By the numbers: how to help Covid outrun the vaccines

In Europe, a group of experts who model disease spread plugged as assortment of variables into their computers–things like vaccination, transmission, and mutation rates–and asked about the odds, under various conditions, of the virus mutating into something that would escape the vaccines.

It turns out that that highest risk comes when a large proportion of the population has been vaccinated but when it’s still not a high enough proportion to create herd immunity. In other words, exactly the situation in Europe right now. And in the US. 

Britain has a higher percentage of vaccinated adults, but I think I could safely add “and Britain” to that paragraph.

This sounds counter-intuitive, but when a large proportion of the population’s been vaccinated, a vaccine-resistant strain of the virus will have an advantage. So what countries need to do at that stage is control the spread.

Irrelevant photo: The north Cornish coast

“Of course we hope that vaccine-resistance does not evolve over the course of this pandemic, but we urge caution,” one of the study’s co-authors said. “Evolution is a very powerful force and maintaining some reasonable precautions throughout the whole vaccination period may actually be a good tool to control this evolution.”

I mention that just in case anybody’s listening. In Britain, they’re  not. Masks are now optional in most situations, although many people are still wearing them. (Thanks, folks. You’re wonderful.) Nightclubs are reopening. (Thanks, Boris. You’re a fool.) Vaccinated people wearing blue, who say please and thank you, and who come into the country from Covid-safe countries or from countries that might or might not be Covid-safe no longer have to go into isolation, never mind quarantine. 

Why? Because the government’s thrown up its hands and said, “This is making us confused and we’re not going to bother anymore.”

So yes, we’re being perfectly sensible here. Wish us luck.

Thank you.

 

Breakthrough infections and the Delta variant

When vaccinated people get infected with the Delta variant, as some small percentage of them will inevitably, they’re very likely to get mild or asymptomatic cases of Covid, but that doesn’t tell us whether they’ll be as infectious as an unvaccinated person who gets infected. 

Stop the presses, though. For the first time, we have a gesture toward a move in the direction of an answer: They will have as high a viral load as an unvaccinated person. That seems to mean that they’re every bit as likely to transmit the virus, although no one seems willing to say that without a plugging in some sort of word that creates wiggle room in the sentence.. 

As the US Centers for Disease Control director put it, they “have the potential to spread the virus to others.”

That’s a large part of the reason that the CDC reversed its throw-away-your-mask-if-you’re-vaccinated policy and now recommends masks for all students, teachers, visitors, and school staff when they’re indoors. And all includes people who’ve been vaccinated. 

The CDC also recommends masks in indoor public places in parts of the country that have had at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. That’s something like 60% of the counties in the US. 

And it says that vaccinated people should be tested for Covid after they come into contact with an infected person. Even if they don’t develop symptoms. 

In a couple of months, we may get definitive news on just how infectious fully vaccinated people who have mild or symptomless Covid are. In the meantime, we’ll have to go with seems and as high a viral load. Common sense might indicate caution.

 

Covid and public policy

A paper from the Commission for Pandemic Research of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft–a group whose name is almost as long as the paper itself–makes a heroic effort to talk sense to people (and more to the point, governments) who are still recommending hand washing to combat the spread of Covid. 

Okay, that interpretation is strictly my own. What the article I stole this information from says is that they “aim to contribute to establishing a reliable information base that is broadly coordinated among specialists as well as offering concrete advice on how to guard against infection.” 

So to be objective and reliable and not at all snarky about this, they’re aiming to contribute to establishing a coordinated effort to offer the world an extended string of verbs with the intervention of a few nouns. And they’re damn good at it. 

The article’s headline is an even better source of fun: “Prevention of coronavirus infection spread through aerosols.” I spent an unconscionable amount of time wondering how to spread the prevention of infection before I worked out that prevention isn’t being spread; spread has taken a part-time job as a noun.

To be fair, the committee with the long name probably didn’t write the headline.

