A few more research summaries for your weekend enjoyment.
A widely noted paper from England on cases and deaths in children. (Medrxiv Paper) Primary finding is again what an incredibly low risk children have from CV-19. The authors examined every reported death to determine if it actually was caused by CV-19 or by some other cause and there was just a coincidental positive test. Only 61 people aged 18 or under died with a positive CV-19 test and of these, less than half, 25, actually died of CV-19. Most of these children had comorbidities. The rate of survival was 99.995%. Just more evidence of how completely unjustifiable any restrictions on school or childhood activities was and is.
Doing lots of testing is really, really important to control spread, right? Absolutely crucial. Just another bullshit myth made up by public health experts who have no clue what they are talking about. This study from Denmark found that that country’s mass testing strategy had no impact on cases. (Medrxiv Paper) Denmark tested constantly and often and forced people to have a negative test to engage in many activities. If anything, prevalence may have increased as testing rose, which the authors suggested might be due to people with negative testing engaging in risky behavior. That is nonsense, I think it is a reflection of the fact that testing simply makes no difference in whether or not transmission has or will occur and is frequently inaccurate. People’s lack of trust in scientists and experts definitely should rise after their abysmal performance during the epidemic.
This paper again illustrates why cycle numbers on PCR tests should have been routinely released to allow for greater understanding of how many people might actually be infectious, or even infected. The paper comes from Madagascar and the authors suggest that having access to cycle numbers and the trends in that metric would allow for better tracking of the dynamics of the course of an epidemic in various locations. (Medrxiv Paper)
About 13,000 students participated in a longitudinal study at an Indiana university to determine patterns of symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission. (Medrxiv Paper) 12% tested positive. Of those whose status could be determined, about a third were asymptomatic. Transmission by this group was around 19%, compared to 25% for symptomatic persons and 30% for those with more serious symptoms. Those who developed symptoms only after a positive test (presymptomatics) had a transmission rate similar to that of symptomatic persons. Some caution should be exercised in using this study, as it obviously relates to one age group, primarily living in dorm settings.
And more work on immune response after vaccination. (Medrxiv Paper) This was a well-designed study in which the response of 130 healthy young adults was compared to 106 residents of long-term care facilities, and after three months following the first shot with full vaccination for all participants, so when the full adaptive immune response should be there. The frail elderly had a dramatically lower response than did the younger adults, with neutralizing antibody response ten times lower. Those in the LTC group who had previously been infected had a stronger immune response than did those who had not. This suggests that vaccination following infection in older persons is more protective that vaccination alone. Also explains, which is exactly what we should expect, why we will continue to see illness and deaths among the frail elderly.
People look to Israel for the results of vaccinations, since that nation had a lot of its population vaxed early on, and some, like Alex Berenson, keep misusing Israel to claim that vaccines don’t work. I don’t know what is wrong with Berenson on vaccines, but he is engaging in the same misuse of data and statistics that were used to justify lockdowns and masks. This study on the effectiveness of vaccination in the country, similar to other studies, shows that it is remarkably effective. (Medrxiv Paper) People who were infected before the vaccination campaign were compared with vaccinated persons. Symptomatic versus asymptomatic infection was also studied. Vaccinated persons had antibody levels three times higher than recovered infected persons, but this may be a timing artifact since over time after vaccination antibody levels can be expected to drop. Almost every vaccinated person had antibodies but only about 75% of those who had been infected before the vaccination campaign. Antibody response declined with age. People with symptomatic CV-19 had higher antibody levels than those who were asymptomatic, but this effect was minimal in those under age 30 and more pronounced in older groups.