Lots of hyperventilating this week because we supposedly hit 500,000 CV-19 deaths nationally. What this really should be is an opportunity to re-evaluate how we are doing our CV-19 counting. We are overcounting cases by using high cycle number threshholds. We are undercounting by not using more rigorous antibody and T cell sampling. We are overcounting hospitalizations by not distinguishing people who were admitted because of CV-19 and people admitted for another reason but happened to test positive. We are counting deaths in a completely unprecedented manner that fails to in any meaningful way determine that CV-19 actually contributed to the death. We don’t have 500,000 deaths due to CV-19, we maybe have 300,000. At some point, we must have a real nationwide chart audit to get to the reality of the epidemic.
And as I am catching up on the CV-19 briefings in Minnesota, after listening to over an hour and a half of recordings, I hear that the state has gone full delusional, the Commissioner of Health saying that the goal is to have zero cases, hospitalizations or deaths. That is literally not possible, and we have to get past this nonsense. They also are doing their best to keep the terror campaign going, saying we have to be vigilant and expressing concern about variants. I am telling you, these people will not voluntarily let go of their power. It will have to be taken from them. Complete weaseling in answer to a question about the CDC guidance on schools and why Minnesota schools aren’t open. Every child should be back in full-time in-person school right now. Absolutely no justification other than the IB’s desire to keep his teacher union contributions flowing. We are told that we still have high levels of virus activity. What universe are these people living in. There is almost no transmission of virus in the state right now, almost none. The nonsense on variants includes our inestimable director of infectious disease saying they are more lethal. That has not been shown to be the case at all. As far as I am concerned they can stop doing these briefings at any time.
If you want to help get schools open in Minnesota, there is a group called Let Them Learn Minnesota with that goal. Here is a link to the page. (LTLM Page) There is also a facebook page. When even the IB starts talking about having to reopen schools, you know the heat is getting pretty intense.
Just a quick note, time is rapidly running out on Dr. Osterheimlich’s prediction of disaster. We are halfway through his 6 to 14 weeks of unmitigated hell, and cases continue to fall. Hmmm, could it be possible that he just doesn’t know what he is talking about.
The CDC is caught again playing games with research, this time with a study that claimed that in-person university attendance was associated with more transmission. As usual with these CDC studies, the primary sin is cherrypicking the time frame. Youyang Wu destroyed the study in an epic tweet and chart. Will the CDC do an update? Absolutely not, all they care about now is the messaging and the politics. (Tweet)
And here is yet more research demonstrating why schools should be open. (JAMA Article) The authors attempted the nearly impossible task of disentangling the effects of school closings from other measures that might mitigate spread. Data from states on case levels, mobility and other factors was used from the spring of last year. The authors model (that word again) indicated that mobility reductions like not going to work and not eating out, had a much greater effect on cases and mortality than did school closures. The authors further heretically suggested that the harm to children be balanced with whatever risk was associated with greater spread and maybe schools shouldn’t be closed. They also found that voluntary behavioral changes accounted for much of the impact. The implication is we probably don’t need all those executive orders to limit spread.
And here is the CDC obeying its new political masters and trying to find some way to say schools really are a problem. (CDC Study) Eight schools in Georgia were studied for cases after in-person schooling returned. Six schools had at least one case. In total there were a horrifying 13 cases among staff and 32 among students. 31 of these cases were determined to be “probably” linked to school. Most of the cases related to transmission among staff or from staff to students. There were an additional terrifying 18 cases among household members of positive students or staff. Did I mention that there were over 3300 students and staff at the time and that community transmission rates were high and rising? The CDC tried to blame this small number of cases on inadequate distancing and poor mask use, despite finding that mask compliance, reported and observed was high. The real significance of the study is how few cases there were in students or staff at a time when community transmission was high.
Bad news for the purveyors of panic, apparently no case surge from either the celebration in Tuscaloosa after the college football championship or in Tampa after the Super Bowl. And here is a paper saying having in-person attendance at football games wasn’t associated with more community spread. (Medrxiv Paper)
And this study of cases among athletes in Wisconsin high schools also finds little to be concerned about. (Medrxiv Paper) Among over 30,000 athletes, there were 270 cases. One, that is right, one, was due to sports contact, and five to any kind of school contact. Case rates were lower than community rates at the time, although tending to vary as rates in the surrounding community varied. And, OMG, look at this, mask usage or not didn’t seem to make a difference.
This study tracked transmission at and from Penn State University following a return to in-person classes. (Medrxiv Paper) The authors wanted to ascertain if students returning to class caused an increase in cases in the community, using antibody surveys. Despite high levels of infection and prevalence in the university, there was almost no impact on community cases. Another hysteria point crushed.
A couple of things on my least favorite topic. This is kind of interesting paper which basically says that the way people have been measuring mask effectiveness isn’t very good and probably gives an erroneous impression about how well they work. (Medrxiv Paper)
And here is a reminder about the pretty large study done regarding mask usage and the annual hajj. This was a randomized trial done before the epidemic with the intent of determining if there was any effect on respiratory infections generally. There wasn’t. The researchers, since the paper was published in 2020, tried to cover up the lack of effect by saying it probably was due to improper usage. (Hajj Paper) So both the sources of evidence that look anything like a real trial find no benefit of masks.
I don’t place much weight on this, but here is guy in Ontario who claims to have collected lots of evidence of harm from masks. (Mask Paper) While possible that there are harms, I am a little dubious about how widespread they are. The biggest harm is misleading people into thinking they work in slowing transmission. That and what we do to children’s psyches by insisting that they wear them.