Commentary

No simple solution

America today/Centers for Disease Control

Strangely enough, the best reason for the still unvaccinated to get vaccinated against Covid-19 today is the fading efficiency of the vaccines.

Why?

Because though a New England Journal of Medicine study is reporting the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can drop to 20 percent over the course of five to seven months, the effectiveness in stopping severe infections remains high.

“Effectiveness against any severe, critical, or fatal case of Covid-19 increased rapidly to 66.1 percent by the third week after the first dose and reached 96 percent or higher in the first two months after the second dose; effectiveness persisted at approximately this level for six months,” the peer-reviewed study said.

There are two conclusions to be drawn from the study, and the first is obvious:

The new nRNA vaccines are highly protective against death in the here and now.

The second conclusion is not so obvious but possibly more important:

With the vaccine cutting the infection rate by only 20 percent, it might slow but most certainly will not stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Unstoppable force

The idea of eliminating SARS-CoV-2 now appears uniformly dead. New Zealand, which did a superb job of isolating itself and once hoped to go disease-free, has now abandoned the elimination scheme.

“The elimination strategy has operated from March 2020 until now and has enjoyed huge support here,” Michael Baker, an University of Otago epidemiologist who helped develop the strategy told The BMJ (former the British Medical Journal). “It gave New Zealand the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate in the OECD, a high level of freedoms, and above-average economic performance. If we had experienced the same mortality as the United Kingdom (around 2,000 per million) we would have had 10,000 deaths. Instead we had 28 (five per million).”

The problem is that the policy isn’t sustainable. New Zealand’s border closure devastated a tourism industry once responsible for about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thus, despite other parts of the economy doing well, the country’s overall economic activity dropped, according to the Financial Times, leading to fears of “double-dip inflation.” 

The country is now counting on vaccinations to solve its problems.

As Baker told The BMJ, “Singapore has better than 90 percent vaccination, the same place we want to end up. Colleagues there are reporting about 3,000 to 4,000 cases a day, with probably twice that many going under the radar because vaccination is much less protective against infection than against severe disease.

“It looks like Delta (the Delta variant) will work its way through the whole of Singapore’s population, with the infections effectively taking the place of boosters. But they’re still kind of OK because they’re 90 percent vaccinated. So they’re seeing about five deaths a day. It’s worth noting that even this low rate would double New Zealand’s (total) pandemic death toll in one week.”

But that appears to be a price New Zealand has now decided it is willing to pay to keep its economy moving forward.

In Kiwi country, as in other places where lockdowns were instituted, there have been criticisms of the policy. Last month, former NZ prime minister Sir John Key accused his successor of trying to run a “smug hermit kingdom.

“Some people might like to continue the North Korean option,” he wrote at Newshub. “I am not one of them.”

The Singapore model

As in Singapore, one might expect vaccination could increase the spread of Covid-19 given that some of the vaccinated become asymptomatic carriers of the virus and others, though symptomatic, might be inclined to dismiss the symptoms of a Covid-19 infection – fever, cough, body ache, fatigue – as a common cold or allergies.

Consider it the vaccination factor (VF) : “I’ve got the sniffles, but I’ve been vaccinated. So it’s probably not the Covid. I’m just going to go about my business as unsual.

One can only wonder how this might play out in the ever-worsening culture war roiling the U.S. if the anti-vaxxers decide the vaxxers are more of a threat to them than the other way around.

It seems only months ago that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s Covid czar, was touting “the best way” to stop the spread was to “get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can.”

Singapore did that. The vaccines saved lives but didn’t stop the spread,  but there are still those attached to Fauci’s belief that more vaccination in this country will stop the spread.

Let’s all now argue over this.

People are still warring over masking in Anchorage as if it made a significant difference. Masks might help a little.

A much-discussed study out of Bangladesh indicated a 9.3 percent reduction in infections, but that could easily be wiped out by people masking up and thinking they are safe.

A University of Vermont study found any protective value of masks in the real world fell victim to people increasing their social contacts because they thought they were protected.

Today’s reality is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls map of Covid-19 transmission in the U.S. is painted red from coast to  coast with high to substantial transmission rates whether in places where masks are mandated or not, or vaccination rates are high or not.

The few – very few – spots of blue that indicate low transmission rates highlight America’s widest, wide-open spaces where the inadvertent social distancing stops the spread.

Places like:

Space for people to easily stay away from each other is what the few blue spots on the map share in common.

The closer people get to each other the higher, in general, the infection rate. This is how contagious diseases work.

And the new coronavirus has proven highly contagious and highly adaptable. It is now quite obvious it’s not going away. It is destined to outlive the warring over it.

Peace in our time?

So maybe it would be good if the arguing about masks and vaccines ended sooner rather than later.

If wearing a mask makes you feel better, wear a mask. If it doesn’t, don’t.

And the same for vaccination. The data is pretty clear that the vaccines will seriously reduce your risks of a serious infection even if their long-term consequences remain unknown.

