COVID-19 —Accepting The New Norm

As Covid-19 dwindles to mediocrity, maybe it’s time to stop the massively inefficient strategy

“The six public health advisers who previously advised President Joe Biden during his presidential transition have come forward in publishing three opinion articles in Journal of the American Medical Association urging the president to shift course on his response to COVID-19.

The first article, “A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID,” states that policy makers must update their messaging strategy and accept COVID-19 as the “new normal” and redefine the level of risk it poses on the nation.

In the other two articles, the health experts offer new strategies on how the nation can approach testing, surveillance, and mitigation strategies. They also discuss new ways the United States can promote access to COVID-19 treatment therapies and offer alternative vaccine administration options.

The ‘new normal’ requires recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more,” the authors write. “COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined.“—Newsweek

It ain’t no big thing. The virus is taking its place as a common irritant. Let’s stop overreacting and get on with living.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

208 thoughts on “COVID-19 —Accepting The New Norm”

  1. I will not deny the seriousness of Covid-19 as a disease. The issue is not the lack of vaccinated people. The issue is that therapeutics are being denied to people who actually want them.

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  2. It looks like Canadians are not quite ready to accept the new norms. There’s a huge freedom convoy arriving at the Canadian capital and the prime minister has gone into hiding. 🙂

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    1. Ironically, the freedom convoy has taken away the freedom for many in Ottawa to hold gatherings (including a vigil for the victims of a mosque shooting on this date), do business, shop, or just use the public roads. We even have some of these brave ‘freedom fighters’ dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecrating the War Memorial.

      What’s lacking seems to me to be a sense of responsible civic duty and the elevation of selfishness and self centeredness above everyone and all else… but calling it ‘freedom’ without any clue, respect, or accepted responsibility what that actually means in a civil society.

      I always thought it made sense that if one coast has a Statue of Liberty, the other should have a Statue of Responsibility. That married understanding that is the foundation of both is singularly lacking from the ‘freedom’ rally supporters. How shameful to participate and embarrassing to behold.

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        1. Seems to me that all this sound and fury about unequal restrictions to ‘freedom’ based on vaccination status can be eliminated by a couple of jabs that takes a few seconds. Or, one is free to suffer the social consequences of deciding to not get jabbed. There’s your freedom right there: you choose. But have the balls to live with that decision and accept what it means. That’s what responsible grownups do when they exercise choice.

          But not the irresponsible delinquents: for the ‘freedom’ supporters, they want it both ways. They don’t WANT to be responsible for their free choice: obviously these immature people pretending to be adults simply can’t HANDLE the responsibility of being one. That’s why they’re throwing a temper tantrum.

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          1. Funny. Seems to me all the congestion in Ottawa could be alleviated by a quick repeal of those vax travel restrictions. Or, one is free to suffer the political and social consequences of deciding not to. There’s your freedom right there: you choose. But have the balls to live with that decision and accept what it means. Justin, of course, has no balls — that’s why he slinked off into hiding.

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            1. Funny. Seems to me all the congestion in Ottawa could be alleviated by a quick repeal of those vax travel restrictions

              By moving the congestion to Ottawa’s ERs and ICUs?

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            2. They’ve now had over 98 weeks to “flatten the curve”. So if they still haven’t fixed their broken disease care system — that’s on them.

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      1. Yup, unlike the disgraceful trucker and yahoo rally, that travel restriction IS a mandate and a tool whose time was relevant during the time of trying to contain delta. But with the rise and speed of omicron plus the role of previous exposure, a mandate whose time has passed. I think Peckford makes an excellent point here and that this mandate should be lifted.

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        1. lol. Hooligans, eh? It looks like that small “fringe minority” has metastasized into a full-blown nationwide protest over the last week, and there’s an outpouring of support coming in from across the globe.

          It even has the support of Jordan Peterson.

          Time for Mr. Blackface to come out from hiding and face the music.

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            1. There are those who engage the topic; and then there are those who engage in ad homs. It appears you belong to the latter camp.

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            2. The topics addressed in the video I included are the vaccine mandates and the general violation of individual liberties in pursuit of “public safety”. On which specific points raised by him concerning those things are you in disagreement?

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            3. The topics addressed in the video I included are the vaccine mandates and the general violation of individual liberties in pursuit of “public safety”.

              Well, I could go back on the offensive against your simplistic polemic of ‘individualised negative freedoms’ vs ‘public safety’, but I’d be wasting my keystrokes, wouldn’t I Ron?

              So what I’m ridiculing is your implicit assertion that having “the support of Jordan Peterson” in any way makes something wise, ethical or worthy of support. You might as well have said “endorsed by Donald Trump”.

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            4. Your response indicates that you have not watched the video, so I rest my case. You prefer to play the man rather than the ball.

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            5. You invoked the man with what looks a lot like an argument from authority, so I played him.

              I’ve read and listened to Peterson quite enough. I’ve no need to waste another hour of my life on his verbose and misleading rhetoric, butchered logic and simplistic conservative politics passed off as absolutist wisdom. I don’t recall who characterised him as “the stupid man’s smart person” but I think it’s spot on. If you can avoid being anaesthetised by his prolixity and actually examine what he’s saying I’m confident you’ll find it amounts to very little. Or at least very little he doesn’t contradict elsewhere when it suits him (e.g. his championing of free speech when he’s not trying to silence his critics with lawsuits).

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            6. OK, I watched the first 10 minutes, which is all I’m prepared to give this guy.

              Much of it was Peterson telling the truckers to not fuck it up, which is a bit sad as the bulk of the truckers probably know that too well, but as they’ve now attracted a load of alt-right and incel ratbags to their cause (many of them doubtless Peterson fans) things are bound to get out of control regardless of their care and best intentions. If they don’t, those who want to undermine or manipulate them will stage false flag abuses. All perfectly predictable from the nature of the protests. Still, Peterson deserves some credit for at least giving lip service to practical and ethical protest tactics, even if they’ve already been hopelessly undermined by strategic errors on the part of protest organisers.

              He returns to his usual disingenuous form with claims that omicron is just ‘bad flu’ and doesn’t warrant suspension of civil rights. I think it’s perfectly legitimate to argue that trying to save some of those who will die of omicron justifies suspension of some civil rights. Where the balance lies is the question and that should be a matter for public discourse, not dismissed outright as both Peterson and the authorities he argues against do. But Peterson ignores a far more relevant point. The initial omicron wave puts far more strain on public health resources than any seasonal flu since at least 1968, if not 1919. It’s not just ‘flu victims’ who are dying. It’s many others who aren’t receiving adequate and timely care for chronic or acute conditions too. If suspension of civil rights with mask mandates, vaccination mandates and lockdowns flattens the infection curve enough for the public health system to keep functioning it’s gonna save more lives than just those with ‘bad flu’ – including some who really have influenza.

              I haven’t seen/heard Peterson speak since he nearly killed himself with his benzo addiction and I’m a bit shocked at how much rhetorical edge he seems to have lost. He didn’t repeat himself or pause that much a few years ago. Given that he’s a trained and formerly practicing clinical psychologist you’ve gotta wonder about the quality of care his patients received considering he seemed oblivious to the extensive evidence of the dangers of benzodiazepine dependence that has been well documented in journals and textbooks since the early 1980s.

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            7. I’ll buy that Peterson is well steeped in the pseudo-science of clinical psychology.
              I’ll buy that he can easily put a common or garden variety mainstream journalist in his/her place with some basic rhetorical ju-jitsu.

              But he’s completely ignorant of climate science, yet pronounces on it as if he’s an expert.
              Arrogant idiot.
              He knows nothing of shamanism, archeology or molecular biology, but links the fields to make grand pronouncements with all the wisdom and coherence of an Erich von Daniken.
              Arrogant idiot.
              He lacks even a Californian understanding of Buddhism but claims to have special insights into the true meaning of ‘nirvana’.
              Arrogant idiot.
              He thinks you can’t beat an addiction without divine help, despite the millions of people who have.
              Arrogant idiot.
              He applies his pea-brained anthropomorphic notions of social hierarchy to animals – even crustaceans – then reverse engineers his unwarranted assumptions as evidence for his original pea-brained notions.
              Arrogant idiot.

              I could go on and on and on, but suffice to say that if Peterson endorses the Ottawa trucker protests that’s a pretty good prima facie that they’re little more than the stupid grandstanding of self-obsessed fools.

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          1. Thanks for this, Ron.

            I would like to think I try my best to allow reality to arbitrate my beliefs about it. And I have misread the trucker movement. Although outraged at desecration of the War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (my brother-in-law actually worked at not just finding out who this soldier was but alerted the family descendants at his fate), what has not been widely reported is how the truckers themselves responded to these deplorable acts. And that’s where we can find great pride and honour from average trucker movement citizen stepping up and correcting for deplorable behaviour.

            So the important question here is why haven’t these responses been as widely reported as the acts that brought such shame?

            I think the red flag raised over this absence of reporting is quite revealing: why is only one side being spread and who does that serve?

            It’s all too easy to fall into categorizing ‘sides’ and I am as susceptible as the next person. It naturally follows to frame one side as ‘good’ and the other as ‘bad’, frame an issue as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and so on. Mandates certainly fall into this framing. But we also know this kind of framing is not a way to build community nor honour true civil diversity… especially in thought and actions, in opinions and beliefs, and find a way to live harmoniously with such tensions. So such framing I think is deeply counter productive to establishing and maintaining peace, order, and good government in a diverse country. That’s why I think the ‘radical center’ is the way forward, allowing for the tension diversity and differences create and trying to use the middle path to find balance, or correct imbalance, and move on together. This is why the center requires liberal values to be respected for and by all. These common individual liberal values, respected in law and centered on the individual that all of us are in fact, make up the common legal ground necessary for diversity to become a social strength… but a strength probably the most difficult to achieve and maintain when disagreements arise and we revert to tribal Us-Them framing, the Right-Wrong, the Good-Bad framing.

            This is why the role of mainstream media is so important and must be based on freedom of speech to work: to present the facts, the evidence, the real world ingredients necessary to formulate what I consider ‘good’ information (and not some imported narrative) that, after consideration, lets the opinion chips about the facts and evidence fall where they may.

            This is double-edged sword; as more information and facts emerge, it is expected and inevitable that opinions and beliefs should change accordingly if warranted by a change in facts and evidence without this change itself being a reflection of some moral impurity or lack of integrity or character flaw. What is true is that the pandemic has changed in many significant ways and yet responses to it by official policy remain static. I think the ‘why’ has much to do with this tribal approach, this sticking-to-the-narrative-is-more-important-than-adapting-to-changing-circumstances. Change in opinion, belief, and action is often portrayed as being previously wrong, being mistaken, understood and seen by many of being a sign of weakness rather than strength, and so on. But if one cannot change to adapt to change, then one empowers narrative over what’s true. Sticking to out of date policies as a sign of tribal affiliation and political membership on the ‘right’ side is a guaranteed path to fooling one’s self because reality no longer matter. And the reality is that Canadians are not receiving ‘good’ information about how to wind down and remove all the infringements tolerated on their freedoms in the name of successfully navigating this pandemic. The truckers and supporters I think represent this need not being met. And I’m not seeing governments change to meet this very real challenge; instead, I see a narrative hard at work trying to hold back facts and evidence from swaying those whose consent they need to govern.

            I have great faith in Canadians to meet and overcome this deplorable tribal narrative – whether it comes from the extreme Right or Left. I think and hope the middle path will win out in the end and the truckers will be vindicated. The time to get rid of these restrictive public health policies is fast approaching. A smart political leadership would get out front of it rather than try to vilify any who dares dissent from the narrative. Realty, however, and not some weird version of white supremacy and ignoramuses is what is actually dissenting; the only real question is timing and that should be the main focus of discussion.

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            1. A very thoughtful contribution tildeb.

              But I think your hopes for a ‘radical centre’ falls into the same trap it attempts to side-step. A ‘centre’ only exists if a debate can be framed as a uni-dimensional polemic in which there are unambiguous opposites and an empirical way to ‘split the difference’. We’re routinely presented with such metaphors for public debate (e.g. ‘Left vs Right’, ‘Progressive vs Conservative’, ‘Authoritarian vs Libertarian’, ‘Individual vs Collectivea’) but they’re incredibly simplistic and lend themselves to manipulative framing of the issues.

              Firstly the notion that ‘truth lies between the extremes’ is false. A commonly used illustration of the fallacy comes from the historical ‘centrists’ between those advocating abolition of chattel slavery and those arguing for the slave-trading status quo. The ‘centrists’ maintained abolition was utopian, extremist and impractical and that pragmatic moderates should focus on minimising the most blatant human rights abuses of slavery while supporting the institution as a whole. They were both morally and practically wrong. A more recent example is the position of climate action skeptics like Bjorn Lomborg who admit anthropogenic climate change is real but insist actions to mitigate it are unachievable and economically counterproductive. Time will tell if they have a point but I’d suggest their position is poorly supported by evidence and ridiculously risky in the alleged ‘balancing’ of continuous economic growth against the collapse of civilisation. Finding a moderate mid-point between Darwinism and Creationism in Intelligent Design is another example of the fallacy.

              But a more significant point against ‘radical centrism’ is that it’s completely illusory.

              Real public policy decisions aren’t uni-dimensional. They involve balancing many factors off against each other. When you’re talking even two axes of policy debate (e.g. The collectivism vs individualism and authoritarianism vs liberalism that is so often simplified down to a ‘left-right’ political axis) it becomes far from clear where any ‘centre’ might lie. When you add the myriad other axes of public debate (e.g. democracy vs technocracy, safety vs productivity, etc) it’s clear there is no centre.

              Finally the notion of a ‘moderate’ mid-point between extremes is also fallacious and subject to manipulation by those who control public discourse, for example via the Overton window. Non-Americans can see this clearly in US public discourse in which the limits of acceptability are bounded between Republican Trumpists and Progressive Democrats, all of whom uphold an essentially plutocratic capitalist system with only a few minor tweaks at the edges being up for discussion. So the universal healthcare and heavily restricted firearm ownership considered basic commonsense in most industrialised democracies are considered radical and extreme in US public discourse and a middle ground Social Democrat like Bernie Sanders is painted as a left-wing socialist.

              ‘Radical Centrism’ is fanciful because in the vast majority of cases there is no objectively definable centre and even if there is that’s no reason to assume it’s the best way forward. A reductio ad absurdum of the argument would be to change the justice system so that a hung jury resulted in a verdict of ‘partially guilty’ and a sentence reduced in proportion to the number of jurors who found the defendant innocent.

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            2. What you say is true – if political centrism were based on finding a midpoint and sometimes policy is justified this way. As you point out, this can easily have no bearing on any kind of public ‘virtue’ (to borrow a very loose term of adding to the Public Good). That’s why, in order to be successful, radical centrism requires a common foundation of shared values for all, the liberal concept of shared individual rights and freedoms respected and protected in law and legislation. When this is NOT respected, that’s when we actively build much bigger endemic problems that are much harder to ‘solve’ (again, a loose term that indicates meaningfully addressing legitimate grievances) later. Canada in this sense is an excellent example of how the greatest problems today are the natural offspring of failing to include the liberal foundation in whatever ‘balancing’ legislation has been produced. Only with that foundation systemically imbedded can centrism have a very useful and practical role in supporting public ‘virtue’.

              Radical centrism goes a bit further and farther and a political philosophy that is particularly useful (meaning potent over time) in a highly diverse society. And Canada is a highly diverse society that has every reason to fall apart because of significant pressures created by competing differences within and overbearing pressures from without. What has worked for many generations is the slow emergence of radical centrism (that political partisan leadership today after inheriting much success is fast moving away from this core ‘value’ in the name of respecting partisan/group ‘identity’) in practice and in effect. Diversity, inclusion, and equity policies today are literally disastrous to respecting shared individual rights and freedoms in law and highly destructive to promoting shared values. The ideology is incompatible with liberal values across the board. It is – and can only be – a tear down ideology in real world and pragmatic effect.

              For an American equivalent analogy of what radical centrism demands, imagine Trump having to first win a seat from, say, Portland Oregon and Biden having to win a seat in, say, Oklahoma City in order for either to have leadership over their respective parties. Being partisan only to one’s ‘base’ supporters simply won’t work; what each candidate would have to do pragmatically is find and endorse a SHARED platform of real world concerns common to both. Where radical centrism makes a meaningful difference is that we’re no longer using a zero sum framing for issues and practices (the winners and losers mentality for elections); rather, we’re looking for pragmatic and economically beneficial real world solutions for real world problems that have to work in tandem with liberal values for all concerned.

              So, by nature, radical centrism cannot be partisan in practice or policy. That’s the central notion often portrayed about radical centrism as if this means it must be equivalent to an anodyne middle ground between political extremes. But that’s not it! Radical centrism will take ANY idea from ANY source if it’s a GOOD idea that can be pragmatically implemented and offer benefit to many without taking away the shared rights and freedoms from some. This is very hard work with all kinds of legitimate criticisms pointing out shortfalls here and pitfalls there, as well as hindsight criticism that some policy or legislation could have been done better/differently and so on when it comes to implementation and evaluation. And that’s to be both expected and useful. But it does function and it does move everyone along the moral arc of fixing inherited real world problems politically and does so with unsexy plodding success.

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  3. Hello from the UK.

    Many thanks for this post. An interesting discussion in the comments. I am sorry tildeb lacks common sense and observational powers. Perhaps he or she works for big pharma or the government or both. Vaccines are utterly pointless, always were and always will be. You might find the following of interest if I may.

    I have had my fair share of vaccines, including polio I believe. I used to think vaccines were of some use until, at 60 years of age in 2020, I researched properly. I changed my mind.

    Covid 19 is the ‘flu, dressed up as a monster to scare people, re-branded if you will. This helps big pharma etc, control the populace and make more money.

    The ‘flu is the internal toxicosis of the body, mainly via urea, partly due to metabolism of food and partly due to the many poisons in our environment which can and do enter our bodies in the air, food and water. The ‘flu cannot be transmitted to someone else as it is individual to each person.

    Unless your blood is given to someone in a blood transfusion, for example.

    Injecting poisons such as via vaccines merely adds to the toxicosis problem. Vaccines have never been of any use, it is merely that constant and persistent ‘advertising’ persuaded people that they were of use. The various deaths and harm have been well-documented over the decades. It is being documented now.

    Vitamin D deficiency is the true pandemic due to indoor working and living away from the sunshine which, if we do the right thing things, will give us vitamin D (free!). Big pharma etc. are not keen on free as they don’t make much money out of it.

    Vitamin D levels drop in the winter months due to reduced sunshine levels and as any gains in the summer months are depleted.

