You saw the jobs report, a result of the great policies the Biden administration has implemented. Why work when you can collect government money. It will greatly hinder the recovery and getting people back to work. And it promotes stagflation–limited growth, rising prices. Businesses are having to pay a lot to persuade people to work, and they will raise prices to cover those increasing labor costs. A well-understand problem except by the Seniledent and his administration. It will be one financial and economic disaster after another with these knuckleheads and they will manage to ruin a very successful vaccine rollout which laid the groundwork for a full recovery.
I regretably did listen to the IB announce the supposed return of freedom to Minnesota. If the IB’s torrent of words were the virus, we would all be infected. He speaks in one non-stop blizzard that is dizzying and makes you want to stick your head in the oven. And because the volume is so overwhelming, you have to listen carefully to pick out all the misinformation and outright lies hidden in that plethora of verbal nothingness. Here are a few of the choice moments. The usual nonsense about how balanced his approach was, we have been down that path before. The modeling was “a little bit wide”, only off by a factor of ten. We are in a better spot than most states. No we aren’t. We are doing the best job of vaccinating in the country. We are good, but no, we aren’t close to the best. The variants caused the recent case bump. No they didn’t. We follow the science and data. Uhhh, no you haven’t. Then Commissioner Malcolm delivered a cringe and vomit inducing paean to the IB’s tremendous leadership through the epidemic. He has been a cowardly weasel. If I were paid to write this blog, I would demand quintuple pay for having to listen to these briefings. The Q & A session was just as bad. Asked to give a grade to his oversight, he again referred to how well Minnesota has done comparatively. I would take Florida any day. The IB defended masks and said opposing them was the stupidest thing in the epidemic. I will just point out again that we are still not experiencing case numbers that are as low as they were before the mask mandate. Masks have made zero difference. The best part was when the Commissioner, not recognizing the deep irony in what she said, said that they appreciated the press helping them deliver messages. The Minnesota press has been abysmally docile in just accepting what the State says and passing it on to the public without question. Here is the big picture on why restrictions are ending: the public is sick of them and sick of being terrorized and sick of being lied to.
The critical thing, as I have said all along, is to accept that the virus isn’t going away. Any declaration of “victory” that doesn’t recognize and accept that is going to lead to trouble. The IB said we have to drive cases to zero. That will not happen. It is stupid to state that as a goal. Even at an 80% or 90% vaccination rate, there will be cases. Vaccination is not absolute protection against infection, just like infection is not absolute protection against reinfection. Some of these cases will occur among those who were vaccinated. They will occur among the weakest, the frail and most susceptible. There will be hospitalizations and deaths. I guarantee you that in July, when the southern and southwest wave was in swing last year, there will be a slight case bump, and next fall and winter, there will be a case bump. We have to stop the obsessing over CV-19 and accept that vaccines will have greatly limited the damage it can do and move on. We have bigger problems in our country and our state. We have an economy we are hell bent on preventing from full recovery, we have a deficit and debt disaster, we have multiple international challenges and we have a race obsession that will completely rend our social fabric. Time to focus on the big picture.
Some of the most pathetic and panic-inducing modeling came from the Bill Gates funded Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington. Now the IMHE has further distinguished itself by claiming that every excess death and then some, is due to CV-19. (IMHE Post) They acknowledge deaths from missed health care, overdoses, etc. but say those are caused by the virus. That is absurd, since these people literally weren’t infected, and it facilitates politicians and public health experts escaping responsibility for their actions, which actually caused those deaths.
Viral load logically could be a factor in infection, disease severity and infectiousness. These researchers were examining viral load dynamics in the upper respiratory tract via modeling. They somewhat surprisingly found that viral load did not appear to affect severity of disease, and that viral load dynamics did not seem to be affected by age or sex. (Medrxiv Paper)
Another article that examines the potential effect of cross-reactive T cells on the risk of being infected or becoming seriously ill. The study was conducted in South African women. (RS Study) South Africa has had a lot of cases, but a low rate of hospitalizations or deaths. The researchers looked at pre-epidemic blood samples to ascertain whether some in the population had pre-existing immune responses. High levels of seasonal coronavirus infection have historically been found in the country. About 50% of the women included had some T cell-based immune response to at least one CV-19 peptide.
A fascinating piece of research on all the effects of the mRNA vaccines on the immune system. (Medrxiv Paper) In addition to prompting B cell and T cell activity against CV-19, the vaccine influenced overall innate immune responses not just against the virus but against other pathogens.
Vaccine research is piling up. This study from South Africa examined the impact on a variant which has spread there. High efficacy against the virus was found, with somewhat less efficacy against that variant. (NEJM Article) Another study from Qatar similarly examined effectiveness against variants. (NEJM Article) High efficacy was found against infection, with somewhat lower effectiveness across a couple of variants that were dominant in the country. The vaccines were very protective against serious illness. This study from Israel among health care workers also found very significant impacts on symptomatic and asymptomatic infections. (JAMA Article) And one more from the US has similar findings. (JAMA Article) A strong reduction in asymptomatic and symptomatic infections among hospital employees and no symptomatic infections more than 7 days after the second dose.
This study among over 4000 employees in the US found that being infected was associated with about 91% protection against reinfection. (Medrxiv Paper) The period at which something was determined to be a reinfection was a little short, so a couple of the alleged reinfections may have been detection of lingering fragments.
So the good news is that both prior infection and vaccination are very good at preventing new infections and limiting serious illness.