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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 72

By May 23, 2021Commentary

A little slow in getting posts out, two of my grandchildren are at a day care that experienced a burst of stomach bug, and I got it also.  As I mentioned last week, screwing with normal pathogen exposures will have consequences.  We are all going to get sick more for a while.

I would be a little dubious about the numbers estimated by studies like this, but I don’t believe there is any question that what we have done to children educationally will have financial ramifications for them and for society for decades.  (Wharton Study)    Minority and low-income students are of course hurt the worst.  The authors suggest that extending the school year might recover some of the lost future income and GDP.

This study looked at non-natural causes of death up to August 2020.  This includes overdoses, homicides, unintentional accidents, suicides and car accidents.  There were a lot of these in total during the epidemic, including over 10,000 excess overdose deaths.  The one that is interesting is over 10,000 unintentional accident deaths.  I am thinking home is more dangerous than work or something.  Really not sure, but wonder if that category includes poisoning, some of which could be intentional suicides not treated as that.  Car accidents were flat, homicides up (yep, defund the police) and suicides down.  I don’t believe the suicide number, I think many of the overdoses and likely some of the accidents were suicides.  (JAMA Article)

Households are where the bulk of transmission appears to occur.  This paper reviewed research on household transmission.  (JAMA Paper)  The overall rate of transmission in households was about 16%.  Symptomatic index cases transmitted more than asymptomatic ones, in fact, an astounding 25 times more often.  So much for asymptomatic transmission being a significant contributor to the epidemic.  Adults were more likely to be transmitted to than children.

According to this research, 2% of patients account for 90% of virus circulating in a community.  (PNAS Study)   Apparently when some people get infected, they really get infected.  The study was done as part of the University of Colorado’s testing of students.  All were asymptomatic at the time of testing, some may have become symptomatic later.  50%, however were deemed unlikely to be infectious at the time of testing.  The distribution of viral loads interestingly was similar to that in hospitalized patients.  Those with the very high viral loads were almost certainly the most likely to transmit.  And we see again the value of giving clinicians and the public information about cycle number and viral load.  Finally, pretty clear that a lot of PCR positives don’t reflect infectious persons.

The T cell arm of adaptive immunity tends to get much less attention than do antibodies.  But T cells are at least as important for long-run protection, in part because they signal B cells to ramp up antibody production.  This paper finds that CV-19 infection prompts a broad T cell response across many parts of the CV-19 genome, which ensures protection against variants.  (Cell Article)

For you Vitamin D fans, here is a paper finding that treatment with large doses appeared to reduce markers of inflammation in CV-19 patients.  (Nature Article)

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