Lot of research to catch up on. First up, kind of an interesting return to the modeling issues. You will recall that among the many failures of applying traditional models to CV-19 was a failure to treat individuals as variable in regard to a number of relevant factors, including susceptibility to disease. This paper revisits the issue in regard to population immunity. (Medrxiv Paper) Basically the authors find that under any set of assumptions, assuming population heterogeneity results in lower population immunity thresholds than assuming a homogenous population. And vaccination in certain groups can result in faster attainment of population immunity. And let me remind you that population immunity is not some magical threshold we cross. Within a few weeks after introduction of a pathogen into a completely uninfected population, the number of available targets begins to diminish. At some point that number becomes low enough that transmission notably slows and eventually recedes to a background level.
This is what we are up against in the form of public health experts who refuse to give up their power and to recognize the futility of the actions they recommend. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association discusses whether CV-19 will become endemic. (JAMA Article) The obvious answer is that it will be. But these knuckleheads, instead of accepting that some risks are always there, then go on to suggest that we should have never-ending restrictions on daily life. We lived with the flu, we can live with CV-19. Fortunately, it has been almost exclusively substitutive for flu.
Making children wear masks is child abuse, period. This article tries to claim that it causes no respiratory problems for them. (JAMA Article) It tested them for 30 minutes. We are making them wear them for 8 or more hours. And looking only at respiratory issues ignores all the other problems caused. This is garbage.
And speaking of damaging children, this Axios article reports on an analysis of mental health claims for teens, finding that they literally skyrocketed during the epidemic. But don’t worry, they will all be just fine. At least they aren’t having problems with CV-19 and that is all we really care about. (Axios Article)
Now this is interesting. Humans have biochemical “clocks”, a rhythm to the production of certain biological molecules, and that rhythm can be daily or seasonal. The daily and seasonal changes in certain biochemicals, including those involved in the immune system, can be a factor in susceptibility to infection and to seriousness of disease. This paper explores that issue. Fascinating. (Medrxiv Paper) Another term to put in the formula governing optimal transmission.
A paper confirming what is apparent: CV-19 is pretty seasonal. (Medrxiv Paper) The researchers compared the timing of CV-19 in 2020 and influenza cases from past years in the Netherlands. There was very high correlation in timing. While the pattern may not be identical, it is very similar.
Another paper on the performance of the rapid antigen tests, which are being proposed for use in mass, regular testing for CV-19. A stupid, stupid nightmare. (Medrxiv Paper) The tests were compared to PCR and in some cases viral culturing. The antigen tests tend to be pretty good at identifying true negatives, those people who really aren’t infected and to be less accurate at identifying true positives, those people who actually have the disease. On the other hand, compared to PCR, they do a much better job of reporting as positive only those people who are likely to be infectious. What was most revealing in the study is that PCR cycle numbers above 25 are rarely associated with viable virus, as identified by culture. At a time when PCR cycle numbers above 35 are routinely being used as thresholds for “positives”, you can understand why I say that a lot of “cases” being reported now are low positives, i.e. non-infectious persons.
And here is a meta-review of studies on the same topic; the accuracy of rapid antigen tests. Similar findings, basically that they are pretty good at finding actually infectious people. And again we see that CT number matters; these tests are much better than PCR at avoiding low positives. (Medrxiv Paper)
While I shouldn’t have to constantly repeat this, the eagerness of experts and politicians to keep the panic going, and using potential lose of adaptive immunity as one reason, makes me bring up every study on the topic. Here again is research showing a strong and persistent T cell response for at least 9 months. Adaptive immunity works, as it should. (Medrxiv Paper)
And once more on the topic of whether infection from seasonal coronaviruses might lead to adaptive immune responses that help limit CV-19 infection or disease. This paper finds that to be the case. (SSRN Paper) The researchers found that persons who had pre-existing T cell responses to seasonal coronavirus seemed to have lesser disease severity. T cells developed in response to a prior seasonal coronavirus infection appeared to help develop an immune response to CV-19.