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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 26

By March 17, 2021Commentary

The DOH briefing on Monday focused heavily on variant terrorism.  Dan Huff, one of the inexhaustible pool of mediocrities working at DOH, tries to project a serious, even threatening tone, and he took the lead on fear-mongering.  Got news for you, Dan, you just seem like an ignorant, overbearing clod.  Among other things, the state is pushing for every student to be tested constantly.  That is a recipe for nothing but false and low positives which make it appear that there are many more cases than actually exist, and more school closings.  But at least DOH is consistent in having a completely idiotic response to the epidemic, not releasing data which would really help people understand trends, and maintaining terror as long as possible.

While DD is trying to find good enough data to see if we can tell that the vaccine is having an effect on cases among the groups most heavily vaccinated, here is study from the CDC on the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in a nursing home population in Connecticut.  (CDC Study)   Infection rates among those with and without vaccination were compared.  The vaccine was found to have 63% effectiveness in the initial period from 14 days after the first dose through 7 days after the second dose.  Not enough time was included in the study to look at the effect of development of full adaptive immunity, which is hard to understand, but I assume that if you did the study for people who had been vaccinated for three to four weeks past the second dose, the effectiveness would have been higher.  Also, there may have been less serious illness among those vaccinated but the study wasn’t clear on that.

Please pay no attention to the terrorization regarding variants.  Most of the research so far finds that they are not more lethal and may not even be more transmissible.  Here is a study from the UK to that effect.  (Medrxiv Paper)   The researchers built a model taking lockdowns and weather variables into effect and assessing the reproductive rate to see if the new UK variant (B117) had an impact.  That variant in now the most common one in that country.  Lockdowns were correlated with reduced transmission, as were higher temperatures.  Higher humidity was associated with more transmission.  The emergence of the new variant did not appear to have an effect on transmission or mortality.

For reasons that baffle me, most US jurisdictions are refusing to release information on PCR test cycle number thresholds or the distribution of test results by cycle number.  This information has been shown in several studies to be relevant to clinical management of an individual patient and to provide information about the course of the epidemic.  Here is another such study.  (Medrxiv Paper)   Almost 800,000 tests performed in France were used in the study.  There was high variability based on the laboratory and the specific PCR test used.  Cycle number increased with regularity based on number of days from symptom onset, indicating that viral loads were decreasing.  Age also had a strong effect, with every additional year of age cycle number decreased, indicating that viral load increased with age.  The cycle number decreased over the time of the study period, suggesting variation in testing which might include more or fewer asymptomatic persons, and/or an actual change in the course of the epidemic.  The authors suggested that changes in the average cycle number could be useful in predicting increases or decreases in cases.

Here is a long post on masks, summarizing a lot of information.  (WUWT Post)

This Lancet article states what we already know, children have about zero risk from CV-19.  (Lancet Article)   So as the authors suggest, why are we harming them with policies designed to protect older adults; why isn’t there more regard for the interests of children?

I don’t know what to think about Asia.  Cases have been, apparently, very low in many countries there.  Partly that is due to testing; they simply don’t do the kind of absurd testing we have engaged in.  And you have to suspect some greater cross-reactive immunity from other coronaviruses.  That is apparently the theory of a Japanese scientist.   (Tweet)   This Japanese researcher says that he believes many Japanese and Southeast Asian people have been exposed to a very similar virus before, which left them with some protective adaptive immunity.  He gives a credible scientific reason why this could be the case.  But I have some questions.  Why wouldn’t the same virus have spread globally if it was at all recent?  Wouldn’t we see a greater proportion of cases among Japanese children than elsewhere, since they might have been less likely to be exposed to the prior coronavirus?  Why did Wuhan seem to get hit so hard, but not other places in China, at least as far as we know?

