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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 3

By February 9, 2021Commentary

Following yesterday’s screed on schools, here is another study, this one from Germany, on school-associated infections.  (Medrxiv Paper)   Overall, the risk of transmission from an index case in a school was a paltry 1.3%.  Teachers were three to four times more likely to transmit than students.  As the authors note, no one could reasonably take the position that schools, especially students, are significant contributors to spread.  In addition, transmission appeared to be about 50% less likely from an asymptomatic index case than a symptomatic one.

We aren’t the only ones who think coronamonomania exists.  An editorial in the Lancet pleads for a more balanced evaluation of suppression measures.  (Lancet Article)   Their primary argument is that the suppression, and associated terror, campaign, have led to substantial drops in receipt of needed care and increases in deaths from non-CV-19 causes, in addition to greater incidence of mental illness.

This study, one of a series on immune response from the LaJolla Institute, gives good reason to believe vaccines and infection will lead to a persistent immune response against CV-19 and its variants.  (Cell Paper)   T cell responses from 99 people recovering from CV-19 disease were examined.  The headline is that T cells in the patients on average recognized 30 or 40 different regions of the CV-19 genome, so that makes it harder for variants to avoid an immune response.

Minnesota won’t give us the data, but a significant fraction of hospitalized CV-19 patients either were admitted for another reason and found to have the virus or they actually acquired it in the hospital.  This study describes an outbreak in which a very large number of patients and staff contracted CV-19 in a very prominent hospital in Massachusetts.  (Annals Article)   Somewhat bizarrely the index case was a symptomatic patient who had two consecutive false negative PCR tests, so was not isolated.  And here I thought PCR tests were so accurate.  14 patients and 38 staff members were infected as a result.  Aaahhh, but here is the interesting nugget, two staff members were infected despite wearing surgical masks and eye protection.  Hmmmm.

No one actually knows how many people have been infected in the US or anywhere else.  Antibody and T cell surveys might be the best method, so they provide some guidance to total infection rate.  In the spring, you would suspect a lot of cases were missed, but with the amount of testing now, seems dubious that it is that high.  An article carried by NPR claims that there are ten times as many cases as detected in the spring, declining to about 4 times now, according to exclusive research reviewed by NPR.  (NPR Article)  If this analysis is accurate, the country would be seeing a very significant slowing of transmission due to population immunity levels alone, much less seasonal factors.  I currently suspect the factor is in that range of 3 or 4 undetected cases for every detected one.  Their total estimate is that a third of the US population has been infected.  Some states, like New York and North Dakota, they estimate at 50% or more of the population.  Wisconsin and Iowa they have at 43% and Minnesota at 36%, which seems backward to me.  But if Minnesota, for example, is close to accurate, that is around 4 to 5 times that official number of cases here.  And once again, the implication is that the overwhelming majority of cases are completely asymptomatic.

This research comes from India and examines antibody development over time.  (Medrxiv Paper)   3840 people who had tested positive were followed for ten weeks.  After ten weeks 85% of the patients had detectable antibody responses.  All patients with severe disease did and 90% with mild disease.  The authors noted some variability in results with different assays.

This antibody prevalence survey is part of an ongoing study in Chicago.  (Medrxiv Paper)   Samples were collected from about 3400 residents from June 24 to November 11.  18% of people tested were positive for antibodies.  40% of people reported never having symptoms and 67% had two or fewer.  There was a very low correlation between number of symptoms reported and antibody levels.


Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • SteveD says:

    ‘If this analysis is accurate, the country would be seeing a very significant slowing of transmission due to population immunity levels alone, much less seasonal factors.’

    Which appears to be the case. Daily cases (or positive tests) are down 34% world wide, 52% in the US and 75% in Missouri in the last three weeks or so.

  • Ken says:

    It’s coming. The double mask mandate. They will not relinquish control easily. Could you comment on this in an upcoming blog?

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