contracting CV-19 from their students. While the schools used increased hygiene methods, this did not include a mask requirement. In the US, it is all about one party catering to the teachers unions so they can keep the campaign contributions flowing. That party could care less about children.
And here is a study from the United Kingdom about what happens when you keep children from getting a real education. (UK Study) As anyone would expect, keeping kids out of school has set them back significantly, perhaps irreparably, and the damage is worst among poor and minority children.
And here is a somewhat contrary study, examining antibody prevalence among children in Northern Virginia. (Medrxiv Paper) About 1040 children under the age of 18 were tested. The prevalence was 8.5%, which is surprisingly low, although the authors try to spin it as alarming. 66% of these children had no symptoms. Since there was no effort made at contact tracing or anything else, my assumption is that there is actually no evidence that children play any role in transmission in Northern Virginia.
This study looked at culturable virus duration among CV-19 patients. (NEJM Article) The study was conducted among hospitalized patients in South Korea and the duration of viable virus by culture versus positive PCR tests was examined. No positive culture tests occurred after 12 days from symptom onset and there were very few after 9 days. Meanwhile PCR testing continued to have positives for as long as 30 or more days after symptom onset. Tells you all you need to know about why PCR testing is seriously flawed.
All CDC studies should now come with a warning that they were produced in order to advance the prevailing political desires. Nonetheless, I herewith report on several recent studies released by the agency. This one dealt with CV-19 outbreaks at Notre Dame University after fall classes began. It says that an aggressive testing and isolation program can allow in-person classes on campus to continue. Not highlighted was the fact that none of the cases led to any serious illness. Let it go among the young. (CDC Study)
But hey, they are publishing some of the bad news as well. This study dealt with cervical cancer screenings in a large California health system. During the epidemic those rates dropped 80% during the state’s spring stay-at-home order. Wonderful, the campaign of terror will lead to many undiagnosed or late diagnosed cancers, with serious impacts on mortality. (CDC Study)
Oops, back to the fear-mongering, as the next paper looked at outbreaks linked to students returning to universities, long-term care facilities, etc. in Wisconsin. (CDC Study) At a time when there was a very high level of community transmission in Wisconsin this fall, there were significant outbreaks in places where people tend to live together in close proximity or work together. Who would have guessed? Nothing in standard epidemiology would ever predict that where people have frequent contact there might be more transmission.
And finally, the CDC has learned that wrassling might also be a source of transmission. (CDC Study) The setting was a state wrestling tournament, which apparently led to a large outbreak of CV-19. Of course the tournament occurred in the naughty state of Florida.