Managing personal Covid risk

by Javier

My perspectives on managing personal Covid risk, based upon my knowledge of microbiology, genetics, immunology, cancer, and neurobiology.

1. My credentials

I started my scientific career doing research on a virus in the early 80s. It was an interesting bacteriophage called phi29. A paper published in 1986 included my work with that virus. Afterwards I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and proceeded to acquire, over the next few decades, a good knowledge of microbiology, genetics, immunology, cancer, and neurobiology, by conducting research on those subjects in three countries.

It was with that knowledge that I raised the alert about a new epidemic likely to become a pandemic on January, 31st 2020 with an article in my blog in Spanish: “Scenarios and consequences of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic

It describes three possible scenarios, and how to protect oneself from the pandemic, a full month before most governments did anything about it. In the end, the result was somewhat between the intermediate and worst-case scenarios I considered. If you are curious about it, you can translate it. Many of my readers thought I was being very alarmist. Had I been in charge, or chief advisor to those in charge, I would have handled the pandemic very differently, perhaps saving tens of thousands of lives in my country and reducing economic damage. We talk a lot about being resilient, yet at the first serious test in decades we have demonstrated a lot more fragility than we expected.

On February, 25th 2020, a full two weeks before my government did anything about the coming pandemic, and before the virus was discovered in my country (it was already here), I published my final warning: “Coronavirus scenario 2: Enemy at the gates

In it (translate it if you wish) I warned that the virus was airborne (aerosols), a full 5 months before my government recognized it, and 14 months before the WHO did it. I also said that eradication of the disease was already nearly impossible, so the disease was likely to become endemic. Something that was been recognized by my country in January 2021.

On April, 20th 2020, before the issue became widely discussed by the media, I analyzed the evidence that pointed to an accidental release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology: “Possible release of the coronavirus from a Chinese laboratory

That was my opinion at the time when it was improper to say so, and it is my opinion today.

Those are my credentials. I saw it coming. I knew what was going to happen. I understood the nature of the disease. I could do very little except warn my readers, family, and friends. There have been no COVID casualties among those close to me and I like to think that listening to me helped them keep safe. I watched in horror as the pandemic developed like a slow-moving train wreck. We will be suffering the social and economic consequences for years.

2. The nature of the disease

There are two types of immunity: innate immunity and acquired (adaptive) immunity. When we face a new infective disease that is unrelated to any disease or vaccine we’ve had before, only innate immunity can help us. Innate immunity is strong in very young children and virtually non-existent in very old people as it decays with age and immunosenescence. That takes us to the nature of the problem.

SARS-CoV-2 is not the cause of COVID. The cause of COVID is an improper reaction of the immune system to SARS-CoV-2 infection. This is demonstrated by the huge amount of asymptomatic infected people, and by the chronic infection without deleterious effect of immunosuppressed people. See for example: “Long-Term Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in an Immunocompromised Patient with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,” for a patient infected for over 6 months.

It is not the virus what will put you in hospital, but the inability of your immune system to properly handle the infection. The improper reaction to the infection is due to it being a new disease, so it must be dealt with by innate immunity. The body can support a huge viral load without developing symptoms. This is known from the existence of asymptomatic super-spreaders. However, lack of proper innate immunity reaction might result in strong inflammatory and cytokine responses that can kill the patient. That’s why COVID patients in hospital are treated with corticosteroids that are immunosuppressants, besides being anti-inflammatory.

Omicron is about 10 times less dangerous than previous variants because it is a predominantly upper respiratory tract resident, less likely to trigger a strong improper immune reaction. In exchange, there are less asymptomatic people, as most infected ones develop cold-like symptoms. This is the first wave that we can get with an acceptable level of risk. But that is a personal decision.

Regarding the nature of the disease, I’ve had to confront three successive myths about respiratory viruses. Early on was the idea that the arrival of the warm season would help with the disease by preventing summer waves. Although it is not exactly known why some viruses display strong seasonality, it seems to be a combination of environmental factors, human behavior, and temporary herd immunity locked to the annual cycle. For a largely naive population there was nothing that could prevent a summer wave, and so I said in May 2020 before it took place during that summer in Spain, to the dismay of our tourism industry. It might take a few years for SARS-CoV-2 to develop flu-like seasonality. The strong Christmas Omicron wave in Europe is a step in that direction.

Another myth was herd immunity. I never bought into the idea that this applied to a rapidly mutating RNA virus. Additionally, the experience with the other four human coronaviruses is that people can get infected every year. The viruses don’t induce long-lasting immunity. I couldn’t understand how entire countries developed their strategy around that faulty concept. In my country it was clearly another government lie to convince people to get the vaccine, because this is well known by experts. My government said the problem would be over if we reached 60% vaccination. No “expert” dared to contradict them in public. We passed 80% vaccination rate and then had the biggest wave in the pandemic.

The third myth is that viruses evolve to cause less damage to the host. Anybody that has read the excellent and prophetic 2014 book “Spillover” by David Quammen (highly recommended) knows that viruses don’t care about their food’s well-being:

“The first rule of a successful parasite … [is not] ‘Don’t kill your host.’ It’s: ‘Don’t burn your bridges until after you’ve crossed them.’”

HIV has been with us for over 60 years, and it is still almost 100% lethal, because the untreated average survival time is 11 years, providing the virus ample opportunities to cross its bridges. Nothing guarantees that future SARS-CoV-2 variants will be less harmful. That said, the likely evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is towards causing less damage because to outcompete other variants the logical path is to migrate to the upper respiratory tract, as Omicron has done, to become more contagious. Upper respiratory tract infections are generally less dangerous than lower respiratory tract infections.

3. My personal experience

I was fully vaccinated with Pfizer in June 2021, my strategy was to have my vitamin D levels way up and catch Omicron through a relaxation of preventive measures in the midst of a strong wave in Spain during Christmas. I could not get it on purpose because I don’t live alone and this is not a decision that can be taken for other people, as there are significant risks involved. But if you let youngsters do what they want to do, they will bring it home. I developed my first symptoms on January 5. I was taking vitamin A, C, and D, and I started taking Polaramine (antihistamine) to reduce my immune response. As I said, the main problem is the immune system, not the virus. I was also doing throat washes with Listerine and diluted hydrogen peroxide every few hours to reduce viral load near its center of action. The lower the viral load the lower the risk. Despite that, when the infection was receding, I had elevated blood pressure for a few days, together with fatigue. I think the high blood pressure was due to a decrease in blood oxygen levels, but I didn’t have it checked since the national health system was under a lot of stress and I know how to reduce my blood pressure through intermittent fasting and exercise. My symptoms completely disappeared in two weeks and I am now completely recovered and naturally immunized.

Under no circumstances is this to be construed as a recommendation to voluntarily get COVID. It is a dangerous disease. Every responsible adult should manage their health risk as any other aspect of their life. This is discussed in section 5 below. And it is very important that if you get COVID you make sure you are a dead-end to the virus by not infecting anybody, through following the recommended quarantine instructions from your health authorities.

To me the COVID story has ended. I will keep my vitamin D levels high between equinoxes and the winter solstice and will not get any more shots regardless of what the “experts” and governments or the WHO might say.

4. The RNA vaccines

The RNA vaccines have a level of risk that would be unacceptable under different circumstances. They have a significant toxicity level. The lipid nanoparticle platform they use is highly inflammatory, which could be related to the vaccine side-effects, but necessary for its immune action. People that die from the vaccine can go very fast. A close friend of mine is a pharmacist, and he had a 35-year-old person come to his pharmacy the same day of his vaccination feeling very bad, he was dead the next day. Some of the deaths have been linked to thrombocytopenia, low blood platelet count. In most cases post-vaccine deaths affect elderly frail people often with co-morbidities. The chief pathologist at Heidelberg University, Peter Schirmacher, urged more autopsies of recently vaccinated people that died and was severely criticized for such a reasonable suggestion. Clearly the authorities want to underplay vaccination risks.

The reported number of deaths from the vaccine is very low, about 8 per million, much lower than the number of deaths from COVID, and even much lower than background deaths. Nevertheless, the small risk of dying is not the only risk from the new vaccines.

I don’t like the RNA nature of these vaccines. The number of modified-RNA containing lipid nanoparticles in a single shot is huge, in the same order of magnitude as the number of cells in our body. Instead of being delivered to the mucosa, like the virus, they are unevenly distributed throughout the body by the lymphatic and circulatory systems (the liver appears to be a preferred target), where they get into the wrong cells and mark them for destruction by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. The issue of improper COVID vaccine tissue tropism and its safety concerns is rarely raised. I feared from the beginning that over time quite a lot of people might develop autoimmune diseases from it, and it is already happening: “New-onset autoimmune phenomena post-COVID-19 vaccination.”

Getting an autoimmune disease from the vaccine is for life and much worse than COVID for most people. One might develop an autoimmune disease from the vaccine years after getting the shot. Every additional shot increases the risk. There is a false sense of security in people going for additional vaccine immunizations.

It makes no sense to vaccinate children (with some exceptions) because it doesn’t help them and it doesn’t help society. The risk of developing future effects is unacceptable at that age. Repeated vaccinations with RNA vaccines are likely to have more negative than positive effects. Old people might need annual shots to manage their much higher risk. Hopefully better, safer vaccines will be developed in the future.

5. Managing personal COVID risk

Risk management is the process of identification and assessment of risks, and development of strategies to reduce and manage the identified risks. The strategies to manage risk include avoiding the risk, reducing its negative effect, and accepting some or all its consequences. Risk aversion might not be the optimal strategy if it incurs a large cost of opportunity. Being a responsible adult means accepting the responsibility for managing life risks. Transferring that responsibility to a government or organization might not be a good way of managing some risks.

In the case of COVID, risk management indicates the best strategy for any adult is to get vaccinated to have some acquired immunity when they get the disease. The risk from the vaccine is thousands of times lower than the risk from infection for anybody older than 45. Only stupid old people face the infection without having been vaccinated with the two shots. Some acquired immunity from the vaccine is much better than none. A true life and death difference for many.

Unless one is prepared to live like a hermit we must all accept that sooner or later we will be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the same way we all get colds and the flu. Very old and frail people, and people with serious pre-conditions might want to delay that moment as much as possible and keep vaccinating every winter if they perceive than their risk from COVID must be avoided at all cost.

For the rest, particularly for people younger than 65 without pre-conditions there are a lot of options to manage COVID risk:

A) Before you get it

– Keep your vitamin D levels high at all times. It is a very important regulator of the immune system. Sunbathing for a limited time 3-4 times a week is the best way. Take supplements and/or get it in the diet when you cannot go outside frequently.

– Lead a healthy lifestyle. Reduce your weight, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation wrecks the immune system, as does undernutrition.

– Consider resetting your immune system through 2-3 days of fasting once or twice a year, but do not get infected while fasting. Many useless immune cells get cleared during deep fasting sharpening our immune response afterwards.

– Choose when to get infected. Maximal effect from a vaccine shot is obtained 2-3 weeks after, and then it starts decaying and in only two months it is very much reduced. Some parents used to get their kids exposed to chickenpox to make sure they were protected by the mild form of the disease during childhood.

B) Once you get it

If you develop symptoms and suspect you’ve got COVID, or test positive, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk.

– Take plenty of vitamin D, C, and A, and drink plenty of liquids. Zinc and selenium supplements are also helpful.

– Wash your throat (gargles) with an antiseptic every few hours to reduce viral load. A 1-1.5% hydrogen peroxide solution also works well since it attacks proteins in the viral membrane.

– Take Polaramine (2 mg twice a day) or some other antihistamine to reduce the risk of an improper immune response. Read the prospect to see if you can take it safely or follow your doctor’s advice.

There are several other recommendations that you might follow, but these are no-regrets measures that should not cause you any harm.

As I said above, this is not a recommendation to voluntarily get COVID. It is a serious disease with potentially lethal consequences. Everybody will have to manage their own risk. How your immune system has behaved in the past gives you an important clue. People that tend to pass infectious respiratory diseases with little problem have much better chances. Mine is just average. Of the four people at home that got infected, my case was the worst. But I did not require any medical treatment.

Take responsibility for your own health and stop looking up at your government for directions. Your government is not your friend. It never has been, it never will be.

The help of Andy May in correcting this article’s English language is gratefully acknowledged.

609 responses to “Managing personal Covid risk

  1. Maybe you should read the references, via the links, given in the RNA section.

  2. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience Javier.

    • Javier should be on Joe Rogan’s Next Guest short list , because :

      “SARS-CoV-2 is not the cause of COVID. The cause of COVID is an improper reaction of the immune system to SARS-CoV-2 infection”

      is a worthy successor to Jordan Peterson’s assertion that:

      “There is no such thing as climate”

      https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2022/01/cimate-nihilism-20-rogan-and-peterson.html

      • Never heard of Josh Rogan let alone listened to him but read this in your link

        “While weather forecasts do become less accurate the further out they go, this was a different process to climate modelling.”

        Perhaps we should start using accurate 100 year long climate models to replace inaccurate 3 day long weather forecasts?

        tonyb

      • Tony

        “ Never heard of Josh Rogan let alone listened to him but read this in your link”

        Neither had I until a couple of weeks ago when my son, thinking he was going to make fun of his old man and assuming I knew him, brought Rogan up by making some disparaging remarks about him. I now see him mentioned all over the place. It’s great fun watching all the leftwing extremists pile on, apparently seeing him as Rush Limbaugh reincarnate.

        But the most fun is watching their actions to censor Rogan and anyone else who they disagree with. The left’s first instinct is to silence any dissenting voices. Not unlike Stalin, Mao and the Bohemian Corporal. And now the corpulent one north of the 38th parallel.

        Dissent is the cornerstone of democracy. Censorship is the cornerstone of tyranny.

      • If you ignorant about what Javier is talking about who should do some research instead of posting political nonsense. Start with the cause of death during the 1918 pandemic. Investigate why young healthy people who so severely impacted, and look up the term cytokine storm.

      • There is truth and justification in Peterson’s statement “there is no climate”, some of which is ironic. The primary fact behind this is that it is the phrase “climate change” that is perhaps the most imbecilic and meaningless phrase ever uttered in hominid symbolic language, ever. It betrays pure ignorance not only of what climate is, but what the universe is. Like most natural systems climate is chaotic and driven by powerful internal nonlinear dynamics. So by its fundamental nature it is always changing. Ed Lorenz showed this in the only useful climate computer simulation ever to have been made, in 1962, where he demonstrated “deterministic nonperiodic flow”. It is always changing, and changing by itself. Putting “change” after climate is redundant and tautological, it adds no meaning that was not already present in the word “climate”.

        So Jordan Peterson is correct that if “climate” means the mythical garden-of-Eden perfect climate that never changed until right wing humankind bit down on the apple of industry and carbon, the element with the number of the beast – then yes; he is right, this “climate” does not exist.

      • I heard a host on CNBC say this morning that he believed Rogan is a significant factor in having so many unvaccinated people in the US.

        This seems to be a little extreme but I am curious about what others think about the statement.

      • IMO the most significant factor in having so many un-vaccinated in the USA is official misinformation. The chattering class in government and the media have be-clowned themselves since the very beginning of this pandemic. If they had discussed honestly the facts, risks, and benefits of vaccinations, masks, room ventilation, herd immunity etc. from the beginning…as Javier has done here, then I don’t think there would have been as much vaccine hesitancy.

        People don’t trust the government and the media because the government and media proved they couldn’t be trusted.

      • I agree with much of what you say, but I think Javier put out a fair amount of misinformation.

        But yes, instead of treating us like children, the public health folks should have been more straightforward. I think, plus an over-reaction to mandates, led to way too much distrust, which has become polarized and politicized.

        As a conservative who voted for Trump both times, I am distressed that so many of my fellow conservatives, and Trump voters, are being reactionary about this topic, and being tribal. Heck, Trump has been booed at rallies for even suggesting that people get a booster like he did. It is bizarre to see heroes of the conservative anti-science crowd siding with Robert Kennedy, JR!

        It’s nuts, and the public health people bear a significant amount of the blame (but not all of it, for sure). Also, the failure of the infectous disease research establishment to quickly accept aerosol spread, and presymptomatic spread as major factors with this disease is a scientific screwup of unprecedented magnitude – in terms of effect.

        See this nice article in Wired, of all places. Others at McGILl U and Slate, but I fear putting more than one link in a single reply.

        https://www.wired.com/story/the-teeny-tiny-scientific-screwup-that-helped-covid-kill/

      • The NAS put out a report in April 2020 that stated that the importance of aerosol vs droplet transmission of respiratory disease was poorly understood. Then the official version for over a year was that COVID19 was spread primarily by droplets.

        I agree, this was probably the most consequential screw-up of the pandemic. If you look at my past comments, I pointed this out in the summer of 2020.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso ‘s comment – ” It’s nuts, and the public health people bear a significant amount of the blame (but not all of it, for sure). Also, the failure of the infectous disease research establishment to quickly accept aerosol spread, and presymptomatic spread as major factors with this disease is a scientific screwup of unprecedented magnitude – in terms of effect.”

        I would say the biggest screwup was in idiotic belief with near zero evidence that the mitigation protocols, masking lockdowns, etc would have any substantive success in slowing the spread.

        All three major waves of covid are remarkably similar to the 3 major waves of the 1918 spanish flu.

      • “I would say the biggest screwup was in idiotic belief with near zero evidence that the mitigation protocols, masking lockdowns, etc would have any substantive success in slowing the spread. ”

        I very much disagree with this, although the way they went about it was far from optimal. The first wave did indeed “flatten the curve” – i.e. slow down the spread. I ran a simulation without mitigations and it would have resulted in hospital case loads about 10X the hospital capacity, and a resulting 5X or so increase in fatality rate. This was borne out in some countries. In my simulations, the whole thing was over in weeks, because the disease rapid hit herd immunity and the case rates fell to zero.

        That simulation was with an R0 (and Rt due to no mitigations) of 2.5. Today, Omicron is showing Rt as high as 3, and sure enough we have that dramatic spike and falloff of cases (we hope we’ll see the dramatic falloff). Omicron does this by evading some immunity, while having (apparently) Delta’s much higher R0 than the Wuhan strain. Note that Omicron BA.2, which is now dominant in some European countries, appears to have a significantly higher R0 – i.e. its rapid replacement Omicron BA.1 appears be due to better transmissibility (higher R0) rather than improved immune evasion.

        What I missed in my modeling, and a lot of mandators seem to miss entirely, as do the anti-mandate people, is that regardless of what the government says to do, people will take precautions, and that will flatten the curve, and it will hurt businesses, and it will reduce travel, etc. That drags out the epidemic, but avoids (hopefully) over-running the health care system.

        At this point, mandates no longer work. That is because people will not put up with them. In fact, they seem to engender an irrational reactionary behavior in too many people – they go out and take risks because they are tired of COVID and mad about mandates. A couple of studies (which I have not read) have found negative impact of mandates in terms of epidemic control or severity.

      • Joe,
        I agree the lockdowns were the most socially/economically consequential mistake. The failure to recognize aerosol transmission as a significant source was the most consequential in terms of unnecessary deaths IMO. It made us do the wrong things and not do the right things.

      • Russell Seitz

        I hope Javier can avoid the compounded comorbidity risk arising from reading Willis Eschenbach while listening to Joe Rogan.

        https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/04/of-quinine-and-chloroquine-willis.html

    • Ckid

      I think I became aware of him when Neil young said it was either him or Josh on Spotify. I understand they chose Josh!

      Yes, it is increasingly a thing of the woke left that the only correct opinion is the one they hold-normally molded in a very small social media bubble. We saw that with the Brexit vote and when Boris won a large majority.

      Mind you there are many right wingers with extreme views who also won’t listen

      tonyb

      • Just for the record it’s Joe Rogan, not Josh. The effort to deplatform him by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and others simply because he does podcasts that explore many points of view in depth is the cancel culture in action. It caused me to sign up to Spotify so I could listen to his shows with Peterson and Dr. Robert Malone (the Streisand Effect).

    • Meso,

      You ran a simulation that assumed lockdowns worked and then unsurprisingly based on that simulation determined that lockdowns worked. There is no real world data available I know of that provides model validation regarding the effectiveness of lockdowns. The best data available is to compare locked down areas to areas that were not locked down and there is no obvious benefit to lockdowns when that is done.

      Early on I was following the IHME model and told my family that that model was now underestimating the total deaths due to COVID because it was obviously assuming far too much impact from NPIs. At one point it predicted only about 70,000 deaths always assuming that the infection rate would drop drastically in the following few days as lockdowns took effect.

      The best model was this one (no longer updated):

      https://covid19-projections.com/

      Even it was only accurate at relatively short term prediction…as we should have expected.

      There is a plausible basis to claim lockdowns caused more harm, from a health standpoint, than good also. Not locked down the most socially connected, and least susceptible to this disease, would have been infected earlier allowing the more practical isolation of the most susceptible. I don’t think this is proven obviously, but it is certainly plausible and was pointed out early in the pandemic.

      • My simulation assumed no mitigations at all, nothing about lockdowns, and it showed cases soaring to extremely high level. But it was wrong in that it failed to account for individuals protecting themselves regardless of governmental action – ironic since, in fact, I was self isolating (but not staying in my home, just avoid all outside contacts).

        I also ran the simulation assuming that non-pharmaceutical interventions (not any specific set) reduced Rt by X percent, just to look at the dynamics. It was possible to do that and end up with a fair fit to what actually happened in most of the US (other than places like New York that got hit with too much COVID too fast).

        What the simulation cannot do is actually prove that people will take actions – whatever they are, to reduce Rt by X percent. All it can do is show what the epidemic will look like if they do. It also, without more data, can’t show what X really is for a given MPI.

        Of course, if the virus isn’t eradicated, or vaccines or very effective treatments don’t come along, it isn’t clear what lowering that Rt did for us, other than preventing health care system crash (and probably the crash of other essential systems).

        Now we are in a position where in much of the US, and certainly where I live, we have a lot of people not protecting themselves (or others) at all. But we also have vaccines and treatments that lower the IFR to only about twice that of the flu – if you have enough vaccination.

        I am not going to argue the “lockdowns don’t work” line. What works is reducing contacts, and reducing the infectivity of contacts. Epidemiology 101. The former can be achieved many ways, the latter by masking, sanitation, distance, ventilation, being outdoors, etc.

        On lockdowns don’t work…, I will make one comment: they sure as hell have worked in China. They demonstrate that you can control the disease. Of course, nobody in a democratic country would put up with that for long. And, it isn’t clear what the end point will be in China. My guess is they are waiting for good enough vaccines and therapeutics, at which point they can end their extreme zero-COVID policy.

        That isn’t an irrational place to be, especially given the rapid advance in both vaccines and therapeutics. But, they only achieve this with totalitarian means.

      • John Ferguson

        Meso, Again thanks for the care you are taking with this. Do you have any idea what the prevalence might be in any political entity for which we have other statistics? I ask because if one can assume some independence of infection from other conditions bringing kids to the hospital, one hospital reported that 50% of the kids who were hospitalized for some other non-respiratory affliction were infected. Hospital guy conceded that infection and the reason the kids were there might not be entirely independent, but ….

      • Thanks – but I don’t understand the question. It is well known that with Omicron especially, a lot of people are hospitalized “with COVID” instead of because of COVID. In other words, patients are routinely tested, and those there for non-COVID illnesses are testing positive. Note that catching COVID in the hospital could certainly exacerbate the original illness, or kill the patient, or be no factor at all.

        Other than that… not sure what’s going on in the case of children hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses. I just haven’t studied it, and not being a professional in the field, I am not aware of the normal rate of those hospitalizations with no COVID around.

      • Meso,

        Sorry I made a mistake about what you were claiming. It is obviously trivially true that if all social contact ends disease spread also ends as possibly in China. In regard to China though, I don’t place much faith in the accuracy of their numbers. Also, Asians seem to have a genetic advantage with this disease this is apparent in the raw numbers in the US also.

        Models, including the ones Nic Lewis was using, are far too simplistic to capture the complexities of social interactions across a wide ranging non-homogeneous population IMO. Similar models predicted 100s of millions of cases in the USA by April 2020 based on February 2020 numbers. Those models did a fair job at predicting progression in densely populated NYC but were far less useful when extrapolated to all of NY or all of the USA.

        I think the actual data of comparing locked down states and countries to not locked down states and countries is more than adequate to show that lockdowns, as could be practiced in the west, were of limited or no use.

      • Yep – I stopped modeling at the point where I knew that I couldn’t have adequate input information on behavior, nor on the effects of behavior (numerically).

        Here in AZ, the lockdowns worked for the first phase, as best I can tell. Or at least, behavior changes worked, maybe or maybe not due to “lockdowns” (which here were pretty lax and were not enforced, other that closures of certain classes of businesses).

        Now, there are huge numbers of people living “life as normal” and, of course, we had our highest per-capita case rate a week or two ago, and it is coming down (a trend I hope will continue, even in the face of Omicron BA.2). Overall, Arizona has a pretty high death rate for the US. Whether that’s behavior related COVID cases, or demographic issues, I don’t know – I suspect it’s a mix. For example, I lost an acquaintance to COVID who took no precautions at all, but I also lost a doctor to it who was extremely careful and saw no patients in person. And that was in early 2021.

        But interestingly, lax Arizona’s case rates are not that much worse than strict California’s. Our deaths are higher by quite a bit, but cases, just some. Most of our population has quick access to quality medical care (for example, I use Mayo Clinic which has a two complexes here, one quite large and growing – including a good sized hospital.)

        http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=states-normalized&highlight=Arizona&show=highlight-only&y=both&scale=linear&data=cases-daily-7&data-source=jhu&xaxis=right&extra=California&extraData=deaths&extraDataScale=separately#states-normalized

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        dougbadgero | February 1, 2022 at 5:01 pm |
        Doug’s comment – ” Also, Asians seem to have a genetic advantage with this disease this is apparent in the raw numbers in the US also.”

        That was also my observation regarding Asians, Lockdowns, masking, etc can only do so much to reduce the spread. The delta in the case/infection rates are too large to be explained by the mitigation protocols. there is something likely genetic and/or greater immunity for prior viruses that explains the huge delta in the infection rates.

      • I’m not convinced its genetic. Keep in mind that these Asian populations faced SARS, and MERS (at least in South Korea). So they became comfortable with certain mitigations a long time ago. They also are more careful about influenza. So it may be cultural.

        Japan and South Korea right now are facing unprecedented levels of COVID19 (for those countries), with no indication that they are near their peak. Their levels are still low by US standards, but it is interesting.

        But there could be a genetic component. There could be lifestyle components. It would be interesting to know.

        The East Asians in my family are pretty careful about COVID, but of course that is just anecdotal.

      • Mesocyte – you cannot trust anything the Communists in China tell us. They are in it for themselves and will say anything they believe will help their cause. So, no, I don’t believe their numbers relating to COVID.

      • I don’t trust the CCP at all. But unlike the pre-Internet days, and unlike the Mao days, there’s enough information coming out of there from non-governmental sources that I doubt they are hiding large numbers of cases. Furthermore, the fact that lockdowns are reported in the media means that they are not and cannot hide them. The fact that most of China, most of the time, is close to “life as usual” is pretty clear.

        I don’t trust that government, and I hold them responsible for terrible behavior at the start of the epidemic, including hiding data, not stopping outbound international flights, etc. That government is fascist and evil, just based on their totalitarianism, their leader worship, the racism and nationalism tied to intent of imperialism, and their persecution of the Uyghurs, and of religious people, and their organ harvesting from political prisoners!

      • Certainly could be due to previous exposure to similar viruses. Poor choice of words on my part. The difference is apparent in the Asian American population also though. Asians are 5.9% of the population and 3.2% of COVID19 deaths.

  3. joe the non epidemiologist

    Javier

    Curious your age and physical health, (active, seditary, athletic, etc)

    I have chosen not to get vaxed , primarily due to my risk assessment.
    very athletic, competitive level cyclying , resting HR of 46-50,

    I measured the likely range of severity of illness to be less than 2-5% of being sick for more than 2 days. The most likely range of illness to be 100-101 fever at most being 1-1.5 days

    Thoughts

  4. Understanding the VAERS URF
    Computing the underreporting factor (URF) is thus crucial to understanding the actual number of events that are happening.

    https://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/how-to-verify-for-yourself-that-over

  5. Very interesting thanks. I’d chosen, for medical reasons, to stop having the flu vaccine in 2018 after getting flu and ‘novel virus’ continuously afterwards. I’d read about how, for some people, the flu vaccine decreased the bodys capability to deal with corona viruses. There were many medical papers on it and I think I even blogged about it. During the research for the blog article I realised, as I have COPD, that I’ve never in the ten years since diagnosis, had a sputum sample taken or tested. I then found out that was because of my ethnicity. While our NHS is choosing who and why it tests people for things like TB or SARS it will continue to allow these diseases, and others like it, freedom.

  6. Richard Pokorny

    The elephant in the room is early treatment. Without factoring in the benefits of early treatment you’re not looking at the whole picture. Almost everyone who dies of covid dies due to a lack of early treatment.

    • A new book, “Overcoming the Covid-19 Darkness,” tells of two doctors who treated 7,000 Covid patients with no deaths, using early treatment. Early treatment is indeed the elephant in the room.

      • My Amazon review gave the “Overcoming” book a 5 star rating.

        Early in the pandemic the doctors used a protocol which had been used in South Korea, China, France and the U.S., which was hydroxycloroquine, zinc and an antibiotic. As global evidence mounted about early treatment success, they added ivermectin and other medicines and vitamins, so now their protocol looks a lot like the current protocol of the FLCCC.

        https://covid19criticalcare.com/covid-19-protocols/

  7. Thanks for starting the discussion. It could lead to an interesting exchange when Atomsk’s Sanakan appears.

  8. My previous comment vanished. I just wanted to thank JC for allowing this post and the resulting thread. I find the article quite controversial and contrary to what I have read from a number of experts, but I am not an expert myself.

    So I am hoping for a good discussion with back and forth on the science of this post.

    And, since I know of no way to follow a JC comment thread (with notifications) without posting a comment and checking the box, that also motivates this comment,

    • Mesocyte – you mentioned you thought Javier wrote a lot of misinformation. Could you cut and paste the parts you believe are misinformation rather than just smear the entire post? I am truly curious what parts you considered wrong. And quote Javier exactly.

      • I guess this will start another back and forth.

        Response to the original article:

        First, while I find various problems with what he says, much of it is correct and interesting.

        My main problem was the description of the personal way to deal with it. While he has disclaimers all over the place, it none-the-less presents an approach quite at odds to that recommended by the many experts I read (I also read some of their papers). 



        BTW, I warned my friends about the virus on Jan 2, 2020. I knew of the aerosol spread, and asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread by about the end of February, 2020. This was due to reading preprints about contact tracing in Asia of several super spreader events, an elegant contact trace of a restaurant spreader event in Wuhan, and the Seattle choir practice super spreader event.

 I have been very dismayed at the way the ID community ignored aerosol spread and the appropriate mitigations for it.

        But I do not have his credentials, I just have kept up on this.

        >>>SARS-CoV-2 is not the cause of COVID. The cause of COVID is an improper reaction of the immune system to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

        

I disagree with half of this. COVID in an immune naive host has two stages that are quite different. The first, most common, is like a flu, often a bad flu. You feel really bad for a week or two. The second, in someone who is more immune incompetent and can’t clear enough virus, is the over-reaction of the innate immune system. Since older people are less immune competent, this is far more common with age. As an older person, this very much concerns me.

        
But the first phase, even when mild, often leads to significant changes in the lungs. Or it did, until Omicron, which doesn’t infect the lungs. Omicron also has first phase symptoms more resembling a cold – for the same reason.



        >>>This is demonstrated by the huge amount of asymptomatic infected people

        Except the proportion of asymptomatic infected people is only about 25% [studies range from all over the place, BTW – I took the number from a meta-analysis] – pre-Omicron. There are lots of pre-symptomatic infected people, who are asymptomatic until they are not. True asymptomatics are most commonly young children.




        >>>Omicron is about 10 times less dangerous than previous variants because it is a predominantly upper respiratory tract resident, less likely to trigger a strong improper immune reaction.

        Evidence from the field puts it at best 3 times less dangerous and at worse 30% less dangerous – than Delta which is twice as dangerous as the Wuhan strain. Vaccines, therapeutics and better protocols have dropped the danger level dramatically, although it is still a lot higher for the unvaccinated. See Israeli data for this. Vaccines are pretty good at preventing severe disease and death, even now – if you get the booster. The ratio between vaccinated and unvaccinated, when age and comorbidity adjusted, is pretty dramatic.

        >>>Another myth was herd immunity. I never bought into the idea that this applied to a rapidly mutating RNA virus. Additionally, the experience with the other four human coronaviruses is that people can get infected every year.

        The viruses don’t induce long-lasting immunity.

And yet SARS (SARS-CoV), which is the closest human coronavirus to SARS-CoV-2 (cause of COVID19), induces lasting immunity, with SARS survivors still showing immunity In their adaptive immune system 17 years later.

        The four human cold viruses have a cycle of four or five years each – you don’t get the same one each year.

But he was right that herd immunity is a lot harder to attain that was thought, and than I thought. Of course, had the virus been kept at a low level, the rate of mutation would have been much lower and longer lasting herd immunity would have been attainable. But when it is worldwide, that’s very hard.

        >>>>The RNA vaccines have a level of risk that would be unacceptable under different circumstances. [followed by a few anecdotes of people dying, allegedly from the vaccines). 

The “danger” of the mRNA vaccines, based on tons of data now, is very low. And, his reports of thrombocytopenia are not from the mRNA vaccines, but the adenovirus vector vaccines.

        The article about inflammatory characteristic of the lipid nanoparticles is interesting, but not alarming to me.

        And he mixes mRNA and adenovirus vector vaccines in the same risk statistics. They are not similar, other than both ultimately result in mRNA that produces spike protein.

        The mention of possible future autoimmune diseases is highly speculative and alarmist in my opinion and that of experts I read.

        .

“Choose when to get infected” is indeed a recommendation to do so, contrary to hits disclaimer. It is a dangerous one, because nobody really knows the status of their immune system, even younger people.



        Recommendation for taking plenty of vitamin D, C and A , and zinc has been shown by a number of trials to be useless, and you don’t want to take too much of some of those, because some are toxic in higher doses. Perhaps if you actually have a deficiency, they might help.



        So – lots of good information, a tone I find dangerous due to the focus on contracting and riding out the virus (which may work for most, but as policy, will kill a lot of people).

        If he worries about the mRNA vaccines, instead of getting COVID, get one of the traditional vaccines like the one developed in Houston (not yet available in the US). Also, no mention of “long COVID” which is a significant risk even with mild infections, although most cases resolve within 6 months or so.

    • From June, 2021.

      Cases of apparent secondary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination with both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA-vaccine versions have been recently reported and reached public attention with general alarm related with risks of serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8184050/

    • From August, 2021.

      The thrombotic thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a complication of COVID-19 vaccines, involves thrombosis (often cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) and thrombocytopenia with occasional pulmonary embolism and arterial ischemia. TTS appears to mostly affect females aged between 20 and 50 years old, with no predisposing risk factors conclusively identified so far. Cases are characterized by thrombocytopenia, higher levels of D-dimers than commonly observed in venous thromboembolic events, inexplicably low fibrinogen levels and worsening thrombosis.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8400504/

    • July, 2021.

      However, a case series of 20 patients hospitalized due to thrombocytopenia occurring 1–23 days (median 5 days) after vaccination with the PfizerBioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine or the Moderna mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, including a fatal intracranial hemorrhage, has also been reported [4]. Finally, emerging data has suggested that thrombocytopenia events may likely occur unevenly across the three COVID-19 vaccines, with higher events among individuals vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine relative to the PfizerBioNTech vaccine, but further data is needed [5].

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8313538/

    • Mesocyte – one thing you can’t deny is that the mRNA vaccines did not complete clinical trials. A 3-5 year or more clinical trial might have revealed longer term problems. It’s telling that you accept that risk, but deny the benefits of some common drugs, the efficacy of which is backed up by high 10’s of studies.

  9. Ths is the first wave that we can get with an acceptable level of risk. But that is a personal decision.

    A bit late to the party in Australia.
    Hit home this week with the death of someone I had known for 35 years and her husband in the same week.

    Ages over 75
    Health concerns.
    But they were active vibrant people who have possibly lost 5 years of life.

    Delta rather than Omnicrom possible reason.
    A lot more Delta in Victoria, but New South Wales more Omnicron.
    Double vaxxed.
    Should have received excellent treatment.

  10. I had a covid infection in early 2020 before we knew about it, and treated it rapidly with aspirin and a few hot infusions of Rue and Southernwood. The very first news about early drug treatments came from China, it said that aspirin had been trialed, but had made the patients much worse. So we were advised to use paracetamol for home treatment.

    “Paracetamol in the home treatment of early COVID-19 symptoms: A possible foe rather than a friend for elderly patients?”
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmv.27158

  11. It is not the virus what will put you in hospital, but the inability of your immune system to properly handle the infection.


