Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 28 October, 2021

A recent study by Pfizer “proved conclusively” that their vaccine is safe for children aged 5 – 11.  The trial involved 2,268 children.

None of the children came down with myocarditis.  So, obviously, no risk of this side-effect of the vaccine, right?

Ummm – would you still say that if you knew that the risk is in the order of 1 in 5,200?  Or perhaps, even higher (it seems, the younger the child, the greater the risk the 1/5,200 is for mails aged 12-17.

A cynic might think that Pfizer deliberately kept the trial size down so as to minimize the chance of some of these uncommon complications appearing…..  which is why trials are normally conducted with very much larger groups of subjects.  But apparently, Pfizer doesn’t need to follow normal rules when it comes to proving the safety of their vaccine.

There’s been a number of apps developed to allow us to store our vaccination status on our phone.  In theory, the apps do two things that the “official” CDC vaccination records do not.  First, it is harder to cheat and duplicate an app-based vaccine record – these access your stored-online medical records to validate your claim you’ve been vaccinated (you did know that your vaccination has been added to county, state, and probably federal databases, didn’t you?).

Second, it spares you the hassle of carrying the CDC vax record with you, the bother of losing it, etc.

That’s all good, but earlier this week, one of the common apps stopped working.  So, picture this scenario.  You’ve been waiting in line for admission to a ball game, or to the reception for your friend/son/daughter’s wedding, or whatever.  When it is your turn to show your vaccination status, you turn on your phone, only to discover the vaccination app has stopped working, and you’re refused entrance.

I pointed out the unfortunate nature of that on Twitter, which evoked a chorus of people snidely suggesting I should carry the CDC vax record with me too.  If you still need to do that, too, “just in case”, where is the benefit or sense in the vax record app?

How you respond to the news that the Biden administration is to speed up authorization of at-home Covid test kits might depend on if you see your glass half-full or half-empty.

If you’re a glass half-full person, you’ll acknowledge the need and be pleased to see the Biden administration moving to respond to it.

But if you’re a glass half-empty person, you’ll express amazement that this wasn’t done 20 months ago (or, if not then, in January when Biden came into office).  Fast testing has always and universally been acknowledged as one of the keys to outbreak control; there have been at-home testing technologies available, and the “gold standard” PCR testing has been shamefully slow and is always expensive and inconvenient.

How is it that the linked article is still using the future tense to describe future actions to make at-home testing more sensibly available (and hopefully more moderately priced)?  As is the case with so many of our meds, the kits we’re paying $25 or more for cost as little as a tenth that in some other countries.

I was delighted to see earlier this week that Amazon actually has some test kits available for sale at present.  But rather than delivering the same day, as they’ll do many other things, they are currently saying delivery will be somewhere between 5 – 13 days after ordering.  How much use is a test kit that you don’t get for five days?

This is, of course, all the reason to have test kits already at home for “just in case” use.

Current Numbers

The minor country list saw Georgia push Gibraltar down a place, and Slovenia do the same to Bahrain.

Belgium jumped two places in the major country list, and Portugal pushed Spain down a place.

There were no shifts in the death rate list.

The case activity last week table had the usual wild swings.

In Europe, the UK is no longer in the top country table.  It enjoyed a 9% drop in cases from last week, which was also the biggest drop for any 1 million or larger country in Europe.  Romania was close behind with an 8% drop, and Moldova at 2%.  All other countries had rises, from as mild as 5% for Spain to as severe as 101% for the Czech Republic, 92% for Hungary, and 73% for Denmark.  Germany had a 33% rise, and France a 14% rise, the same as Albania and Portugal.  Europe as a whole saw a strong 16% rise in cases over the last week.

Closer to home, the US reported an 8% drop in cases.  Mexico had a 10% drop, and Canada a 17% drop.

The world as a whole had a 3% rise in cases.

