The state continues to be as evasive as it can be in answering Scott Johnson’s questions, but little by little we are learning more about death reporting. One other nugget is that while the state has identified some cases of infection after full vaccination, there have been no deaths as of the end of March. We also learned more about how both the department and the CDC count deaths. Here is the DOH explanation for the difference between Minnesota and CDC death counts:
“on any given day, there are variables at play that can account for differences between MDH and CDC data at a single point in time. Differences include the fact that the CDC reports the number of deaths that occurred in MN while MDH is providing information about the number of MN RESIDENTS who died from COVID-19. In addition, looking at the CDC National Center for Health Statistics website—it appears that the CDC reports figures that rely only on death certificates, whereas MDH has a dedicated mortality Investigation team that does more than look at the death certificate; the team double checks the person was reported to have a positive lab test and follow a standard protocol to ascertain COVID-19 is a true cause of death. In addition, we also receive reports of deaths from providers directly as well as from hospitals, long term care facilities, and others that we then subject to a cross matching verification process. MDH-OVR does send a daily mortality file to the National Center for Health Statistics which is part of the CDC. NCHS assigns the ICD-10 Codes and returns the records to MDH. NCHS also uses the preliminary and annual mortality data from MN and other jurisdictions in the reports they release about U.S. deaths including the CDC reports about COVID19 deaths.”
So according to this, DOH makes a determination about whether a death is a CV-19, independent of whatever CDC does but is dependent on CDC to assign the death codes? Makes no sense. I am going to keep probing on this until we get a clear answer. It appears that CDC does indeed have its own algorithms for determining what a CV-19 death is. It is also interesting that DOH is only reporting deaths among Minnesota residents. Trying to figure out if this is also true for cases and hospitalizations. And apparently the department is getting death information not just from certificates but from other sources. Sounds like a confusing process. Meanwhile, the CDC in the past week added a death to the week of May 23, 2020, and one back to October. Not sure how that happens under the process laid out by DOH.
Since we all are regularly exposed to seasonal coronaviruses, and develop some adaptive immunity to them, a frequently studied issue has been whether that adaptive immunity, particularly in the form of memory B and T cells, may contribute to limiting CV-19 infection and disease. Another paper looks at this issue and the potential effect on vaccine effectiveness. (Medrxiv Paper) The researchers were focused on T cells and found evidence of substantial levels of cross-reactivity, although this declined with age. These cross-reactive T cells were linked to more mild disease. In addition, vaccination appeared to engage these T cells and increase their activity.
Another study similarly finds that most adults have cross-reactive immune responses. (JCI Paper) The study comes from Canada, focused on antibody responses, and determined that 90% of uninfected adults had some level of cross-reactivity to CV-19.
One more paper on whether schools being open contributes to case transmission. (NBER Paper) The authors basically compared cases in households with school age children to households without them in counties with varying levels of in-person schooling. They found a very small increase in cases, around 3%, for a much greater rise in in-person school attendance. In other words, there is an extremely low risk of increasing household transmission when you return to full in-person schooling.
If you are interested in succumbing to variant terrorism, this research from Ontario, Canada, finds that certain variants may be linked to greater household transmission, particularly by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases. People infected by a variant may have up to a 30% greater secondary attack rate. As usual, the caution should be issues related to accuracy of contact tracing conclusions. (Medrxiv Paper) The presence of large numbers of asymptomatic infections would certainly not suggest that the variants cause more serious disease.
Yet another piece of research indicates that lockdown type measures had limited impact and that most analyses of their effect on cases overstate the effect because they fail to consider the contribution of voluntary behavior changes. (NBER Paper)
Here is an interesting paper by researchers who are trying to develop a PCR method that actually identifies viable virus, not just random RNA fragments. But then how would public health experts, the media and politicians sustain the panic and terror? (Medrxiv Paper)
This is a completely gibberish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that purports to identify how many children lost a parent due to CV-19. The astounding lie perpetrated by the study is that these were all deaths caused by CV-19. They weren’t, these were largely deaths caused by lockdowns, i.e., drug overdoses, etc., among the younger adults who are parents. They also make up a thing called a “bereavement multiplier” that makes no sense at all. (JAMA Article) And nothing in the article about all the damage done to children by closing schools.