Just as happened during Thanksgiving last year, we are having a re-climb of cases. This is purely testing driven. Around holidays all the ludicrous asymptomatic testing for school, work, health care, etc. stops, so cases drop. When the holiday period ends, people have to do that stupid testing again and cases rise. All due to using PCR tests that can’t really tell if someone is infected or infectious. I keep saying this and it is definitely true–this epidemic would get managed a lot more rationally if we didn’t use PCR testing. Have a post up soon on this, with charts, but clear to me that it is more testing that leads to more “cases”, not vice versa.
And amidst the Moronic variant hubbub, people keep saying well it is much more transmissible, but less serious, with no real evidence that it is more transmissible. And people keep saying it is not stopped by prior infection or vaccines. I have tried since near the start of this endless epidemic to explain in careful detail the need to think simplistically but thoroughly about how the interaction between a human and the virus works. You can’t stop exposure, unless you want to go to the moon, (but see the recent story about the cold outbreak in Antarctica after months of isolation). Masks certainly don’t stop exposure. When you are exposed, there will for some period of time be virus in your upper respiratory tract. Your immune system may start disabling these quickly, so you may also have fragments. You may have inhaled fragments. If you are swabbed and tested, you are going to be “positive”. But for what? Actual viable virus? Fragments? PCR is a “dumb” test–it has no idea what it is calling positive. Culturing is a “smart” test. There either is live virus that replicated or there isn’t. So suggesting that adaptive immunity, whether from infection or vaccination, isn’t working against a virus because you test positive on a PCR test is completely illogical. ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY DOES NOT STOP EXPOSURE! IT MIGHT STOP INFECTION. IT WILL HELP LIMIT SERIOUS DISEASE.
I live in a somewhat tony Minneapolis suburb called Edina. The city council and school board have been taken over by whacko progressives who are steadily ruining the school system and the city. School achievement is down, crime is up. A typical result of progressive governance. Anyway, it was revealed that the epidemiologist, and this guy is a complete hack who obviously couldn’t get a job elsewhere, who consults with the Edina schools, while publicly pushing masks, in private acknowledges that they make no difference. (Mask Story)
The US has a Surgeon General, I have no idea why, but this person is supposed to be looking out for public health. Vivek Murthy is his name and he is a jackass and buffoon. Last spring he said parents should mask their children in the home. For the holidays he suggests everyone test every ten minutes and wear masks and don’t get within ten miles of each other, but hey, have a good time. He is on the far end of whacko safetyism. But even he has to recognize the damage this insanity is doing, especially to children. Here is his report on what has happened to children’s mental health as a result of school closures and constant terrorism about the virus. (SG Report)
Okay, yet another good study, even better than yesterday’s, comparing the protective effective of prior infection versus vaccination or a combination of the two. These studies are actually very easy to do, they are pure records matching. All they miss is undetected infections, of which there may be quite a few, but it probably is a somewhat safe assumption that the undetected infections are relatively similar in all subgroups. The study comes from Israel, which as a small country with a well-organized health system has pretty good data. As they should be, infection rates were calculated as a function of time from either prior infection and/or vaccination. The headline finding is that while protection from a prior infection declines over time, it remains much stronger than does protection from vaccination alone. And being vaxed after infection provides a high level of protection. I strongly encourage you to read this paper. (Medrxiv Paper)
This article from Canada reviews the research on lockdowns, which generally finds that they provided little benefit in limiting transmission. (Canada Article)
This study looked at the response to vaccination in the German population. mRNA vaccines had a far stronger response than did non-mRNA ones, but the antibody levels in circulation tended to peak after 28 days. People with prior infection had much stronger responses to vax than did those with no prior infection. (Medrxiv Paper)
Also from Germany, an autopsy study comparing vaxed and unvaxed persons who supposedly died from CV-19. Almost all were older with significant other disease, including immune system compromising ones. Vaxed deceased persons tended to have greater viral presence throughout their bodies. They also had higher viral loads. This isn’t caused by vaccination but is a selection feature in which those vulnerable after vax are persons with serious illnesses. At the time of the study, only 14% of deaths in the region were in the vaxed population, a much lower rate than among the unvaxed group. (Medrxiv Paper)
A lot of transmission occurs in the home and among families. Does vaccination affect this level of transmission? According to this research from Sweden, the more persons who had been vaccinated or had a prior infection in a household, the less likely that people in the household without either form of immunity would become infected. It is progress that the study recognizes the prior infection may also have a protective effect on transmission dynamics. (JAMA Article)
There is always a lot of talk about circulating antibody levels in regard to measurement of adaptive immunity from infection or vax, but the likely more important measure is the level of memory B cells, which produce antibodies, or memory T cells. This research looked at the persistence of certain T cells following acute CV-19 infection. It found that memory T cells were present in abundant levels and remained long after the infection resolved. (Nature Article)
And here is another article from Nature describing in some detail the process by which memory B cells are created and work. (Nature Article)