Okay, so I changed the series name some. Because we obviously have some people who aren’t going to let go of this; who will always find some way to terrorize us and hang on to their moment of glory and power, to the detriment of all of us.
Minnesota announced four deaths today, Monday. All four occurred in February. Almost a third of all deaths announced in the last few weeks have been before March 1. What the heck is going on.
Dr. Osterholm, as is usually the case, got in trouble for telling the truth. Whacko progressives who run the country don’t like that. Remember that clip I gave you a link to, of the good Doctor letting slip that masks don’t work. YouTube has removed it. If it doesn’t fit the religion, it can’t be true. We live in a cesspool similar to current day China, Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. You will only believe what the GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE, YOU WILL ONLY HEAR WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO HEAR. And he is trying to backtrack now, to stay in the dictators’ good graces.
Ok, I am little fed up with people who post comments that contain clear misinformation, especially about the vaccines, particularly stuff about how they have killed a lot of people. You have no idea what you are talking about. I want to allow free exchange of information and opinion but I am not going to have that kind of crap on the blog. So if you submit a comment like that, it is going in the trash. And I know many of you think I am too much of a rooter for the vaccines. If you don’t think they work, I would like the alternative explanation for the very low level and rates of deaths we see in Minnesota, and more importantly, in places like Florida and the UK, which had very high case surges in recent weeks. As I have said from when they were first about to be put to use, we should of course monitor safety carefully and we should have realistic expectations about what to expect from any respiratory virus vaccine–nothing stops exposure, including masks; but vaccines, and prior infection, will limit the risk of infection and of serious illness. I have also made it clear that getting vaccinated is an individual decision and I don’t support vaccine mandates, except possibly in the case of teachers and school staff who think children shouldn’t be able to go to real school and/or should have to wear masks, not to protect the children, but to protect the teachers and staff. And I will keep summarizing the research on vaccines, including when it suggests they have less than perfect protection. But I won’t publish what I know to be complete misinformation. Can’t be suckers for conspiracy theories, guys, makes us all look we are loopy.
I have been thinking more about total adaptive immunity in a population, which results from both infection and from vaccination. In some ways it appears immunity from natural infection is at least as good as that from vaccines, so assuming we can determine that someone did have a prior infection, not sure why we are insisting they get vaccinated. (See a couple of studies below relevant to this point.) Using Minnesota as an example, the state says we have 618,000 infections. The CDC says we are missing about three out of four cases. I am going to cut that down and let us just say we have twice as many undetected cases. So around 1.8 million. According to a number of sites, over 3 million Minnesotans are fully vaccinated. The state population is about 5.7 million. Depending on the overlap of the vaccinated and infected groups as many as 4.8 million (no overlap) Minnesotans have some form of immunity or as few as 3 million (complete overlap). Since the younger age cohorts actually have the most detected cases (and the most undetected) and they are the least vaccinated groups, the truth is somewhere in between and I think it likely is shaded toward less overlap. If even 4 million Minnesotans have been infected and/or are vaccinated, that is a whopping 70% of the population. hard to imagine how we have much of a case wave unless protection by prior infection or vax is pretty weak, especially since the pace of vax, especially among younger groups is picking up. But this is why it is so critical that we get more detailed information on the breakout of both reinfections and breakout infections.
And speaking of my friends the teachers’ unions, who should be flat-out banned and disbanded, here is a story from Denmark about keeping schools open and treating children as though they actually are important. (Denmark Story) Children are going to back to school in Denmark as before. They aren’t going to worry about children getting infected because they don’t get sick and they aren’t going to send children home because one child in a class tests positive. Now here is a teachers’ association representative who actually cares about children. He said “The children have been home enough and need a normal school year without being sent home.” Imagine if the maniacs at our teachers’ unions, who only care about their own welfare and creating social justice warriors who will vote them ever higher salaries and pensions, were that sensible. And an epidemiologist in Denmark said “I’m in favor of us in Denmark being able to let the epidemic run now. The question is whether we can tolerate an epidemic in terms of health, and I believe we can because with effective vaccines we have protected those who are at high risk.” Whoa, way too rational, don’t export that to the US, we believe in hysteria and panic.
Lot of research and a couple of important studies deserve more focus, so just going to catch up with a number of quick items. So we will start with a CDC study on vaccine effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations among the elderly, those over 65, in 13 states. (CDC Paper) The study period was from February 1 to April 30. Both mRNA vaccines and the J&J one were included in the study, which included over 7000 hospitalized adults. For adults aged 65 to 74, for both mRNA vaccines effectiveness against hospitalizations was in the 90 percents. It was slightly less for the J&J vaccine. For those 75 and older, there was a slight drop in effectiveness. There are a number of possible confounders and biases in the study, the most important of which is that a number of the unvaccinated group likely had prior infections, which would provide some adaptive immune protection and would make vaccines appear less effective than if they were compared solely to the hospitalization rate among those who had no form of immunity.
Pertinent to my comment above, this study attempted to assess total immunity in Texas. (Medrxiv Paper) Much of the paper describes a method the authors developed to estimate actual infection rates. Using Texas as an example, they estimate that rate at 35%, or 4 times the reported case rate. Coupled with a vaccination rate of around 35% of uninfected persons, for a total immunity of about 69% of the population. Enought to substantially slow transmission.
Another vaccination study among healthcare workers, this time from Germany and analyzing antibody responses. (Medrxiv Paper) As other studies have suggested, prior infection is associated with a stronger response to vaccination. Interestingly, mixing vaccine types across two doses also was associated with a stronger response.
You may recall I mentioned that an explanation for better effectiveness against reinfection resulting from original infection versus vaccination could be that natural infection tends to develop antibodies, and T cell responses, against a wider variety of virus segments. This research supports that notion. While the vaccines tend to only target spike proteins, natural infection results in antibodies against nucleocapsid and other segments as well. (CureHub Paper) In addition, both vaccinated and naturally-infected persons showed some antibody cross-reactivity to the spike protein of other coronaviruses.
How do variables like age and smoking affect the performance of vaccines? This paper addressed that issue in Japanese health care workers. (Medrxiv Paper) A number of demographic and other factors were assessed for relationship to antibody levels following vaccination. Older age and current smoking status were associated with lower levels of antibody development, as you would expect.
We have seen a few pieces of research on antibody prevalence over time in people who were infected. This paper followed over 400 patients in Germany for as long as over a year. (Medrxiv Paper) They found a decline in antibody prevalence over time, and the decline was more significant in the elderly. However, they did not measure B cell prevalence or trends, and I suspect that is more important to determing the antibody response to an attempted reinfection.
I don’t know if “long” CV-19 is real or not. I am dubious. I posted on the study about children, showing that even absent CV-19, there are people who have long-term “symptoms” often hard to link to a specific disease. I assume that is the case with the long CV group as well. This study looking at symptom persistance among a group of hospitalized Spanish patients. (Medrxiv Paper) There were a large number of patients with at least one symptom persisting for 6 months, most often a lung function symptom. But a lot of the sufferers of these symptoms had pre-existing lung-related diseases. Count me still dubious.