Are you following any of this? I’ll get to the information any minute now.

For all its oddity, the headline doesn’t approach the genius of a newspaper headline published during the Falklands War that said, “British left waffles on Falkland Islands.” I had a carton of maple syrup all packed up and ready to send to the Falklands before I realized that left was the noun (political leftists, presumably in Parliament) and waffles the verb. 

Maybe this is only funny if you’ve worked as an editor.

But to go back to our article: It breaks infections into two categories, direct and indirect. 

Direct infection happens when one generous soul is close to someone else and passes the virus on to them. That usually happens indoors. 

Indirect infection happens when infectious aerosols accumulate indoors. The first person–the one with the virus–doesn’t have to stay in the room to make sure the second person breathes the germs in. If they’ve spent time in the room, exhaling, when they leave, unless the room’s well ventilated, their germs will not follow them out.They’ll stay there, available for the second person to inhale and take home.

And all of this is free. Just imagine! No one has to pay a red cent for it.

Indirect infections are what make it pretty much pointless when people put on their masks only when another person comes into the room, the shop, the wherever. They’ve been in there breathing. They can’t unbreathe those aerosols. 

Indirect infection is somewhere between hard and impossible to accomplish outdoors, although direct infection is possible if the people are in close enough contact for a longish time. So if you’re spending time in a bus shelter, at a demonstration, at a football game, or in a brawl, you might want to wear a mask, even though you’re outdoors. And you might want to ask the people you’re brawling with to also wear masks. 

In closed rooms, though, they (that’s the experts, not the people in the brawl) suggest using–well, pretty much every breath-related protective measure you can think of: avoiding contact, keeping a distance, wearing masks, using protective panels, and ventilating the hell out of the room.

Yes, “ventilating the hell out of” is a thoroughly scientific term. It means opening windows and using permanent ventilation systems as well as mobile air purifiers.  

“Only regulations that are as consistent and uniform as possible guarantee a high level of safety with as few restrictions as possible,” the article says, paraphrasing the experts, something that becomes necessary when the nouns and verbs grow exhausted from holding down two jobs. 

I’d love to think that the world’s governments will get their heads around the idea that consistent regulation is the way to live (relatively) safely with Covid, and that ventilation and masks are essential parts of that. But then I’d love to think all kinds of things, including that our problematic species will still be around in, oh, say seven generations, and that it will have gained some wisdom. Those aren’t impossible, but I’m unable at this time to issue the money-back guarantee that we inadvertently advertised. 

96 thoughts on “By the numbers: how to help Covid outrun the vaccines

  1. Since my son is 11 and unvaccinated, I am now taking more precautions like wearing a mask outside when people are near me. I also wear a mask in the hall of our building and elevator even if no one else is there as well as wearing a mask in all inside places even though I am fully vaccinated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We are swiftly headed in the wrong direction in my local area. Back in June, we were doing so well that we were down at the green risk level. We have a higher than average vaccination rate here and most people were complying with mitigation efforts. Even I went into a grocery store unmasked twice (I always go early in the morning so there were few other customers). Then very quickly we started clambering through the other colours of risk levels and we are currently at very high risk. Whereas a few weeks ago I had been in the minority as a mask wearer in stores, I observed yesterday that every customer bar one was wearing a mask. Our school district has also switched up its plans for September, how saying that all staff and students will need to be masked regardless of vaccination status. I am relieved. My kids didn’t want to be the only ones wearing masks in school. Other than those two times I went into the store without a mask, we have continued to be pretty cautious. We still only socialize with (vaccinated) friends outdoors and we are still avoiding indoor activities for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fortunately, nothing much has changed around here. But I am people watching and my hand is hovering over the button to purchase some medical grade masks now that I can’t rely on others to wear one to protect me, even though I’m offering the courtesy of protecting them. But, as you say, where selfish & stupid governments lead…