    An interesting take often lost on non medical people.
    Antibiotics for bacteria ( yes Covid is a virus)
    Work by reducing the number of live bacteria.
    They rarely eradicate them because bacteria, like people, can have some degree of innate immunity as well plus they have ways of hiding from the antibiotics.
    So why do we stay well after our tonsillitis or pneumonia or UTI ?
    It is due to the immunogenicity reaction, the develop of antibodies and the activation and enhancement of our own killer cells.
    Our immune system.

    I do feel it is the virus, actually, that puts you in hospital, yes they may be exceptions, milkmaids who did not die from smallpox for example.
    But generally a severe new illness will rip right through natural immunity unless, like the bacteria, you hide away from it or go into lockdown.

  12. As someone with a rare form of leukemia, I acquired Covid in October of 2020. As I use the VA system, they periodically tested me via PCR every couple of weeks until I achieved a negative test. That ultimately took over 2 months to occur. The only reason I knew I had Covid was because I lost my sense of smell. I was never sick the entire time I had Covid. My wife and teenage boys had the sniffles and that was about it. None of us became overly symptomatic. Then, a few weeks ago, I got sick. As many of my friends were getting Covid, it’s highly likely that’s what it was. I experienced upper respiratory symptoms no different than any other winter cold I’ve ever had but I did have aches and pains and was febrile for 4 consecutive days. Because it was no different than any other upper respiratory infection I’ve ever had, I didn’t bother to test even though it was likely Covid. When Covid becomes indistinguishable from a common URI, I’m no longer concerned, no matter what anyone says. The latest version of Covid is a great step in the process of becoming endemic. For me, I continue maintaining increased levels of vitamins D and C as well as supplemental zinc. Despite my leukemia, I’m not too worried about Covid. For me, any concerns I had died a long time ago.

  13. Geoffrey Williams

    Your description of the virus mutation from delta to omicron reminds me of the Darwinian concept of ‘natural selection’ process on the part of the virus.
    Do I make sense? Appreciate any comments . .

    • Yes, it is what is going on.

      Mutations are more or less random. BUT… the natural selection process – competition for hosts leading to domination by the most fit (for transmission) strain is indeed what is going on.

      It is thought that some or much of this may take place in people with compromised immune systems – say with HIV – where the virus may linger in their system for months accruing mutations, with selection going on there for the ones that best defeat the immune system, and which ultimately leave that host and get into circulation.

      Another possibility is passage through an animal host – a number of species can catch SARS-CoV-2 from people and potentially reinfect them, perhaps after mutations that are selected from being in the animals’ system.

      You could also get recombination, where two RNA is exchanged between two strains, or even some other virus. That can be more efficient than mutation, and happens, I believe, with the flu.

      Note: I’m no expert, I just try to regurgitate what I clean from them.

  14. Thank you Javier for sharing your highly informed strategies regarding Covid. It’s hard to imagine a government official giving the this level of detail and candor. I suppose their wisdom is the less the details the less the opportunities for being found wrong. But there is problems with just giving directives and then changing them without the underlying supports. It makes them look incompetent, and thus creates and inertia against needed adjustments. For example, they told everybody to get boosted two months ago and started an official national campaign for it. But one month ago perhaps they found the boosters made one more susceptible to Omicron in the first two weeks after the shot and thereafter only marginally protected after that (over previous immunity). Could they tell everyone, “Wait, we made a mistake”? (Remember, Afghanistan withdrawal went as “good as possible.”)

    After changing their minds on masks in April 2020, with the later explanation that they did not want the N95 masks to become unavailable to healthcare workers, can they tell us now 20 months later that cloth masks don’t work? Javier, I read that cloth weave doesn’t work since the Covid aerosols are ~1 micron and the gaps in the fabric are ~10 micron. And the main reason that spun polypropylene fabric works a little bit is the electrostatic charge that wants to trap some of the aerosols. Do you know if this sounds correct?

    • That is correct, Ron. Procedure masks and N95 respirators cannot filter aerosols, that are too small. They trap part of the aerosols due to negative charges in the cellulose surface attracting them as they pass through. Textiles don’t usually have that negatively charged surface unless designed to. Therefore a home-made mask made with triple layer Kleenex tissue works better than cloth. Dust and moist from respiration reduce those charges reducing the effectiveness of masks over time.

      In closed spaces with a high aerosol load masks will not be effective as sufficient aerosol particles will go through to infect people. Proper ventilation of closed spaces is critical.

      This is equally valid for flu, that every year kills quite a lot of people.

      • Javier

        Excellent article. Thank you. Yes it was like a slow motion car crash as the governments played follow my leader, after an understandable early confusion, then resolutely went in the wrong direction and did some plainly daft things.

        Now they seem to believe vaccines and boosters are the only answer, despite the short relative benefit it produces. Its drawbacks being the vaccinated then believe they are now immune, not realising they can still catch the virus or pass it on. Consequently they may take more risks

        It was the utmost nonsense to force people into staying in their homes for up to 23 hours a day, close to other potentially infected persons, only venturing out to high traffic food stores, without highlighting the highly relevant advice to VENTILATE your space.

        Because of the cost of fuel people want to keep the heat-and the virus-inside. I can easily observe throughout the winter that private homes and restaurants have their windows firmly closed

        As for masks, I did a good survey of them in our tourist area in the summer of 2020 thinking it would be an interesting one season only social study.

        Let’s start from the basis that a proper surgical type mask (or similar) intended to be used in a sterile environment against germs is reasonably effective against covid if properly sealed to the face, and if it is fiddled with, then it is discarded. Similarly it is washed after each use if applicable

        you then need to move on to public space reality.

        Old ineffective dirty masks are constantly fiddled with, pushed in pockets, brought out again to adorn the elbow and often pulled below the nose then fiddled with again. They provide poor protection, but again confer a sense of security on the part of the wearer and they may take more risks.

        I find the Richter scale graph helpful in illustrating the greater risk of serious effects from covid the older or the more ill you are

        https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=kqVU5k%2b7&id=1FA67F66D09FA3E8E03AD38C02397428C9FDC313&thid=OIP.kqVU5k-7UeuGl4NyEczEawHaHa&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi.redd.it%2fd9stlp5n2m831.jpg&cdnurl=https%3a%2f%2fth.bing.com%2fth%2fid%2fR.92a554e64fbb51eb8697837211ccc46b%3frik%3dE8P9ySh0OQKM0w%26pid%3dImgRaw%26r%3d0&exph=1455&expw=1455&q=the+richter+scale+graph&simid=608052917031887803&FORM=IRPRST&ck=83CE57D676FEF5B42B6556C1C2121282&selectedIndex=0&idpp=overlayview&ajaxhist=0&ajaxserp=0

        You can roughly equate each number with the risk at the equivalent age i.e 8 equals 80.If you have various comorbidities, someone of say 40 needs to move themselves up the scales as regards risk.

        Interesting stats from the UK derived from the Office of National statistics, that as regards 2021 it was the worst year for excess deaths since 2015 and the peak pandemic year of 2020 was the worst year for excess deaths since 2008. in other words, adjusting for population, every year prior to those years had a greater number of excess deaths without closing the economy.

        In the meantime the ancillary damage to future health with cancer, heart, diabetes treatment etc curtailed or not picking up the health problem in the first place will bite us for years. and likely to cause more deaths than the original pandemic

        We also have the old problem with stats that dying WITH covid is different from dying OF covid and countries seem to count deaths in different ways.

        We certainly need a much better front line vaccine than currently available and can not continually have boosters. Hopefully anti virals and better personal health care will take the place of vaccinations of the type currently available
        I can understand your reluctance to have more vaccinations.

        The problem with not keeping your boosters up to date is the ability to travel . France, Italy Greece and Austria in particular seem to have gone mad and all the EU require covid passports to travel and many of them to even enter restaurants. Without them you are ‘unvaccinated’ and will find it difficult to have a normal life. Whether countries will progressively remove the need for passports remains to be seen

        The UK has been one of those with the least restrictions and I read yesterday that Spain also seems to be getting rid of many of its vaccine passport regulations.

        Anyway thanks again for a great article.

        tonyb

      • It is a common myth that N95 respirators cannot filter aerosols because the particles are too small.The aerosol experts disagree. N95’s are designed to filter particles far smaller than the holes, using two methods to capture the particles (electrostatic attraction, turbulence). N95’s are certified to 0.3 um, while aerosolized COVID19 is almost all 100um – 1um, with some down to 250nm.

        Leakage is an issue, of course. N95’s can be well fitted, but one has to be careful. And, they are no guarantee. It’s all a matter of statistics, and also (apparently) viral load.

        See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8768005/

        From the article: “regulations require that all certified particulate respirators have at least 95% efficiency at the most penetrating particle size (100–300 nm) while being tested at a heavy workload inhalation flow rate of 85 L/min”

        At the more common SARS-CoV-2 aerosol size (1um-100um) the filtration efficiency is >99%.

        Health care workers wearing fitted N95’s are exposed constantly, and yet largely avoid being infected.

        But yes, ventilation is critical. CDC seems to have been way behind the curve on both masks and ventilation. Look at the CDC page on masks (updated about a week ago) and compare it to the article above. CDC is not nearly strong enough in emphasizing the critical difference between N95(and KN95) vs cloth and procedure or surgical masks.

      • Mesocyte, sorry to disagree.

        Virus loaded aerosols come in really small sizes, smaller than 1 micron, and the bibliography is generally clear that N95 masks offer much better protection than surgical masks, but still come short of guaranteeing a 95% protection from infection in aerosol loaded spaces.

        Do N95 respirators provide 95% protection level against airborne viruses, and how adequate are surgical masks?
        https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(05)00911-9/fulltext
        Conclusion
        “The N95 filtering face piece respirators may not provide the expected protection level against small virions.”

        Particle sizes of infectious aerosols: implications for infection control
        https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30323-4/fulltext
        “Two randomised trials130, 131 did not show any benefit of N95 respirators over surgical masks in reducing respiratory illnesses, and two showed that the respirators were protective.132, 133 However, none of the trials used quantitative fit testing, and two had surprisingly low failure rates (1·1–2·6%)132, 133 compared with 60% found in a panel study for the same N95 respirators.134 The low failure rates suggest a problem with fit testing.”

        Real life tests tend to demonstrate that the protection offered by N95 respirators is much better than surgical masks but still far from adequate to prevent infection. You can blame the wearers for not using them properly, but that doesn’t change the fact that you can still get infected with a N95 respirator more than 5% of the times you get exposed.

      • Javier, I agree to some extent. N95 is not guaranteed to prevent infection. I never said it was – I said it was a matter of statistics. In practice, I avoid being indoors with strangers whenever possible, and wear an N-95 when I have to. I just canceled two medical appointments so I could hopefully reschedule at a lower level of virus rather than at the all time peak here of COVID.

        And yes, I agree you definitely want to minimize time in areas where there is likely to be a high concentration, because the mask isn’t perfect.

        Some of the virus in aerosols is < 1um. Much is not. It's really a spectrum and the distribution will depends on how it is produced, distance, time, temperature and humidity.

        But if you read the link I provided, N95's are quite good at filtering them, down to 50nm, and discusses the physics of how it does that.

        I was primarily addressing the masks themselves, assuming (stated) good fit. There are many ways that the masking can fail – bad fit, touching the mask and then transferring that material later to a mucous tissue, mask damage or over-use, etc.

        If you are to choose a mask, and you are not going to wear a rubber gasket respirator, N95 is a good choice. An MD professor friend who works COVID critical care wears a gasket N95 and has never caught it in almost 2 years now. It is not perfect. And yes, it may not offer 95% protection always or for everything, but functioning and worn right, most will do better than 95% for the vast majority of infectious particles.

      • Javier
        Thank you for this article.

        I think it is obvious that N95 or KN95 work better than what most have been wearing. The problem this entire pandemic has been the overselling of masks as a protective measure. Even N95 masks were shown to be only 3% effective at doing what they were designed to do if there was a small gap at the edges.

        They don’t keep you safe and shouldn’t be used with the expectation that they will. I spent the first year of this pandemic trying to get my elderly relatives to understand that fact.

  15. I am 59, and had Covid in December 2020 which I assume to be Alpha. Not vaccinated since they weren’t available prior to my acquiring natural immunity. My 58-year-old wife is in the same situation. We both got relatively mild second Covid infections in January 2022. I would be interested to find out if Javier (or any of the rational folks on this comment board) see any benefit to vaccination for us at this stage. I do not, but any local doctor I ask wants to serve me vaccination Kool-Aid…..

    Our children are in their late teens, and are not vaccinated despite enormous social pressure. This article reinforces that decision, and is much appreciated. Our son finally got Covid during a recent bus trip with 25 other students. Daughter has tested negative a dozen or so times without any symptoms. She has Type 1 Diabetes, though the effect of that is hard to know.

    Also, kudos to Judith Curry for her site. Always a welcome island of scientific and balanced information in a sea of questionable “news”.

    • NOEngineer

      I am sure Javier will respond with sensible medical advice. As you can see in my post just above yours, the problem comes if you need a covid passport to function in your country. In the UK we now have very few restrictions and have never had a covid passport other than for nightclubs, now also not needed.

      However, very many European countries have made vaccination mandatory and unless you have a covid passport you can’t get on a train or bus, go to a restaurant or a shop. In other words you can’t function

      So I would say it depends on where you live. If you are American I understand each state seems to have their own rules.

      Whether you can exist without a passport in your state, or in other states you might visit will dictate whether or not for PRACTICAL rather than medical reasons you will need the vaccination to get the appropriate documentation.

      tonyb

    • NOEngineer, only you can answer that question.
      If you pass the flu and get sick for a few days, do you get a vaccine the next year? Flu vaccines are very safe although quite often they don’t help much. We all pass numerous flus over our life, but as we age it reaches a point when they become dangerous so people start vaccinating against it.

      My strategy is I will vaccinate against the flu when I get one so bad that I don’t want to repeat. I don’t see why I should act differently with Covid, particularly since the vaccine is not nearly as safe as the flu vaccine.

      • The vaccine is as safe as the flu vaccine. All vaccines carry some risk – most very small.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        There is a study from the 1990’s that estimated the total number of work hours lost in obtaining the flu shot, including the short down time from the shot, was greater than the total work hours lost in being sick with the flu. For that reason, the basic cost benefit analysis never seemed to justify getting the flu shot. Adding to that is the hit or miss luck with getting the right flu shot for the current year flu strain.

      • John R T Moore

        ? ? :… as we age it reaches a point …”
        I spend hours, out-doors, daily, and will soon be 78.
        How do I gauge ‘at what age’; and, ???’…safe although quite often they don’t help much.’

  16. Pingback: Managing personal Covid risk – Climate- Science.press

  17. Test.

    • Apparently WordPress is nuking any comment that states that common, existing d-r-u-g-s can fight you know what. Weird. It’s eaten three attempts.

    • Gov ern ments didn’t test existing d-r-u-g-s against you-know-what and hundreds of thousands of people died because of it.

    • For information on common existing OTC d-r-u-g-s to fight you-know-what go to:

      c 1 9 e a r l y . c o m (just remove the spaces)

  18. jacques lemiere

    we act following a path to optimize wellbeing of ourselves with différent time frames… from the next second to the maximum life expectancy..
    our wellbeing include the wellbeing of people we love..
    some can accept to die…to save their love ones from dying next month..

    some accept to risk their lives to lower a bit the risk of dying of their love ones..
    some accept to make suffer their love ones when they think it will maximize their happiness on the long run..

    optimum choices are extremely rare …because future is unknown..

    only ideologues pretend to be able to make optimum choices..because they want to make A future to happen.

  19. Just returned from our second trip to Florida this winter to take care of my wife’s 100-year old mother. While there, we spent time with two of my wife’s sisters. One was infected with COVID and infectious, but didn’t know it until the day after when her symptoms occurred. A few days later, the other sister had the same symptoms. Neither my wife’s mother nor us became infected.

    This was the second time my wife’s mother was exposed to COVID. She lives with my wife’s brother who had COVID early in the epidemic, but she didn’t catch it then. In fact, she rarely exhibits any signs of any viral infection. Now she is on a boatload of medication which may be unintentionally conferring some protection, but we simply don’t know.

    The real kicker is that I have leukemia and my medication has made me Immune compromised. I did get two Moderna shots and then had a quantitative antibody test by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which showed barely any response to the shots. I am almost 78 so I should be a prime target for the virus, but so far nothing despite living a pretty normal life these past two years.

    What do I attribute this avoidance of the virus. Like Javier, I use hydrogen peroxide as a preventive practice. But my wife and I use a different approach: a 0.1% dilution of food grade h2o2 in an 0.9% normal saline solution with 1-2 drops of Lugol’s solution (iodine) whenever we are in public or among family and friends. This is placed in a nebulizer and inhaled through our noses using a mask for 10-12 minutes. While articles have warned about nebulizing with h2o2, they refer to a 3% solution and breathing through the mouth; we use 1/30th of that strength which is still strong enough to kill viruses in the nasal cavity where they first infect people. We also maintain very high levels of vitamin D (70-90) and take zinc supplements.

    This treatment was developed by Dr. David Brownstein in Michigan who treated over 200 patients with COVID symptoms successfully … in his parking lot … before the government claimed their own “solutions” and shut him down.

    Now, is this “clinical” proof that this approach works? Well, no, not under the CDC/FDA’s standards. But we find this sufficient empirical evidence for us.

    Oh, by the way, my wife’s infected sisters? They decided to try this protocol once they were confirmed COVID positive and were rejected for monoclonal antibody treatment. After two to three days, they were both feeling much better.

  20. The study cited for the 8 deaths per million seems to use the first 4 weeks of date with no underreporting assumed. A little disingenious.
    One may wish to compare this with alternative methodologically plausible estimates. Eg https://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/how-to-verify-for-yourself-that-over .

    • Although I might accept Kiesch’s premise that VAERS under-reports deaths caused by the vaccination by 41X, I do not think his analysis is correct that the vaccine is killing 15 people for every 1 saved from Covid. He is forgetting that the 1 life saved in the study was only over the short period of the study. Also in the 1/10,000 lives saved the 10,000 is the study population, not the number of infected. If everyone is eventually getting Covid and the vaccine provides some protection against the severity, that multiplies the lives saved from vaccination. However, I think his point is correct that public health officials tend to discount deaths and hardship caused by their policies, whether it be economic disruption or vaccine toxicity.

      The scientific control on policy bias is the comparison of different local policies on populations. But I can’t imagine governments want to put themselves under competitive analysis unless they think they are near the top. Inside the US the individual states had jurisdiction on lockdown and mask policy (but not for treatments and vaccination). Republican states valued liberty and the economy more highly than Democrat run states. I have not heard any Democrats asking for an outcome analysis. If each state commissioned a national analysis it would the the ultimate experiment on blue teams vs. red teams treatment of the same data.

  21. Dietrich Hoecht

    As to the mask effectiveness: my son had used an N95 type while spray painting on his car. His face was streaked with paint along the edges of the mask. Makes sense, since this is the path of least resistance for breathing in, as the mask fabric functions as physical shield. Especially around the nose it is very difficult to provide a perfect seal. Look at the mask wearers around you and you probably find less than 10% who are skilled and conscious about tight fit being assured on an ongoing basis. Never mind even those who keep their nose breathing freely above the cloth. Then, think of the poor school children who are forced to muffle themselves and nobody can enforce good fit. Children fiddle with themselves, always. There are no studies by the health authorities.

    • Your son needed a respirator (rubber seal).

      • Minor correction. N95 *is* a respiratory per NIOSH definition. But rubber seal is a good idea.

      • Dietrich Hoecht

        I know many of my fellow folks who have deep facial wrinkles, which no rubber seal could straighten out. Then, there are beards. Nice for catching food, but nothing else. I pity all those Talibanis with full beards….

  22. Thanks, very interesting. Here in Chile we were vaccinated mostly with Sinovac’s Coronavac, which is a traditional vaccine, not an mRNA one. Boosters depend on which one you got first; hence, I got Pzifer. It has worked fine so far. Omicron has been going strong now (and it’s summer), but people can see how mild it is, so restrictions are mostly gone.
    On the other hand, I’m not planning on vaccinating my daughter even if vaccines come soon for under 5 year olds; it looks way too risky for me. I rather wait until we’re sure they’re as safe as all the other traditional vaccine we give to toddlers.

  23. UK-Weather Lass

    Thank you Javier, it is an interesting well written read from first to last.

    We get sick from colds and ‘flu from time to time but seldom get complications unless we are in a known vulnerable group. History points to those most vulnerable to complications and seriousness of illness and to the fatalities regularly suffered. Is SARS-CoV-2 so very different to what went before it? The answer to that question, given two years of much confusion, may be quite a long time coming.

    Do any two people share identical immune systems? My guess is they do not and cannot because too many variables are involved e.g. exposure to infections on a day to day basis by virtue of lifestyle. Our immune systems come in different shapes and sizes and I would guess they vary day to day by quite a margin. For example I suffer illogical rhinitis attacks from time to time both with and without sneezing and/or coughing which are managed after investigation by a daily anti-histamine dose. But my problem wasn’t categorised as hay fever and no particular allergy could be found. There was a question mark posed against my thyroid performance but investigation was inconclusive.

    An effective immune system should surely prevent or manage a seasonal viral infection, but it is also highly likely our immune systems effectiveness changes from day to day, and is never in a steady state. My immune system was described as wavering between trigger happy and very sluggish when my rhinitis attacks were investigated and, interestingly, an early study of immune systems and SARS-CoV-2 indicated that, in a laboratory at least, sluggish systems did best against the Alpha variant seemingly preventing infection in almost all cases. Perhaps the attack and style of attack is an important component of immunity.

    Some people appear to be able to defend against SARS-CoV-2 infection simply by virtue of exposure to other coronaviruses and this suggests that regular exposure to these viruses keeps an immune system on its toes i.e. a good reason not to lockdown or do anything other than keep away from others when infected as we mostly always do when hit by ‘flu infections.

    Since, as my GP friend advises me, infection is required to enable a virus to replicate and produce a viral load then isn’t the time between the patient’s anecdotally stated pre-symptomatic and symptomatic state the only time infecting another person is possible without an infected person knowing they are doing so? [NB: This would explain away the conundrum of asymptomatic infection (no symptoms – no infection) since it is the anecdotal conversation with a medical doctor that starts triage which is the only time PCR testing should be utilised to indicate what virus (if any) is likely involved. This also allows for vases where people who do have symptoms say they don’t because of the financial loss incurred if they were required to isolate – they simply will not go to see a doctor or have a test.]

    Whenever a virus infects a person it will produce mutations of which some may survive the process if the occupied cell does not perish, become part of a viral load and infect someone else and possibly become a variant of concern. Doesn’t this natural process almost always lead to a more infectious but less lethal dominant virus whereby the exposure to this dominant virus provides immune protection against any more lethal variant? The constant exposure to a contagious virus without infection is also good at keeping an immune system on its toes. I was brought up to acknowledge the veracity of vaccination but I remain unconvinced about vaccines for SARS-CoV-2. If I felt vulnerable I would gladly get jabbed as being better than bring at risk, but I don’t feel vulnerable to this virus, not at all.

    I just hope we do a lot better next time a novel virus comes along and look forward to the day when our attempts to manage SARS-CoV-2 are truly, thoroughly, and critically analysed.

  24. Doesn’t seem much has changed – overall, chances of dying from covid-19 are relatively low but graphing deaths per 100,000 based on vaccination status prove that being unvaccinated is the major risk factor.

  25. If the China virus did one good thing it was to expose the politicization of the science establishments. Think about this. For mask effectiveness we are using one old study from Vietnam and one recent study in Bangladesh. Both found that cloth masks are useless. The later study gave surgical type masks ~10% effectiveness against the virus. No modern western country did a study.

    In the US if you are a Democrat you are liable to be certain to believe that hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin are harmful rather than beneficial treatments for the virus. If you are the other half of the country you are likely untrusting of the public health establishment and thus unconvinced either way but would be willing to try one of those if doctors had them available for you. Republicans think the government directives are untrustworthy and the Democrats believe the Republicans are mental, evil or both. This cuts across class and educational lines, a mirror to the divide of opinions on climate change. How do we fix?

    • Curious George

      Pfizer submitted some 400,000 pages of documentation to CDC to get an emergency approval for the vaccine. CDC is planning to release that data over 50 years. Why should I trust them with anything?

  26. Richard Pokorny

    Here is a link to Robert Kennedy Jr’s speech on Covid politics before the Lincoln Memorial last Sunday.

    https://rumble.com/vt5chz-rfk-jr.-delivers-powerful-speech-at-defeat-the-mandates-rally-on-12322full.html

    He has a book which to my knowledge has not been reviewed by any major print media but which has sold more than 600 thousand copies since November. It discusses many things but pays a lot of attention to the subject of government suppression of early treatment. Early on, it seems a few hundred senior clinicians in the US and throughout the world networked to devise effective, inexpensive and safe treatments for this disease. Governments, particularly in the developed regions have done everything in their power to prevent this from being known, and to prevent doctors from using these therapies. Until a larger percentage of citizens become aware of the details of this tragedy we will be flying blind in our understanding of what is needed to be done.

  27. As a conservative Republican, I am saddened at the frequent use of politics to choose treatments, rather than science. In the case of COVID treatments, the Democrats are right. Their main failure in that regard is exaggerating the harm of the useless treatments favored by the right (HCQ, Ivermectin). Both of those medications are not terribly dangerous (especially not HCQ) if given in normal doses. Too bad they don’t work against the disease.

    In the case of public health mandates… probably not – certainly not with some of the mandates. And while, in this case, too many Republicans value absolute freedom over social responsibility, Democrats are happy with harsh mandates while not considering that science can give information, but policy involves more than just the impact on disease transmission, and with little regard for individual freedom.

    I consider CDC to have utterly let us down – which should not have surprised me as a conservative. CDC has many excellent scientists, but… they were slow to acknowledge that the disease was carried by aerosols, not just fomites (larger, falling droplets), and even slower to push mitigations for this (good ventilation, good masks like N95, KN95, N100, and equivalents instead of cloth masks and procedure or surgical masks). Also, the infectious disease establishment was very slow to accept aerosol spread, even though it was clear by the end of Feb 2021, based on good contact tracing of super spreader events in Asia, and just the incident of the Washington choir practice super spreader event. I first started wearing masks when indoors with strangers in early March, 2020, but mostly I just didn’t go indoors with strangers.

    [As an aside on cheap existing medications, it is looking like SSRI anti-depressants (Prozac family), especially fluvoxamine, may be quite effective early treatments. These are generic (i.e. inexpensive), common medications with limited, well known side effects. I would not say that the science is settled on this, but the experts I follow think the studies look good, and these are the same experts who are strongly down on HCQ and Ivermectin]. If I get COVID, I’ll do my best to get fluvoxamine.

    • ” And while, in this case, too many Republicans value absolute freedom over social responsibility.”

      This “social responsibility” claim underpinned so much of the most ridiculous politicization of the virus that it’s clearly not true and now counterproductive.

      It’s like claiming Republicans’ refusal to hand over cash to alcoholic beggars next to the liquor store is an example of their rejection of “social responsibility” to the poor.

      The first iteration was that getting the vaccine was socially responsible to prevent spread. The claim was the vaccine prevented you from catching or spreading Covid. Which, every instantly grasped, meant it didn’t matter to you if the person next to you was unvaccinated because your vaccination made you safe. The delightful meme on that one was a photo of a man walking in the rain while a woman under an umbrella screamed at him that his lack of protection in the rain would make her wet.

      Now that we know the vaccine has no effect on whether you catch or spread the virus, the “social responsibility” switched to “don’t clog the hospitals.” Which, of course, healthy young people are in no danger of doing with or without the vaccine.

      And, of course, it was worse. 60 Minutes claimed the governor of Florida eschewed “social responsibility” by prioritizing old people- who tend to vote Republican. Then the media said people in Florida should practice good “social responsibility” by refusing to get the vaccine because it was readily available in grocery stores that once made a political donation.
      And then, of course, the media told everyone in New York City that by being “socially responsible” with their masks, vaccinations, vaccine passports and a readiness to be nasty to fellow New Yorkers they would be “safe.” And the result is that this month the rolling average of daily covid deaths in New York City is 70% higher than it was last year at this time.

      Being lucid is being socially responsible.

      • Just because Democrats misuse the term “social responsibility” does not absolve others of not being responsible! Social responsibility means out responsibility to our fellow human beings. It does not mean every idea the left throws out with that tag on it.

        Do you deny that even Republicans have responsibility for our citizens? Christians sure do, of any denomination.

        The *first* reason for mandates was to “flatten the curve” to prevent hospitals from being overrun. That was at a time when hospitals *were* being overrun in Italy and other countries, and we had no vaccines. At the time, the disease was not well enough understood to make that nuanced, so they emptied hospitals preemptively, and “locked down” the country (poor term, as many of the “lockdowns” were pretty loose). But that reason was, in fact, socially responsible. Much of the implementation was over-done, and some was just idiotic – a store could sell X but not Y. But the reason was sound.

        What many on the left to not want to admit is that government mandates are *forced* social responsibility, and that science cannot tell you what to force – that is a political decision based on science *and* on how much society is actually willing to give up. Otherwise, we’d mandate all speed limits to 15mph and save lots of lives. Many of the scientific experts I follow seem to miss that point – the know what science say, and as far as they are concerned, the argument ends there. They are wrong.

        On the right, too many refuse to believe that people should be responsible for the health of others. Of course, they don’t put it that way. They say “let it rip but protect the vulnerable” – sounds great in theory but doesn’t work. You cannot predict who will need hospitalization, you can only predict what fraction of each group (identified by age and a lot of possible medical conditions). So you still crush the hospitals, and kill a lot of people.

        What is especially ironic for those who resist the vaccine because it infringes on their “freedom” is that Trump, who is approved of by almost everyone in that camp, advocated for the vaccine and his policies allowed us to get the vaccine in record time (prior scientific work helped, but guaranteeing markets for it before it was tested made a huge difference, too – the first non-profit vaccine finally just came out, over a year later).

        As for the vaccine and other mitigations: I need to give a quick course in epidemiology.

        A virus has a characteristic behavior value called R0 (“R naught”). This is the average number of people who will be infected by a single individual, in an immunologically “naive” (haven’t been exposed before or vaccinated) population with no mitigations. The actual R value (Rt or Re) is what happens after things get going. It is less than R0, and the reduction is caused by the *multiplication* of R0 by the fractional impact of changes in behavior (masking, social distancing, etc) and immunological status.

        The virus also has an average time from infection of one person to the infection that person causes in someone else – the generation time.

        To understand the importance of any R value, consider the math.

        The rate of spread is essentially exponential (a simplification for this discussion). The number of cases is R raised to the generation number.

        So assume R is 3.
        The number of people infected per generation is:
        1
        3
        9
        81
        243
        729
        2187
        6561

        As you can see, the number of cases is very sensitive to the R value. The number of new cases is the R raised to the number of generations.

        It is exponential, which means it is very sensitive to R. SARS-CoV-2 (COVID virus) has a very high R0 value – perhaps a high as 8, maybe more.

        An epidemic reaches its peak when Rt (the effective R) becomes less than or equal to one.

        It can get there two primary ways: mitigation, and immunity from prior infection.

        Each mitigation multiplies R by the fraction of infections it prevents.

        The best mitigation is vaccination, as it is minimally disruptive.

        BUT… the fraction of infections prevented is not as high as the fraction of symptomatic cases prevented. And if R0 is large enough, the vaccine by itself may not stop the epidemic.

        Which is why other measures are needed, unless one chooses to just let it rip. If you do the latter, immunity from infection will eventually quench it (usually). But you will also kill a lot of people by overwhelming the hospital system.

        And that’s where social responsibility comes in. If you flatten the curve, you save lives. Right now, here in Arizona, important medical procedures are on hold because Omicron (the supposedly “mild” virus) is putting too many into the hospital. The vast majority of these are not vaccinated, even though over half the population of the state is vaccinated (over 70% of those eligible for vaccination, most of whom are at relatively low risk). Those people who can’t get their cancer operations or tests, for example, are put at real risk by people who refuse to get vaccinated. That is a simple, provable fact.

        But let’s talk mandates… Mandates force behavior – or try to. They don’t work as well as expected, because over time people resist them, often to the point of taking more risks than if there were more mandates. Also, mandates infringe on freedom. But then, so does *any* law. I served in the military when we had a draft – a social responsibility by young men not only to protect others, but to do so potential at very lethal risk. That’s an extreme, but it has a long history in the US and lots of other democratic countries. But how many of the mask or vaccine resisters would refuse to serve in the military to protect all of the citizenry? A lot of us did that, most voluntarily, and that’s a *real* infringement on your freedom. Compare that to refusing a vaccine (which is extremely low risk) or wearing a mask in appropriate circumstance (which is basically zero risk).

        I would prefer that people behave responsibly on their own. I think the public health and political establishment screwed things up so badly that now many people don’t believe anything they say, including things that are true. That’s illogical, but it’s human nature.

        BTW, a lot of people do behave responsibility, at least to protect themselves and their loved ones and friends.

        Now, back to your misinformation. The vaccine prevents around half of the infections that would otherwise occur in vaccinated people. It prevents a much higher percentage of hospitalizations. A booster makes it even better as far as hospitalizations (and death). A person who is boosted is, in one good study, 91 times less likely to die than the same person not vaccinated.

        So the vaccine is not as good at slowing or stopping the epidemic as we were led to believe, but don’t let that fool you into believing it is worthless for that purpose. It is not. But for the high R0 of Delta and Omicron, it is not enough to *stop* the epidemic by itself.

        As for what the mainstream media said about Florida… that has nothing to do with what is socially responsible. It is propaganda made to favor the left. As such, it is irrelevant to what one should actually do or not do.

        A caveat – my math is simplified for the purpose of discussion. The real function starts out very exponential, but declines (the Rt declines) as immunity increases. With zero mitigations, zero vaccine, no masking, nobody staying out of crowds, etc, the peak is very high – many times our hospital capacity So the curve shape is not, to a mathematician, exponential. But it is close enough – it’s just that the base of the exponent gets smaller with time.

        The Swiss cheese model graphically illustrates how mitigations pile up in reducing infection. This is not, BTW, an argument that we must do all of those things.

      • “But for the high R0 of Delta and Omicron, it is not enough to *stop* the epidemic by itself.”

        Do you read your own stuff? Your claim is I’m engaging in “misinformation” because I said the “vaccine” doesn’t prevent the spread of Covid and, au contraire, it DOES prevent the spread except for the Covid in the country.
        Cases are higher than they have ever been.

        Full disclosure, I’m triple vaxed, everyone in my house over 14 is triple vaxed and the one under 14 is double vaxed. I have masks in all my coat pockets and hanging from the gear shift of my car so that I have one where necessary.

        I have only one request of the covid concerned- stop lumping nonsense into sensible policy and telling me that the nonsense is socially responsible. Stop telling me someone who opposes mandates (like me) is anti-vax when we’re clearly not.
        This is what I mean by the “social responsibility” argument becoming so abused that it is counter-productive. CNN is screaming that vaccinated people are “anti-vaxx” and MSNBC is screaming that people who wear masks in crowded areas but not while jogging alone are refusing to be “socially responsible.”

      • You wrote: “Now that we know the vaccine has no effect on whether you catch or spread the virus”

        Now you complain:”Your claim is I’m engaging in “misinformation” because I said the “vaccine” doesn’t prevent the spread of Covid and, au contraire, it DOES prevent the spread except for the Covid in the country.
        Cases are higher than they have ever been.”

        False. The vaccine does have an effect on whether you catch and spread it. It just has less of an effect with Omicron than with other variants, and its effect was never as good at preventing infection as at preventing illness. So yes, you are engaging in misinformation. The first quote above makes that clear. The second is confusing – I assume you mean that it affects the spread except for Omicron (the Covid in the country). You didn’t have any exception on your first statement, and the exception in the second is incorrect.

        The virus level is not the highest ever – it has declined in the US for about two weeks now. But yes, because Omicron has substantial immune escape capabilities, it is infecting vaccinated people and those with immunity from prior infection. BUT… it infects them less often (per person), and less severely.

        “Stop telling me someone who opposes mandates (like me) is anti-vax when we’re clearly not.”

        I never said that. In fact, I pointed out that those considering mandates have to balance science with freedom (read my comments in this thread). I did not claim that those who oppose mandates are anti-vax, because I know many oppose the mandates because they feel that personal freedom is more important than the supposed benefit of the mandates. I too oppose some mandates. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

        The fact that the social responsibility argument is abused is not, as I have written, a reason to ignore social responsibility.

      • “I would prefer that people behave responsibly on their own. I think the public health and political establishment screwed things up so badly that now many people don’t believe anything they say, including things that are true. That’s illogical, but it’s human nature.”

        Fool me once shame on you; fool me a thousand times and you must be from the government.