For better or worse, they underwent an accelerated review. Some have been arguing for this for all new medical treatments for some time. And the vaccines do appear safe, but the long-term consequences of any drug are impossible to predict.

Some people are happy to introduce foreign substances into their bodies; others aren’t.

And for many, if not most, hypocrisy reigns. Marijuana, a substance once considered so dangerous it was outlawed, is now considered fine.

Tobacco, once considered fine, is now frowned upon as a cancer-causing drug even though it is a totally natural substance – not something manmade.

And then there is the bisphenol A (BPA) leaching out of plastic water bottles and the linings of metal food and soda cans.

“Tests have shown that more than 93 percent of the general population has some BPA in their bodies,” the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) contends. “In animal studies, exposure on par with the amount of BPA most of us now have in our bodies has been shown to cause health abnormalities….such as lower sperm counts, hormonal changes, enlarged prostate glands, abnormalities in the number of chromosomes in eggs,
and pre-cancerous changes in the breast and prostate. It also has been associated with obesity and insulin resistance – a condition that commonly precedes the development of diabetes.”

And obesity and diabetes have, in turn, been linked to more severe and sometimes deadly Covid-19 outcomes. It’s all a very complicated picture.

That different people would have different opinions on how to deal with all of this ought to be understandable to everyone, but apparently this is not the case even if tolerance of different opinions is supposed to be the cornerstone of a democratic government.

So, back to the jihads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 replies »

  1. If we’re gonna have to live with it (not unlike the common cold, 3-4 strains of which are COVID), therapeutics become important. Too bad the feds, media, public health, Big Tech, and Providence all go out of their way to trash them. Still think UVC is a viable approach to sterilize masses of air indoors and in transportation cabins. Cheers –

    • AG, the feds go out of their way because big pharma and the Chinese have the greedy bastards in their back pocket. Corrupt individuals making millions and corps making billions off the “vaccine”. Plus, if cheap ole, time tested Ivermectin and Hydroquinone “work” then technically the feds cannot EUA the Covid Vax and there is no money to be made. All politics and lots of money to be made off the clot shot. Your health means nothing.

  2. You will kneel to your masters. Science says eating bugs reduces Cancer and Heart attack. You will eat the bugs. Kneel before your master.

    “Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

  3. The patterns we are seeing across Western nations has nothing to do with the re-branding of the flu as a covid 19.
    Australia, New Zealand, Canada are now fascist nations and Amerika is soon to follow.
    The science tells us almost all of us have been exposed to one of the Corona strains at this point.
    The CDC has admitted that natural immunity is stronger than mRNA stimulated immunity yet liberal agendas continue to push the zero covid narrative.
    Places like Israel and New England with highest vac rates saw the largest increase in cases…why b/c the mRNA spike proteins are weakening your immune system and wearing a mask prevents millions of viruses from expelling through your breathing.
    Guys like Rand Paul and Thomas Massie see the CCP agenda at work and are now calling for civil disobedience towards fascist mandates…these are members of Congress who are highly educated…not fly by night fake handles online.

    • The spread might be due to people not realizing they are infected. Pretty stupid to authorize a vaccine that 10-60% catch even when vaccinated and spread it worldwide accidentally. A 10% to 70% failure rate is really horrible. The only known way to defeat that is constant boosters and rapid modifications to the varients .
      It should have been only authorized for the high risk or immune compromised. Instead they defeated the stated purpose and gave it to highly active people resulting in rapid spread and major infection spikes.
      Yes rand Paul should be listened to . Fauci is a killer and by all appearances helped create and prolong this disaster.

  4. Very informative article, as always Craig. Information, actual verifiable information has been missing from this conversation for far too long which has led to some of the crazier conspiracy theories. Most of this information has been available for quite some time but is either not being put forward or is being drowned out due to many of these conspiracy theories.

    The recently passed, under the cover of darkness, mask mandate in Los Anchorage will certainly not help foster an environment of trust among those opposed to mandates. Unfortunately it appears the rancor will continue for the foreseeable future.

  5. “It’s also doubtful that the impacts to personal freedom will be positive – as in the 911 response.”

    I see nothing “positive” with regards to the freedoms and privacies lost post 911…..

    • Mr Medred hit it right. Choice is cornerstone of democracy. Now people will foolishly fight against the vaccine even if its prooven safe .

  6. Not sure why you only told part of the story. On the most basic level public policy should be based on cost benefit analysis. Looking at the wider picture it seems like there were two crises – one from nature and a second caused by man’s response. Poverty kills people too and the net-life-years lost will be higher than years lost to the bug. It’s also doubtful that the impacts to personal freedom will be positive – as in the 911 response.

    The data you quoted is of some interest but you did not look at the most informative data set – the 1957-58 flu pandemic. Back then we were fortunate to have an adult, Eisenhower, at the helm and secondary man-made disaster was avoided. Eisenhower knew a thing or two about managing the total picture during a chaotic crisis. The market dipped then recovered – no trillion plus dollar debts incurred, no inflation at the current levels. No lasting impact to personal freedoms.

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