A blizzard of posts with charts is coming.
I can’t quite figure out why we aren’t getting more panic from the state given the case rise. The briefing yesterday was very restrained. The cynical part of me believes that with a new administration, the thrust will be to minimize bad news and emphasize anything positive. The increase is occurring right when you would expect it to given the apparent seasonality. But even without panic, we still get the misinformation. The supposed state epidemiologist said that B117 was 50% more infectious. That is completely unsupported by any research. Someone asked why a fully vaccinated person needs to mask or social distance or engage in any of the nonsense. The bullshit answer from Chris Errorsperson is that we don’t know if vaccinated people can transmit. That is complete and utter garbage. We will never get rid of these futile and baseless mitigation measures if that were true. We need to let vaccinated people be free of any restrictions.
We are going to continue to experience this immense tension between people who are still hiding in the basement, those who want to get back to reality, the politicians who want to claim victory, the “experts” who don’t want to lose their moment in the spotlight, the seasonal factors favoring transmission in some places, the effect of vaccination and myriad other factors. So there will be lots of fits and starts. Most people, however, appear very eager to return to activities they used to enjoy, based on restaurant usage, airline bookings and other indicators. The much higher level of contacts will lead to more cases, tempered by vaccination effects.
Here is the main thing we all need to come to consensus on: we have to learn to live with this virus. It is not ever going to be eradicated. It has largely supplanted flu and should be treated like that virus. That means stopping the use of PCR tests that give huge numbers of false and low positives and are only used to feed panic. It means accepting that there will be some ongoing number of cases and we must stop reporting breathlessly on every one of those. It means leaving children, especially, alone. Let them do anything they want without masks or any other nonsense. We have damaged them enough. It is time to move on.
The Journal of the American Medical Association runs another summary of deaths in 2020. Remember as you read this that the attribution of death to CV-19 is unprecedented. (JAMA Article) There was a 16% increase in deaths in 2020 compared to 2019. The leading causes of death continue to be heart disease and cancer with CV-19 supposedly coming in third. Large increases in dementia, diabetes, stroke and heart disease deaths occurred, likely due to lockdown terror causing missed health care. A large rise in unintentional accidents is almost certainly overdoses and some are probably misclassified and should be suicides. While the authors make the obligatory statement that CV-19 mortality is likely understated, that is gibberish, the reality is that we are counting tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths as CV-19 deaths that would never be counted that way in the past.
More bad news for variant terrorism. T cells in convalescent, i.e. recovered, CV-19 patients recognize multiple segments of all the variant genome, including spike protein. (JID Article)
Here is a bizarrely named study, but the point is right on. (NBER Study) The paper looks at the health-related costs of CV-19 in regard to schools. It finds that the mortality risk to teachers is no greater than that inherent in driving to and from school, largely because there is almost no risk of transmission to a teacher from being at school. It doesn’t focus on the health and other costs to children of being out of real school.
This study from Ontario, Canada studies transmission by children in a household. In less than 7% of the almost 90,000 households was a child 17 or under the index case. Supposedly the youngest children, 0 to 3, were the most likely to transmit, a finding completely at odds with every other study. I am always suspicious of these studies purporting to identify an index case in a household, given the oddities of contact tracing efforts and other factors. Also, since most of the children were asymptomatic and it is pretty clear that asymptomatic cases transmit much less frequently, further doubt is cast on some of the findings. (Medrxiv Paper)
And speaking of asymptomatic cases, this study from the Netherlands finds that 70% of cases are asymptomatic. The percent of asymptomatic cases declines with increasing age. (Medrxiv Paper)