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Montenegro (222,055) Montenegro (227,338)
2 Seychelles (220,928) Seychelles (222)
3 Andorra Andorra
4 Gibraltar (172,932) Georgia
5 Georgia Gibraltar (176,465)
6 San Marino San Marino
7 St Barth St Barth
8 Maldives Maldives
9 Bahrain Slovenia (158,095)
10 Slovenia (151,089) Bahrain (155,505)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (160,114) Czech Republic (162,800)
2 USA (138,441) USA (139,956)
3 UK (126,425) UK (130,726)
4 Netherlands (120,152) Netherlands
5 Argentina Belgium
6 Sweden (114,444) Argentina
7 Belgium Sweden (114,944)
8 France France
9 Spain Portugal
10 Portugal Spain
11 Brazil Brazil
12 Colombia (96,653) Colombia (96,850)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,956) Peru  (5,961)
2 Czech Rep  (2,849) Czech Rep  (2,859)
3 Brazil (2,819) Brazil (2,830)
4 Argentina Argentina
5 Colombia (2,461) Colombia (2,465)
6 Romania (2,280) Romania (2,435)
7 USA (2,260) USA (2,290)
8 Belgium Belgium
9 Mexico Mexico
10 Italy (2,183) Italy (2,188)

 

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
1 Latvia  8,584 Latvia  9,387
2 Georgia  7,734 Estonia  8,463
3 Lithuania Lithuania
4 Estonia Slovenia
5 Romania Georgia
6 Serbia Serbia
7 UK  4,756 Croatia
8 Slovenia Romania
9 Armenia Bulgaria
10 Singapore Armenia
11 Bulgaria Singapore
12 Mongolia  3,569 Slovakia  4,339

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

The White House’s “vaccine mandate” applying to federal employees, federal contractors, and employers with 100+ employees, is scheduled to kick in on 8 December.  Or is it?

There is a growing concern that the number of people who will resign rather than be vaccinated could be sufficient as to throw the “Christmas rush” into even more chaos than it usually is, and all the more so due to our supply-line challenges currently.  Accordingly, various groups are suggesting it should be delayed until the new year.  Apparently those requests have already been granted.

The Denver zoo’s eleven lions, and two of their tigers, have all tested positive for Covid.  Although this article notes the lions haven’t been vaccinated, one wonders if indeed there is a vaccine for lions.

One of my personal fears about getting a Covid infection, myself, is not so much losing my sense of taste as it is getting afflicted with “brain fog”.  Some of you might think I’ve already been so afflicted!  This article talks about memory loss and “brain fog” being side effects of Covid, affecting one in four who get infected.

Ivermectin and other Existing Treatments

Here’s another positive report on the relationship between adequate/inadequate Vitamin D levels and the severity of Covid infections.

To me, this is a no-brainer.  Take a Vitamin D3 supplement, every day.

Vaccine News

I’m not an anti-vaxxer per se, and not across the board for all vaccines and all people.  But I do think it a total mistake to vaccinate young children.  Young children don’t die from Covid, but some of them may from the vaccine, and who only knows what other side effects may appear over the next many decades that could impact them, too.  The risk/return equation, which signals strongly for middle aged and elderly people to be vaccinated, is just as strongly signaling against children being vaccinated.

This Harvard Epidemiology Professor gives a good interview on the topic, which also helps explain how/why it is that so many doctors might be so very wrong on the vaccine issue (and other issues too such as ivermectin).  The link is just a quick 2 minute 20 second segment, and so it is easy to watch.

We’re already seeing the CDC laying the groundwork for a mandatory fourth shot.  First it is permitted for some limited groups of the population, then it will be more openly permitted for many more people, than it will be recommended for all, then it will become mandatory.

We’re only a baby step away from mandatory third shots (the CDC and other bodies now openly talking about vaccine certificates expiring); and here is the CDC now starting the process for fourth shots, too.

I’d not object to this so much if it weren’t for the fact that our new reality is so totally different from what we were being promised this time last year, with the pending approvals of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines about to be announced immediately after the election.

Here’s a rather scientific/complex piece about some of the medical issues being overlooked or ignored in the rush to vaccinate as many people as possible, whether they wish it, or need it, or not.

This article is an excellent commentary on some “positive signals” that, while obvious to anyone who wished to see them, have been overlooked and ignored by most for almost an entire year now.  The much criticized AstraZeneca vaccine and its trials revealed unexpected benefits of a lower first dose and also suggested better protection with a delayed second dose.

But it is only now that “experts” are starting to officially acknowledge these and wonder if maybe there shouldn’t be changes to the vaccination methodology.

Why does it take a year to notice some fundamental and key issues like these?  How can we maintain the farce of full scientific scrutiny when positive issues and opportunities like these are being ignored?

