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I Am Done With Coronamonomania, Part 4

By April 8, 2024Commentary

It is fairly common knowledge that drug overdoses rose rapidly during the epidemic.  Less well known is that alcohol-related deaths rose as well.  Annual deaths increased from about 139,000 in 2016 and 2017 to 178,000 in 2020 and 2021, about a 30% increase.  These “deaths of despair” are directly attributable to the lockdown effects of social isolation, increased anxiety and lessened access to health care.  (CDC Study)

This study found similar symptoms is some people who had received CV-19 vaccinations as those with “long CV-19”, apparently due to excessive responsiveness of some immune cells to residual presence of spike proteins.  (Medrxiv Paper)

If a vaccine has side effects, one aspect of the decision of whether or not to get that vaccine is the extent to which the same effects may occur as a result of infection with the pathogen and whether the vaccine will actually prevent infection or more serious disease.  Even if the pathogen had far higher rates of the event, if the vaccine doesn’t prevent infection leading to the event, it may not be helpful.  This article examined the risk of blood clotting.  The researchers, using a very large data set from England, found that in the month after CV-19 infection, rates of clotting, and other cardiovascular events were higher than in an uninfected cohort, and were higher in unvaccinated persons than vaxed ones.   Rates were also much higher in the infected group than has been reported as a result of vaccination.  (Nature Article)

One reason the vaccines were not terribly effective is because, like most respiratory viruses, CV-19 mutated very quickly.  There are a large number of coronaviruses, so developing a vaccine against all of them is difficult.  But this study from Korea finds that persons infected with MERS, another coronavirus, in 2015, had an antibody reaction to CV-19 and the researchers identified some common segments of the viral DNA across multiple coronaviruses.  This can aid in development of a more universal vaccine.  (Science Study)

And this research demonstrates how quickly CV-19 vax effectiveness fades.  Among persons in England who had received the most recent boosters, in the fall of 2023 there was no protection against infection by the then prevailing variant.  (Medrxiv Paper)

This study from Northwestern University examined the role of various morbidities in vaccine effectiveness during the Omicron period.  The researchers looked at infection rates for persons with at least one booster and compared those with one or more chronic diseases to those with none.  Interestingly, in general older people had a lower risk of infection, probably because they have fewer contacts.  Taking everything into account, having chronic diseases, especially multiple chronic diseases, substantially raises the risk of becoming infected.  It is likely the study does not adequately take into account prior infections, nor did likely pick up all infections during the study period, given that many people relied on home testing or simply didn’t worry about whether they were infected.    (Medrxiv Paper)



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