Coronamonomania may live forever, but I won’t, so I wish people would get over it. I came up with that term to describe the absurdly unbalanced approach to the public good that we have taken from the start of this epidemic, with complete disregard for the harm being done to society and individuals by futile and unproven mitigation and suppression measures. When are people finally going to look around and realize they have been consistently lied to about the severity of the epidemic and the effectiveness of government actions and that more people will be killed and lives ruined by those government measures than by CV-19.
I don’t know, I can’t quite remember, have I made this point before: CV-19 is not going away; we can and will adapt to it. The faster we accept that, the better.
Here is my problem with boosters. 1) Studies actually are very mixed on whether the adaptive immunity from vaccination really wanes substantially. 2) The vaccines are doing what I would have expected and anyone should have expected if they understood vaccines for respiratory viruses. I would be a little surprised if effectiveness against serious disease among younger, healthy adults actually lessened significantly, we aren’t seeing that yet, and no one should be surprised at limited effectiveness in the frail elderly. 3) If there is a flaw in the current vaccines, it is that they only prompt a response to spike protein, not broader segment of the virus. And it appears that the spacing of doses in multi-dose vaccines is not optimal for the maximal generation of B and T memory cells. So before we do boosters, maybe we should fix those issues. Otherwise we will be in the same boat a year from now, which will make the drug makers happy, but not the rest of us.
And I want to note a significant anniversary. Around this time last year I started pointing out that we never after the mask mandate was implemented had lower weekly cases than we did before the mandate. That stayed true basically until the mandate was removed. I loved making those charts every week or so that showed cases before and after the mandate. The peak of mask mandate success was undoubtedly early winter, when cases just soared. A remarkably successful intervention, right?
Well, let’s start the weekend with more good CV-19 news, and as usual, it isn’t the actual virus during the damage, it is the human reaction to the virus. According to the Kaiser Foundation, normally a cheerleader for whacko progressive ideas, over 50% more parents report learning, social and mental health issues among their children if the child had virtual school than if they went in-person. But oh yeah, we really care about our children. No, if you are a politician with a D behind your name, you really care about teacher union contributions. (KFF Survey)
More terrorism in another state, California, as Delta supposedly is causing all kinds of infections after vaccination. But here is what is really interesting down in the story, we see again that a huge 25% percent of hospitalizations attributed to CV-19 are actually admissions for another reason. It is also funny how the hospital spokesperson quickly adds that the patients do have CV-19. She is obviously worried about jeopardizing the extra money the hospital gets for treating CV-19 patients. I would love to see the cycle threshold their lab uses for determining positivity, probably around 50. (LA Story)
Okay, this is for all you brave souls fighting masking of children in school. An article in the New Yorker magazine, another reliable cheerleader for the progressive nutjobs, actually does an outstanding job of pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, although he may be forced to wear a mask. There is no evidence of benefit in preventing spread, and the research showing that to be true has been suppressed. (NY Mag Article) Every school board member considering forcing kids to mask should read the article.
I do not understand the paucity of studies and data on reinfections. Pretty important to understand that data versus breakthrough infection data. Here is a study from India finding about a 1% re-infection rate over a several month period. (SSRN Study)
This study examined infections after vaccination among several thousand health care workers in Austria. (SSRN Study) Some were vaccinated with Pfizer and some with AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca was more protective against breakthrough infection. All breakthroughs were mild or asymptomatic. The overall rate in the first few months after full vaccination was well under 1%.
According to this study from South Korea, Delta has a shorter serial interval (the time from one person being infected to when they infect another person, with infection being denoted by symptoms) but does not result in more superspreading events. Since the study was done when South Korea is having its largest wave of cases, I am dubious about the finding on serial interval. (Medrxiv Paper)
And this study will also make Jeremy Olson happy as it reports Delta viral loads to be higher in both vaxed and unvaxed people. (Medrxiv Paper) One important confounding factor in regard to the vaxed group is that they obviously had been vaxed for a longer time when Delta became dominant, so if protection wanes, that could make Delta appear more infectious than it is. There were more Delta breakthrough infections, but these are likely under-reported, which makes viral load averages higher than they actually are. Viral loads were similar in vaxed and unvaxed Delta cases and were higher than the other variants identified. But we have the same problem with timing of sampling in the respective waves of cases. I will point out again that while Alpha supposedly was causing higher viral loads when sampled early in its process of becoming dominant, by the time it was dominant that was no longer the case. And there was no difference in hospitalization or death rates between Alpha and Delta, which is puzzling if viral loads are actually that much higher. And even more puzzling is that there was no difference in the percent of symptomatic infections. Breakthrough infections with both variants were associated with worse health status. And here is the real kicker, the cycle numbers, and viral loads, were only compared in symptomatic infections. And the difference in cycle number was marginal. Culturing viable virus showed similar results, and here the unemphasized key finding is that samples from cycle numbers above 25 were much less frequently viable. Looking at a comparison between Delta and Alpha in the unvaxed groups, it is pretty clear Delta is not leading to significantly more serious diseases. Study is riddled with confounders.
And finally, this study notes that remdesivir made a dramatic difference in survival among nursing home residents in Idaho. And it was administered outside a hospital. We would see a lot fewer hospitalizations if the FDA would permit large-scale outpatient administration, but then hospitals would lose all that money. (JID Study)