        Your assumptions that people who are not socially responsible will become so with government mandates is an authoritarian perspective. This type of thinking, from gun control to Covid mandates, that will have the problem of compliance by the exact people that you were worried about. So you end up only infringing on liberties of those who were already socially responsible.

        The best way to promote social responsibility is to persuade people what is the righteous and moral, and then promote being righteous and moral. Both the left and the right are guilty of not appreciating that virtue cannot be forced by legislation, proclamation or coercion. Social pressure does work, yes.

        Mothers Against Drunk Driving did much more to reduce the after work martini habits than heightening DUI arrests. Laws alone dictating socially responsible behavior will not be followed by the irresponsible, and not be the good citizens either if they are seen as goody doody. Overreach often boomerangs, as in Prohibition.

        I you want half the citizens not to comply, whether they are normally responsible or not, is to make a directive a partisan issue.

        I am vaxxed, boosted and uninfected thus far.

      • “Your assumptions that people who are not socially responsible will become so with government mandates is an authoritarian perspective.”

        Exactly, and it’s counter productive.
        In March/April we mandated “lockdowns” and assumed they were working. Then they used genetics to discover almost all the cases west of the Mississippi could be traced to New York because people didn’t really lock down. What did we learn from that? Apparently it’s to pretend lockdowns work.

        Mandates create a false sense of security and perverse incentives. In New York, they literally can’t give people better advice on how to protect themselves because they built an authoritarian regime around the misinformation that New York, unlike others, was “following all the rules” and was- by implication – safe as a result.
        They thought this wave wouldn’t happen and, when it did, they couldn’t take the hit to credibility by pivoting to better policies.
        And because they tied failing policies to political dreams, they created an atmosphere where one tribe insists on doubling down on bad policy while another tribe insists that all policies are wrong.

        When one team is screaming at you to wear two masks alone in the woods and the other is telling you never to wear a mask anywhere, the socially responsible move is to remind people they have both personal freedom and personal responsibility and give them the accurate information to do the latter. Thank heavens that has been a conservative principle since the dawn of time.
        By the way- if anything Javier wrote about mRNA vaccine causing auto-immune issues is true- hoo-boy are the “socially responsible” crowd in for some blowback. But that’s the point- the politicization of the vax creates a perverse incentive- nobody who has mandated it wants to hear about any problems it may have. Mandaters with a history of conflicting and inaccurate advice won’t be trusted on their promises that vaccines are completely safe.
        Meanwhile countries that haven’t mandated this nonsense are free to study policies and vaccines and make trusted recommendations that, in the US, would send liberal partisans into an apoplexy of fury.

      • “Your assumptions that people who are not socially responsible will become so with government mandates is an authoritarian perspective.”

        Exactly, and it’s counter productive.”

        I wrote a nuanced comment about mandates, and you mind-read an assumption. So here is my actual thought on this, borne out by studies:

        Some mandates will increase behavior in the mandated direction. Other mandates will have the opposite effect. In this pandemic, especially because *both sides* politicized it, some mandates led to less socially responsible behavior than if there were no mandates. Also, many mandators assumed that without the mandates, people would not be socially responsible. That is partly incorrect – many people took precautions without the government forcing them to do so.

        Also, not all mandates are “authoritarian.” To say otherwise is to be an anarchist. We have had mandates on health in this country since before the founding. George Washington required that his troops be vaccinated against smallpox (via variolation with live smallpox virus). That process had a 3% fatality rate. Almost all schools mandate a number of vaccinations before students can be admitted – because those vaccinations reduce, or largely, prevent outbreaks entirely.

        It is true that authoritarians use mandates. Using that to assume that anyone advocating a mandate is authoritarian is simply fallacious logic.

        Mask wear in many situations *is* socially responsible, whether or not the authorities did something dumb, or authoritarian.

        Getting the vaccine is also socially responsible, because it *does* reduce spread. If you’ve had a proven recent prior infection, it roughly does the same thing, although topping it off with a booster gives you the best known immunity.

        Masks and vaccines are *not* perfect. Those who demand that they be perfect before they are appropriate are not thinking clearly.

        You write “the politicization of the vax creates a perverse incentive- nobody who has mandated it wants to hear about any problems it may have.” That is true of some of those who mandated things, but not true of all. Not everyone who has mandates ignores the consequences.

        But you left out an equally wrong reaction which many in this thread demonstrate: facing a mandate, they don’t want to hear anything about the good it might have done, and they have a perverse incentive to believe that whatever was mandated was wrong.

        BTW, are you for the mandates by Republican governors preventing schools or businesses from requiring masks? I

        As a conservative Christian who voted both times for Trump, I put a lot of blame for the deaths in this epidemic on the right, and that really pains me. Some very public people on the right use anti-vax and anti-mask as political tools, thereby deluding a bunch of people into believing that they should do neither. Others profit from it by selling books or giving lectures. To be fair, most believe their own BS, but they are not experts, don’t choose real experts to listen to, and shouldn’t be making pronouncements on this stuff they know nothing about.

        And now we see that we have a pandemic where the ICU’s are filling up with mostly unvaxxed people. Here in Arizona, almost nobody wears a mask indoors with strangers, and those who do often wear essentially useless cloth masks.

        But the left is hardly blameless. For one thing, their mandates, and the horrible screwups in communications by public health people, fed this resistance. And, the CDC’s mistakes were devastating: screwing up testing from the start; failing to adequately communicate about masks as a result of failing for a year to accept the obvious: aerosol transmission was a major problem; and then after grudgingly accepting that, again not adequately (to this day) communicating about masks, nor adequately pushing ventilation and filtration. If Biden was going to throw around trillions, the first should have gone to schools and certain businesses to help them keep their air safe; the next should have gone to another Operation Warp Speed for rapid home tests, and for high quality American made (or approved) masks: N95’s, KN95’s, N100’s, etc.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        mesocyte comment – “BTW, are you for the mandates by Republican governors preventing schools or businesses from requiring masks? I”

        Absolutely in a school setting – It is very well documented that masks do nothing to reduce the infection rates. There is only one study that shows a reduction in transmission in school settings and that is the deeply flawed arizona study.

        I am greatly in favor of mitigation protocols that are effective. masking is not one of them and creates unintended harm. including but not limited to reduced learning ability, reduced communication interaction, resistance to good mitigation skills, etc

      • >>mesocyte comment – “BTW, are you for the mandates by Republican governors preventing schools or businesses from requiring masks? I”

        >>>>Absolutely in a school setting

        So you are for mandates you approve of, but those you do not are authoritarian?

      • joe the non epidemiologist

        Meso’s comment – “Right now, here in Arizona, important medical procedures are on hold because Omicron (the supposedly “mild” virus) is putting too many into the hospital. The vast majority of these are not vaccinated, even though over half the population of the state is vaccinated (over 70% of those eligible for vaccination, most of whom are at relatively low risk).”

        At this point I have to question the accuracy of the Unvaxed hospitalization rates and the unvaxed death rates.

        during the months oct/nov/dec 2021, the unvaxed vs vaxed deaths were about 2/3’s vs 1/3. Approx 80-85% of the deaths are in the 65+ age group. approx 85-90% of the 65+ Age group is vaxed.

        If the 2/3’s of the deaths are truly the unvaxed, that means the unvaxed per capita death rate is 2x -3x higher than the death rate for the same time period in 2020 when no one was vaxed.

      • Joe the non epidemiologist

        Meso

        As I stated – I am in favor of mandates that are effective

        It’s well documented that mask mandates in school settings are worthless

        Think through all the problems worthless mandate creates
        Greater distrust in good science
        Lower level of compliance with socially responsible behavior etc

      • “BTW, are you for the mandates by Republican governors preventing schools or businesses from requiring masks?

        There is no such thing as a mandate to not mandate. I live in one of those states and sit here wasting time tonight because I just tested positive. Best we can tell I, triple vaccinated, got it from another family we know who we saw the other day in a room where we were all wearing masks (yes even me- remember I think freedom comes with responsibility). They are also all vaccinated and all of us are doing fine.
        Back to the awful, authoritarian “mandate” to leave children alone. They did that recently here. All the Karens were, frankly, excited that this would swell the ranks of Republican haters as the undeniable enlightenment of cloth masks for second graders became apparent. They even started organizing for massive resistance. And then the weekend ended, kids went to school without masks, and the massive resistance disappeared over night.
        One of the things people discovered was that the Karens may have made them be silent through sheer force of vitriol, but they weren’t alone in thinking this was all nuts. In fact, the people done with the rags were in the vast majority. In the last week, the Washington Post, New York Times and NPR have all run pieces declaring it’s time to stop putting rags on the kids. The dam is breaking and the “socially responsible” thing to do is what should have been done two years ago- be honest about when and how to protect yourself and others.

      • “There is no such thing as a mandate to not mandate.”

        Yeah, there is. If you mandate, as was done here in AZ, that schools cannot require masks, that is a mandate to not mandate! Ditto if you mandate that bars cannot require masks.

      • Re the idea that rejecting authoritarianism is a “mandate” against mandates.

        By that “logic” the United States is far more authoritarian than North Korea because we haters of freedom dare to “mandate” that government not seize the means of production by mandate.

        This is authoritarian thinking at its worst.

        Way back in the 1980s when studying journalism we got all sorts of magazines. I enjoyed flipping through The Nation from time to time just to see how completely unhinged left-wing “intellectuals” could be.
        One of my favorites was the recurring “argument” that Cuba was actually more “democratic” than the United States. The reasoning – I use the term loosely – was that Castro and the politburo represented the people, therefore anyone who opposed them was ipso facto opposed to the people. Therefore the only truly democratic “option” was a ballot that had only Castro’s name on it. And, of course, that bleating from the United States and the UN was yankee imperialism- they were attempting to mandate the end of.a mandate, therefore were the true authoritarians!

      • “Re the idea that rejecting authoritarianism is a “mandate” against mandates.”

        I never said that. Whether or not you believe that schools mandating masks is authoritarian, mandating that they do not is a mandate against mandates.

        As to authoritarian, I’d suggest you visit a communist country some time. I have and it is nothing like even the worst excesses of mandates we have had.

    • Try reading this before pronouncing that Ivermectin is useless:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8088823/

      Am J Ther. 2021 May-Jun; 28(3): e299–e318.
      Published online 2021 Apr 22. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001377
      PMCID: PMC8088823
      PMID: 34375047
      Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19
      Pierre Kory, MD,1,* Gianfranco Umberto Meduri, MD, Joseph Varon, MD, Jose Iglesias, DO, and Paul E. Marik, MD

      1. Ivermectin inhibits RNA virus replication in cell culture models, including replication of SARS-CoV2.
      2. Ivermectin has been shown to have high binding affinity to the spike protein of SARS-CoV2, pointing to an obvious mechanism whereby ivermectin could have anti-viral properties in vivo.
      3. Binding of Ivermectin to SARS-CoV2 virions inhibits viral binding to the ACE2 receptor,
      4. Ivermectin binds to the virally encoded RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting viral replication.

      Those four studies would be exactly what a pharmaceutical company would wish to see prior to progressing to formal preclinical studies, medicinal chemistry etc etc.

      A) Murine models of coronavirus infection show much reduced viral loads after treatment with ivermectin – the first necessary step towards showing that a compound active in laboratory studies could have efficacy in patients.
      B) Ivermectin has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory properties in in vitro systems – an important pointer towards potential significant anti-inflammatory effects in patients suffering from harmful anti-inflammatory responses to viral infection.

      And then there are clinical trials carried out in several countries showing that treatment with Ivermectin reduces viral transmission as compared to those solely using personal protective equipment (masks). An 80% reduction from 10% of contacts to 2% of contacts was demonstrated. Furthermore, a study in Egypt showed a reduction in Covid symptoms from contacts infected from 58% of contacts of those not treated with ivermectin to 7.4% of contacts of those treated.

      Either you must postulate that those doctors are lying in published papers, or you must accept that ivermectin has relevant activity in limiting the seriousness of Covid19 symptoms amongst those in contact with Covid19 patients.

      You must also assume that Worldometers data aggregation site is receiving fraudulent data signifying that in countries with mass ivermectin administration programmes show lower levels of Covid19 than in countries not doing such things.

      You would do very, very well to acknowledge that Emergency Use Authorisation by the CDC of RNA vaccines would have been criminal malfeasance if it were accepted that Ivermectin, a cheap, safe and long-standing drug, showed very significant capabilities of treating Covid19.

      You would also do well to realise that the profits of big pharma would have been tens of billions less the past two years and the new ‘launching’ of ‘novel anti-Covid19 drugs’ would have been entirely non-justifiable if cheap off-patent drugs could do the job just as well.

      The West is extremely incapable of distinguishing between public health priorities and the profit demands of pharmaceutical investors.

      • Yes, there’s a reason that so many scientists in so many countries trialed Ivermectin – it looks good in models. Another reason is that countries in Africa with high Ivermectin use apparently have less COVID19.

        But things look good in models all the time, and fail in humans. We are not mice (murine model).

        I have read enough Ivermectin studies that looked good, and then see commentary that shredded them, and when I looked back at the studies, I saw the commentary was wrong.

        If Ivermectin were so good, it would have jumped out during the good studies. It did not. One good, large study in Brazil detected a weak signal (below statistical significance) that there might be a positive effect, so they continued that study and Ivermectin failed.

        There is an alternative hypothesis to the African Ivermectin correlation: Ivermectin is used to treat helminth infections, and people with those infections have a more activated immune system. Is that the cause of lower COVID rates (if they are really lower)? Beats me.

        Do not make the mistake of assuming that presumed evil motives in the US or the West apply to every scientist around the world, or every government. For that matter, do not slander the scientists by applying evil motives to the many hundreds that have, in fact, studied Ivermectin in the hopes that it would be good, when it ultimately failed.

        Yes, drug companies want to make a profit. They do not own the scientific establishment. When my daughter was doing mRNA research, the main competition for publication was a drug company, but her research was NIH funded.

        There is keen interest in finding inexpensive, generic human meds that can be repurposed for COVID19. That’s why, when fluvoxamine (relative of Prozac) users seemed to do better than others, studies were initiated to see if it was effective. It is now part of treatment protocol in Canada. How effective it really is, I don’t know, but in reasonable dosages, it is quite safe, and studies show far show significant effect. Will that pan out… well, that’s why you do science in the open where it can be challenged, rather than make your decisions from anecdotes.

      • Correction – commentary was right, study wrong

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Mesocyte comment – “There is an alternative hypothesis to the African Ivermectin correlation: Ivermectin is used to treat helminth infections, and people with those infections have a more activated immune system. Is that the cause of lower COVID rates (if they are really lower)?”

        I had somewhat similar take on ivermectin.
        Probably not effective as a treatment (except for placebo effect),
        Though something about the heavy pre covid usage that made in more difficult for the covid virus to get a foothold into the body, thus the much shorter waves and lower population in the waves. On the other hand if it worked as a treatment, the waves would be similar size, but with lower severity.

      • Sebastian Magee

        R0=8?? That’s ridiculous. Please cite your sources. It is less than 2. if it was 8 it would have spread all around the world is 77 days assuming a week of incubation 8^11 is 8.5 billion more than the population on Earth, It took a month for the virus to leave China, and several months to extend across Europe and the US. much more consistent with R0 of approximately 2

      • You are confusing R0 with Rt. Popular press does that a lot- I see lots of articles that use the current transmission rate as if it were based on R0, when in reality it is based on R0 modified by mitigation.

        The reason it hasn’t already infected everyone in the world is mitigation – vaccination, masking, social distancing, etc. But it has spread amazingly fast, since it started in November. That’s due both to high R0 *and* a shorter serial interval. But the measure of rate of spread is Rt, not R0, when mitigations are in progress.

        I don’t collect R0 references on Omicron, but here’s one with it at 7.5. I have seen virologists use 4-8, with some going up to 12. Google scholar can be your friend.

        Compare that to normal influenza at around 1.2

        https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-1218033/v2/18cd01a5-cb69-4475-b84f-e5fd826f286f.pdf?c=1641913390

      • I should add… another reason for the much higher Rt of Omicron vs Delta is probably its ability to infect people that had much better immunity to Delta and other variants – i.e. immune evasion, both in prior infected people, and in vaccinated people. It isn’t clear (at least to me) if it’s R0 is > Delta’s, which was also in the 4-8 range.

        That gives it more hosts to infect, and at the same time, makes it *seem* less virulent because those hosts have significant immunity but not enough to stop an infection or illness from it.

        The other reason for the apparent mildness is that it is a bit less dangerous than Delta, probably because it doesn’t tend to infect lung tissue, thus not directly causing pneumonia (although any respiratory can lead to a pneumonia infection by some other pathogen – even a cold, depending on the host’s immune health).

        Omicron, though, is NOT a mild virus. It is deadlier than the original Wuhan strain but less than Delta, when you account for all the cofactors (age, comorbidities, vaccine and/or prior infection status).

      • “The reason it hasn’t already infected everyone in the world is mitigation – vaccination, masking, social distancing, etc. But it has spread amazingly fast, since it started in November. That’s due both to high R0 *and* a shorter serial interval. But the measure of rate of spread is Rt, not R0, when mitigations are in progress.”

        Although there was a huge mitigations effort against the spread, the science is not yet settled as to how effective the efforts were. The response to alpha may not have been effective at all. People that went to work faired better than those who stayed cooped up with multiple pod members washing hands.

    • Mesocyte “Their main failure in that regard is exaggerating the harm of the useless treatments favored by the right (HCQ, Ivermectin). Both of those medications are not terribly dangerous (especially not HCQ) if given in normal doses. Too bad they don’t work against the disease.”

      On one hand you say the establishment smeared HCQ and Ivermectin, calling them dangerous, and on the other you trust their science. Not everyone is that nimble.

      I would say the jury is out on their effectiveness as part of early outpatient cocktails. I think everyone can agree that there is a huge divide among very notable medical scientists on important and basic questions.

      Here is an article profiling the leaders of the 6000 medical scientists that signed the Great Barrington Declaration.
      https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/science/articles/the-dissidents

      There is even suspicion of foul play afoot.

      From the article:
      Dr Peter “McCullough has become conspicuously vocal about the nefarious intentions he believes undergird the COVID vaccine program and the overall governmental response to the pandemic; not to acknowledge those views, too, would be misleading. At the same time, I spoke to McCullough last year for two hours and did not find him to be “far out.” He struck me as a sensible and brilliant everyman who has been pushed to his breaking point by two years of irrationality and therapeutic nihilism.”

      • “On one hand you say the establishment smeared HCQ and Ivermectin, calling them dangerous, and on the other you trust their science. Not everyone is that nimble.”

        You write as if there is a single establishment. I read science that is done all over the world, meaning by different “establishments.”

        Also, doing science is far different from communicating about it.

        I do not mean to exonerate those who misstated the safety of those drugs. But also, HCQ was used in very high doses early one, where it is quite dangerous. And people were killing themselves with too much Ivermectin.

        Still, I want truth from the people supposedly speaking for science. I don’t get it often enough. That’s why I follow a number of scientists in this field on Twitter, and also read papers – usually ones they mention.

        Early on, I spent a lot of time reading pre-prints. But I concluded that you really have to be an expert to know which pre-prints were worth believing. Some (including the Ford HCQ study that claimed to show benefit) had pretty obvious flaws (Ford didn’t properly account for age, the most important factor). But without being an expert myself, seeking out the knowledge involves following a bunch of experts, and paying attention to which ones are credible.

        I pretty much ignore the media, both mainstream (left) media, and right wing media. Both are so full of BS on this topic that unless they are presenting an interview with a scientist I trust, it’s not worth it.

        As for the GBD folks… GBD was a dumb idea the moment it became clear that vaccines were coming. And it was actually dumb before that – because:

        1) GBD assumes one can really identify *and* protect “the vulnerable.”That has not been possible.

        2) GBD assumes that a huge number of cases will not overrun the hospitals, and yet we cannot adequately identify who will need to be hospitalized – we can only do it statistically. Half of all Americans have at least one of the significant risk factors. What do we do? Build concentration camps for half the country, and then imagine we can keep the virus out?

        I have seen plenty of people with good looking credentials turn to total rubbish on COVID. That’s why the scientific method exists – to *test* ideas, which also (in theory) , over time determines who really knows their stuff.

        Remember when a credentialed research team claimed that Santa Clara County (or was it LA – same team) had reached herd immunity – way back in 2020?

        Yeah.

    • Here are 76 studies of IVM.

      c 1 9 i v e r m e c t i n . c o m (just remove the spaces)

    • Also, even if by your estimation IVM had only a 40% chance of working, it would be worthwhile taking it, if prescribed, because the risk it so small. (IF PRESCRIBED!). But the studies indicate it is better than that at preventing severe disease if taken early.

      • I agree with your reasoning. But I judge the chance of it helping at under 1%. 40%? I don’t think so. I was ready to take HCQ early on if needed (I’ve taken it before for malaria prophylaxis). But then the evidence became clear.

        Today, I’d get fluvoxamine, even before the evidence is clear, because it is good enough for me, and good enough for the Canadians, and I am familiar with it. But that opinion could change, if further evidence contradicts what I have seen – which is possible.

    • I would go with iota-carrageenan nasal and throat sprays. Or dilute povidone.

      • Or ivermectin, or quercetin, or melatonin which I was taking every day before COVID was on the scene. Vit C, zinc, Vit D3 every day also. I’m pretty old and we eat out and have been to smaller concerts, grocery store, etc. Not even a hiccup.

      • I see I haven’t mentioned anywhere that I’m double-vaxxed with Pfizer mRNA. I had no issues with it other than a sore arm, as far as I can tell.

      • But I won’t be getting boosters of any sort. I’m happy with my simple meds.

    • WRT mandates, the Devil is in the details. In the case of the mRNA vaccines, a full 3-5 year clinical trial was not completed. Reports of deaths or other issues in the VAERS data base are not being followed up on by autopsies or other studies. And I’m sure not all adverse reactions are being reported for various reasons, including no one associated the issue with the vaccine.

      In this case, no one should be forced to have this injected into their body.

      There is at least on paper on Molnupiravir stating concerns that it might interfere with replication of proteins other than those of the virus, i e the persons own proteins. Like the vaccine, it was given emergency approval without the benefit of a complete clinical trial.

      In this case, no one should be forced to take this pill.

      • Beside the high antiviral potency of NHC, potential risks have to be considered. Host RNA polymerases may use MTP as substrate, and indeed the mitochondrial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase can use EIDD-1931 and incorporate NHC monophosphate into RNA in vitro52. In addition, possible mutagenic effects of NHC were recently described in mammalian cells53. Therefore, it will be important to characterize the effects of molnupiravir and NHC on cellular polymerase function in future studies.

        After the submission of our manuscript, independently derived biochemical data about the molnupiravir mechanism of action became available54 that are consistent with our findings. On the basis of steady-state kinetic measurements, the authors suggest the formation of M-A and M-G base pairs, a longstanding hypothesis that could now be confirmed by the structural data presented in our study.

        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41594-021-00651-0

      • I do not consider the mRNA vaccines to be experimental. All the pros agree, saying that the odds of a significant effect turning up after a few months are very, very low – with any vaccine.

        And, we have had hundreds of millions if not billions of doses of the mrNA vaccines administered around the world.

        Re: VAERS – it is one of several vaccine surveillance systems, and has some of the least reliable data. All reported deaths are investigated, but not all are autopsied because too often, the judgement of the doctor writing the death certificate, plus the symptoms and circumstances, are enough that autopsy is unnecessary.

        And… once again too many Americans do this… just because we don’t have the best surveillance system doesn’t mean that we cannot use data from others. Israel, for example, has great data on the Pfizer vaccine – because they only have a few (3?) health systems and they thus have easy access to large numbers of patient records. And, of course, because they care about vaccine adverse reactions (as does the CDC). Israeli scientists are constantly publishing high quality studies on vaccination and other COVID19 related topics.

        I simply do not believe that the death rate from the vaccine is significant. We have been using it a long time, and I am aware of no quality study showing that the death rate is higher than advertised.

        BTW, I trust the Israeli scientists more than I trust CDC’s policies and pronouncements. CDC, although it has some high quality scientists, as an organization has been terrible through this pandemic – with way too many unforced errors, with bureaucratic stubbornness (as did FDA), etc.

        I know of no mandates that force you to be vaccinated with mRNA. Get the J&J if mRNA scares you. I know of no mandates that force you to be vaccinated at all, although some have some pretty onerous consequences if you don’t (loss of job, typically).

        My non-expert thoughts on the mRNA vaccines are this: mRNA is a normal part of our life – it is how DNA instructs the creation of proteins. It is also degraded quickly by the body – they had to tweak it slightly so it would last a bit longer in the vaccine. So I don’t fear mRNA. As for the spike proteins it creates… hey, what do you think a COVID19 infection does? Spike proteins galore, attached to actual viruses that can cause a number of dangerous or deadly effects. The rate of complications with COVID19 infections, for *any* age and health cohort, is far greater than that with the vaccine.

        BTW, my daughter has designed mRNA systems and put them into human cells while doing research. She has also done virology research on zoonotic pathogens in BSL-3 labs, and was asked by NIH to return for COVID (15 years after she left). She is fully vaxxed with Pfizer.

        I have seen several experts concerned about Molnupavir. The concerns voiced were that it’s approach of intentionally causing mutations might lead to more virus variants. I think some were concerned that this could cause problems directly to the patient also, but I don’t remember the mechanism.

        Pfizer’s drug doesn’t use an unusual approach (it’s more like an anti-HIV medication AFAIK), and seems to be far more effective than Molnupavir

      • Mesocyte – I find it odd that the same people who say the ivermectin studies aren’t good enough because they aren’t clinical trials are just fine with the fact that the mRNA vaccines have not had a complete clinical trial. Double standard anyone?

  28.    “Clearly the authorities want to underplay vaccination risks.”

    Absolutely.

    “The reported number of deaths from the vaccine is very low, about 8 per million, much lower than the number of deaths from COVID, and even much lower than background deaths.”

    Maybe not. From Germany:

    “So why would people NOT getting the vaccine be the ones dying in huge numbers, and not those getting the vaccine?

    “This is because in Europe the status of “vaccinated” first gets assigned 14 days after getting the final jab. Thus any deaths occurring before this, ends up being counted as an “unvaccinated death”! So if a patient who got a vaccine dies less than 14 days later, he/she gets counted as an unvaccinated death. This is how vaccine deaths are getting hidden. ”

    https://notrickszone.com/2022/01/21/analysis-by-german-prof-thousands-of-hidden-deaths-daily-may-be-greatest-medical-debacle-in-human-history/

    • Do not believe Pierre Gosselin on this issue. He is clearly wrong. Thousands of hidden daily deaths in a single country by the vaccine are clearly not possible.

      We do not know how many people are dying from the vaccine, but they cannot be many or it would be known by everybody.

      • Javier

        Agreed. The local citizens talk very freely in the coffee shops here about all sorts of things including the ailments they and people they know suffer from. Some of it is quite explicit!

        I have never ever heard anyone mention vaccination as a cause of death or serious illness. Some mention they felt ill enough to go to bed for a day or they had a sore arm but nothing more.

        If many were dying of vaccination I think local coffee shops and social media would be full of it.

        tonyb

      • “Researchers at Columbia University sought to answer the question as to how many people experience adverse events from the COVID vaccine. Using the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is a “national vaccine safety monitoring system that accepts reports of adverse events after vaccination,” researchers took a closer look at the data to find out just how many people are experiencing adverse events or are even dying after receiving a COVID vaccine, NOQ Report revealed.”…

        “They also found a U.S. national average vaccine-induced fatality rates or VFR of 0.04% and higher VFR with age. For those aged 0 to 17, they had a VFR of 0.004%, while those aged 75 and above had a VFR of 0.06%. Data showed that there were over 146,000 to 187,000 vaccine-related deaths in the U.S. alone between February to August 2021. ”

        https://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/14298/20211216/columbia-university-study-finds-vaers-deaths-undercounted-by-factor-of-20.htm

      • One statistic we are missing is how many people died of the virus after being infected just before or just after vaccination. There is a real possibility that infection and vaccination high proximity could be harmful. And the death would be attributed to Covid, not the vaccine.

        Javier, can you explain the paradox that compromising the immune system can be beneficial for Covid symptoms but at the same time detrimental for fighting the virus?

      •  “We do not know how many people are dying from the vaccine, but they cannot be many or it would be known by everybody.” – Javier
        “If many were dying of vaccination I think local coffee shops and social media would be full of it.” – tonyb 

        If vaccine deaths are misreported as Covid deaths, and since most media almost never mention the VAERS reports and similar reports from other countries, and since there is a steady drumbeat of “safe and effective,” it is not surprising that the issue is not widely known.

        From an article of 11/12/2021:

        “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data today showing a total of 875,653 adverse events following COVID vaccines were reported between Dec. 14, 2020, and Nov. 5, 2021, to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S.

        “The data included a total of 18,461 reports of deaths  — an increase of 383 over the previous week, and 135,400 reports of serious injuries, including deaths, during the same time period — up 7,943 compared with the previous week.”…

        “Historically, VAERS has been shown to report only 1% of actual vaccine adverse events.” [Other reports are that about 10% or so of serious events are reported.]

        https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/vaers-cdc-covid-vaccine-data-injuries-5-year-olds/

  29. Javier is in good company with his perspective. The only thing I disagree with is about older people being better off with “vaccination.” Nearly every person I know who has been hit hard by covid has been “vaccinated.” Also, my mother died in October after being fully vaccinated. First she started to drift off and stare in to the distance, then the confusion, then she lost her ability to speak, then she lost her ability to breath.

    I concluded the vaccines absolute risk reduction for me cannot be distinguished from zero, just like co2’s contribution to climate change………

  30. Thank you for putting your thoughts together on this. I appreciate your reasoning, willingness to share, and your expertise.

  31. How many condemned themselves to die due to the psychology of FEAR?

    The CDC did not recommend use of N95 when in close contact with patients. They recommended greater protection for those situations.

    As I understand the Influenza virus ranges from 80 to 120 nanometers. 1 micron = 100 nanometers and Sars-Cov-2 falls in close to this size. N95 is 95% effective rated for 3 micron particles. There are other factors too as mentioned above such as flow by, blow by, moisture, contamination etc. They say most virus load will be riding 5 micron particles but I think that is subjective and from an uninhibited release, not blown through a face cover…

  32. Double-vaxxed and boosted, always wear a mask (there’s still a mask mandate in my state, which everyone follows except, I’ve heard, in the red part of the state), and socially distance when out. Haven’t had COVID-19 or so much as a sniffle.

  33. France has had most of its citizens vaccinated and boosted for months and wear masks in many outdoor settings and all indoor ones. In addition they have to show covid passports to go anywhere or do anything. It didn’t stop them having 450,000 cases a couple of days ago

  34. Geoff Sherrington

    Javier,
    If you have not yet seen it –
    A new, relevant paper by Tomas Leon et al of the US Center for Disease Control is a game changer.
    https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/113542

    The important summary finding is that there is an immunity from infection given by Covid variants before Omicron (which was too recent for this study).
    This immunity is similar to vaccination in its reduction of hospitalization, with both being far better than the naive case..

    Therefore, testing in future should concentrate on antigen detection of prior Covid infection because those who have had Covid infections will find no more benefit from vaccinations. It is, of course, a gross waste of money and human resources if vaccinations are given by decree when there is no need for them.
    Given the high transmission of both known Omicron variants, we might be seeing, right now, the end of the seriously harmful phase of the Covid pandemic, because most people seem destined to be infected by Omicron and should benefit from the natural immunity it confers.

    One real test will be to measure the inertia and even bloody-mindedness of some medical bureaucrats, who currently seem to like the power conferred on them through near-compulsory vaccination decrees, when vaccination now needs to be downplayed. Geoff S

    • joe the non epidemiologist

      Geooff – the natural immunity from prior infection has been well established to be stronger than vax immunity since late summer of 2021. What is disappointing is that the CDC was denying it until just recently.

  35. Note that this is before boosters. Booster significantly increase protection. Many vaccines require several doses. It turns out that this is true of COVID vaccines, too. So they are comparing people that, by current standards, are not fully vaccinated, to people with prior infection.

    I do believe that the public failure to even mention immunity from prior infection was wrong, and was an attempt to “nudge” people into getting vaccinated. In other words, the public health establish, in this area and others, has treated us like children.

    If you are going to have a virus passport, I agree it should be a measure of immunity, not vaccine status.

    However, immunity is not easy to measure. Antibodies are only the first line of defense, and they are easy. But beyond that, the tests are not as common and there’s a lot more to measure.

    • As Javier mentioned, the 4 seasonal corona viruses that have been around forever, and produce cold-like symptoms, do not cause long lasting immunity. You can get them over and over. The new corona virus shares this trait. So no matter how many times you get vaccinated or even catch it, you won’t have permanent, strong immunity for very long.

      • That’s only true, for this virus, of circulating antibodies. The immune system does remember the virus and, if healthy, will generate antibodies once that system gets activated.

        Whether the virus keeps mutating fast enough to get around the additional layers of immunity – who knows.

        People who had SARS-CoV (2003) still have immunity to it. Results so far show that the mRNA vaccine (at least) and infection by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19 virus) elicit the same kind of memory. How long it will last – we don’t know because not enough time has gone by.

        Note that by “have immunity” I mean that they will mount a better immune response than those with no prior exposure. It doesn’t mean none of them will get sick, but that the illness will usually be a lot milder for those who do.

        Caveat: I don’t know a lot about the immune system. The overall immune system is really complex.

        SARS long lasting immunity article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/health/coronavirus-immunity.html

  36. Richard Pokorny

    The public is thoroughly confused because our best and most honest voices are being heavily censored. The public doesn’t know this and many can not believe it as this is totally unprecedented in our history. This is what the current Joe Rozzzgan controversy is about. He did a few long interviews with eminent scientists the authorities don’t want you to hear.

  37. As a British person with the usual national biases I am inclined to favour the AstraZeneca vaccine which is safe by normal pharmaceutical standards and like the J&J and Sputnik and Valneva ones is a “traditional vector” vaccine.

    And despite the lynching that the AZ virus received in the “brits-are-the-new-jews” post-Brexit atmosphere in which the USA sided with the EU, and Pfizer’s legal-media thugs obviously supported actively – despite all this, I’m still inclined to defend the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines from unjustified scare-mongering.

    (It’s hilarious how the FDA is simply a branch of Pfizer just like the FAA is a branch of Boeing! Regulatory capture.)

    There are plenty of Youtube videos with “I am Legend” like scenarios supposedly in store for mRNA vaccine recipients. I don’t believe them. Normal clinical follow-up of the vaccine is simply not showing any of this.

    For myself, I have so far been jabbed with AZ – AZ – Pfizer.

    One point to add is that repeat vaccination does deepen immunological defence against a disease, it’s more than just a top-up. That’s why some vaccines which underperformed in clinical trials for first time efficacy, e.g. Curevac, Valneva, Novavax can be effective as boosters. Immunity doesn’t just get topped up by repeat vaccines, it gets deeper and stronger.

    Thus I will see no problem in receiving periodic booster vaccinations in coming years for covid as well as flu – or even both combined, by either injection or tablet as the technology evolves.

    And that’s one thing that has definitely emerged from the covid19 pandemic – a big step forward in medical technology and medicines. To be welcomed, not feared.

    • I took one Indian AZ when my close neighbor tested positive around August, that’s all. Took plenty of vitamin D – and B as I eat fairly vegetarian. I go in the sun frequently while working in our big garden or putting up laundry on the roof. The Indian population will never tolerate a draconian totalitarian lockdown like in PR China or Australia. We are used to higher risks: traffic, TB, Dengue etc. and can’t afford to mess up our financial life totally. The central government has been following the US due to the Trump – Modi endearment pre 2019 plus private Gates etc. NGOs infiltration in Indian public health. The long lockdowns have damaged kids mental health but are now finally (?) ended.
      The only plus side I see is that we now can react better to a really deadly virus coming from some other lab, plus the exposure of “science” icons like Fausti and co. Gain of evil function…

  38. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons web site. Physician List & Guide to Home-Based you-know-what Treatment.

    a a p s o n l i n e . o r g / c o v i d p a t i e n t g u i d e (just remove spaces)

    • From the downloadable PDF concerning treatment when you-know-what starts to become more severe:

      These must be started quickly at STAGE I (Days 1-5):
      Symptoms include sore throat, nasal stuffiness, fatigue, headaches, body aches, loss of taste and/or smell, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fever.
      These medicines stop the virus from (1) entering the cells and (2) from multiplying once inside the cells, and they reduce bacterial invasion in the sinuses and lung:
      ▪ (Drug abbreviation starting with H and ending in Q ) with azithromycin (AZM) or doxycycline
      OR
      ▪ (Name of notorious drug beginning with I) with azithromycin (AZM) or doxycycline
      Either combination above must also include zinc sulfate or gluconate, plus supplemental vitamin D,
      and vitamin C. Some doctors also recommend adding a B complex vitamin.

