In case anyone is left who doesn’t think Dr. Fauci is a completely clueless, life-long mediocre government employee, his comments on masks and influenza this weekend should end the discussion. He claimed that masking et al is responsible for eliminating flu and therefore we may all want to mask up every flu season. How dense do you have to be to not scratch your head at how masks could stop the flu virus, which is the same relative size and is also an enveloped virus, but not CV-19? I mean, really, how can you even say some of this stuff. I don’t know why flu was almost completely replaced by CV-19, but it isn’t masks, it is far more likely to be some form of viral competition which CV-19 wins.
A Wall Street Journal story (WSJ Article) states the obvious; lockdowns didn’t stop the spread of CV-19, citing research including a new study focusing on closing workplaces. (UC Study) As that study notes, far more transmission occurred at home than in workplaces.
How do the people who take care of our children perceive their mental health during the epidemic? Not good, according to this study. (JAMA Article) Over 30,000 caregivers for public school students who lost real, i.e., in-person education were surveyed and they reported significantly higher mental health issues and significantly lower adjustment behaviors among these children. As usual, worse for low-income students.
Reinfection is fairly infrequent and this study indicates that those who are reinfected are unlikely to harbor viable virus and be infectious. Only four of 16 reinfected persons had viable virus. (Lancet Study)
And this study should provide some comfort in regard to variants. It finds that in regard to a couple of the most common ones, infection does not result in higher viral loads, which is a factor in transmission and infectiousness. (SSRN Study) There was somewhat of an increase in symptomatic infections, and in hospitalizations in those over age 55, but no increase in ICU use or mortality.
One thing this study shows is differences in research findings on the same topic. The previous study found variants didn’t result in larger viral loads. Nonetheless, the researchers for this paper assumed that B117 did lead to higher viral loads and therefor modeled that it was more infectious. (Medrxiv Paper) The primary point of the paper was to see if there was a relationship between viral load and infectiousness. On that score, they found that higher viral loads did increase the risk of transmission, but the effect was greatest for household transmission. Transmission appeared most likely at the time of symptom onset. In general, household transmission was twice as likely as transmission outside the residence, but still only occurred 25% of the time. I am constantly amazed by these low household contact infection rates.
Once again, a reminder that most exposure starts in the upper respiratory tract with an inhalation of the virus (okay, except for you nosepickers, in which case there is some direct contact). So knowing that there is an adaptive immune response in the upper respiratory tract is important for ascertaining how well vaccines, and infection, may work in stopping a second infection. (Medrxiv Paper) This study found that all study participants receiving the mRNA vaccine had antibodies in their nasal passages within a few weeks after vaccination.
Apparently, having an adaptive immune response to seasonal coronaviruses could lead to more severe illness when infected with CV-19. (Medrxiv Paper) What happens is that the prior exposure and resulting antibody and T cell response are not completely effective against CV-19, but they lead the body into not developing a de novo response to CV-19 spike protein, so more severe illness results. In other words, the body thinks it has a defense, so it doesn’t do much, but it didn’t really have a defense. The immune system says “I got this” but it doesn’t.
And finally, for those of you sick and tired of working from home and being on zoom calls, this paper examines the effect of working remotely. (SSRN Paper) As I could have predicted, people end up working more hours but not getting more work done, so productivity actually falls. Why? A tremendous increase in time spend trying to coordinate and having meetings and a decline in uninterrupted work time. And employees got less coaching and one-to-one time with managers.