    Lack of vitamin D causes rickets among other things. Polio was merely rickets re branded again for big pharma to make money. The polio vaccine was pointless. A good dose of vitamin D such as was once given via cod liver oil in a spoon (a disgusting taste I understand). You can now get this in capsule form of course.

    Vaccines are neuro-toxins, if there is anything in them at all, as are most big pharma drugs. Therefore they are at best pointless.

    If your immune system is in good order then by and large you will tolerate a poisonous vaccine. If weakened you will suffer various side effects. If your immune system is very poor you may die.

    Boosting your immune system with vitamin D can go a long way to protecting you against the toxicosis, but vitamin C is very good as an anti-oxidant to help flush the toxins out of your system. By and large you should be able to gain your vitamins etc from good, untainted food. Highly processed foods will not help.

    I have seen the statistics on Australia since February 2020. These show a close correlation between Covid cases and vaccination. It is abundantly clear the vaccines are causing the case numbers rise, as would be expected. Look at other statistics and you will no doubt see the same correlation.

    I have done much on Covid 19 etc., here is my link to my summary. That gives access to the various other issues. I cover the statistics in the UK and USA and recently those in Australia.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/covid-19-summary/

    The following explains the variants.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/2021/12/02/various-variants-covid-19/

    The following explains the media fear campaign.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/2021/09/26/fear-is-the-key/

    It should be noted that fear tends to ‘freeze’ the body’s immune system from functioning correctly and can stop people doing sensible things. Like avoiding having foreign bodies injected into their systems.

    So it is likely that sickness may be due to the vaccines and this would not be surprising of course.

    As regards reasons of variance of symptoms, if any, between those who are vaccinated the problem lies in not knowing what exactly in each vial; sadly people will sell nothing for something and the vial might contain only saline, it is impossible to tell without testing each vial.

    Please note I do use humour as necessary on posts and pages to lighten the mood and help make the points.

    May I take the opportunity to wish you a very happy new year.

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Please note I do use humour as necessary on posts and pages to lighten the mood and help make the points.

      Well you got me. I thought you were serious with this stuff.

      Mind you, the bit about vitamin D isn’t entirely a joke. There’s good evidence vitamin D deficiency is widespread and increases susceptibility to respiratory diseases in general.

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      1. Hello. I was serious, deadly serious, in my comment. But when I write in posts and pages I have to ridicule the ridiculous to show up those who are being foolish about the ‘flu.

        They have, if they are not promoting big pharma’s latest money-making scam, been rightly royally had, and fallen hook, line and sinker for the bait of MSM etc.

        Still, more people are beginning to wake up, but many people will be thoroughly embarrassed at how silly they have been. I woke up in 2020, having been foolish in the matter and not understanding what I should have understood if I had looked at it properly earlier.

        As regards vitamin D, it isn’t a joke at all. It is the primary cause of ‘flu, the influenza, the in flowing poisoning of the body as I have stated. It is very simple.

        Vitamin D is essential for the whole body, protecting against all sorts of diseases, but again the medical establishment don’t want you to know that in case their excessive salaries and pensions are threatened, let alone false profits from useless big pharma drugs.

        As regards humour, they say laughter is the best medicine, so I try my best. It may not suit some, but as I say on my website, there are other establishments.

        Yours
        Baldmichael

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I also receive the annual influenza vaccine, though for the last five years I’ve specifically asked for a placebo … to which I receive a serious look by the nurse, who is not amused by my attempt at humor on the subject.

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        1. I think the way the stats are presented in both your refs are unclear to most people and, again in Topol’s case, likely to mislead.

          A lot of anti-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists so will just assume the stats are concocted by conspirators. When you so often get them presented in obscure and misleading ways it only strengthens their suspicions.

          I think this presentation of Australian data in the Guardian makes it about as clear as it’s possible to be, though representing comparisons of serious illness by time after vaccination/boosting would be a nice addition. Within those limits it’s fairly easy even for people with limited math skills to envisage what’s going on. Of course it won’t change the views of hardcore anti-vaxxers, but I think it’s more likely to help bewildered waverers understand the risks of not vaccinating than a barrage of bar graphs from public health authorities or the misleadingly selected and presented stats preferred by Topol.

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          1. Oh, I’ve been pilloried for daring to use anything from The Guardian, no matter how relevant to an issue! Damn the medium (and the people using it), damn the data donchaknow. This is the bedrock principle of denialism so carefully crafted and executed by the Heartland Institute.

            But yes, data is always framed and interpreted by the nature of whomever selects the axes (not the chopping kind but the plural of axis, just to be clear). These axes are often somewhat confusing if not properly understood to be the bookends of some comparison between this datum axis and that datum axis. I’m sure there are much better graphs but I thought these did the job adequately.

            So the takeaway here is both common sense AND observation clearly and unequivocally show that the non vaxed run a much higher personal risk compared to whatever cohort they may be in who are vaxed by 1, 2 and 3 doses, which leads to a higher rate of getting infected, getting more complex symptoms, requiring longer hospital treatments, as well as a higher rate of long COVID, and a higher rate of death from equivalent cohorts that are vaxed. Just to remind readers, I think evaluating risk and what that level may be to each of us deciding how to address this pandemic is a personal decision as well as a social one, but one that I think can be informed only by facts and not improved by some imported ideology – especially one crafted by the Heartland’s Merchants of Doubt that passes so easily as ‘skeptical’ rather than what it is: a tactic used to deny reality.

            In addition, what I thought was interesting with the first version was the introduction of using data to estimate what the rates would be without any vaccination at all (those numbers would go straight to the heart of comparing and contrasting accurately). That comparison would dismantle the idea that omicron is somehow less dangerous than previous variants as our host presumes (because unlike others VOCs it doesn’t infect lung tissue to the same degree but – and this is a big but – it is WAY more infectious, so we get greater numbers of infections, and so the cumulative harm is at least AS dangerous). We don’t encounter this estimated protection and mitigation aspect very often (because it’s projected) but it really does inform the social aspect of submitting to vaccinations to aid others. Whether this equals or outweighs the personal risk isn’t the point; that it IS a fact, a very real issue, means we should consider getting vaxed as part of our social duty to others rather than focus only on ourselves and our personal level of acceptable risk as if this alone was the concern being ‘abused’ and ‘infringed upon’ by public health policies.

            This notion, for example, that omicron is ‘less severe’ and therefore equivalent to a “common irritant” as Jim describes it to be is due very much to vaccination walls (no matter how porous or ‘leaky’ they may be) mitigating to some extent what could have been if there had been no vaccinations at all and we were reliant solely on personal immune systems.

            Also very often lost on those who question the role vaccination plays is the role the reduced spread and infection – and all the effects getting COVID can produce – by those who are vaxed. How much or how little this plays on how much reduction they have helped bring about would go a long way to justifying its widespread (and even mandated) use. I would imagine the numbers produced by estimating the hard numbers ‘saved’ from elevating these cases would be orders of magnitude greater than what we are actually seeing… if all of us decided vaccinations over the past year were a waste of time, money, and effort and forced everyone to rely solely on our immune responses. That number, I suspect, would shock people. But until we have them in the rear view mirror, we’re left with using the data we do have presented in ways that are up to those creating the graphs. But the conclusion is unequivocal if we honestly want to find out if vaccination overall reduces the total amount of harm this pandemic presents.

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            1. I’ve been pilloried for daring to use anything from The Guardian, no matter how relevant to an issue! Damn the medium

              Yeah, I can understand that. The Guardian is definitely an outlet for some pretty blatant propaganda and hypocrisy, as their current coverage of the Ukraine demonstrates yet again. A lot of it’s due to cost-cutting churnalism – it’s easier and cheaper to work a State Department briefing or drug company press release up into an article than to have skeptical reporters searching out and analysing facts for themselves – but a lot of it reflects obvious corporate and culture war agendas that are just as biased as those of Fox News.

              It’s precisely because there’s so much bullshit masquerading as inside information that we’ve got the sort of environment in which anti-vax and QAnon nonsense can flourish. If you’ve only got lies and distortions to choose from you might as well go with the most entertaining stuff. That’s one reason I’m more down on people like Eric Topol than Joe Rogan. I don’t care if liars bring already disreputable positions into further disrepute, but the ones who put bullshit spins on important information and drag it down into the gutter with the nonsense really piss me off.

              Then when an outlet with a recent history as unsavoury as the Guardian’s comes out with something important, relevant and true it just becomes ammo for partisan sniping rather than something everyone can use to better inform themselves.

              as well as a higher rate of long COVID

              I don’t think the data shows that unless you define ‘Long Covid’ as being acute Covid symptoms that extend beyond 28 days when some patients – especially the unvaxxed – still won’t have cleared the virus. Unless/until there’s a widely accepted definition of Long Covid – which I would suggest should never be diagnosed in someone with detectable virus – I think most of the data we get about it will be garbage. If you’ve still got the virus it’s not Long Covid, it’s just Covid.

              That comparison would dismantle the idea that omicron is somehow less dangerous than previous variants as our host presumes (because unlike others VOCs it doesn’t infect lung tissue to the same degree but – and this is a big but – it is WAY more infectious, so we get greater numbers of infections

              That applies now, with the available data coming from countries still gripped by the initial omicron wave, but as new infections drop steeply – as they’ve already done in the first places affected – the serious illness and mortality figures will also drop. Unless more lethal and immunity evading VOCs emerge this year I’d suggest the 12 month Covid mortality for 2022 will be much lower than for 2021, it’s just that most of it will be in the first few months. I’d also suggest it will be a lot lower than it would have been had omicron not displaced delta, in both vaxxed and unvaxxed populations.

              That too is an example of deceptive use of data aimed at panicking or bullying the public. Most of the health professionals claiming omicron is just as dangerous as other VOCs due to its increased transmissibility know perfectly well that’s a misleading statement. People will remember it when mortality rates decline and will be less likely to believe future claims by public health officials. Ever since the pandemic started there’s been a consistent pattern of official use of data in an attempt to manipulate the public rather than inform them. We’re all paying the price in uninformed and often unwarranted skepticism but officials are showing no sign of changing their ways.

              Fauci has admitted he lied at the start of the pandemic with claims masks weren’t effective then lied again with claims about achieving herd immunity with vaccines, yet he still expects people to take him at his word. We can’t expect medical researchers and professionals whose livelihoods depend on the likes of Pfizer to be truthful but maybe it’s time the ones who are funded by taxpayers started being honest with us, though admittedly it’s gonna take a long time to repair the damage they’ve already done to their credibility.

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            2. “it (death toll) will be a lot lower than it would have been had omicron not displaced delta, in both vaxxed and unvaxxed populations.”

              As strange as it may sound, this is exactly right and the upside to the omicron wave: displacing delta. And with incredible speed and scope, too. I’ve read many comments by virologists and epidemiologists who have pointed this out and that this replacement by a virus that doesn’t damage lung tissue anywhere near to the same extent as delta IS an overall benefit of significance. But the point seems to gain zero traction with either public health messaging when that messaging is actually useful and timely or the MSM (justifiably charged with using and spreading pandemic porn for self promotion). Yet this omicron wave is why vaccination remains a potent tool not to eliminate vulnerability to getting COVID with omicron but as way to vastly mitigate its more serious consequences (and it seems to shorten the duration time of replication) when infection does occurs (which, in turn, is really the main driver behind reducing cases of long COVID with this variant).

              So the replacement of delta by omicron is the reason why I think we’re on the backside of this pandemic and that a return to ‘normal’ (meaning we treat SARS-CoV-2 as endemic) is much sooner than many might presume because of the speed and scope of omicron, especially in vaxxed populations/countries. The other benefit is that a focus can shift to getting billions of doses to the rest of the world this year. We have an opportunity through omicron to get a lid on SARS-CoV-2.

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      1. I think I’ll start demanding the Australian government initiates a mass distribution program. We have socialised medicine here, so it should be free.
        Might have to implement strong cannabis mandates to bring the anti-stoners into line.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s pretty bad. All these failed attempts to control this should make you wonder if the “experts” have done even one thing right in this pandemic? Cite whatever you want, but this is a top to bottom failure that you are still trusting.

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        1. this is a top to bottom failure

          Not a problem. The worse the clusterfuck, the more we vilify scapegoats. It’s a tried and true solution.

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            1. If the UK and SA are anything to go by the US will be hitting peak omicron any day now and will soon start to see a steep drop off in new cases. Of course with less than a quarter of the population boosted the pro-vaxxers will still be quick to claim credit and the media won’t question the lack of evidence to support their claim.

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            2. The lack of evidence is not true; it’s glaring. That you refuse to see it or understand why belongs solely to you.

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            3. Well yeah tildeb, I must admit vaccines are so good they even crashed the South African omicron wave before they were administered. Doubtless it’s the boosters and omicron specific vaccines still not administered in the US that’s flattening the wave there too. They must put positrons in that stuff.

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            4. Are you talking about the significantly higher death and hospitalisation rates in the US during both the delta and omicron waves than in countries with lower vaccination rates?
              Yeah, I noticed that too.
              I wouldn’t necessarily blame the vaccines though tildeb. We all know the US has a third world health system alongside high levels of imprisonment, obesity, substance abuse and chronic illness. At least if they die of Covid the police can’t kill them.

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            5. Yes, COVID cases have blown up due to omicron, but the rate of hospitalization and deaths has tanked BECAUSE of vaccination. That’s why vaccination remains our primary defense and why the insistence to get vaccinated for the good of everyone is growing louder and louder.

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            6. Thanks tildeb.
              I rarely see my predictions confirmed so quickly.
              Maybe you should hold off for a while next time. We don’t want people thinking I’m paying you.

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            7. That’s one explanation. But a more plausible one is that hospitalization and death rates have tanked because pretty much everyone has already had the coof in some form or another and recovered, regardless of their big pharma injection status.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. It does seem the frantic overreach by official to to something, anything, when sometimes less is better. Not everything can be fixed, nor can all the variables in any situation be accounted for.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A contrarion concern is vaccine escape and possibly even ADE type effects where the vaccinated would become more ill than the unvaccinated, when infected with an escape variant.
    That would be a worse case scenario.

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    1. Everyone has concerns, Monica, but we cannot let those concerns overwhelm us BEFORE they happen! The human race has not survived this long by being afraid of fear. Let fear be your motivator, not your cause to shut down. There are millions of ways things can get worse, which is what should be inspiring us to find the one way that will let us move forward…
      Thé vaccines turning on the vaccinated is not a worst case scenario. Worst case is that the human race dies off because we cannot work together to save as many as possible! And that comes from human stupidity!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. rawgod, in this case with Covid, you are extremely ill informed. it sounds like you are unaware that, at present, there are more vaccinated people in ICU than non-vaccinated people. and you say there is ‘no good reason not to take the vaccine.’

        here, from gov of Ontario

        https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data/hospitalizations

        and, no, taking decisions based on fear is never a sound way to take decisions, but this is exactly how our govt’s want us to rush to get their ‘jab’, and this is in no way for my Best Benefit.

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            1. Some of the reasoning used in immunology is baffling. The vaccination is a single point of immunity that is easily worked around by the virus yet enough for the body to sort of get it, enough to stay out of the hospital, supposedly better than a natural broad based immunity at preventing variants. Seem the opposite would be true.

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            2. exactly! the vaccines are being compared to enforced no prophylaxis, and enforced no early treatment.

              like simple Vit D, for starters, for c&%p sakes!

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Pills 💊 are the norm. I used to give many of my type 2 diabetic patients a lesson, mild exercise 3x a week, lose 10% of your body weight, and choose a healthy diet. I can’t remember one that accepted that as their new norm—just give me the pills. Crazy lazy world we live in, but so what? Without lousy patients we’d be low on customers.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. horrible! you have no idea how against a yogic lifestyle this is. where sunshine and deep breathing is the only medicine one should take.

              very dark times, my friend!

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          1. currently, there are more vaccinated people in ICU.

            also, hospitals were on the bink of collapsing way before covid. this is an issue for the gov to solve, not the general public. they had, how many ‘waves’ by now, to learn that lesson??

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Not quite, Monica, unless you are looking at local area stats. More vaccinated people have Covid because there are more vaccinated people than unvaccinated. As far as hospitalized people, the numbers are close to 50/50, though using the numbers of vaxxed vs unvaxxed, more unvaxxed relatively speaking are in hospitals than the vaxxed. BUT, when it comes to the ICUs, the unvaxxed are much more prevalent than the vaxxed.
          We all know that on the Internet you can find the numbers to prove your side of a conversation SOMEWHERE! But when you add up the numbers from everywhere, people are still better off vaxxed than unvaxxed. ALSO, with the lack of real numbers due to the lack of proper testing kits, we have no idea of the actual stats, no matter what side you are on.
          Instead of looking for those “facts” that back up your position, try looking at the facts from all over the world. Then you might see the truth. Peace, my friend. All I am asking is that you make up your mind for yourself, and act accordingly. And allow everyone else to make up their minds for themselves. Be you, don’t try to be me.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. “…you are extremely ill informed. it sounds like you are unaware that, at present, there are more vaccinated people in ICU than non-vaccinated people.”

          This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the vaccinated are the majority of the population.

          According to the government of Ontario website you referenced, as of today (Jan 15 2022) there are 196 ICU cases of vaccinated people and 195 cases in ICU of unvaccinated people, and 17 who are partially vaccinated. Also, according to this site Ontario has a fully vaccinated rate of 77.77%, and 81.698% of eligible people have been vaccinated.

          In other words, somewhere around 20-25% of the population is using almost half of the ICU beds. The fact is that the unvaccinated are over-represented in ICU’s and hospital admissions for COVID. Those with a single dose are also over-represented, but not as badly as those who are unvaccinated.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Can people please be reasonable. Sorry, Jim, but let the anti-vaxxers die off if that is what they want. No, the vaccinés are not perfect, Covid has not given us the time to perfect them. But they seem to help, at least to mitigate the deadliness of the disease, so why not use them? What is it anti-vaxxers are afraid of? Staying healthy?

    Having had Covid does not prevent people from getting Covid a second or even a third time, according to the news articles I have read. They can even re-get the same variant, it seems. It sounds cruel, but people are going to keep on dying from Covid as long as there are contagious variants around. Some viruses (other diseases) actually mutate themselves out of business. This IS, our best hope of defeating Covid–not what humans do, but what the virus does. Or given another 20 or so years, humans might come up with an effective and efficient vaccine, should we survive that long!
    But there is really NO GOOD REASON NOT TO TAKE THE VACCINES WE DO HAVE,

    And even worse is trying to convince other people not to take them either. Like religion, vaccines are a personal choice today, SO CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF. That is apparently now your right. But if you choose not to vaccinate, and end up going to a hospital for help, I hope they send you back home until you get to the point you need serious medical help. It was you who made the choice, so why should you take beds from people who at least tried to care for themselves AND THOSE AROUND THEM.