  39. One point to add is that repeat vaccination does deepen immunological defence against a disease, it’s more than just a top-up. That’s why some vaccines which underperformed in clinical trials for first time efficacy, e.g. Curevac, Valneva, Novavax can be effective as boosters. With each booster immunity improves further.

    Personally I don’t believe that the passing of time will reveal an “I Am Legend” like scenario of dire consequences of mRNA vaccines. It’s easy to write “what if” stories in molecular biology. They rarely happen in the real world. Reductionism has emptied Pharma’s pipeline, for the same reason.

    • Phil, repeated vaccination at insufficiently spaced intervals can lead to T-cell anergy or exhaustion. These are mechanisms that actually reduce the immune response. Some of the immunization protocols that call for frequent vaccination, like in Israel, introduce more uncharted waters into the equation.

      Anergy and exhaustion are independent mechanisms of peripheral T cell tolerance.
      https://rupress.org/jem/article/181/3/993/50876/Anergy-and-exhaustion-are-independent-mechanisms

      My government has been giving third dosis to people just 4 weeks after passing Covid. After a month of doing that, experts cries got them to increase the interval to 5 months. In my humble opinion, the tried and true approach for flu shots once a year is the way to go.

    • In my humble opinion, the tried and true approach for flu shots once a year is the way to go.

      I would agree with that.

  40. Obviously, veins and arteries exist in ones arm muscles. The decision was taken not to aspirate when administering the mRNA shot. It may be that the heart and other organ issues arise when the needle enters a vein or artery instead of muscle.

    • Curious George

      What shots are administered with aspiration, Doc?

    • I’m not a doc, but whenever I’ve given IM shots, I was to aspirate first. If blood was present… start over.

      But maybe the needles used for the COVID vaccine are short enough that hitting a serious vein or artery isn’t possible? Or maybe the risk of injecting into one was not considered high. Anyone know?

  41. Does anybody have a link to the study that asserts that monclonal anitbodies are ineffective against omnicron? The FDA has halted its use. According to worldometer, yesterday the US had more deaths in nearly a year.

    • Dr. Marty Makary, author of the article, is a genuine hero in my book. I just finished reading his new book on USA health care reform, The Price We Pay, on gross inefficiency and predatory pricing practices in medicine. During Covid he was one of the few top establishment doctors blowing the whistle on the CDC for being political rather than scientific, particularly on the effectiveness of natural immunity and lack virus danger to young and healthy people.

  42. Unvaccinated people are more likely to spread the disease among vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. And even the milder omicron variant is killing the old and the infirm.
    So for the time being – it’s vaccines and masks in public spaces. I’m getting a booster Feb 12th. Daisy worries about what colour mask to wear.

    • Yes, that’s what I would expect, but how much?

      I’ve seen nothing that indicates the difference is substantial.

      • I would not get boosted.

        Exposure to the spike protein is probably worse for you than an actual infection. The stroke and heart risk is not worth it.

      • You get a heck of a lot of spike protein in your system when you get an infection.

      • I would at least get my titers checked first. And T cell test if possible.

      • Really depends. Pretty sure the vaccine exposes you substantially more generally.

      • And certainly if you’ve already been infected and
        vaccinated.

      • The benefit of the current vaccines against Omicron is very small. According to the studies you gain ~50% protection for about 8 weeks, starting two weeks after the shot. Balance that against known risks as wells as known unknowns. Pfizer is working on an Omicron vaccine but I am thinking it might arrive too late for Omicron. But as stated above we might eventually be getting an annual Covid shot just like a flu shot. The most important vaccination is the initial one.

    • Bill Fabrizio

      In your category of ‘unvaccinated people’ I would put some subheaders, like had the virus and not had the virus. Also, it’s been plain to see that the vaccinated are spreading the virus at high rates, as well. At this point, two years in, we can clearly see that there’s been no path to ‘beat’ the virus. Rather, it’s more about living with it. Your methods chosen for yourself are fine, for you, but when do you cross the line with enforcement for everyone? Or do you care?

    • Robert, vaccinated people can spread it also – maybe more so since they are supposedly going to be asymptomatic. Asymptomatic is asymtomatic regardless of vax status… The only consideration in your statement for the unvaxxed might be a higher viral load if potentially on the verge of symptoms – but that can happen with a vaxxed person also. All the vax does is stimulate a supposedly better immune response and as was said in the beginning, before the vax – most will not get a bad case, if any.

      • Fewer vaccinated people will be infectious and the infectious period is much shorter, even though the initial viral load is high – at least per a good study I read.

        Unvaccinated people typically have a couple of days where they are spreading but not symptomatic, with overall a larger amount of virus during that time.

        If COVID19 wasn’t a disease spread well by the asymptomatic (pre-symptomatic in most cases), it would have been contained the way it’s cousin, SARS, was. Disease that only spread when you feel sick are a lot easier to contain. Notice how Ebola pops up (from an animal source), causes trouble, and then disappears – because people can avoid it once they know it’s around.

    • I’m getting a spikevax jab next month – and will consider a jab for whatever variant is dominant in the Austral autumn. There is a phone app. Double vaccinated can load a certificate. Without it certain things are verboten. A local Chinese restaurant didn’t let me at their buffet. Daisy had hers and loaded up for two. We decided their cooking had gone downhill anyway. It’s 3 skippies from me. 🦘🦘🦘

      I went to Daisy’s citizenship ceremony on Australia Day. Two things amazed me. Both the federal and state members were there – and 85% of inductees swore allegiance under God. I trust that lot more.

    • There are as well antigen tests. That requires having had the virus.

    • Unvaccinated people are more likely to spread the disease among vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

      There’s no reason to believe that’s true with respect to omicron, which doesn’t seem to care about vax status.

      The vaccines didn’t end the pandemic, but fortune in the form of omicron’s evolution may have. Omicron did what the vaccines couldn’t in getting rid of Delta.

      I was twice vaxxed and once boosted, but got Omicron symptoms on Sunday ( confirmed with test, but now already recovered ).

      It could be good ( learned immunity ).

      Or it could be bad ( antibody dependent enhancement ).

      But for me, for the moment, it’s over.

      • Infection rates slow down with collective immunity – either way. Is the super infectious omicron variant the last wave?

      • Is the super infectious omicron variant the last wave?

        This experience has made be weary and wary.

        I won’t dare jinx the rainbows by say anything optimistic.

      • Having more people vaccinated should help select for Omicron though, helping it become the dominant variant and more safely immunizing everyone.

    • And certainly if you’ve already been vaccinated or infected.

    • Robert
      Do you have a link to credible independent report to justify your statement.
      Other than from a government thrusting the vaccine on the people, or the vaccine manufacturer.

      Perhaps the science they used to justify the vaccine passports.
      Regards

  43. Has anyone had any issues after vaccine?

    I lost feeling in part of my foot 1 month after 2nd shot and had persistent pain at the boundary of sensation. EMG indicated no trauma to nerves, 2hr glucose was lower than fasting (110 and 95) and ECG was also normal.

    8 months later, abnormal ekg indicating enlarged upper ventricles. Last year was normal. Im awaiting further testing next week.

    Also have substantially elevated liver indicators in blood work compared to last year despite being more fit and drinking less.

    An aside, my girlfriend was very upset about the ekg. After, her mother gave me Thuja which they had prepared for when one of her horses had a bad reaction to a vaccine and nearly died. 3 days later I noticed the pain was gone from my foot and the sensation was back after 7 months of no change.
    https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1117/thuja

    • I had moderna

    • ECG and stress echo came back good.

      Still need to see cardiologist to find out why is EKG was abnormal. Right now my hypothesis is that the spike proteins affected the nerves, like my foot. Hopefully the Thuja also fixed that.

      I’ll also see hepatologist is just an hematologist soon.

  44. Mayor Claire Boan of Port Adelaide Enfield: “I Have Had Every Symptom You Could Dream Of” – Bedridden Aussie Mayor Opens Up About Immune Reaction After Receiving COVID Vaccine

    Mayor Claire Boan of Port Adelaide Enfield opened up about her current condition and described “the new normal” in her life on her Facebook account last week.

    According to the mayor, she’s been in bed for more than 35 days due to an immune reaction after receiving her second COVID shot.

    “I have had every symptom you could dream of and my body continues to display new ones; it’s been exhausting for my body, traumatic for my family, and difficult for my mind,” the mayor said.

    Full Statement
    https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10162455135998018&set=a.10150291025568018

  45. Surely the answer is to boycott the Chinese buffet? Or is the passport being widely used In your area?

  46. My comment apparently did not post according to the error message…sorry if this is a double post.

    “Scientists” have identified a new Omicron subvariant of COVID that’s been dubbed BA.2…should be labeled BS Too.

    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2022/01/27/omicron-subvariant-n2602444

    It’s now in about 50 nations, and 100 cases have been identified in the US. Not much is known about it, but according to Danish researchers, it appears to be about 1.5 times more contagious than the original Omicron, but there’s no evidence that it causes more disease. It might just spread the milder, natural immunity-inducing version faster. So if that pans out, it would actually be good news.

    Still desperate to extend his 15 minutes of fame, Dr. Anthony Fauci is now pushing for children as young as six months to begin getting triple doses of COVID vaccines. Here is a link to this story.

    https://redstate.com/alexparker/2022/01/26/fauci-puts-two-year-olds-on-notice-prepare-for-three-doses-of-the-covid-vaccine-n513156

    It contains the statistics comparing the relative risks in that age group from COVID and from the vaccines. You can read all the info and make up your own mind…what a gloriously outdated concept under the Global Reset Oligarchs!

  47. Terence J Gore

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPPnyzvO7J4

    Dr John Campbell (nursing professor educator) interviews Dr Robert Clancy
    main developer of Bronchostat vaccine and one Australia’s first immunologists.

    Clancy suggests that repeated boostering may in effect suppress the mucosal immune system

    • Yes!

      This one is very interesting.

      It seems to be a very key nuance to the understanding.

      (One of) The first lines of defense for respiratory viruses is the mucosa, and NOT circulating antibodies. The body attempts to keep viruses contained before ever crossing the blood barrier. It was the crossing of the blood barrier that led to the ‘cytokine storm’.

      This may explain why the vaccines may be effective at stopping hospitalization ( for some ) but INeffective at stopping infection or virus spread.

      The immune ‘system’ is far more complicated than my school age days informed my understanding.

      The immune response of the airways system is informed by swallowing virus laden mucos which are capture by lymph receptors in the gut!

      Having blood borne antibodies constantly circulating may lead to ‘auto-immune’ diseases, so constant vaccination would not seem to be a good idea.

      • Terence J Gore

        “This may explain why the vaccines may be effective at stopping hospitalization ( for some ) but INeffective at stopping infection or virus spread.”

        I was thinking that also. Still wondering about how the vaccine would get into the mucosal system if it is iga mediated. I assume there must be some leakage or transfer from the serum to mucosal imuune system

        “Having blood borne antibodies constantly circulating may lead to ‘auto-immune’ diseases, so constant vaccination would not seem to be a good idea.”

        Also he seemed to be saying that we downregulate our response to the protein introduced in the vaccine leaving us more vulnerable to the next coronavirus

      • I have seen talk about mucosal immunity for some time, and apparently there is some induced by the vaccine, but not enough to prevent all infection and spread. But a quick search didn’t find anything conclusive regarding the mucosal IgA itself.

        Several of the experts I follow have been advocating a nasal vaccine. One study showed that with mice, one does of mRNA intramuscularly was required for their nasal vaccine to then induce adequate immunity in the nasal mucosa to prevent infection, but when that sequence was done, the protection was very good.

        Also see this summary paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8358136/

        It’s possible that with digging with Google Scholar, one might find more. But whether it is authoritative or a junk paper is hard to tell if you aren’t an expert (which I am not).

    • https://thorax.bmj.com/content/thoraxjnl/41/5/337.full.pdf

      a paper on immunoglobulins in the lung

      • Terence J Gore

        “The mucosal immune system is the largest component of the entire immune system, having evolved to provide protection at the main sites of infectious threat: the mucosae. As SARS-CoV-2 initially infects the upper respiratory tract, its first interactions with the immune system must occur predominantly at the respiratory mucosal surfaces, during both inductive and effector phases of the response. However, almost all studies of the immune response in COVID-19 have focused exclusively on serum antibodies and systemic cell-mediated immunity including innate responses. This article proposes that there is a significant role for mucosal immunity and for secretory as well as circulating IgA antibodies in COVID-19, and that it is important to elucidate this in order to comprehend especially the asymptomatic and mild states of the infection, which appear to account for the majority of cases. Moreover, it is possible that mucosal immunity can be exploited for beneficial diagnostic, therapeutic, or prophylactic purposes.”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7733922/

        It would seem to me that vaccinating will do little to prevent the spread of the disease but may prevent serious cases. it would seem mandates do not make sense in terms of health policy

        https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/t-mobile-terminate-corporate-employees-who-arent-vaccinated-by-april-memo-2022-01-29/

        “Employees who have not yet taken action to receive their first dose and upload proof by February 21 will be placed on unpaid leave,” the blog quoted the memo as saying. “Affected employees who do not become fully vaccinated … by April 2 will be separated from T-Mobile.”

      • I have seen experts commenting mucosal immunity, and the vaccines reduced effectiveness in creating it (it isn’t zero, but it isn’t great).

        One of the big mistakes of the public health establishment is to act like the vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease is the same as the vaccine effectiveness agains transmission. This misleads people and understandably creates distrust.

        Vaccination does *reduce* spread, so it is a very useful public health intervention just for that, but current vaccines do not reduce it nearly as much as they reduce symptomatic infection or severe disease.

        As for mandates, they might make sense in some areas, such as for people working with those at risk – health care workers, nursing home workers, etc. Reduced transmission in those situations translates into reduced hospitalization and death.

        But mandates breed resentment, and that leads to people reacting in ways that may be worse than if the mandates weren’t in place. I have read of studies showing negative results of mandates, presumably because they induced less rather than more protective behavior. Consider mandates to wear masks outdoors – those are just silly, except in outdoor closely packed crowds, and maybe even there. But we have seen them.

        But there is another kind of mandate that I find distasteful, and that is mandates against mandates by private businesses – typically regarding masks. If a private business wants to require masks of employee and customers, that’s their decision. I’d just hope that they use high quality masks and have people use them well.

  48. Gracias Javier (Soy Brasileño)

    “Las aerolíneas se llevarán la peor parte por las restricciones a los vuelos, seguidas del turismo. El precio del petróleo debería caer como consecuencia”.

    I hope you sold short on these!

    Los muertos ascienden a decenas o centenares de miles. Una vacuna, que tardaría meses en desarrollarse

    That was an incredibly accurate and optimistic forecast

    I took 2 shots of Coronavac (Butantã) and a booster of pfizer (needed to get into France – where I got a mild dose of Delta).

    I did not trust the RNA jab 100% & now find that 1 glass of wine goes to my head, 2 gives me a hangover. RNA seems to like an elderly and somewhat abused liver.
    sds

  49. Javier, I have seen several studies that show that covid19 infection induces long term immunity. One at Johns’ Hopkins found that up to 2 years after infection there were significant antibodies in the blood. In an Israeli study prior infection was as I recall 7 times more effective at preventing symptomatic disease as vaccination.

    • The long-term immunity against Covid is contradicted by the real life experience that a lot of people vaccinated with double dosis have already been infected twice. I personally know of two cases.

      My daughter’s boyfriend’s mother got infected in June 2020, vaccinated in July 2021 and re-infected with Omicron in December 2021. So much for long-term immunity and vaccine efficacy. She had a mild case the first time and slight symptoms the second.

      • Omicron is especially good at immune evasion, so someone infected in June 2020 may have less immunity to Omicron than to the original Wuhan strain.

        Also, immunity is a statistical thing – some folks have more than others, regardless of how they acquired it. Plus, for all you know, the mother would have died of the Omicron infection without the prior immunity from the first infection. The immune system has multiple parts – it is in fact very complex – and one part might be functioning better than the other.

        Evidence from SARS-CoV (SARS), a relative of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) shows immunity 17 years later in parts of the immune system.

        It has been clear for many months that part of vaccine immunity – circulating antibodies – wanes relatively quickly, which is why boosters are given. This is not unique to this disease. Many vaccines require multiple doses separated in time.

        Antibodies wane naturally, but while you have them, you can quickly beat an infection. After they have waned, you will get sick and then other parts of the immune system (T-cells and more) will kick in. Fatal COVID19 cases are usually caused by immune over-reaction, probably a result of other parts of the immune system failing to stop the virus.

      • No vaccinations I get require one every few months!

  50. There are actually 4 general protein groups of SARS-COV-2. spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N). We should search for articles concerning antibodies for the four, if those exist for the four. The vaccine includes only the S group. So natural infection could create a wider variety of antibodies.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7456276/

  51. Mesocyte: “As a conservative Christian who voted both times for Trump…”

    As a liberal Democrat, I find your comments on this thread to be far and away the most cogent. Thanks.

    • Ouch! Not really the source of praise I want ;-) But thanks.

      I take science seriously, and while I am fascinated (and sometimes repulsed) by the politics around it, that doesn’t alter my conclusions – to the frustrations of many people whom I otherwise agree with on most any political issue. BTW, I have plenty of criticism for the public health establishment in the US, and for the infectious disease folks who kept resisting the fact that SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19 virus) spreads a lot through aerosols. It took quite an effort by aerosol scientists (who typically were not in the biological field) to get aerosol spread accepted. Even today, CDC is pathetic in its response to that fact, and they only got slightly serious about masking against it last week in their latest, weakly worded, too long screed of mask advice.

      • Mesocyte, thank you for the time you’ve put into your comments and for your astonishing patience.

  52. Pfizer Inc wants to intervene in a Texas federal lawsuit seeking information from the FDA used in licensing the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, a litigation move that plaintiffs who are suing for the data say is premature

    https://twitter.com/ReutersLegal/status/1486682904126058498

  53. Studies are underway to find out the precise characteristics of the latest Covid-19 variant ‘BA.2’. It already accounts for the majority of most recent cases in a number of countries, including India, Denmark and Sweden. But, for French Health Minister Olivier Véran, this sub-variant’s arrival in France is not “a game changer”.
    Advertising

    BA.2, nicknamed “Omicron’s little brother”, made its first appearance in France a few weeks ago. Mentioned for the first time by Véran during a press conference on January 20, this new Covid-19 derivative is being scrutinised by scientists.

    https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220122-scientists-scrutinise-characteristics-of-new-covid-19-omicron-sub-variant-ba-2

    • Yep – BA.2 is displacing the BA.1 Omicron in some countries, very quickly. Why that is happening is not yet clear. It does not appear to be more immune evasive than BA.1. The speculation I’ve read by experts is that it won’t cause a new wave, but it might lengthen the tail of the BA.1 wave.

  54. I understand that we need to keep producing the vaccine despite not having an adequate distribution system, but I think it is unethical to get booster unless you are very high risk because it takes away the incentive to get the vaccine where it’s needed in developing countries.

    We clearly are putting shots in the wrong arms for the wrong reasons, otherwise the numbers would be much better.

    If you had a confirmed case, it is unethical to get the vaccine when many the rest the world still haven’t had their first shot.

    It is unethical to get a third shot, and given what we know now, even a second shot when so many the rest the world still need their first.

    #VaccinePrivilege

    And while I think the vaccine should be available to children and the parents should be allowed to experiment on their children, it is both unethical and immoral to give the vaccine to children generally. Especially children under 12.

    This is very clear. People promoting and requiring vaccines for children should be censured, subject to lawsuits, and face possible jail time.

    It is clear that vaccinating children is both unhelpful and harmful. It does not affect transmission and does harm. This is very clear and this administration should have put a stop to it.

    The shots would do much more good in Africa and Asia.

    Given what we know about the effectiveness of the vaccine and its negligible affect on transmission, anyone pushing such policies should be exiled to a remote island in the Arctic with no communication with the outside world

    • In theory, that’s true. In practice, I don’t think that’s true. There are serious logistical issues with some of the vaccines, that make it impractical to distribute them to countries without adequate infrastructure.

      The hope for vaccinating the poorer countries is with vaccines like the one just developed in Texas – which also happens to be patent free by intent. It is a more traditional, easier to make vaccine, and is low cost to make as I understand it. Interestingly, most of the funding was from charitable donations.

  55. Covid19-20-21-22 could be on a trajectory to becoming just another strain of cold:

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/medical/new-omicron-ba-2-variant-more-transmissible-but-vaccines-are-more-effective-against-it/ar-AATfw8s?ocid=entnewsntp

    Of the hundreds of variants of cold virus, several are already coronaviruses.

    • That is not what the article says, and the article is based on a small dataset, unlike papers I have seen studying Omicron BA.2 in countries where the incidence is high enough for much better statistics.

      There is no evidence I have seen that vaccines are more effective against it, except this tiny UK study. Evidence shows it perhaps 1.5X as transmissible as Omicron. Evidence shows no difference in severity from Omicron.

      So, BA.2 is not an improvement, based on larger studies, it is worse in the sense of being more transmissible.

      From the link you provided, expert commentary “Early indicators suggest that the vaccines will provide similar levels of protection as we have seen for omicron, so this is good news. Whether or not it causes more severe disease will become apparent as more data is collected.”

  56. On the question concerning the vaccine entering a vein or artery, It makes sense that the veins and arteries in the deltoid muscle each have to branch multiple times in order to serve the entire volume of the muscle. The question is how many branches are large enough to allow entry of the needle and the contents thereof.

    Note also that the anatomy of these vessels is not identical from person to person.

    https://online.boneandjoint.org.uk/doi/full/10.1302/0301-620X.95B5.31408

  57. “As well as access to the underlying data, transparent decision making is essential. Regulators and public health bodies could release details27 such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2.28”

    https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o102

    new BMJ editorial

  58. https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o102

    “As well as access to the underlying data, transparent decision making is essential. Regulators and public health bodies could release details27 such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2”

    new bmj editorial

  59. Richard Greene

    Ellison your Covid misinformation just never stops !

    Vaccines do not stop infections and spread,

    Have you not noticed the huge number of infections
    of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people during
    the Northern Hemisphere colder months?

    I have to assume you did not notice.

  60. Richard Greene

    Thanks for your contribution, but much of the information would have been of value in Spring 2020, and is far less useful today. Talking about the immune system and Vitamin D makes sense but you forgot zinc and quercetin, which assists in metabolism of zinc.

    Did I read correctly that you deliberately tried to catch Covid, which appears to have been Delta Covid, based on how long you were sick? That is very strange behavior.

    Your article applies to Delta Covid but Delta Covid is currently being crowded out by Omicron, which is not a Covi d variant at all. It is a new coronavirus common cold. Omicron has 30 mutations of the spike protein.
    A new Covid variant would have one or two. Omicron has exactly the same symptoms as a common cold. A new Covid variant would be much more deadly.

    While catching a cold is no fun, catching an Omicron cold is nothing to worry about. You will be healthy again in few days. The probability of needing hospitalization or dying is very low. Just like with a common cold. people with a weak immune system can develop more serious complications. It may not seem that Omicron is low risk, however, because Omicron spreads so rapidly. Many people get infected quickly. Although the probability of needing hospitalization is the SAME as a common cold, a huge number of Omicron infections at one time, will send more people to the hospital at one time. The current PCR tests do not distinguish between various coronoaviruses. If the symptoms are serious, the probability that the infection is Omicron is very low.

    There are early indications natural antibodies after recent recoveries from Omicron, and other coronavirus common colds, offer some protection from Delta Covid. Not a lot, but some. Obviously a healthy immune system is most important, but for the elderly, with multiple comorbidities, that will be impossible goal.

    The important news now is that Omicron is crowding out Delta Covid. And that is very good news. Because if the trend continues, the pandemic will end. I believe it will end by Summer 2022. There may be a lot of Omicron infections this winter, but there is no such thing as a common cold pandemic.

    What does one do to prevent Omicron? Covid vaccines are nearly worthless, as the current explosion of omicron infections makes obvious. Cheap masks are nearly worthless. N95 masks are not much better. Six foot social distancing is not going to work if you are in the same room as an infected person for a while, with no windows open. The only prevention is a healthy immune system. Even then you might have “the sniffles” or not feel 100% for one day. A healthy immune system not something you can develop in a few days. But so what? With an Omicron infection, you will feel better in a few days, just like having a common cold. because you did have a common cold. Omicron is completely different than Delta Covid.

    Concerning the alleged success of the vaccines, that the author supports:
    – I have compared US deaths with Covid, and total US deaths, in 2021 versus 2020, using the latest available CDC data (some preliminary for 2021. Both US deaths with Covid and total US deaths in 2021 were HIGHER than in 2020. That is evidence the vaccines were failures. More deaths with the vaccines in 2021 is not success.

    Concerning the 22,000 Covid vaccine side effects reported to VAERS.
    Looking at other years, from 1990 through 2019, for ALL vaccines in a year, a typical year has about 400 deaths reported, versus 22,000. 22,000 is a very serious problem. Anyone who says mRNA vaccines are “safe” is other not very intelligent a or not aware the reported adverse side effects are the worst, by far, in the history of vaccines. And we still do no lmow the adverse long term side effects..

    • Several things…

      “Covid is currently being crowded out by Omicron, which is not a Covi d variant at all. It is a new coronavirus common cold. Omicron has 30 mutations of the spike protein.
      A new Covid variant would have one or two. Omicron has exactly the same symptoms as a common cold. A new Covid variant would be much more deadly.”

      Omicron *is* a COVID variant, with a high number of mutations. It is not at all a common cold.

      “catching an Omicron cold is nothing to worry about. You will be healthy again in few days. The probability of needing hospitalization or dying is very low. ”

      The reason of low probability of hospitalization is primarily vaccination or prior COVID infection. Lower death rate is also due to better treatments than before. Delta was about twice as deadly as the Wuhan strain. Omicron is less deadly than Delta but more deadly than Wuhan – in people with no vaccination or prior exposure. Of course, all probabilities have to take into account age and health status.

      “Although the probability of needing hospitalization is the SAME as a common cold.”

      That is not true, but even if it were, it would be because of the high level of vaccination and/or prior COVID infection that lowers the rate.

      “There are early indications natural antibodies after recent recoveries from Omicron, and other coronavirus common colds, offer some protection from Delta Covid. Not a lot, but some.”

      This is clear evidence that the vaccine and recovery from prior COVID infections provide significant protection – not some, but a lot – especially against death. The is weak evidence that common colds (of which COVID is not) might provide limited protection.

      “…Covid vaccines are nearly worthless, …The only prevention is a healthy immune system. …The only prevention is a healthy immune system. ”

      All complete nonsense.

      “Omicron is completely different than Delta Covid.”

      False. It is different for sure, but it is another variant of SARS-CoV-2. Just because it is a coronavirus does not make it a common cold. Omicron more resembles a common cold than Omicron in *early symptoms* because it does efficiently infect lung tissue. But today, a heck of a lot of people are dying, and they are dying of Omicron. Almost nobody dies of a common cold.

      “Both US deaths with Covid and total US deaths in 2021 were HIGHER than in 2020. That is evidence the vaccines were failures. More deaths with the vaccines in 2021 is not success.”

      This is an example of how not to interpret data. There are a couple of very important cofactors ignored by this naive interpretation:

      1) The variants have become more deadly with Delta – in 2021, and more immunity evasive in late 2021 (Omicron)

      2) In the US, there is a lot less use of masks, a lot more people going inside in crowded places without masks, in general, a lot more people ignoring the danger.

      3) A significant portion of the population has not been vaccinated, especially in early 2021 when we were in the middle of a wave of infections.

      It is this sort of misinterpretation of data, widely publicized, that is killing people today. After all, why get vaccinated if it is just a “common cold?” But it is not.

      https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#covidnet-hospitalizations-vaccination

      ” 22,000 is a very serious problem. Anyone who says mRNA vaccines are “safe” is other not very intelligent a or not aware the reported adverse side effects are the worst, by far, in the history of vaccines.”

      More failure to account for cofactors. Since mRNA is new and there is a huge amount of anti-vax propaganda, you end up with a lot more adverse events reported *correlated* with the vaccine rollout. That does not mean the deaths were *caused* by the rollout. Anyone can put entries into VAERS, and anyone else can pull out that raw, unverified, uninvestigated data. And that is what the anti-vaccine liars do.

      Again, that ain’t science. CDC does investigate every vaccine associated death. It has found almost none caused by the vaccination.

      And if you think CDC is hiding the data, then check the Israeli’s, with a high rate of mRNA vaccination and excellent medical records, being constantly scrutinized and reported on by excellent scientists. The number of deaths found to be caused by the vaccine are very low. You are at higher risk taking an airline flight.

      • Correction to my comment: Omicron does *not* efficiently infect lung tissue.

        Addition – on VAERS. I was solicited by CDC to report adverse reactions into VAERS. I did so – my reaction was muscle aches and sharp shoulder pain on the day after the evening 2nd shot. I did so – anyone can do so.

        I have also looked at VAERS data. For COVID vaccines you can find all sorts of bizarre “reactions” reported. People are putting in every sniffle two months later, essentially, or every sore back. The data there is very contaminated.

      • “The reason of low probability of hospitalization is primarily vaccination or prior COVID infection. Lower death rate is also due to better treatments than before. Delta was about twice as deadly as the Wuhan strain. Omicron is less deadly than Delta but more deadly than Wuhan – in people with no vaccination or prior exposure…”

        For goodness sakes- you know they first discovered Omicron in South Africa, right? If Omicron is both much more contagious than the other variations and “more deadly than Wuhan,” particularly to the unvaccinated, the continent of Africa would be experiencing Black Plague levels of mortality at this point.

        Omicron is a “cold” which I now know from experience, and I’m beginning to suspect that not only the vaccine misses it but the tests may as well. I’m on day three of isolation due to a positive test result. Still mild cold symptoms. The other four people in my immediate family were all in close proximity to me during my “cold” and before my positive test result. Two of the four have the same cold I do. All four have now tested negative on PCR test.

        So… are their test results wrong, mine, none of them right or none of them wrong?

        Based on test results outside our family, the source was a meeting in which all attendees were vaccinated and masked yet at least three got it per testing.

      • Omicron has about the same contagion as Delta, except for the new BA.2 variant which is in Europe. It spreads faster because it is less often stopped by infection acquired or vaccine acquired immunity than the other variants, and it is in populations with quite a bit of both. That means it infects a lot of people that wouldn’t get Delta, so it is crowding out delta. It also means the effective R value (Rt or Reff or just R) is. a lot higher in those populations.

        Science is not about anecdotes. What is a “cold” to you symptomatically in no way means it is a cold. If you gave that to an 80 year old, they’d have a good chance of dying from it, and ditto an organ transplant or someone on certain cancer treatments. As a senior citizen at risk, I am sickened by those who imagine this is a cold. A “cold” doesn’t explain 900,000 excess deaths in the US during a year where there was almost no influenza (and yes, they test for influenza when people show up with those symptoms).

        Your arguments so far have simply been unscientific. On a disease of this sort, anecdote rarely establishes anything. Interpreting data without taking into account cofactors is missing the basic fundamentals of science and data analysis in general.

        Please read some of the papers, and look at how they adjust for cofactors such as age, immune status, comorbidities. Read their discussion sections. See how science is done, and how it is a much more rigorous process (when done right) than what you seem to think.

      • “Your arguments so far have simply been unscientific. ”

        You skipped right past the point I see. Give us the “scientific” reason why a highly contagious, deadly virus was discovered in a country with very low vaccination rates and yet failed to kill anyone. Explain to people why that variant is infecting masked, vaccinated people, in the US at unprecedented rates while “science” mumbles that the rag and jab are really really good at preventing spread. If the answer to the mortality disparity is old age and medical history, that is important information that is being ignored because partisans want to fire healthy, young truck drivers who dare to disobey.
        “here are the precautions to take when coming in contact with the aged or if you have these health issues” is a very different mandate than “close the gyms, force the restaurants out of business and make healthy people wear ineffective rags for two years.”

        I know elderly people, I know people who have had transplants. I’m limiting my contact with both- it’s called acting responsibly.

      • “You skipped right past the point I see. Give us the “scientific” reason why a highly contagious, deadly virus was discovered in a country with very low vaccination rates and yet failed to kill anyone

        Youth and a very high prior infection rate. Look at Europe or Israel for better data.

        . “Explain to people why that variant is infecting masked, vaccinated people, in the US at unprecedented rates while “science” mumbles that the rag and jab are really really good at preventing spread.”

        If they say the shot is “really good” at preventing spread, they are wrong. It helps prevent spread. Ditto, good masks worn and handled right.

        “If the answer to the mortality disparity is old age and medical history, that is important information that is being ignored because partisans want to fire healthy, young truck drivers who dare to disobey.”

        I am discussing science, not politics.

        “here are the precautions to take when coming in contact with the aged or if you have these health issues” is a very different mandate than “close the gyms, force the restaurants out of business and make healthy people wear ineffective rags for two years.””

        In the US, half of the population has one or more of the comorbidities for severe COVID. Furthermore, young, healthy people end up in the hospital in serious condition.

        But most importantly, as one of the aged who is at high risk, I can tell you that “protect the aged…” is BS. The way to protect us is to cut the level of COVID in the community way down. Nothing else works, as evidenced by the statistics.

        Many of us care for grandchildren whoare in school, and not necessarily because we want to. BUT… we’d like to not have to live in isolation boxes forever. That’s why we need the contact rate slow. I has been 2 years now!

        Furthermore, the less heathy people are, the more likely they are to need to go to get health care, which happens to be a good way to get COVID, especially because the CDC mask guidelines and their ventilation guidelines have been way out of date with the science, or stated more recently in a mealy mouthed way.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso – while I agree with a lot of you comments regarding covid, very few healthy youth are winding up in the hospital in serious condition.

      • True, but a lot of younger people are ending up in hospitals – the proportion has gone up quite a bit. Turns out that lots of people who think they are healthy are not. Of course, there are also plenty of younger people who don’t get vaccinated and take no precautions, because they believe that everything from the public health folks is just propaganda. Some of those people will not be healthy, or will spread it to those who are not healthy.

      • “That’s why we need the contact rate slow. I has been 2 years now!”

        I agree with you, but I also see reality- it is not slowing, it is worse. I pick on New York City because we’re told it follows all the “rules” and got worse – the spread is worse than this time last year, death rate per capita is higher than this time last year.

        I wish the rags were more effective, I wish the vaccine were more effective and am happy the jab is as effective as it is. As I’ve said before, I’m triple vaccinated and recommend it to all my friends.

        It didn’t stop the contact rate. The only thing that looks to be able to stop the contact rate is the high rate of infection leading to what appears to be transitory burnout.
        It would be foolish to pretend there won’t be a wave of infections after this one. It would be even more foolish to pretend that wave will be caused by people who oppose mandates. We were foolish, we pretended the summer wave was the last one and it was caused by irresponsible Republicans in Florida. That wasn’t true- write that down. As a result, NYC hospitals and morgues are overburdened- because we all specifically said they wouldn’t be.

        If we aren’t thinking about how to keep you safe in the next wave we aren’t being socially responsible. If we’re pretending (for political reasons) that the answer is more rules, we aren’t being socially responsible. There will be another wave, you will be surrounded by young people who have it no matter how authoritarian your local government is. Plan for it.

      • Meso, I agree with Jeff’s comment. I wear a mask in stores even when its not mandated. I got boosted on New Years eve and have remained Covid free since the start. Though I have a different impression than you on the effectiveness of lockdowns. Also there is a case to be made for letting the virus rip among the healthy if that is the only way to gain herd immunity. There is also a cost to loss of liberty and livelihood.

        I was interested to see a newly published Johns Hopkin meta-analysis that concludes: “Overall, our meta-analysis fails to confirm that lockdowns have had a large, significant effect on mortality rates. Studies examining the relationship between lockdown strictness (based on the OxCGRT stringency index) find that the average lockdown in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% compared to a COVID-19 policy based solely on recommendations. Shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) were also ineffective. They only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%.”[my bold]

        https://ideas.repec.org/p/ris/jhisae/0200.html

        I almost had my business shut down in spring of 2020 with the first lockdowns but luckily in my state one of our business codes classified us as essential. My staff of 11 remained Covid free until last month when Omicron spread to 3 employees in 3 successive weeks. All 3 recovered in about a week. The other 8, including myself have remained uninfected and it has now been 2 weeks since the last infection. Testing was difficult to find, especially quick tests. I scavenged to purchase three brands of home tests and experienced 2 known false positives and one false negative as confirmed by later PCR results and illness. There was one correct positive and about 10 correct negatives. Neither I nor any of my employees have yet received our ordered free government promised home tests.

      • Ron, consider there were no cases traced back to last years Superbowl. There is other evidence that being locked down indoors is much worse than gathering outside.

      • That should have been 2020 Superbowl.

      • Ron, for what it’s worth I was negative on a quick test and positive on one from the pharmacy.
        The health depart contact tracer called yesterday and advised I would probably test positive for weeks, but not be contagious.
        When did your team get cleared to come back to work? Health department said my five days is up and I can go back with a mask, but I work from home so not an issue.

