Another excellent study from Qatar on relative levels of population immunity from infection or vaccination, and the protective effect of either. The end conclusion is important, we are basically at an endemic state with this virus, whereby neither prior infection nor vax keeps us from getting another exposure and infection, but the body is smart enough to not waste time on a strong immune response, given that the health threat from the virus is very low. Also note the continuing evidence that immune response from infection is far better than that from vax. (Medrxiv Study)
And while the authors try to minimize the finding, this is yet another study indicating that prior infection has a superior protective effect against a subsequent re-infection compared to vaccination. (Lancet Study)
More face mask effectiveness debunking in a study from Finland. In that country face masks were mandated for school children 12 and over, and some schools required them for even younger ages. This study looked at case levels among different ages depending on the face mask policy. As always, these kinds of studies are subject to many confounders and sources of bias, but the results suggest that mandating face masks made no difference in case levels. (FM Study)
Because the geniuses in our public health establishments and our politicians (who no one could confuse with a genius) decided to shut down in-person schooling during the epidemic, educational attainment, as reflected in test scores, dropped greatly. On average, in the following school year, which was largely in-person, test scores recovered only 20% in verbal scores and 37% in math scores. The epidemic response was a disaster for children. (NBER Paper)
Vaccines have side effects. CV-19 vaccines, some of the most widely used ever, have side effects. One such side effect is Bell’s Palsy, which is a kind of facial muscle paralysis or malfunction, generally cause by neerve inflammation. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found a somewhat higher rate of Bell’s Palsy in vaccine recipients than in the general population. But the rate was far higher among people who had a CV-19 infection. (JAMA Study)
Yet another paper on excess deaths from the Ionnaidis group. This study focussed on what might have been correlated with excess deaths. As you would expect, countries with lower income and more poverty had more deaths, as those factors are generally correlated with poorer general health, leading to greater susceptibility to any infectious agent. Since the US has a large population of poorer persons, it had a high excess death rate, particularly among the non-elderly. But the US also had an increase in overdose deaths and deaths due to missed health care. Children had fewer deaths than projected by the baseline, due to low threat from CV-19 and absence of flu deaths. (Medrxiv Paper)
An interesting article on the challenges of doing good observational studies on vaccine effectiveness. The authors describe a potential method of avoiding those issues and give results from two variations of this approach. Both show what other study methods have–while the vaccines may have an initial period of effectiveness, that lessens substantially within a few months. (Annals Article)
This study from California states the obvious–the epidemic response of scaring the shit out of people and locking them in their homes was bad for mental health, especially among younger adults. (Medrxiv Paper)
Trying to figure out if face masks, or any other behavioral intervention, were effective is especially tricky because anyone who engages in a certain behavior may be disproportionately prone to engage in other behaviors which impact the outcome being studied. These researchers looked at studies of whether face mask wearing changed other behaviors, like going out in public more, that might have affected likelihood of being infected. The studies are basically inconclusive on that topic, demonstrating that it is impossible to generate a causal relationship between one single behavior and a particular outcome. Another reason to completely distrust nonsense about the value of mask-wearing, or plastic shields, or school closures or staying six feet apart or any other garbage epidemic restrictions. (Medrxiv Paper)
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Your observation that “the body is smart enough to not waste time on a strong immune response, given that the health threat from the virus is very low.” is very astute. I always think that Mother Nature is a lazy mother – she does things with the minimum amount of energy. One reason being that there is only so much entropy in the universe, and that the less we “use” of it, the longer the universe will last.
Notice – in 2 years, there will be a memorial for the last usage of natural gas on planet earth. Expect Mother Nature to exert her wrath on the perpetra(i)tors of that stupid decision.