    None of this is what I set out to say, this all comes from the back and forth on your comment section. What I really wanted to say was COVID IS NOW WITH US AND WILL BE FOR A LONG LONG TIME. Sure, it would be nice to have a “healthy” Health System again, but with all the medical people having the Virus the health system is going to get worse until it collapses of its own dead weight. The education system is going to collapse. The government is going to collapse. And so is the economy. THESE THINGS ARE NOT SALVAGEABLE IF WE DO NOT TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES FIRST. “THIS IS THE NEW NORMA.” EITHER LIVE WITH IT, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THOSE WHO WANT TO TRY,”
    Fighting amongst ourselves is doing none of us any favours. Man up, or man down!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. It ain’t no big thing. The virus is taking its place as a common irritant. Let’s stop overreacting and get on with living.

    With good luck and much better management than we’ve seen so far you might be right about that in a couple of years, but considering the ongoing Covid mortality and morbidity rates and what it’s doing to already overstressed and underfunded health systems that statement is premature, ill-conceived and callous.

    It looks to me that omicron is a game changer that gives hope Covid will eventually become just another common cold coronavirus but we sure ain’t there yet, especially as we still don’t know much about its longer term effects such as long Covid, organ (especially neurological) damage or increased cancer risk.

    But there’s definitely some disease management strategies that have run their course and need urgent changes.

    The first is large scale rollouts of leaky vaccines. They’re not economically or medically sustainable and will promote the emergence of new variants and lead to widespread immune system fatigue. There’s probably still a case for carefully targeted vaccination of small numbers of closely monitored, highly vulnerable people. There’s also a case for mass production of an omicron specific vaccine to be held in reserve in case a more lethal variant emerges from omicron, with a priority on ring vaccination rather than mass vaccination strategies to control it when possible.

    Resources should be moved away from researching, manufacturing and distributing vaccines towards –
    1. Treatments for Covid once it’s been contracted.
    2. Increasing the capacity and resilience of public health systems.
    3. Monitoring Covid variants in the population, especially with a view to promptly identifying new ones wherever in the world they emerge.
    4. Researching diagnostics and treatments for long Covid.
    5. Researching and monitoring other long term effects of both Covid and its vaccines and treatments.
    6. Examining the efficacy of other Covid control measures, such as mask mandates and lockdowns, and seeking community consensus as to when and how they should be implemented. This will pay big medium-long term dividends as other pandemics emerge in coming decades.

    But given the huge profits being made by some vaccine manufacturers and their ability and willingness to shape policy and public discourse I don’t expect to see such changes until the damage done by ‘steady as she goes’ policies have become severe and undeniable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Resources should be moved away from researching, manufacturing and distributing vaccines towards –
      1. Treatments for Covid once it’s been contracted.”

      This seems silly to me. The cost of getting the jab is rather small, and has been established to provide extremely good protection against hospitalization and death, while reducing overall symptoms of infection. For their overall low cost this is, in my opinion, the most cost effective ways of protecting people from this virus.

      Monoclonal antibody treatments are extremely expensive, and with the recent rise in hospitalizations the supply is running short. They’re also a far more experimental treatment, and don’t seem to be terribly effective. The most promising alternative treatment seems to be antivirals, but they’re most effective the earlier you start taking them, and they’re expected to cost around $500/course.

      It would seem that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.

      “3. Monitoring Covid variants in the population, especially with a view to promptly identifying new ones wherever in the world they emerge.”

      Isn’t this already happening? Isn’t that why the WHO has a list of variants of concern?

      “4.Researching diagnostics and treatments for long Covid.”

      There seems to be plenty of evidence suggesting that vaccinations provide some protective effects against long COVID. Namely that people who have more severe symptoms of COVID appear to be more likely to develop long COVID. We should still be looking for ways to treat it, but vaccination seems to be a good way to prevent it in the first place!

      “…I don’t expect to see such changes until the damage done by ‘steady as she goes’ policies have become severe and undeniable”

      Vaccines work and have some of the lowest risk of side effects of all medicines out there. I don’t know what “damage” you think vaccines are causing compared to the massive risks that arise from becoming infected.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It would seem that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.

        Unless an unheralded breakthrough in vaccine technologies arrives we’re well into the area of diminishing returns with vaccines. Vaccinating people every few months with leaky vaccines is neither medically nor economically sustainable and it promotes the emergence of new variants.

        Treatments may be expensive per patient for now (though I’m sure they’ll come down) but they only need to be used on those who develop serious illness (in the case of omicron that’s a very small proportion of those who contract it). Vaccines have to be used on almost everyone. I haven’t done the math but I’d be pretty surprised if mass vaccination is cheaper than targeted treatment.

        Isn’t this already happening? Isn’t that why the WHO has a list of variants of concern?

        Seems not. No-one knew omicron even existed until it had already spread across much of the world. The long lineage it must have emerged from to have so many successful mutations still hasn’t been detected.

        Namely that people who have more severe symptoms of COVID appear to be more likely to develop long COVID.

        Do they?

        This quote is from an old study with a small sample size –
        “Persistent symptoms following COVID-19 infection are prevalent, debilitating and appear to affect individuals regardless of acute infection severity or prior health status.”
        If you know of better studies supporting your claim please post a link. I’m always keen to learn.

        I don’t know what “damage” you think vaccines are causing compared to the massive risks that arise from becoming infected.

        The main damage I’m anticipating arises from the many animal studies showing leaky vaccines (such as all current Covid vaccines) promote the emergence of more virulent and contagious variants. We seem to have got lucky with omicron in that appears to be the mildest and most contagious variant to date and contracting it provides excellent protection against more lethal known variants, albeit probably only for a few months as per the vaccines. Omicron has already driven delta to near extinction in all regions where it dominates.

        Pfizer is promising to roll out an omicron specific vaccine by April. If used for mass vaccination it will promote the emergence of new variants while suppressing omicron, giving new VOCs the opportunity to become dominant. It’s not very likely those variants will be as mild as omicron but it is likely they’ll be able to evade existing vaccines as successfully as omicron evaded delta vaccines.

        Fancy a VOC as contagious as omicron and as deadly as delta with effective vaccines for it still months away?

        I’m also concerned that even in the absence of new VOCs, the multiple vaccinations per year required to maintain immunity will lead to widespread immune system fatigue. This is unlikely to be of much concern to the young and healthy but to the elderly, immunocompromised and those with existing chronic viral infections like HIV, HCV and herpes it will lead to reduced immune response to both Covid and other pathogens – including the viruses they’re already infected with. The other seasonal vaccinations such people require – such

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        1. “… it (a targeted omicron vaccine) will promote the emergence of new variants.”

          Straight up bullshit. A vaccine that reduces omicron infection reduces transmission, which reduces replication, which reduces mutation. Virology 101. Claiming vaccination promotes new variants is exactly and factually wrong. It reduces it.

          Liked by 3 people

            1. Again and again, I keep pointing out how you interpret information is often problematic. Case in point here: that segment of unvaccinated taking up hospital resources is 17 times greater than the vaccinated. The breakthrough cases are from about 90% of the population, whereas the cases from the vaccinated are from about 10%, which itself is misleading because about 9% of the unvaccinated are children who cannot get vaccinated! So being unvaccinated by choice elevates your risk massively if you do get infected to need much more than one’s ‘fair share’ of healthcare resources. That’s what this chart ACTUALLY shows.

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            2. Yes, more people from the vaccinated it’s true! But at a massively reduced RATE.

              I keep saying ‘rate’ but I don’t think you’re grasping what this means. There should be the same ratio of ICU to vaxed and unvaxed if vaccination didn’t matter to people getting complex symptoms due to, say, comorbidity that Ron keeps yammering about, but we see in fact is ~17 times more unvaxed in ICUs by rate. That’s the point – the different RATE – when talking about a disproportionate use of health care resources for the unvaxed compared to the vaxed (even though comorbidity is common to both these groupings).

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            3. boys! in this case, tildeb has a point.

              but there’s a catch: the dataset from which jim posted the Ontario numbers shows total new (non-hospitalized) cases = 10,964. new (non-hospitalized) cases vaxxed: 8,518 (78%); new non-hosp cases unvaxxed = 1,458 (13%). the percentages roughly correspond to the proportions of vaxxed (roughly 80%) vs unvaxxed (roughly 10%).

              as tildeb indicated the same proportions exist in jim’s pie chart of in-hospital cases. the point is that the numbers are showing that vaxx and unvaxxed have about the same risk of getting into hospital.

              what is not shown in jim’s post is that the same data indicates that in ICU there are 181 patients fully vaxxed and 165 unvaxxed. here the numbers are telling a different story.

              however, it’s irresponsible to say for sure since the numbers of ICU partially vaxxed and unknown vax status are larger than the 181 and 165 indicated.

              conclusion: 1. we certainly can’t blame ICU overburden on the unvaxxed
              2.there are worrying signs that the vaccines are failing!

              Liked by 1 person

          1. Another example of you not knowing what you’re talking about tildeb. I’ve already explained several times why mutation rate VOC emergence rate, but I’m going to try one more time to make it so simple perhaps even a tildeb could understand it.

            If mutations are what lead to the development of virulent new subspecies, why aren’t those who live near Chernobyl being overrun with 1950s sci-fi horror mutants?

            It’s the environment that determines which mutations will proliferate tildeb. Now think about what sort of environment leaky vaccines create in infected vaccinated individuals and therefore what sort of mutations among the many billions of viral replications that occur as they hit peak viral load will be the winners in the natural selection stakes.

            Or to make it even simpler for you. We know from decades of hard experience that widespread use of leaky vaccines in livestock leads to the emergence of more virulent and contagious disease variants. Why should we expect to get a different result in humans?

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            1. Maybe you can fool some of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you obviously do not understand virology enough to claim I am the ignorant one. You say that you’ve “already explained several times why mutation rate VOC emergence rate,” without indicating you actually understand how this happens with COVID.

              I do know that unlike avian flu, SARS-CoV-2 can’t reassort. And I get this information from people like Dr Angela Rasmussen who teaches virology at the university of Saskatchewan. To paraphrase her, she says that SARS-CoV-2 can recombine with another variant but we haven’t seen much evidence of that. So SARS-CoV-2 is less likely to undergo antigenic shift, which is what you – whether you know it or not – are really talking about in your reference to the environment dictating mutation.

              Well, yes, the environment does matter a great deal… but not in the way you think it does. In reference to SARS-CoV-2, we really are talking about greater numbers = greater chances for mutation. It’s just that simple because that’s how this virus mutates. Not because I think so but because virologists tell us this is the case. That’s the environment where VOC arise – from infected people and NOT from vaccinated populations. The data on this is very clear.

              You are referencing apples while I’m referencing oranges. What you are referencing are other kinds of flus that are unlike SARS-CoV-2. Influenza generally has a segmented genome, for example, so if there is a co-infection with another flu virus in the same host, the genome can reassort like shuffling 2 decks of cards together. Again, I get this information from people like Dr Eric Topol, who is also a virologist and also teaches. This is how antigenic shift occurs. That’s not the case with COVID.

              But we also know there are thousands of flu strains and subtypes that acquire mutations as they spread through different host populations. Antigenic drift, therefore, is a normal feature of all RNA viruses. What people like Jim and Ron fail to grasp is that this drift doesn’t make them “safer” compared to shifting even if they don’t understand where they are getting this argument from… other than some medical people in all likelihood. However, the fatal flaw in this argument isn’t even the relative likelihood of either drift or shift. It’s the fact that these both only occur when there is viral replication. More transmission = more replication. That’s where mutation for COVID VOC arise. “Speeding the spread” is how all viral evolution happens in reality.

              back to the virologists, antigenic drift and shift are real things. Drift is the general process by which mutations accumulate and does occur slower than shift, which is a rapid and drastic change in a virus antigen (molecule recognized by the immune system). You contend that vaccinations prevent our immune systems from adjusting gradually to emerging variants (“antigenic drift”), forcing the virus to undergo dramatic changes as far as our immune system is concerned (“antigenic shift”) leading to more harmful variants that are ‘produced’ by vaccinated people. You probably don’t even realize this is the basis of your argument. But this is simply not true regarding COVID no matter how strong an argument YOU think this appears to YOU. That’s why we – me AND you – should rely on real virologists, real experts, and not the opinions of thee and me searching out bits a pieces of data that seem to fit our beliefs and or opinions. That’s why I urge people to not think opinions and beliefs of any one individual is convincing (and that certainly includes me); rather, listen to people whose job it is to teach people to become virologists. Those are the points I am trying to pass along as ‘good’ information. That’s it. That’s the whole ball of wax.

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            2. You say that you’ve “already explained several times why mutation rate VOC emergence rate,” without indicating you actually understand how this happens with COVID.

              That should have read “already explained several times why mutation rate is not equal to VOC emergence rate” but I absent-mindedly used characters wordpress interprets as html and edits out. My bad. Sorry if my error deepened your already profound confusion.

              The rest of your comment is classic tildeb. I’m growing quite fond of the absurdity of it.

              Firstly you willfully or otherwise utterly fail to grasp a straightforward point I make despite others having little trouble understanding it. I’m sorry I assume some capacity for reasoned thinking in my audience tildeb – it must be hard on you – but I really don’t know any other way to communicate concepts others don’t already understand.

              Then you head off on a wild tangent spraying irrelevent factoids out in all directions for little apparent reason other than the opportunity it gives you to pretend your opinions align with those of experts.

              In regards to my explanation, it is of zero consequence whether or not Covid can reassort. I have never asserted it to be a source of altered genes in VOCs. There may be a few simple ones arising from random mutations at the amino base level but by far the most significant source of acquired genetic change in Covid from now on will be horizontal gene transfer, such as the one that got omicron the shiny new ins214EPE gene in its spike protein sequence. Well, second-hand actually. Some believe it was picked up in a HIV coinfected cell. I leave it to you to contemplate what other juicy genes Covid might acquire from HIV – if you can get your head out of your reassortment long enough to do so.

              But as I said before, mutation numbers per se have very little impact on the likelihood of a new VOC.

              Maximum viral load is about the same in vaccinated Covid patients as in unvaccinated ones. To get there an initially tiny number of infecting virons – theoretically as few as one – have to replicate themselves up to around 10^10 copies and about 10^6 infected cells. That’s plenty of opportunities for mutations to emerge, but of course most of them will offer no selection advantage and simply die out.

              In order to produce a VOC the mutated virons must constitute a significant enough proportion of the viral load – especially the infecting virons in respiratory tissue which accounts for over 90% of that load – that they are well represented in the live virons shed by the host. If only 0.1% of the shed virons are mutated there is very little chance they’ll find new hosts and eventually become a VOC.

              Unvaccinated Covid patients maintain high viral loads for longer than vaccinated ones, but that’s unlikely to matter unless the mutation confers a mighty selection advantage. New mutations that emerge when there are already 10^10 copies to compete with are unlikely to reach a significant proportion of virons before the disease is cleared and they go extinct.

              Far more important is the earliest stage of infection when the viral load is still climbing. If the new mutation only has a million or so copies to compete against it will only take a relatively minor selection advantage for it to become a major contributor to the 10^10 population at full viral load.

              What would offer such a selection advantage?

              Well, the (literal) key to replication success is the spike protein which gains the viron access to the cell it must use to replicate itself. But most mutations on the spike protein won’t improve access to the cell, so won’t result in an advantage. But in a vaccinated individual mutations on the spike offer another kind of selection advantage.

              In the early stages of infection, immune response in the vaccinated is driven primarily by spike protein antibodies resulting from vaccination. Only after the immune system has mounted its native response to the invaders will it start producing antibodies to other capsid proteins. So at that critical early stage of infection a spike protein mutation will reduce the viron’s vulnerability to antibodies. The more mutations – such as from a major horizontal transfer – the greater reduction in vulnerability. That will give it a crucial early replication advantage over its ancestor variant and greatly increase the chance it will reach the viral load threshold necessary to become a VOC.

              I know you still don’t understand tildeb. I might as well try to teach my pet rabbit to pilot a plane. But hopefully any others reading this will gain some insight into how VOCs emerge and recognise how irrelevant the blathering of your previous comment was.

              Bottom line: Mutation counts are relatively unimportant in the emergence of VOCs. Selection advantages are much more important. Leaky spike protein vaccines provide excellent environments in which mutations can provide selection advantages.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Applause

              In the same way people are convinced that implementing and supporting race-based practices will magically reduce racism in spite of all evidence to the contrary, you are convinced that vaccines will cause ever more deadly variants in spite of all evidence to the contrary!

              Oh well done, cabrogal! You even make it sound sciencey!

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            4. you are convinced that vaccines will cause ever more deadly variants in spite of all evidence to the contrary!

              Here’s my evidence.
              Now show me yours.
              Oh, sorry tildeb. I just asked a blind man to point at the moon.

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            5. Your evidence is true for viruses that can be ‘shuffled’ – like kinds of influenza as I’ve already explained. I’m not disagreeing. Of course, you PRESUME I am because I keep saying….

              But this is NOT the case for COVID according to virologists who study such things. And it’s not the case BECAUSE they explain that, unlike the flus YOU are talking about, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can’t reassort, which is what your referred study is talking about. Remember I already said ‘apples and oranges’? I’m trying my best to clarify why what you’re saying in regards to vaccination and the rise of VOC with COVID is not the case. This has nothing to do with me as the delivery vehicle (other than I sincerely wish I could do a better job of it).

              That’s EXACTLY what going on here with the explanations about ‘leaky vaccines’ you’ve raised over and over and over and over and over again. Who else here is trying to correct your misinformation when it comes to COVID and the vaccination program to address it?

              * crickets*

              And it’s misinformation regarding COVID because it’s not RELEVANT regarding mutations for COVID!

              And it’s not relevant not because I say so but because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself determines this is not how it mutates into a VOC. That’s why I’ve already addressed this issue by importing what some of the ‘authorities’ say about this difference… not that you grasp it IS a difference worth mentioning, of course, because you keep putting yourself above me as if that translates into having better information than these authorities do!

              That’s unbelievable hubris on your part and a tactic that uses knocking me down to try to elevate yourself. That’s why I say you’re a piece of work because this tactic leads to promoting misinformation. That’s why I care.

              What you really care about is not to better understand why or how these authorities disagree with your understanding about COVID and how mutations arise in reality (which is what I do care about in doing my part to try to spread good information about the importance of vaccination addressing this pandemic) but a vehicle you keep using to try to smear and vilify me to feel better about yourself. That’s not a sign of mental and emotional stability. That’s why I keep telling you to fuck off doing this, that I am neither the source of your emotional challenges nor the punching bag solution to them.