    Thank you for the “British left waffles on Falkland Islands” headline – it provided a much needed laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just returned from a four-day camping trip in Yosemite National Park which was very crowded, especially at Yosemite Falls. I felt much safer from the bears that just want your food if you leave it out of the bear box than I did from the multitudes of unmasked people crowding the trails and facilities. Masks were required of everyone indoors but the sheer number of hungry visitors at the lodge and caffeine-seeking folks at Starbucks was intimidating. Some plastic fencing at the base of Yosemite Falls intended to keep people from clambering over the rocks was trampled and at least 100 people were all over those rocks like ants on spilled sugar. There was a sign explaining that the park didn’t want to expose their rescue people to covid when rescuing people off the rocks. No matter. Eager visitors ignored the sign. Glacier Point was great because wind, lightning and hail cleared the air before we ventured out of the car and, thankfully, most people fled when the skies opened up. Bonus: we Californians don’t see much rain, let alone hail, so we were happy to sit through that entertaining storm. On my way back to the coast, I tried to make a bathroom stop at an In-n-Out burger place. 104 F with a line of hungry, mostly unmasked folks cheek by jowl out the door onto the hellishly hot patio with the doors held wide open. No thanks! Got right back into the car and just suffered with a full bladder for another 80 minutes to home in 75 F San Luis Obispo. This was my first excursion out among the public since February, 2020. Your post reflects what I learned on this trip. I must personally go back to consistent mask wearing, stay home as much as possible, banish any thought of a mask-free future, and trust only info and directives from highly qualified scientists. Exhausting but necessary. It would be horrifying to find that I was the one who incubated a deadly mutation. The other awful lesson of this trip was seeing the damage done to the forests by climate change, bark beetles, super hot fires and drought. Aarrgghh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My mind seems to be able to take in only one worldwide disaster at a time, although we’ve got easily three going on (I’m adding the refugee crisis). Maybe more. I’m stuck on Covid. I know any number of people who are traveling here and there. They shock the hell out of me, for all the reasons you mention. In the meantime, half of Britain’s come to Cornwall because international travel’s too dicey. It’s not as crowded as you describe, but the shops, the cafes–yeah.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is crazy stressful in any tourist spot like Cornwall, Yosemite or where I live. As I walked the trails in Yosemite, my eyes were on the other people as I navigated around them. My thoughts were on the fire danger. When I managed to change focus to actually take in the beauty, I sometimes got tears mourning the effects of the almost inevitable future damage. Right now I’m thinking I’ll take a walk in our state park by the ocean but will wait until 6 pm in the hope that I can avoid the visitors from the valley who are fleeing the terrible heat and dust where they live. So yes, so many disasters unfolding around us. It feels like these things are ping ponging around in my head.

        Liked by 1 person

        • For whatever the thought’s worth, I believe that we’re no use to the world if we can’t clear our heads a bit. Toss me that ping-pong ball. I’ll tuck it into a drawer and send it back whenever you need it.

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  5. I went to an event today in which there were fifteen of us inside a large room. All the windows and doors were open. Big tick. We were all sitting about a metre and a half apart. Tick. We were playing wind instruments, so you can’t wear masks when you do that, but most people weren’t wearing masks when they were moving around. Big fail.

    I was the second-youngest person in the room and I assume they all thought that being double jabbed was enough. I even told one person that I wasn’t going to go through a door when she was on the other side because she wasn’t wearing a mask.

    It’s not just the young who are being stupid about this and these were all people who had professions when they worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being well educated, being professionals, and even being smart can’t stop people from also being damn fools. It’s taken me seventy-odd years to learn that, but by now I’m firmly convinced of it.

      I have a meeting coming up–village politics and I’d love to skip it but don’t feel that I can–and I’m pushing for masks and windows. Last time, people were really good about it. Fingers crossed that they will be again.

      Will you get together with them again do you think?

      Liked by 2 people

      • No. It was a one-off event because a summer school had been cancelled.

