Okay, might as well get this off my chest. On Monday there was a briefing at which our Governor, the Incompetent Blowhard hisself, along with his mirthless minions at the Department of Health, unveiled their latest bribes for people, in this case teenagers with zero risk for serious CV-19 disease, to get vaccinated. Maybe they wouldn’t have to work so hard at selling their used car vaccines if they stopped telling lies and issuing misleading information constantly, and being so obvious about only caring about their message, not the science and data. And of course the IB had to tell as many whoppers as he could in a short time, which given his words per minute rate is quite a few, and the formidable Commissioner of Health chimed in with some of her own. I mean, if you don’t let anyone else get a word in edgewise, what you say must be right, right?
The basic theme was that you must get vaccinated, and there is nothing to see with cases, hospitalizations, or deaths among the vaccinated, contrary to the misinformation you might hear. If I didn’t know better, I might think they are reading this blog and getting a little nervous that someone can actually understand the data and what it is really telling us. The IB, as you would expect since he is the titular head of government in our blessed state, where everything is above average, including our politicians’ ability to lie, led off with the biggest prevarication. He said that of all the deaths we have had in October, and there have been a lot so far, more than last year with nary a vaccine to be found, he would be shocked, just shocked if more than one or two were in the vaccinated. Guess again, oh blizzard of misinformation. The tables we publish every week show exactly, on a reported basis, because the state won’t give us dates of these events, how many cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in the fully vaxed, and what the trend is. I absolutely guarantee you that of all the deaths so far in October, a very substantial percentage are among the vaxxed, largely the elderly vaxed. And I think my pronouncement has a little more science and data behind it than does the IB’s.
The Commissioner’s contribution was that the “vast majority” of hospitalizations are in those dastardly folks who won’t get vaccinated (hate to tell you Jan, but the largest group in this category is that African-American community whose equity you claim to be so interested in, and whose message to you is “I got your equity right here” when it comes to vaccines). Now, readers know and frequently scold me for this position, that I am not a vaccine foe, I am vaccinated, and while people should get their own medical advice, I generally think the citizenry should get vaccinated. But I also believe that truth exists and that government should not stand in the way of its discovery, but has as its core mission the revelation of truth to its adoring public.So Jan, I am a little curious, please explain the definition of “vast majority”? Is this a Bill Clinton type definition? Because I am thinking 80% plus, maybe more. And I don’t believe that is quite where we are with hospitalizations among the vaccinated in Minnesota.
More hilarious is the Department’s sudden discovery of the virtues of per capita rates, which were an ongoing casualty prior to the notion of a breakthrough case. Although Missing in Action from the Department’s version of the epidemic, I and others use them frequently to help people have perspective. But per capita rates weren’t scary enough to fit the terror campaign of the early and mid-stage epidemic, so they weren’t used. Now, however, we learn that the per capita rate of events among the vaxed are quite low, and this is reinforced constantly. But, I have bad news for these statistical incompetents–per capita rates, once the population is largely vaxed, or in any sub-group of those fully vaxed, can only go up. So I would like to see the DOH show us the per capita rates for everyone who was fully vaxed in February, everyone who was fully vaxed in March, everyone who was fully vaxed in April, and so on, as separate sub-populations. Do you know, Jan, what that will show, because I do. That analysis will find that the per capita rate is highest in the earliest fully-vaccinated sub-population, and that every month following the month of becoming fully vaxed, the per capita rate increased in that group. Another enlightening chart would just be a line of the per capita rate from week to week. That rate of increase is a scary looking chart, maybe they can use it in a different version of Terror Comes to Minnesota.
Now Minnesota is not alone in having trouble coming to terms with breakthrough events. England has revealed in its regular and actually useful reports that effectiveness against infection has declined rapidly and that in the elderly, even protection against serious disease has greatly weakened. And here is Robert Redfield (who may turn out to be right when he opined that a mask was better than a vaccine) the former longtime CDC director, who is advising Maryland in his retirement and who disclosed that in the last 6 to 8 weeks in that state, 40% of deaths have been in the fully vaxed. (Md. Story) I believe that full and accurate reporting from DOH, including honesty about their ability to identify those who are vaccinated, would show Minnesota to be in the same ballpark.