              Unbelievable as it may sound, you do NOT know more about virology and epidemiology than than the sources I use and have mentioned throughout this thread, and that’s why I say you’re trying to fool people here into believing your opinion is superior to my opinion and therefore superior to what I pass along. That is dishonest. So go read articles and posts and twitter and commentary and feeds by virologists and epidemiologists and learn from them why misinformation like the kind you practice here is such an obstacle to good public health practices like getting vaxed.

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            6. Unbelievable as it may sound, you do NOT know more about virology and epidemiology than than the sources I use and have mentioned throughout this thread

              What I don’t know is whether you are so utterly uncomprehending of the sources you cite that you sincerely think they support your arguments or whether you just cynically invoke them to attempt to avoid responsibility for opinions you know you can’t defend (i.e. the Eichmann ‘defence’ – you’re just following the dictates of authority).

              Are you trying to suggest Covid is incapable of horizontal gene transfer?
              Because if you are I defy you to point to a single authority who agrees with you. I’m happy to point you to several who disagree.

              If you’re limiting your claim to ‘mutations’ caused by the shuffled recombination of parental genes then you’re right, I’m not sure whether or not Covid is capable of this. But don’t you think the onus is on you to either explain why that’s at all relevant as to whether leaky vaccines will encourage VOCs or at least point to an ‘expert’ who does? Because to me that just looks like another one of your beloved non sequiturs where you pull an irrelevant factoid into an argument and claim you’ve made a killer point when you’ve done no such thing. I’m not sure if you’re just trolling or whether your thinking is truly that disordered.

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            7. This goes back to how variants of COVID evolve and why virologists understand why and how they emerge from greater numbers of infected people and not vaccinated populations, which is why vaccination is the key defense. It didn’t have to be this way. It just is this way.

              There was an article from the Wall Street Journal suggesting greater speed of infection (get through it faster) would reduce the likelihood of variants arising. In response, a virologist I follow (I follow dozens) explained why this model (that is very similar to the one you think is correct) was wrong and how it fits with addressing similar misinformation you think represents a better understanding of how mutations arise. That’s in part what I’ve been using here to explain why your take on it is not the case for COVID. Follow the thread here.

              If you still have questions, rather than waste time attacking my character, look at the relevant public health data about variants generally and omicron specifically, particularly by Meaghan Krall out of the UK. She is excellent. If you want to see how this plays out in real world data, follow Eric Topol, which I’ve been doing since 2020 and he’ll keep you up to date and help point to basically every study produced with as up to date information as anyone has.

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            8. that is very similar to the one you think is correct

              It is?
              By what metric?
              It seems pretty clear to me that the more people there are infected with Covid the faster variants will tend to emerge (all else being equal). But it’s equally clear to me that more VOCs will emerge the higher the proportion of the infected are vaccinated against current variants. Simple Darwinism. Well, simple for people capable of assembling relevant facts to arrived at reasoned conclusions at least. I guess seems like magic to you. And as you don’t believe in magic you don’t believe in reasoned thinking.

              Follow the thread here.

              I ask for evidence to support your cockamamie assertions about viral evolution and you offer a twitter feed?
              Is it peer reviewed?

              Don’t you think it’s time you put up or shut up?

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            9. Yes, I do offer these feeds because from them – hosted by real virologists and epidemiologists of high professional standards from their peers – you can gain access to not only the most up to date and recent findings but follow the discussions and the interpretations of data from studies and ongoing communication between these professionals. Not all, of course, but a pretty good idea of what’s emerging in importance. You can see their commentary about articles and follow the data they use to see if their evaluations have proven to be the case. You can then gain access to their peers from around the globe and read for yourself what conclusions are being advanced and why and then follow how these bear out. In this fashion you can also benefit from a very wide variety of virologists and epidemiologists and their expertise evaluating what data is ‘good’ and what is not. Of course, you already know everything and to a greater degree than any of these people that I use to pass along their explanations, so no, I don’t expect you to find anything anyone says that disagree with you to be of any value whatsoever. That’s why you don’t address the facts I pass along but pretend the messenger is full of shit.

              I have used the thread I mentioned and explained using the proffered comments why your position on vaccinations that you insist elevates the risk of COVID VOC is not IN FACT not the case. That’s all I can do. What you do with that is up to you. But you are foolish beyond measure to dismiss these facts and think you know better, even if you can convince some readers here that you actually know better than these renowned and oft cited virologists and epidemiologists by pretending any disagreement belongs only with me. That’s straight up misinformation.

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            10. You may have heard the law of the academic jungle is “publish or perish” (not “tweet or decease”).

              If any of these people are competent in their field and have a worthwhile theory about Covid they will have no trouble getting funding for a study to either prove or disprove it in the current climate, especially if it promotes the use of drug company products. Of course if it fails to support vaccine use or even worse, concludes against continuing rollouts, it’s likely to disappear down the memory hole, especially if it’s drug company funded. But them’s the breaks when you’re doing corporate science I guess.

              So basically, if these experts you claim are tweeting in support of your opinions know their business they’ve either already published to that effect or are still conducting research to confirm or falsify their theories. So if you have any evidence (not that you’d recognise it if you did) then I’d appreciate a URL to the relevant journal article(s).
              Don’t worry if it’s pay-walled. I can get access.

              Liked by 1 person

            11. pretending any disagreement belongs only with me. That’s straight up misinformation.

              Tildeb, you’ve demonstrated over and over that when you provide ‘expert evidence’ to support your claims it usually does no such thing. You can’t read graphs, you can’t interpret data, you don’t understand basic research principles and as you recently demonstrated with the Washington Post’s police shootings database, sometimes you just lie.

              I think your nonsensical claim that Covid’s lack of capacity for gene shuffling negates Darwinian evolution has no expert support whatsoever. Whether you know that too or whether you’re simply misreading completely unrelated expert statements as supporting your opinion I’m not sure. But if I’m to assess that or even discover that you’re right for once I’ll need to see what you think the evidence is. You’ve thoroughly proved your claims can’t be taken on faith.

              Liked by 1 person

            12. Actually tildeb, if you can’t provide a reference I’ve got a better idea.

              How about you just explain yourself why an inability of Covid to mutate via shuffle recombination would have any impact whatsoever on how it would pick up random SNPs or longer RNA sequences via horizontal transfer or on its subsequent path of selection and replication in the host’s body?

              Shouldn’t be too hard if you have a clue what you’re talking about.
              If you don’t, your attempts to gain authority from named experts are empty because you don’t understand what they’re saying either.

              No need to be comprehensive. Just comprehensible. I used to lecture in population genetics at the University of Technology Sydney. If you’re making any sense at all I’ll probably spot it, even if you mess up the terminology a bit.

              Liked by 2 people

            13. Didn’t spot the video but I downloaded the PDF and checked it out.

              If what they’re saying is true then I’d agree the Pfizer trial didn’t demonstrate the safety and efficacy it’s claimed to have done, primarily because it was effectively aborted at two months before sufficient data points had been collected. I’d also agree the way absolute risk is routinely confounded with relative risk in publicly promoted health statistics is misleading to the majority of people who have little skill or experience in statistical analysis. Gerd Gigerenzer’s 2003 book Reckoning with Risk provides an excellent introductory level summary of such statistical sleights of hand and how to see through them. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with average or better secondary school math skills who wants to learn how to winnow the lies and damned lies from the statistics.

              But I think the PDF makes some very deceptive claims too and disagree that the Pfizer trial demonstrated the vaccine does more harm than good. The trial was aborted too early. Basically it shows nothing.

              The most seriously misleading claim in the PDF is that the vaccine group had significantly higher levels of adverse events and deaths than the control group. At the point the trial was effectively aborted by unblinding the two groups showed no statistically significant differences in harmful events. But the authors of the paper continue to accumulate harms in the treatment group for the much longer period for which there was no control. They then compare harms over 6 months in the treatment group with harms over 2 months in the control group and, viola, found the first to be significantly greater.

              If the authors of the paper did this as an honest mistake they are utterly incompetent at analysing trial data. But I find it hard to believe ‘over 500 independent Canadian doctors, scientists and health care professionals’ could be so uniformly incompetent unless they were carefully selected for stupidity, so I feel pretty confident in concluding they’re being deliberately dishonest and trying to snow people.

              Although this is by far the most pernicious misrepresentation in the paper there are several other ‘errors’ that falsely give the impression the study sought to hide the harmfulness of the Pfizer vaccine but nonetheless demonstrated that it’s very harmful.

              Yes, the study they critiqued is misleading and that needs to be called out. But it needs to be done honestly. Instead the CCCA has been even more dishonest in their critique than the authors of the study were.

              This is yet another example of the appalling practices we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, with both pro- and anti-vaxxers abandoning truthfulness in favour of misleading and manipulative propaganda, resulting in two dishonest polarised camps unwilling to concede any weaknesses or errors in their own positions. That brings the public debate down to a battle of political power and marketing budgets – a battle anti-vaxxers can’t hope to win.

              And that’s why we’re looking at an indefinite future in which greedy, deep pocketed drug companies will continue to call the public health policy shots for reasons that have nothing to do with public health and everything to do with corporate profits.

              The anti-vax movement is to legitimate vaccine critics what Scientologists are to legitimate critics of psychiatry – a perfect foil whereby those invested in the status quo can dismiss all their opponents as lying crackpots.
              They’re a gift to criminally corrupt outfits like Pfizer.

              Liked by 1 person

            14. cabrogal, I confess that I too was confused by the treatment of the ‘crossover’ data (after unblinding).

              – The bottom line is that it was incumbent upon Pfizer to explain any deaths at all, in any phase of the treatment group, all of whom were originally healthy individuals no matter the group size.

              – Rest assured that the analysis on the CCCA video was performed by industry professionals. You can see a typical CCA technical author list as well (as more detail on the calculations) in two PDF documents associated with the “More Harm Than Good” presentation (below).

              – Document (2) includes a table giving more detail on the calculations. I’m still working through it.
              =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

              (1)
              CCCA More-Harm-Than-Good-(Fact-Checking-The-Fact-Checkers).pdf

              The most up to date findings of the cited trial show one additional death overall (15 vs 14) of which there were four additional cardiovascular deaths (9 vs 4) where seen in the vaccine compared placebo in the blinded phase, and six additional deaths in vaccine recipients overall compared to the unvaccinated (20 vs 14) with crossover (Thomas et al. 2021).
              =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

              (2)

              Click to access Final-CCCA-Critique-Thomas-COVID-19-Vaccines-6-months-NEJM-Jan-10-22.pdf

              When severe COVID-19 events were pooled with severe or serious adverse events to determine the likelihood of experiencing any severe event (11), there was an overall increase in severe events among vaccine recipients compared with placebo (RRI of 34.9% and ARI of 0.5%, p=0.0001). Given these findings, Thomas et al. (2) should have revised their conclusion to state, “the vaccine was associated with a concerning and clinically meaningful increase in severe events relative to placebo.”

              Thomas et al. (2) reported that “none of these deaths were considered to be related to BNT162b2 by the investigators” without describing the objective framework of testing that allowed them to arrive at that conclusion or whether their findings were independently evaluated. Given the seriousness of these adverse events in an otherwise healthy population, Thomas et al. (2) should have provided a detailed description of how they arrived at their conclusion, these evaluations should have undergone independent assessment, and all ongoing study protocols investigating BNT162b2 should be immediately amended to include systematic short- and long-term clinical and sub-clinical monitoring of cardiovascular health. Overall, the increased rates of COVID-like symptoms, unsolicited adverse events as well as severe and serious adverse events in the vaccine compared to the placebo arm, as well as the net increase in deaths in vaccine recipients compared with those who were unvaccinated present.

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            15. As I said, I agree Thomas et al reported deceptively on the trial.

              I don’t agree “that it was incumbent upon Pfizer to explain any deaths at all, in any phase of the treatment group, all of whom were originally healthy individuals no matter the group size”. This was a big trial (n=43,548). It was a certainty some of the subjects would die over its course. It typically takes coroners a year or more to explain even a single, relatively straightforward death. If all clinical trials had to explain all the deaths that occur in their study groups we’d be waiting a very long time for results to be published, especially from the larger, usually higher quality, trials. Such a requirement would only increase the power of Big Pharma to control which trials are ultimately published (As well as probably increasing corruption among coroners. There’s enough Freddy Patels out there without allocating drug company money towards creating more).

              But by the same token it wasn’t open to Thomas to report “none of these deaths were considered to be related to BNT162b2 by the investigators”, except inasmuch as the investigators didn’t know or didn’t care to carefully consider whether they were related. By phrasing it that way Thomas was presenting absence of evidence as if it were evidence of absence.

              The only way to draw reasonable conclusions as to whether the vaccine did more harm than good (or visa versa) to the treatment group would have been to maintain both the control and treatment groups long enough for the accumulated harms to become large enough to provide a statistically significant sample. This wasn’t done. So no conclusions can be drawn one way or the other. In trying to draw such conclusions both Thomas et al and the CCCA are misrepresenting the study.

              The most up to date findings of the cited trial show one additional death overall (15 vs 14) of which there were four additional cardiovascular deaths (9 vs 4) where seen in the vaccine compared placebo in the blinded phase, and six additional deaths in vaccine recipients overall compared to the unvaccinated (20 vs 14) with crossover (Thomas et al. 2021).

              Surely it takes very little statistical literacy to see –

              (1) 15 vs 14 deaths is not a significant difference. It is easily attributable purely to chance.

              (2) 20 deaths over 6 months vs 14 deaths over 2 months isn’t a valid comparison at all. If anything it suggests the original control group suffered lower mortality during the 4 months it was vaccinated than in the initial 2 months it wasn’t, so the vaccine reduced the risk of death. But as the sizes, drop out rates and level of monitoring of the groups isn’t provided you can’t safely draw that conclusion either.

              That more of the original treatment group than the original control group died of heart failure (9 vs 4, representing five, not four additional deaths – which shows just how professional and diligent the CCCA ‘industry professionals’ are) is also neither here nor there. It also shows there were four additional non-cardiac deaths in the control group. Perhaps the vaccine reduces non-cardiac mortality. But as I keep saying there isn’t enough data to draw conclusions one way or another.

              However what I will say is that even though Thomas et al were misleading and probably dishonest in interpreting the trial as showing vaccines do more good than harm, the CCCA were even more misleading and definitely dishonest in claiming it showed the opposite.

              As usual, neither side have covered themselves in glory and the only thing the exchange has done is dragged the whole debate deeper into its gutter of bullshit.

              Liked by 1 person

            16. no, CCCA erred on the side of caution while Pfizer erred on the side of deception.

              PS
              (1) Note that on page 11 of the “More Harm Than Good” presentation PDF the numbers in the treatment group and placebo group are shown in the Pfizer data on the table on the left side of the slide (Taylor et.al.)
              N treatment = 21,926
              N placebo = 21,921
              – The adverse event percentages highlighted by CCCA on the right side of this slide, including +300% in “Related Adverse Events” and +10% in “Any Serious Adverse Event” are also straight from the Pfizer data on the left.

              (2) A similar situation applies on page 12 of the “More Harm Than Good” presentation PDF.
              – “Deaths before unblinding” is taken directly from the Pfizer data on the left side of the slide.
              – Same is true for CCCA’s “Deaths Related to Cardiovascular Events” seen at the bottom right side of the slide (9 in treatment; 5 in placebo).
              – As indicated in CCCA analysis documents this has enough statistical significance to warrant a red flag (not the mainstream’s blind safety mantra) .

              – “Deaths after unblinding” and “Total Deaths” include the 3 participants in the treatment group who died after unblinding as well as the 2 crossovers who died after crossover injection. Here I’d want to see a full analysis of baseline cardiac death in healthy population before drawing too many conclusions.
              – However what’s alarming here is that Pfizer tried to downplay this data by burying it in an appendix with essentially no explanation.

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            17. no, CCCA erred on the side of caution while Pfizer erred on the side of deception.

              I don’t think twisting data so as to falsely suggest significantly higher death rates in the treatment arm than the placebo arm constitutes ‘erring on the side of caution’. I think it’s either deliberate deception or jaw-dropping incompetence. And Pfizer didn’t ‘err’ on the side of deception. It built deception into the design of the trial.

              But there’s something very odd and – I think – a little sinister in the Pfizer data that the CCCA hasn’t seen fit to comment on.

              In the first two months of the trial there’s a total of 29 deaths, or 14.5 per month. In the last 4 months there’s just 5 deaths, or 1.25 per month. No explanation is offered on what caused this sudden drop in death rates and there’s no significant difference between the two arms so it can’t be attributed to vaccination.

              A possible innocent explanation would be that several trial participants were already very sick when the trial started and died soon after, with everyone getting excellent medical care during the trial and few others becoming seriously ill. However they claim they excluded seriously ill people from participating and make no mention of the medical care participants received.

              But they do mention ‘few’ people dropping out due to serious adverse events, though they don’t say how many. In the context of nearly 45,000 participants, ‘few’ might mean ‘quite a few’.

              Could it be they dropped people from the trial at the first sign of serious illness – especially if it was potentially treatment related – so they wouldn’t have to include their deaths in the data? I know of antipsychotic drug trials where this was done and only revealed years later. If so there’s hidden mortality being kept out of the data.

              Liked by 1 person

            18. cabrogal, i send a reply to this thread three times, but wordpress seems to be refusing it. so i don’t know what to think. perhaps i’ve been ‘black listed’ ??🕵️‍♂️

              Liked by 1 person

            19. I’ve started saving my comments to the clipboard before sending because this happens so frequently now.
              Nothing in trash or spam, unless you also go by the name Porn Milf HD, Angels Vapors, or Alcohol Rehab Blountstown, your comments just never posted.

              Liked by 1 person

            20. Not disconfirming is a double negative. I understand your not wanting to talk about such sacred things publicly —casting pearls before swine…

              Liked by 1 person

            21. I’ve occasionally noticed that comments are delayed in posting. Have no idea why … maybe COVID is affecting the “delivery” of WordPress as it is with other items?

              Liked by 1 person

            22. Nothing in trash or spam, unless you also go by the name Porn Milf HD

              When a gentleman discovers something like that about a lady he should practice discretion. Otherwise he wastes an opportunity to blackmail her.

              Liked by 2 people

            23. I’ve started saving my comments to the clipboard before sending because this happens so frequently now.

              If a comment doesn’t appear when I click “POST COMMENT” I click the ‘back’ button on my browser. That usually returns me to the page with my unposted comment on it which I can copy to the clipboard. Then I hit “POST COMMENT” again.

              If it tells you the comment was already posted then your previous comment went either to spam or to moderation. Otherwise Bill Gates ate it. You can try posting again later – especially if your internet connection has been glitching – or breaking it up into smaller comments and trying again. Sometimes removing links or special characters helps.

              Liked by 1 person

            24. cabrogal, i send a reply to this thread three times, but wordpress seems to be refusing it.

              Maybe it’s Bill Gates. I’m told he doesn’t like anti-vaxxers.

