DOH is slowly catching up on the backlog of positive test results, all of which seem to be turning into cases. No change in the 1/10 to 1/11 peak and the very rapid decline thereafter, subject to the usual caveat that no one knows what DOH has floating around in its cavernous facilities. And we are back to getting some weird dates of death, this week we saw a January 2021 and a few others from months ago.
As promised, a second dump of research summaries. Should have an updated national look at cases up soon and Omicron is clearly rapidly receding. Whether or not the politicians will then declare victory and release us all from the CV-19 obsession is unknown.
The Cochrane Institute is a gold standard organization for evaluation of health care policy and interventions. They published a review of the research on whether border closures and travel restrictions actually limited CV-19 transmission. As universally seems to be the case, there really is no solid evidence that these measures have any meaningful effect. A huge lesson from this epidemic should be that there has been a constant barrage of restrictions which had no evidentiary base, and still don’t even after implementation have any support in solid, credible research. Distrust of “science” is at an all-time high because our experts have clearly succumbed to political ideology and pressure rather than upholding the integrity of the research process. (Cochrane Report)
And the whole panoply of restrictions lumped under the term lockdowns has been demonstrated to be worthless and to likely inflict more damage than they prevent. Here is yet another study coming to that conclusion, from Johns Hopkins University. It did a meta-review of other studies with a focus on impact on mortality, finding there wasn’t one. (Lockdown Study)
This study states what has become relatively obvious, the vaccines, even with a booster, don’t substantially impede Omicron infection. The paper finds that this is in contrast to Delta, against which the vaccines appeared more effective. (Medrxiv Paper)
A CDC-published paper on relative utilization and outcome as Omicron became widespread. It’s the CDC, so don’t expect design or analytic rigor. The headline is that while absolute numbers of Omicron cases and hospitalizations is high, the rate of severe outcomes and other indicators of severity have declined. No discussion of the incidental hospitalization issue. The CDC made no effort to identify vaxed versus unvaxed sub-populations and we know the reason for that–they don’t want the public to see how many events are in the vaxed. (CDC Study)
Qatar has done a lot of good research during the epidemic, including a series on vaccine effectiveness. The latest study extends the period of follow-up and continues to find that while effectiveness against infection definitely lessens substantially, it remains very robust against hospitalization and death. (NEJM Study)
It appears that mixing vaccine types may generate a stronger response than sticking with one type. (NEJM Article)
This study, which was sponsored by Moderna, shows that the two-dose vaccine regimen was not very effective at preventing Omicron infection, and that while a third dose generates a strong rise in neutralizing activity, it too begins to wane in a few months. (NEJM Article)
It is established that the mRNA vaccines are associated with an increase in myocarditis, especially in younger males. CV-19 infection also may be associated with such an increase, so both would need to be considered in a risk/benefit assessment of vaccination of younger males especially. This article contends that great care needs to be taken in identifying supposed cases of myocarditis linked to CV-19 infection as misdiagnosis appears frequent. (Myo. Article)
On the other hand this updated study from Israel finds a lower rate of myocarditis associated with vaccination than the earlier studies from the same country did. (Medrxiv Paper)