      • Jeff, I would say sorry about your infection if it wasn’t actually a bit of insurance against a more harmful next variant, as our guest host advised. For this reason I told my workers at Christmas that I was getting boosted but qualified that I was not advising it for them. They are all younger.

        My first staff member left mid-day Monday, Dec. 27th, feeling ill just after he found out that his 5-year-old and wife got positive test results. Just about that time the CDC clarified its Omicron guidance to allowing workers to come back as little as five days after symptoms if their last two days were without fever. My strategy was to try to time the use of a (hard obtained) home test a couple of days after he was feeling better, hoping for a negative result. It turned out positive that Thursday but I allowed him to come back Monday, two weeks since first onset.

        Meanwhile, that same Thursday his closest co-worker called out ill, (10 days after exposure). I had tested him and others 3 days earlier and all were negative. I told him to use a previously supplied home test. It came back negative. I also directed him to find a PCR test and got a positive result Saturday, (so Thursday’s home test failed).

        He was better by then, (being age 22), so I directed him to come back Tuesday. Meanwhile, that same Saturday, my manager called to tell me he was sick and two days later got his positive PCR results. He was better by next Saturday and I allowed him to come in Monday. He was faintly positive on a home test Monday but negative Tuesday. This was two weeks ago now and seems to have been the end of the chain.

      • I forgot to mention that Friday two weeks ago one employee tested positive out of our group of 8 that had not yet been infected. I sent him out for a “quick test” at an urgent care and he tested negative. At the same time he took a PCR test with negative results days later. He has remained symptom free.

  61. Richard Greene

    Ditto, Richard Pokorny

  62. Very interesting comment string and root post. Thanks

    I find it surprising there are no comments here relating to ADE.

    I would also ask if a properly worn mask (regardless of type), of which most reuse them daily, can enhance viral transmission via aggregation of viral particles in the mask and then release those particles once the captured droplets dry out on either side of the mask when handled?

  63. ADE 20 months of vaccines being used in increasing numbers.
    Millions of people with a years full exposure. Still a little early but while a known risk it currently seems low enough to risk.

    If you do not like masks do not wear them.

    Masks offer little protection apart from the social distancing it induces in others when you announce your illness or infection phobia publically.
    Masks are routinely discarded after use to prevent infection.
    I reuse them like most people so I can go out without breaking the law.
    Not to reduce risk.

    Medically I would prefer treating doctors and nurses to wear masks around me as they are high risk spreaders having more exposure.

  64. I’m a 64-year-old woman and I’ve had zero problems staying healthy the past 2 years, unvaxxed, and going anywhere I wanted to and needed to, mostly unmasked. (I’m claustrophobic.) My personal protocol was to put a pot of water on the stove, get it simmering, put my head over it, and breathe the steam, probably for not more than a minute, but more than once, if need be. But, I would do this the moment I felt any kind of odd tickle in my nose, throat, or chest. If I woke up coughing in the middle of the night and the cough wouldn’t settle down, I would drag myself out of bed and go do it. (That was the only time it required effort.)

    I have an ionizer in my bedroom that I would turn on and sit in front of for awhile, for the same reasons. But, I read that colliding water molecules produce negative ions, so, if you don’t have an ionizer or can’t get one, I think the steam will work by itself.

    The mucosal tissue around your eyes, inside your nose, and in your throat is going to be the first entry point for the virus. It’s all ‘washable,’ just like your hands. You can rinse your eyes and the inside of your nose with contact lens saline solution. You can gargle with hot, salt water. All simple, old-fashioned stuff that takes almost zero effort and zero money, especially for the steam, which was the easiest thing for me to do. I have a hard time squirting stuff up my nose. Invariably it ends up in the back of my throat and I gag.

    My Dad was a surgeon and he was always yelling at us to gargle with hot, salt water when we were sick as kids. And then my Mom would pull out the big glass jar vaporizer. Nowadays, the medical world calls it a nebulizer. My own GP reminded me of it a few years back…

    Go ahead, do a scientific experiment and try it. Won’t cost you a dime!

    A couple more pieces of advice: Don’t wear a mask outside. Take every opportunity to get fresh air into your lungs. And stop listening to all the fear porn! The idea that a global pandemic narrative could be built upon the back of the PCR test was beyond ludicrous for me. A test that CANNOT detect either active virus or active infection! Egads! Lots of false-positive test results and the nocebo effect…

  65. Richard Greene

    Metocyt
    “Science is not about anecdotes”
    MY COMMENT:
    That statement is false. Anecdotes provide useful information quickly. Field studies are collection of very large numbers of anecdotes, preferably from doctors. in large numbers, with definitive results, field studies are much faster, and just as useful, as a RCT. Such field studies are very important for doctors in a fast moving pandemic, which is likely to be half over, or completely over, before the RCT results are available. Doctors experiment with drugs off label and report if they are working. RCTs cost money, and take lots of time — would any company invest in an RCT for off label use of their low profit margin generic drug?

    “What is a “cold” to you symptomatically in no way means it is a cold.”
    MY COMMENT:
    If the symptoms match a common cold, and the virus structure has a large number of mutations, the assumption that Omicron is a common cold is MUCH MORE LOGICAL than claiming it is a deadly new Covid variant. I explained in my comment that a common cold can be dangerous for people with weak immune systems.

    “900,000 excess deaths in the US during a year where there was almost no influenza”
    MY COMMENT:
    You are confused. Per the CDC: There were 2.855 million deaths in 2019. There were 3.384 million US deaths in 2020. That is an increase of 529,000 deaths in one year, not 900,000. A small percentage of the increase was from an increasing population, and an aging population. 2021 total deaths are expected to be similar to 2021 total deaths. Your 900,000 number is 70% too high. None of the “excess deaths” in 2020 were caused by Omicron, and most likely few “excess deaths” in 2021 were caused by Omicron.

    “Your arguments so far have simply been unscientific.”
    MY COMMENT:
    The various governments and bureaucracies in the world have provided inaccurate Covid case counts, Covid hospitalizations and Covis deaths. It is impossible to do a scientific study with inaccurate data. The case counts are exaggerated with false positives for people with no symptoms, and positives for non Covid viruses — you might want to investigate how many viruses will cause a positive PCR test result. the list is long and shocking. If you really believe influenza disappeared in 2020, rather than being mischaracterized as Covid, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

    Hospitalizations are exaggerated because up to half of people hospitalized (NYC hospital patient study) with Covid came to the hospital for other reasons. Those patients may have no Covid symptoms and no idea they would test positive for Covid … positive tests result in higher payments for the hospital.

    Covid deaths are exaggerated by calling deaths WITH Covid, deaths FROM Covid. Any death, for any reason, within 28 days of a positive PCR test (not an accurate test) will be categorized as a Covid death. Even a car accident death a few weeks after a positive PCR test.

    “Please read some of the papers, and look at how they adjust for cofactors such as age, immune status, comorbidities.”
    MY COMMENT:
    I do read papers, but also know getting a paper published does not automatically create truth. That is also true with climate science. My reading is why I wrote my prior intelligent comment, and put my reputation on the line by making a prediction about the end of the Covid pandemic by Summer 2022, from the ongoing “Omicron crowding out Delta Covid” trend. You take no chances in your attack comment, and provide no useful information — just a generic, data free, although generally polite, character attack.

    The fact remains that more Americans died with 2021 with vaccines. than in 2020 with no vaccines. That includes all causes of death (slightly higher) and also deaths WITH Covid.
    That is strong evidence the Covid vaccines were a failure.

    • >>Anecdotes provide useful information quickly. Field studies are collection of very large numbers of anecdotes

      
I was afraid I’d see an answer like that. Obviously science can use field data, but I was referring to a conclusion drawn from one or two anecdotes – obviously. I didn’t think that needed to be stated.



      As an example of the use of observations (anecdotes), it was recently suggested that fluvoxamine (a common antidepressant) had significant benefit in treating COVID. That was from doctors who, yes, anecdotally noticed the trend. But it wasn’t science that can produce valid hypotheses until they turned that into useful data, and analyzed that.

      Studies have since shown the same, and Fluvoxamine is now in several standard protocols (but not in the US).

      
>>>If the symptoms match a common cold, and the virus structure has a large number of mutations, the assumption that Omicron is a common cold is MUCH MORE LOGICAL than claiming it is a deadly new Covid variant.



      How many mutations? It matters where they go on a phylogenetic tree, not just the count. Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 are both clearly SARS-CoV-2, based on that.

      What is your definition of a cold? How about the people who develop severe symptoms? Why do COVID vaccines work against this “cold” while not against the “common cold” (only a minority of which come from Coronaviruses in the first place).

      >>The various governments and bureaucracies in the world have provided inaccurate Covid case counts, Covid hospitalizations and Covis deaths. It is impossible to do a scientific study with inaccurate data. The case counts are exaggerated with false positives for people with no symptoms, and positives for non Covid viruses — you might want to investigate how many viruses will cause a positive PCR test result. the list is long and shocking.

      In biological science, one rarely gets clean data. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. You might be surprised at the amazingly high specificity of the PCR test used for COVID19 (although it’s better if they have a lower CT cutoff than used in the US).

      I track PCR counts, hospitalizations, and deaths here in Arizona. The PCR counts are very good at predicting the latter, except that the ratio changed with the rapid replacement of Delta with Omicron.

      >>> [900,000 is 600,000 too high]
      Correct. I used the total when I should have used the annual. The point remains the same – lots of excess deaths – from COVID.

      >>>If you really believe influenza disappeared in 2020, rather than being mischaracterized as Covid, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

      I never said it disappeared. But there was a lot less of it, which should not be surprising given the lower social mobility and distancing and other NPI’s. And other than early in 2020, a case was rarely characterized as COVID unless it had a positive PCR test for COVID. 



      CDC: “Flu activity was unusually low throughout the 2020-2021 flu season both in the United States and globally, despite high levels of testing.”

      

AND

      for 2021-2022 (so far). Note the dramatic difference to non-COVID seasons.



      “A total of 1,250 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported by FluSurv-NET sites between October 1, 2021, and January 22, 2022. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate is 4.3 per 100,000 population. This cumulative hospitalization rate is higher than the cumulative in-season hospitalization rate observed for week 3 during the 2020-2021 season (0.5 per 100,000), but lower than the in-season rates observed for week 3 during the 4 seasons preceding the COVID-19 pandemic (these ranged from 14.8 to 41.9 per 100,000 during the 2016-17 through 2019-20 seasons).”



      >Hospitalizations are exaggerated because up to half of people hospitalized (NYC hospital patient study) with Covid came to the hospital for other reasons. Those patients may have no Covid symptoms and no idea they would test positive for Covid … positive tests result in higher payments for the hospital.

      Agreed. We apparently don’t have good enough record systems to distinguish these cases. This is well known, at least by the professionals I follow.

 I believe this is far more true with Omicron, which doesn’t give the characteristic “ground glass” lung CT picture that all previous variants did, because Omicron doesn’t infect lung tissue well.

      >>>Covid deaths are exaggerated by calling deaths WITH Covid, deaths FROM Covid. Any death, for any reason, within 28 days of a positive PCR test (not an accurate test) will be categorized as a Covid death. Even a car accident death a few weeks after a positive PCR test.
      “Please read some of the papers, and look at how they adjust for cofactors such as age, immune status, comorbidities.”

      

That is utter nonsense, a standard talking point of COVID “deniers” (a term I despise). It shows a lack of understanding about how COVID deaths are recorded in death certificates, and how CDC analyzes them. Every expert I’ve seen who references a paper on the topic shows that COVID deaths have been undercounted in the US and elsewhere, and they have data to back it up.

      It is true that very early in the pandemic, when testing had to be reserved for the living, they had looser standards. But when they went back and tested samples, once they had the PCR capacity to do so, they discovered a substantial UNDERCOUNTS during that period.



      >>>I??? do read papers, but also know getting a paper published does not automatically create truth.

      Correct.
That’s why I start with my Twitter list of experts, both to find the papers, and to see their comments on them. My decent background in biology is not enough for me to judge the quality of many papers (some are obviously bad, but many are bad in ways only someone steeped in that field would detect).



      >>>The fact remains that more Americans died with 2021 with vaccines. than in 2020 with no vaccines. That includes all causes of death (slightly higher) and also deaths WITH Covid.
That is strong evidence the Covid vaccines were a failure.



      Only if you ignore the reasons why that is true. The vast majority who died of COVID were unvaccinated – in the US, in the UK, and in Israel – the latter two having really good data because of their centralized (UK) or almost centralized (Israel) health systems.

      See this CDC analysis. And before you attack CDC, I’ve seen very similar from UK, Isreal and France.

      https://twitter.com/mroliverbarnes/status/1488056662338514946/photo/1

      • If a previous infection/vaccination produces significant immune system crossreactivity to a subsequent variant, then that variant isn’t a new type of virus. That means omicron is in the SAR CoV2 lineage. I think that is the definition of a novel virus…one that doesn’t cause a significant adaptive immune response.

        Influenza disappeared due to virus interference. It was predicted in summer 2020 this would happen. I also noticed a few weeks ago that 90% of confirmed cases of influenza cases per the CDC this year were in people under age 30. Which i thought was interesting…those most likely to get the flu were those least likely to get severe COVID.

  66. Richard Greene

    Angtech wrote:
    “ADE 20 months of vaccines being used in increasing numbers.”

    MY COMMENT:
    ADE is a possible long term adverse side effect but data so far are preliminary and not very convincing.

    “Masks offer little protection apart from the social distancing it induces in others”
    MY COMMENT:
    Social distancing is not proving useful for Omicron. If you are in a room with uninfected person for a while, with no open windows, you are very likely to be infected. Consider a December 2021 Christmas party, in a friend’s small home, which we decided to avoid, telling her it was likely to be a “super spreader party”.

    The result: All 20 guests caught Omicron. 18 had been Covid vaccinated, Some had their booster shots too. Many were tested and told they had Omicron. All party guests had similar common cold symptoms. All were back to normal in four days or less. No big deal. I don’t know if any guests wore masks at the party, but that would have made no distance.

    If masks stopped viruses from spreading, the Covid epidemic would have been over after a few months in 2020.

    • “Social distancing is not proving useful for Omicron.”

      That is not true. Your example is an extreme case – lots of people in a room with no ventilation. That is a known hazard, albeit one the CDC ignored until recently.

      If you have adequate ventilation (and/or filtration), the distancing will reduce the odds of spread, due to dilution.

      “If masks stopped viruses from spreading, the Covid epidemic would have been over after a few months in 2020.”

      Masks *reduce* the spread if good masks are used, and used properly. The CDC allowed, even encouraged, the use of masks with very poor filtration. Only a week or two ago did they public a new guidance on masks that said that N-95 and KN-95 and similar are very effective, but they put that at the bottom of a long discussion of masks which would lead many away from the better masks, because of lack of emphasis.

      See this link, which destroys the myth that small virions cannot be filtered by good masks such as N95. Also, the virologists tell us that naked visions are rare in aerosols, giving the typical range of sizes as 1um-100um. N95 masks are better than 99% effective at 1um, and are effective at significant levels down to 50nm (.05 um).

      If masks didn’t work, then everyone working in hospitals with COVID patients would have gotten sick in the first wave. A med professor friend of mine who works in critical care with COVID patients and has since March 2020, has yet to catch the virus.

      • Masks worn by the public don’t and haven’t worked. This article explains why:

        https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0057100

        Look at Table III and Figure 6. Both cloth and surgical masks make virtually no difference to aerosol concentration in an enclosed space during a ten hour period.
        Aerosol concentrations of 1.13% of breath particle concentration with no mask,
        1.02% of breath particle concentration with a cloth mask, and
        0.99% of breath particle concentration with a surgical mask.

        This article demonstrates the physics of why they make almost no difference. Even the best masks (R95) resulted in 0.45% of breath particle concentration after 10 hours. FYI KN95 resulted in 0.61% of breath particle concentration after 10 hours.

        Add a small gap at the edges and a KN95 mask results in 1.09% of breath particle concentration after 10 hours..meaning it’s essentially useless.

      • If you spend ten hours in a place with lousy ventilation and filtration, yeah, masks aren’t enough, although even then the higher efficiency masks significantly reduce infection.

        But if you mix masks and ventilation and filtration, it can make a big difference. From the article you cite:

        “Nevertheless, high-efficiency masks, such as the KN95, still offer substantially higher apparent filtration efficiencies (60% and 46% for R95 and KN95 masks, respectively) than the more commonly used cloth (10%) and surgical masks (12%), and therefore are still the recommended choice in mitigating airborne disease transmission indoors. The results also suggest that, while higher ventilation capacities are required to fully mitigate aerosol build-up, even relatively low air-change rates (2h−1
        2

        h

        1
        ) lead to lower aerosol build-up compared to the best performing mask in an unventilated space.”

      • The ten hours was the time it took to approach the asymptotic limit. As Figure 6 shows the difference between unmasked, cloth, and surgical was insignificant for the entire 10 hour period.

        I agree about ventilation, but look at the facts. The masks we have been wearing make no significant difference. If the room is well ventilated you can skip the mask, and if the room isn’t well ventilated you are screwed mask or no mask.

      • Ventilation is key.

        Also couldn’t hurt to run an ozonator. Bought one for like $70. Could trigger asthma and some people though. And probably not healthy to run when people are around too often.

      • Most masks are not going to be useful in small places for significant amount of time, but for short amount of time they will change how the virus moves through the air at the least. It will decrease the probability of somebody getting a high enough concentration exposure in a brief encounter.

      • “It will decrease the probability of somebody getting a high enough concentration exposure in a brief encounter.”

        I agree but only for the higher quality masks, KN95 or better. If I were high risk I would use a mask with a soft seal at the face, but then only for short term exposure.

        On your other point, my employer uses some HEPA filters with UVC sterilization at the filter face. Theoretically this should provide some benefit just as ventilation does. I have not seen any studies on the subject though. I am the one that convinced them to buy and use them because they had a chance of helping were masks could not.

      • Distancing works for any situation with adequate ventilation, mask or not. By “works” I mean that it reduces the odds of getting infected, because the concentration of infectious particles is reduced by the time they get to you. I don’t mean it guarantees lack of infection.

        But, I wear an N95 in any social situation except outdoors, and there, if I’m close to people (<6' or so) I wear an N95 or KN95 (the latter that I have are easier to put on, filter as well, but don't have as tight a seal).

      • I bought a UV ozonator.

      • aron – see what ozone does to latex gloves, then think about your lungs.

  67. @Richard Greene & angech, is not the presence of a recommended booster, in short order, related to ADE?

    Considering the limited data we have historically on any mRNA style injection over time, one wonders of the impact on the immune response across the board after such with respect to what we are seeing with resulting efficacy and R0 in highly injected countries.

    Concerning, yes. Have a look at a substantially boosted country that has perhaps the highest % of such, and good reporting of such.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/israel/

  68. For Pediatricians, vaccinations have been a God-send. Diseases like tetanus, hooping cough, diphtheria, hemophylas influenza meningitis, measles, mumps, Rubella, Polio, nisseria meningitis, varicella, and more are now substantially less common and no longer fill hospital beds and leave their debilitating long term sequelae as they use to in the recent past. Hence, vaccinations in general are a regular part of the health for pediatric patients. COVID-19 vaccination I don’t believe is an entirely different issue.

    • Joe - the non epidemiologist

      I am a firm believer in vaccinating children for polio, tetanus, measles, etc,

      On the other hand vaccinating children for Covid is idiotic.
      A) children have an extremely low risk to adverse consequences to covid and
      B) naturally acquired immunity is vastly stronger.
      C) the greater the number of people with immunity, whether natural or vaxed immunity (even if the vaxed immunity is weak), the better those immune individuals act as control rods in the chain reaction of the spread, thus reducing the R factors

  69. The sanest most informed discussion of COVID-19 I have ever seen. My narrative does not align with every thing he says, but his informed, balanced presentation of his perspective has me challenging some of mine. This is how you communicate.

  70. Richard Greene

    Rih008
    Covid vaccinations are completely unrelated to other vaccinations given to children. Children are at very low risk from Covid, To them, it is no worse than a common cold, and at worst, similar to influenza. The rare child with an immune system disorder would be an exception.

    There is absolutely no doubt Covid injections for children will cause more injuries, and will be more deadly, than Delta Covid ever was. In addition, Omicron is much milder than Delta Covid, making Covid injections, which have no effect on Omicron, even more ridiculous.

    In my opinion, based on data, and analysis of risks versus benefits, giving Covid vaccines to children is a crime against humanity. This especially applies to boys, who have been developing post-Covid vaccine heart problems at young ages, that will affect them for the rest of their lives. My statements about Covid vaccines and children do not apply to any other vaccines. I do know there are leftists, led by Robert J Kennedy Jr. who believe children are given too many vaccines in total. But I have not followed their claims in any detail.

  71. Richard Greene

    Beware of comparisons that make Covid vaccinations look bad with a focus on cases or infections. The vaccines do not prevent infections. Although Mr. Ellison here keeps making that false claim (read the EUA documents from the manufacturers, Bob — i did).

    In fact, Covid vaccines encourage infections by making vaccinated people less likely to social distance, a behavior that increases their infections. This has happened several times in Israel, as witnessed by a friend there: People had such high confidence in their Covid vaccinations that life went back to normal, with no social distancing. Then Covid infections spiked again. That happened twice.

    Israel has also been the “canary in the calming” as the most vaccinated nation to face the Omicron common cold. Some Israelis have even had their fourth Covid vaccination ! It seems the vaccinations and boosters have had no effect on Omicron infections (and why should they? They also had no effect on the number of Covid infections, because they do not prevent infections or spread).

    And now Israel is setting all-time daily infection records. Mainly the Omicron common cold, falsely called a new Covid variant. Even if the Covid injections had an effect on Omicron (they don’t), their effect would be the same effect they have on Covid infections — a reduction of serious symptoms for a few months, at the expense of the worst adverse side effects in vaccine history. But Omicron rarely has serious symptoms that could be reduced by any mRNA vaccine that reduced serious symptoms !

    Almost all of the serious adverse Covid vaccine side effects, including deaths, are in the two weeks after the vaccine shot, which is part of the five week period, starting with the first of two vaccines, counted as “unvaccinated”. That’s yet another distortion by official Covid data.

    Meanwhile, we have had 22,000 deaths reported to VAERS after Covid vaccines, compared with any typical year, from 1990 through 2019, of 400 deaths reported to VAERS for ALL vaccines in that year. That’s a 55x increase of post-vaccine death reports. Would any rational person look at the Covid vaccine VAERS data and declare “nothing to see here”? Yet that is exactly what governments all over the world have been doing.

    More US deaths with Covid in 2021, than in 2020 — nothing to see there?
    More total US deaths in 2021, than in 2020 – nothing to see there?

    Mesocyte has posted a lot of nonsense in his comments that I’m not going to waste my time responding to, because I have already posted enough words on this website. He dismisses every fact as a coincidence. Apparently Covid is a major cause of coincidences! Mesocyte sounds like a leftist government bureaucrat — a man whose primary claim is “Keep moving — there’s nothing to see here — just coincidences!”

    Omicron has the same symptoms as a common cold, therefore calling it a new deadly Covid variant is a deception. Fearmongering.

    The common PCR tests do not tell us what type of cornonavirus they have spotted. Even a dead virus can be thought to be a live virus, for up to 12 weeks — that’s why the CDC has finally recommended against PCR testing.

    A good indication of what specific virus has infected a patient would be based on the symptoms. Omicron symptoms are mild, and last a few days for almost all patients. It would be easy to mistake the more serious symptoms of Covid, or influenza, for Omicron. Especially when hospitals get paid more for a Covid infection than for an influenza infection !

    The PCR test information leaflet I read has a list of 52 viruses that can score a false positive for Covid (SARS-2). They include H1N1 influenza, H3N2 influenza, H5N1 influenza, H7N9 influenza, Influenza B, RSV Type A and B, Enterovirus A, B, C and D, Parainfluenza Type 1, 2 and 3, Rhinovirus 1, 2 and 3, Adenovirus Type 1 through 7, and Type 55, Coronavirus 229E, OC43, NL63, HKU1, MERS, SARS1, and many others. Now do you still believe influenza has “disappeared”?

  72. The CDC, for MANY months now, has lumped influenza and pneumonia together as the top comorbidity on this page:

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

    I’ve been trying to figure out why flu has ‘disappeared,’ if it is the top Covid-19 comorbidity, and even how that could possibly be so.

    • “flu disappeared” and yet 90% of the people who report being sick with “flu-like symptoms” test negative for Covid.
      What do they have if not Covid? No, no, say our experts, those people are all fakers.

  73. The MSM fear porn and ludicrous testing policies, with a test not fit for purpose (PCR), have driven this pandemic. The MSM is responsible for many, many deaths.

    The power of the nocebo effect:
    ——-
    https://sanguinebio.com/the-power-of-your-mind-placebo-and-nocebo-effects/

    … Countless studies have shown the impact of the nocebo effect, but one of the most prominent cases is that of Sam Londe. In 1974, Mr. Londe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer with a prognosis of a few weeks to live. When he died a few weeks later, the autopsy revealed a complete absence of cancer in the esophagus. Turns out Mr. Londe didn’t have cancer at all, but everyone including Mr. Londe himself had believed he did-leaving us to think very seriously about the impact of belief. While this is just one man and an extreme case, there are plenty of studies proving the nocebo effect.

    In the US, Parkinson’s patients who were told that their brain pacemakers (for deep brain stimulation) were to be turned off experienced dramatically more negative symptoms even though the pacemakers were left switched on.

    Meanwhile, a study conducted in Japan showed the impact of the nocebo effect in real-time. 13 children had a severe allergy to a plant similar to poison ivy. They were blindfolded and one arm was rubbed with what they were told was a harmless leaf even though it was the one they were allergic to, and the other arm was rubbed with a harmless leaf while they were told it was the poisonous one. All of the subjects broke out in a rash on the arm that was rubbed with the harmless leaf and only two had a rash from the poisonous leaf.

    According to BBC radio science presenter and former biomedical researcher Geoff Watts, “nocebo is not only more powerful than placebo, but it is likely to be more widespread and its implications are far more serious as it not only interferes with the existing treatments but it hinders the development of new drugs.” …

    • JB, agreed. Mass hysteria (nocebo) combined with aggressive and wrong therapies, ventilators and measures caused many deaths. Covid is just rebranded influenza, pneumonia, common cold etc. What a mess.

  74. Dietrich Hoecht

    The CDC vaccination recommendations for children include six by age of two months and nine by age of one year. Imagine how robust the immune system of children is at an early age, especially when there was no initial antibody input without colostrum from the mother. Now add a Covid vaccine, without knowing what the short- or long-term secondary effects might be? Ask the Thalidomide sufferers about their opinions. We have unknown reasons for drastic rises of ADHD, allergy and autism over the last sixty years. Top this off – do we want to hit the developing body and brain with a – still – experimental vaccine from a variety of sources with no animal testing history and no studies? Crazy!

  75. TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading and pharmaceuticals company Kowa Co Ltd on Monday said that anti-parasite drug ivermectin showed an “antiviral effect” against Omicron and other coronavirus variants in joint non-clinical research.

    The company, which has been working with Tokyo’s Kitasato University on testing the drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19, did not provide further details.

    https://news.yahoo.com/japans-kowa-says-ivermectin-effective-082516933.html

    • Yes. To the left, if Trump did it, it was wrong. To the left, it is better to let people die than to give profits to big Pharma.

  76. Richard Pokorny

    I have been trying to make the point that the whole discussion of Covid is polluted or crippled by a lack of openness and honesty. The conversation is being censored and the censored voices are exactly the ones we need to hear- the experts who disagree with the mainstream narrative. In the particular case of early treatment, the only experts are the ones who have actually been treating Covid. These brave men and women clinicians are anything but “talking heads” as someone has characterized them. They are dedicated doctors working in the field treating patients with a contagious, potentially deadly disease. We should hear what they have to say. They are the doctors in the field treating the disease. In my opinion the public is confused because a lot of truth telling has been withheld from the public over the past 2 years. It has led to the sprouting up of at least a half dozen or more alternative media platforms to provide a haven of sorts for the voices kicked off the major, and until 2 years ago, the only media platforms. These new platforms now exist as a direct result of the intolerable censorship that has been the policy of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. and the very existence of the new platforms is proof of the actual censorship in the free world that has become the new normal. Some say there is no censorship, only an attempt to stop disinformation. But when this disinformation seems to be coming from a large group of distinguished, rather world class physicians with impressive CV’s, who has the right to call them “fringe” and who is to say they are spouting disinformation. Especially when their main message seems to be that we should be treating vulnerable Covid patients early instead of doing nothing which really does seem to be a no brainer. They say early treatment helps a lot and they would know since they are the only ones doing it. If the main stream narrative is so pure and good and correct why the worry about someone who has a different view? Have we been so successful these past 2 years with 800,00 dead and a hobbled economy that there is no reason to even listen to a second opinion? No way, according to our health authorities. We are not to think any more about it. We must only listen to Dr. Fauci et al., men who probably never saw lest treated a Covid patient. We can discuss among ourselves a little, like the blind leading the blind, but when Joe Rogan invites one of those false experts on his podcast that is too much. He must be stopped. It’s too scary to think what might happen. Funny huh? It might be a little scary for Dr. Fauci though.
    Dr. Paul Marik is one such doctor who I think should be heard. I’ve supplied a link to his CV in case somebody thinks he was born yesterday. There is another link to a video of some statements he made last week at the hearing held by Senator Johnson so you can hear a little of what he has to say. It is mostly about Remdesivir, the drug our health authorities love most. When folks go on and on about how Ivermectin is unproven I like to ask them if they’ve looked into the evidence for Remdesivir. Robert Kennedy Jr.’s book has about 8 pages on how we wound up with Remdesivir being the drug of choice for hospitalized Covid patients. Even I found it a little shocking. It begins on pg. 63. It ends with a quote from Dr. Peter McCullough: “Remdesivir has two problems. First, it doesn’t work. Second, it kills people.”
    Below I will also try to post a transcript of the first 8 minutes of the video in case someone just wants to skim it. Thanks for reading.

    Dr. Paul Marik’s CV (78 pages)
    https://www.evms.edu/uploads/magazine/9-4/downloads/marikCV.pdf

    Video of Dr Marik’s comments
    https://odysee.com/@YW:c/Pandemic-Debate—Dr.-Paul-Marik—Remdesevir—Facebook:c

  77. Richard Pokorny

    Transcript of some of Dr. Marik’s comments:

    Thank you Senator Johnson. It is a privilege to be here with my esteemed colleagues. So as you said I am a critical care doctor . I practice in the ICU for 35 years until recently until my job was terminated. I’ve been treating Covid patients in the ICU since March 2020. I’ve treated hundreds and hundreds of Covid patients. So what I need to tell you is that between 4 and 10% of symptomatic patients with Covid 19 have required hospitalization across the world. With omicron it’s about 2%. In this country 4 million patients have been hospitalized with Covid and of those 850 thousand poor souls have died. 850 thousand people have died. These have been unnecessary needless deaths. The NIH guidelines for the hospitalized treatment for Covid include Remdesivir and low dose dexamethasone. Consequently almost every single patient in this country, almost every single patient, is treated with Remdesivir and low dose dexamethasone. The Palm study group investigated four drugs for the use of Ebola. The results were published December 12, 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine and the date is particularly important because that signaled the beginning of Covid. The Data Safety Monitoring Board of that study terminated the study of remdesivir, terminated, because remdesivir increased the risk of death and renal failure. It was such a toxic drug the Data Safety Monitoring Board terminated the use of remdesivir. Yet in January and February 2020 the NIH and the ACT 1 study enrolled patients in a study looking at Remdesivir for the treatment of Covid 19. The last patient was enrolled April 19th 2020. Ten days later, before the study had actually terminated Dr Fauci sat in the Oval Office of the White House and he said the trial was “good news.” What Dr. Fauci did not tell you was that the primary end point of the study was changed half way during the study. We all know that is scientific misconduct. Because the study was not going to be positive, they changed the primary end point. The original end point was an 8 pt. ordinal scale that included death and a requirement for mechanical ventilation. Knowing that Remdesivir would not affect those end points, they invented a bogus end point called “time to recovery,” which they showed in the study was statistically significant and based on this bogus end point Remdesivir was approved by the FDA on October the 20th 2020.
    If one does a meta-analysis looking at the studies on Remdesivir, the two studies which were sponsored by Gilead show a reduction in mortality. However, if you look at the four independent studies, including the large study by the WHO, it shows the opposite effect. Remdesivir increases the risk of death. Let me say that again. Remdesivir increases the risk of death by 3%. It increases your chances of renal failure by 20%. This is a toxic drug. But just to make the situation even more preposterous, the federal government will give hospitals a 20% bonus on the entire hospital bill if they prescribe Remdesivir to Medicare patients. The federal government is incentivizing hospitals to prescribe a medication which is toxic. So it should be noted that Remdesivir costs about $3000 a course. Dr. Corie spoke about Ivermectin. Ivermectin reduces the risk of death by about 50%. It costs the WHO two cents. Two cents.
    So as regards Dexamethazone, this is the wrong drug, in the wrong dose, for the wrong duration of time. Yet every clinician in this country will absurdly use this homeopathic dose of Dexamethazone. Why? Because the NIH tells them to do this. So what the NIH and other agencies have ignored are multiple FDA approved drugs. These are FDA approved drugs. These are not experimental drugs, which are cost effective and safe, and have unequivocally, unequivocally, been shown to reduce the death of patients in the ICU and in hospitals. For example, there are 25 high quality (Some people complain about the quality of these studies). So if you select out the high quality randomized controlled trials, they show that Ivermectin reduces the risk of death by 26%. This is an extremely safe and cheap drug. In fact it is one of the safest drugs on this planet. You are more likely to die from taking Tylenol. You are more likely to die from taking Tylenol than Ivermectin yet the FDA calls this a dangerous horse deworming medicine.
    So we have a whole host, as Dr. Urso and other clinicians have said, we have a whole host of drugs that have been proved highly effective for the treatment of hospitalized patients including anti-androgen therapy, spironolactones, fluvoxamine, nitixoximide, melatonin, vitamin C and I can go on. So the question is why? Why have cheap, safe and effective drugs been ignored for the treatment of Covid 19 which could have saved maybe 500,000 lives? And I think Dr. Corie has told us exactly why.

  78. An animal study concerning mRNA vaccines.

    This study provided in vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.

    https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab707/6353927

  79. t has been recently demonstrated that direct administration of vaccine into—and distribution through systemic circulation may be responsible for platelets-adenoviral vector interaction, platelets aggregation and activation.3 This may also explain vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopaenia, also known as the thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome, leading to postimmunisation rare fatal thrombotic events like cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or the splanchnic vein thrombosis.4 Other adverse reactions of concern, such as postvaccine myocarditis/pericarditis5 and Guillain-Barré syndrome2 may also be associated with inadvertent vaccine distribution and transfection to tissues beyond injection site.

    https://pmj.bmj.com/content/early/2021/10/06/postgradmedj-2021-141119

    • More from that study:

      Ng recently raised an important concern about the inadvertent subcutaneous injection of COVID-19 vaccines that may lead to poor vaccine efficacy and adverse reactions.1 It is correct that the COVID-19 vaccines (such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen/J&J) are designed for administration by intramuscular injection and should not be injected intravascularly, subcutaneously or intradermally. However, the author further explained that due to the good vascularity in the muscles, the injected vaccine will reach systemic circulation quicker whereas the poor vascularity in the subcutaneous tissue can lead to vaccine failure, this is incorrect.

  80. South Africa Drops Self-Isolation for Asymptomatic Covid Cases

    Policy change at odds with neighbors, main trading partners
    Blood surveys show 60% to 80% of South Africans have had Covid

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-31/south-africa-eases-covid-19-rules-cuts-isolation-time

    • Joe - the non epidemiologist

      India has had much shorter covid waves along with much lower volume of infected individuals during those waves. Similar results are in other regions of the world with high (pre – covid ) ivernmectin usage. Thus the assumption that Ivermectin is a good treatment option.

      However, there are indications that regions that have high ivermectin usage have some cross immunity from other viruses which are common those regions of the world. Mesocyt has note similar reasons for the likely cause of the much shorter waves in India.

      My thought is : if ivermectin was an effective treatment, then the benefits would be similar to the huge differences in the size of the waves. Since the studies show only moderate benefits (at best), it is unlikely that ivermection is of much benefit as a treatement option.

      • There are about 76 studies that say otherwise.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Jim2 – I got it that there are 76+ studies that show otherwise,

        Yet the none of those studies show a huge delta that is similar to the huge delta in the shortness of the waves vs the longer and larger waves. that is an indication that there is another factor that is causing the huge delta, but not likely to be ivermectin.

      • There is a lot more solid evidence presented in the studies. Those result do not depend on waves. About the only thing waving here is your hand.