I keep saying the same things over and over and one is that the age structure of events in a fully vaccinated population will be similar to that in a completely unvaccinated one. The vulnerable without a vaccine are the vulnerable with one. And that is what we are seeing. And another thing I keep saying is that the state can’t get out of its way with the obsession on messaging. Stop overthinking it and just tell the truth and be open about the implications of the truth. And the implication here is that the vaccines are not going to get us to CV-19 zero, so come up with a better exit plan.
Join the discussion 11 Comments
Thank you for your reflections on 10/19/2021.
I hate to apply basic logic when it comes to the topic of Covid deaths. But, as we know the State pretty much counts every person that tests positive for Covid as a Covid death. It is of no significance (to the state) that there is a sizable percentage of people that have zero symptoms of Covid, yet die.
As we also know, people who are considered fully vaccinated also test positive for Covid. Many of them also have no symptoms.
Being that a positive test is the primary consideration for a Covid death, you will see Covid deaths for both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
It is misleading at best for the State to claim that the vaccinated do not die of Covid. Perhaps they should modify what counts as a Covid death. I would suggest that they count only the ones in which Covid is the significant cause. If that happens deaths will drop considerably.
Debbie you are totally correct!
Kevin thank you for all the direct science backed information you continue to share with those of us actually following the science since May 2020.
Do you know anything of new testing for Covid 19 coming at the end of December?
I do not know of any new tests, people keep talking about faster antibody tests, etc. but I have not seen anything specific
Kevin. I don’t understand your comment “ And here is Robert Redfield (who may turn out to be right when he opined that a mask was better than a vaccine)”. This implies vaccines may be as worthless as you’ve always said masks are.
Mostly a joke, but masks aren’t completely worthless, in an individual encounter they might provide protection, and vaccines are definitely far superior to masks in terms of limiting spread. They just aren’t performing as well as I had anticipated they might, particularly in how quickly they seem to drop antibody and other response levels. That isn’t a Delta issue, it is a vaccine issue.
Kevin – moving forward given the mutations how soon before even boosters become totally useless? Already England is report a “delta+” variant for upwards of 8% of current cases. Eventually the spike protein (To my understanding currently the only marker the shots are targeted to) mutates sufficiently to render the shots irrelevant even in the near term. So – unless the shots keep up with the mutations …
What I am watching for is continued effectiveness in those under, say 75, against hosps and deaths. if that holds up pretty well, they are doing their job. To soon to tell persistence of booster protection. I think the evidence suggests issue is waning immune response not variants.
Every cloud no matter how dark has some silver lining. Early in the pandemic I read an article, which called the virus the “social security” flu that was going to trim the deadwood from the older populations. I have Googled for it but cannot find it.
That being said if we use the statistics for Minnesota, as a representative sample for the rest of the country, there is definitely a bright spot. The present statistics in Minnesota are that 86% of the deaths are in the 65 year old and older age groups. To expand to the total in the United States of 719,000 we see that probably 620,000 have died nationally. Since these people are all probably on social security and it cost on average $15,000 a year to deliver benefits, we are saving in direct payments $9.3 billion a year.
But that is not the big saving. The big savings are in long term care. 56% of the deaths are people in long term care (if Minnesota is representative) in the United States 399,000. In the United States it is reported that Medicare, Medicaid, and State Governments pay 53% of all long term care costs which run around $100,000 per year. Times the 400K long-term patients who have died we are talking another $22 billion a year. Total around $30 billion a year so far.
While $30 billion Covid savings are a rounding error on our social welfare spending, it is enough to keep our troops in Afghanistan. It would be welcome in infrastructure spending and it is not going to stop. Like prostate cancer in men, if you live long enough Covid is going to kill you. Just a thought to cheer up your day.