If we are going to experience some massive Omicron wave in Minnesota, it sure hasn’t started showing up in the case data yet, and it seem to be doing so in some other states.
I also just want to say a few words about hospital capacity and use in Minnesota, which is the number one concern raised by officials, probably correctly, although I would like to see some equal level of concern about what we have done and are doing to kids’ educational and social development and their mental health. We are almost two years into this. The state of Minnesota has received billions and billions of dollars of federal money. Hospital capacity has been stated as an issue since the start. Yet somehow we have lower capacity now than we had at the beginning of the epidemic and we still have some supply issues. How can this level of incompetence in planning and execution exist, even in government? How could you not anticipate burnout issues? And it was a completely forseeable consequence of vaccine mandates that you would lose staff and further impair capacity. So I have no sympathy for government officials who whine about capacity–they had all the money they needed to address it and should have done so months ago, and they should have been more thoughtful about how to maintain staff, not just at hospitals but at step-down and skilled nursing facilities. Just inexcusable. If we have a crisis, it is one caused solely by the Governor and DOH.
And a word of caution about masks, which I am noticing people wearing in increasing numbers again, likely due to Moronic terrorism. If masks didn’t stop community spread of Delta, and they didn’t, how would they possibly stop the spread of this new uber-transmissible strain? If you think a mask protects you, you are delusional.
Finally, our (fill in the blank adjective) DOH releases a statement on the holidays, encouraging us all to have a wonderful time while being terrified of the Moronic variant. Test constantly, preferably in between each course of a meal, wear eight masks at all times, including between bites, refuse to be within ten miles of an unvaxed person (how did that work out for the IB?), etc. The usual joyless, terrorizing crap. (DOH Statement)
Here is a study on early hospitalization risk from Moronic strain infections, done by the Imperial College in the UK. Imperial College is most noted for its early doomsday modeling of the epidemic which led to worldwide shutdowns. In any event, the early data from the UK suggests a very low case rate of hospitalization for Moronic infections, but again, I would caution that as the study demonstrates, this is largely a vaccine/prior infection effect. The unvaxed/uninfected appear to have only a slightly reduced rate of hospitalization for Moronic compared to Delta. Prior infection appears to be more protective than vaccination. (IC Study)
This study from the CDC examined relative vaccine effectiveness in preventing Alpha or Delta infections. The study says that there was almost twice the risk of a Delta infection following vaccination than an Alpha one, but not clear to me that the role of time since vaccination was adequately taken into account. Delta breakthrus on average had only slightly higher cycle numbers from PCR tests. (CDC Paper)
Latest UK vaccine report, same old, same old. Falling effectiveness against infection, stays strong against hospitalization and death. Continuing suggestion that boosters may be improving effectiveness against infection in the elderly. Moronic impact unclear. (UK Report)
A lot of testing going on in the US. This paper took testing results from retail pharmacy and other locations and assessed vaccine effectiveness based on vax status of those tested. Like every other study, effectiveness against infection looks great at first and then falls. And this study completely fails to address prior infection, which could lead to under or over-estimates of vax effectiveness. (JAMA Study)
This study from Puerto Rico examined different regimens for the booster. Mixing vaccine types or not seemed to provide similar increases in the immune response. The followup period was only two months, but no lessening was seen in that period. (Medrxiv Paper)
For those of you who want me to do more summaries on treatments, here is a remdesivir study showing that early use does limit hospitalization risk and likelihood of death. (NEJM Article)
This paper I think is only telling us what was already apparent, that the virus must spread quickly and primarily by airborne aerosols. It tracked spread in a nursing home in Belgium. Oh, but here is an interesting tidbit, wearing a mask was associated with a greater likelihood of being infected. (Medrxiv Paper)
It was apparent early on that one of the problems with the models of the epidemic was failure to take into account variability in susceptibility to infection and infectiousness. This is a pre-pandemic paper by one of the modelers who did take that variability into account. The paper gives an explanation of why this factor is important. (PLOS Paper)
And another paper from one of the authors of the previous one, explaining why it is common for modelers to overestimate the effects of an intervention. (Arvix Paper)