One nugget I forgot to mention is that the Minnesota DOH has confirmed that half of all hospitalizations listed under breakthrough infections are not admissions for CV-19 treatment, and that continues to be true in recent weeks. Now it could be that this is more likely with breakthrough infections, but I strongly suspect that a large percent of regular CV-19 hospitalizations fall into the same bucket. If necessary, I will use a data practices act request to get information in DOH’s possession regarding dates of breakthrough infections, so we can get an accurate proportion for recent cases, and data on reinfections, so we can compare natural and vaccination-induced immunity, and get more information on hospitalizations.
If you want to see a bunch of interesting slides about vaccine effectiveness and safety, here are some from presentations at the very recent meeting of the vaccine advisory committee for CDC. Vaccine looks pretty safe and pretty effective against serious disease. (CDC Slides) There is a ton of good stuff in here. Look at the introductory slides and note the extreme difference in hospitalization rates among vaxed and unvaxed, and remember that unvaxed includes people with prior infection, so vax effectiveness is understated. Lot of data on safety, if you are interested in facts and the wild stuff that sometimes flies around on the internet. Unlike the next study, this comes mostly from outside the CDC, so is a little more neutral.
You have to be leery about every bit of research published by the CDC, because unfortunately the agency has become heavily politicized and willing to be a messenger for the masters in the White House. This study on hospitalizations among children is very misleading and the timing was undoubtedly prompted by the teachers’ union, as schools open, so the unions can put teachers incomes and safety ahead of our childrens’. And the current administration is a wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers’ unions. Emails were revealed before showing how the CDC is used to shill for the teachers and this is another example of it. Completely disgraceful terrorism about children, who continue to be at incredibly low risk. (CDC Study) The study claims that hospitalization rates for children have risen by 10 times or more from June to August, but I simply don’t believe it. And here is how you know it is a lie. They refer to these by the euphemistic term “Covid-associated hospitalizations”. What does this mean–it means that they either had a positive test while hospitalized or within 14 days before admissions. In other words, the hospitalizations have nothing to do with treatment for CV-19. The absolute numbers of hospitalizations continues to be incredibly low, there is essentially a zero risk of children being hospitalized. And the severity of hospitalizations is actually declining. This is most tellingly reflected in length of stay, which declined from 3 days to 2, suggesting a large number of observation stays.
The usual CDC cherry-picking is also present–they compare what they acknowledge to be the absolute lowest rate of hospitalization period, with the subsequent period, when as noted below, the RSV wave was in full swing. But even worse, this supposedly atrocious hospitalization rate in August is the not quite as high as it was in January, which by the way, is pre-Delta. There was essentially no change in the hospitalization rate from January to August, but that wouldn’t generate the headline, the teachers’ union wants, so they manipulated the study period. So the real finding is that hospitalizations among children in the summer wave may have gotten near a previous peak, but no worse, and that the rate is no different in the Delta-dominated period than the Alpha-dominated period. Meanwhile, buried is the fact that among these supposed hospitalizations for CV-19 there were no worse outcomes. The biggest and most obvious flaw in the study is completely ignoring the massive wave of RSV that actually is hospitalizing children, who then are found to have asymptomatic and probably non-infectious fragments of CV-19 by over-sensitive PCR testing. Not a word about that here. I would bet huge amounts of money that as many as half of these supposed CV-19 admissions aren’t for that at all. This is just an absolutely disgraceful piece of work and the authors who put their names on this should be fired immediately for misconduct. As you might tell, I can hardly express my outrage strongly enough.
England has spent a fair amount of time examining CV-19 and schools, recognizing how damaging it is for children to not have a normal school experience. (SSRN Study) The researchers looked at rates of transmission in school “bubbles” and household members of students and staff in those bubbles, following an index case. They found limited transmission, less than occurred in other settings. All of the cases were mild or asymptomatic.
This study followed about 800 health care workers before and after vaccination for up to six months to ascertain antibody levels. (SSRN Study) Antibody levels peaked at one month post the second dose and showed declines at three and six months, but always stayed at a recognizable level that would likely neutralize the virus. Interestingly, those people who had an infection before vaccination had a more rapid decline, but I would suspect they also had a greater initial response. And older workers had a lesser antibody response. In some ways these findings aren’t surprising and wouldn’t be troubling if the body retained sufficient monitoring cells that could signal and ramp up antibody production upon attempted infection. This is somewhat consistent with studies finding that while people get infected after vaccination, they are much less likely to have serious disease.
Are there factors associated with a lower likelihood of strong response to vaccination? We know age is one. According to this study which followed a cohort for three months after full vaccination, smoking, being a male over the age of 40 and lower vitamin D levels were associated with lower levels, but not obesity, contrary to the recent research from Japan. (Medrxiv Paper)
As we might expect, a number of researchers are looking both at stored samples and doing new sampling in animals to identify other coronavirus strains similar to CV-19. According to this study, based on a large number of samples collected from 2003 to 2018 in Cameroon, animals have a lot of coronaviruses, including quite a few strains similar or identical to human seasonal coronaviruses. (Medrxiv Paper)
People should not get sicker when they go to hospitals but many persons either have falls or get infected while admitted. Medicare requires hospitals to report on these hospital-acquired infections and penalizes facilities with too-high rates. This report examined trends in HAI during the epidemic, finding increases, but here is what is astounding–we know that a lot of people acquired CV-19 in a hospital, but the hospitals are apparently not required to report that. Truly crazy and trying to hide an important fact the public should be aware of. (HAI Report)
A lot of fancy math in this study to do what we try to do with our active cases and week-over-week analyses, identify trend inflection points. The method described in this study has been pretty accurate, but not perfect, in identifying trends. Minnesota is one of the example states, and I wonder how accurate this is because I am not sure when they did this paper that they had deaths by date of death, since the state didn’t release those til July. (Medrxiv Paper)
If you want a really thorough analysis of that truly dreadful Bangladesh mask study, read this summary from a banished Twitter person now writing on substack. This is a followup post, which has a link to his original analysis. I would like to note for the record that it is criminal for a forum like Twitter to be able to censor this kind of information, without liability. (The Bad Cat Analysis)