Quick last minute flash just as I was going to publish this. Dave has updated the charts with today’s breakthru events and I will get that out as soon as I can. But just as a headline; the rate of growth week-over-week in breakthru hospitalizations is 25% versus 3.6% in non-breakthru ones, and the rate of growth in breakthru deaths week-over-week was 96% versus a decline week-over-week of 7.6% in non-breakthru deaths. Remember the issues with how Minnesota is reporting these events and know that the true situation is likely even worse than these numbers suggest. And I am going to stress again that I am not in any way anti-vax and I think there is effectiveness for younger groups especially against hospitalization and serious illness, but they are not helping old people after a few months.
Oh god, the Minnesota DOH had another briefing last week and it really is torture to listen to this one. The focus was terrorization around cases in children and hospitals being overrun with CV-19. Neither is true, but the DOH intentionally does not release the data which would show just how misleading their terror campaign is. CV-19 patients are cases at the margin, most of the patients in hospitals are not CV-19 patients, they are just a modest percent. We as a nation chose to reduce hospital beds over the last several decades, due to their expense. Hospitals, and ICUs in particular, typically run as full as they can. So a few extra CV-19 patients can seem like it is the source of the problem but why not blame the heart attack patients or the cancer patients?
Here is why I am so cynical about the DOH’s messaging. They never, ever tell you the full truth. They don’t tell you how many hospitalizations are really for CV-19 treatment. They let slip in one briefing that half of breakthrough hospitalizations were not for treatment of CV-19. They never give information about observation stays or admissions for remdesivir or length of stay trends. They make it sound like the hospitals are overwhelmed by seriously ill CV-19 patients. They aren’t. They have a lot of patients with typical needs; in fact even more than usual due to the terror campaign causing delays in care; leading to more serious heart disease, cancer cases, and other conditions. The hospitals get paid a lot of extra money to treat CV-19 patients, so they want to find as many as possible with positive tests to generate revenue. Love to see the cycle number thresholds hospitals are using and the distribution of tests. So I don’t accept the bullshit they are spinning about hospitals being overwhelmed and why.
And when it comes to children, it is even worse, because, as one speaker today acknowledged, we had a horrendous, out of season RSV wave (which incidentally was caused by masking, closing schools and other nonsense we did to children, weakening their immune systems and making them more vulnerable). That disease does cause serious illness and many hospitalizations in children and I am certain that most pediatric hospitalizations being attributed to CV-19 are only incidental positive tests. By the way 21 pediatric beds are being “used”. And again, pay attention to every word. “Used” means something different than being treated for CV-19. So don’t expect me to buy that bag of crap about children and hospitals either. 3000 cases a week in children under 12 they say–how many were even symptomatic and what are the cycle numbers. Think it is an accident that age limit was used–no, they are setting up for a school vaccine mandate. Keep testing like crazy among asymptomatic children and I am sure you can find even more false and low positives. More feces thrown in the citizens’ faces by DOH.
Once again the DOH trots out executives from hospital systems. The DOH regulates these entities, so of course they cooperate with the message DOH wants them to spread. DOH and the executives mentioned staff shortages several times, with DOH saying staff is actually the capacity constraint. Not a word about the vaccine mandate that has caused at least some of the capacity stress. When things are tight, it seems incredibly stupid to reduce capacity by insisting on vaccine mandates.
Listen to the question and answer starting at minute 39 or so. They acknowledge that we are seeing the results of deferred care in hospitalizations. One of the hospital execs said they were seeing much higher acuity patients (i.e., sicker) and acknowledged it was likely due to deferred care. What the DOH won’t own is that it was and is their terror campaign that did cause and continues to cause people to avoid needed care. No willingness to acknowledge the consequences of their constant harping on safety and danger.
In other Minnesota news, maybe because they are showing that the entire population was tested at least once, last week the state stopped daily reporting of the total number of individuals who have been tested. Just seems odd.
October is also off to a very hot start in terms of deaths, also tending to be the elderly, and what looks like an uptick in LTC resident deaths. The data I am describing comes from the table of deaths by date of death found in the daily situation report. There is a lag in the data, but the 2020 month comparators should be complete. Early October 2021 in particular will be very incomplete. But even with that incompleteness, the first four days of October 2021 had 48 deaths, the same four days in October 2020 had 36. September 2021 had 331 deaths compared to 237 in September 2020. Deaths are still being added to the September 2021 total. Something is going on with so many more deaths. And they are definitely predominantly in the vaxed, with that age structure. There are more cases this September and October, but I don’t know how much of that is due to testing increases and testing approach increases. The state is doing everything it can to hide the vaxed deaths from the public.
Here is the UK vaccination surveillance brief I mentioned in a post last week. It is interesting to note that in all age groups over 30, the per capita case rates are higher in the vaxed than the unvaxed, but at the same time there is very high vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and death. It could be that a lot of the unvaxed were previously infected and therefor have strong adaptive immunity to infection, but why wouldn’t they also be protected against hospitalization and death. The other possible explanation is that there is some difference in terms of detected versus total infections, but that would likely find fewer vaxed cases, not unvaxed ones. So a mystery. (UK Brief)
This is a very interesting study from the UK in which the researchers studied behavior patterns, particularly staying home, during the epidemic and associated mental health issues. 25% of people basically stayed home and are still staying home–these are the successfully terrorized, with a subset who have legitimate high risk factors for serious disease. About 32% just followed the current government advice or mandates as they changed during the epidemic. Sheeplike but not as terrorized. And 43% tried to go about their lives as normal and had low home confinement. The sane. Guess which group had the most mental health issues? You got it, those who allowed themselves to be terrorized. (Medrxiv Paper)
More examples of how CV-19 and the vaccines discriminate against men. This study from Japan demonstrates that while both sexes have a good T memory cell response following vaccination, women have a much better response on average. Someone needs to “wake” that virus up. (RS Study)
This study from Japan followed about 100 patients who had varying levels of CV-19 infection and disease and examined their antibody and T cell response for up to a year. Almost all patients maintained a response for at least a year in both arms of the primary immune system and the level was correlated with seriousness of disease. (JID Study)
Everyone keeps saying Delta is more transmissible and that is partly due to higher viral loads. I am not seeing truly compelling research evidence that this is true and the best population-wide data, from the UK, suggests it isn’t much more transmissible and that the point in a wave where you measure can impact results. This research was done in vaccinated health care workers in Vietnam and finds, among other things, that there were quite a few breakthrough infections. It claims that the viral loads for Delta were 250 times higher than for older strains. But it isn’t clear if they are comparing older strain loads in vaccinated people or unvaccinated people. There is an obvious selection issue if vaccination results in only very high viral loads leading to symptomatic infections that lead in turn to testing. And in fact, the results on antibody levels also suggest that having a low antibody response following vaccination is associated with symptomatic infection and those high viral loads. So I don’t think it in any way indicates that Delta causes higher average viral loads. (SSRN Paper)
Age is clearly related to disease severity. This study from the Netherlands finds that in regard to who dies when hospitalized for CV-19, age is far and away the dominant factor, and prior health conditions play a small role. (RS Study)