Funniest national event this weekend was ex-Pres. Obama making his big quote about not having time to waste on cultural wars promoted by right-wing media, as he desperately tries to help Democrats keep from getting swamped in Virginia. The remarks were hilarious and I think people misunderstood the intent of second-most incompetent President. What he meant was that the Democrats need to focus on the culture wars they are running, like confusing kids about their gender, making kids ashamed of their race, rewriting American history, scaring people with climate change, etc., and not dwell on anybody else’s culture issues. I think he also is concerned about Democrats getting distracted and not being able to finish the job he started of completely ruining the nation’s economy, and hence it’s standard of living, and making the US a mockery in foreign affairs.
People who run health care facilities are often idiots. After the big story in the StarTribune about a shortage of bed capacity for CV-19 patients and other resource shortfalls in rural Minnesota, here is a small town hospital firing a surgeon because he dared to question the orthodoxy that children should be forced to mask up. First, he is right. Second, you are wrong to deprive the community of hard-to-find medical resources over this. Morons. (FF Story)
The CDC is determined to keep embarrassing itself. This study purports to say that people who are vaccinated have a lower risk of dying from anything, which literally makes no sense. (CDC Study) Unfortunately for the authors, it is the usual poorly reviewed and edited CDC crap. What the study really says is that vaccinated people tend to be healthier and so die less often. Duh. The authors note this in the writeup, but keep the headline implication. I guess they like being misleading. There are other questionable aspects to the analysis, and look at this twitter thread as well, the person who writes it is deeply familiar with the excess death data and issues. (Ben M. Thread)
On the other hand, the CDC must have slipped up here, because a somewhat honest study appears to have slipped by their censors. It finds that people hospitalized with Delta do not have worse outcomes. Comparing pre-Delta to Delta periods (but carefully stopping the study time period before vaccine effectiveness began to lessen) they found a greater proportion of hospitalizations among younger people during Delta, as you would expect given lower vaccination rates in the younger adult groups. And during Delta a greater proportion of hospitalizations were in the unvaxed, but still with no worse outcomes. (CDC Study)
More good news on masks, here is a study looking at pathogen collection. The authors focused on bacteria and found that after 4 hours of wearing a lot accumulated on cotton and surgical masks. In addition, wearing a mask altered the bacterial community on adjacent cheek skin. Lovely. I believe I coined the phrase “virus collection device”. Turns out they collect bacteria too. (Frontiers Article)
Sheryl Attkinson is a good reporter and here she has a very interesting article about how the Amish dealt with the epidemic. The Amish are generally quite healthy so that undoubtedly played a role in the low toll the epidemic placed on them. (SA Story)
The mask nuts never give up, there is always some way to work masks into a study and claim they have positive effects. So it is with this study, which is a mish-mash of who knows what kinds of methodology, attempting to assess why some people get infected. All you really need to know is that the authors were biased to finding just what they did, the study is all based on self-reported data, and there are unknown confounders. Worthless, but hey, if it makes you feel good about masks, go for it. (Medrxiv Paper)
I am not sure I actually understood this study. It deals with the comparative generation time for Delta and Alpha. Generation time is the average length of time between the infection of an index case and the infection of a person they transmit to. Generally appears to be 4 to 5 days from most prior research. While the authors basically don’t find a difference in the generation interval for Delta, they then engage in some hocus-pocus around household transmission and claim at least in that setting the interval is shorter for Delta. Count me dubious. (Medrxiv Paper)