April 26, 2021
COVID-19 Quick Takes—Part Six
By Michael D. Shaw
Here we go again with more items on COVID-19 that you may not have seen in the mainstream media. Of course, cancel culture existed in the field of medicine long before that term originated. Some day, someone might just figure out how many lives were lost because of this. Only, don’t hold your breath.
1. Herd immunity—This term is defined by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) as occurring “…when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness), making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely.” All they venture to say about COVID-19 is:
“A large percentage of the population will need to be immune against the disease (through infection or vaccination) before herd immunity will be achieved. It is not known when that will happen, but it will depend on how many people get vaccinated.” And that’s about as noncommittal as it gets.
Other voices suggest that herd immunity for COVID-19 will never be achieved, and support this contention with five reasons…
a) It’s unclear whether vaccines prevent transmission…..According to mathematical biologist Shweta Bansal, of Georgetown University, “Herd immunity is only relevant if we have a transmission-blocking vaccine. If we don’t, then the only way to get herd immunity in the population is to give everyone the vaccine.” As it is, determining how well these new vaccines block transmission is far from simple.
b) Vaccine roll-out is uneven…..Dr. Bansal notes that previous vaccination efforts suggest that uptake will tend to cluster geographically, and no community is an island. Even countries with high vaccination rates are at the mercy of their neighbors. There is also the matter of kids not being vaccinated, although most believe that kids are not a big source of transmission.
c) New variants change the herd-immunity equation…..This is troubling. Some epidemiologists believe that the longer it takes for everyone to get vaccinated, the more time variants will have to develop. Worse, variants could possibly evolve that might actually thrive in people immunized for the original strain. A case in Brazil indicates that even with a supposedly sufficient rate of infection, the expected herd immunity failed to manifest, and a spike of new infections appeared.
As with all epidemiological studies, there are multiple sources of error, but the Brazil experience does not build confidence.
d) Immunity might not last forever…..Bansal says that there is conflicting data on this, and she might be thinking of this study, which showed T cell antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in blood drawn in 2015.
e) Vaccines might change human behavior…..The specter is raised that people may return to normal behavior before enough community immunity exists. But, this premise begs the question over whether universal lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions actually work. There is quite a bit of literature extant suggesting that they don’t. And here. Moreover, the atrocious modeling of Imperial College has been put to the test, and has failed miserably.
2. Do masks do any good?—A review article out of Stanford (replete with 67 references), which should be getting much more publicity, concludes that:
“The data suggest that both medical and non-medical face masks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of face masks.”
Wearing face masks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression.”
3. Don’t believe the inflated COVID-19 death toll—In a scrupulously documented piece, Anthony Colpo obliterates the sensational numbers being touted endlessly. Among his key points:
- CDC admits 95% of COVID-19 victims had multiple comorbidities
- Fact checkers are demonstrably biased
- There were multiple ways in which the numbers could be inflated, ranging from peer pressure to ICD codes that allow for all contingencies: U07.1 COVID-19, virus identified; and U07.2 COVID-19, virus not identified. I guess that could explain how a November, 2020 murder-suicide was initially listed as two COVID-19 deaths.
Nothing builds trust as well as flat-out lying, right?