What would a week be without another futile attempt by the CDC to say that masks work by making up a study? Here is this week’s contribution, a study from a university in St. Louis. (CDC Study) According to the “research” students with masked contacts had lower infection rates that students with unmasked contacts. I am just going to note once again that no one takes seriously any research that relies exclusively on the recollection and reporting of the subjects, and that prior research has consistently found that people reported more and more consistent mask wearing than they actually engage in. So this is garbage. The raw facts are that about 265 students received a positive test result from January to May of this year, and there were 378 close contacts named by these students. So let’s pause for a minute, the study is based on students naming close contacts and they only named about a one and a third close contacts each, in a university. Right, that really makes sense. Only 7.7% of encounters occurred when both persons were masked. Everything else was considered an unmasked exposure. So this is apparently an admission that masks won’t work if worn by a source or by a recipient, but somehow magically work if both are wearing. Why didn’t they at least report results for one party being masked? So a very small number of “masked” contacts, around 30. Supposedly the risk of transmission was much lower in these encounters. But the confidence intervals overlapped, reflecting the poor statistical power. And a number of other mitigation measures were also in place, like social distancing. Did the fully masked encounters also occur at a greater distance? Almost certainly, because if you are a young person obsessive enough to wear a mask all the time, you probably aren’t getting close to people either. Oh, and if you were unvaccinated but reported being masked during an “exposure”, you weren’t required to quarantine. Hmmm, wonder what incentive that creates. And vaccination was not included as a variable. No testing was done to verify source of transmission. It is embarassing for the CDC to even publish this crap.
And here is another example of the CDC’s increasingly worthless. This is the CDC breakthrough infections page. Please look at the notes under the table of events. (CDC Data) Down in the section on hospitalizations and deaths, look at the footnotes. Look at the percent of cases in which CV-19 was not implicated, even though there was a positive test–21% for deaths and 26% for hospitalizations. So why are they even calling these CV-19 deaths or hospitalizations? And why don’t we see the same data for non-breakthrough “cases”? The CDC and most states are trapped in their own terror campaign. Every possible death or hospitalization was attributed to CV-19, but now to minimize issues with vaccine effectiveness the agency is spelling out what a huge percent of cases are just nonsense. So please, assume that the same percents apply to all cases. You can reduce attributed deaths by 20% and hospitalizations by 26%.
Here is an Alpha terrorism paper, which is a little dated, because we have moved on to Delta terrorism. The research was conducted in the UK from mid-November to mid-January. That timing is important because it was the beggining of Alpha ascendancy and decline of the original strains. To compare strains at different points in their relative dominance is dangerous, because there can be confounding effects. After a supposedly fully-adjusted analysis, the authors conclude that Alpha had a 60% greater risk of hospitalization and a 70% greater risk of death. The absolute number of deaths was almost identical, however, and the absolute number of hospitalizations was somewhat higher for Alpha cases. And the effects were almost exclusively found in the very old. When you get into the details of the study, it appears that among some subsets, there was potentially no difference. The study is contrary to other data published in England, including data covering the full Alpha wave, so count me highly skeptical.
Contrary to the above study, this one says Alpha was much less serious. Acccording to this study of children aged 0 to 9 in Israel, during the period in which Alpha was ascendant and dominant in the country, incidence rates among this group were much higher than in the prior period, although they were higher in the country as a whole, and children became responsible for a more significant portion of secondary transmission. At the same time, the hospitalization rate among children declined by almost 50%. Like Delta, while Alpha may, and it is a big may, be more transmissible than the original strains, it also caused less severe disease, at least among young children. (JAMA Article)