Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 31 October, 2021

I’ve a really important opening commentary today.  It is no exaggeration to say that acting on this might save your life or that of someone dear to you.

If You Read Nothing Else, Please Read This :

There are some fundamental Covid care issues we can learn from, of all places, Uttar Pradesh – a north Indian state you may never have heard of, and probably couldn’t locate on a map.

Uttar Pradesh (UP)  has a population of 225 million people, and after experiencing the same rapid rise and high numbers of Covid cases back in May, has been reporting under 10 new Covid cases every day through most of October.  That would be the same as the US reporting under 15 new Covid cases a day, but we’re reporting an average of more like 70,000 every day.  Yes, our new case rate every day is currently about 5,000 times higher than in UP.  And, in total, our case rate is 5.7 times higher than all of India (in terms of cases per million).  The discrepancy is even greater when it comes to deaths – more people die of Covid infections in the US than in India.  In the US, using current numbers, the death rate is 1.64% of all reported cases, in India, it is 1.34% – almost 20% lower.

You might say “only 20%” dismissively, but that 20% represents 153,000 more dead people in the US than if our death rate was the same as in India.

How has Uttar Pradesh managed to collapse its new Covid case counts?  This is not because of a high vaccination rate.  Currently, only 14.5% of the state has been vaccinated.  So what caused Uttar Pradesh to go from the “gloom and doom” headlines that the main stream media were gleefully publishing about India’s Covid crisis, back in May, to a situation where the state is declaring most of itself “Covid free” now?  (And, why aren’t there now matching headlines about India’s triumphant turn-around?)

WHO published an article in May about how Uttar Pradesh was “going the last mile” to stop Covid-19.  You’ll note two key elements are referred to – lots of testing with rapid test kits, and anyone who tested positive wasn’t just told to stay at home until they couldn’t breathe, but rather was given – as WHO coyly says – “a medicine kit with advice on disease management”.

That makes it sound like the key element of the kit was a piece of paper with “advice on disease management”, doesn’t it.  Wouldn’t you love to know what else was in those medicine kits, and wouldn’t you love to have some on hand, yourself?  WHO is strangely silent on sharing that information.  (Huge big question – why the secrecy?)

I’m happy to tell you what is in each kit.

  • Paracetamol
  • Vitamin C
  • Multi-vitamin
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D3
  • 10 x 12mg Ivermectin tablets
  • 10 x 100 mg Doxycycline tablets

This article explains more about this.

India’s adoption of ivermectin as a “standard of care” treatment has been controversial and patchy.  As an interesting comparison, two other states, not using these kits – Kerala and Maharashtra – have much higher counts of currently active cases :

State Population Currently Active Cases Cases/Million Times Greater than UP
Uttar Pradesh 225 million 107 0.48 (1)
Kerala 35.1 million 79,266 2,258 4700
Maharashtra 122.1 million 16,658 136.5 285

What is the miracle in UP that is giving it 285 – 4,700 lower current case counts?  Could it possibly be the contents of those medicine kits?

How can we in good conscience allow our fellow citizens – our friends and families – to stay at home until they can’t breathe, and withhold all treatment from them, when there is such a vivid and overwhelming example and proof of the efficacy of giving IVM, Doxy, Vitamin D3, and these other items to everyone as soon as they are infected?

Four follow up questions :

  • Who in their right mind can say “there’s no proof that ivermectin works” or, even more ridiculously, “ivermectin is dangerous”, when looking at this data?
  • How many hundreds of thousands of Americans have died because they’ve been denied access to the same collection of medicines as have been freely distributed to Indians in Uttar Pradesh?
  •  Where are the headlines about the treatment program in UP?  Why can’t WHO even bring itself to list the contents of the “medicine kits” that are proving to be so stunningly effective?  Why do we see excited headlines of the “breakthrough miracle drug” molnupiravir; currently largely untested, expensive, and with some reasons to be concerned about its safety, but just snide comments about dangerous horse medicine when it comes to IVM?
  • How is it that India has better health care than most of the western world?

This is really important.  If you come down with Covid, don’t you want to have one of these medicine kits?  I sure do, and have already assembled mine.  Vaccinated or not, you should do the same.

Current Numbers

Slovakia moved up three places in the minor country list.

Belgium moved up two places in the major country list.

Romania continues to skyrocket up the death list – well, okay, moving up “just” one more position mightn’t seem like skyrocketing, but look at the change in numbers – a growth of 161 more deaths per million in a single week.  None of the other tracked countries showed more than a growth of 29 more deaths per million (the US).  Something’s really going on in Romania.

The current case counts for last week table show the usual major changes.  It is interesting to note how all the countries, with the lonely exception of Singapore at the bottom of the list, and the debatable definition of a couple of “almost European” countries, are European.  There’s also no clear benefit from vaccination rates – I added the percent of each country fully vaccinated today.  Why is unvaccinated Africa totally missing off this list?  It is only a couple of months ago that the usual nonsense “gloom and doom” articles were prophesying an apocalypse in Africa, and now, the most affected African nations are Botswana (694 new cases per million last week), Libya (521) and Mauritius (511).  The US had about three times that number of new cases last week, and as you can see, some European countries had ten times that number.

