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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 23

By March 11, 2021Commentary

Update–an alert reader, obviously more alert than I, noticed that I got catch-22ed, and doubled up on Part 22. I have fixed it now.

I am in Utah, where somehow on a fun trip to Arches National Park, we managed to get snowed on, sleeted on and rained on all in one day’s drive.  May be here a little too early.  The park is beautiful, but it is a little windy and cold, in fact the same temperature as Minnesota.  And even in this weather, there are maskers on trails, almost all young adults.  What is wrong with people, anyone can get basic information like “there is no outdoor transmission”.

I am going to keep pounding on this because the next time environmental conditions are favorable for cases and we see some increase (can’t be as bad as late fall/early winter or last spring due to adaptive immunity) and some of those cases are among people who got vaccinated, there will be freakouts and the public health ding-dongs will be trying to lock us all up again.   There will be tension between the new administration’s desire to claim victory and the reluctance of its public health “expert morons” to give up their power and stroke their egos; think Fauci, Osterholm, Slavitt  et  al.   But the media loves being able to spread panic and  hysteria so it will fight against any return to normality.  The dynamics will be interesting.

I don’t know which idiotic epidemic policy to take on first; masking or school closings.  Let’s go with masking.  Small study but very telling.  This paper reports three cases in a hospital setting where the patient and/or health care worker were wearing masks and there was still transmission, which was verified by genomic sequencing.  (CID Article)   The health care workers also were wearing eye protection, like a face shield.  In one case a nurse wearing a mask and googles transmitted to a patient who was not masked.  I thought masks were mostly source control?   There was humongous air turnover in these settings.  These are health care workers, who supposedly know how to use masks and eye protection correctly.  Instant virus karma gonna get ya, no matter what.  If masks don’t work in these settings, how would they possibly work in real life in the community.

This piece of research isn’t going to tell you anything you don’t already know.  It looked at whether funding had anything to do with  schools being open in-person or not.  (SSRN Research)   And the level of funding in a  school district had nothing to do with in-person, i.e., real learning.  In fact, school districts with higher funding levels, i.e., large city ones, were the least likely to have in-person learning.  So Biden, or whoever is pulling his strings, can stop pretending money is what keeps schools closed.  The paper built on earlier research showing that teachers’ unions and politics were the strongest predictor of schools being closed.  The researchers pointed out that even though private schools spend on average much less per pupil than do private schools, private schools are much more likely to be open.

Here is a nail in the coffin of another stupid argument for keeping schools closed and making children miserable while there.  These researchers tested whether there was any difference in case rates among students or teachers in schools with minimum distancing of 3 feet versus minimum distancing of 6 feet.  There wasn’t.  So stop torturing our children with masks, distancing and other bs.  (CID Paper)

And two papers adding to the understanding of adaptive immunity.  This paper demonstrated that memory B cells have a diverse ability to recognize parts of CV-19 and that antibodies and memory B cells from recovered patients were capable of recognizing the new variants that everyone is panicking about.  (Medrxiv Paper)

Next a paper that found that for patients who have previously been infected by CV-19, one dose of vaccine generates a more substantial immune response that it does in people who have not been infected.  (Medrxiv Paper)




Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Colonel Travis says:

    We were in Nevada around Thanksgiving, enjoying the outdoors. At one state park, the wind gusts were mid-20mph. People in masks. Of course we all know the virus is faster than a cheetah. Rock climbers in isolation – in masks.

    These people really think they’re being smart and practical.

  • Connie says:

    My operating theory is that an enormous number of people need to believe in something bigger themselves and have lost religion. They’ve replaced it with covid.

  • Rub says:

    I usually wear one of those neck gaiter type masks which I’ve read are the worst type of mask but I like their ease of use. So yesterday I forgot my neck gaiter at home and my partner gave me an extra mask she had. One of those light blue rectangular ones with the white ear-strings that are so common. I was absolutely blown away to realize how utterly worthless this blue mask was. It was so comical, I was cracking up thinking about all the people who take them seriously. It performed about as well as holding a 8x11sheet of paper in front of my face. Just pathetic.

  • Darin Kragenbring says:

    I liked the Brigham and Women’s manuscript (CID article) partly because it described specific instances of possible transmission. It also raises some questions:

    The authors do not give the total number of staff and patients who tested positive during the period covered, which was concurrent with high community transmission. Why would they leave this out?

    Why wasn’t the cycle threshold (Ct) disclosed for the two hospital workers in Case #1? All other tests had one.

    The patient in Case #2 was not showing symptoms but tested positive at Ct 13. Is it common to be asymptotic with that low of a Ct?

    Case #3 was in the ambulatory clinic, so are we to assume the patient didn’t stay at the hospital? If so, that would seem to open up many more possibilities for transmission.

    I am curious what degree of certainty there is in the genome sequencing they used to identify the virus in each infection. I would guess there would be little practicality for using that technology on a widespread basis?

    I agree with you, Mr. Roche, and feel this paper reveals the overall futility of believing cloth or paper masks can be society’s savior from a respiratory virus. The authors appear to believe these results suggest more stringent measures are necessary, especially in a healthcare setting. They surmise that N95 masks maybe are the answer. They also include an odd comment in their discussion about how sequencing can help identify more transmissible variants—even though variants aren’t discussed elsewhere.

    As always, thank for helping us stay better informed.

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