Recent news: The CDC has admitted that the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission of the virus, calling into question the strategy of carpet bombing the disease out of existence, and making a mockery of deeply held facebook wisdom that the unvaccinated are a danger to the vaccinated, when the opposite is (also) true.
Natural immunity after an infection and recovery appears to last longer and be much stronger than vaccinated immunity. All immunity fades rather quickly, likely in a 6-9 month timeframe.
The latter two points would make a mockery of firing people who have natural immunity and do not want to get vaccinated.
In a sane world, guided by science.
Like Jen Psaki, l’ll cycle back to these points at the end.
Show me a model with two roughly equal sized reasonably small cycles and a subsequent cycle four times as large as either of those, dropping to near zero in between all of them. For bonus points, show a rapidly moving cycle move through the unvaccinated population after the rate of vaccination had reached 60% in the general population, 4 months after wave 3 was exhausted. Now explain any of this.
Everyone was wrong, and continues to be wrong. Even Professor Neil Ferguson.
Well, everyone in a position of power. I’m almost certain that somewhere in Pfizer or the CDC (and maybe China) there are people emailing spreadsheets titled “COVID19, PLEASE LOOK…”, and being ignored.
For the first time likely ever, everyone had access to the same data at the same time. The data was reasonably clean by big data standards, and enough computer power and modelling software was available that amateurs could try their hand at modelling this thing. I did.
I was wrong. Repeatedly.
The professionals all came out high, and often very high. This is to be expected, as it seems somehow better to be needlessly over-prepared and not need it than to be under-prepared. This is not actually true, as all allocations of resources take from something else. Indeed it remains an open question what could have been accomplished if we had had spent the money and human capital spent on C19 on cancer, heart disease. And politicians will use any convenient real or imaginary thing: war, global warming, a pandemic etc. to secure their jobs and income. It’s easy to understand why the press and the politicians guessed high. Clicks, money, power, vanity.
But curiously most of the amateur models also showed a large bias toward “too large” errors. And many of the errors were inexcusable – not recognizing that disease targets – nearly exclusively and ruthlessly – the elderly in poor health.
Why the bias toward doomsday scenarios? I don’t know. There seems to be a demand for them.
One of the first mistakes I made was hoping that a sharp drop-off in infections after the first wave in many geographically local groups at about the 35% infected (positive PCR-RT) was the end of the virus in that area. While the pattern seemed to be robust and repeatable, wave 3 put an end to any such hope.
The second mistake was not accounting for the time the virus takes to travel geographically. To be fair, lots of people made this mistake, and in Feb-Jul of 2020 I read (and wrote some) many assessments of what was working and not working that were in fact attributing actions – social distancing and masking – that were actually doing little or nothing, with geographic movement of the virus. Indeed the first lockdowns happened around Feb-Apr 2020 globally happened in many places yet to be infected. And some, far too late to help. In a handful, early enough, combined with boarder closings to suppress the virus. At least until Delta.
I continued to model until the news that variants were in the wild, and the data dried up. It became near impossible to attribute a death to a mutation, or not, with publicly available data. This remained true until vaccination rates reached about 60%, and Delta started to rip through every almost every community. The speed that it traveled was visible even in crude data. It was unlike anything else. Also, it wasn’t supposed to happen.
But I was in good company getting Covid 19 wrong:
- Nancy Pelosi told us that C19 was not dangerous, that it was safe to visit a busy market Chinatown, and that any belief to the contrary was rooted in racism.
- Remember Two Weeks To Flatten The Curve? Did they actually believe this? Based on what? That ultimately ended when the pain became so high that people finally paid attention and realized it didn’t work.
- The models were wrong. Tragically, comically wrong. New York reached the status of the state that killed more of its citizens per capita with C19 sooner than any other. But even with that, the modelers convinced Cuomo to send C19 infected people from hospital back to nursing homes in preparation for a wave that never happened. He literally made the choice to kill old people with the hope of saving younger ones, and killed the older ones. Using science. Then he made money off a book he wrote about leadership and good governance in C19 times.
- Every C19 death on the planet was once the fault of Donald Trump and his idiot followers for failing to take simple, scientific measures. Joe Biden would fix it quickly fix it using science. That was more than a year ago.
- Masks don’t work. They’ve never worked. The data is beyond overwhelming on this. They know it. At some level, everyone knows it. The politicians ignore their own rules. If this is affront to your common sense, consider what would happen when you exhale a lung full of vape through a mask. (https://swprs.org/face-masks-and-covid-the-evidence)
- Arresting windsurfers, the grocery dance, “phases”, whatever Australia did. Little evidence it works.
- Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, and recently a promising anti-viral from Merck. Why the odd political war to shame therapeutic treatments and promote vaccination as the only option? Why not try all of them, and then in combinations? Conspiracy theorists blame it on BigPharm greed, but there’s something else going on here that’s weirdly religious. Treatments have become somehow good and bad. The things the smart people do, and do not do, without knowing why. Weird science
- The PCR-RT and “cases” nonsense. It was conspiracy theory stuff until New York Times said it was all true.
- A little more than a year ago, one got banned from social media for spreading info that C19 came from a lab, not a meat market. Today we know it came from a lab, we know which one, and we know that US was funding this research. The same people guiding policy now always knew it, because they were part of it.