              Liked by 1 person

            25. Good find, monica: it’s rated as ‘Pants on Fire‘ false. But what do you expect from an anti-vax site that won’t release its supposed ‘medical’ and ‘research’ membership?

              Look, I know the internet can produce whatever bias you want. Why not listen to real virologists and real epidemiologists instead? That’s the choice you are making – seeking out and going with mis- and disinformation – by promoting this kind of garbage.

              Liked by 1 person

            26. I think we can at least agree the CCCA are liars tildeb.
              But at least they’re smart enough to know when they’re lying.

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            27. BTW tildeb, here’s an example of how honest the original (Pfizer sponsored) researchers are too.

              from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2110345

              Efficacy
              Among 42,094 participants 12 years of age or older who could be evaluated and had no evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, Covid-19 with an onset of 7 days or more after the second dose was observed in 77 vaccine recipients and in 850 placebo recipients up to the data cutoff date (March 13, 2021), corresponding to a vaccine efficacy of 91.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 89.0 to 93.2) (Table 2). Among 44,486 participants with or without evidence of previous infection who could be evaluated, cases of Covid-19 were observed in 81 vaccine recipients and in 873 placebo recipients, corresponding to a vaccine efficacy of 91.1% (95% CI, 88.8 to 93.0).

              Notice something?

              The original groups received their vaccine or placebo shots from October 15 to November 5 2020.
              From December 1 to December 21 2020 the bulk of the original placebo group (those 15 or older) also received full vaccination.
              The efficacy report says 850 ‘placebo recipients’ contracted Covid by March 13, 2021. But for most of that time they were in fact fully vaccinated members of the treatment group. Nonetheless, all of them are classified within the placebo group for the purpose of calculating efficacy.

              Unfortunately the data tables don’t specify when trial subjects seroconverted, but if the fully vaccinated ‘placebo recipients’ who contracted Covid did so at a similar rate to the treatment group we can expect about 50 of them to have contracted Covid after being fully vaccinated.

              So the correct ratio of vaccinated vs unvaccinated subjects who contracted Covid isn’t 77 to 850, but approximately 137 to 800. The efficacy for the vaccine isn’t 91.3% but 84.5%. In other words vaccine recipients are around 60% more likely to contract Covid than the bogus efficacy assessment suggests they are.

              Like I said, both sides of the argument lie, though the lies of the anti-vaxxers are cruder and easier to spot.

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            28. The efficacy for the vaccine isn’t 91.3% but 84.5%

              Dammit, transcription error.
              That should read “The efficacy for the vaccine isn’t 91.3% but 85.4%

              Liked by 1 person

            29. I shouldn’t have said ‘seroconverted’ as trial participants were assessed purely on Covid symptoms, with no biomarker checks performed to either confirm the symptomatic diagnosis or demonstrate asymptomatic subjects had not contracted Covid. As we know, vaccinated Covid carriers are much more likely to be asymptomatic than unvaccinated ones, so this protocol would have failed to record some vaccinated subjects who contracted Covid.

              So the trial was designed and executed in order to exaggerate the efficacy of the vaccine. That’s par for the course for industry sponsored drug trials. If anti-vaxxers has simply highlighted that aspect of the study they’d have been helping their case, performing a public service and contributing to their own credibility. Instead they made up a whole load of bullshit to try to convince the gullible the trial was reported even more dishonestly than it actually was.

              Thanks to anti-vaxxers repeatedly crying wolf those with legitimate criticisms of vaccine trials are routinely ignored.

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            30. and what does CCCA have to gain from this?? it takes time and effort to bring this info to the public, to gain what?

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            31. and what does CCCA have to gain from this?? it takes time and effort to bring this info to the public, to gain what?

              I’ve gotta admit monica, I don’t know what anti-vaxxers get from what they do.

              I small proportion of the leadership – such as Andrew Wakefield – have made a career out of it but there’s no obvious business model for most. I’ve got a couple of friends who’ve embraced it who have no background in science but are now vehemently promoting anti-vax pseudoscience as if they’ve suddenly gained understanding and expertise and consider it their mission to pass it on. I don’t know what’s driving them either but it seems somehow related to tildeb’s equally uncomprehending promotion of the pro-vax position.

              By the time you’ve got an anonymous group claiming to be over “500 doctors, scientists and medical practitioners” going to a lot of trouble to promote arrant nonsense, I can’t imagine what they’re up to at all. But given the quality of their output I think you should entertain the possibility the CCCA is really just a few sad individuals making stuff up to try to feel relevant in a world that mostly ignores them. I find it very hard to believe a large group of science and medicine graduates can’t come up with something more convincing than the CCCA’s output whatever their motives.

              If I were into conspiracy theories I’d speculate the CCCA is funded by drug companies to try to make their critics look like dishonest idiots. They’ve certainly succeeded in distracting attention from the real flaws in Thomas et al.

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            32. I think this is a good explanation of why understanding antigenic drift (rather than shift from a previous conversation rabbit hole) helps to explain why vaccination is such a powerful tool for our immune system’s response to this pandemic. Granted, this is a substack article (with references) but retweeted by a bunch of virologists to try to explain this notion of improving various ‘walls of defense’ we have in our individual immune responses versus something like COVID (which is the disease, and not just SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus) and how vaccinations and boosters just keep adding to those walls in a variety of ways. This unquestionably helps us as individuals reduce the risk of COVID but unquestionably helps reduce the risk we present to others.

              I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get COVID (the disease). I sincerely doubt, however, I (or any of us) will avoid getting SARS-CoV-2 (that’s the discussion about the virus becoming ‘endemic’). But my concern isn’t so much about encountering the virus (I think that is going to beyond any individual’s control) as it is doing whatever I can to reduce and/or eliminate getting COVID (and increasing the risks from complex symptoms associated with the disease). I suspect many people don’t really grasp this difference between the virus and the disease, but in my mind it’s really important when deciding what risk is and is not tolerable.

              I have long written that addressing this pandemic on a personal level is all about understanding and tolerating levels of risk and it is to be expected that people who are subject to different levels of risk with different levels of tolerance to risk will respond in different ways. No one should be surprised by these differences, and so it’s reasonable to understand that there must be a level of social acceptance regarding these differences. (Lately, I’m not seeing much tolerance from anyone.) One is not ‘better’ than another using this framework of personal risk – just different – and like many people I don’t like general rules imposed on everyone in the name of addressing this risk for everyone (a significant cause of all kinds of social problems). That notion of one set of behaviour rules for all is a truly terrible way for public health to respond to a public health emergency like COVID because it is guaranteed to divide people and lead inevitably to mistrusting others based on which ‘side’ one is on.

              Many of these rules have and continue to cause all kinds of mischief and elevate this blame game between people, none of which helps address and reduce the major causes that elevates the risk for everyone. Again, understanding risk is my main concern.

              So understanding what the risks really are I think is central to determining our individual response to COVID in all its variants. And this is where I have found little ‘good’ information readily and easily available for most people who, when seeking good information online, can be directed a hundred different ways down a hundred different rabbit holes of mis- and disinformation pertaining to all kinds of conspiracies and plots and fill the arena of discussion with argument and vilification and authorities all of which builds an us-against-them hyperbolic chamber. That’s why articles like this I think can be very helpful breaking past all this social crap and help us better understand how and why vaccination is seen by the medical profession as our primary defense that lowers the risk for getting COVID for everyone everywhere more so and in a safer way than literally every other vaccination ever produced.

              I think a public health policy SHOULD be aimed at reducing the risk for everyone everywhere as much as is humanely possible (enforcement is a related but different issue). Getting a shot is no big deal. Getting COVID can often be a VERY big deal not just for the individual but for everyone of us who
              1) ever uses a health care system, or
              2) ever ventures into the public domain.

              So getting vaxed is really a no brainer; not only does it build our individual walls of defense but helps reduce the risk for everyone. Those are the facts. If articles like the one I’ve referenced helps explain this, then I think that’s a good thing. If you disagree with any specifics from the substack article, then go add your comments there.

              Liked by 3 people

            33. Oh my! Does this ever describe what’s happening today! And not only as related to the virus.

              most people … can be directed a hundred different ways down a hundred different rabbit holes of mis- and disinformation pertaining to all kinds of conspiracies and plots …

              Liked by 2 people

            34. One of the fears of getting COVID is what’s being called Long COVID. Although there are many reports by physicians, we are at the front end of starting to collect and quantify these data. Adding complexity are the results from different variants as well as age and all the comorbidities each patient presents. We know there is a strong correlation, for example, between greater adverse reactions to COVID and age as well as comorbidities (other medical conditions). But is this also the case for Long COVID?

              Well, this is a good news/bad news kind of result. Omicron doesn’t enter the lungs as easily as delta and so one would expect fewer cases of Long Covid from omicron if – and this is the thing – IF Long COVID (the disease) were associated with the virus (SARS-CoV-2) passing into various organs and blood via the lungs. This is the ‘good news’ aspect in that omicron has supplanted delta as the main variant these days. But the bad news is twofold (one step forward, two steps backwards): first, evidence seems to be heading more towards the body’s immunological response causing neurological effects associated with Long COVID symptoms and, second, age and comorbidities seems not to correlate to Long COVID.

              “Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, patients have described lingering syndromes following acute infection, now called Long COVID. These syndromes often include predominant neurologic and psychiatric symptoms, such as difficulty with memory, concentration, and ability to accomplish everyday tasks, frequent headaches, alterations in skin sensation, autonomic dysfunction, intractable fatigue, and in severe cases, delusions and paranoia. Many people who experience neurologic symptoms that linger after acute COVID-19 are less than 50 years old and were healthy and active prior to infection. Notably, the majority were never hospitalized during their acute COVID-19 illness, reflecting mild initial disease.” (from the Jan 20, 2022 issue of Science)

              This issue of Long COVID bears watching because the numbers (at least here in Canada) are starting to grow in a worrying way (about 1/3 of hospitalized people >8 months reporting lingering and lasting declines of various kinds post infection but more and more common being reported by family practitioners of patients who had not suffered much if any severe symptoms… but mostly delta correlated by date of reporting).

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            35. One of the fears of getting COVID is what’s being called Long COVID.

              What’s being called Long COVID” is right. Unfortunately so much is being called ‘Long COVID’ the term has become completely incoherent.

              I’ve no doubt there’s something real behind the label. A close friend and activist colleague contracted Covid during the first wave of infections in early 2020 and is still debilitated. She’s notorious for being an energetic, determined, self-motivated, crash-or-crash-through person and I sure don’t want to get anything that can keep her down for nearly two years. But 18 months after Debbie was told she had Long Covid the term remains almost meaningless.

              It shares with mental ‘illnesses’ the distinction of being diagnosed entirely from subjective reporting of symptoms. There’s no biomarkers or pathology tests that can be used to confirm or deny Long Covid. But even worse than DSM designated ‘diseases’ it doesn’t even have a committee to define what those symptoms are, how many are required for a diagnosis or how long they must persist for it to be considered ‘Long’. As a result we now have over 200 symptoms – many lacking any association with acute Covid – that can lead to diagnosis and at least two standards as to how long after Covid infection symptoms must persist for it to be considered Long Covid.

              The WHO suggest Long Covid should only be diagnosed at least 90 days after infection but some countries have followed Britain’s lead in calling it ‘Long’ if symptoms last more than 28 days. Different researchers are adopting different standards and I think it’s notable that only those who use the 28 day standard are finding vaccinations significantly reduce the risk of Long Covid. Of course vaccinations are known to reduce the duration of symptomatic acute Covid, but researchers adopting the 90 day standard are failing to find they reduce the likelihood of developing Long Covid.

              I’m fairly certain ‘Long Covid’ is really a range of different conditions with differing etiology, pathology, prognosis and appropriate care and treatment. Some of it will be the already well known – albeit also poorly defined – post-viral fatigue syndrome that can be caused by any virus infection. Some will be due to organ damage caused by acute Covid. Some will be persistent immune system disorders, possibly perpetuated by lingering fragments of Covid virons in the body but more probably by increased sensitisation to environmental proteins similar to those on the Covid capsid. Some will be long term side-effects of Covid treatments. Some will be somatised stress responses to having contracted a serious illness, the rigors of living with a pandemic and widespread public anxiety about the disease. Some won’t be related to Covid at all but will be some other issue that just happened to strike during or soon after infection.

              Until there’s broad agreement as to what constitutes Long Covid – which will probably only come after some serious research aimed at differentiating patients by both symptoms and associated biomarkers – there will be little progress made in learning how best to identify it, avoid it, mitigate it or treat it.

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            36. Oh, this article for Science is written by Serena S. Spudich who is a professor of neurology and chief of the Neurological Infections and Global Neurology Division at Yale School of Medicine. She is considered one to the world’s leading experts on the neurology of Long COVID (perhaps because her team has been doing much of the research the longest).

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            37. I appreciate the Topol ref and the effort you’ve put into explaining your position. I disagree with some aspects of both but in this comment I’ll stick to my objections to Topol.

              As you point out, Topol talks about antigenic drift – which is variations picked up by the random process of single nucleotide mutations of viral RNA. But, as the diagram suggests, that’s not how omicron arose. Nor is it likely to be a significant contribution to future VOCs.

              I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what this string of characters represents:-
              A67V, Δ69-70, T95I, G142D, Δ143-145, Δ211, L212I, ins214EPE, G339D, S371L, S373P, S375F, K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493R, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, T547K, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, N856K, Q954H, N969K, L981F

              As you can see the omicron spike protein has 30 single nucleotide mutations (SNMs), 6 nucleotide deletions and a 9 nucleotide insertion at locus 214.

              Antigenic drift is the slow, one a time, accumulation of single nucleotide mutations. It’s probable most of the omicron spike SNMs emerged that way, though as there’s a heck of a lot of missing links between omicron and all other variants we can’t know for sure how many or which ones. However we can be certain the deletions and insertion did not. They’re the result of antigenic shifts; transcription slippage for the deletions, template switching for the insertion. The difference isn’t pedantic. It’s quite rare for an endemic virus to become pandemic as the result of antigenic drift. It’s a slow evolutionary process herd immunity is normally able to keep pace with. Much more common are pandemics due to antigenic shift.

              This is particularly relevant in the case of omicron. While all the spike mutations give omicron an advantage in infecting people with prior exposure to spike proteins from other variants – whether by infection or vaccination – few offer the virus selection advantages (or disadvantages) in the spike protein naive; with two important exceptions discovered so far.

              The first exception is the 4 SNMs, 6 deletions and 9 insertions in the S1 subunit of the spike, which mediates attachment to the ACE2 receptor whereby the viron gains entry to the host cell. Of those A67V, ΔV143, ΔN211, L212I and the nine ins214EPE insertions are unique to Omicron (i.e. 11 of the 13 new mutations were the result of antigenic shift, not antigenic drift). It’s these mutations that have opened up a new endocytic pathway enabling the viron to penetrate cell membranes whether or not the cell expresses the TMPRSS2 protease, just as long as it has ACE2 receptors. Such cells are relatively common in bronchi and nasal epithelia, which is why omicron is more transmissible than other variants. A particularly disturbing element of the S1 mutations is they seem to have given omicron a broader affinity for non-human ACE2 receptors, increasing its ability to pass backwards and forwards between human and animal hosts, thereby increasing the likelihood that omicron descended VOCs will ‘benefit’ from increased human pathogenicity typical in zoonotic viruses without necessarily suffering the corresponding reduction in transmissibility.

              The second is the two SNMs, N679K and P681H, which are adjacent to the furin cleavage site. Contrary to initial expectations, they inhibit omicron’s ability to shed its spikes in response to the TMPRSS2 protease expressed by many human cells, especially in the lungs where the greatest concentrations of Covid virons are typically found. That reduces omicron’s capacity to fuse its capsid with the cell membrane and insert its RNA into the cytoplasm where it can replicate. That’s why omicron is less able to infect lung tissue than other variants and is therefore less virulent. It also means omicron is only two single nucleotide mutations away from being a variant as contagious as omicron but as deadly as delta. In other words we dodged a bullet.

              Fortunately, if such a variant emerges now all those who’ve been infected with omicron will be resistant to it, so its spread will be slower. That’s why I advocate stockpiling omicron specific vaccines but not rolling them out unless a more lethal VOC emerges from omicron. To mass vaccinate with them now will increase the number of spike protein mutations on future VOCs, potentially creating an omicron supervariant (probably in an immunocompromised vaccine recipient with attenuated T cell response and increased risk of viral co-infection, e.g. a HIV patient) which will be as virulent as delta, as contagious as omicron and able to evade resistances produced by prior exposure to the omicron spike. It’s also likely to have other potentially nasty genes acquired via template switching (i.e. horizontal transfer from co-infecting viruses).

              So of the 15 known mutations that strongly differentiate omicron replication from that of other variants 11 are the products of antigenic shift and only 4 are likely due to antigenic drift. As Covid becomes endemic we can expect to see similar mechanisms driving the emergence of almost all future VOCs. Antigenic drift models couldn’t have predicted omicron (the huge gap between omicron and other variants in Topol’s diagram says as much) and tell us very little about ‘what the virus will do next’.

              The other problem I have with Topol is his baseless booster boosting.

              Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt vaccines provide protection for those contracting omicron from developing severe disease. But Topol presents and interprets statistics in a way that consistently overestimates the efficacy of boosters and – especially – their duration of action.

              According to Topol ” Our memory B cells, after a 3rd shot, adapt with a subset that has high Omicron reactivity. “

              Firstly, this is completely false and not supported by the paper he links to nor the diagram below his statement. Topol’s “second wall” is not made of memory B cells at all, but of effector B cells (also called ‘plasma’ cells). They serve to activate T cells and are more reactive to novel antigens than memory B cells and so can respond more quickly to the presence of new variants. They obviously do not have ‘high reactivity’ to proteins they’ve yet to be exposed to, but they react more quickly to new ones. The “plasma cell ‘wall'” of Topol’s diagram will not be ‘specialised’ to omicron unless it’s been exposed to omicron. So to get the reactivity Topol is implying with his diagram you’d have to be both boosted and infected with omicron.

              But the important thing about effector B cells is that they’re notoriously short lived – much shorter than memory B cells. The boosters aren’t doing anything for the immune system the initial two shots failed to do. There would also have been high proportions of effector B cells two weeks after regular vaccination, but they would have dwindled to almost zero within 2-3 months. All the boosters do is reset the timer so for a short period the immune system is able to ramp up antibody production more quickly in response to infection with a new variant. To maintain that effect you’d need to keep boosting people every couple of months. By (deliberately?) confounding memory B cells with effector B cells Topol is concealing that fact.