An update on the prevalence of infection in the US, based on antibody surveys.  (JAMA Article)   Over 60,000 adults who applied for life insurance were evaluated for antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein in September 2020, so before the big fall and winter wave.  The oldest group had the lowest prevalence, around 3%, and the youngest adults had the highest, about 10%.  On a population adjusted basis, this suggested that around 16 million infections had not been detected as of September 30.  This would imply that there were more than twice as many undetected cases as detected ones.  If that held steady, and we applied it to Minnesota, would mean as of now, we have had around 1.5 million infections (one million undetected plus 500,000 detected).

And this Lancet article says that in light of the difficulty of containing an evolving respiratory virus, with constantly emerging variants, maybe we should re-think our strategy, since the public may get tired of constant restrictions.  (Lancet Article)   They suggest we need a generationally-oriented contract which is more targeted to the risks faced by different age groups.  I have a more fundamental question–why did we ever embark on this lockdown approach to begin with, it never made any sense and was never likely to work.



Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Cliff Hadley says:

    I asked our local Covid-19 Task Force tester whether he’d adjusted his shop’s PCR cycles after the CDC and WHO announced that higher cycles led to too many false positives. His response in front of a roomful of people: “I’m not aware of any false positives. When a test is positive, it’s positive.” He knows how skeptical I’ve been about testing, but his brazenness is still astonishing. Unfortunately, the forum where he made this statement didn’t allow follow-up. So in a column I’m writing for the local newspaper, I’ve written: Our city is the only testing site in the nation with a perfect record.

  • Fergie says:

    As usual, Kevin, your posts show the insanity of our public policies in response to this virus which in most cases, make things worse. I look forward to reading them.

    One comment I have on masks. I lived in Japan for two years from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1972 while on assignment with IBM as an engineer. This was the period when they were just beginning to understand and address their air pollution problem that had arisen from the huge post-war industrial boom also taking place at that time. Much of this was particle pollution due to unchecked outputs from industrial plants, power generation stations, truck and train diesel motors, etc. From where we lived on a hill in Yokohama you were supposed to have a view of Mt. Fuji many miles away. It typically was obscured by thick haze. The only time we saw it was on New Year’s Day when the entire country was shut down for their main holiday!

    This is when the habit of wearing masks really started to come into use when it actually did filter out the worst of these particles. The Japanese culture tends toward group conformity and many people started wearing them at that time and even long after they really started to clean up their air. It seems it then transitioned to wearing them for all ills! I have heard now one discuss this history of the mask in Japan and I wonder if the trend also started this way in other Asian countries that had rapid post-war development.

    As a side note, the same tendency to group conformity enabled them to solve the worst of their pollution problems in a relatively short time compared to western nations and I would assume it would affect their adherence to Covid-19 restrictions today. Once the government institutes a national policy, most everyone follows it.

    Doug Ferguson
    Palmer, Alaska

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Yes, when we were in Japan people said that pollution was the initial reason for mask use, and then if people thought they were sick it was considered polite.

  • MIKE TIMMER says:

    My daily reading today provided the link I’m providing to LifeSite News which is a Canadian site that’s been in the forefront of Covid criticism. There are two reasons to follow the link. First, it concerns the Noble Prize winner in chemistry, Kary Mullis, who invented PCR testing and his analysis of its proper use. And. second, it provides a video of his damning judgement of the ubiquitous Anthony Fauci, this even prior to his execrable work on the current pandemic. Must see TV as the saying goes.

  • Paul says:

    Are you meaning cycle number to positive or cycle number that lab always uses?

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Most labs set a threshold for cycle number below which they consider a test to be “positive”. The studies report on the distribution of cycle numbers in tests actually run.

  • Rob says:

    Just to be clear, Mullis did NOT invent PCR Testing, he invented PCR. He was very much against PCR being used for diagnostic testing.

  • MIKE TIMMER says:

    Rob, You are right to correct me, point taken. I wrote rather quickly but the video makes it pretty clear that Mullis was adamant that PCR was being used cavalierly.

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