A few random observations. One, showing how worthless death reporting is, since the DOH switched to giving us date of death, they are routinely adding deaths from months ago. For example, today they added one from January and one from February. There is no reasonable explanation for why that occurs and strong suspicion is justified that the death attribution in these cases is bullshit.
The DOH claims hospitalizations are rising rapidly due to Delta. But again, no data that would help understand why and bad data is being given to begin with. All DOH gives us is in the daily situation report is admissions by day, no discharges, no what hospitals refer to as daily census, number of patients in the hospital on a given day. You can find hospital bed use elsewhere and DD puts that in the charts you see, but he has to dig for it. If the length of stay in the hospital is short, and I bet it is, then total hospital use is up less than it appears. And you will recall that courtesy of a Star Tribune story we know that half the hospitalizations for breakthrough cases were not for CV-19, and I know a bunch of the other ones aren’t either. So stop f*&%#king around and give us the god-damned real data that helps truly understand the situation. I am going to chart ICU versus general hospital use, I am also betting that ratio is down, reflecting less serious illness even among hospitalizations, but we will see.
Here is another mystery DOH could fix. Currently over 600,000 Minnesotans are listed as fully recovered from a CV-19 infection. We know the real number is higher, maybe 3 times or more higher. Those people appear to have as good an adaptive immunity as vaccination provides, although the research is a little mixed. DOH could clear that up by giving us constant, real-time data on reinfections. And a bunch of those previously infected people also got vaxed. DOH knows who they are, so give us the number with overlap, because the excess of infected minus infected and vaxed, gets added to the vax total to figure out how many total Minnesotans have some adaptive immunity.
And here is why natural immunity may be better and how vaccines can be improved. The vaccines only use portions or all of the spike protein to prompt the immune system. Natural infection prompts a broad response, including to nucleocapsid and membrane proteins. People focus on neutralizing antibodies, but that is wrong. what matters is some recognition of the invader and a response. Antibodies to other proteins can interfere with replication and other critical viral functions, but more importantly, T cells can disable the virus and signal other immune components to disable it, and T cells will recognize multiple parts of the virus as well. This was a design failure in regard to the vaccines, too much focus on spike and receptor binding domain, which mutate more often and thus may have better immune system evasion.
I am astounded at this critical point when people are questioning vaccines and we are getting very mixed messages from government–get vaxed but it won’t make any difference, that we still can’t get useful info from DOH.
And speaking of useful or useless data, there is always the CDC to look to. I will go into the deck that was leaked, intentionally or not, and that has been widely scorned for its pathetic justification for saying vaxed people should mask. And we have some other research as well. I can’t decide if it is good or bad that the vast majority of people now believe they can’t trust anything CDC does or says. It is good that people recognize and don’t believe bullshit; it is bad that we can’t trust the primary government agency that is supposed to be gathering and providing data and research regarding an epidemic.
Now here is the new entry in the stupidest statement of the pandemic and a potential new member of the axis of evil. Our surgeon general, Vivek Murty, is apparently a card-carrying member of the mask all the time religion. And I am going to give you his statements as described by CNN in a supposed fact check, killing two birds, two dodo birds apparently, with one stone, so you can see just how biased CNN is and what a complete cheerleader for the administration, if you didn’t know that already. Read what he actually said, then read how CNN tries to twist it into well he didn’t really say that. Uhhhh, yes he did. And what he said was, parents who are vaccinated should still wear masks when indoors or outdoors, including apparently around their children, which would presumably include at home. Could the messaging be any worse. (CNN Article) Here is exactly what he said: “For example, if you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks who are unvaccinated — let’s say you’re a parent like me, who has young children at home who are not vaccinated — that’s a circumstance where being extra cautious and wearing that mask even if you’re fully vaccinated, wearing it outside when you’re in indoor public locations, is an extra step to protecting those at home.” Now look at how CNN takes the verbal remarks and leaves out the comma between “outside” and “when” and then claims it is “inartful phrasing”. No, he said, if you have young children at home wear that mask even if you are vaccinated, and then went on to separately say by way of inclusion to his more general statement, wear it outside and wear it in indoor public locations. Maybe he meant to say wear the mask when you are outside the home, but doesn’t look like it to me.
Finally, in the observation department, we are back to the masking is the new vaccine nonsense. Look, I am telling you with absolute certainty that masks do not slow community transmission. People can make up all the modeling crap they want, but I look at epidemic curves and it is garbage to say masking makes a difference. I don’t want to have to repeat everything I have pointed out over the last year, but 1) the only good trial on community spread showed no effect; 2) they might make a difference in an individual encounter, but over large numbers of encounters they make no difference, because they aren’t even 90% effective in an individual encounter (wait til you see what CDC assumes about mask effectiveness, quite low); over enough encounters you will get exposed; 3) masks aren’t worn right, even when they are they leak, they are virus collection devices as I have referred to them, and sooner or later they lead to both exhalation or inhalation of large amounts of virus, the best study of the physical flow around masks clearly showed this; 4) the Public Health Agency of the UK study found that a mask environment is great for the virus, it survived better on masks than any other surface but one and lasted for up to a day as viable virus. So yeah, let’s tell people to wear a virus collection device that provides a lovely environment for the virus and that over time leaks in and out. If anything they probably ultimately enhance transmission.
But here is a nice piece of research, from New Zealand, regarding that once beautiful island’s forlorn attempt to banish the dread CV-19, no matter what the cost, and apparently the cost is pretty high. (Medrxiv Paper) The authors compared the country’s full lockdown strategy to a more modest mitigation strategy and found that the mitigation strategy might have led to an additional 1750 to 4600 deaths, but that the costs imposed on the country by the lockdown strategy made each of those avoided deaths cost the country as much as a million dollars, as New Zealand experienced a GDP decline of over 13% due to the lockdowns. People can say that it is money versus lives, but the lockdowns also lead to excess deaths and economic decline leads to excess deaths. And of course, most of those who would have died, probably have by now anyway, since the average life expectancy of CV-19 deaths is pretty low. A more rational, balanced approach to understanding all the effects of suppression policies.
Once again on vaccine effectiveness among health care workers. (Medrxiv Paper) This study was from Kuwait and involved both an mRNA and an adenovirus vaccine. The infection prevalence after full vaccination was very low, with a vaccine effectiveness of 94.5%. The follow-through period was up to June 15 so fairly recent results.