I just want to observe that Minnesota is nearing a milestone, a truly stupid one. We have almost tested every Minnesotan once, and we have tested a lot of them multiple times. Absurd. I have some bad news too, I think cases are going to move higher, perhaps dramatically higher, in the upper Midwest in the next few weeks. Minnesota has been semi-plateaued for weeks, but other states around us are already starting a case move. Maybe I am wrong, and I definitely don’t think we will see as significant a hospital or death wave, but the combination of seasonal favorability, dumb testing policies and over-sensitive PCR tests makes this almost inevitable. Coming to a neighborhood near you soon, everywhere in the US, until we do what a few rational countries in Europe are doing and stop treating this flu-like illness as though it were something else.
Now let me make a few other epidemic/social observations. Anyone who is “progressive” should be mortified at the hypocrisy and elitism of your supposed leaders and leading lights. AOC does a “let them wear masks” Marie Antoinette impression. The mayor of San Francisco, truly an exemplar of the idiocracy which has taken over much of urban America, said she didn’t wear a mask because the spirit moved her not to, in the city with one of the strictest, most ludicrous mitigation regimes anywhere. All those woke, oh-so-progressive Hollywood celebrities can go maskless at the Emmys, in contravention of the rules that apply to everyone else. These people are all the embodiment of elitism. This is the party of the people? No, this is the party of the people who think they are better than everyone else and therefor entitled to both tell the rest of us how we have to live and to ignore the rules they make for the masses. Fuck them, sorry for the language, but fuck them.
This really is how revolutions, peaceful hopefully, start. I believe most people do not yet realize how bad things are going to get economically–we are facing very high, particularly for recent decades, inflation, slowing growth, higher interest rates, potential energy and other shortages. All those wage increases are doing nothing for the average person, because what is hitting home to them is those increases just becomes part of a vicious spiral–one person’s better wages is some business’ cost, which it recoups by raising prices, which ultimately usually means that lower-income workers end up worse off than they were before the pay increases. Frustration from this economic stagnation, coupled with the oblivious displays of elitist behavior, is a recipe for revolt against the ruling class.
The response to the epidemic has terrorized and dispirited people and left many unmoored. As a result we are seeing record drug and alcohol-related deaths. This study compared drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island in 2020 to those in 2019. Overall deaths were up 30%, particularly affecting men, single persons and those who lost a job. There were more deaths at home and fewer in the hospital. (JAMA Article)
And more good news from England, although the same phenomenon exists in the US, as people delayed seeking treatment for symptoms which might be cancer, and a new report suggests that will ultimately result in tens of thousands of additional deaths. At least they won’t die of CV-19, unless a stray fragment of RNA ends up in their nose at time of autopsy. (UK Story)
Extensive new data from the UK reveals that the existence of “long” CV-19 is largely a myth, with a prevalence of extended symptom periods among only a small portion of those whose cases were detected and many of the symptoms were very mild ones. Those who experienced longer symptom periods tended to be in worse health to being with or to have much more serious CV-19 disease. And in a control group who were not infected, many persons reported the same symptoms in the same length of time. (UK Report)
This story is just catching up to what anyone who looked at the death certificates has known for a long-time, deaths attributed to CV-19 are greatly exaggerated. It is mostly anecdotes, not the real clinical review we need. If such a review were done, just as with hospitalizations, we would find a very large percent were not caused by CV-19 and many had nothing to do with the virus. (Death Story)
Before we lost our minds over CV-19, people did research on other common respiratory viruses and found that they too exacted a pretty significant toll, particularly on the elderly, but for whatever reason, we didn’t test like crazy and go berserk over non-serious illnesses. Here is a pre-pandemic study from 2015 on rhinoviruses, following all patients hospitalized over the course of a year at one large teaching hospital. Patients with pneumonia caused by influenza were compared with those whose pneumonia was caused by rhinovirus. About 40% of the patients had rhinovirus infections. These patients on average needed more intensive hospital care and were more likely to die. So much for the mild rhinovirus. I am sure that when the scourge of coronavirus is conquered at last, we can turn to rhinovirus for our terrorism. (PubMed Study)
CV-19 is an enveloped virus and this research contributes to a much-needed better understanding of the function of that envelop. The envelop of the virus is packed with spike protein, which is more flexible than in most coronaviruses which may contribute to the infectiousness. (Medrxiv Paper)
There are a lot bugs out there, folks, and our bodies are filled with them. The totality of this community of parasites living in our tissues, especially our respiratory tract, is actually an interesting balance which provides benefits to us in a variety of bodily functions, including for our immune systems. These researchers studied the totality of the “microbiome” in the respiratory tracts of a few hundred patients and found that the presence of certain pathogens was associated with more serious CV-19 disease, while a microbiome slanted toward certain other pathogens appeared to offer protection against that serious disease. (Medrxiv Paper)
Some problems are apparently just too hard to be easily solved, like why there appears to be some geographical and seasonal pattern to CV-19 case waves. This study from the Netherlands looks at the problem and claims that higher temperatures, higher solar radiation and more incidence of hay fever are linked to a lower number of cases and that greater mobility, especially to indoor recreation facilities, is associated with more cases. (Medrxiv Paper)
This study from Switzerland found that overall hospital mortality declined from earlier sets of cases to later ones, but that death among those in intensive care increased. The pattern suggests some improvement in management of cases, and perhaps more selectivity in which patients end up in intensive care. (Medrxiv Paper)