              The short lived efficacy of boosters is revealed, but glossed over, in Topol’s subsequent discussion of vaccine effectiveness vs hospitalisation. He makes a grand claim for the alleged effectiveness of boosters by making (dubious) comparisons between booster effectiveness at 2 weeks (88%) with 2-dose effectiveness at 25 weeks (52%). Obviously a more relevant comparison would be with 2-dose effectiveness at 2-24 weeks (72%). Presumably Topol ignores this because it makes the booster look far less impressive. In fact several studies have shown booster effectiveness wanes about as much over 10 weeks as 2-shot vaccination does over 20 weeks (perhaps because it’s just one, rather that two shots). So we could expect a comparison between boosters at 2-24 weeks and 2-dose vaccines at 2-24 weeks to show booster are less effective than the original vaccination.

              This doesn’t mean booster programs are useless against omicron. They can act to flatten (but lengthen) the infection curve during the brief but intense initial wave and so take pressure off under-resourced and under-staffed hospital systems. But they’re not a long term or sustainable answer to newly emerging VOCs. They’re no substitute for a resilient public health system and if mass booster programs divert attention and resources away from that the only people they’re ultimately benefiting are vaccine manufacturers and those responsible for failing to prepare our health systems for the inevitable increase in pandemics through the 21st century.

              Topol is correct in pointing out omicron has “lost some of the SARS-CoV-2 disease-causing capability (pathogenicity)”, but is failing to take that into account when hyping the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters. For example he writes “clinical severity of Omicron has been shown to be 72% less in Gauteng ,South Africa (adjusted for multiple co-variates) and 60-70% reduced in the UK recent report cited above. This likely represents both the immunity wall and Omicron’s reduced virulence, but it isn’t possible to parse out how much of each.” However it is possible to parse something out of these figures.

              According to the data Topol quotes, Gauteng, with less than 25% double vaccination and almost zero boosters has a lower relative rate of omicron hospitalisation than London with its greater than 90% adult double vaccination rate and roughly 50% booster rate. There’s an element of ‘apples vs oranges’ here, as doubtless both the criteria for hospitalisation and the protocols for reporting omicron related hospitalisations will be different in the two areas. But we can definitely say there is no grounds whatsoever for suggesting Topol’s “immunity wall” has had a substantial impact on omicron hospitalisations in Gauteng. With less than 1 million of South Africa’s population of almost 60 million (2%) having had pre-omicron Covid infections it’s also misleading to claim prior infection is a major contributor to low hospitalisation in Gauteng. The 72% lower rate is almost entirely due to omicron being less virulent.

              As I said at the outset, I have no doubt vaccination against any current VOC provides some protection against severe illness from all VOCs. Relative hospitalisation, ICU and death rates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated demonstrate that. But given the big variations in reported differentiation between these groups (anything from 50% to 90%) in different areas, alongside differences in variant monitoring, hospitalisation and ICU entry protocols, average periods between vaccination/boosting and the onset of omicron and even standards for reporting omicron hospitalisation (e.g. some places report hospitalisation with omicron, others hospitalisation because of omicron) it’s very difficult to quantify how much protection vaccines and boosters offer. But Topol has reported the data in a manner so as to maximise the skew towards over-estimating the effectiveness of vaccine boosters against omicron (and future VOCs) and so can be safely written off as yet another pro-vaccine partisan (or someone taken in by them) with little more commitment to truthfulness or critical thinking than the anti-vaxxers.

              Liked by 1 person

            38. I’ve read there are 35 amino acid changes in spike for omicron. And that antigenetic drift really does account for them (one source referenced by Meaghan Kall is here) but I’m not a virologist and don’t know if this is a ‘good’ source or not but this is what seems to be widely accepted amongst virologists in positions of authority from many countries. I trust they have their reasons because I’m in no position to judge why this seems to be the consensus.

              I also am aware that evidence for or against the efficacy of boosting is based on the outcome of differential vaccination rates shown by real world results over time. That seems to me to be why Topol is constantly offering compelling evidence of this differential rate from all kinds of locales demonstrating that vaccinating makes a difference in results and that boosting makes an even more significant difference in comparative results with responding to an omicron infection. That seems to me to be the cause for promoting boosters and quite straightforward. (here)

              I also agree with you about holding off on an omicron vaccination booster. We may find it endemic by that time regardless (the latest I have heard is end of March in quantity) and the speed of its infection wave in rise and fall may actually bring the pandemic to an early end (but it would be handy against a variant). But, as I said, I’m not a virologist so this may be my optimism speaking.

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            39. I’ve read there are 35 amino acid changes in spike for omicron. And that antigenetic drift really does account for them (one source referenced by Meaghan Kall is here) but I’m not a virologist and don’t know if this is a ‘good’ source or not but this is what seems to be widely accepted amongst virologists in positions of authority from many countries.

              I’m not a virologist either, but I’m pretty familiar with the distinction between genetic drift and shift from my work in human population genetics. My understanding of antigenic drift and shift is that the distinction between drift and shift is the same but antigenic evolutionary selection refers exclusively to the pressure exerted by the hosts’ immune response. My reading of various online definitions seem to support that. I think the one here is clear and comprehensive, despite being pre-Covid. As you can see, it states “pandemics are nearly always a result of antigenic shift events.”.

              In human population genetics both deletions and insertions are referred to as shift events, but deletions in human DNA typically, though not always, involve more nucleotides than the 1-3 nucleotide deletions seen in the omicron spike genome, so I guess it’s possible a different convention is used in virology. However the nine nucleotide insertion (ins214EPE) is unambiguously a shift and I have no idea why some commentators are treating it as drift. It seems particularly ill-considered in an article titled “Antigenic drift: Understanding COVID-19”, as ignoring the shift component of omicron’s evolution seems to me to be a formula for misunderstanding both omicron’s emergence and that of future VOCs as Covid becomes endemic.

              What’s more the EPE insertion is almost certainly the most significant (or sole) contributor to omicron’s ability to penetrate cell membranes via endocytosis and thereby substantially increase its transmissibility. The two main suspects in providing omicron with the EPE gene – HIV and HCoV-229E – both exploit the endocytic pathway into cell cytoplasm whereas no other known Covid variants do. It’s also doubtless a major contributor to omicron’s ability to evade resistance to other variants. So omicron is a perfect example of a pandemic emerging from an antigenic shift event.

              That seems to me to be why Topol is constantly offering compelling evidence of this differential rate from all kinds of locales demonstrating that vaccinating makes a difference in results and that boosting makes an even more significant difference in comparative results with responding to an omicron infection. That seems to me to be the cause for promoting boosters and quite straightforward.

              The first booster perhaps. I’ve just become eligible for it under the NSW vaccination program and have booked an appointment to get a shot in the hope it will protect me from the secondary omicron wave peak expected after school recommences about a week from now. But given that its effectiveness fades so quickly – a point Topol consistently glosses over or conceals – the justification for subsequent boosters in an environment of endemic Covid seems far less straightforward to me. I for one will be holding off unless/until a new pandemic variant emerges.

              I expect I will contract omicron. I’d just rather do it when NSW hospitals aren’t full to overflowing and when testing resources are able to meet demand. So far Australian state and federal governments have utterly failed to meet their public health responsibilities on both counts.

              Liked by 1 person

            40. Thank you for that explanation. You say,

              “the justification for subsequent boosters in an environment of endemic Covid seems far less straightforward to me.”

              On this issue of additional boosters, we are in full agreement, as well omicron becoming endemic. Additional boosting is not a solution for meeting the risk of an endemic omicron. Anti-virals are (I think).

              I have disagreed with government policy from the get-go; to me, the issue for public health should have been aimed at reducing risk for the population as a whole rather than at keeping hospital admissions and death for the most vulnerable of primary concern. I think this was a doomed approach. As far as I’m concerned, that policy guaranteed a much longer and more widespread pandemic and all the resulting deeply divisive social coercion that evolved trying to force it. Mass vaccination against delta was an opportunity, but once omicron swept into dominance, I think the shift (excuse the pun) should have been towards reducing risk through focusing on anti-virals and not more vaccinations. We see the result with this ridiculous notion of never-ending boosters while, for all intents and purposes, public health and government policy ignores the very real role hundreds of millions of people who have gained some immunity through previous infections face with blunt (and now outdated) vaccination policies.

              Vaccinations have gone from being promoted as a defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection (and trying to obtain herd immunity, which was a sound policy but implemented ass-backwards) to being a mitigation against more severe COVID response (which is a different role – and therefore requiring a different message – altogether). For two years, I have been trying to get the message out that the pandemic is all about understanding and addressing risk – both personal and social – and I think public health should have aimed their goal at communicating honestly about reducing this risk and acting accordingly – again, both through justifying personal and social actions. The result from not doing this (but maintaining a vaccination only approach and vaccination starting with the most vulnerable rather than reducing public transmission) has been entirely predictable: I don’t know if public health officials really grasp why this change in messaging now facing omicron strikes at the very heart of ‘trusting’ vaccines in general. That’s the achievement reached: a growing population mistrusting vaccination and mistrusting governments who continue to try to impose this original solution on a different problem. Vaccination is not going to stop omicron from becoming endemic and no amount of boosting is going to stop the wave.

              To me, it raises the legitimate questioning of how much trust to hold for public health messaging. What seemed a reasonable goal 8 months into the pandemic against the original strain changed with additional dominant variants at later dates, and so the role of public health promoting vaccination plus all the social restrictions should have evolved as well becasue the risk changed. But I have not heard much from public health addressing what I think is a key issue about public health messaging: how to handle changing levels of risk these variants have produced.

              There’s no question omicron will infect fully vaccinated people – even the highly vulnerable boosted first – and no question viral loads are just as concerning for the infected vaccinated as the infected unvaccinated. But there’s an important mitigating factor vaccination produces not over time per se (waning is a real thing and widely known even if specific numbers may be contentious) but versus the public facing a tidal wave of a more easily transmissible variant right now. Once that wave crests, then the focus needs to shift to treatment of those who develop complex symptoms and that is where I think public health has done a terrible job: getting useful anti-virals easily accessible for fast preventive treatment. I think that’s how this wave can be an opportunity to end the pandemic altogether, get things ‘back to (the new) normal’ and give time for a corona virus vaccine done under optimal testing conditions to be successfully and safely produced before being widely distributed.

              But the harm done to the reputation of vaccines I think is going to be much longer lasting than omicron. And it didn’t have to be this way.

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            41. So the leaky vaccinations overall put the unvaccinated at higher risk, and allow the most virulent strains to persist, ultimately channeling fitness of those most virulent strains that normally would die off with their host. This isn’t really good news her cabrogal.
              Although this is to be expected unless you only follow the accepted and approved narrative.
              Anytime the narrative is restricted to one…
              Methinks we’re in data overload right now and forget the basic premise of evolution which is fitness. Of course instead of summarizing the entire study, might be better to just read it.

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            42. As far as pathogenicity goes, yes the failure of the virus to kill its vaccinated host – and thereby itself – is enabling ever more pathogenic variants to emerge.

              But with regards to transmissibility the issue isn’t whether the host dies but rather whether the infectious virons are able to reach load levels that will result in enough shedding to pass them on. Within the confines of a crowded livestock pen that doesn’t need to be terribly high, but mutations that lead to increased load levels in individual animals will still be selected for.

              So over time the virus will become both more lethal and more contagious.

              But the Marek’s vaccine is still sufficient to prevent the development of serious symptoms. Covid vaccines are not. So there will still be some selection pressure on Covid to not kill or disable its hosts while they’re contagious (though that offers no guarantees regarding longer term health damage). But I still think we struck it very lucky to get a variant as apparently benign as omicron this early in the evolution of the virus.

              No Covid variant is likely to be wiped out with current vaccine technology (or any in the foreseeable future). But as we’ve seen, they probably can be wiped out with vaccines acting in conjunction with new, vaccine resistant variants. If an omicron targeting vaccine is deployed I doubt the VOC that replaces omicron will be as benign.

              Liked by 1 person

            43. In the same way people are convinced that implementing and supporting race-based practices will magically reduce racism in spite of all evidence to the contrary

              I don’t think many of us hold out much hope of reducing institutionalised white supremacism. Too many bodies have gone to the morgue and too many murdering cops have walked free without penalty. We’re just trying to reduce the frequency of us getting murdered by cops.

              The march

              Liked by 1 person

            44. Funny you should mention this. In the US last year, according to the Washington Post, 4 unarmed black civilians have been killed by police officers. In that same time, 67 police officers have been killed by black civilians. Have you ever been told to say their names?

              I think the murder of police officers is, on a per-capita basis, a far more significant problem than fatal officer shootings of civilians. And the killing of police officers by black civilians is a far more significant problem than the killing of unarmed blacks by police officers. My opinion on this is based on these facts.

              So if you’re going to wave the the term ‘frequency’ of bodies going to the morgue as if that justifies belief in systemic racism by police, then I think getting the numbers right matters.

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            45. Funny you should mention this. In the US last year, according to the Washington Post, 4 unarmed black civilians have been killed by police officers. In that same time, 67 police officers have been killed by black civilians. Have you ever been told to say their names?

              I think the murder of police officers is, on a per-capita basis, a far more significant problem than fatal officer shootings of civilians. And the killing of police officers by black civilians is a far more significant problem than the killing of unarmed blacks by police officers. My opinion on this is based on these facts.

              Yes I’ve seen this argument before (though it doesn’t apply here in Australia). It’s one of Heather Mac Donald’s (again). Funny you didn’t cite her ‘expertise’ to bolster your argument this time.

              I also notice you’re vastly misrepresenting the facts by citing the number of unarmed blacks fatally shot by police in the WP’s 2021 database as the number killed, which is over an order of magnitude higher as it includes those killed with chokeholds, tasers, bashings etc. In that misrepresentation you are also following Mac Donald.

              And her bogus arguments and misrepresented stats have been answered by many people, many times.

              Firstly, US police are armed and have chosen a very dangerous occupation. You’d expect them to have a higher rate of homicide deaths than unarmed black people killed by police.

              Secondly, the per capita killing of US police by whites is much higher than by blacks. Yet the likes of you and Mac Donald never describe the killings of cops by white civilians as “a far more significant problem than fatal officer shootings of white civilians”. I wonder why. I’m kidding. I don’t wonder at all. The reason is white supremacism.

              In the unlikely event you’re interested here’s a comprehensive take-down of Heather Mac Donald’s notions of data analysis that you’ve plagiarised. It’s for the 2017 WP database but Mac Donald (and you) still resorts to the same tired old lies so I’m sure you’ll have no trouble applying it to 2021.

              https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/06/how-conservatives-use-made-up-nonsense-to-justify-police-killings/

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            46. I see. So the facts are… wrong?

              The reason why I mentioned these facts is that there is an assumption that police are out killing lots of civilians – especially black civilians, especially young black men – when the real pandemic of who is being killed and by whom is presented by people like you as one sided and racially based against whites when the truth based on facts and not ideology is EXACTLY opposite to that.

              And the reason why this truth matters is that to address the problem of crime with meaningful solutions, the actual problems need identification. Systemic racism is not the cause and framing crime in this way guarantees misdirected responses. You are not participating in spread what’s true at all by following this framing but presenting an extremely skewed position that only adds to the lack of respect for what is true and helps stop good solutions for real world problems.

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            47. I see. So the facts are… wrong?

              By definition facts aren’t wrong. But that’s not what you offered. You misrepresented the number of unarmed black men shot to death by police on the 2021 WP database as the number killed by police.
              That’s not a fact tildeb. It’s a lie.

              there is an assumption that police are out killing lots of civilians – especially black civilians,

              Well, 860 police killings sounds like a lot to me. That’s over two a day.

              But I’ve gotta admit, the number of US police killings of unarmed civilians in all race categories has come down over the past year or so. And the proportion of killer cops held to account by the US legal system has gone up, though the overwhelming majority still escape legal sanctions. What’s more, the US liberal media seems to becoming more skeptical of official police accounts of the circumstances of such killings and the lame arsed justifications that committing minor crimes somehow warrants summary execution.

              Sounds like the BLM movement is working.

              And the reason why this truth matters is that to address the problem of crime with meaningful solutions,

              Such as the extrajudicial killing of unarmed minor offenders?

              You are not participating in spread what’s true at all by following this framing but presenting an extremely skewed position that only adds to the lack of respect for what is true and helps stop good solutions for real world problems.

              And presenting a comparison of black killings of cops with black killings by cops as a ‘significant problem’ while ignoring the far greater ratio of white killings of cops vs white killings by cops isn’t an ‘extremely skewed position’?

              So what’s your solution to this pressing problem tildeb?
              A final one perhaps?

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            48. My solution is to strike at the root of the problem by getting rid of government. 🙂

              But few people seem interested in that option.

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            49. I’m very interested in that solution, but the problem’s not a simple one.

              We’ve got stacks of different interlocking institutions exercising different forms of power over us and each other. Taking one out will shake up the structure but other bits will just rush in to fill the power vacuum.

              So, for example, getting rid of the Congress, Senate and White House would probably leave a country like the US with a corporate military regime in which the police (or their paramilitary successors) would enjoy even more power and less accountability.

              There’s lots of people been exercising their minds on that problem for a long time with little obvious success so far and I don’t pretend to have any special insights. But the only way I see forward is to try to organise non-hierarchical free associations of people to try to deliver as many of the needs as possible that are currently being met (or not) by powerful institutions such as corporations and government, then simply go around the power structures while awaiting opportunities to do away with them as it becomes clear to more people they’re unnecessary and not our friends. It’s not gonna happen in a hurry, but the problem with violent revolutions is that they always end up replacing one abusive power structure with another just as bad or worse.

              In the meantime you do your best to play powerful institutions off against each other to maximise the space for your own autonomy and wait for them to collapse under their own contradictions – maybe with the help of a little shove when they start to totter. The important thing is to have decentralised, autonomous self-organising groups ready to take over their functions as they crumble.

              Liked by 1 person

            50. Well, the powers of Congress are clearly enumerated under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution — i.e., the supreme law of the land — which every U.S. citizen and politician solemnly pledges to uphold. So assuming that “we the people” are serious about honoring our commitment to that undertaking and not just simply paying lip service to some fantasy ideal, it shouldn’t be too hard to proceed in that direction. 🙂

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            51. But I’ve gotta admit, the number of US police killings of unarmed civilians in all race categories has come down over the past year or so.

              Oops, seems I was being a little hasty.
              I just noticed the number of killings with no race recorded has gone through the roof, and more than accounts for the drop off by race categories.

              It seems US police haven’t reduced the number of civilians they’ve killed. Just how often they record the race of the victim.

              So given nearly half of all US police killing are no longer recorded by race I think it’s safe to say the number of police killings of blacks recorded on the 2021 WP database is a significant underestimate of the facts.