        I’ve booked a weekend away next month where we’ll be playing wind instruments together in fairly small space. There won’t be many of us, but the room in which we’ll be playing doesn’t have many windows that can be opened. I know most of the participants well enough to be able to say how we need to behave, but it all depends on how sensible they’ll be.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good grief.
    How do you keep any of this info from oozing out of your brain at an inappropriate moment in the privacy of your own home?
    Thank goodness I have you to do the research.
    I will wear a mask whenever I’m AWOL from the house.
    Somehow I’m sure that’s not enough.
    Thank you for the post. Scary indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I alternate between feeling fatalistic about it all and feeling scared. And in between looking at the apparent normality of the world–no one trundling carts by, calling “Bring out your dead”–and forget that I need to be careful. That, in all its insanity, is how I’m managing. I don’t recommend it, but then I didn’t exactly choose it either.

      None of it is enough. Do what you can. Stay as safe as you can. Love while you can–but you’ll do that without my sage advice.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes, your last answer sums up the idea that we all need to fight against just becoming fatalistically numb. I went once into a grocery right after we were allowed to be maskless, but haven’t done it since. There was w such a narrow window. The group of friends that had been gathering once a month met last month for the first time since early 2020 but now we are wondering about this month. At least it is still warm enough to sit outside.
    Good luck at your meeting. It will give you grist for another column, no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sensible precautions, all of them. And sadly, none of this is new. In June 2020, when we thought we might reopen our workplace, we had already discussed these points. We inspected air conditioning at work, and made sure that it refreshed the indoor air sufficiently often. It cost a pretty penny, but we also added in hepa filters everywhere, and began to wonder how to ensure constant masking. As it turned out, nothing worked, and soon delta put all these plans to rest.

    The US-CDC earlier, and the UK PM now, seem to be very optimistic about discarding masking rules. Unfortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very unfortunate. The CDC, I think, is seeing its mistake. Or I hope that’s what’s happening. Britain’s prime minister–well, I have the impression that he’s constitutionally incapable of that. All we can do is wear our own masks, be careful where we go (those of us who have that luxury, and not everyone does; I’m lucky enough to be retired), and hope the virus mutates in kindly ways.

      I’m impressed with what your workplace did. But this isn’t a problem one person, one workplace, or even one country can solve on its own.

      Stay well, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m only an editing student and I found the “waffles” headline amusing.

    Just checked: despite the CDC and MN Dept of Health guidance, my school is pretty much back to normal this year, despite its entire student body being too young to get a vaccine. Masks are optional and I’m left wondering how many emails I’m going to have to send to the school superintendent and Governor Walz, or if instead I decide I can’t take it anymore and just give up.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I work at Walmart. They just decided that the employees all have to wear masks, but the customers don’t. I really don’t feel safer this way. (I work overnight, and we are ALL vaccinated.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. In the U.S. they are starting to be more strict about wearing a mask and so on, and the numbers are going up. At work we now have to wear a mask and everyone is vaccinated. We were mask free for 4 months. My manager said that the vaccine is 90% effective against the variant. I don’t know what to think. I hear so much different information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t quote numbers–it depends on the vaccine–but they do all cut the number of infections way down. The thing is, 90% still leaves 10% who can get infected. Most of those will be either asymptomatic or mild to moderate infections–utterly unpleasant but not life threatening. On top of that, vaccinated people who get infected are likely to still spread the disease. So yes, we need to be masked.

      A small percentage of the vaccinated people who get infected will get a serious case. It’s a much smaller percentage than among unvaccinated people, but since the number of people involved is so high the numbers can be scary.

      They sure as hell scare me. This thing isn’t over yet and we’d be fools to act as if it is. Unfortunately, a lot of people are being fools.

      Stay safe, Shell.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. “When vaccinated people get infected with the Delta variant, as some small percentage of them will inevitably, they’re very likely to get mild or asymptomatic cases of Covid”

    Can you please explain this statement in light of the data from Israel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Experts are still working on that, but several things seem to be clear:

      1. The Delta variant is harder to deal with than the Alpha variant–the original one–was, although it hasn’t completely outrun the vaccines.

