Dr. Osterholmlich Maneuver was at it again this morning, on NPR, promulgating and propagating his doomsday perspective, which is based on a theory that new variants are going to destroy us all. If that happens, it will his responsibility in large part, because he encouraged the suppression that facilitates selective advantage for mutations enhancing transmission and evading immune responses. But it doesn’t appear to be happening. The guy really wants us all to be locked up for months on end, never leaving our houses. The population is in fairly widespread revolt to this revolting idea.
Once again, let us begin with all the good news. Not only do suppression measures not work, they make general health and health care worse. Here’s an example. Rates of alcohol abuse rose by almost 50% in lockdown states but barely changed for those in non-lockdown areas. Nice work, make people stay home, terrorize them and watch them become alcohol addicts. (J. Psych. Article) Think all that excess alcohol use might lead to more domestic and child abuse?
The added stress from epidemic responses might make you want to kill yourself too, as this study from Japan finds. (Medrxiv Paper) Excess suicides were 1.4 times the number of deaths attributed to CV-19. Women were more affected than men.
During the lockdown in Spain, there was a dramatic rise in emergency calls to a domestic abuse hotline. (SSRN Paper) In fact the rise was 41%, and was greatest in areas with the most stringent reductions in mobility.
But don’t worry, none of this stuff was caused by CV-19, so it doesn’t matter. Coronamonomania gonna get you.
Hey, at least our kids aren’t in school, where they might have minuscule chance of catching CV-19. This paper discusses the risk in Michigan and Washington after those states opened some schools to in-person learning. (NBER Paper) The authors sought to compare in-person to virtual or hybrid learning. After appropriate adjustments they found little difference. At high community case levels, there was some spread in schools, but to a very small degree. And the authors noted that it was likely that their results represent an upper bound on any relationship. It is very clear that there is no greater risk from in-person school than from hybrid or virtual models. And buried in here is a little masking nugget. Percentage wearing a mask all the time makes no difference in case spread, in fact it was associated with slightly more cases in Washington.
And here is another school related study, from Spain. (Medrxiv Paper) Despite being tested much more, children had a far lower incidence of CV-19 than did adults, during a time when there was intense community spread. The lower level of cases was most significant in younger children.
DD has been working hard on seasonal factors and I am trying to get a post done on that. In the meantime, here is another piece of research on the topic. (Medrxiv Paper) The research was conducted in an area in Brazil. Contrary to some other studies, higher minimum and maximum temperatures were positively associated with greater spread. Higher relative humidity was negatively correlated with more transmission in half of the cities in the area. Greater wind speed was also correlated with more transmission in those cities. Rainfall was not. Pretty inconclusive and there is a formula for maximal transmission conditions, but we don’t know what it is. The virus does.
Another article on the variability in individual innate immune systems and how that variability may contribute to different severity of CV-19 infection. (Cell Article) The authors note that host (i.e., human) differences are most likely the explanation for disease severity differences, not virus characteristics or environmental ones. The innate immune system has substantial variety across people. A lot of detail here about the innate immune response upon infection and how we might help that response and how we might identify variations that lead to greater risk.
Here is a statement from a church in Alberta, Canada, fighting back against CV-19 restrictions. (Church Statement)