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Coronamonomania Lives Forever, Part 29

By September 30, 2021Commentary

Another burst of summaries to complete the catchup.  But first, a momentus occasion should be marked.  Minnesota has passed Sweden in per capita deaths.   Hard to understand how that could happen, because those darn Swedes just refused to mask up, close schools or businesses, or stay at home and stop living.  There isn’t much difference in the two jurisdictions in age structure, population density or anything else, other than good public policy.  We have none; Sweden has an over-abundance.  There is no doubt at all that the overall public health, especially mental health and children’s health, was far better served by the Swedish approach.  And they are done, done, done with the epidemic.  No restrictions of any kind.

This is a bit of a bizarre paper that assesses the link between viral load of variants and infectiousness but never explains what the logic is behind the supposed link.  According to the paper, both Alpha and Delta are more infectious.  But all they measured was the amount of viral RNA, via the typical PCR test, and then cultured virus amounts.  But there was no control over the timing of sample collection relative to when the infection started and the samples had been frozen.  The researchers acknowledge the limitations of this fact, but claim to have a new technique that works around it.  Bullshit.  They further acknowledge that their results show massive variability in connecting PCR cycle numbers to their supposed measurement of actual live virus capable of replication.  They consistently refer to what they are measuring as “infectious” virus, but they don’t in any manner establish anything relating to actual infectiousness.   Among other things, it is simply not clinically plausible that the results are an accurate portrait of the typical Delta, or Alpha, viral load or infectious load.  Neither variant has been shown to either be significantly more transmissible in actual contact tracing studies or to lead to more serious disease.  In fact Delta in particular appears to be associated with less serious illness.  (Medrxiv Paper)

I keep intending to write a post on how to build a better epidemic model.  The ones used for this epidemic have been pathetic.  One of the problems is a lack of basic data about critical characteristics of the population which affect transmission.  This paper attempts to address one of those shortcomings by updating contact rates for various age groups.  Unfortunately the data is from surveys done during the epidemic in six metro areas so it doesn’t give you a baseline, but does provide a dynamic picture of how contacts might have changed.  As prior research suggested, the youngest aged adult groups have the highest contact rates and the oldest, the lowest contact rates.  (Medrxiv Paper)

If natural infection creates more durable and stronger adaptive immunity than vaccination, why is that so?  This paper explores one obvious explanation–the nature of B memory cells created from the respective challenges to the immune system.  The authors find that natural infection results in a wider variety of B memory cells, and that these memory cells respond more strongly than do those created by vaccination, to a renewed exposure to CV-19.  (Cell Paper)

This editorial in the British Medical Journal suggests that evidence of waning of vaccine effectiveness is overstated and that breakthrough infections are related more to variants.  This is directly contrary to studies like the one summarized immediately above and to other research finding that it is a lower adaptive immune response, not an inability to block variants, that is the primary reason for breakthrough cases.  (BMJ Editorial)

Variants and vaccines, that is the primary concern of the day.  This study from Canada examines age-specific reactions to the Alpha and Delta variants.  The study really doesn’t find any difference in risk of serious disease, but claims there is a higher Delta risk of hospitalization for younger children, but the absolute numbers are so absurdly low that even the authors are forced to acknowledge that any comparison is meaningless.  Indeed the confidence intervals are incredibly wide, indicating that there is no real finding of any association.  And these dolts failed to adjust for vaccination or prior infection status, both of which are likely associated with more asymptomatic and mild infections, and a lower ratio of detected to actual cases.   (Medrxiv Paper)

Here is another study on that topic, purporting to address whether vaccines are effective against Alpha and Delta.  It is a UK retrospective contact tracing study, only they didn’t actually trace infections they just measured supposed transmission from supposed index cases to supposed contacts.  According to the authors, the vaccines were less effective in reducing transmission by Delta, and overall, effectiveness against any transmission lessened over time, so that eventually the transmission rate from unvaxed persons was similar to those vaxed.  Appears that there could be some confounding over length of time from vax and infection by the index Delta case or cases in contacts.  Contacts of asymptomatic index cases were far less likely to experience transmission.  But the effect did not appear to be mediated by viral load, but by some other factor.  Supposedly Delta had higher median viral loads than Alpha and there was little difference in vaxed and unvaxed Delta cases, but the higher viral loads were not associated with substantially greater transmission.  (Medrxiv Paper)

When I say the fate of CV-19 is to become endemic, it means that it will just become part of the regular melange of pathogens that we are exposed to, with a background rate of infections and illness.  It isn’t going away but it will persist at a fairly stable and low level that we live with.  Sound kind of like flu, right?  This article discusses that transition to endemicity.  (Cell Article)

I like studies that examine the physical process of infection at a micro level–what happens when CV-19 is introduced into the respiratory tract.  CV-19 can affect all studied tissues in the head and neck area but showed a particular affinity for trachea and nasal cavity tissues.    (Cell Study)


Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • J. Thomas says:

    Great variety of perspectives and info as usual, thank you !

    So, how do we know if the next ‘variant’ comes from natural virus mutation or another Fauci cocktail from his Wuhan lab? Speaking of ‘crickets’, are our tax dollars still funding his ‘GoF’ research? How is this human piece of %#*@ still allowed to carry on as if there’s no culpability? Where does this stand in the legal system? Are there any active indictments against him?

  • Stacey Atneosen says:

    Kevin why isn’t anyone pointing out that obesity is very detrimental to surviving Covid19 and adults and children should take this rare opportunity to focus on exercise and eating right?

  • Rob says:

    “the youngest aged adult groups have the highest contact rates and the oldest, the lowest contact rates.”

    Interesting that the mortality rate increases as the contact rate decreases. One could suggest that lockdowns increased mortality rather than reduce it. Of course, the older population is also more likely to be taking immuno-suppressing medications.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I believe that stay-at-home, work-at-home orders did in fact increase household transmission and probably did increase mortality by putting people in closer quarters, but I also don’t think the lesser contacts of older people are in any way associated with more deaths in that group. The formula is more complex. If you have more contacts, but a healthier immune system, like young people, your infection rate per contact is likely much lower. Frail elderly with very weak immune systems may only need one contact with a small amount of virus to get a serious illness and even die.

  • J. Thomas says:

    Couldn’t agree more SA, YOUR health is YOUR responsibility. However, it’s not pointed out because the concept of personal responsibility from socialists doesn’t exist. The ‘State’ is in place to coddle you from cradle to grave, as long as you conform to a dummied down existence to please their view of the world. Just wear you mask, take their [vaccines], do your job, go home and shut up. Combine that with the eugenics mentality of the people at the root of this ‘pandemic’ and you have a complete answer.

  • Nick says:

    J. Thomas couldn’t of said it any better. Do as your told not what believe.

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