      2. About 9 million Israelis who are eligible for vaccination remain unvaccinated.

      3. Israel’s a relatively young country, with many children under 12, who aren’t eligible.

      That leaves some 40% of the population not fully vaccinated. According the a BBC article: “The more infectious Delta variant seems to have evaded part of the vaccine’s protection against infection, although it is still highly effective against severe illness. But scientists monitoring the data believe a major factor in the recent spike in cases is waning immunity from the Pfizer vaccine, which was initially the only one given in the country. . . Despite this fall, vaccination still prevents a substantial amount of sickness, with the unvaccinated becoming severely ill with Covid about nine times as often in over-60s, and twice as often in younger people.”

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-58432776

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  13. Ow. I was Ok until you threw the kitchen sink.

    I’ll pick one point to respond to.

    “A third is that, from what I’ve read, people with weakened immune systems, including the elderly, get less protection than the younger and healthier.”

    Is the vaccine for the young and healthy? Or is it to keep the older people from being hospitalized and dying, where it is clearly failing in Israel? The vaccines are pretty worthless as regards preventing transmission, which the Israel and Barnstable County data show.

    We need a better solution than leaky, waning vaccines. The data looks very good for many antivirals. Antiviral cocktails do a very fine job–much better than the vaxxes–at protecting people with weaker immune systems when they are infected.

    But even recovery is no guarantee of protection if people aren’t being treated early with antiviral cocktails to prevent hospitalization.

    Here’s something few people talk about. Adequate vitamin D levels look to be essential to fight covid with a good prognosis. Vitamin D helps with deactivating inflammation after viral clearance as well as T-cell specialization.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry about that kitchen sink. The problem is, it’s so much fun to throw them that I forget about the damage they do.

      And with that out of the way, here comes the bathroom sink: It’s not that the vaccines are no use at all, it that they’re not perfect. They do reduce the chances of becoming infected. If a person’s infected, they reduce the chances of serious illness and hospitalization. They also (apparently–this has yet to be confirmed) reduce the chances of the infected person transmitting it because vaxxed people who become infected seem to transmit it for a shorter period of time. None of that is ideal, but it’s better than the picture was pre-vaccines. the vaccines aren’t just for the young and healthy, although the young and healthy are more likely to mount good immune responses, so yes, they’re more effective in them. But I’m 74 and am grateful to be vaccinated. My immune system may not be what it was when I was 30, but my chances are far better now than they were before.

      I’m starting to see articles on vitamin D, so it is getting some attention.

      Like

      • “The majority of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in an Israeli hospital are fully vaccinated, including those with severe disease, according to one of the hospital’s doctors.

        On Aug. 5, Dr. Kobi Haviv, medical director of Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, said in a Channel 13 TV News interview, “95% of the severe patients are vaccinated.” Furthermore, “85-90% of the hospitalizations are in fully vaccinated people” and the hospital is “opening more and more COVID wards.””

        https://www.visiontimes.com/2021/08/08/israel-hospital-vaccinated.html

        The CDC had no comment.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The CDC may have had no comment, but other sources do. The link below will take you to an article quoting some of them. It talks about Simpson’s paradox, which (forgive me, I’m mathematically impaired, so I’m doing the best I can with this) is about how one piece of the data may present a very different picture than all the data will. I won’t try to summarize, just suggest that this gives a fuller picture.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/08/31/covid-israel-hospitalization-rates-simpsons-paradox/

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          • I looked at the Israeli data. The Washington Post article is inaccurate. I’ll try to explain it. I don’t have the Israeli figures in front of me, so I’ll explain using the Barnstable County data.