Timings And Numbers

 

 

I want to again look at the puzzle of the official vaccination numbers.  Look at these two charts.  The number of people already vaccinated on 28 September (top chart, dark green color) plus the number of people in the process of getting their two shots (light green color) should, a month later, equal the number of people already vaccinated on 27 October (bottom chart, dark green color), because in the month that passed, presumably all the light green people would have progressed to and taken their second shot.

Actually, the number on 27 October should be slightly greater than the total of both colors on 28 September, because there might also be some people getting single shot vaccines such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or people getting the first shot and second shot of the Pfizer vaccine (only three weeks between shots) all within the month gap.

So, how does it work in practice?  Look at the countries/continents with the greatest number of “vaccinations in progress” a month ago :

India – 17 + 29% = 46%; actual a month later = 22%.  Only one in six of the half-vaccinated people got their second shot in the last month.

South America – 41 + 21% = 62%; actual a month later = 51%.  Only half the half-vaccinated people got their second shot.

Oceania – 32 + 17% = 49%; actual a month later = 47%.  That’s probably within a believable range.

And, closer to home :

US – 55% + 8.8% = 64%; actual a month later = 57%.  Not quite a quarter of half-vaccinated people got their second shot.

UK – 66 + 5.8% = 72%; actual a month later = 67%.  Only one person in every six half-vaccinated people got their second shot.

This is not a new phenomenon – there’s been this marked shortfall between the number of people who have taken one shot and the number who have their second shot for many months.  I can understand a small shortfall, such as shown in Oceania.  But one in six (India and the UK) or one in four (the US)?  That’s a hard to believe massive discrepancy, particularly when it is not a single “one off” disparity, but has been going on for months.

What is it with British “experts”?  The thing they seem most expert at is getting things wrong.  They also have a general bias towards the most negative possible outcomes/predictions.  This article cites warnings of a “dire Covid crisis” due to the government refusing to institute new controls in response to the risking numbers of new Covid cases in the UK.

The most fascinating thing about this though is that for the last five days, there have been massive daily drops in new Covid case numbers.

As you can see, the UK’s new Covid case numbers suddenly turned around, from rising to falling.  But why?  There was no change in public policy, no third-dose vaccines have been given yet, and full vaccination numbers are only very slowly creeping up.  What caused this great change?

As you can also see, there have been at least two other surprising reversals – in early January, and then again in mid July.  What causes the sudden flip from steeply rising to steeply falling?

This isn’t just an abstract curiosity.  If we could understand this (and its opposite incarnation, the reversal from falling to rising), we would know what policy controls and behavior modifications do and don’t work.  The benefit in knowing how to switch rises to falls, and how to stop falls from reversing, is clear – why is this not being avidly researched?

This is an interesting article, perhaps with too many political overtones for some delicate readers, but its central assertions are simple.  First, Ireland has a very high vaccine rate – in one county (Waterford) 99.7% of adults have been vaccinated.  Second, Ireland continues to have high rates of new virus cases – in the same counties with the sky-high vaccination rates.

I checked.  Ireland’s overall vaccination rate is 75%, which is indeed high.  Its Covid case rate has been rising and now is at the second highest rate ever (only a peak in early January was higher).

This is not the future we were promised when we all dutifully lined up to be vaccinated, is it.  But, of course, we know the evolving vaccine narrative.  The first walk-back was “well, you can still get infected and you can still pass it on, so you still have to observe all masking and other safety protocols”.  The second walk-back was “well, the vaccine fades quickly, so you need a third (and possibly fourth and so on) dose, too”.

Meanwhile what has happened to research on vaccines that stop infection/transmission, and which don’t fade?  Why are the health authorities acting as though these experimental, rushed-to-market, mRNA “vaccines” are the best there are and there’s no need to come up with “real” vaccines that work the way “normal” vaccines normally do?

As a “book-end” but opposite note, Florida, which the authoritarians love to lambast and ridicule due to its less-restrictive approach to the virus and refusal to allow vaccine mandates, has now ended up with one of the lowest new virus case rates in the country This article goes out of its way to avoid giving any explanation for why.

How to reconcile these two scenarios – scenarios which I’ve occasionally pointed to in the past with other countries/regions?  High vaccination rates, but high case rates, and low vaccination rates and low case rates?

Closings and Openings

If you’re outside the US and considering traveling here, particularly after 8 November when our border opens for almost all, or if you’re in the US but have friends who might wish to visit, here’s what the current version of the truth is in terms of requirements to come here.

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

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