Trying to keep up to speed with the CV-19 whirlwind. More gibberish from the DOH at a briefing on Monday. They are doing massive death and case dumps from months and months ago. God knows, we wouldn’t want to mis-classify one false or low positive case, or death that actually had nothing to do with CV-19. This latest dump related primarily to long-term care. How about a real review–a chart review that determines clinically whether a person actually had a serious CV-19 infection, the hospitalization was actually primarily for CV-19 treatment, and the death was really caused by CV-19 disease.
Here are the highlies from that briefing. Terror about child cases and hospitalizations, all either wrong or misleading. Delta has an R of 7, no it doesn’t. Terror about the overall level of hospitalizations and ICU use, also unwarranted. My favorite is quoting the fake news on a supposed patient in the South who supposedly died after being turned away from every ICU in the country, a story that is now debunked. In response to a perspicacious question about how few cases have a known source of transmission and how poor contact tracing seems to be (so why are they terrorizing people about group events like Sturgis or the State Fair?), they did an elaborate job of weaseling and non-answering. We did learn that there are a massive 137 cases from the State Fair, which has an attendance of hundreds of thousands, and 30-some from Sturgis. But without contact tracing, I think even these numbers are suspect.
The truly pathetic supposed state epidemiologist tried to amplify the terror by claiming it was “raining Covid”. Shut up if you can’t say anything sensible. It is not raining CV-19, we see a relatively low level of cases, and I continue to think that many in younger people are false and low positives. The commissioner continues to use breakthrough statistics in a misleading manner. She should be relating the current level for last few weeks, and not only using per capita numbers. The inconsistency is maddening, if you want to talk per capita numbers, then do it for non-breakthroughs as well. In terms of recent events, breakthroughs are 25% to 30%. Not alarming to me, but stop lying to people and treat them like adults, and explain that this is what should have been expected. The state epidemiologist couldn’t help chiming in with even more misleading information about the true rate of breakthrough events.
It should be apparent to everyone by now that the euphemistically named non-pharmaceutical interventions, i.e., lockdowns, have made no difference. Here is a study from Italy verifying that conclusion. The authors looked at the effect of tiered restrictions used in the country and found that not only did they not decrease spread, they may have actually been associated with an increase. (Medrxiv Paper)
Why do I keep harping on the harm, not to mention the prevarication, from mis-attributing hospitalizations and deaths to CV-19. Because it is a central facet of the terror campaign that aims at having people believe this virus is far more dangerous than it actually is. And because the evidence is so clear that vast numbers of attributed hospitalizations and deaths had nothing to do with CV-19. Here is the latest on that score, from the UK, research finding that at least a quarter of so-called CV-19 admissions were not for treatment of the viral infection. (UK Story)
Being a completely controlled society, China can do all kinds of things other countries don’t do. During the epidemic they have force tested entire populations of cities. This study used such mass surveillance testing to ascertain the level of asymptomatic infections, which varied from 56% in children age 9 and under to around 12% in those aged 60 and over. These were true asymptomatics because ongoing monitoring of positive test cases ascertained whether any symptom ever occurred. The researchers estimate that perhaps 22% to 55% of spread is from asymptomatic cases. That is a pretty wide and useless range. (Medrxiv Paper)
This study attempted to compare viral loads, as inferred from cycle number, in symptomatic and asymptomatic children. (JID Study) The research included 728 children. Of these, about 29% were asymptomatic, but this likely understates the true proportion, as those without symptoms are far less likely to be tested. Viral load increased somewhat with lower age of the child, although this did not appear to be the situation with asymptomatic cases. Asymptomatic cases had substantially lower viral loads than did symptomatic children.
This is updated data from one of the ongoing pivotal trials of an mRNA vaccine. Although effectiveness lessened over time, a high level of effectiveness against serious disease continued to be reported. Interestingly, there was a subgroup in the followup period who had prior infection, and the protection against reinfection in this group was assessed at around 76%, which is not too dissimilar from the 83% effectiveness against infection at 4 months post full vax. Although it is small numbers, it appears that the combination of infection and vax is more protective than either alone. (NEJM Study)
A study from Brazil examined the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness. Most notable is the dramatic change in effectiveness among age groups, exactly as you would expect, culminating in only 36% effectiveness in those aged 80 or older. Similarly limited, but stronger, effectiveness was found in those aged 60 to 79, at 61%. For younger age groups, the effectiveness was extremely high. (Medrxiv Study)
At the very end of July, Israel begin giving booster shots of the vaccine. This study looked at early, and it is very early, evidence regarding the effect of that booster. This study only involved a few weeks of follow-up after the supposed full effect of the booster. According to the authors, the booster had a substantial impact on both infections and hospitalizations. (NEJM Study)
These researchers looked at what happens with various populations of immune cells following a third, or booster, dose of mRNA vaccine. The study was conducted among health care workers. After 5 months circulating antibodies had lessened, but there remained durable populations of B and T memory cells. A third dose both boosted circulating antibody levels and increased the populations of the B and T memory cells and T killer cells, well beyond those that existed after the second dose. (Medrxiv Paper)
This study from Scotland suggests that boosters may not be needed for the general population, and that the vaccines are effective against Delta. While there was an initial decline in effectiveness in the first few weeks after vaccination, that decline tapered off. And an initial apparent finding of potential decrease in effectiveness against Delta was reversed over the longer, entire study period. (Medrxiv Paper)
Another study finding a very small, but apparent risk, especially to younger males, of heart-related inflammation following vaccination. (Medrxiv Paper)