            69% of eligible Massachusetts residents were fully vaccinated. 74% of the Barnstable infected were fully vaccinated. Thus, the fully vaccinated were over-represented in the infected group. Simpson’s paradox doesn’t apply. (Same with the Israeli data) If Simpson’s paradox applied, we’d expect to see somewhere between 51% and 69% of the Barnstable infected to be fully vaccinated because then the fully vaccinated would still be a majority of cases, but under-represented in the data. Does that help?

            In the Barnstable outbreak, five people were hospitalized. Four were fully-vaccinated and one was not. That’s over-representation on the surface, but because of statistical variation effects on small numbers, that may simply be a fluke. If there were a similar ratio, with forty hospitalized of fully vaccinated and ten not fully vaccinated, then statistical variation effects on small numbers wouldn’t apply because whether we hypothetically have 9, 10, or 11 not fully vaccinated people hospitalized, we’d have about the same ratio. But as it is, the small numbers don’t support the hypothesis that the vaccinated are over-represented among the hospitalized. They may be, but you’d need larger numbers to prove it. (The data doesn’t disprove the hypothesis either.)

            Liked by 1 person

            • According to MedPage, the CDC’s conclusion from that outbreak was that vaccinated people can transmit the virus and in response it reversed its mask recommendations.
              https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/93830

              In response to the Provincetown outbreak, “Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said only seven hospitalizations and no deaths were reported among the fully vaccinated in the Provincetown outbreak.

              “ ‘Our vaccines,’ she said, ‘did exactly what they were supposed to do: Prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.’ ”
              https://hartfordhealthcare.org/about-us/news-press/news-detail?articleid=35225&publicId=395

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              • And one hospitalization and no deaths among the not-fully-vaccinated in Provincetown. Our not-fully-vaccinations did exactly what they were supposed to do: Prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death–and do it better than vaccinations.

                At some point shouldn’t you start wondering about the narrative?

                Liked by 1 person

              • My friend, you throw around the statistics that suit you while dismissing Simpson’s paradox as not applicable, but I think it’s precisely applicable. I’m more than willing to agree that the picture’s complicated, that the vaccines are less than perfect (everyone agrees on that), and that some vaccinated people do get Covid (and some smaller number die)while some unvaccinated people don’t (and some don’t die). But cherry picking the numbers, as I believe you’re doing, won’t prove your point.

                One more example: Britain has opened back up–far more than I think is wise–on the grounds that a large number of people are now vaccinated (although not as many as I could wish) and many others have some immunity from previous exposure. Daily hospital admissions in England (that’s counted separately from Britain as a whole—it’s complicated) have unexpectedly dropped by a third. That could change quickly, and I don’t want to put too much weight on it. My point is that the picture’s complicated. Engage with the full range of data and don’t dismiss what you disagree with, as you did the Washington Post article.

                And at that point I’m ready to disengage, because we’re starting to make the same points over and over again, only in different forms.

                Like

              • You are misunderstanding. I have not cherry-picked numbers. That would be dishonest. Some things about the Washington Post article were true. Some.

                Let’s switch tack and focus on what we can agree on and build from there.

                You wrote, “…many others have some immunity from previous exposure….”

                We agree about this. And I think that we agree that this is an important point. Did we read read about the recovered-unvaccinated in the Washington Post article? I wonder why?

                Is this a pea-shell-game phenomenon, where we are distracted so that we don’t see the location of the pea?

                The CDC’s data also avoids breaking out data about the unvaccinated-recovered. Their unvaccinated-recovered data is lumped into a hodgepodge called “not fully vaccinated.” Is this also the situation in the UK?

                Lumping important data in with unimportant data to hide the important data is a well-known statistical trick.

                I see science articles comparing those with natural immunity versus the vaccinated, but the CDC never mentions those science articles in its briefings or reports. Why is that? Is this also the situation in the UK?

                Did SAGE scare the public with fantastic numbers about covid mortality back in late winter 2020 (3.4% !) that it later had to retract? Did SPI-B casually admit in its public documents that it was deliberately deceiving and scaring the public?