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            52. So given nearly half of all US police killing are no longer recorded by race

              That should read “So given over half of all US police killing are no longer recorded by race …”.
              56.25% to be exact. That’s up from 12.5% in 2020.
              I wonder what they’re trying to hide.

              Liked by 1 person

            53. 56.25% to be exact. That’s up from 12.5% in 2020.
              I wonder what they’re trying to hide.

              Thanks for inadvertently drawing my attention to this important fact tildeb.
              I’d probably have remained completely oblivious were it not for you.
              I’ll be contacting some of my activist colleagues in the US to see if they know what’s behind it.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. tildeb, cabrogal explained it perfectly. so let that sink in.

            i would simply add that tildeb knows that evolution is a numbers game. So, tildeb, show me the numbers. How many viral particles are now incubating within the fully vaccinated human population? How many in the unvaxxed? Until you have these numbers (and several others) your claim that vaxxes are the best way to prevent viral evolution is mere opinion. It’s the same type of ‘Dawin 101’ that drives antibiotic escape of bacteria. Contrarian experts are concerned that the vaxx program is setting the stage for escape and possibly ADE type effects where vaxx-induced antibodies will provide a key for future variants to infect the vaxxed immune system.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “The study reveals that the frequency of viral mutations can be reduced by increasing the rate of full vaccination. In other words, countries with high vaccine coverage are less likely to experience new COVID-19 outbreaks. Thus, public hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccination could potentially lead to the emergence of more pathogenic viral variants and failure to achieve herd immunity.

              As recommended by the scientists, mass vaccination, control measure implementation, and continuous genomic surveillance are the most vital strategies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

              (Source)

              Monica, what I’m commenting on here are not my opinions or beliefs. Really and seriously. They are (to the best of my knowledge) the scientific consensus. When you ask me for data, you really should simply use what I have offered as a springboard to finding out more on your own. Keep in mind that, like me, you may be wrong in your strongly held opinion or beliefs. That’s fine. Happens to me all the time. It is my experience, however, (and for whatever that’s worth) that when I strongly disagree with some expert understanding widely held or scientific claim widely used by involved scientists, it’s usually because I don’t understand something much more often than it is the ‘something’ that is wrong when it comes from expert scientific sources. In a nutshell and in this case, we do not find variants of concern arising from large vaccinated populations.

              Let that sink in.

              That’s real world evidence is enough to question cabrigal’s assertion here about leaky vaccines as if this trumps or replaces how vaccinations reduce mutations and impede the rise of variants of concern. It is not because of me or anything I think or believe but because of reality’s arbitration of the claim. Go ahead and call this evaluation by scientists in the main as scientism if that cranks your shaft but it doesn’t change anything in reality. And sure enough, although there are reasons for strong mutations to arise from vaccinated sources, that chance is much, much lower with vaccinations. That’s the point I have raised not because I believe so but because this is in alignment with the best information we have to date.

              So the lack of VOCs coming from vaccinated populations COMPARED to VOCs arising from outside these populations is really a simple and easy metric to use to evaluate cabrogal’s counter claim. But if you wish to replace this metric with cabrogal’s alternative reality, please go for it. The world and how it operates really is indifferent to alternative beliefs about it no matter who raises them.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. you say vaccination reduces the risk of contracting and transmiting the virus. however, Omicron was born just this way: it was transmitted to the world by fully vaccinated people via international flights.

              you say Sars-CoV-2 is genetically stable, ‘low drift, no shift’. so how do you explain Omicron?

              i would add that there are many anomalies that are contrary to your basic assumptions, including countries with low vaccination rates and low incidents of covid.

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            3. So the lack of VOCs coming from vaccinated populations COMPARED to VOCs arising from outside these populations is really a simple and easy metric to use to evaluate cabrogal’s counter claim.

              Well this should be easy for you then tildeb.
              Where is the evidence for even one VOC emerging from an unvaxxed population other than the early examples when essentially all populations were unvaxxed?

              Liked by 1 person

            4. tildeb, cabrogal explained it perfectly. so let that sink in.

              That’s unfair monica.

              My explanations only work for those capable of following a reasoned line of thinking. I lack tildeb’s knack for pulling dogmatic assertions from a car crash of misunderstood data, irrelevant factoids and laughable non sequiturs.

              I’m thinking of doing a blogpost using Darwinism 101 to explain step by step why mass distribution of a leaky omicron specific vaccine would be courting disaster, but no matter how simple I try to make it I know it will never sink in for tildeb.

              Liked by 1 person

      2. … such as fluvax, will aggravate the problem. So you’ll be throwing those most vulnerable to Covid under a bus with constant readministration of vaccines that will be of steadily decreasing efficacy.

        That’s why we need to shift emphasis away from vaccines and towards treatments.

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        1. “…and it promotes the emergence of new variants.”

          Citation needed.

          “Treatments may be expensive per patient for now (though I’m sure they’ll come down) but they only need to be used on those who develop serious illness”

          As soon as you start talking about “those who develop serious illness”, you’re talking about people who are going into hospital. Already you’re into many thousands of dollars for the hospital stay, plus whatever treatments you want to use. Vaccines do a tremendous job of preventing serious illness, that is completely evident.

          Here in Ontario Canada, where vaccination rates are quite high, we’ve got about 10-15% of the adult population who are still not vaccinated and they are driving about 50% of the hospitalizations. If everyone here was vaccinated the omicron wave would have likely been just another hump, rather than what we’re seeing where our hospitals are filled up to capacity with COVID patients. How many medical procedures are being postponed because of this? What is the cost to human health because of hospitals that don’t have room because a small portion of the population is getting sicker than they should otherwise if they were vaccinated? The care given to people today is measurably worse than it was even six weeks ago, never mind the long term damage to healthcare in general because of burnout of healthcare staff.

          This wave would not have had the impact that it has if everyone who could be vaccinated had been.

          ” No-one knew omicron even existed until it had already spread across much of the world.”

          Two reasons that I think drove that:
          1. Genetic testing is expensive, and there’s only so much capacity to go around. The best you can usually do is some amount of sampling and hope you find it sooner rather than later.
          2. Omicron is the second most transmissible virus in the world, and you can be infectious quicker than with previous variants. This leads to its explosive growth that allowed the virus to travel worldwide before sampling could detect it.

          Even if we had detected it earlier, what would that have done? I’m pretty sure that all that would have changed is how long it would take before we’re at the mess we are now. I doubt that populations, or even governments, would have responded in a way to stop this variant from doing what it has done. With such a high R0 it’s very difficult to stop it from spreading.

          “Do they [prevent long COVID]?”

          This study, from The Lancet, states:

          We found that the odds of having symptoms for 28 days or more after post-vaccination infection were approximately halved by having two vaccine doses. This result suggests that the risk of long COVID is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination, when additionally considering the already documented reduced risk of infection overall.

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  7. 5.5 million people dead. “It ain’t no big thing.” Oh, my mistake. Sorry.

    Have you read, “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story,” by Michael Lewis? I’ll let you know when I finish.

    Oh, I forgot, it will just go away on its own. (Where have I heard that before?) Silly me. Again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So it’s going to go away by using a vaccination that doesn’t make it go away and wearing masks that don’t reduce the spread to make it go away?
      And when these measures don’t make it go away we’ll be blaming somebody. When they start to honor the superior, natural immunity I will begin again to listen. And when it does finally go away science and politics will take all the credit for the futile efforts they made.

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      1. The superior natural immunity produces a disproportionate number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and a larger basin to produce mutations. It also kills more and infects children at a much higher rate.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. What do you care about immunity? You think immunity gained from having Covid will help protect you from – what – getting Covid? You already don’t care about getting it – in fact, you seem to think this a good thing – so this is a facetious argument.

            There are cases of people getting beta, then getting Delta, then getting Omicron. The problem is that each infection can cause systemic and permanent damage. We don’t have the figures yet, but I have read as high as 33% from Delta from a couple of sources that will have permanently damaged organs (or combination of damaged systems) and now are exhibiting lasting complications even though they have been ‘cured’ from the original infection. I suspect this figure is too high but it requires longitudinal studies to get a more accurate figure. I do think this is going to produce unparalleled numbers of disabled people. Millions and millions of people in the States.

            Because Omicron doesn’t infect lung tissue (whereas Delta did), I suspect the long term damage will be significantly less compared to Delta, so any immunity gained from a previous infection is no determinant of outcome when exposed to a different variant even if it offers some level of immune protection. You’re just rolling the dice. In contrast, vaccinations do produce a significant benefit across all cohorts to reduce the likelihood of developing these kinds of results from any of the variants (so far) compared to the unvaxed. Every number measuring outcomes for the unvaxed is higher. So your hypothesis is not borne out of good data.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. You’re just rolling the dice. In contrast, vaccinations do produce a significant benefit across all cohorts to reduce the likelihood of developing these kinds of results from any of the variants (so far) compared to the unvaxed. Every number measuring outcomes for the unvaxed is higher. So your hypothesis is not borne out of good data.

              And in promoting mass rollouts of Pfizer’s omicron specific vaccine you’re rolling the dice that any new variants that become dominant as a result won’t be just as contagious and immunity resistant as omicron and just as virulent as delta.

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            2. Cho’s research team has found that when memory B cells are trained by the vaccine, they become one-hit wonders, cranking out copious amounts of the same kinds of antibodies over and over again.
              Memory B cells trained by viral infection, however, are more versatile. They continue to evolve over several months and produce higher quality antibodies that appear to become more potent over time and can even develop activity against future variants—Gregory Poland, MD, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. Editor-in-chief of the medical journal Vaccine

              Liked by 1 person

        1. and a larger basin to produce mutations

          That’s irrelevant.
          For a set of mutations (or, more likely, horizontal gene transfers) to produce a new wild variant it’s got to start by out-competing other variants in the patient in which it emerged, be effectively transmitted to other patients, then out-compete other variants in the population at large.

          The first and third conditions are more likely to be true if both patient zero and subsequent patients have a degree of resistance to the existing variants it must compete against. They’re especially likely to be true if those resistances are only to a subset of proteins on the viral capsid – as is the case with vaccine-based resistance but not with resistance acquired from contracting Covid.

          All three conditions are more likely to be true in populations suffering immune system fatigue due to frequent revaccination.

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          1. Variants arise from antigenetic drift. The VOCs have come largely from unvaccinated populations. More transmission = more replication. “Speeding the spread” – this wrong idea that more infection is helpful ending the pandemic – is how all viral evolution happens in fact. In other words, variants don’t emerge from reduced transmission. They emerge from lots of viral replication resulting from uncontrolled transmission.

            Including more immune-evasive variants like delta and omicron causes greater replication. Vaccines for Covid reduces risk of infection and does reduce transmission, especially when used with other mitigating behaviours when prevalence in the community is high. Slowing the spread is unquestionably safer, whether measured in money, potential for new variants, or human lives.

            Now before you go all weird and accuse me of whatever in order to dismiss what I’ve just written, know that this understanding I’ve just offered in the above 2 paragraphs does not come from me or my opinions or my beliefs or anything at all to do with me. So no amount of bashing me alters any of these facts. The point is that YOUR understanding about immune system fatigue doesn’t seem to fit with how the scientific community of virologists and epidemiologists that I’ve paraphrased above understand how viruses like SARS-CoV-2 actually and in fact give rise to variants, which explains why they tell us in one voice and no uncertain terms that vaccines are our central defense against this pandemic and all the variants it is producing.

            If you disagree, fine. Take it up with them. But know that disagreeing with ME as the one relaying this information assumes YOU are in a position of knowledge greater and better informed that those who work in, and teach others about, these fields. I suspect that is not the case in fact and so you should qualify what you say as being your esteemed opinion when and if it goes against anything in either of those first 2 paragraphs.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. The VOCs have come largely from unvaccinated populations.

              We can be pretty sure that’s true of VOCs up to delta because all populations were mostly unvaccinated. So the only relevant VOC with which to make such a comparison is omicron. If you know where omicron emerged please contact research epidemiologists with your evidence as there’s still a lot of them putting loads of effort into trying to find that out. Mind you, they probably won’t think much of your ‘evidence’ if it’s just the medical journalists quoting Pfizer spokespeople who rushed into print with that claim during the early stages of the omicron outbreak.

              More transmission = more replication. “Speeding the spread” – this wrong idea that more infection is helpful ending the pandemic – is how all viral evolution happens in fact. In other words, variants don’t emerge from reduced transmission. They emerge from lots of viral replication resulting from uncontrolled transmission.

              As I’ve tried to explain to you several times increased viral replication results in increased mutations (all other things being equal) but increased mutations does not equal increased VOCs. For the latter to happen you need an individual and population environment that gives variants with new mutations a selection advantage. And studies have long demonstrated leaky vaccines provide precisely such an environment.

              I guess you’re a Marvel Comics fan tildeb, as you seem to have the idea ‘mutation’=’super being’. That’s not how evolution works. Mutations will only proliferate in a population if it helps it adapt to its environment. An environment rich in omicron spike specific antibodies (as provided by omicron specific mass vaccination) is the ideal one in which variants with new spike mutations can proliferate. And the large viral load (i.e. large number of replications) in those with leaky vaccines means those mutations will emerge.

              Vaccines for Covid reduces risk of infection and does reduce transmission

              Marginally. See the studies referred to in my previous comment.

              OTOH, we know for certain leaky vaccines promote the emergence of more virulent strains of viruses. Thanks to irresponsible livestock vaccination practices we have decades worth of evidence for it in animal models. Seems rather unethical to me to try to replicate that data in humans. Very profitable though. I guess it’s another example of what Naomi Klein calls ‘disaster capitalism’.

              Take it up with them. But know that disagreeing with ME as the one relaying this information assumes YOU are in a position of knowledge greater and better informed that those who work in, and teach others about, these fields.

              Maybe you should look up ‘argument from authority’ tildeb. I’d accept it to be non-fallacious in some cases but I think if a god-botherer started citing expert theologians against you you’d quickly recognise its limitations.

              What you’ve demonstrated repeatedly in your comments is that you’re quite good at quoting individual ‘authorities’ who you think support your case but you’re quite poor at understanding what they’ve actually said. You’re particularly poor at assessing the relevance of data to the claims you make and seem to think a deluge of irrelevant factoids substitutes for a reasoned connection between data and conclusions. Given that you often don’t understand what they’re saying and are unable to grasp why they’re saying it I feel quite comfortable in dismissing the sorts of sweeping claims I cite at the top of this comment that you try to justify with appeals to authority. However, as long as you’re able to provide links to the research you insist supports your claims I will continue to check it out, applying critical reasoning rather than uncomprehending mimicry to it.

              You can’t make yourself smarter by aping those smarter than you tildeb.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. tildeb likes to pretend he’s scientific, but deep down, you’ll find more faith than inquiring mind😀

              Liked by 3 people

            3. Yeah. Scientism.

              A few hundred years ago such people would be raining down hellfire and brimstone on those who disagree with them, secure in the knowledge their authority was firmly based in a holy book they could barely read. Now the authoritarian boot is on the other foot and they denigrate the religious from the pulpit of Science.

              Different lyrics. Same old tune.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. yes, and they equate questioning the medical establishement to being anti-science.
              it is not never unscientific to question science.

              Liked by 4 people

            5. it is not never unscientific to question science

              In fact if there’s one thing Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn agreed on it was that questioning it is what makes it science.

              Liked by 1 person

        2. a larger basin to produce mutations.

          BTW, repeated studies have shown the peak viral load in the vaccinated is just as high as in the unvaxed and though they clear it faster, their better immune environment for allowing new variants to become dominant and their more frequent asymptomatic carrier status would suggest they’re at very high risk of producing and spreading new variants, especially considering the recent research summary by Franco-Paredes suggesting the vaccinated with Covid are almost as contagious as the unvaccinated with it (if you doubt him check his refs as I did).

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          1. This just out.

            “RNA copies did not differ much between Delta in unvaccinated vs vaccinated individuals, but viral load shedding was much lower (0.68 log) & declined faster in breakthrough. However, half of the vaccine breakthrough samples still had infectious virus at 5 dpos!”

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            1. Thanks for the ref, I’ll keep an eye on it for when it’s peer reviewed. But I don’t think an unreviewed pre-print looking at proxy markers trumps the fully reviewed Lancet-published studies looking at actual transmission rates in real-world settings Franco-Paredes cites.

              In a nutshell –

              from Community transmission and viral load kinetics of the SARS-CoV-2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the UK: a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study
              “Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. ”

              from What is the vaccine effect on reducing transmission in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant?
              “This study confirms that COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and also accelerates viral clearance in the context of the delta variant. However, this study unfortunately also highlights that the vaccine effect on reducing transmission is minimal in the context of delta variant circulation. ”

              from Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant Infections Among Incarcerated Persons in a Federal Prison — Texas, July–August 2021
              “During a COVID-19 outbreak involving the Delta variant in a highly vaccinated incarcerated population, transmission rates were high, even among vaccinated persons. Although attack rates, hospitalizations, and deaths were higher among unvaccinated than among vaccinated persons, duration of positive serial test results was similar for both groups. Infectious virus was cultured from vaccinated and unvaccinated infected persons.”

              You can find the links to all of these at the bottom of the Franco-Paredes piece.

              The bottom line is that for delta at least the reduction in transmission rates from fully vaccinated individuals is marginal, even at the peak of vaccine effectiveness. OTOH, vaccines reduce the severity of symptoms – often to the point of making them indetectable – meaning the infected and vaccinated are more likely to be out and about, spreading the virus. Combine that with the known increased risk of variants emerging in the ‘leaky’ vaccinated and you’ve got very little basis for suggesting mass vaccination will reduce the risk of new variant outbreaks – unless of course you’re with a drug company set to make big profits by perpetuating mass vaccination programs at ever decreasing intervals as new variants keep sweeping the world.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Because you conclude that these authors are suggesting that Covid “ain’t no big thing. The virus is taking its place as a common irritant. Let’s stop overreacting and get on with living,” I seriously question your reading comprehension, Jim. That’s not what the main article suggests AT ALL.

    How do I know this? Well, read the article and see what the AUTHORS mean by creating a new normal for living with Covid. They lay these out but how you managed to miss them entirely is well… rather amazing!

    The four points of implementation to ‘live’ with Covid are as follows (with more detail in the article):

    1) establish a NATIONAL comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health because not having such a body with good information creates shortcomings that are threatening lives and societal function. Sound familiar? Maybe that’s why I keep raising the point that anti-vax bullshit is dis- and misinformation that harms real people in real life if acted upon.

    2) a permanent public health implementation workforce that should include a public health agency–based community health worker system and expanded school nurse system. And what, pray tell, would those school nurses do? Funny you should ask… the AUTHORS say they should be empowered to ensure vaccination as a condition for attendance.

    Oops. Well, that’s not looking much like Covid “’tain’t no big thang.” In fact, vaccination is the CENTRAL feature of this ‘new normal’.

