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Coronamonomania Lives Forever, Part 2

By August 11, 2021Commentary

So much to get to all of a sudden and I am having trouble keeping up.

When the emergency ended in Minnesota, Scott Johnson at Powerline lost his access to submit questions.  But there were questions piled up and Scott has received answers to all those.  A couple of nuggets in there.  The state gave us its process for deciding if someone died of CV-19.  Among other things, if the death was more than 30 days after a positive test, they ask someone to see if it really was a CV-19 death.  And if CV-19 isn’t listed but the negative test was less than 7 days before death, they ask for it to be rechecked too.  I still don’t have a good picture of the interaction between the CDC and DOH.  And given that they are clearly still cleaning up deaths from February and March and seem to be adding quite a few, I suspect we will have lots of deaths continuing to be added.  Slowly but surely we are catching up to Sweden.  We got the first breakout I have seen of outcomes by variant, but numbers are small so hard to read much into it.  Based on those very small numbers Delta looks like it has a somewhat higher hospitalization rate than Alpha and the same death rate, but only 2 deaths from Delta.  We also got more detail on breakthrough infections.  The median age of hospitalizations was 74, as you might expect, it is the frail elderly getting hospitalized with breakthroughs.  But again, DOH notes that many of these hospitalizations were not for CV treatment.  The median age of death was 79.  And once more we learn that many of the deaths among those hospitalized were not people admitted for CV.  No person died of a breakthrough infection under the age of 45.  And we got a really elaborate explanation for why we aren’t given cycle numbers from PCR tests, much of which made no sense, and which ignored all the research correlating cycle number with viral load and with likelihood of culturing viable virus.

A few more notes on the latest technical brief on the variants from the UK.  I posted on this last week, but read through in more detail to see what little gems might be picked up.  The UK is basically all Delta now.  Between these technical briefs and other reports from the UK, like the regular survey to determine who has been infected, you can start to get some sense of how different Delta actually is from the other strains.  The most interesting chart is on page 35 of that report.  It shows cycle numbers from PCR tests across the Alpha and Delta cases among the vaxed and unvaxed populations, over time.  Remember a lower cycle number indicates a higher viral load.  What you observe is a changing average cycle number over time.  How can that be?  There might be several explanations, but one is that as a strain goes into a population, it differentially infects the most susceptible first, and these people tend to have more serious infections, higher viral loads and to be more infectious.  As a wave proceeds, or a strain becomes more dominant, it infects less susceptible people who have lower viral loads.  If you only see the front end, you think the strain is much more transmissible, but as time proceeds, you get a fuller picture and you see that on average, it has similar transmission characteristics.  You would really need to stratify the population by susceptibility and compare viral loads in that fashion.  And this hypothesis is borne out by the household and other contact tracing, which shows only modestly greater transmission by Delta.  A similar effect of changing average cycle numbers is seen in the prevalence surveys in the UK.  It should be noted that vaccination has likely also skewed detection of cases towards only those with higher viral loads, as many vaccinated infections are likely quite brief and symptomless.  And the prevalence of the virus in the community also appears associated with average cycle numbers.

Remember that I have been saying for a long time that hospitalizations have to be viewed skeptically both because a lot aren’t for CV-19 treatment, but also because remdesivir requires inpatient administration and at least some of the patients who get it wouldn’t otherwise have to be hospitalized.  This study details changes in hospital treatment of CV-19.  (Annals Article)   Among these patients, remdesivir use went from 1.7% in March to 53.8% in December 2020.  Use of the ICU declined substantially, largely because use of mechanical ventilation also decreased dramatically.  If you think doctors always know what they are doing, this is a great example of how what they swore they had to do, put everyone on ventilators, was really bad for patients, and now they try to avoid it.

This is an interesting article on some of the issues with the mRNA vaccines.  The designers likely made some non-optimal choices, but as the author points out, those can be fixed.  The bigger issue appears to be that they did not mimic the results of actual infection very well in terms of a wider targeting of viral segments to prompt a response to.  (AT Article)

And here is a good post describing the situation in Japan, which is having a bump in cases, but not much serious illness.  (Japan Post)

Here from our very own Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is research on vaccine effectiveness in that large health system.  (Medrxiv Paper)   The study covered both mRNA vaccines from January to July 2021.  Matched cohorts of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons were created.  Prior PCR testing was used to try to weed out previously infected persons, but that isn’t going to do it without antibody testing, so there is some possibility that the unvaxed group includes people with immunity.  The Moderna vaccine appeared more effective.  It had an 86% effectiveness against cases and 91.6% against death.  Pfizer had a 76% effectiveness against cases and 85% against hospitalization.  There were no deaths, so basically 100% effectiveness there.  Going by month, in July effectiveness stayed high against hospitalizations but declined in regard to infections.  Moderna is likely better because it uses a much higher dose.

More information on the effectiveness of vaccines among LTC residents and staff.  (Medrxiv Paper)   All staff and residents listed in the country’s registry were included initially and those with verified prior infection were then excluded.  The median age was 87 for residents and 39 for workers.  Even in this group of very old residents, vaccine effectiveness was estimated at 81.5% for infection and 93% for death.  Interestingly the vaccines had similar effectiveness among the health care workers at the facilities.

