The current federal administration appears determined to set some kind of record for enacting the most stupid policies in the shortest period of time. It also is running out of feet to shoot. The vaccine mandate obsession is the most recent example. At a time when supply chain issues and labor shortages, including in health care, are a major drag on economic performance and a major contributor to “temporary” (meaning it won’t last longer than 20 or 30 years) inflation, pushing that almost-certainly illegal private company vaccine mandate is just plain inane. If you want to persuade people that vaccination makes sense, you need to do just that, be persuasive. Villainizing the unvaxed isn’t going to work. On the positive side, it is clear that this strategy is turning a lot of people away from the Democrat party. People are actually waking up to the totalitarian reality that is today’s Democrat party. And it might be helpful if we had vaccines that appeared to actually make a difference in terms of reducing the number of cases and the rate of spread. The current ones don’t appear to do that for any length of time. It might also be helpful if a vaccine limited serious disease in the elderly who are most at risk. Perhaps the impending more traditional attenuated virus vaccines will be more effective in these important areas. In the meantime, it makes little sense to mandate vaccines that have limited value and effectiveness.
I have no real clue where the epidemic is headed in the US. Part of the problem is our continued absurd testing regimens where we constantly are testing people who have no symptoms. The inevitable result is lots of low and false positives and disruption of the lives of people who likely are not infectious. It is also pretty clear, as noted above, that the vaccines aren’t keeping people from getting infected, at least according to the defintion of infected used in our over-sensitive tests. So no matter what the public health “experts” say, we are headed to an epidemic of the vaxed. Vaccinating more and more people isn’t a long run exit plan. We have a number of states with very high vax rates that are experiencing case and hospitalization surges and it isn’t just the unvaxed who are participating in the surge. The “seasonal” effect seems to be contributing as well, because the southeast looks at least temporarily done, while parts of the Rocky Mountain and Southwest states are having a wave. In the Midwest, looking at all our neighbors, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Iowa, we see a similar pattern to Minnesota, including in a couple of places our weird rebound in the recent couple of weeks.
Okay, Dave and I are working on more sophisticated analyses, but let me just make the following point about protection from infection and protection from the vaccines, at least in terms of getting either reinfected or having a breakthrough infection. According to the DOH data as of Friday, there were 8546 breakthrough infections out of 806462 infected persons. That is a reinfection rate of 1.06%. We know that the total number of people infected is an undercount, by at least two, but the the rate of detected reinfections is similarly likely an undercount. So let us leave that rate unchanged for now, assuming that the rate of undetected original and reinfections is similar.
The state is reporting a 1.78% rate of breakthrough infections among fully vaxed persons. We know that this is also an undercount, as the state does not know everyone who is fully vaxed, missing people vaxed out-of-state, at the VA, etc. So breakthroughs that occur in these people are not being counted, and because many of these are elderly people who leave the state in the winter and the average age of veterans is higher than the general population, there may be a greater rate of breakthroughs in this missed cohort, given the lesser effectiveness of vaccines for the elderly. It is also likely that a number of breakthroughs were not detected, just as reinfections are missed. But the overall likelihood is that the 1.78% number is too low, by a large amount, because the denominator on the vaxed group isn’t going to change nearly as much as that in the reinfection group, if we knew the true state of affairs.
Further complicating the analysis is that people can be both vaxed and have a prior infection and you would need to know that group and the order to do a proper fulsome analysis. You need to do an age adjustment, the vaxed group may have an average older age than the previously infected one, but that adjustment probably doesn’t cut the way you think. While older persons have higher rates of serious illness if they get infected, because of much lower average contact rates, they have lower per capita rates of infection. I am updating that analysis, which I haven’t done for a while. Finally, on average a person who was infected has had many more days of total exposure to reinfection than a person who was vaxed has had to a breakthrough. So I am not sure where this all ends up, and the DOH sure isn’t going to do this analysis even though it is in the best positition to do so. But my guess, and I think it is a very good guess, is that the rate of breakthroughs is at least twice that of reinfections, and you can draw the obvious conclusion–you get better protection from being infected than you do from being vaccinated. Which is another obvious reason to not apply a vaccine mandate to those previously infected, if at all.
And Minnesota is lapping Sweden in the per capita deaths category, as we are at 1548 per million and Sweden at a paltry 1475. Hmmm, which government had the more absurd attempts to suppress the virus? Which place would you rather have resided in for the past 18 months?