Case Update: May 22nd, 2021; New CDC Guidance and are Vaccines Safe?

Since things are starting to wind down in the US, my COVID posts will probably be less frequent, but comprehensive. This is a case update, and I’ll also discuss the new CDC guidance and talk about vaccine safety.

New case numbers continue to fall in the US, California, and San Diego County. Numbers now appear to be as low as they were last March when everything blew up here. In fact, since we have so much more testing now, it’s likely that our actual new case numbers are likely much lower than they were last March.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a logarithmic format to emphasize small numbers. Note that each number on the left is 10x higher than the one below it.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, May 18th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a logarithmic format to emphasize small numbers. Note that each number on the left is 10x higher than the one below it.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. Graph is presented in a logarithmic format to emphasize small numbers. Note that each number on the left is 10x higher than the one below it.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. Graph is presented in a logarithmic format to emphasize small numbers. Note that each number on the left is 10x higher than the one below it.
San Diego County Media Briefing, May 18th, 2021

After a high of over 2 million tests a day in January, testing has been below 1 million tests per day in the US in the last week.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.

New CDC Guidance: The CDC has been slow from the beginning to update their guidance, often seeming out of step with events. This is not new! They have been like this since at least 2004 when I started working at Quest. They’ve just recommended that fully vaccinated people can go indoors without masks. This is overdue, but many are concerned that they can’t identify who has had the vaccine and who has not. A big change that has happened in the last few weeks is that anyone over 16 who wants a vaccine can now get it. This means that instead of being concerned about behavior of others, you can simply get vaccinated and be reasonably certain that either you won’t get the virus, or if you do, you will have mild symptoms. Yes, it’s true that a few vaccinated people have gotten infected, but this is rare. So I’m now in favor of making masks indoors voluntary.

In San Diego County, 42% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and 55% have had at least 1 dose.

As you know, I’ve decided not to get the vaccine because of the ADE issue and because I’m reasonably confident that I can stay uninfected. So I’m committing to continue to wear a mask indoors until cases numbers are very low. And no, I’m not ready to define what “very low” means. But if you’re vaccinated, you should probably start considering yourself safe from the virus.

Should you get vaccinated? I still get a lot of questions about whether someone should get vaccinated. Again, I’m not a physician, so I’m not giving medical advice, I’m just giving you some information that you might find helpful.

First, let me say that my own misgivings about the vaccines have nothing to do with the new technology. Aside from persistent rumors, I haven’t yet seen any real evidence that vaccines have the following effects:

birth defects
shedding viral particles (mRNA or Spike protein) into the environment
re-coding of DNA

It is also theoretically very very unlikely that these things would happen. Biologically, mRNA is made in the nucleus, then goes out into the cell and is read by proteins that use it to make other proteins. It is designed to be very fragile, and quickly degrades, so that for a protein to be made constantly, mRNA encoding that protein must also be made constantly. The mRNA in the new vaccines goes into the cell, gets used to make some Spike protein, and then degrades. It does not persist in the body, and Spike protein production stops when it is gone.

Remember that it’s not your job to refute a claim. It’s the job of the person who makes the claim to provide evidence that it’s true. If they can’t provide evidence, you don’t need to do a bunch of homework.

I am not anti-vaccine! My concern with this vaccine is solely regarding the ADE issue, a phenomena peculiar to just a few viruses, including Dengue, HIV, Zika, SARS, MERS, and maybe SARS-2. If you’re concerned about the new technology, but want to get a vaccine, the J&J vaccine is your best bet.

Also, despite my misgivings, I still recommend the following people get vaccinated:

Anyone over 60
Anyone with 1 or more risk factors:
obesity
certain auto-immune diseases
heart, lung or kidney condition
respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD.
Frequently working with the public
Musicians who sing in indoor settings
Medical personnel

People in these categories are very likely to benefit from the vaccine, despite the ADE issue.

If you’ve had the vaccine or had COVID and are concerned about ADE, remember that it will only become a factor if a significantly new strain arises (“SARS-3”). If this happens, then the procedure for you would be to be very careful initially, then get the “SARS-3” vaccine as soon as possible. The new vaccine will protect you from the new virus. In the future, vaccines against Coronaviruses will be produced even more quickly than this time.

Are vaccines safe? Last week, someone posted a few links regarding concerns about vaccine safety. One source I hope to look at soon is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System run by the CDC. It lists any adverse reactions happening soon after a vaccination. Medical events listed include any event happening soon after a vaccination, and some are not vaccine related. Sorry, but I simply haven’t had time to study this site yet!

I will say this, however. All vaccines carry a risk. In almost all cases however, the risk is far, far lower than the risk presented by the disease they are designed to counter. While there have been many adverse reactions to the SARS-2 vaccine, most are very mild. Even deaths have occurred, but again they are very very rare. This is true with every vaccine!

We are almost out of the woods! Continued blessings on you and your family!

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

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