  81. Brain dead after COVID booster.

    cardiac arrests. Following his booster dose(Moderna) he started feeling unwell. He proactively consulted doctors, twice, and followed all prescribed medication

    Medical negligence or not, he ended up on life support and doctors are now indicating he is brain dead. Now we ..cont..

    https://twitter.com/payalm23/status/1484550063880032256

  82. I have a new theory – that vitamin D supplements stimulate the brain to generate over-confidence, grandiosity, and a failure to recognize uncertainty.

    Despite that a wide body of actual research into the benefits of vitamin D for COVID has thus far netted ambiguous results (at best),

    https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/covidvitamin-d-much-more-than-you

    there is certainly no shortage of self-styled experts on the jnterwebs who are convinced of its efficacy.

    Part of what I love most about Climate Etc. is the schizophrenic nature of how the uncertainty monster gets treated.

    • Don’t waste your time on Josh’s link.

      One of the first lines:

      “Lots of people think Vitamin D treats coronavirus….”

      No, they don’t. Just as “lots of people” don’t think dieting “treats coronavirus.”
      Lots of people do understand that maintaining a healthy weight and eliminating any vitamin D deficiency can help the body’s immune system – particularly help you survive respiratory tract infections.

      Helping your body’s immune system during a global pandemic is a good thing to serious people. And this is why your doctor told you to address your vitamin D deficiency and weight even before covid.

      This is the hack’s two-step method of politicization – vitamin D is helpful, it is not a “treatment” that you can take for the first time the day you catch a virus, therefore the dedicated hack will say “lots of people” use it as a “treatment” and thus pretend the enlightened have once again caught the ignorant. I’m surprised they don’t refer to vitamin d as “a supplement for horses” (which it actually is, and cats, dogs, parakeets, and people).

      Should people with covid still take their vitamins? Yep. Should people with covid binge eat Kentucky fried chicken until they pack on 10 pounds – you know, because being skinny is not a “treatment”? Nope.

      You know what else you can’t use to “treat coronavirus” in the hospital?

      The vaccine.

      What does that mean for the vaccine?

      Nothing.

      No doubt someone will come along to say “lots of people think the vaccine treats coronavirus…” and you should ignore them too.

    • There have been many, many examples of well-meaning but ultimately ineffective suggested actions during the covid situation. It is interesting that you only seem concerned about Vit D.

      • Rob –

        > It is interesting that you only seem concerned about Vit D.

        Your logic is terribly flawed. Do you even see it?

  83. good

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  85. Dietrich Hoecht

    To add to my earlier arguments about vaccinations for young ones. This minute I heard an announcement that the FDA is considering Covid vaccinations for children as young as six months! Double crazy!

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  87. Mesocyte, it is difficult to link to your response to my confusing question. What I was trying to get at was if prevalence (percentage of a particular population infected) has ever been discovered for any defined population for whom other statistics are known. I think the answer is probably no (except maybe China). I speculated that the percentage of people admitted to hospital with some other problem who test positive might be an indicator.

    • Very likely not since many people, even at the beginning of the pandemic, especially younger people less than 40 or so, could be asymptomatic. Good data on this is hard to come by. Although the UK and South Africa did a better job than the US.

    • ” What I was trying to get at was if prevalence (percentage of a particular population infected) has ever been discovered for any defined population for whom other statistics are known. I think the answer is probably no (except maybe China). I speculated that the percentage of people admitted to hospital with some other problem who test positive might be an indicator.”

      Yes. CDC had a serological survey here in Arizona (with one of our universities) with random sampling of certain ZIP codes. The state has PCR data for those ZIP codes, and probably hospitalization data.

      The CDC survey estimated a substantial undercount by the reported PCR tests at that time (August 2020). So one can get a pretty good estimate of prevalence from that survey, although not by time period.

      I agree that hospital admissions are a good indicator of prevalence for a particular area. Differences in criteria and health availability would make them less useful for comparisons across different areas.

      In Arizona, I have seen a pretty good correlation (lagged) between the PCR test results and hospitalizations. You can see it in the graphs the state DHS publishes. So PCR is actually quite useful, especially since it precedes hospitalization – at least when test results aren’t delayed.

      Lately I’ve been capturing Arizona positive PCR tests by date of test, rather than date of report, and it is showing surprisingly long lags for some of the tests, so that the data really doesn’t stabilize very well until maybe a week or so. Todays PCR numbers (by date reported to us, not date of test) won’t show up for about 6 or 7 days in meaningful values of tests by date.

      The apparently good news is that both measures show a drop in cases at about the same slope as the increase that Omicron engendered. I sure hope that continues, and hope that BA.2 (already here for a week or two) doesn’t mess it up with its increased transmissibility.

      But I think we have a whole lot of immunity here, between vaccination (lower than national average) and past infections (higher than national average).

      There’s a nice graph at this link (and the site is great for making customized graphs which it will give you a link to). Note that they are giving PCR confirmed cases, which CDC as of Aug 20 claimed was 1/5 to 1/6 of the actual case count. I don’t know a more current ratio, and home tests may confuse that even more.

      http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=states-normalized&highlight=Arizona&show=highlight-only&y=both&scale=linear&data=cases-daily-7&data-source=jhu&xaxis=right-12wk&extra=California&extraData=vaccineAdmin%2Ccases&extraDataScale=separately%2Cseparately#states-normalized

      • John Ferguson

        Thanks for your helpful response. I’ve learned from our Covid experience and what I took to be extensive nonsense from CDC among others that if you don’t really understand the constituency of the denominator in a statistic,whatever it purports to describe is probably meaningless.

        Herd Immunity seems to fall into this trap. If the naturally immune (unknown population) and people who got it asymptomatically and were never discovered (unknown population) are part of the herd, then no-one really knows where we stand in this regard even assuming that there is anything to the idea in the first place.

        If there is some sort of legitimacy to the herd immunity concept, then you need to decide which herd you’re measuring. Is really everyone? or is it the people who don’t go outside, don’t wear masks in public places, people who do? Whom?

        my take from this was the possibility that if there is herd immunity, it is meaningless without a description of the herd, and “everyone” isn’t it.

        And of course if you can be re-infected ( maybe infected anew) then herd immunity is total nonsense.

        Wouldn’t you have hoped that the people who speak with implied authority actually knew what they were talking about a whole lot better than an old retired architect?

        It was bad enough when lawyers started fooling with the laws of physics (late ’70s)

      • Just curious – what did the lawyers do to the laws of physics?

        If there’s one area where truth tends to be really solidly established, it’s in physics (although even there, as demonstrated by the error in the Miliken oil drop experiment, it can take a while for false results to be corrected.

    • Joe - the non epidemiologist

      John Ferguson – “It was bad enough when lawyers started fooling with the laws of physics (late ’70s)”

      Didnt Congress repeal the laws of physics during the Carter adminstration?

  88. William Norton

    I wonder if the recent Johns Hopkins report will have any impact on the opinion of anyone, or are we so political that we are not allowed to change our minds with changing facts?

    https://www.kabc.com/2022/02/01/johns-hopkins-report-lockdowns-did-not-work/

    • Bill Fabrizio

      William … Very interesting. Thanks.

    • Were lockdowns ever supposed to reduce deaths or were they to flatten the curve and reduce hospital overcrowding.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        From the Johns Hopkins report:

        “We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality,” the researchers wrote.

        The lockdowns did have “devastating effects” on the economy, however, and contributed to numerous social ills, the paper noted.

        “They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence and undermining liberal democracy,” the researchers said.

        “Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: Lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument,” the paper concluded.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        They did say this:

        Despite the overall findings, there was some evidence to indicate that closing bars helped reduce deaths, the researchers found.

        “Closing nonessential businesses seems to have had some effect (reducing COVID-19 mortality by 10.6%), which is likely to be related to the closure of bars,” they said.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Bill Fabrizio – copy of the John Hopkins statements – “Such a standard benefit-cost calculation ”

        Cost benefit analysis often leads to erroneous conclusions. The better method is Marginal Cost/Marginal Benefit analysis.

        Support for Masking relied heavily on cost benefit analysis which led proponents to the erroneous conclusion that masks provided large amounts of benefit. Whereas, a marginal cost / marginal benefit analysis showed that the incremental benefit of masking in most situations provided only a trivial increase in benefit.

      • Bill

        I am not claiming lockdowns were good or were used effectively.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        Joe … I agree.
        Rob … no worries, I didn’t mean to imply you did.

        I do think that we are going to see a tidal wave of commentary on this in the media. Details aside, just the implication that lockdowns were not necessarily the best tool by none other than Johns Hopkins will generate enough heat to peal the paint off the walls.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        Joe … When I said ‘I agree’ to your comment on methodology I meant to your mask conclusion. I wore masks periodically over three decades and realize that there are many factors that weigh on their efficiency. As to the methodology itself, I can’t comment as I don’t have the expertise. But I would enjoy hearing more criticism of the study. In reference to face masks, there is a brief discussion in section 4.3.

        For the record, I used personal protection most of the time it ‘was needed’. That however is not a statement of how they functioned for me, nor of everyone, of all ages and characteristics, who use or are required to wear masks. We all engage in practices that avoid danger. The issue here is the social coercion and the results of mass behavior.

      • Bill –

        > The lockdowns did have “devastating effects” on the economy, however, and contributed to numerous social ills, the paper noted

        The report indicates that mandatory “lockdowns” had no differential effect compared to voluntary changes. But what’s interesting is that when attributing negative outcomes they disaggregate the effects, and attribute negative effects to mandatory changes and not voluntary changes.

        Anyway, it’s an interesting report. I don’t really buy their whole matrix for excluding studies, but at least they offer an in-depth discussion of their rationale and should be commended for doing so.

        In the end, however, I think the main problem is not so much with their conclusions about the benefits of NPIs or lack thereof. That’s a very complex issue. I can imagine that a wide range of findings should be considered reasonable.

        The main problem, imo, is their facile treatment of the costs – which in contrast to their highly analytical approach to examining the benefits, includes absolutely no discussion of major underlying assumptions, such as assumptions about counterfactuals. The contrast is suspicious.

      • Hey Joshua

        I think we would both agree that the subject matter is complex, not to mention the analytical tools that have or could be used. For me, any argument critical of the study should be no more valid against the imposition of lockdowns, if only because they were done without knowledge of their affects, particularly economic and social.

        As the authors said:

        Social sciences vs. other sciences: While it is true that epidemiologists and researchers in
        natural sciences should, in principle, know much more about COVID-19 and how it spreads
        than social scientists, social scientists are, in principle, experts in evaluating the effect of
        various policy interventions. Thus, we distinguish between studies published by scholars in
        social sciences and by scholars from other fields of research. We perceive the former as
        being better suited for examining the effects of lockdowns on mortality. For each study, we
        have registered the research field for the corresponding author’s associated institute (e.g., for
        a scholar from “Institute of economics” research field is registered as “Economics”). Where
        no corresponding author was available, the first author has been used. Afterwards, all
        research fields have been classified as either from the “Social Science” or “Other.””

        In the end, I believe that’s the value of this study.

      • Joshua makes a valid point that it is difficult to separate the affects from mandatory compliance from voluntary precautions. I think all would agree that positively motivated individual navigations of risk are far more effective than overall beneficial than collective restrictions. The later usually inspire the backlash of motivated individual evasions from the ungovernable masses and from the ungovernable elite (whom make the restrictions).

      • Bill –

        I don’t agree with the authors on that.

        Epdiemiolgists spend a lot of time examining for the effect of interventions in the real world. I see no reason that social scientists should be better equipped to do this kind of analysis – perhaps even less so because they tend more to investigate theoretical or contrived interventions.

        You have to discount their reaping in that due to “motivation”

        Forgot to mentiom – while again they deserve credit for explaining thir rationale, and discrete elements of their reasoning seemed logical to me, their explanation for discounting the impact of timing seemed quite strained to me in the whole.

      • Ron –

        The “backlash” effect is real and needs to be considered. I just read an article about how Denmark is lifting NPIs despite the omicron wave, with that as the specific explanation.

        But it’s tricky, as Denmark has a high degree of social cohesion and sense of collective and self-sacrifice. They have a high level of “trust” in their government and government officials (of course thers a feedback loop there). Any of these policy decisions are highly sensitive to context.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        In reference to the study’s conclusion, I’m not sure it’s necessary to separate the voluntary from the mandatory compliance? The bottom line numbers would stay the same, whether there was an excess or scarcity of voluntary compliance.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        What we are talking about are severe political decisions that were made with reference to a relatively narrow input. The impact goes well beyond the purview of epidemiological science.

      • Man, the filter here is still terrible.

        Bill –

        > if only because they were done without knowledge of their affects, particularly economic and social.

        I assume you’re going here with the “first do no harm’ kind of idea. I don’t really by that, as not implementing BMI’s is likewise making a decision where there’s not knowledge of the effects.

        Consider the following scenario:

        There’s a virus that’s 100% lethal that infects 100 people. You have a therapeutic, it it causes a fatal reaction in 10% of the people who are treated with it.

        Would you say the treatment killed 10 people or saved 90?. How does “first do no harm” fit there?

        And to extend the analogy, then mix in all manner of other complications. Non-fatal side-effects from the treatment. And long-term sequelae from the infection – all manner of “costs” that you can’t even evaluate for years. And then there might be factors like the death from the virus is long and drawn out, or the death from the treatment is incredibly painful. Or you have to factor in age stratification (say the virus is only fatal to children, or primarily to people with comorbidities). Or you have to factor in SES or race/ethnicity, or access to healthcare. And then there’s the risk of what would happen if people left untreated could infect others. The complexities go on and on.

        I don’t see any particularly useful decision-making heuristic here.

        > What we are talking about are severe political decisions that were made with reference to a relatively narrow input.

        Sure – but the decision to not act is also a severe political decision. And remember that majorities supported NPIs, and often even more stringent NPSs than those enacted – so there’s an element of democracy here.

        > The impact goes well beyond the purview of epidemiological science.

        It also goes well beyond the purview of social science.

        My point was that epidemiologists, in my experience, have a better approach to understanding causality of changes during interventions (e.g., controlling for confounding variables) than the average social science. Just my take from having surveyed a fair amount of epidemiological research for some years prior to COVID coming onto the scene. For example, the focus on Bradford Hill’s criteria I see with epidemiology, or the insistence that you can’t determine causality from observational or cross-sectional data, or the insistence in not trying to generalize from convenience sampling. It’s my view that epidemiologists holding to those principles more consistently.

      • I don’t see any particularly useful decision-making heuristic here.

        > What we are talking about are severe political decisions that were made with reference to a relatively narrow input.

        Sure – but the decision to not act is also a severe political decision. And remember that majorities supported NPIs, and often even more stringent NPSs than those enacted – so there’s an element of democracy here.

        > The impact goes well beyond the purview of epidemiological science.

        It also goes well beyond the purview of social science.

        My point was that epidemiologists, in my experience, have a better approach to understanding causality of changes during interventions (e.g., controlling for confounding variables) than the average social science. Just my take from having surveyed a fair amount of epidemiological research for some years prior to COVID coming onto the scene. For example, the focus on Bradford Hill’s criteria I see with epidemiology, or the insistence that you can’t determine causality from observational or cross-sectional data, or the insistence in not trying to generalize from convenience sampling. It’s my view that I see epidemiologists holding to those principles more consistently.

      • > What we are talking about are severe political decisions that were made with reference to a relatively narrow input.

        Sure – but the decision to not act is also a severe political decision. And remember that majorities supported NPIs, and often even more stringent NPSs than those enacted – so there’s an element of democracy here.

      • For example, the focus on Bradford Hill’s criteria I see with epidemiology, or the insistence that you can’t determine causality from observational or cross-sectional data, or the insistence in not trying to generalize from convenience sampling. It’s my view that I see epidemiologists holding to those principles more consistently.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        Joshua … thanks for the effort.

        >And remember that majorities supported NPIs, and often even more stringent NPSs than those enacted – so there’s an element of democracy here.

        I’m not sure that’s correct. What majorities? Epidemiologists? As far as I can see economic affects, social affects were not taken into consideration. At first we were told two weeks. If it was going to be two weeks, or let’s say even two months, the epidemiological would trump (no pun intended) the economic/social. We’re now two years out and the data isn’t a slam dunk for epidemiologists.
        I would have preferred that there was open discussion of the policies from many different disciplines prior to enactment. That’s not just an element of democracy, it is democracy.

        We had bureaucracy, not democracy. And I get it, we pay the bureaucracy to give us their best advice. But we don’t pay them to run things and run roughshod over all else.

      • “f it was going to be two weeks, or let’s say even two months, the epidemiological would trump (no pun intended) the economic/social. We’re now two years out and the data isn’t a slam dunk for epidemiologists.

        I would have preferred that there was open discussion of the policies from many different disciplines prior to enactment. That’s not just an element of democracy, it is democracy. ”

        You have a point. There should be no question that really harsh lockdowns work. But we didn’t, and couldn’t do that. A few states tried, and maybe lowered their death tolls a bit.

        But death tolls are not the whole story, as you say. The negative impact of long term mitigations of that sort are extreme.

        If we weren’t so polarized, we’d have ended up, sometime last year, in a situation where a huge number of people were vaccinated, and were willing to wear quality masks in those situations where spread is likely.Ventilation and filtration of indoor air would have been done in many places.

        That would have allowed all businesses to open with few restrictions, while maintaining a pretty low level of morbidity and mortality. It might have lowered Rt, perhaps even with Delta and Omicron, to less than one, which would have quenched the epidemic locally. Rt << 1 means imported cases would not lead to an epidemic, although they might infect some people. But also, a low prevalence would have allowed decent contact tracing, further minimizing the impact.

        But after spring 2020, it's an open *political* question as to what should have been done. The over-zealous mandates understandably created a negative reaction, one which led to a lot of people doubting the officials, and ignoring their recommendations.

        Today, that's where we are at. I have friends whom I cannot convince that Ivermectin is not useful (or at least, not of much use), and that vaccines are not dangerous. I have friends who view masks as a sign of submission to totalitarianism.

        That is polarization, and while some right wing commentators, and quack MD's and PhD's amplified it, it is the public health folks and politicians who bear a lot of the blame. They treated us like children, and they lied to us (for example, never mentioning that vaccine effectiveness against transmission was lower than the VE against symptomatic illness, and Fauci's early lie about masks, which to his credit he admitted to later.

        The situation has gotten so weird that Trump gets booed when he recommends boosters – at his own rallies!

      • Bill –

        I’m talking about the polling I’ve seen, but I haven’t one an extensive or comprehensive review. One interesting aspect of that is people trying to leverage “the poors” saying that NPIs are desired by the wealthy at the expense of poor people. But the polling I’ve seen showed that in general, “the poor” favored tmsrekngenf NPIs.

        That isn’t to say that to the extent that there is a differential “cost” from NPIs it would disproportionately impact people with lower SES
        But the equations are highly uncertain and in many ways they might benefit disproportionately also (eviction moritoriums, extended UE benefits, protection against getting fired because of not wanting to go to work because of the risk to them and family members of they do, etc.)

        Meanwhile, we have classes of people who have enjoyed disproportionate agency for decades wh are upset because they think their views aren’t being sufficiently reflected in government policy. But if they’re a minority then is it just that they are unhappy about not being able to enjoy that entitlement?

        Countries all over the world have implemented NPIs. Very few haven’t. And I doubt that people in South Korea or Japan or New Zealand or Iceland or Australia or Thailand or Vietnam or Singapore or… etc. look at the massively higher death and illness rates here and think more people died here because of some “freedom” they were missing out on.

      • > That is polarization, and while some right wing commentators, and quack MD’s and PhD’s amplified it, it is the public health folks and politicians who bear a lot of the blame. They treated us like children, and they lied to us (for example, never mentioning that vaccine effectiveness against transmission was lower than the VE against symptomatic illness, and Fauci’s early lie about masks, which to his credit he admitted to later

        You’re upset that public health officials treated your friends like children, yet you think your friends aren’t accountable for making adult decisions? Instead you think they’re like children who couldn’t weigh evidence as you have to make up their own minds as they see fit? Talk about bigotry of low expectations.

        Consider that maybe they just didn’t get past their ideological predilictions because they basically just chose not to. As adults. With all the agency they needed to make up their own minds.

        That’s not to say the I don’t think that mistakes were made. I think there were. But there was high uncertainty, and a fast moving pandemic with a novel disease and a highly polarized public, where 1/2 would object to anything that could even remotely be polarized by people lined up on either side with an explicitly focus on exploiting any political fault lines.

        And there’s a basic structure here. By definition public health officials can never get it right. If people die they didn’t do enough and if pwolw don’t die they did too much. And meanwhile people have unrealistic (and I think childish) expectations that in this context mistakes wouldn’t necessarily be made.

      • As usual you miss the point and argue things I don’t disagree with.

        When you treat the public like children, expect a backlash. And that’s a major problem. I understand that you would like to put all the blame on the reactionaries, since they are on the right hand side of the political spectrum (for many, but don’t forget vax resistance in the black population, and the longstanding anti-vax movement led most notably by RFK Jr). But those people on the right have good reason to distrust the mainstream media, and the poor messaging, and poor decisions, early in the epidemic, certainly are part of the blame for this. Part of the blame – not all of it – that goes to the ones the left have been excoriating – those, MD’s, talk show hosts, etc, who put out false information about the disease, its severity, and its treatment.

        I know people who have adopted those views because of the distrust they have for government authorities – very well earned distrust that unfortunately they apply to generally – which is characteristic of most humans, BTW – overgeneralization. And where are they supposed to get information? The MSM has lied so badly and so repeatedly that I don’t trust them without verification. Good grief, the Russia Collusion hoax is still a thing, even after it has been shredded by evidence. Big Tech buried the valid story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was published by the newspaper with the third largest circulation in the country, and they did it before an election that polls say might have been different had the truth come out. So yeah, we on the right have very low trust in certain information institutions right now.

        I cannot blame my friends who sought other sources of information, and then got locked into false ideas. Heck, a couple of them just recovered from COVID, attributing it to various popular unproven nostrums.

        The PH and scientific folks made other mistakes, but of course they cannot be perfect. As you say, it was a new situation and information was evolving. But the FDA and CDC reacted like bureaucracies – they did not adequately shift into a new mode of operation like you need when large numbers of people are dying and you don’t have the quality of information you are used to having. Military officers are trained to operate in fluid situations without adequate information (although not all turn out to be good at it). I’m sure some field epidemiologists are very good at that also. But CDC as an institution, and ditto for FDA, failed miserably at that, and CDC continues to do so.

        The biggest mistake in the scientific field was the failure to immediately recognize that this was an aerosol carried pathogen. In the public health field, it was failure to adequately address this problem. Some of us knew very early that it spread via aerosols, not just droplets – by March 2020!

        The public health failure continues to this day from the CDC. Even their most recent mask “guidance” is pathetic and wrong in the face of an aerosol pathogen, because they are still talking about masks that are of very low effectiveness. They did add a bit of emphasis about KN95 and N95, etc – i.e. higher effectiveness respirators, but that’s at the end, and it’s just one of a whole bunch of options.

        In other words, the CDC started out bureaucratic and clueless, and even now is badly botching the messaging and handling of, in particular, the aerosol threat.

        BTW, there are interesting articles in both the lay and scientific press about the aerosol screwup on the scientific field, why it happened, the history, etc. Wired Magazine, of all places, has a nice article. Here’s a preprint that gives the history also: https://deliverypdf.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=983074096009087108020074006110001073019078004010056064085119118127006110102099076031052054028009107063023084080099009088014083119006064001081078069101030111086005068066000066013029123029126106021002097067116068078003001127003113126024071107002009122123&EXT=pdf&INDEX=TRUE

      • Joshua

        Always in my discussions with you on bureaucracy I’m reminded of Max Weber. One of my favorite sociologists, he had an extreme loyalty to the bureaucratic model, believing it was paramount to the success of the human race. Certainly, in many, many ways it has been. He grew up in a time when Germany was the pinnacle of bureaucratic practice. Elite academic minds controlled the bureaucratic institutions. In a nutshell, that was his belief, the best government was putting the smartest people in positions of power.

        I have no doubt his intentions were pure and his writing is a testament to that. Yet, in a few short years we have his participation in the Versailles Treaty, the rise of the Wiemar Republic and its horrific collapse. What didn’t collapse was the German belief in elitism. Not elite advice, but elite authority. And we know who emerged from the ashes … Hitler. Fascism, defined as the marriage of corporations and government has an excellent example today in Communist China.

        I don’t doubt your passion to save humanity from the virus. But I wish you would acknowledge the other variables that keep a society free. Efficiency isn’t the only principle. In fact, democracy (no matter the specific form) is notoriously inefficient.

        Take the time to look at what long term mandates have wrought. School boards threatening maskless, and even non-vaccinated, children with arrests. Loss of employment. Restrictions on assembly. Restrictions on travel. Silencing of debate and dissent. Sound familiar?

        This study by economists should be critiqued but not politically subverted, or overestimated. It refutes what has been the dominant bureaucratic position for two years. And, it just happens to support the ‘unwashed’ common sense … heaven forbid. Indeed, it presents a blow to the prevailing power structure as it purports to remove the legitimacy of the argument for long term mandates.

        Meso actually supports many of your opinions. He also is a passionate advocate of attacking the virus, yet he knows that persuasion is in the end more effective than authoritative mandates. Inherently, this makes him open to changing his views, or tactics, with new evidence. While these qualities refer him as someone who should head the effort, his conservative beliefs in the dignity of the individual mark him potentially as a lousy bureaucrat.

        As I said, I look forward to honest critiques of this study. And I truly value all of the comments.

      • meso –

        > When you treat the public like children, expect a backlash.

        If people are concerned about whether they’ve been treated like children, instead of dealing with the pandemic, that’s on them. If they’r focused on that and get into a backlash, that’s on them.

        Of course it’s to be expected, ’cause that’s how people act. But no one forces them to act like children just because they’re being treated like children.

        This isn’t a rightwing thing. Plenty of people on the left have politicized the pandemic as well. But I’m not going to offer any excuses for that. I think the politicization – FROM BOTH SIDES – has ben really depressing to watch. As much as I expect polarization and motivated reasoning, I’ve still been disturbed at the extent to which we’ve seen that with a freakin’ pandemic. Really? Even with a pandemic people can’t get over their obsessions identity-defensive and identity-defensive cognition? Really?

        > And that’s a major problem. I understand that you would like to put all the blame on the reactionaries, since they are on the right hand side of the political spectrum (for many, but don’t forget vax resistance in the black population, and the longstanding anti-vax movement led most notably by RFK Jr).

        Up until this pandemic, anti-vax hasn’t really shown a political signal. With the pandemic a political signal has appeared, and while the signal with this pandemic has been predominantly on the right – that’s still just one side of the polarization. Another side does exist and it’s just as destructive, in the long run, for the long-term health of our society.

        > But those people on the right have good reason to distrust the mainstream media, and the poor messaging, and poor decisions, early in the epidemic, certainly are part of the blame for this.

        Sorry – I don’t buy the excuses for bad decision-making No one forces anyone to make bad decisions and believe nonsense. People are making their bad choices because they’ve driven by their partisan identity. Kudos to you for getting past that. Offer excuses all you want, that’s your right. But I don’t buy it and I won’t offer it for people on the left who are politicizing the pandemic It’s just dangerous and for me, unacceptable.

        You don’t see this in other countries. People in Japan or New Zealand or the Nordic countries or Iceland or whatever aren’t running around blaming other people for the bad decisions they’ve made. And that’s why they haven’t made as many bad decisions. Because they’re not filtering their take on the pandemic through a partisan lens.

        > I know people who have adopted those views because of the distrust they have for government authorities – very well earned distrust that unfortunately they apply to generally – which is characteristic of most humans, BTW – overgeneralization.

        In my opinion, that’s all just part of the problem. I think it’s time for people to stop focusing so much attention on polarization and rationalizing their polarization. At this point it’s just dangerous. It’s gotten ridiculous. It’s no different than with the “stolen” election nonsense. Justifying bad decision making on the “MSM” is just weak. It would be like me justifying bad reasoning on the left on Fox News. Fox News does’t make people on the left reason badly.

        As for the Wired article, I’ve been citing it here for months, when people trotted out the same tired nonsense that “masks don’t work” because aerosolized particles are too small for them to work – which not only fails to take into account the physics of how the masks work, it also rests on a lack of understanding of what size particles are infectious, as explained in that article. As it happens I have a connection to s lead researcher in the field of how infectious viruses spread and he was working on convincing people that it was aerosolize way back in the day.

      • The perceived value of the vaccines plummeted when they started cranking up the propaganda to sell them. Instead of wasting millions hiring Madison Ave Biden should have tipped his hat to Trump and Warp Speed. With such a simple honest gesture he could have saved a hundred thousand lives and gone a long way on fulfilling is inaugural pledge to mend the divide.

        Many of us not on the left agree that Trump often acts like a middle schooler. Biden is no better. He’s often visibly angry with himself but takes it out on the country.

      • Not sure why a comment I posted last night is in moderation?

        Oh well, here’s the WSJ catching up on this topic.

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-lockdown-catastrophe-11643833939?st=7dp217ccv39wvw7&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

      • Bill –

        You overestimate my support for the (bottom line advisablity of) mandates, and my faith in the efficiency of government. Consider how I can still have the opinions I’ve expressed and not fit your conceptualization of what else I believe in.

        It would probably help if you quote what I actually say.

        For example, I say what’s described in this article about Denmark’a policy is for the most part reasonable:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/denmark-covid-restrictions/621482/

    • I saw this too. I don’t know how anyone could look at cases, deaths, and lockdown application across states and countries and conclude that they ever made a big difference.

    • UK-Weather Lass

      Whatever big words are used by people, whatever studies are linked to opinions, there isn’t a big difference between being forced to do something and being asked to consider doing something while at the same time being told what will happen if you don’t do it.

      The original lockdown in the UK was to prevent NHS overload. Most of the public were absolutely familiar with how our NHS struggled annually with peak illness periods because it had been happening for almost a decade. Colds and ‘flu complications have always taken their toll on the vulnerable, a cohort that is ever changing and one that eventually all survivors will be a part of. Our emotional strings were being pulled by Government to cover their own shortcomings and total lack of responsibility and leadership in the leaner years of excess deaths.

      The rules for lockdown were reasonably clear in that you could go to work (if in a key group), go out and exercise daily for a limited time and do essential shopping for food and medicine etc. Hardship in such times depends as much upon your household’s mental health and its physical surroundings (large space/small space etc.) and, therefore, does not hit all people equally hard. Was that inequality even taken account of when setting up a blanket regulation? Of course it was not. How could they cater for different needs when acting in a panic that the politicians were guilty of constructing by not having a prepared public health plan for just such a situation?

      The ‘game changing’ vaccinations arrived to huge fanfares. We would vaccinate the really vulnerable and normality would be restored. You wouldn’t be forced because when you are old, scared and isolated from your loved ones who would need to force you to have such a game changer? Except normality wasn’t going to be restored because vaccination actually changed nothing at a scientific or political level; it was just a temporary feeling of relief to be left among those citizens who had already suffered most from lockdown madness just so the pain would seemingly hurt less if inflicted at longer intervals rather than short sharp shocks .

      That may be seen the equivalent of torture by the more cynical especially as the groups having the best times were those in public service who could work in their middle class homes and suffer less expense to do so. These were the people that Government could please in order to swell the ranks of those supporting it. Sod those who were still stuck in intolerable situations – who cared about them? What about our schools and our children’s education and the damage that is known to be done when you close them down for long periods of time? Who in Government was actually thinking straight about epidemiology 101 – do not close schools?

      I don’t care much for politicised anything. I also don’t care for those hypocrites who practice politicisation themselves and the call out others for doing so and never admitting to the same crime themselves. We all have beliefs and we should all be respected for them. It is time for the madness about COVID-19, climate change and throwing good money after bad to stop and for people to be genuinely asked what they want to happen next. That way may lead to a restoration of democracy rather than having to listen to false prophets who love echo chambers and hate being asked sensible and/or reasonable questions.

      • The original claim here was “two weeks to flatten the curve” which has remarkably withstood the test of time.
        Note the assumptions-
        lockdown won’t stop covid, it might slow it temporarily
        restrictions are temporary and periodic and tied to evidence- which increases voluntary compliance. You follow the local case counts and act accordingly.

        Look at the progression:
        two weeks to flatten the curve
        Let’s make it permanent
        People who oppose permanent restrictions are awful
        They are restrictions, but exceptions may be made for the correct political persuasion.
        Yes, we now know restrictions didn’t work, but it’s all very nuanced and people who’ve been saying this for two years are still bad people.

        We haven’t begun to suffer the consequences of shut downs. Students in most of the biggest cities were 1-2 years behind their peers before Covid and have essentially lost 2 years of school. Those elementary school kids who were unnecessarily masked (and probably unnecessarily vaccinated) are going to be paying for this monetarily and in social upheaval for the rest of their lives.

        I also don’t think those genetic tests linking the spread to New York is getting enough attention. Pace- not because I dislike Cuomo, but because of what they tell us. A “lockdown” in which everyone in the epicenter fled to the hinterlands was quite obviously a total failure. How do you stop that- I don’t know. I don’t think you can put roadblocks up around NYC and lock everyone in. But if you don’t, you get what we got.

  89. From the web site that shall not be named …

    COVID-19 early treatment: real-time analysis of 1,372 studies
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    Analysis of 34 COVID-19 early treatments, database of 459 potential treatments. 67 countries have approved early treatments. Recently added:
    Colchicine:
    Mareev
    Mostafaie
    Pascual-Figal
    Ivermectin:
    Manomaipiboon
    Casirivimab/i..:
    Shopen
    Melatonin:
    Tan
    Vitamin D:
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  91. Mesocyte said: If we weren’t so polarized, we’d have ended up, sometime last year, in a situation where a huge number of people were vaccinated,

    You are assuming here that the political divide was in play. Actually, there is no reason people of one political persuasion should prefer or not vaccinations. Correlation does not imply causation. Instead, it’s probably more that a world view that informs both politics and medicine.

    • “You are assuming here that the political divide was in play. Actually, there is no reason people of one political persuasion should prefer or not vaccinations. Correlation does not imply causation. Instead, it’s probably more that a world view that informs both politics and medicine.”

      One side trust big government, the other side doesn’t. That’s the initial difference. That was magnified by factors I’ve already mentioned. Those on the right against vaccines are over-reacting to some government over-reach, overgeneralizing that to the point that anything the government says is wrong – a logical error. What is really bizarre is that these are Trump supporters, Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” accelerated vaccine development, and Trump has been vaccinated and boosted.

      Just as those on the left see Trump and some on the right as one step from a fascist government (they are way wrong about this), many on the left see mandates as one step from a left-totalitarian government. It did not help that many of the mandates were illegal, as ruled by the courts. In other words, after the initial emergency, the normal political means – legislatures and governors together should have decided on those harsh measures (or not).

      But let’s not forget vaccine hesitancy in groups not on the right – blacks, and the RFK Jr. flavor of anti-vax that predates COVID.

      • Not that I would trust a study by a sociologist or psychologist in the first place, but you should at least have such a study.

        I consider myself to be libertarian and have been double-vaxxed. From what I’ve learned from the science along with anecdotal evidence, I won’t be getting any more vaxxes that utilize the spike protein. It alone, without any other parts of the virus, can cause issues.

        My view on this has nothing whatsoever to do with my trust in the government. I read papers from journals. I trust the science, but verify.

      • “My view on this has nothing whatsoever to do with my trust in the government. I read papers from journals. I trust the science, but verify.”

        That’s where I’m at too, although I also follow scientists on Twitter – it’s a good way to find the important papers and also discover which ones are bogus.

        But I was explaining how many react. After all, few people have the time or science background, so they rely on “experts.” But some “experts” are just wrong, especially the anti-vax ones. But if the “experts” are saying things that mesh with one’s political beliefs, that increases the likelihood that they will be believed.

      • Corrected sentence from my last: “many on the RIGHT see mandates as one step from a left-totalitarian government”

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso The biggest argument for the vaccine at this point is the supposed reduction in the severity of the covid attack which is based on the much larger percentage of deaths and hospitalizations among the unvaxed.

        However, the data associated with higher percentages seem to be dubious. The percentage of the population of the unvaxed in the vunerable population has become too small. Approximately 80%-90% of the deaths are occurring in the age 65+ age group which is 85% + vaxed.

        If the numbers in most states are correct as presented, it would mean that the death rate per 100k for the unvaxed during the Nov/Dec 2021 time frame is somewhere between 2x-4x the death rate per 100k during the nov/dec 2020 time frame, a time period when no one was vaxed.

        For that reason, there is amble reason to question the accuracy of the death and hospitalization rates of the unvaxed.

      • I like to use Israeli reports and papers, since they have good data, and they used Pfizer also.

        When you age match data, and the look at severity rate for unvaxxed, vaxxed, and vaxxed + boosted, the difference is dramatic. unvaxxed have a much higher rate of severe disease, and of death. vaxxed + boosted have the lowest by far.

