This is a case update. I’ll also discuss data suggesting that the v@¢¢¡nes are having a mixed effect.
For the US, new case numbers have begun to creep back up. Several states like Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado, and West Virginia are experiencing increased cases right now. This is likely at least partly because colder weather is forcing more people inside. Several states are still enjoying decreasing case numbers after the Summer Delta wave, like Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the Southern states.
Last year’s Fall wave started in October, so it’s good news that a new wave may just be starting now, but keep in mind that new case numbers are just as high now as they were at the peak of last Summer’s wave.
In California and San Diego County, new case numbers are persistent, at around 5000 and 500 new daily cases respectively. The higher persistent number likely reflects the higher infectiousness of the Delta variant.
Internationally, several European countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Czechia are experiencing increasing numbers of cases right now.
V@¢¢¡ne effectiveness: A pile of new papers have come out regarding v@¢¢¡ne effectiveness. A few weeks ago, I discussed Subramanian et al which claimed that v@¢¢¡nation rates are not correlated to case numbers internationally. New papers from Britain, Germany, and even a story on msn.com are claiming that v@¢¢¡ne effectiveness is becoming reduced.
The British paper states something I’ve suspected for a long time, that most SARS-2 transmission takes place in households, explaining why lockdowns are not an effective means of controlling COVID. They also claim that v@¢¢¡nation status is nearly irrelevant in a household setting, because of long term exposure to family members.
A Swedish paper (Nordström et al) suggested that v@¢¢¡ne effectiveness is reduced over time, especially for elderly men and those with co-morbidities. Effectiveness against severe symptoms begin to be reduced after about 9 months.
Disturbingly, some have suggested that v@¢¢¡nation is doing more harm than good. A set of British data claims that v@¢¢¡nated individuals are dying at twice the rate of the unv@¢¢¡nated.
A German analysis of national data comparing German states is claiming similarly that excess mortality is actually due to v@¢¢¡nation.
Meanwhile, in the US, the CDC is claiming that v@¢¢¡nation greatly reduces the chances of hospitalization and death, although not to zero. The agency currently claims that the unv@¢¢¡nated are 5.8 times more likely to become infected and 14 times more likely to die than v@¢¢¡nated individuals.
What are we to make of all this? Is the v@¢¢¡ne really making people sicker? Are things different in the US and Europe? It’s hard to know right now. We are in a period when v@¢¢¡ne effectiveness may be going down right now, so we may be getting mixed signals because we’re seeing this in real time. The Delta variant is certainly exacerbating the issue, eluding antibodies developed against the Wuhan strain. We also have to consider that we may be seeing the effect of Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE), which may cause greater symptoms in those already infected with a related strain.
The present confusing situation is a great example of why it’s so crucial to accumulate as much data as we can, and to be as objective as possible about the results. US agencies are still openly admitting that they have as a goal to promote vaccination (see slide 2),
I cannot stress strenuously enough that if we work from incomplete or faulty data, we have no hope but to come to faulty conclusions and bad solutions. If you have a hole in your gas tank, it doesn’t matter how much gas you put in it. You will still have no gas. You have to deal with the real problem first.
The CDC has one and only one job. To produce data and guidance on how to fight disease. But the very sad fact is that I don’t trust the CDC to produce truthful and/or complete data. This is why we are relying on papers from foreign sources like Britain, Israel, and Japan to inform us on how to approach COVID. With all the cases here, and 53 different approaches to the virus, we should have the best and most complete data set for figuring out what to do. But politics continues to make this impossible. I hope this will change.
As discussed in the paper by Liu et al, boosters against the Wuhan strain will likely not offer long term protection against the Delta strain. Instead, those who have been v@¢¢¡nated should get a v@¢¢¡ne against the Delta strain as soon as it is available.
Most people with severe symptoms are Vitamin D deficient. If you aren’t already, remember to be supplementing with Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc in order to reduce symptoms and viral load if you should be infected. Most Americans, especially those with darker skin, are Vitamin D deficient, since we spend so much time in doors. Alternatively, make your own by spending 30 minutes outside per day in shorts and a T-shirt!
Don’t fear, but be smart,