If you want to see a different way to handle an epidemic in the US, on the same order of magnitude as CV-19, read Niall Ferguson’s (not the idiot modeler, but a historian who writes great books) new book, to be released Tuesday. (Ferguson Book) It is about the 1957-58 flu epidemic, no lockdowns, no school closings, no panic.
The CDC let the teachers’ union actually help write its guidance on schools. This is completely improper and reveals how corrupt and unscientific this agency is. We are supposed to rely on these people to provide guidance, data and science to deal with infectious diseases and they are for sale to the highest political bidder, in this case the teachers’ unions. And children suffer. If I were president, someone would be going to jail and the teachers’ unions would be under investigation and put out of business. In Joe Biden’s America this is business as usual. Pay my family, my campaign, my friends, enough money and you can have whatever you want. Iran wants nukes, fine. Ukraine wants to drag us into a war with Russia, fine. Teach our kids to be racists, fine. This is absolutely criminal. (NY Post Story)
In the more good news affecting children department, this study of children’s admissions to hospitals during the epidemic shows that one category of admissions that was up substantially was for suicide attempts/ideation and mental health. The teachers’ unions and our politicians can be very proud of themselves. (JAMA Note) Some categories of admissions were down to a worrying degree, suggesting missed necessary care.
The CDC has issued its latest estimates on the actual burden of CV-19 disease. (CDC Paper) The methods used for these estimates are described in this article, which gave estimates as of last fall. (CID Article) CDC is currently estimating that about 75% of hospitalizations have not been reported, only one in about 4 symptomatic illnesses were and less than one in four of all infections were. So CDC says almost 115 million infections, or over a third of the population, 97 million of which were symptomatic, that seems too high a percent based on research, and 5.6 million hospitalizations. I am not sure I agree with any of those. I don’t believe it is possible that that many hospitalizations were missed, given the hospitals’ financial incentive to identify every one and given the almost universal testing of patients in a hospital. I would be a little surprised if that many symptomatic infections were missed and even the total infections number seems high given the levels of testing from the last 6 to 9 months. The estimates are also broken down by age group, which show a declining rate of cases in the older group, but a much higher hospitalization rate. As only the CDC could, they adjust for possible false negatives but not false positives. These estimates are actually lower than they otherwise would have been because CDC said it identified higher levels of health care seeking behavior than it previously estimated. If accurate the numbers would imply well over two million infections in Minnesota.
A UK study again shows significant levels of contracting CV-19 in a hospital setting. Has to be kept in mind when reviewing hospitalization numbers and indicates infection control issues. Patients who acquired the virus in a hospital were substantially more likely to transmit to another patient or a staff member than a patient who had acquired CV-19 in the community. (Medrxiv Paper)
Another excellent primer on testing and testing accuracy. (Cell Article) As the author notes, many people with mild symptoms and positive test results are not likely to actually be infected.
This research examined different assays for assessing antibody presence and strength. (Medrxiv Paper) There was a remarkable variation in accuracy across the tested assays and a concerning level of inaccuracy from all.
Vaccination in infected persons compared to those without infection is of interest to ascertain if it makes sense to vaccinate those who were infected. So far, it appears that vaccination generates a more robust response even in those already infected. This study specifically looks at previously infected patients who had decreasing antibody levels. In those patients vaccination prompts an immune response indistinguishable from that of previously infected patients who did not have waning antibodies. This indicates that declining antibodies are not necessarily an indicator of poor immune response, and that memory B cells are likely around in sufficient numbers to mount a response when challenged. (RS Paper)
We are seeing a continued run of research exploring the adaptive immune response in recovered patients. This study looked at patients who had moderate or severe disease and focuses on the B cell response. It finds a strong and sustained response among virus-specific B cells and B cells that can easily be used to fight reinfection. Again suggests that it is unlikely that infected persons will be easily reinfected, or if they are reinfected, have serious disease. (Medrxiv Study) These patients also had persistent T cell responses.
This study from Spain checked for antibody prevalence in blood donors. (Medrxiv Paper) A couple of interesting points. One is that CV-19 was found in samples from 2019, much earlier than the first reported case in the country. This supports the notion that CV-19 actually arose in China sometime in summer 2019 and was transported to multiple other countries. There was no apparent difference in prevalence by blood type. There was a very high rate of asymptomatic cases, that is donors who were positive for antibodies with no history of a positive CV-19 test or symptoms.