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Coronamonomania Lives Forever, Part 191

By February 9, 2023Commentary

Lockdowns were not just futile, but extremely costly along multiple dimensions.  To see this full paper you have to pay for it, but basically, while the authors attempt to avoid being critical, it points out both the futility and the excessive cost of lockdowns.  While the authors claim that a nationwide lockdown would have reduced cases by 60% shortly after the epidemic started, they ignore the fact that this would obviously have been merely a deferral, not an actual elimination of cases.   And I disagree with the conclusion that lockdowns did reduce infections.  The authors used a design that fails to account for a number of confounders.  I don’t think there is any sensible person who at this point could deny that nothing was going to prevent basically everyone from becoming infected and all the costs incurred from lockdowns were essentially pointless.  Would have been a lot less worse if we had just let it run from the start.  The cost of saving one case, that is right, one case, by use of lockdowns was $28,000.  Since the infection fatality rate we know now is maybe 1 in every 1000 people infected, that means it cost $28 million dollars to prevent a death, most of which occurred in frail old people near death.  One final interesting result of the study is the finding that Governors decisions about lockdowns had nothing to do with the extent of the epidemic in their state or any data or research, but rather was linked to political affiliation and what was done in other states, particularly other states governed by the same political party.  (Lockdown Study)

Another review looks at a number of studies on the consequences of lockdowns.  The focus is on vulnerable populations, which under current progressive definitions is the vast majority of the population.  Be that as it may, the examination of over 250 pieces of research finds substitutional evidence that the lockdowns worsened the economic situation, the mental health and the social circumstances of these vulnerable populations.  (Nature Article)

And here is a specific example of a serious issue that was impacted by the terror campaign which kept people from seeking needed care.  Atrial fibrillation is a somewhat common heart problem and has the potential to cause strokes and other cardiovascular issues.  Using a large claims database, the researchers found that atrial fibrillation diagnoses decreased by 35% during the epidemic.  This almost certainly led to an increase in deaths.  (AF Study)

And the hits keep coming, this study from England finds that a large proportion of the population, 35%, experienced a significant disruption in their health care, and among that group, the risk of a subsequent hospitalization that could have been avoided was far higher than the risk among people whose care wasn’t disrupted.  If you don’t believe that the primary cause of any excess deaths is missed care, you are just ignoring the vast body of research that will grow and grow over the next few years. (Medrxiv Paper)

And similarly a review of studies on breast cancer screening during the epidemic found significant variation in changes in countries around the world, but a general trend of a decline in screening rates, including in the US.  (Medrxiv Paper)

One good thing that has come from the epidemic is a greater effort to understand the complexity of the immune response to respiratory viruses.  Antibodies are produced by B cells and there is a subset called memory B cells that are responsible for recognizing attempted reinfections and production of antibodies to fight that re-infection.  Respiratory viruses mutate frequently, and the initial B cell response often doesn’t either recognize new variants very well or produce antibodies that fight those strains effectively.  Hence lots of breakthrough infections.  But memory B cells can modify themselves and the antibodies they produce.  This study describes that process and how it works in vaccinated individuals who then have an Omicron infection.  One clear takeaway, once again, is that natural immunity from infections, or multiple infections, tends to be much better than a vax-derived one.  (Medrxiv Study)

Finally here is another crappy study from the bowels of the research community on using wastewater to track the epidemic.  It describes various methodologies and gives a sense of the difficulty in ensuring accuracy of such methods.  (Medrxiv Paper)

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