        Nobody is hiding this data – it is readily available.

        US, when they do the same analyses, get the same sort of results. While some vaxxed + boosted people die (due to immune system problems such as really old age or other issues), the majority who do are unvaxxed.

        Your way of analyzing it is faulty, because you are not actually measuring the characteristics of the more serious cases. Instead, you are inferring from other statistics.

        Also, it is the 65+ age groups that are most likely to have higher rates, because once their antibodies fade, they are dependent on other parts of the immune system which become defective with age. Thus they are theoretically more likely to have less benefit from vaccination.

        I think that’s why Israel offers 2nd boosters to people in that group – the boosters kick the antibody levels back up. The US should do the same.

        I’ve seen great graphs on rates of death for vaxxed vs unvaxxed, etc. I wish I had saved links. Generally, the best data seems to come from Israel and the UK, because UK has one centralized record system, and Israel has only three. Thus good studies with large numbers of patients are possible, and are frequently done.

        Here’s CDC showing risk reduction by status (and also Delta vs Omicron): https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#covidnet-hospitalizations-vaccination

      • joe the non epidemiologist

        Meso – there are several reasons why individuals remain un-vaccinated with most falling into two large groups. Unfortunately, those unvaxed are being labeled “anti-vax” or “pro-disease” which is a gross mischaracterization of the primary reason for most of the unvaxed individuals.

        Granted there is the group that are “anti-vax” because of either they dont like being told by the government to do something or the religous individuals who are opposed to the vaccine because of the belief that the vax was developed in part from some fetal tissue (whether true or not, there is a perception that fetal tissue played a part in the development)

        That largest group of unvaxed individuals consists of individuals who have made what they believe is a rational risk based assessment whether to take the vaccine or forgo the vaccine. For the young and healthy, the risk of an adverse outcome is quite small, especially someone under the age of 30. The effectiveness of the vaccines rapidly declines after 6 months to less than 50% for the alpha, delta variants and around 30% or less after 2-3 months for the omicron variant.

        With the much longer immunity obtained from an infection compared to the vaccines, that approach appears to be the better long term solution.

        Granted the only benefit of the vaccine at this point is the temporary reduction in the severity of the illness, though that temporary reduction seems to be very fleeting with the omicron variant.

        FWIW – in my opinion, it is absolutely idiotic for someone over age 60 and anyone with health issues, overweight, diabites, or most any other health issue not to get vaxed. On the hand, it is absolutely idiotic for anyone under age 30 to get vaxed unless they have health issues.

      • “That largest group of unvaxed individuals consists of individuals who have made what they believe is a rational risk based assessment whether to take the vaccine or forgo the vaccine. For the young and healthy, the risk of an adverse outcome is quite small, especially someone under the age of 30. The effectiveness of the vaccines rapidly declines after 6 months to less than 50% for the alpha, delta variants and around 30% or less after 2-3 months for the omicron variant.

        With the much longer immunity obtained from an infection compared to the vaccines, that approach appears to be the better long term solution. ”

        I’d call that group “selfish” and ill-informed – they are providing food for the virus, increasing the risk of infection to the vulnerable. As someone in the latter category, I know how hard it is to “protect the vulnerable.” So yeah, it may be rational to just take the risk – as long as they don’t give a damn about the vulnerable. Oh, and as long as they are ignorant of “Long COVID.”

        But it is not true that the effectiveness of the vaccines rapidly declines, while infection derive immunity does not. What declines with the both is antibodies, which is natural and also happens with infection produced antibodies. But while circulating, neutralizing antibodies are really good for preventing initial infection and symptomatic disease, they are only the first line of defense.

        Once the virus gets a foothold, memory cells produce large numbers of antibodies, restocking them quickly. So you get sick for a few days, and then the antibodies knock out the disease. There are other parts of the immune system too – such as killer T-cells, and the innate immune system (the latter is what kills many COVID patients by over-reacting).

        I am not an immunologist, so I won’t use the technical terminology, because it is complex, and I tend to forget it since I’m not a specialist. But over time, some parts of the immune response fade, while other parts actually improve.

        Also, similar to many common vaccines, it takes multiple doses of COVID vax to achieve the best immunity. The “booster” should really be called the “third dose” because it is clearly just part of the series. But a second booster has a much smaller improvement, suggesting that the vax is perhaps a 3 dose vax.

        See the image at this tweet showing the vaccine schedule for children, which includes multiple doses per vaccine in some cases.

        https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1482510201190338567

        BTW… I agree that some characterizations of those not getting vaccines are overblown. So are some of the characterizations of public health people who advocate various mandates.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso – I agree that the vaccines do reduce the severity of covid if and when a vaxed person catches covid. My point on the significantly higher death and hospitalization rates for unvaxed is based on the improbability of the significant rate increase in deaths rates for the unvaxed in the two major waves. The average daily death rate per 100k in the US during the Nov / Dec 2020 was approx .95-1.02. That was a period when no one was vaxed. The average death rate for the un vaxed and vaxed is during the Nov /dec 2021 time frame was approx .7-.75 per 100k. That translates to an average death rate per 100k of the unvaxed of approx 2.0-2.7.

        It is just highly implausible that the death rate has increased by 2x or 3x.

      • Joe, could you give me the source of that mortality data? I’ve done a bit of searching and couldn’t find it.

      • Meso, thanks for all of your research and informed comments, even on the points for which we disagree slightly, including the effectiveness of lockdowns, safety of vaccines and effectiveness of early outpatient antiviral cocktails.

        Did you watch any of Senator Ron Johnson’s “second opinion” panel? It was a 5-hr discussion among all the “bad doctors,” giving them a platform to cite all the science that CNN, Fauci and Psaki call misinformation. There many interesting point even in the last hour, which all I have heard so far, including at 4:50 when Dr. Peter McCullough sites all the countries vaccine reporting systems that show death and injury from the vaccines. I took my chances knowing the risks but giving these to young people, even toddlers, is very hard to understand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asw_FBipVpg

      • Ron,
        Thanks. I almost never watch videos on these sorts of topics. They are too time consuming, and the information rate is dramatically lower than that of the written word. I can understand people who consume podcasts while exercising or something, but I prefer relaxing audiobooks for that instead.

        So no, I didn’t listen to it.

        But… it is important, when looking at adverse events, to compare those to the number expected without vaccination. For example, when vaccines were restricted to older people, there were lots of heart attacks reported. But… older people have lots of heart attacks.

        As I understand it, CDC investigates all deaths reported in VAERS to be correlated with vaccination. Also, the data is available for all, which is a mixed blessing, since some misinterpret it, using raw numbers of adverse events after vaccination as if vaccination caused all of those events.

        BTW, there are other vaccine result reporting and analysis systems in the US that are better than VAERS. They cover a smaller proportion of the population, but they don’t let just anyone put a report into it (note: I put a report into VAERS for my own minor adverse reaction, when CDC asked me to do so , and I’m not in the medical field at all).

        The question of giving it to younger children is difficult. Younger children have a low rate of severe COVID19. But, I don’t know their rate of long COVID, which is rarely taken into account. Ignoring long COVID, the risk of COVID19 to younger children is very low. But so is the risk of vaccination.

        But, the vaccine does reduce spread, including by children. It isn’t great at it, but it does help. And, young children are often around people at risk,

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Mesocyte | February 5, 2022 at 1:41 pm |
        “Joe, could you give me the source of that mortality data? I’ve done a bit of searching and couldn’t find it.”

        My answer – Its not readily available –

        It is my best attempt to compute the death rate per 100k based on limited information.

        I am also trying to use the best comparable time period which is the peak of the two major waves, nov2020-jan2021 and the 3rd major wave nov 2021-dec 2021

        The death rate per 100k for the unvaxed during the Nov/Dec/2020 Jan2021 time frame is readily available from most any source. Since effectively, no one vaxed during that period, it is the total reported #’s. In the US, that daily death rate ranged from .95-1.05 . I am reasonably comfortable with those stats.

        For the 3rd major wave, Nov 2021, Dec 2021, I am using estimates since the data per 100k is not readily available. The total deaths of the vaxed and unvaxed is readily available, the problem is computing the death rate per capita. I am using the following assumptions to make my estimates
        A) The current death rate per capita is approx .65-.75 per 100k – that data is readily available (91-divoc.com)
        B) 80-85% of deaths are occurring in the 65+ age group,
        C) 85-90% of that age group are vaxed, leaving 15-20% of that group unvaxed
        D) based on readily available data in most jurisdiction, the unvaxed are comprising 60-70% of the deaths. (MN DOH is providing good weekly information of deaths and hospitalizations for the vaxed and unvaxed.

        Using that data, the death rate for the unvaxed for that time period (which is the peak of the 3rd major wave), ranges between a low of 1.5 to a high of 3.0 per day. Vs the .95-1.05 during the same time period of the second wave.

      • Joe – tks. 91-divoc is my favorite site for graphical data on COVID-19. It was built by a computer science professor, and is excellent. You can even set up your custom graph the way you want it, and capture a link to reproduce it.

        You write: “Using that data, the death rate for the unvaxed for that time period (which is the peak of the 3rd major wave), ranges between a low of 1.5 to a high of 3.0 per day. Vs the .95-1.05 during the same time period of the second wave.”

        Hmmm… well, the current wave was mostly Delta during the months you chose, which was about 2X as lethal as the Wuhan strain, so that could explain some of it. But also the estimating you do could have some flaws – it would sure be nice to have better data.

        Have you tried looking at the 7 day average of case fatality rate on 91-divoc? Also, why use Nov, Dec? The previous big wave (at least in deaths) peaked in Jan, Feb. The current wave has not yet peaked in deaths.

        JHU has daily data on cases, deaths, and case fatality rate. But it is cumulative totals, so if you want it for a range of dates, you need to do some programming.

        I have some python programs and shell scripts I use to show cases by day, and 7 day average, for Arizona vs US, total and per capita, so I do process that data – so far not getting showing it much differently than 91-divoc. It wouldn’t be hard to get the death data from one of the intermediate steps (I first convert to daily data – e.g. cases per day).

        But vax vs unvax is not available, except as an aggregate.

        Anyway, without knowing which of the deaths were vaxxed vs unvaxxed, it’s hard to conclude that the anomaly you see is real.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Mesocyte | February 5, 2022 at 1:41 pm |
        Joe, could you give me the source of that mortality data? I’ve done a bit of searching and couldn’t find it.”

        Meso – What piqued my interest in this question was the data coming out of Minnesota.
        The vax rate for the 65+ age group is 90%+ which is also the age group with the vast majority of deaths. With only 10% of the population constituting 60% of the deaths, it did not seem that the pool of the unvaxed was large enough to comprise such a high percent of the total deaths.

        another individual who has much better data in MN has computed the unvaxed death rate during the nov/dec 2021 time frame to be 4.5x – 5.0x of the death rate during the nov/dec 2020 time frame. He has indicated that he will post his results with in the next 10 days. (wants to confirm data before publishing)

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso’s linked comment – “Here’s CDC showing risk reduction by status (and also Delta vs Omicron): https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#covidnet-hospitalizations-vaccination

        Not wanting to start arguments or say you are wrong –

        I am only commenting on the CDC link, which by all appearances, seems to be quite dubious . At least dubious in its presentation.

        the CDC’s presentation seems to be in direct conflict with the data out of MN along with the data coming out of ontario / science table.

        FWIW – I am not comfortable with the studies that CDC has been highlighting.

        For example, during the Sept 2021 time frame, the CDC published a study stating that the previously infected unvaxed person was 2x-3x more likely to be reinfected than a previously infected vaxed person. I sent an email to the cdc which they them provided the raw data to me. My review of the study showed 1) they used in invalid denominator, 2) the created a unrelated control group to present the appearance of a control and 3) they used a cut off date such that the vaxed group only covered individuals that had been vaxed for 6 months or less.
        I then sent 3 separate emails to the three others questioning those points and never received any response.

        Similar results with the KU mask study which was hightly touted by the cdc

      • Agreed that some of the studies they have aren’t impressive. Not only the KU mask study (of particular interest to me since I attended KU), but a recent mask study that looked good until you looked at the extremely wide confidence intervals.

        I chose that graphic because it, in general, corresponds to a lot of others I have seen but failed to save links for. Also, I liked the way the showed the relative risk.

        But yeah, it’s CDC and they have not exactly covered themselves with glory in this situation – quite the opposite where their early behavior seriously damaged US reaction to the threat (specifically, along with the FDA, forcing all testing to be done through CDC only, and then sending out test kits with contaminated control samples).

      • “virtually every disease has some variation of “long”, covid being no exception. That being said, “long covid” seems to be vastly overblown as a real long term problem. To claim Long covid is a real problem , you have to deny the human body’s natural healing powers. ”

        MRI studies back up the “brain fog” problem in long COVID. Basically, people lose some cognitive function, and MRI shows brain damage. Apparently this does, as you say, heal, but over how long? And in what age groups?

        Any serious disease has some “long COVID” like behavior. And I doubt that all claims of “long COVID” are real. But there is something to it. For example, the loss of smell is real, and usually lasts longer than the disease itself. This happened to a friend of mine – many months to recover his sense of smell.

        But cognitive loss, even temporary, is not good. And it happens even with mild COVID. I have not heard of this with influenza, and the virologists I follow seem to think there is a new phenomenon here – even as they too say that other viral diseases sometimes have symptoms that last longer than the main disease.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso – comment – “The question of giving it to younger children is difficult. Younger children have a low rate of severe COVID19. But, I don’t know their rate of long COVID, which is rarely taken into account. Ignoring long COVID, the risk of COVID19 to younger children is very low. But so is the risk of vaccination.”

        meso – the “long covid ” is one point that I find to be quite dubious.

        virtually every disease has some variation of “long”, covid being no exception. That being said, “long covid” seems to be vastly overblown as a real long term problem. To claim Long covid is a real problem , you have to deny the human body’s natural healing powers. Secondly, the only children with long term adverse effects are those children who have other severe medical issues.

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso – in most data sets the death of vaxed and I vaxed is presented in total. Which makes the ability to make valid & useful analysis problematic. MN & MA are presenting deaths of vaxed and unvaxed separately.

        The unvaxed deaths are running in 60% range. Which I am presuming is consistent with regions of the country .
        Bottom line is in order for unvaxed to comprise such a large percentage of the total deaths is to have a death rate 2x-4x higher than the death rate during the prior peak . That seems dubious to me which why am am not comfortable with the data

      • “Bottom line is in order for unvaxed to comprise such a large percentage of the total deaths is to have a death rate 2x-4x higher than the death rate during the prior peak . ”

        Without seeing the data, I just can’t comment more. Do you have links?

        Usually, the claims I see about unvaxxed death rates are as a percentage of cases, vs the vaxxed, or vaxxed + boosted cases. I have seen data from many countries on that. Is that what we are talking about, or is this about all cause deaths?

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Meso
        You ask a good question regarding source data for my comments on current death and hospitalization rates for the vaxed and unvaxed with a comparison to the death rates for the same time period in the prior wave (Nov/Dec2020 /Jan 2021).

        I have been quite frustrated by the inability to obtain quality data. As I said, my back of the envelop computation had an estimated increase of 2x-3x higher death rate for the unvaxed in this wave vs the death rate for the unvaxed in the prior wave.

        Healthy skeptic has now posted the comparison in death rates for the unvaxed and vaxed since the start of the pandemic by age group. Using only the Minnesota data, they show the death rate for the the unvaxed per 100k has increased 5x from Nov/Dec 2020 time frame (the prior peak) to the Nov / Dec 2021 time frame. The death rate per 100k during each of the peaks should be comparable. What that tells me is that there is a lot of misclassification of who is and who isnt vaxed.

        https://healthy-skeptic.com/2022/02/05/vaxed-and-unvaxed-rates-february-3/

        Note that Healthy skeptic is only using Minnesota data, however, the reported data is comparable with data reported in most states. Based on that, I would consider the issue to be a problem in most every jurisdiction

      • A couple of comments… the statistic that matters to me is the case fatality rate, not the population or sub-population fatality rate (CFR) for vax vs unvax.

        I track national data and Arizona data. I don’t know much about Minnesota. But all the data I have seen nationally and in other countries shows a dramatic reduction in CFR with vaccination.

        A couple of comments on the linked article… the delay they use from case to death is too short… COVID deaths are usually 4 weeks or more after the case.One reason the death rate is higher because the deaths being counted are from Delta, which is about 2X deadlier than the original strain. But I haven’t dug into MN data that much, since it’s tricky, and even if it is wrong, it doesn’t change the conclusion that vaccination significantly reduces risk of death.

  92. UK-Weather Lass

    Yet more evidence from the UK that vaccinations are not necessarily the answer for younger, healthier, non-vulnerable people.

    https://dailysceptic.org/2022/02/04/evidence-of-increased-infection-risk-following-third-dose-exacerbated-by-vaccination-drive-during-omicron-wave-ukhsa-data-show/

  93. Is it just me, or does it seem the amount of useful information in a comment is inversely proportional to the number of words?

  94. WASHINGTON— On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, sent a letter to Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin highlighting concerning reports from three DOD whistleblowers about injuries to servicemen and women potentially related to the COVID-19 vaccines. At the senator’s January 24 roundtable titled COVID-19: A Second Opinion, the senator heard testimony about data from a DOD database showing dramatic increases in medical diagnoses among military personnel.

    The senator wrote, “Based on data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED), Thomas Renz, an attorney who is representing three Department of Defense (DoD) whistleblowers, reported that these whistleblowers found a significant increase in registered diagnoses on DMED for miscarriages, cancer, and many other medical conditions in 2021 compared to a five-year average from 2016-2020. For example, at the roundtable Renz stated that registered diagnoses for neurological issues increased 10 times from a five-year average of 82,000 to 863,000 in 2021.”

    https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/2022/2/sen-johnson-to-secretary-austin-has-dod-seen-an-increase-in-medical-diagnoses-among-military-personnel

  95. Of 1580 individuals invited to undergo serologic testing, 816 (52%) did so between September 24, 2021, and November 5, 2021. Participants had a mean age of 48.0 years, 421 (52%) were women, and 669 (82%) were White (Table). Fourteen percent reported routine mask use in public. Anti-RBD and anti-N antibody presence/absence were correlated (95%; Cohen κ=0.908).

    Among 295 reported COVID-confirmed participants, 293 (99%) tested positive for anti-RBD antibodies (≥250 U/mL, 44%; ≥500 U/mL, 27%; ≥1000 U/mL, 15%). A median of 8.7 (IQR, 1.9-12.9; range, 0-20) months passed since reported COVID-19 diagnosis. The median anti-RBD level among those who tested positive was 205 (IQR, 61-535) U/mL. There was no evidence of association between time after infection and antibody titer (0.8% increase [95% CI, –2.4% to 4.2%] per month, P = .62) (Figure).

    Among 275 reported COVID-unconfirmed participants, 152 (55%) tested positive for anti-RBD antibodies (≥250 U/mL, 18%; ≥500 U/mL, 12%; ≥1000 U/mL, 6%). The median level among those who tested positive was 131 (IQR, 35-402) U/mL.

    Among 246 reported no-COVID participants, 11% tested positive for anti-RBD antibodies (≥250 U/mL, 2%; ≥500 U/mL, 2%; ≥1000 U/mL, 2%). The median level among those who tested positive was 82 (IQR, 19-172) U/mL.

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2788894

  96. Questions about Joe Rogan / Neil Young controversy:

    Those under 30 – “Who is Neil Young?”

    Those 30 to 60 – “Is Neil Young still alive?”

    Those over 60 – “What’s Spotify?”

    • I’m over 60 and have a Spotify account and used to have all of Neil Young’s work in my favorites. I still would rather lose Neil, whom I listened to often, than Joe Rogan, whom I’ve only listened to a couple of times (due to controversy). Unlike Neil I never asked what is the color when black is burned so it’s not his intellect that I was fond of.

  97. Who would have thought this individual would be making such statements even a year ago? Is this evidence of a culture shift? Either it is, or he’s going to be fired shortly.

    https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2022/02/04/maher-a-lot-of-covid-misinformation-was-from-the-medical-establishment-they-havent-earned-monopoly-status-on-information/

    • When Bill Maher has had enough of left-controlled flip-flopping technocracy BS there is a small ray of hope for reason. Still, he needed to salute the Trump-Russia collusion narrative and mention the “Big lie” (2020 ballot abuse) pearl clutch. One cannot abandon one’s audience completely while looking to expand it.

      • Bill Maher was a typical Hollywood leftist when he started Politically Incorrect, which was an ironic name for the show. Maher would fill it up with leftists and add one “conservative” who usually wasn’t terribly conservative, and usually wasn’t that smart. Then they would roast that person, with Maher’s sharp wit leading the way.

        There was one delightful episode where the conservative was Ben Stein. I guess they didn’t know that this actor was also an economist and lawyer, and very smart and articulate.

        Stein verbally wiped the floor with all the leftists – they were just unable to respond at all to him. Maher was in shock. It was a delight.

        If Maher has changed his stripes, that would be news to me. But then I don’t watch him. He has been so offensive to conservatives and religious people that we are just not interested in him.

        It does appear that the left has gotten a bit too crazy for Maher, too. But that doesn’t move him from the left, it’s just that the left has moved. And, Maher does sometimes feel the need to be an iconoclast – if nothing else but to satisfy what appears to be an enormous ego.

      • I think there are many, especially older, leftists who also are skeptical of “expert opinion”. In this case expert opinion meaning those experts that the government trots out to provide a veneer of scientific authority to the preferred government policies. My generation and older are generally more skeptical of government imparted wisdom than younger generations seem to be.

        Not sure when we reentered the Ozzie and Harriet era of the government can’t possible be wrong, but that is where we are again. Maher is of a generation that doesn’t share that view.

      • joe the non epidemiologist

        https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7106e1.htm?s_cid=mm7106e1_w

        Throw this piece of crap into the mix as a typical BS study promoted by the experts and the CDC – one of the many crappy studies on Covid from the CDC

      • I’m no expert at evaluating studies, but at a minimum, the confidence intervals are so high as to make one wonder how they can confidently produce their graphic as if it were true.

      • The left views “experts” as a means to power, therefore they either cannot be questioned (Fauci) or absolutely wrong (all nuclear scientists).

        One of the most bizarre is the “fatphobia” movement – still going strong in academia despite being in a pandemic where weight is a risk factor.

        https://publichealth.uic.edu/community-engagement/collaboratory-for-health-justice/addressing-weight-stigma-and-fatphobia-in-public-health/

        And then, of course, there are the experts who insist, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that people born male have no physical advantage in women’s sports. https://www.aclu.org/news/lgbtq-rights/four-myths-about-trans-athletes-debunked/

        What’s this to do with Maher? He’s a competent political observer. When left-leaning “experts” become this unhinged, they are a liability to the goal of winning and holding power. Skip the nuts, win the election. This plays into climate as well- the existential climate crisis is a great election issue as long as you don’t let anyone actually interview the people who want to spend $9 trillion a year paving the world with Chinese solar panels and windmills.

      • And: https://vinayprasadmdmph.substack.com/p/mask-studies-reach-a-new-scientific

        Vinay Prasad finds the same weaknesses. The study seems to be pretty badly flawed, for one that should be of such importance.

    • Bill Maher has been an id10t for more than a year.

  98. Samantha Cooper

    Until I looked at the check which said $5381, I be certain …that my best friend like they say really bringing in money in there spare time from their computer.. there mums best friend started doing this for under 10 months and just now cleared the morgage on their apartment and purchased a new Alfa Romeo.

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  99. Samantha Cooper

    Until I looked at the check which said $5381, I be certain …that my best friend like they say really bringing in money in there spare time from their computer.. there mums best friend started JHg doing this for under 10 months and just now cleared the morgage on their apartment and purchased a new Alfa Romeo.

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  100. Stephen Pruett

    This is an interesting post that raises some questions that could be valid and have not received enough attention. However, I too have some experience and expertise in immunology and microbiology, and I noticed some problems.

    The post contains a link to a new paper
    “New-onset autoimmune phenomena post-COVID-19 vaccination.”

    However, this is nothing more than a meta analysis of studies of pre and post vaccine autoimmune conditions, which could be due to other COVID-19 induced behavioral changes of humans. In addition, there is no effort to quantify the risk of autoimmunity compared to the risk of death or prolonged sequelae due to COVID-19 infection. I suspect that the risk benefit ratio for vaccination is still positive, but I don’t want to make the same mistake as the author and imply that I am certain. I would be willing to bet that any physician who has vaccinated thousands of people, who have not returned to the hospital with COVID-19, and treated hundreds who were not vaccinated who became severely ill or died from COVID-19 would have some choice epithets to express about this analysis.

    The author also stated, “Getting an autoimmune disease from the vaccine is for life and much worse than COVID for most people. One might develop an autoimmune disease from the vaccine years after getting the shot. Every additional shot increases the risk. There is a false sense of security in people going for additional vaccine immunizations.”

    There is absolutely no evidence that every shot increases the risk or that it may take years to develop an autoimmune disease. Obviously, there cannot be real evidence, because the virus only began in 2020. So, the author has allowed his own favored narrative to overrule his analysis of actual data.

    I have no problem with people who point out problems with the vaccines, but they must adhere to objective, quantitative analysis of real data if they want me to believe them.

    • I do not read his autoimmune disease caution as specific to the COVID19 vaccine. I read it as a caution regarding repeated vaccines, especially MRNA vaccines.

      Life is largely about managing risks. Initial vaccination makes sense, but perhaps subsequent ones do not…that is how I read it.

  101. UK-Weather Lass

    This paper outlines ‘the chaos’ within the UK’s PCR testing regime whereby as many as a third of people testing positive were probably not infectious at all. Does the range of cut-off points utilised suggest that people directing this regime knew what they were doing?

  102. UK-Weather Lass

    Let me try again …

    This paper outlines ‘the chaos’ within the UK’s PCR testing regime whereby as many as a third of people testing positive were probably not infectious at all. Does the range of cut-off points utilised suggest that people directing this regime knew what they were doing?

    https://collateralglobal.org/article/pcr-testing-in-the-uk-during-the-sars-cov-2-pandemic/

  103. Updating news on the Wuhan lab leak theory, the former VP of EcoHealth, Dr. Andrew Huff, is going public accusing Peter Daszak of working for the CIA but really for China (as a double agent) in bio-weapons research. It sounds crazy but this guy shared the boardroom with Daszak. Huff asserts that when Daszak approached DARPA with their “Diffuse” proposal to defend against a Chinese release of SARS2 EcoHealth was already working on the proposed research, anticipating the green light. That included added a furin cleavage site and other enhancements to SARS2.

    https://twitter.com/AGHuff/status/1489633037201690626?s=20

  104. Terence J Gore

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34954658/

    low iga response in saliva to vaccine to mrna

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.744887/full

    some mucosal immune response to mrna vaccines but may be of limited duration. but a concern …

    “The unexpected mucosal response in mRNA vaccine recipients raises the concern about which other organs/tissues may be affected and whether such reactions may cause unintended side effects with adverse outcomes. Our study, therefore, highlights the necessity of further studies to determine the distribution of mRNA lipid nanoparticles in humans.”

    • Life insurance companies from India to Indiana are reporting a 40% jump in 2020 of deaths among healthy individuals (not including from Covid), the worst ever recorded. A 10% jump is considered a once in 200-year catastrophe.

      The insurance executive rated the extraordinarily high death rate as “the highest … we have seen in the history of this business,” adding the trend is “consistent across every player in that business.”

      To further underscore the import of his statements, Davison said, “Just to give you an idea of how bad [40%] is, a … one-in-200 [-year] catastrophe would be a 10% increase over pre-pandemic. So 40% is just unheard of.”

      https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/insurance-companies-report-increase-premature-deaths/

      • Correction: I meant in 2021, not 2020, which was before vaccines.

      • Ron –

        That’s impressive. No bar of implausibility is too high for you to get over.

        Meanwhile, in the land of people who actually conduct scientific research.

        https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/1490703191712825345?t=00sexSa8bBP569wZHi6lTA&s=19

      • I say both are plausible, the spike protein of the virus being harmful to health as well as the mRNA artificially created spike proteins. Also, there is likely contribution to deaths from the lagging effect of shutting down non-Covid healthcare in 2020. I can wait for more science to untangle what is causing the deaths.

        BTW, I have a question for you: Is the idea that SARS2 came from secret Chinese gain of function research still a preposterous conspiracy theory? What odds of likelihood do you give it now as compared to 9 months ago?

      • Ron –

        40% increase in excess deaths.

        Ok, you go with a report from an anti-vax (and anti-floride) activist report that someone heard someone say something TOP SECRET! at an insurance company in Indiana. (consider how they determine “non-covid related).

        I’ll go with researchers who do research.

        My views on the “lab leak” theory haven’t changed much from when I told you my views previously. It seems you don’t remember what I said, and instead seek to perhaps mischaracterize view?

      • According to the CDC, 27 million people tested positive for Covid since Dec. 1, over 1 million in New York City alone- which I mention because all the “rules” are strictly enforced there.
        If it’s both, that’s a problem compounded by the fact that vaccinated people caught Covid anyway. In my little circle of friends, I know 14 who popped positive in the last month and a half, including myself. All vaccinated.
        We need to know if we should boost the kids and get a fourth shot. We need to know what, if anything we can do about impending heart problems regardless of how much the infection v the three shots contributed.
        By the way, the VA serves very old as well as very young veterans. The insurance industry is calling out unprecedented death rates in young people- which was not the case in 2020.

      • >
        After adjusting for age, the number of excess deaths among Black, American Indian/Alaska Native and Latino men and women were more than double those in white and Asian men and women.

        Clearly attributable to the differential in vaccination rate..

        Oh. Wait.

      • Joshua, besides your claim that “No bar of implausibility is too high” for me I don’t see you making any point or providing any usable information. Pointing to a tweet about post Covid disorders does not refute a claim that 2021 saw record setting excess deaths.

        But the AP fact checkers assured us that this was disinformation, so I guess you can rest easy. They defer to the CDC who said that Covid related factors not related to the vaccines contributed to the extraordinary excess deaths seen in the 4th quarter. There is no need to study the issue. Move along.

        https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-692312045885

      • Talking about the power of CDC assurances, emails pried out of the NIAID last month showed that after a meeting with Fauci and Collins the top virologists went from seeing the SARS2 virus as 60-70% chance the product of lab manipulation to writing a letter calling a lab leak a conspiracy theory.

        All government science is becoming more and more like climate science. There was no Faucigate news blast when these came out. You probably are hearing of it here first. We are conditioned for it now.

        https://denvergazette.com/news/fauci-shut-down-lab-leak-theory-despite-scientists-lending-it-credence-emails-show/article_908df8b6-2161-5b7e-b7ed-003be942e341.html

      • Ron –

        The clear implication of the article you linked – an article from an anti-vax (and anti-floride) activist organization – was that vaxes caused the spike in deaths, as opposed to covid.

        You added on to that line of reasoning.

        Do you think it’s plausible that there’s a 40% increase in deaths due to vaccines? Or even anything approaching that number?

        Maybe you do. That’s your right.

        I see no particular reason to engage with facile reasoning beyond a cursory level. There would be no point. If you don’t see the direct relevance of the article I linked to the facile reasoning in the article you linked, that’s fine. No biggie.

      • Remember, the 35% chance against them from concluding they were looking at an engineered virus was their knowledge that the NIH was funding the the friendly and trusted Pasteur Institute built BSL4 Wuhan lab. They were naïve to the huge evidence of the CCP coverup. They had no idea that the WIV had been keeping secret a discovery of bat to human direct transmission of a deadly SARS strain in an abandoned southern China copper mine in 2012. They were not aware that the paper that published the visit to this site by the WIV was a cover for five or six huge expeditions bringing back eventually 9 different novel SARS viruses. The partial RNA of one of them, being the only one published, happened to be the closest match to SARS2. When asked for a sample of that virus the WIV said it was destroyed in 2018 after sequencing for the first and only time. When asked about the other 8 viruses there is no reply. When asked about visiting the abandoned copper mine, (now guarded by Chinese sentries 24/7,) there is only a glare.

      • “Do you think it’s plausible that there’s a 40% increase in deaths due to vaccines? Or even anything approaching that number?”

        If a 10% increase is a once in 200-year event I am concerned if the vaccines caused even 2% of that 40%. What is your thinking?

      • Ron –

        > If a 10% increase is a once in 200-year event I am concerned if the vaccines caused even 2% of that 40%. What is your thinking?

        My thinking is that of course, vaccines are likely to cause some measure of morbidity and mortality. No one that I know of even remotely disputes that.

        My thinking is also that throughout the pandemic I’ve seen many, many anti-vax activists, (1) present misleading arguments that exaggerate the degree of morbidity and mortality likely caused by vaccines and, (2) more specifically, present very misleading arguments about the amount of morbidity and mortality likely prevented by the vaccines compared to the morbidity and mortality likely caused by the vaccines.

        The article you linked was a perfect example of those phenomena.

        Of course, my conclusions in that regard are subject to change if I see solid arguments presented that my current view is wrong. But cr*p like the article you linked doesn’t cut the mustard.

      • Ron –

        I notice you didn’t answer my question.

        The article you linked to spoke of a 40% increase in deaths that were “non-Covid deaths.” It quite clearly pointed to vaccines as “prime suspects” for such a massive increase in excess deaths.

        Your add-on comments seemed to be supportive of the basic thread in the article, attributing such a large number of excess deaths to the vaccines.

        Do you think it’s plausible that the vaccines caused a 40% increase in the rate of deaths, or even a number close to that number?

      • “Clearly attributable to the differential in vaccination rate..

        Oh. Wait.”

        You do know that, per the CDC, the demos with the lowest vaccination rate are Black people and young people, right?
        As late as July of last year, researchers found almost half (48%) of the homeless population in Los Angeles told researcher they wouldn’t get vaccinated. There are just under 70,000 homeless in LA alone. Seattle reports vaccination rates of homeless is as low as 30%. What percent of the LA and Seattle homeless do you think are conservative evangelical Christian Trump supporters?

        Instead of honesty, the mainstream media was positively giddy about the coming “red wave of Covid.”
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/17/red-covid-wave-is-here/
        But then New York lost 7,900 people in December and January to Covid and Florida 4,500. Vaccine booster and child jab hesitancy now is thanks to this sort of nonsense. When you’re consistently, gleefully, dead wrong, people notice.
        People who middle America knows personally and who were vaccinated and masked caught Covid anyway in December and January. They caught it at the same rate whether they were partisan at all, liberal or conservative, or whether they lived in a state with mandates or not. For the liberals in restricted states it was a shock – CNN and their governor said this wouldn’t happen. If you want to know why New Jersey is lifting their mask mandate, read early December Washington Post and New York Times articles instead of old Joe Rogan podcasts. They did more to cause distrust than anything Rogan said.

        I am vaccinated, my kids are vaccinated. Information without bias needs to happen. Re-establish trust.

      • Jeff –

        > You do know that, per the CDC, the demos with the lowest vaccination rate are Black people and young people, right?

        So you’re saying that the largest increase in death rate was among those with the lowest vax rate?

        Yes. That was my point. Congrats for getting it and thanks for underlining it.

      • I think vaccination helps people survive Covid. That’s why I’m vaccinated.
        I think it’s reasonable to ponder whether populations that have an almost non-existent level of poor outcomes with Covid must be vaccinated. My kids are vaccinated because we thought it would reduce spread. It didn’t. At all.
        I think the gross politicization of covid policies (and the attendant contradictions) caused unnecessary problems. We literally have blue states (like California) announcing the lifting of restrictions just days after the entire MSM attacked “DeathSantis” of Florida for doing it. Good luck explaining that.
        After tying their entire political identity to vaccine and mask mandates, the blue party better be praying to whatever god they follow that there aren’t any long term health issues from the vaccine for children. Or that they can’t solidify any of the obvious problems masking introduced to kids. And firmly grasp that it won’t do to avoid examining these questions just to preserve the narrative that currently lies in ruins.
        I actually have a small amount of sympathy for Trudeau, he’s in a tough spot. His own tribe simply won’t allow him to embrace reality and, therefore, lead. So he’s stuck babbling the complete nonsense that the left thinks protests are “undemocratic” (BLM on line 2) and the mandates that science is no longer recommending must be followed “or else!”

      • > I think it’s reasonable to ponder whether populations that have an almost non-existent level of poor outcomes with Covid must be vaccinated. My kids are vaccinated because we thought it would reduce spread. It didn’t. At all.

        Typical. You appeal to reasonableness. Yes, it’s reasonable to consider the context specific cost/benefit ratio. That’s why someone mainstream like Offit said he’d recommend his 20ish kid not boost.

        But then you mix in nonsense like vaxes didn’t reduce spread “at all.”

        There’s still uncertainty in the data but there’s much evidence that the vaxes reduced spread for delta and even omicron, although less so.

        You just hand leave away all those data as if they don’t exist, because above all costs you need to play partisan games.

        Sad.

      • “So you’re saying that the largest increase in death rate was among those with the lowest vax rate?”

