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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 56

By April 30, 2021Commentary

Okay just to help people understand India, the country is 4 times larger than the US.  They reported about 390,000 new cases yesterday.  So that is like about 100,000 in the US. Think the US ever reported that many cases?  Why look, basically from the start of November to the end of February we did that every day, many days over 200,000 cases.   They had around 3800 deaths yesterday.  That would  be 950 deaths in a day for the US.   We blew past that many, many days in this country.  Per capita rates are what counts.

The coronavirus briefing yesterday was heavy on the zero-covid, it’s still not safe theme.  One exception, it’s fine to riot, just be masked when you do it.  High school kids going to proms or parties unmasked is bad.  Load of garbage.  Safety, safety, safety, fear the variants, fear other people, fear, fear, fear.  Life is not 100% safe and if you try to make it that way you might as well be dead.  In response to a question about testing and false positives they just waffled and weaseled around and misled on how the math works.  There is no plan to try to double check asymptomatic positives or to ascertain true infectiousness.   On breakthrough infections, 1163 (how many are really false or low positives) out of 1.26 million fully vaccinated people, or a .09% rate.  Pretty darned effective so far, and for some people it may take more than two weeks to get to full adaptive immunity.  But like all per capita rates, that one will only go up as time passes, but it will stay very low.

The CDC inadvertantly endorsed setting rational thresholds for PCR positivity.  (CDC Guidance)   The CDC was asking health departments to send them samples and information on breakthrough cases, that is infections in persons who are fully vaccinated.  The CDC asked for samples only with cycle numbers 28 or less.  That is far lower than the cutoff most labs are using, but is consistent with research showing that positive tests with cycle numbers above that are very unlikely to indicate viable virus.  If there isn’t viable, intact virus, sequencing isn’t possible.  So why is CDC allowing the designation of cases with cycle numbers above that for any positive test?  And doesn’t it make it even more important to get the cycle number for each test?

I don’t want to get carried away on mask research, most of which is poor quality, so even though this study clearly identifies a number of potential hazards from wearing masks, understand that it isn’t an actual piece of research but rather a review of other studies.  The research is from Germany and the researchers are bona fide, but again, not really a quantification, more an identification that there can be harmful effects.  The most notable items are those which show that masks do in fact collect viruses and other germs and that masks do cause people to exhale smaller aerosols which may persist longer in air currents.   I think masks don’t work at a population level and shouldn’t be required or even used for that reason, but this article does lay out an extensive set of health considerations.  (IJE Article)   And if you read some of the research cited in this piece, it would convince you that the balance of benefits and harms on masks may actually be weighted toward harm.

This paper focuses on vaccination and variants.  (Science Article)   The researchers compared previously infected and uninfected persons who had received one dose of vaccine.  They found that those previously infected had a strong response after one dose, including against two common variants.  Those previously uninfected has a lesser response after one dose, but other research has shown that after two doses they develop a robust response.  The B cell response was stronger than the T cell response in the uninfected group.

And here is one of those studies.  (Medrxiv Paper)   These researchers investigated protection after two doses against three variants after two doses of mRNA vaccine.  Again, the protection against variants was stronger in those with a history of prior infection, but was robust even in uninfected individuals.  Protection against the original dominant strain was near identical between the two groups.


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  • Ann in L.A. says:

    The 7-day average cases/day in Uruguay is currently 816 per million (deaths 16.7), Argentina is 500 (deaths 9.1), Costa Rica 367 (deaths 2.6), Colombia 340 (deaths 9.0), Paraguay 330 (deaths 13.4), Chile 319 (deaths 5.3), South America as a whole 286 (deaths 9.5), India is 259 (deaths 2.2). None of those countries probably have accurate reporting, so the numbers should be taken with a few pounds of salt, but it sure looks like the hot spots right now are not India but South America.

    Am I just being paranoid that the media is covering far-away, over-the-ocean India, but not South America; because of the migration crisis at the US border with people likely coming up from places south, not east?

    (data from OurWorldInData)

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