Whole lot of crazy stuff the last few days. CV-19 management is insane.
Florida, ever the leader in rational CV-19 policy, is ending its daily reports. Minnesota and everyone else should follow suit. Stop hyping people up; the epidemic is over.
But one thing that never ends is the laughable answers DOH gives to Scott Johnson’s questions. Here are this week’s attempts at hilarity. Asked about why they don’t address the obvious issues in over-attributing hospitalizations to CV-19, they acknowledge that many patients are admitted for other reasons and are diagnosed with CV-19 at admission and they acknowledge that patients acquire CV-19 in the hospital. But then they weasel out by saying they don’t have the resources to really address the issue. The state has gotten billions of dollars from the federal government for CV-19, they can’t spend a few thousand to study this issue and be transparent with the public?
Asked why they keep pretending masking works, they disregard the research that confirms this and cite the usual made-up modeling studies which support mask effectiveness. They will never admit that this makes no difference. So much for following the science. And I have noticed, as I am sure you have, how people have stopped wearing masks and cases soared. Same BS answer to a question about why they continue to push masking children.
The now weekly Minnesota CV-19 briefing is also funny to listen to in a way. They can’t acknowledge it is over, this doesn’t meet any definition of an epidemic, and they just have to keep warning people about it being dangerous. We did learn that 85% of the cases are supposedly now due to variants. They claimed that some of these variants have higher hospitalization rates, but that is not mathematically possible. The hospitalization rates haven’t risen at all, so unless hospitalizations plummeted dramatically among the few remaining original strain cases, there are not higher hospitalization rates for variant cases. They tried to gin up a little fear around what might happen as a result of holiday celebrations and the ending of the mask mandate, but we need to wait four weeks to see it. I can tell you that the mask mandate ending appears to be associated with a steepening decline in cases. With less use of the virus collection devices, there probably is less opportunity for infection.
No research summary would be complete without reference to a misleading CDC study. (CDC Study) Now this particular study is being used by some, including the director of the CDC, to claim that it shows a recent increase in hospitalizations among young people. It shows no such thing, what it shows is the agency’s continued dedication to cherry-picking selected stop or start dates for a study to make sure the outcome shows what they want. In this case, they stopped the study just after there was a slight rise in hospitalization rates and right before those rates plummeted to the lowest level ever. If they had just continued the study for two more weeks, it would have a different conclusion. But that is the current administration’s version of “science”, all politics, no science. And disgracefully, they tinkered with the study parameters because they wanted to use it to push child vaccinations, which as much of a vaccine advocate as I am, I view as debatably necessary, certainly there is not the kind of data you would want for pushing that policy yet.
More interesting are the usual nuggets they couldn’t hide, including that an astounding percent, 46%, of the hospitalizations of children attributed to CV-19, actually had nothing to do with CV-19. 71% of those admitted for CV-19 had serious underlying medical conditions. They also claimed that CV-19 hospitalization rates were higher that for flu, but in the limitations, buried the obvious fact that I have mentioned many times: we are testing for CV-19 at rates multiple times higher than for flu and if we tested for flu the same way, we would almost certainly have far higher flu hospitalization attribution. (Oh, and guess what, none of the hospitalized children died. But be scared boys and girls, be very scared.) The whole study is pathetic in presentation, but reassuring in the extremely small number of hospitalizations of children actually attributed to CV-19.
In the never-ending search for excuses to continue the terror campaign, variants have been a prime weapon. The latest terror was around the “India” variant. This paper from the UK suggests it does not to lead to more serious disease. Not clear to me that any of these variants are even more transmissible. A variant can become dominant without necessarily being more transmissible. The mutations may confer other competitive advantages. (UK Paper)
Almeda County, California, where Oakland is, did a review of CV-19 deaths and found that 25% initially attributed to the virus in fact had nothing to do with it. (Oakland Story) The county revised its official death count down. When is Minnesota going to do an independent review of death attribution. Answer: Never, the results would be too devastating to the lies and terror campaign we have endured for over a year.
Another study on lockdown futility, this one from Germany. The authors found that in Germany, as in Minnesota, lockdowns tended to be put in place after case direction had already changed and did not accelerate the decline. (German Story)
The New York Times tries to spin this as negatively as they can, but has to admit that the CDC guidance on mask-wearing, or non-mask wearing, has not caused any change in the direction of cases. You can tell they really wanted a disaster. (NY Times Story) They are trying to say people weren’t wearing masks anyway and there are lots of vaccinated people, but the fact is masks never have and never will make a bit of difference in community spread.
Here we go again, more semi-hysteria about a variant of concern, this one from India. This UK paper claims it is much more transmissible. (Medrxiv Paper) Meanwhile the official public health agency for the UK has published data suggesting that even if it is more transmissible, it does not result in more severe disease, in fact it appears to be less severe.
Another study showing the mRNA vaccines are extremely effective, that when vaccinated people are infected they have much lower viral loads and are much less subject to serious disease. (Medrxiv Paper)
I don’t often report on treatment research because I tend to be more interested in policy questions. But this study of the monoclonal antibody Bamlanivimab is interesting because it indicates that preventive use in high-risk setting like LTC facilities might be beneficial. Staff and residents who received an infusion were about half as likely to become infected. (JAMA Article)