Here is the Biden administration definition of opening schools, which he promised to do in 100 days. The majority of schools are open for at least one day of teaching. This is not a joke, not the Onion, not the Babylon Bee. This is the ignoramus mouthpiece press secretary for the Administration speaking on Tuesday. Joe doesn’t and won’t do Q & A, because he can’t be trusted, so this is the best we get. And that is how much he cares about children. Zero, Nada, Zilch, Nothing. I hate having this attitude, but I hope these masochistic morons keep up these self-destructive policies; we will suffer for about two years and then they will basically get booted out of power.
Just a quick Minnesota case update. We currently have less than 5000 active cases in Minnesota, in fact I believe the number would be 2000 or less if we took false and low positives out of what are called “cases”. There is no significant risk to anyone and I don’t there will be, but the vast majority of our students still are not in real school and we have businesses shut down and other restrictions. This is inexcusable. The state has not done a briefing yet this week, which shows you how urgent they view the situation to be. Scott Johnson continues to get absolute stonewall answers to his questions. Asked why schools aren’t completely open, the state once again showed its propensity for fabrication by claiming it is all up to local officials. That is a lie. The IB, who loves to use his executive authority, could order that every school be open tomorrow for in-person learning. He and his entire administration are owned by the teachers’ unions, and they do only what the unions want, with no consideration to the best interests of students.
And of course the newly completely politicized CDC not only was forced to backtrack on the “its safe to open schools” statement, but now they are seriously making a wear two masks recommendation. This is a complete admission that masks simply don’t work to slow community transmission. Don’t worry I will get to the study they claim supports this and another of the desperate attempts to justify mandating masks. We can expect more made up data and science to support whatever bullshit ideas this whacko administration comes up with. The other notable thing they threatened is to try to damage Florida by limiting domestic travel. The same Florida that on an age-adjusted basis has a pretty low death rate, lower than say, well, Minnesota. These nut cases can’t stand to have any open, successful state.
On to the real research. Speaking of schools, here is yet another study, but we apparently need at least 100 of these for the new moron-in-chief to believe it is real science (and even then only if the teachers’ unions ok it), unless it relates to masks, showing that teachers are not at higher risk than the general population. The study comes from Scotland. (Medrxiv Paper) This was a case control study among everyone infected (or at least with a positive test) in the country and a very large group of matched uninfected controls. Outcomes were hospitalization and mortality. The comparisons were made after schools had reopened. Compared to working aged adults who were matched with teachers, the teachers had a basically identical risk of hospitalization and a far lower risk of severe illness leading to ICU use or death. Their household members similarly had the same or lower risk. There are at least 10 studies with a similar finding, so just 90 to go for it to be “consensus” science, maybe.
I mentioned a day or so ago the issue of hospital acquired CV-19 infections. This article discusses the subject. (HAI Article) The authors were dealing with potential liability for giving a patient an infection and identified ten papers that they said covered the topic of and estimates for hospital-acquired infections. The combined estimate was 12% to 15% of infections being acquired in a hospital. So when you see those hospitalization numbers, just remember that around that percent were likely people who didn’t go to the hospital because of CV-19 disease, they went for some other reason and became infected. Every state and the CDC should specifically identify and break these hospitalizations out, along with those who went to the hospital for another reason, were first tested there and had a positive test.
People should stop panicking about vaccines before they have even been given a chance to work. It takes several weeks to really develop adaptive immunity, whether from infection or vaccination. And let’s calm down about variants escaping the vaccine as well. No clear evidence of that either. This study from Israel, which has had a pretty rapid vaccine rollout, suggests that vaccination reduces the viral load in patients who do become infected. For patients who became infected within 12 to 28 days after the first dose, viral load was four times lower on average than in unvaccinated patients. Since viral load is generally correlated with both infectiousness and disease severity, this is a sign that even early on, vaccinations are having an impact. (Medrxiv Paper)
Bit of a technical paper, but I have mentioned repeatedly that the first line of immune defense is the upper respiratory tract for CV-19. These researchers studied the immune cell populations in adults and children in the nasal mucus tissues. They found that innate immune cell numbers in these tissues decline rapidly with age, which is a likely explanation for why children appear less susceptible. (Medrxiv Paper)
I am fascinated with what factors account for the clear pattern of waves surging and subsiding in various geographies. This brief study focused on wind speed. Increasing wind speed might lead to faster dispersal of airborne virus particles, may affect the size and persistence of those particles, and may have other impacts on transmission. While there is little evidence for outdoor transmission at all, they found that on warmer days with lower wind speeds, there were a greater number of cases. It is also possible that those warmer days drove more people indoors. The study was done in one county apparently in New York. Seems pretty weak to me, much as I would like to find some clear explanation for the pattern. (Medrxiv Paper)
This study comes from India, but I am sure the same results would be found in the US. The authors surveyed students and found widespread fear of the virus, anxiety and depression. The terror campaign is working. (Medrxiv Paper)
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Have you seen any followup on the Slovak (might have been Croatia I don’t remember) mass testing impact a few months back? I think they tested the entire adult population one weekend some 3 million people.
I know they were getting praised in the spring for their supposedly great response, and of course they had a horrific fall wave. Generally speaking, mitigation approach doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference.
This from Twitter today:
“18 cases of the UK variant and 2 cases of the Brazil variant have been found in Minnesota, infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann says.
She’s echoing CDC recommendation on wearing a snug-fitting mask, or double-masking”
How are they able to check for variants? Is this true?
Yes, a good lab can easily do a full sequencing of the virus and detect mutations from existing strains and match the sequence to known variants