Mortality statistics, particularly excess deaths, are having their moment in the sun. Who knew there could be such interest in such a gloomy topic. We aren’t done exploring the issue for Minnesota. It is complex here and anywhere to understand how what actually happened might have been different in the absence of the epidemic and the response to the epidemic. People keep putting out research, some of which is obviously slanted to meet a specific narrative, like the CV-19 death toll was even higher than the reported statistics, the response to the epidemic caused lots of deaths, the vax are killing people, etc. Some is far better quality and explores multiple methods for establishing trends and changes.
These two studies fall in the bucket of ones designed to promote a political narrative. They come from the same group of authors, who are clearly government-line bobos. The first study examined state level excess mortality in general. The supposed association was between vaccination rates and excess deaths. By now everyone who actually wants to look at the data knows that at best the vax delay getting infected or having serious disease, as any effectiveness disappears quite quickly. But if you play with the data enough and ignore confounding factors, you can come with the answer that fits your desired outcome. Among other failures, the authors did not use a long enough baseline trend, did not even attempt to identify the impact of undetected infections, did not look at death trends by cause, muddled age groups, and so on. Most importantly, they made no effort to adjust by state for socioeconomic, demographic or health status factors, which can vary widely. They divide the study period into predominant variant waves and acknowledge that by Omnicron even with their tortured methodology there was no association between vax and “excess” deaths. A complete hack job. (Medrxiv Study)
And the primary study by the authors has all the same flaws. Really pathetic to even call this research. Focussing on the Delta and Omicron periods, they basically claim that states with lower excess deaths, which they don’t calculate properly to begin with, had more vax and better adherence to mitigation behaviors. No evidence is presented for that claim, and zero adjustment for a myriad of factors clearly shown to influence mortality, from CV-19 and other factors. (Medrxiv Paper)
It gets old making the same point over and over, but the response to the epidemic, especially the fear campaign promoted by tyrants like our Incompetent Blowhard, caused people to miss a lot of needed care, led to worsened disease and outcomes. This large study from the VA finds a substantial drop in patients showing up with heart attack symptoms and procedures designed to help prevent or ameliorate damage from heart attacks. This drop in turn led to higher fatality rates from heart attacks. (Medrxiv Paper)
CV-19 can hang around for quite a while and keep replicating in the lungs, which leads to increased risk of pulmonary function issues. The study was done on lung tissue in people who died from CV-19, so not surprising that they had difficulty clearing the virus, which was replicating for up to four weeks post acute infection. (Medrxiv Study)
How is a reinfection different from the initial infection, in terms of amount of virus present and length of time for viable virus to exist? That was the question examined in this study. It found that, as you would expect, second infections had both lower levels of virus and quicker clearance. (Medrxiv Paper)
Finally, I don’t give a crap about these studies but some people seem fascinated with them. Another paper on how to improve wastewater monitoring as a way to track epidemic progress. What is especially notable here is the suggestion that detected infections were only about a fourth of the actual number of infections. (Medrxiv Paper) Another study from Scotland also discusses wastewater sampling, if you are in a crappy mood and need something to read while on the toilet. (Medrxiv Paper)