- Asymptomatic (as opposed to pre-symptomatic) spreaders. Mostly nonsense.
One of the odd things I noticed while travelling the world during C19 was the widespread belief that we were doing it right but someone else was not. There seemed to be a built-in desire to make other people conform, and to mistrust and blame them. An unearned mistrust, in my observation. Most people on the planet were trying the exact same things and everyone was and is highly motivated to survive.
At each stage of this, and in each place, there was an ingroup and an outgroup. The outgroup might be students, tourists, people who don’t stand far enough apart, or don’t wear a dirty cloth over their mouth and nose sometimes, Trump supporters, the unvaccinated, motorcycle drivers, etc. And each time the anger that we should feel toward our bad luck and unfortunately wrong actions we were forced to take by governments was redirected at the outgroup. For the purpose of controlling everyone, I suspect. For our own good.
It’s a brilliant strategy. Indeed people demand it. They demand you tell them who to despise and what to do next. This seems to creates a kind of “selfless-gestalt” among many people that makes them proud to be controllable, for the good of the entire race. The mechanism might be helpful for survival of the species under attack, if used properly.
Where are we now? It’s a very complex system.
Until recently, like most people I think I believed these things:
- The vaccination reduces hospitalization and death dramatically.
- The unvaccinated get C19 more often.
- People who get C19 spread C19.
It seems reasonable from this info to assume that reducing the spreaders and vulnerable hosts to virus should starve it and we can eradicate it. The only reason this hasn’t already happened is lack of participation in the Gestalt Of Not Self. I believed it, three months ago.
Now we know:
- Vaccine immunity isn’t good as natural immunity (post infection recovery).
- Immunity doesn’t last that long.
- Immunity is less effective against mutations.
If it weren’t for mutations, vaccines would be easy.
From an evolutionary adaptation perspective the ideal host does not die from the virus, is healthy enough to move around and disperse it, but does not quickly or completely kill it.
The host who dies is a dead end of a path of spreading. The host who fights off the virus and all its competing mutations quickly and completely is an evolutionary dead end.
If your goal is to eradicate the virus, you want as many of the third, and as few of the first types of hosts possible.
Vaccines that allow almost everyone to completely fight off a pathogen , like Smallpox and Polio, both protect the vaccinated and push the disease toward extinction. Vaccines like the ones we have for C19, that provide only partial protection from infection actually increase the number of the first group, which may make mutations worse.
This is not an accident, or unintentional. If your goal is to reduce illness and death, a “leaky” vaccine works well. The risk of mutations is a variable but presumably one well understood in the development and testing process.
It’s worth noting that evolutionary “need” for the virus to have more host who are only modestly ill and recover (and spread), and fewer seriously ill or dead hosts provides pressure that tends to favor less harmful and lethal mutations over time. This is a good thing.
There is a theory (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/tthis-chicken-vaccine-makes-virus-dangerous) that leaky vaccinations increase mutations, and potentially dangerous mutations, by turning vaccinated hosts into “sorting machines” that kill off weak strains and allow more harmful strains to propagate. There is a real world example and study of exactly this from our experience farming at scale.
Some of the factors that determine if a vaccine will contribute to harmful mutations:
- The rate of mutations (high for C19).
- The innate genetic code – the dangerous combinations that are possible from mutations (one gene, two genes …). This is related to the complexity of the virus (more complex is good, for us; C19 is more complex than the flu, but less complex than Polio and Smallpox).
- The degree of vaccine leakiness.
- The vaccination distribution, specifically how many are / will be infected post vaccination.
The Covid19 vaccines have without a doubt saved lives of the vaccinated. So far. It’s entirely possible the vaccines created Delta. Delta is killing the unvaccinated, mostly. A decision to remain unvaccinated is highly questionable.
Yet facebook wisdom of the day is sure that the unvaccinated are the dangerous ones, and that if we just all push for 100% vaccinations the disease will be eliminated. This is not based on science, and has not been the result so far.
Most of us a now due for boosters, six months later.
It’s worth noting that we “got lucky” with C19, in that it kills only a fraction of the population, and they are easy to identify – old people with diabetes, heart disease, other illnesses and obesity. Sadly, the vaccine has had less of an effect with this demographic that we would hope (https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/covid-19-vaccine-status-age-discrimination.html).
“According to an analysis of British data by the Financial Times, a vaccinated 80-year-old has about the same mortality risk as an unvaccinated 50-year-old, and an unvaccinated 30-year-old has a lower risk than a vaccinated 45-year-old. Even a 42-fold reduction, as was found in King County, would only be the rough equivalent of the difference between an unvaccinated 85-year-old woman and an unvaccinated 50-year-old.“
If a mutation changed this, and the disease attacked the general population equally, like the Spanish Flu did, the results would likely be apocalyptic.
- We could all stop pretending that we are experts, recognize that the science is complex and a process of unwinding unknowns over time.
- The “experts” could recognize this too.
- We could stop blaming others.
- Politicians could stop using this as weapon to turn us against each other.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I read this stuff on the internet. Some of it, maybe much of it, is almost certainly wrong. In the past when I’ve posted about C19, I’ve been wrong almost all the time.