                I think that these things can be checked quite easily and are uncontroversial.

                “Members of the UK government’s influential Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) are now expressing their regret about the ‘unethical’ methods of coercion and manipulation they have been engaging in over the last 14 months.”

                “Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.””

                So let’s see if we can reach agreement about these things as a beginning.

                Liked by 1 person

              • I have neither the time nor the energy right now to research the early stages of SAGE’s approach or to verify your quote and put it in the context of SAGE’s modeling. Sorry, but you’re catching me at a low point, when I’m struggling just to keep the blog fed with new posts. What I will say is that I believe the UK government wasn’t afraid enough in the early stages of the pandemic. It did nothing to close the borders when that would have helped, although it did (ineffectively) once it wouldn’t. It didn’t lock the country down when it would have been most effective, and when it lifted the belated lockdown it imposed, it immediately encouraged people into risky behavior that caused a spike in transmission.

                Did SAGE overestimate the number of deaths Covid would cause? Possibly. Again, I don’t have the time or energy to look back at that. Boris Johnson massively underestimated them. That I do remember without doing any research. The scientists were working from limited information about the disease in the early stages, and putting together statistical models from what little was known. Scientists can be wrong. What matters is that when the information changes, they take that in and change course.

                Are governments acknowledging people with immunity from previous exposure? Again, possibly and possibly not. I don’t think it’s a crucial issue. Without underestimating the importance of naturally acquired immunity, I don’t want to see people take the risks involved in acquiring it when there’s an alternative.

                This is a dangerous disease. The vaccines have prevented many deaths, although we do agree that they haven’t prevented all of them. How many people are we willing to watch die (or live through long Covid) if we discourage people from getting vaccinated? At this point, the world has seen 4.5 million Covid deaths, which is by common agreement an undercount–probably a massive one.

                The UK statistics that I found on Covid deaths didn’t count people with naturally occurring immunity. My best guess is that that’s because vaccination is recorded, but previous exposure to Covid is not. True, a prior hospitalization would be on record, but an asymptomatic case or a milder case would very likely not be, so that group drops out of the statistics. They can’t be measured with even the remotest accuracy.

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              • “The UK statistics that I found on Covid deaths didn’t count people with naturally occurring immunity. My best guess is that that’s because vaccination is recorded, but previous exposure to Covid is not.”

                Why isn’t NHS keeping track of these statistics? They are certainly quite important if we are to know when we are nearing endemic status for covid. Does the NHS only care about pushing jabs and not about when the pandemic ends? Why should the exposed get jabbed? They have natural immunity already and the long term risk of the jab is an unknown factor.

                And why isn’t NHS recommending that people supplement with vitamin D adequately–especially those likely to be deficient, like the obese, the elderly, the dark-complected, those who overconsume ethanol, etc.? Vitamin D deficiency is known to be a major risk factor for progression to severe disease in covid patients.

                So many unanswered and pointedly ignored questions about all this….

                Liked by 1 person

              • Why isn’t the NHS counting people with immunity from prior exposure. I addressed that: It’s a group that can’t reliably be counted, so any statistics gathered would be meaningless.

                Why should people who’ve been exposed get vaccinated? Because immunity isn’t a black/white, either/or thing. They have some immunity. Vaccination increases it.

                Is there a long-term risk from vaccination? From a publication from the University of Alabama: “Decades of vaccine history — plus data from more than a billion people who have received COVID vaccines starting last December — provide powerful proof that there is little chance that any new dangers will emerge from COVID vaccines.” https://www.uab.edu/news/health/item/12143-three-things-to-know-about-the-long-term-side-effects-of-covid-vaccines

                Why doesn’t the NHS recommend vitamin D supplements? It already does recommend them to anyone with minimal exposure to the sun, and for a while supplied them for free to people at high risk of Covid. That program’s been ended–I’m not sure why; probably funding, although they can’t say that in public.
                https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/free-vitamin-d-supplements-for-people-at-high-risk/

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