        Even if that is the case I would like to see a study of excess death rate broken between vacced, unvacced, infected (seroconverted) and non-infected. Do you think Fauci wants that study? More importantly, if you were an investigator whose career depended on Fauci approved grants would Fauci’s known bias affect your setup or analysis of such a study?

        Politicized science takes root naturally in politicized bureaucracies. When it comes to public health politicization millions might suffer to spare one powerful person embarrassment.

        Joshua, I agree that there are far out anti-vaxxer alarmist, far out anti-GMO food alarmists, far out anti-abortion radicals and so on. This does not mean that anyone with concerns about a vaccine, a overly processed food or selling of baby organs is a radical. It does mean that alarming news about puppy experiments is likely going to come from an animal rights activist. They are the most concerned with the issue. If that makes sense then automatically dismissing information is unwise, although skepticism is always warranted. Wait for proofs. I hope we can part agreeing on this one.

      • Joshua, when you say Dr. Paul Offit is mainstream I agree. He is the single most prominent proponent of vaccines per se and self-appointed slayer of anti-vaxxers. I would love to see him debate RFK Jr.
        Joe Rogan could moderate.

        Offit has been quoted that childhood vaccines are so safe that one could give a 1000 vaccines to a toddler. BTW, just about that time Japan and other western countries that were following the US decided to step down on their children’s vaccine schedule. Hmmm.

        Late last July Offit blamed the Delta variant on slow uptake of vaccination in the US. He openly led the charge for vaccine mandates, cheered for getting the child Covid vaccine testing out of the way so it could be approved and mandated. He also called for school mask mandate continuation and closings as necessary. Vaccine harm to children was the last concern on his mind. I wonder what changed it?

        https://6abc.com/childrens-hospital-of-philadelphia-vaccine-expert-mask-mandates-covid-19-delta-variant/10914098/

        https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/population-care/paul-offit-md-talks-about-vaccine-authorization-kids

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        Ron Graf | February 8, 2022 at 3:21 pm | ron’s response to another comment –
        “So you’re saying that the largest increase in death rate was among those with the lowest vax rate?”

        During the second major wave (Nov 2020-Jan2021) the US death rate was approx .95-1.1 a day per 100k. That was a period in which effective vaxed population was close to zero.
        During the third major wave, (Nov2021-Jan2022) the US Average death rate for the Unvaxed was approximate 3.5-4.5 per day. where as the US average death rate for the vaxed and unvaxed was approximately .75 a day per 100k. I agree that vaccines reduce the severity of covid illness and reduce the incidences of death,.

        It is also unlikely that the death rate for the unvaxed would jump 3x-4x (note that I am comparing the Unvaxed death rate during the peak of the second major wave with the unvaxed death rate during the peak of the 3rd major wave. )

      • 27 million people caught covid in the US in December and January. Over 1 million in locked-down, masked, and mandated New York City.

        The highest spread of Covid to date in the US happened at the point of the highest level of vaccination in the US. But sure, Josh says the data says those vaccines stopped the virus cold.

        I’ll put it to you another way- if you don’t, personally, know at least 6 triple-vaccinated people who caught covid in the last two months, you’re anti-social.

        Data. Deal with it.

        Que the new argument that the vaccine stopped “Covid” but not covid-covid- you know, the covid that’s everywhere. Of course it didn’t stop that covid, because it was busy with the old covid. You can’t expect a vaccine to stop a virus it’s intended to stop.

        This is the sort of nonsense that is suddenly stopping (creating some fun whiplash). In my state, Virginia, the entire Democrat Party was all-in, just a few days ago, attacking the new governor for ordering an end to mask mandates. Today, the state Senate was asked to vote to make masks optional (ie put into law what our “authoritarian” governor ordered. Democrats control that body, so slam-dunk right?
        The vote was 29-9 to end the mask mandate. Not even close. The guy who put the question up for a vote is a Democrat. The party was literally tweeting out their vow to sue in court for masks forever when their entire leadership bailed on them.

        The science is real (and isn’t in your favor), the internal polls must be epic, you are a day late to your talking points.

      • “I’ll put it to you another way- if you don’t, personally, know at least 6 triple-vaccinated people who caught covid in the last two months, you’re anti-social.”

        Not anti-social. The people I know who caught it in the last two months were not vaxxed. I think being triple vaxxed is associated with more careful behavior.

        “Que the new argument that the vaccine stopped “Covid” but not covid-covid- you know, the covid that’s everywhere. Of course it didn’t stop that covid, because it was busy with the old covid. You can’t expect a vaccine to stop a virus it’s intended to stop. ”

        That’s just nonsense. This vaccine works pretty well with the new version (Omicron). It does’t work as well as with the original strain, but the mRNA vaccines against Omicron are better than some other vaccines against the original.

        But… there is a germ of truth in. what you say. The vaccine effectiveness against transmission (VET) is quite a bit lower than the published VE, which measured effectiveness against infection. But the VET is still a lot better than no vaccine at all.

        However, with the R0 of Delta, Omicron and especially Omicron BA.2, the VET is not enough to stop it. So it is being stopped by a combination of infected people (and there’s a high cost to that), and non-vaccine interventions – masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, etc.

        With a virus that is caught and spread through the mucous membranes, primarily of the nose and lungs, an intramuscular vaccine is not ideal. A nasal spray or equivalent would probably work better against transmission, by enhancing mucosal IgA a lot better. How long that protection would last? Who knows, but it would very likely last as long as immunity from infection. There is a heck of a lot of breakthrough Omicron infections in previously infected people.

      • Jeff –

        > I’ll put it to you another way- if you don’t, personally, know at least 6 triple-vaccinated people who caught covid in the last two months, you’re anti-social.

        You’re failing basic logic. Spectacularly.

        You can have a much higher rate of spread concurrent with the vaccines reducing the spread significantly.

        Look up base rate fallacy. Look up Simpson’s paradox. My god, man, we’re two years on and you don’t understand the most basic logic related to the pandemic.

      • meso –

        > The vaccine effectiveness against transmission (VET) is quite a bit lower than the published VE, which measured effectiveness against infection. But the VET is still a lot better than no vaccine at all.

        I assume you know this, but there is (some) evidence that the MRNA vaxes (somewhat) reduce chances of infection as well as transmission, for omicron as well as the earlier variants, although less so for omicron

        As I’m sure you know, the data aren’t as clear as we might like – but the context is complicated and fast moving with a lot of relevant variables (time since the vax, behavior variables, background rates of spread, changes on variants, etc.).

      • “I assume you know this, but there is (some) evidence that the MRNA vaxes (somewhat) reduce chances of infection as well as transmission, for omicron as well as the earlier variants, although less so for omicron”

        Yes, I am aware of that. They just don’t do it as well as a hypothetical nasal spray probably would do, but my reading says the evidence is pretty decent for that.

        But I do think the public health establishment has been dishonest about this. All we heard about was the very high VE, never the VET, which is the value you care about for lowering Rt. So a vaccine that was incapable of stopping the epidemic on it’s own (do the math on the R0 and VET) was pushed to stop the epidemic as if it was magic.

        And, not enough attention was given, nor money allocated, to other critical measures:

        !) Indoor air quality (ignored by the ID establishment for the most part, since they refused to acknowledge it was an aerosol spread disease, an early on). It took concerted work over almost two years by outsiders (accused of epistemic trespass, of course) to get the aerosol spread accepted, even though it was obvious by March 2020. There have been a number of articles on this screwup, such as this one (pdf): https://deliverypdf.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=983074096009087108020074006110001073019078004010056064085119118127006110102099076031052054028009107063023084080099009088014083119006064001081078069101030111086005068066000066013029123029126106021002097067116068078003001127003113126024071107002009122123&EXT=pdf&INDEX=TRUE

        2) The failure to recognize the obvious:a lot of the spread was by asymptomatic or more often, presymptomatic individuals);

        3) The failure to have high volume, rapid turn around testing as soon as possible, plus widespread, free instant tests. Initially I assume that failure was due to the belief that it was only spread by the symptomatic, but it’s two years later, and come on folks… this is a big failure. And CDC and FDA made it even worse early on: CDC required all tests to be done in their lab, then later provided the tests to others but with a contaminated control, while FDA ordered labs that had produced tests to destroy them, and then when it decided to allow outside labs to do it, use insane bureaucracy to slow it down, such as requiring submission on CDROM rather than via the Internet.

        4) Early government support for therapeutics. An Operation Warp Speed for those would almost certainly have, for example, prevented the production bottleneck for the very important Paxlovid, by incentivizing the early creation of production capacity by guarantees of payment – as it did so well for the very hard to produce mRNA vaccines [it’s easy to change the mRNA, but the micro lipid technology requires highly specialized new technology].

        5) An early push for a mucosal vaccine. I don’t know why that wasn’t done – perhaps there are scientific issues there I don’t understand, or perhaps it’s a fear of them due to a past failure with one (don’t remember which).

        Overall, the public health establishment exhibited the worst behaviors of bureaucracy, which is one reason that they engendered the bizarre reactionary movement we now see – one where Trump, at his own rally, was booed more than once for saying he had gotten a booster and then urging his audience to.

      • Joshua

        I haven’t followed the COVID19 debate in over a year. Has there been discussion between low vaccination rates and low per capita deaths per capita in Sub Sahara Africa. I just saw a couple of maps showing the correlation pretty high. Just curious. If it’s been a topic of discussion then I don’t have anything new.

      • Kid –

        I’m certainly no expert, but…

        It’s absolutely been a topic of discussion. In particular it’s been raised often by those arguing that the vaccines aren’t efficacious. One obvious factor is the low average age, what with age stratification being the single strongest correlate with COVID outcomes. But from what I’ve seen that single variable doesn’t suffice for a compete explanation.

        There seem to be many confounding factors. Underreporting, climate, lack of access to healthcare, exposure to bats, running in different directions (lack of healthcare could cause more deaths or result in underreporting, for example).

        I think the outcomes in Africa go a long way towards making it clear just how much uncertainty there is, and how difficult it is to make any conclusions about causality across different contexts and variables.

      • Joshua

        I agree with all you said about the uncertainties. That is why I haven’t weighed in. It might be years before anything definitive is known and maybe even then there will be questions. I remember following Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos through much of 2020 amazed at how long before they had significant deaths and now, for Vietnam at least, they seem to have been affected like everyone else.

        I found these maps and thought they were interesting. Someone highlighted the specific vaccination rates for a few countries and they were extremely low, as are the per capita death rates. Doesn’t necessarily prove anything except interesting at this point.

        https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/biweekly-covid-deaths-per-million-people

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FLGurZxX0AE8FWZ?format=png&name=small

      • Kid –

        Sorting by deaths per capita at worldometers, it seems unlikely to me that there’s much to tease out – except maybe regional patterns.

        That’s just a deceptively simplistic pattern-seeking exercise – but it does seem striking that even though recently Vietnam et al. did get hit harder than they had been hit previously, there are no major countries in Asia that are about @130 on the list.

        It will be interesting to see what explanations come out in the end. This push to figure things out mid-process has left a lot of overly confident people with egg on their faces – Nic Lewis and Ioannidis are not alone in that.

      • The reporting of death statistics varies wildly among countries, either due to poor public health infrastructure or secrecy. The excess non-Covid attributed mortality in the US is at least as high as from Covid. And, in the US there is a large bias for hospitals to report deaths of people with Covid as deaths from Covid. In India the excess deaths may be 10X higher than reported deaths. In Africa it is the same. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00104-8

        I agree with Joshua here that there are so many confounding variables it will take some time to study. But there are some fortunate circumstances: the seasonal flu and colds are way down they do not confound the Covid deaths. Also, being a worldwide disease gives big data matrixes to tease out each factor of influence. The huge political question is what percentage of excess deaths were caused from societal disruption from policies designed to prevent deaths, and also if vaccines caused significant harm to those that were not at risk from the virus and did little to protect against transmission. I am hoping RFK Jr. is wrong because it would undermine the public trust and societal function but my mind is open as the debate evolves. The truth is the only gold standard.

        The best link to hear the up to date science opposing the US and western health establishment’s response to Covid is this 5.5hr hearing hosted last month by senator Ron Johnson, called COVID-19: A Second Opinion.

  105. Terence J Gore

    A new vaccine in the making that is able to evoke long term t cd8+ immunity. I don’t understand much about the mechanism.. It sounds like they are modifying a part of the HIV virus that is in put into an exosome that can travel through the body and taken up by antigen presenting cells. There is another paper suggesting in mice they are able to stimulate upper airway long term protection

    On the other hand, both experimental and clinical evidence supported the idea that a SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell immunity can be instrumental to mitigate the symptoms related to the viral spread in both upper and lower airways [15,16]. Data from experimental infections in rhesus macaques indicated that the virus-specific CD8+ T cell immunity is critical to protect the animals from virus re-challenge after the rapid decay of neutralizing antibodies [17]. Consistently, the induction of antiviral CD8+ T cells was associated with a strongly reduced severity of the disease in humans [18]. Furthermore, the demonstrated ability of SARS-CoV-2 to spread through cell-to-cell contact [19] implies the need to induce a robust cellular immunity to contain and clear the virus. In this context, the development of novel preventive strategies focused on the induction of anti-SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T cell immunity should be pursued.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8068889/

    other paper not sure about link viability

    https://www.academia.edu/70120834/Simultaneous_CD8_T_Cell_Immune_Response_against_SARS_Cov_2_S_M_and_N_Induced_by_Endogenously_Engineered_Extracellular_Vesicles_in_Both_Spleen_and_Lungs?pop_sutd=false

    title and author

    Simultaneous CD8+ T-Cell Immune Response against SARS-Cov-2 S, M, and N Induced by Endogenously Engineered Extracellular Vesicles in Both Spleen and Lungs

    Maurizio Federico

    • As I understand it, the current vaccines induce CD8+ T-Cell response also. They do not just create short term circulating antibodies, but also prime the cellular immune system. Interestingly, the latter broadens the scope of its targets with time after vaccination.

      I don’t know if the paper you cite is aimed at improving the T-cell response or is just an alternative way to deliver a vaccine.

      • You might find this interesting:

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00214-3

      • “You might find this interesting:”

        Yeah, saw that not long ago, but different memorize it. The immune system is complex enough that I just stick with the basics. It has long term memory (SARS-CoV cellular immunity exists still, with last cases 17 or 18 years ago). However, in older people, the cellular immunity doesn’t work as well, which is a concern and a reason, I think, that Israel went for a four shot series for them.

      • I read Josh’s link earlier, it is interesting. My only quibble is the claim at times in the article that we are learning so much new from COVID, much of what it describes has been known for years/decades. For example, it never made sense to believe that a one and done vaccine would likely be developed for a coronavirus. We should have known this 2 years ago. I suspect many did know it and where just afraid to speak out. Some did speak out and where ignored.

        Regarding Meso’s comment: I don’t believe it is possible to stimulate antibody production without T-cell and B-cell production. The latter produce the former.

      • Terence J Gore

        The big difference that I noted is the new vaccine created cd8+ t cell immunity not only in the spleen (systemic immunity in the serum) but upper airway (mucosal immunity)in lung

  106. Ron –

    > The excess non-Covid attributed mortality in the US is at least as high as from Covid.

    Please provide a source for this, that gives a meaningful description of how they determine “non-covid” deaths.

    > The huge political question is what percentage of excess deaths were caused from societal disruption from policies designed to prevent deaths,

    Disaggregating causality from the pandemic and causality from measures to mitigate the pandemic is incredibly complicated. Unfortunately, I’ve seen. I one actually attempt to do that. Instead, they just treat that problem as ammunition to push a political agenda

    • CDC data shows that the US has had excess deaths even when not considering COVID deaths. That said, those excess deaths are no where near as high as deaths from COVID have been.

      https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm#dashboard

      Select the with and without COVID data. Obviously, the data is based upon what appears on death certificates.

      • The WaPo today is highlighting the CDC data that show excess deaths not related to Covid are only ~20% of the increase in excess deaths of 2020 and 2021 (~1.1 million) over 2019 baseline. The article slices the statistics by race and state but not by age. The big question is how many excess death not related to Covid were young people? They cite that 74% of the deaths from Covid were 65 or over. I am thinking it is a larger percentage than that even.

        The better question for policy is how many excess life-years were lost. A person that only had 2 years left in 2019 conditions that died in 2020 lost 1 life-year. A 20-year-old athlete that died in 2021 lost perhaps 70 years.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/02/15/1-million-excess-deaths-in-pandemic/

      • Interesting that you make no mention of pre-vax excess deaths whereas you recently posted an article on ex was deaths with comments focused on that issue.

        What changed your focus?

      • “What changed your focus?”

        Think about it. The life insurance companies said 2021 was a once in a 200-year event. They said nothing about 2020. How does this jibe with the CDC numbers? The most reasonable answer is the more younger people died unexpectedly in 2021. And, of course, that is were the life insurers would take a beating.

        I admit I do not know this is the case but my suspicion is that 2021 saw a shift in the average age of death. Do I trust the CDC to have highlighted that particular development, if it indeed occurred, considering the implications for the vaccine? No.

        Do you?

      • Ron –

        I don’t “trust” or not “trust” the CDC. So I don’t think that they report all the relevant data perfectly just as I don’t assume that they skew the data for any particular purpose.

        Meanwhile, anyway, I think it’s interesting that ii were so focused on a take on the data that would imply massive deaths caused by the vaxes and suddenly aren’t interested in another slide of the data that would be inconsistent with your precious focus (and throw out baseless arguments that ignore a variety of reasons why 2021 deaths could skew younger).

        Prolly just all a coincidence.

  107. Results

    Of 3418 participants, 40% were followed for ≥3 years. A total of 1004 HCoV infections were documented; 303 (30%) were reinfections of any HCoV type. The number of HCoV infections ranged from 1 to 13 per individual. The mean time to reinfection with the same type was estimated at 983 days for 229E, 578 days for HKU1, 615 days for OC43, and 711 days for NL63. Binding antibody levels to seasonal HCoVs were high, with little increase postinfection, and were maintained over time. Homologous, preinfection antibody levels did not significantly correlate with odds of infection, and there was little cross-response to SARS-CoV-2 proteins.
    Conclusions

    Reinfection with seasonal HCoVs is frequent. Binding anti-spike protein antibodies do not correlate with protection from seasonal HCoV infection.

    https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/224/1/49/6184123

  108. We estimated a duration of immunity to seasonal HCoVs of 7.8 y (95% CI 6.3 to 8.1) and show that, while cross-protection between HCoV and SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to the age distribution, it is insufficient to explain the age pattern of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the first wave of the pandemic in England and Wales. Projections from our model illustrate how different strengths of cross-protection between circulating coronaviruses could determine the frequency and magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 epidemics over the coming decade, as well as the potential impact of cross-protection on future seasonal coronavirus transmission.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/118/49/e2108395118

  109. Petrie and colleagues used data from the Household Influenza Vaccine Evaluation, or HIVE, from 2010 to 2018, which included 3,418 individuals. Researchers identified 1,004 seasonal coronavirus infections. Of those, 30% were reinfections and 5% were coinfections with more than one type of coronavirus at the same time. Of the reinfections, 27% occurred within a year of the original infection—a relatively short period given their seasonality.

    https://sph.umich.edu/news/2021posts/frequent-seasonal-coronavirus-reinfections-hint-at-covid-19-endemic.html

  110. The most striking result in both groups was that the levels of antibodies against all tested coronaviruses, including the new SARS-CoV-2 showed a highly significant correlation with each other. There seems to be an individual predisposition to a weaker or stronger humoral immune response against all known seasonal human coronaviruses including the new SARS-CoV-2, which could lead to a definition of low and high responders against human coronaviruses with potential impact on the assessment of postinfection antibody levels and protection.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34716706/

  111. With the measurement of different antibody isotypes and subclasses against the sCoV antigens, Galipeau and his colleagues demonstrated that pre-pandemic samples exhibit immunoreactivity to SARS-CoV-2 protein/antigens. Although there was no direct association between the titer of sCoV antibodies and neutralization, there was a significant predictive correlation between neutralization of S binding and the relative ratios of the different sCoV antibodies, with NL63 and OC43 being the most weighted for this prediction. These findings provide credence to the hypothesis that latent factors linked with sCoV exposure have a predictive and protective role against SARS-CoV-2 and potentially impact the disease severity. Further, using machine learning procedures, the authors demonstrated that the neutralizing ability of these antibodies to block RBD/ACE2 binding depends on relative ratios of IgGs directed to all four sCoV spike antigens. The strength of this study stems from including a large sample size and extensively characterizing the cross-reactive humoral immune response by covering all SARS-CoV-2 and the four sCoVs structural proteins using different serological assays.
    The findings of Galipeau et al. study are three-fold; First, it is not the absolute levels of sCoVs antibodies that are predictive of neutralization but rather the relative ratios to all sCoVs. Second, it is the first study to demonstrate a functional relationship between prior exposure to sCoVs and neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD by cross-reactive antibodies. Third, the ability to accurately predict which individuals can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 spike-ACE2 interactions using in silico methods such as Machine Learning. It is worth noting that preexisting memory T cells induced by sCoVs can shape susceptibility to and the clinical severity of SARS-CoV-2.8
    Therefore, together with preexisting B-cell and T-cell memory, the relative ratios of all antibodies against sCoVs may substantially reduce viral transmission and mitigate the severity of the symptoms. Nevertheless, it is essential to determine the extent, positive or negative, to which the humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 contributes to virus-induced immunopathogenesis.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/ebiom/article/PIIS2352-3964(22)00015-9/fulltext

  112. Pre-proof paper …

    During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, novel and traditional vaccine strategies have been deployed globally. We investigated whether antibodies stimulated by mRNA vaccination (BNT162b2), including 3rd dose boosting, differ from those generated by infection or adenoviral (ChAdOx1-S37
    and Gam-COVID-Vac) or inactivated viral (BBIBP-CorV) vaccines. We analyzed human lymph nodes after infection or mRNA vaccination for correlates of serological differences. Antibody breadth against viral variants is less after infection compared to all vaccines evaluated, but improves over several months. Viral variant infection elicits variant-specific antibodies, but prior mRNA vaccination imprints serological responses toward Wuhan-Hu-1 rather than variant antigens. In contrast to disrupted germinal centers (GCs) in lymph nodes during infection, mRNA vaccination stimulates robust GCs containing vaccine mRNA and spike antigen up to 8 weeks post-vaccination in some cases. SARS-CoV-2 antibody specificity, breadth and maturation are affected by imprinting from exposure history, and distinct histological and
    antigenic contexts in infection compared to vaccination.

  113. There is no way governments, societies, or individuals can stop COVID.

    https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/hong-kong/

    • With the relatively low rate of vaccination there among the elderly, I hope the theories about the mildness of omicron pan out.

      • Joshua, from the Ron Johnson hearing Hr – 2:58 the original Covid is gone for good and all variants will now follow from Omicron, which is an upper respiratory infection, much less deadly than the lung capillary clotting SARS classic. So the pandemic is winding down and humanity will have one more seasonal coronavirus cold to handle — until we prove to we have figured out a safe and effective vaccines.

        If I had known this in December I would not have gotten the booster. And I am glad I recommended against it to my employees for themselves and for their children.

      • “all variants will now follow from Omicro”

        The experts I follow – virologists – say nonsense to this. Furthermore, even an Omicron variant could just as easily be more deadly than less. There is nothing in the selection pressure that is thought to select for virulence, just transmission efficiency in the conditions where it evolves.

      • Joshua, do you know any children under 5 who you would like to see get the Pfizer shot when it rolls out for them in two weeks?

      • Ron

        > Joshua, from the Ron Johnson hearing Hr – 2:58 the original Covid is gone for good and all variants will now follow from Omicron, which is an upper respiratory infection, much less deadly than the lung capillary clotting SARS classic.

        No offense, but I’m going to go with pwolw who actually know what Whyte talking about, not some people who do some Googling and think they’re virologists. Backwards engineering from population and observational epidemiology is useful but insufficient and lab-based science leaves much uncertainty about omicron.

        For example ans more specifically with reference to your home grown expertise, omicron didn’t come from delta and until I see otherwose from someone who actually conducts rewarch and who points to empirical science, I’ll assume there’s no reason to think other new variants won’t come from further up the evolutionary tree.

      • And Ron –

        I’ve asked you a question that remains unanswered. It suggests bad faith for you to then ask me questions.

      • It’s interesting that after so many examples of people making wrong predictions about Covid, Google jockeys nonetheless think they’re in a position to still be making categorical statements about what’s going to happen next.

      • Funny, you didn’t answer my question directly. Am I wrong to assume from your stance of sticking with the Fauci and Dem controlled public health establishment that you are a proponent of vaccinating babies with the Pfizer shot and the Moderna if it also gets the nod?

        Here is an article today on Dem controlled health establishment edicts and big tech enforcement of them: https://amgreatness.com/2022/02/05/time-is-running-out-for-the-covid-coverups/

        If Ivermectin and HCQ are even partially effective treatments, especially as early out-patient therapies, we will be debating how many people died at the Dem’s authoritarian hands.

        Meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 have found large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance. Furthermore, results from numerous controlled prophylaxis trials report significantly reduced risks of contracting COVID-19 with the regular use of ivermectin. Finally, the many examples of ivermectin distribution campaigns leading to rapid population-wide decreases in morbidity and mortality indicate that an oral agent effective in all phases of COVID-19 has been identified.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8088823/

      • Joshua, my reply, now in moderation, was before I saw your follow up of why you did not answer my question on your opinion about young children, toddler and even babies getting the jab. I don’t know what bad faith of mine prevents you from expressing your opinion based on your education to date on the vaccines. I post links to most of my sources. Regarding excess deaths, I agreed that we must wait and see how the data is disentangled. Also, I think we both agree that economic disruption has some mortality costs as well as mandated experimental injections.

      • Joshua, you acknowledged that Dr. Paul Offit of U.Penn is the mainstream voice of authority on vaccines. He was unafraid to go on the record on his opinion.

        Unger [the interviewer]: Well, one of the tools that we’ve been seeing out there that has increased vaccination rates are our vaccine mandates. You’ve been a vocal person about mandates as being a way that we can push that vaccination rate forward. Do you think that the COVID vaccine should join the list of immunizations that are mandated by schools?

        Dr. Offit: Yes. Does this virus fall into the same category as other viruses for which we have mandates? Of course. Right now, we’re in the midst of a massive pandemic. More than 700 children have died. Yes. In a better world, you shouldn’t need mandates. In a better world, parents look at the data and get this vaccine every time [but masses are untrustworthy]. We don’t live in that world [we need centralized authority backed with force], there’s a lot of misinformation [unless we can completely shut down dissenting doctors and scientists] out there that causes parents to make bad decisions for themselves and their children [like thinking there is any risk to vaccination]. And so sometimes you just have to compel [“compel” needs some definition] people to do the right thing by mandating a vaccine.

        [my inserts]

      • Ron –

        > I don’t know what bad faith of mine prevents you from expressing your opinion based on your education to date on the vaccines.

        Please pay attention. I didn’t say anything “prevented” me from responding.
        >

      • Ron –

        > I post links to most of my source

        Indeed. Like a publication from an ridiculous source that referenced an inane analysis.

      • And Ron –

        I love that you insert your thoughts into his words. Nothing better outlines your approach to engagement.

      • I believe it was deduced from the nature of Omicron mutations that the likely scenario is that one of the very early variants jumped to mice, then much later jumped back to humans. Omicron spikes are fitted to mouse ACE2 targets. Not absolute proof, but suggestive of what might have happened.

      • > There’s no transparent path of transmission linking Omicron to its predecessors

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00215-2

      • Meso: “…an Omicron variant could just as easily be more deadly than less. There is nothing in the selection pressure that is thought to select for virulence, just transmission efficiency in the conditions where it evolves.”

        I totally agree, as do those that say Omicron variants will be what dominate until the next major recombinational mutation or zoonotic crossover. This is also true for the flu and cold viruses. The assertion of the doctors that I should have made clear is that we are in a much different position after Omicron than before. At this point nothing is stopping a crossover bird flu or a legacy cov turning deadly more than turning a future variant of Omicron to be more deadly. It’s just that it is now a once in a hundred-year event again.

        The only caveat to this is if a pre-Omicron Cov is able to mutate to something more contagious and resistant to the vaccines before it becomes extinct, likely in this year.

        But if you are following credible virologists and they are saying something different. Put their quotes on the chopping block and see how they stand up to time. My idea of good faith is different from Joshua’s whereas I believe in staking predictive claims and not just ankle biting.

      • “At this point nothing is stopping a crossover bird flu or a legacy cov turning deadly more than turning a future variant of Omicron to be more deadly. It’s just that it is now a once in a hundred-year event again.”

        Not true, and the reason is that there is a huge amount of Omicron circulating, and it is already deadlier than flu or Wuhan CoV.While the IFR is now about 2X influenza, that’s because of acquired immunity and better treatments.

        Because there is no known selection pressure against increased deadliness, it’s a coin toss with Omicron whether it’s next major variant turns more or less deadly.

        Furthermore, there is other SARS-CoV-2 still out there. One of the more popular theories is that some major shifts have taken place over time with one infection persisting in an immune suppressed individual, perhaps someone with HIV.

        “The only caveat to this is if a pre-Omicron Cov is able to mutate to something more contagious and resistant to the vaccines before it becomes extinct, likely in this year.”

        That is another possibility, considered pretty likely by one of my favorite virologists.

      • “Because there is no known selection pressure against increased deadliness, it’s a coin toss with Omicron whether it’s next major variant turns more or less deadly.”

        The selection pressure is to infect the URT. A “side effect” is decreased deadliness. Isn’t this a likely reason respiratory infections have evolved to be mild colds for millenia?

      • You have not shown that an increased ability to infect the URT means the disease will be milder. I hope you are right. None of my experts are commenting on that.

      • I think i have. A sore throat or sinus involvement is less deadly than pneumonia.

      • There are thousands a day in the US dying of Omicron. “Mild” is not a correct term. The fact that it doesn’t go for lung tissue doesn’t change the fact that the viremia, if not adequately controlled by the immune system, leads to cytokine storms. Primary COVID pneumonia was just one cause of death in this pandemic, not the only or even primary cause.

  114. Furthermore, mutations in the Omicron spike protein significantly overlapped with SARS-CoV-2 mutations known to promote adaptation to mouse hosts, particularly through enhanced spike protein binding affinity for the mouse cell entry receptor. Collectively, our results suggest that the progenitor of Omicron jumped from humans to mice, rapidly accumulated mutations conducive to infecting that host, then jumped back into humans, indicating an inter-species evolutionary trajectory for the Omicron outbreak.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1673852721003738

  115. Given the fact that 95% of sequenced SC2 variants in humans are Omicron, it has the best chance of producing the next major variant. Of course there are possible animal routes for which we have little information.

    • > Given the fact that 95% of sequenced SC2 variants in humans are Omicron, it has the best chance of producing the next major variant.

      You could have said the exact same about delta, which dominated prior to omicron.

      Another theory of a Google virologist.

      • Once you determine how to use the internet, you will be able to find gems like this, which show, in fact, Delta was a prolific producer of variants. Some concepts are too obvious for your high level of cognizance, I suppose.

        https://nextstrain.org/ncov/gisaid/global

      • Not sure how that relates.

        My point is that delta dominated until omicron, which wasn’t evolved from delta, came onto the scene.

        So we have a highly evident example where the next dominant variant did not derive from the previous immediately previous s dominant variant – the mechanism which you stated as a “best chance” (without possessing actual technical knowledge on the so next).

      • Your single example doesn’t refute the idea that the variant with the greatest prevalence is most likely to produce the next variant.

        Why Omicron popped up with the lineage it has is a matter of active debate. Will that sort of dramatic shift, from an older lineage, again produce a highly fit variant?

        We don’t know.

      • > We don’t know.

        That was my point. The determination of “best chance” isn’t scientific. Do you know that there’s a better chance that the next variant will derive from omicron as opposed to deriving from a previous variant, as it appears that omicron did?

        There are many possible scenarios:

        https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evo-news/omicron-and-the-case-of-the-hidden-evolution/

        Once again, the mechanisms involved, for the current dominant variant, don’t follow from Jim’s logic.

      • That there are many ways to a variant doesn’t mean that all are equal probability. A variant in wide circulation presents the most opportunities for mutation or even recombination. So it will produce new variants, which may or may not be successful. And it will produce more of them than strains that have less circulation.

        BUT… it is possible that major shifts take place in long running infections, or even by passing through animals (not house mice, though, but it has happened with ferrets).

        And, another possibility is recombination, where two strains are present and swap genetic material.

        Also, the molnupiravir theory is not impossible. Some virologists have been warning against it due to its mechanism of action: forcing mutations on the virus at a high rate.

        But the fact that Omicron came “out of nowhere” – i.e. close to the root of they phylogenetic tree – doesn’t mean other variants will do the same.

        What is by far the most likely is that the next variant will have more immune evasion, since much of the world has now had Omicron and/or vaccination. But that immune evasion says nothing about how deadly or mild the virus might be. Also, the virus would have to be reasonably transmissible (decent R0). Omicron has both, and Omicron BA.2 is probably quite a bit more transmissible than BA.1 Omicron. All of this fits with the basic “goal” of the virus – to reproduce; and its need to do so before some other strain immunizes it’s target hosts.

      • > Your single example doesn’t refute the idea that the variant with the greatest prevalence is most likely to produce the next variant.

        I’m not attempting to “refute” the idea – I’m reacting to someone who doesn’t possess the requisite technical knowledge telling us what has the “best chance” of happening. Once again, he says:

        > it has the best chance of producing the next major variant.

        I get the common sense logic, but this isn’t just about common sense logic. One of the problems with this pandemic is that people think that they can do some Googling, and make statements like that based on their sense of common sense logic.

        On the other hand, if you have actual evidence as to what the “best chance” of happening next, you know with some scientific quantification of the probabilities of different types of evolution for the next variant, please provide a link.

      • And please note, he responded that delta produced a lot of variants to back up his determination of where the next major variant has the best chance of coming from.

        In other words, he thinks he knows what the mechanisms are for the creation of a major variant. Showing that delta product a lot of variants doesn’t suffice as support for his contention about the best chance for the next major variant.

        But please do provide some scientific evidence from someone like a virologist if you have it. In that case I’ll be happy to commend Jim for his understanding of virology.

      • You need to stay away from Las Vegas, Josh.

      • And also, learn to read in detail. If you think I said something, be sure to quote it IN CONTEXT.

      • Jim –

        Of the many variants that followed delta, the only one that replaced it followed a different pathway than the one you assigned to the next “major” variant.

    • What is missing in this discussion is the inevitable existence of thousands or even millions of other genetic lineages from the “original” SARS-CoV2 virus. We only know about the ones that are “successful”. This is just a layperson’s description of evolution applied to viruses…which evolve faster than any other known living thing I believe.

      Because of that I agree with Joshua who knows where the next successful variant will come from.

      • Thanks interesting

      • That chart does not imply Omicron will absolutely be the source of the next big thing in CS2, but just playing the odds, it has the best chance. I note that Delta has a few horses still in the race. It will be interesting to see if it goes below the detection limit.

        WRT variants that didn’t make it, that’s an interesting question on a theoretical level. On a pragmatic level, they don’t matter much.

        On the topic of variants, I’m pretty sure computer models can produce potential variants. These can be translated to real proteins these daze. So it might be possible to have the computer create a hundred variants, then make a vaccine that covers all of them. They would probably have to be screened for activity against target receptors, tested a lot in various animal studies, then given a true clinical trial that lasts 3 or more years. But it might be an interesting vaccine approach.

      • I would be surprised, whatever the lineage, if subsequent successful variants didn’t primarily impact the upper respiratory tract as omicron does. There is a physiological reason that is advantageous to the virus.

      • “I would be surprised, whatever the lineage, if subsequent successful variants didn’t primarily impact the upper respiratory tract as omicron does. There is a physiological reason that is advantageous to the virus.”

        Care to elaborate? The virus has one “goal” – to spread to more hosts, i.e. to reproduce itself widely. And yet, the virus turns out to be quite damaging to the heart, which isn’t involved in the spread.

        It’s good that Omicron is not as fond of the lower respiratory tract, but what is to keep a virus from being as transmissible as Omicron BA.2 and yet also infect the lungs?

      • Because it is more transmissable when concentrated in the upper respiratory tract. It binds to the ACE2 receptor in both locations but the method of entry is different in each location because the ACE2 receptor is different in each location.

        The ACE2 receptor is concentrated in some organs also, notably the heart and kidneys. COVID19 causes kidney damage almost as frequently as it causes heart damage I believe. I have no idea why the vaccine apparently only causes heart issues rather than kidney issues also.

      • I don’t think having it in the lower respiratory tract means there will be any less of it in the upper. Now, it might lead to less transmission indirectly, by making people sicker so they change behavior and thus spread it less. Or it might, by stimulating productive coughing, make it worse.

        Overall, beats me.

      • dougbadgero