In Europe, it has been another bad week with a further 10% growth in new cases.  Hungary had an 83% rise, the Czech Republic went up 63%, Norway 62%, and Germany 59%.  France rose 11%.  At the other end, Sweden enjoyed a 27% drop, Spain had a 22% drop, and the UK had a 13% drop.

In North America, Canada had a 23% drop, and Mexico a 9% drop.  The US had about the same drop as Mexico.

The world as a whole had a steady week, with the merest of drops, a 0.4% drop.

Top Case Rates Minor (population under 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Montenegro (224,337) Montenegro (229,736)
2 Seychelles (220,917) Seychelles
3 Andorra Andorra
4 Gibraltar (174,417) Georgia (180,762)
5 Georgia Gibraltar (177,920)
6 San Marino San Marino
7 St Barth Slovenia
8 Maldives St Barth
9 Bahrain Maldives
10 Slovenia (153,855) Bahrain (155,525)

 

Top Case Rates Major (population over 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (161,104) Czech Republic (164,213)
2 USA (138,849) USA (140,366)
3 UK (128,357) UK (132,498)
4 Netherlands Netherlands
5 Argentina Belgium
6 Sweden Argentina
7 Belgium Sweden
8 France France
9 Spain Portugal
10 Portugal Spain
11 Brazil Brazil
12 Colombia (96,737) Colombia (96,938)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,958) Peru  (5,963)
2 Czech Republic (2,852) Czech Republic (2,865)
3 Brazil Brazil
4 Argentina Argentina (2,535)
5 Colombia (2,459) Romania (2,504)
6 Romania (2,343) Colombia (2,466)
7 USA (2,268) USA (2,297)
8 Belgium (2,217) Belgium (2,230)
9 Mexico (2,191) Mexico (2,206)
10 Italy (2,185) Italy (2,189)

 

Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

Rank One Week Ago Today (Vax rate)
1 Latvia  9,124 Estonia  8,986 (57%)
2 Georgia  7,516 Latvia  8,914 (54%)
3 Lithuania Lithuania (61% +)
4 Estonia Slovenia  (54%)
5 Serbia Georgia  (23% +)
6 Slovenia Croatia (44%)
7 Romania Serbia  (44%)
8 UK 4,761 Slovakia (43%)
9 Armenia Bulgaria (22%)
10 Croatia Romania  (33%)
11 Bulgaria Armenia (7% +)
12 Singapore  4,139 Singapore  4,352 (80%)

Ivermectin and other Existing Treatments

Here’s another disgraceful “hit piece” about ivermectin in a once-reputable journal.  At a time when the real news is in the real world, although in a “place not like us” (Uttar Pradesh), the NEJM prefers to publish an almost meaningless analysis of spurious calls to poison hotlines by people who may (or may not) have become ill after taking too much ivermectin.

Not commented at all in the brief bit of nonsense that is the article in why these people may have overdosed – because they couldn’t find any doctor willing to give them proper dosage advice or to prescribe them the drug in easily managed pill form.

That’s the real story – if there is a harm to be written about, it is people who are driven to desperate measures while doctors (and pharmacists) sit back and refuse to help.

Vaccine News

There’s a reason we’re being urged (and soon will be compelled) to take a booster dose of the vaccine.  Sure, it is a reason that the mindlessly pro-vax people are struggling to come up with a positive spin for, because it is simply this :  The vaccines quickly stop being effective.  Here’s a study showing how quickly the vaccines reduce in effectiveness.

Of note is a suggestion, arising from several sources as well as the linked article, that there comes a point where vaccinated people become more susceptible to infection.  That’s a new data point that has not yet made it into the mainstream discussion.  I’ve not had the time to pick apart this claim, so treat it with caution, but it seems to be appearing from more than one source, so maybe it is valid.

I mentioned above how booster shots are likely to become mandatory.  Here’s perhaps the first example of this already happening.

The logic of booster shots fails to impress.  “If the first two shots fail, the solution is more shots of the same”?  As I regularly say, surely a better solution is to press on with developing a better vaccine?

While little is known about the Russian vaccine, Mr Putin does have a point – it seems vaccine approvals are sometimes politically rather than medically based.  So too are the related decisions on which vaccines to “recognize” when deciding who to allow to enter a country.

This is making for very difficult policy-making when countries find themselves trying to reconcile two conflicting statements :

(a)  We don’t think that Vaccine “A” is good enough for our citizens to take

(b)  We are willing to allow people vaccinated with vaccine A to enter our country because they have been sufficiently protected by their vaccination

Timings And Numbers

Here’s a look at where booster shots are being taken.  Some countries/regions are focused more on building up full initial “immunity” (clearly a word that doesn’t really apply at all!), while others are moving on to booster shots for those who want them.

Who Should Pay

Not really directly Covid related, but another indicator of how our current healthcare system is totally broken in two respects – a woman waited seven hours without receiving any ER attention, and so gave up and went home, only to subsequently receive a $700 bill for walking in the front door of the hospital.

Of particular note is the totally unapologetic and aggressive response from the hospital’s billing department.

How is it possible to wait seven hours in an Emergency Room, here in the US?  And as for the $700 bill, words fail.

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.

 

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