And another study along the same lines from Ontario, Canada, looking at the antibody response among LTC residents and staff following vaccination. Once again Moderna appeared to prompt a stronger response.  After two doses, most residents had an antibody response similar to that from infection.  Residents, however, with an average age of 88, had a much lower antibody response than did staff, average age 47.  And there was less of a neutralizing response in both groups in regard to the Beta variant.

This study from Utah examines vaccine effectiveness against variants.  (Medrxiv Paper)   By the end of June, Delta was the vast majority of cases in the state.  The researchers estimated vaccine effectiveness would be 82%, a decline from the effectiveness against prior strains, but still relatively good effectiveness.

Antibody response curves following either infection were studied in this paper.  (Medrxiv Paper)   The strength of the response was associated with the severity of infection.  All participants retained a response up to the 12 month maximum followup period.

Most suppression tactics have no actual, real, non-modeling research evidence.  This paper debunks the idea that early closing of bars and restaurants made any difference in transmission in Japan.  (Medrxiv Paper)

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • J. Thomas says:

    Median age of death in the US is roughly 80 (and dropping recently). Honest Covid deaths should count, but not to drive policy, especially for children and young adults (<40).

    How long will all of this research and data be dependent on the flawed PCR testing scheme? You mentioned additional testing with antibodies, where is that in the pipeline? I've tried locally to be tested via antibodies and our health system isn't offering it. Maybe because they're marching to the vaccine drummer, maybe because the technology isn't ready for use. I'm told that if I want this type of test I can give blood, apparently the Red Cross is screening for it. Not sure if the results will be given back to you and I really don't want to be part of any new government database regarding this situation.

    Speaking of databases, what's happening to the people's information who get the jab(s)? I have a sick feeling part of this is the beginning of a social scoring system that, woven into your profile, will determine opportunities for future participation, funding, etc..

  • Paul I Hyland says:

    Helpful and reassuring information. Confirms what I, as a layperson, generally accept. IOW, at the broad level, it is confirming of your views. That is good. (May have missed something, I’ll re-read.) That brings a suggestion to create an executive summary. (I’ve only recently spent much time here and so I may have missed it. This is very presumptuous of me.)
    The executive summary would be the major points of interest. I would envision a one / two page executive summary. Then with links associated with the topic. (I have referenced your links which are helpful.)
    The current status and the scientific view. For example, it is rather shocking that a Dr. would choose to include in public testimony to a school board that the CCP virus is not going away & it’ll be here as long as the common flu. The vaccine effectiveness has been established, as you describe, by experience. Most people only need the current %. Then adverse effects, immediate that are known, type, severity and %. That is often provided as included in other information. Any suspected long term effects, as for women, reproductive health, and whether there is any scientific basis for the concern.
    And treatments. There has been precious little coverage in public media of the treatments which are effective and those which are not. As you describe ventilator usage changing over time, for example.

  • J. Thomas says:

    I don’t know anyone could listed to this and think she is part of any type of a conspiracy group. Seems like a very factual and eloquent presentation of what’s been going on and where we are. There’s a lot to understand and think about with the situation our government has created for us to navigate. Everyone should listen to all perspectives before deciding their path.

  • Abhijit Bakshi says:

    Would it make sense to summarize research on Ivermectin as well as on the vaccines?

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I only have a vague sense of it, and it appears to be effective, but some, and I suspect the usual drug company skulldruggery, are trying to keep it from being used.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      with a huge emphasis on the purported, this guy has been repeatedly called out for actually having nothing to do wtih mRNA vaccines.

  • J. Thomas says:

    The VEARS Database file sizes show you all you need to know about the C19 vaccine situation. There’s street talk that only 10% are actually reported, but maybe 90% are not truly linked to C19. Even if you call these reporting inconsistencies a wash, the DB is still orders of magnitude higher. I’m curious what’s driving the 2018 to 2020 step change? Prior to 2018, there was incremental year over year growth as would be expected from population growth and normal flu responses. Would this be the Shingles Vaccine or maybe HPV?

    2021* 95.84 MB * Through July
    2020 11.16 MB
    2019 11.22 MB
    2018 10.31 MB
    2017 7.24 MB
    2016 7.33 MB

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Vaers is not reliable for anything more than possibly identifying areas worthy of investigation. And comparing VAERs use in this epidemic compared to other vaccines is obviously just wrong, no epidemic in our lifetimes has gotten anything like the attention this one gets. Which means VAERs is even more unreliable than usual.

  • dell says:

    Yep, sure, you bet, the emergency is gone in Minnesota. At least says the State.

    But the craziness isn’t over. The city just north of Minneapolis on 8-9-21 without any warning in the night declared a health emergency.

    Loose cannon Mayor Mike Elliott and cohort Dr. Reginald Edwards did the deed. Council approved.

    And its permanent -at least until or if, revoked.

  • J. Thomas says:

    Message received regarding Dr. Malone, thank you.

    If VEARS is worthless in times of trouble, what’s the point of having it? I’m struggling with your dismissal of the system. It’s telling us to stop and investigate deeper before pumping more of this test agent into people, ESPECIALLY children. Now boosters for the fragile, cancer patients, etc. “When all you are allowed to have in your tool box is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” !

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