    3) implement a national telemedicine waiver and appropriate licensure to practice and enable billing across state lines, and you’ll love this next point so I’ll quote it:

    4) “rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health. (edit: yeah, I’m sure anti-vaxers think THIS is a great idea!) Communities with higher levels of trust and reciprocity, such as Denmark, have experienced lower rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. (edit: whodathunk it wasn’t just a bullshit belief held by tildeb who has uncritically swallowed all the Big Pharma propaganda but clearly derived from real world evidence? Go figure.) Improving public health data systems and delivering a diverse public health workforce that can respond in real time in communities will be important steps toward building that trust more widely.”

    THAT is what these AUTHORS is saying what’s NEEDED to make Covid part of the ‘new normal.’ Somehow, I don’t think you understood it beyond assuming the title meant something you’d prefer to believe because not for one second do I think you actually agree with ANY of these recommendations to achieve this new normal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, must be my reading comprehension…The only knees jerking here are yours. Until you so fearfully pointed it out, it all seemed benign. Now I’m scared
      “new normal” and “redefine the level of risk it poses on the nation” and, COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined” Not too scary.
      How long can you drag this out seems to be the main goal.

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    2. And I see the latest poll that Biden’s approval of handling the pandemic and economy just hit a new low of 33%. The 33 in favor must not follow any news, work, shop, or any other the above.

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  9. For those vaccinated individuals, your suggestion to “get on with living” probably has merit since their risks for contracting this particular “circulating respiratory virus” are comparatively low. However, for the many who are currently in the hospital as a result of either the “original” virus or one of its bastard offspring, this suggestion may ring hollow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The six public health advisers who previously advised President Joe Biden during his presidential transition have come forward in publishing three opinion articles in Journal of the American Medical Association urging the president to shift course on his response to COVID-19”
      I didn’t write this but I agree with it. Let it play out, blow over, and move along. I case your haven’t noticed the store shelves, car lots, lumber yards? Things need to start moving or covid will be the last of our worries.

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      1. The empty shelves, car lots, and lumber yards are not all attributed to the virus itself. WA Post includes winter weather conditions and the slowing of supply chains …

        “Some countries have taken a very strict approach and shut down manufacturing, so that slows the whole process down. It’s not just a domestic issue, it’s about how other countries are dealing with omicron.”

        Also the article points out that fewer people are eating out, resulting in more need for grocery items … and more empty shelves that can’t be replenished because of the … slowing of supply chains.

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        1. People eating out or eating in is the same amount of food, I would guess.
          How far are you willing to go to save comorbidities from covid?

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          1. Yes, the food consumption is probably similar. But you were the one who mentioned empty store shelves. I admit I assumed you were referring to “grocery” store shelves, but even so, the supply chain issue plays a role in the scenario.

            As for your last question … I’m not sure what you’re getting at … ??

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            1. If I REALLY thought total shutdown would make it all go away, I might be willing. But you know and I know it will NEVER happen here. When folks are allowed to refuse vaccines (that have been proven to decrease the number of COVID cases), why would anyone think they would “allow” an even greater deterrent?

              Liked by 3 people

            2. Alt-middle! I love it.

              My only criticism is about kids and Omicron and the assumption that symptoms are negligible (in the sense it’s ‘just like a cold’). I don’t think he’s up to date on this comparing apples with apples and the rate of complex symptoms or the scope of complexities between the two. But it’s certainly true in general that kids do very well on the whole with ANY of the SARS-CoV-2 infections and even more so with Omicron. But that’s not really the point.

              The point of vaccinating this cohort might not do nearly as much for them as, say, vaccinating a much older cohort – and this is certainly true – but what it does do is widen that percentage across the entire population, which we know beyond a doubt DOES measurably reduce all the numbers that we consider ‘bad’ from the entire population.

              From an epidemiological perspective, mass vaccination is and still remains the central defense against worst case scenarios (even taking into account waning efficacy) not least of which is having health care available during a rising wave to those lower percentage but high in actual numbers children who do produce direct complex symptoms. (And I say ‘direct’ because there’s also an indirect number of very complex and highly healthcare intensive effects later, after the infection seems to be handled.

              When you have a million Omicron infections a day, that small percentage will produce large(r) numbers of kids with Covid symptoms who will all show up at the hospital that is already overwhelmed by the small percentage but large numbers of people requiring more care – vaccinated or not. (This is where the much higher percentage of symptomatic people who are NOT vaccinated takes up a disproportionate share of such finite services.) So THIS is is why school closures during peak wave makes good policy sense and not because it’s trying to keep kids immune over time. Vaccination of these kids also produces a net benefit, not least of which is flattening the curve of kids infecting others – especially more vulnerable adults involved with education – but reduces the raw number of children who require hospital services for complex symptoms at this time. That IS good public policy, especially when Omicron has numbers equivalent in transmission to measles (which is very high compared to, say, a cold or seasonal flu).

              So public policies that flatten the curve (he echoes my own thoughts about masking mandates AND echoes my own opinion about N95s for more at-risk people) saves not just lives but healthcare availability for those who require it… including children. And there is no question there is an emerging and concerning rise (relatively speaking but these are VERY early days) in MIS-C cases, which I suspect has everything to do with a long term effect from a Covid infection in some children (MIS-C symptoms – Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children – generally arise 4 weeks post Covid infection… so far) who may appear directly vulnerable to the ‘just like a cold’ symptoms.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. And you continue to dismiss the effectiveness of naturally acquired antibodies… as do our elected officials. Dr Z actually acknowledges their role, not like the pure maniacal vax proponents

              Liked by 1 person

            4. I’m not dismissing them at all except in the sense of of how you are using it to not just replace vaccinations but promote endemic polices. I do not think this is a good idea at all because prior infection does not achieve what you think it achieves.

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            5. “Most recovered COVID-19 patients mount broad, durable immunity after coronavirus infection”
              “Until our study, what hasn’t been clear is if you get exposed to one coronavirus, could you have cross-protection across other coronaviruses? And we showed that is the case.”
              “Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown for the first time that coronavirus vaccines and prior coronavirus infections can provide broad immunity against other, similar coronaviruses. The findings build a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines that could prove useful in the face of future epidemics.” And on and on.

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Yes, but the cost you gloss over is in human lives to achieve what you hope will be some future immunity.

              The cost is about 850,000 dead Americans today many of whom would still be alive with timely vaccination. The cost is in millions of affected lives with long Covid. The cost is in tens of millions of people who have more suffering now dealing with these effects. The cost is in overwhelming healthcare and having people suffer and die who can’t get timely treatment for other conditions. Related to this is the cost is literally tens of thousands of healthcare workers including doctors and nurses who are leaving not just their current jobs but the healthcare sector altogether.

              This cost is real, and this cost is ongoing.

              I’ve written several times about the development of a corona virus vaccine even as early as later this year. That means ANY kind of corona virus… including not just Covid but SARS and MERS and all its variants like delta and omicron. But it doesn’t stop there. It also would dramatically reduce all kinds of typical and seasonal flus that are alos part of the corona virus family. This is the end goal of the current vaccination process, rendering all corona virus flus to be like smallpox: basically non existent in almost everyone’s day to day life. Gone. Eradicated.

              That, apparently is a Very Bad Thing, am I right?

              What anti-vaxers and those who give them oxygen have accomplished throughout Covid is to do their very best to make this end goal – this corona virus vaccine – as far away as they possibly can by pretending vaccination is the problem, vaccination is too dangerous, vaccination is the path to totalitarianism, vaccination is a global plot of domination, vaccination is for dupes and fools and unreasonable automatons, that any government involvement with vaccination is a conspiracy with Big Pharma. It has been and continues to be an attack against science, that anyone who defends the necessary role for vaccination is an extremist, that all those pointy head experts in virology and immunology are very much part of the problem because they try to advance vaccination.

              You and a billion of your closest friends can forth and get Covid today and it won’t stop the corona virus from becoming a repeated scourge regularly killing and harming a significant percentage of the human population each and every rendition. That, apparently, is the Holy Grail being sought here by those dedicated to vilifying vaccination as public policy. I think this appeals to the very worst of our common humanity rather than the best. It’s so easy to destroy and so difficult to build. A corona virus vaccination would be a monumental achievement. Why not give it time to come to fruition?

              Liked by 2 people

            7. I’ve written several times about the development of a corona virus vaccine even as early as later this year. That means ANY kind of corona virus… including not just Covid but SARS and MERS and all its variants like delta and omicron.

              So we’re talking about a completely unheralded breakthrough in vaccine technology that would affordably immunise people against a vast range of ever changing proteins without causing massive rates of side-effects. Right. If I close my eyes and believe really hard that this civilisation won’t fuck itself over the next couple of centuries I can just about imagine the sort of technological advances that might get us there.

              But how are you going to re-engineer the human immune system so it retains coronavirus immunities for more than a few months?
              Or are you proposing giving everyone in the world a booster every few months forever and ever amen?

              But it doesn’t stop there. It also would dramatically reduce all kinds of typical and seasonal flus that are alos part of the corona virus family.

              Dude, influenza isn’t even in the same phylum as coronaviruses!
              If they were any less related one of them wouldn’t be an RNA virus at all.
              No need to keep proving you’re not a virologist and don’t know what you’re talking about. I think we can all take it as given.

              This is the end goal of the current vaccination process, rendering all corona virus flus to be like smallpox: basically non existent in almost everyone’s day to day life. Gone. Eradicated.

              Let’s keep this just to Covid and see what the scope of the project is. If it seems vaguely achievable we’ll move onto the miracles later.

              What you’re talking about is –
              1. Developing a wide-spectrum Covid vaccine that isn’t leaky like all the ones we’ve got now.
              2. Identifying all the animal hosts for Covid and developing similar vaccines for all of them (unless you want to cut the Gordian knot by exterminating them).
              3. Produce enough doses to fully vaccinate all the human and animal coronavirus hosts on the planet.
              4. Engage in a massive program to quickly vaccinate all potential hosts before immunity among the first to be vaccinated wanes enough for them to be infected by the not yet vaccinated.
              5. Isolate all animals and people with immune systems too weak to respond to the vaccine until they are either confirmed to be non-carriers or die.

              Make’s Jack Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon seem pretty damned modest don’t you think?

              That, apparently is a Very Bad Thing, am I right?

              Of course not, but if you’re going to engage in utopian fantasies why not just imagine we’ll all die of coronavirus and go to heaven to live happily with Jesus for eternity? It’s much simpler and just as likely.

              It’s a good think you scientism fanboys know so little about science, otherwise your techno-eschatologies would come crashing around your ears.

              A corona virus vaccination would be a monumental achievement. Why not give it time to come to fruition?

              So would a workers’ utopia, a thousand year reich or god’s kingdom on earth. People chasing those sorts of immortality projects tend to do some nasty shit if they get a bit of power though. That’s because ‘monumental achievements’ always end up being more important than the human lives they purport to be saving someday.

              Liked by 1 person

            8. There are many vaccination approaches currently being tested. The most immediately promising to date is targeting the sarbecovirus subgenus, which also seems to cover all versions of SARS like COVID and MERS and, yes, also effects different kinds of influenza. There are currently phases being done right now in ongoing studies that have reached Stage Two regarding very promising vaccines that target both spike proteins and also nucleocapsid proteins from elsewhere in the virus. This, too, has a spill-over effect against other kinds of viruses and even HIV. Again, effect. Other efforts are examining vaccines that target different parts of the spike protein, such as the fusion peptide, which appears to be similar across all coronavirus strains. This, too, is very promising. These have ABSOLUETLY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. So take your imported pessimism and the-world-is-a-conspiracy-against-people-like-me-who-know-better crap and shelve it. You may want to consider going back on your meds, too.

              Look, cabrogal, you’re pretending what I relay is all pie-in-the-sky kind of magical thinking and then trying to ‘show’ that you are justified in spanking me verbally. Well, you’re wrong. Again. And ever so reliably wrong. These are ALREADY in trials and some are at different stages. I’m not making this shit up. Most will not pan out for various reasons, granted. But I hear the buzz from various researchers and there seems to me to be a higher state of optimism today about producing a vaccine capable of rendering the corona virus threat mute much sooner than experts like you might think possible. That in itself is rather telling… if YOU know like I do how careful researchers are in producing optimism. They are not unaware of the very problems you raise; the difference is that they are doing something about it. All you seem to do is try to elevate yourself by tearing down others. It’s tedious. Fuck off already doing that over and over and over.

              So, again, stop attacking me personally for relaying information. Stop already creating fictions in your mind about me that you in your self-appointed heightened state of medically critical expertise have deemed seditious against medical knowledge that you yourself believe you represent. You don’t. What you’re doing is trying to ‘prove’ I’m not a virologist. Well, I’m not. Who cares? I’m not an epidemiologist either. Who cares? As I have said many times, all I’m doing is passing along what is considered good information, not in my opinion but in the wide opinion of very real virologists and epidemiologists. That’s who you are criticizing here and that’s why I say that takes a lot of hubris, hubris you own and not me. That’s it. If you want to question this consensus, this professional respect and optimism, then go to town but leave me out of it. I’m just the messenger.

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            9. Tildeb, I criticise you so frequently because you so arrogantly dismiss the opinions of others with appeals to authorities you are clearly incapable of understanding, much less assessing. You make grand unqualified assertions that denigrate the considered opinions of others. When challenged you either decline to provide references, point to data that in no way supports your assertion or resort to claiming you are merely relaying the views of unnamed experts so anyone who disagrees with you is actually disagreeing with someone who knows more about it than they do. You seem incapable of even following a reasoned argument, much less engaging with it on its merits.

              Yes, you are not a virologist, but that doesn’t stop you from confidently asserting influenza and coronavirus are in the same family despite them being less closely related than humans and lampreys. Which authority did you get that factoid from? Now you’re implying you know enough about virology to evaluate the validity of claims about such pie-in-the-sky technologies as a single vaccine for every virus despite lacking the capacity to understand such claims or whether the person allegedly making them is an authority or a self-serving charlatan.

              There are also ‘authorities’ on both sides of the argument about anthropic global warming. Some are responsible climatologists. Some are liars in the pay of fossil fuel industries. You’re someone who thinks Heather Mac Donald is a legitimate authority on institutional racism. Yet your most substantial argument on virtually any of the subjects in which you display such comprehensive ignorance is appeal to authority.

              You’re a mental midget hiding behind a cardboard cutout of a giant professor.

              Liked by 1 person

            10. Arrogantly asserting “influenza and coronavirus are in the same family.” That’s not what I said. That’s what you interpreted. I said the coronavirus vaccine would be effective against “typical and seasonal flus that are also part of the corona virus family.” Specifically these are HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and HKU1. Does that help you cabrogal? Can you sleep at night now?

              The cardboard mental midget you think I am is a creation of and in your mind. You will take anything I say and try to interpret it to fit this creation. I can’t help you with that.

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            11. HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and HKU1

              None of which are flus or even cause the typical cluster of flu-like symptoms.
              So why would you say ‘flus’ when you mean something completely different?

              Liked by 1 person

            12. “The cost is about 850,000 dead Americans today many of whom would still be alive with timely vaccination. ”

              This is complete and utter BS. The CDC data clearly indicates that ~95% of those deaths were in people with multiple comorbidities unrelated to COVID.

              Liked by 2 people

            13. You’re making an interpretation that is factually wrong. Yes, comorbidities elevates the risk of premature death. We have statistics to show exactly what this risk produces in numbers over time. This is what insurance companies, for example, base their policies and premiums on. It’s not make believe.

              What you don’t understand is that Covid has elevated and shortened the time frame of this risk massively, which is why it is factually correct to state that not getting vaccinated has caused “about 850,000 dead Americans today many of whom would still be alive with timely vaccination.”

              If you disagree, then you are doing so because you don’t understand the facts.

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            14. So it’s good to perpetually drag along the comorbidities (more expensive) than allow what nature has been trying to do for years?

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            15. No, it’s not good at all to have comorbidities and these should be actively reduced where possible. But age itself is a comorbidity, Jim! And I sincerely doubt you’re suggesting it would good public health policy to not medically intervene when someone with a ‘comorbidity’ gets sick!

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            16. How do you know what is good or not? I’m not suggesting anything but that you are a walking contradiction. Life is balance. All science and no joy makes tilly a dull boy. Or is it bot? This is where denying the unreality of matter carries the weight of existence on your existential shoulders. None of this matters as much as you need it to.

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            17. “Most recovered COVID-19 patients mount broad, durable immunity after coronavirus infection”

              Well, depends on what you mean by ‘durable’.

              As with the coronaviruses that cause common colds, immunity derived from Covid infections seem to wane over time and some people have been infected more than once with the same strain.

              My guess is that’s an intrinsic part of the human immune response to coronaviruses that’s evolved in order to avoid precisely the sort of immune system fatigue repeated vaccination is likely to lead to. It’s worked in the past because endemic coronaviruses have been so mild it’s just not worth keeping the immune system on red alert for them indefinitely, but it became maladaptive in the face of serious Covid strains like delta. I’m not confident in saying omicron as the dominant strain has made it adaptive again, but it’s a big step in the right direction. A mass rollout of omicron specific vaccines risks an even bigger step in the wrong direction.

              Liked by 1 person

            18. Re: the video … the one remark that stood out to me more than anything is this: We are all “captured by [our] own group think.” So whether the vaccines work or not … whether the masks work of not … whether staying away from crowds works or not … it pretty much all comes down to which “group think” speaks to us individually.

              So no matter what Fauci says, tildeb says, Ron says, or any other individual commenting on the virus and the methods for defeating it, each of is will continue to be “captured” by our own group think. Right or wrong.

              Liked by 1 person

            19. Well to me his presentations are very informed and reasonable. Tildebs continued alarms are unwarranted. Remember, all the news in the world is handy, but don’t forget to look around.
              His example of what’s going on in San Francisco is similar to my town, yet the government keeps pounding the table.

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            20. I agree that we MUST look beyond “all the news in the world.” Yes, it can help us make informed decisions, but when push comes to shove, it’s still an individual thing on how we react and what actions we take. And as I said in my other comment, that “group think” element definitely plays a role.

              Liked by 1 person

            21. Speaking personally, what this means for high functioning autistics is that in situations requiring unique insights we’re troubleshooters. In situations requiring conformity with majority viewpoints we’re troublemakers.

              Liked by 1 person

            22. It’s somewhat fascinating to me that few thoughts/opinions are allowed to stand on their own in discussions related to the virus on Jim’s blog. It seems some visitors are simply unable to let something stand on its own merits and instead must immediately counter it with (what they consider) “better” facts/research/opinion.

              I suppose it makes for a lively blog, but from my perspective, I have far better things than trying to “one-up” someone else.

              You all have a nice weekend.

              Liked by 1 person

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