Covid 19

Discussion in 'Discussion Group' started by Wayne Stollings, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    It’s not a “politically biased” op-ed. For those of us still grounded in reality, like the nurse whose job it is to treat Covid patients daily, and who has seen illness and death firsthand, she knows very well who is to blame for this tragic, and mostly preventable, situation.
    BobF, Wayne Stollings and Hught like this.
  2. BuzzMyMonkey

    BuzzMyMonkey Well-Known Member

    It certainly was, but you’re blinded by your own ignorance.
  3. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

  4. BuzzMyMonkey

    BuzzMyMonkey Well-Known Member

    Great. Along comes stupid poster. ACW.
  5. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Acknowledging the reality of nearly 750,000 Americans dead from a mostly preventable virus is not “ignorance”, it’s a fact. The definition of ignorance is when a person disregards common sense, and the advice of health professionals, and instead follows the cynical advice of their seriously flawed, immoral “leaders”, which have led many of their followers into their own early graves. That’s not only unforgivable, it’s damnable.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
    Wayne Stollings likes this.
  6. NJ2NC

    NJ2NC Well-Known Member

  7. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Maybe she’ll be the kind of leader who won’t deliberately murder people with Covid disinformation. Wouldn’t that be something to salute?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  8. BuzzMyMonkey

    BuzzMyMonkey Well-Known Member

    She ?? or He ??
  9. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Delta's surprise U.K. comeback is a warning sign for the U.S.
    October 21, 2021, 5:00 AM
    When it comes to COVID-19, what happens in the United Kingdom rarely stays in the United Kingdom — and that, in turn, rarely bodes well for the rest of the world.

    Again and again, the U.K. has previewed the next unwelcome phase of the pandemic. The highly transmissible Alpha variant was first identified in Kent. The even more infectious Delta variant originated in India but used Britain as its springboard to global domination. The U.K. was one of the earliest movers on vaccination — and one of the first to see uptake level off. It was also the first country to declare “freedom” from Delta, lifting nearly all restrictions soon after its summer surge appeared to crest.

    “We [must] learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted in July.

    But now, almost exactly three months later, the U.K. again has one of the worst COVID rates in the world. Up 35 percent over the last two weeks, new cases are currently averaging more than 45,000 a day. They will soon surpass July’s initial Delta peak of about 47,000 daily cases, with no end in sight. On a per capita basis, the U.K.’s average daily case rate is more than 2.5 times as high as the United States’, more than four times as high as the European Union’s, nearly five times as high as Germany’s, more than nine times as high as France’s and more than 15 times as high as Spain's or Italy's.
    The question is why — and whether Delta’s surprise U.K. comeback foreshadows another dark winter in the U.S.

    “We are concerned," Javid said Wednesday, predicting that new cases could surge to 100,000 a day. "Everyone is right to be concerned."

    It’s not all bad news for the Brits. For one thing, they’re testing at a higher rate than any other major country, so that’s part of the reason their case numbers are so elevated. They’ve also managed to fully vaccinate more than 95 percent of residents over 60 — by far the most vulnerable age group — which has broken some of the link between cases and deaths. Right now, new daily cases are three-quarters of the way to matching last winter’s all-time U.K. peak. Yet new daily deaths are just a tenth what they were then. That’s progress.

    The U.S. has not done as well on that front. Many states here still have large pockets of unvaccinated seniors — and as a result, deaths and hospitalizations during this summer’s Delta wave were about as high as they were last winter, relative to cases. With safe and effective vaccines now widely available, that should no longer be happening. Similarly, the U.S. would be detecting far more cases if it nearly quadrupled its current rate of testing to match the U.K.

    But the troubling thing about the U.K. is its trajectory. It’s a country that has fully vaccinated 80 percent of its eligible population and endured some of the world’s biggest waves of infection, yet the coronavirus is now spreading again at an alarming rate. Does that mean the U.S. — where 77 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated, where previous surges have presumably left behind a lot of natural immunity, and where cases have plummeted more than 50 percent over the last month — will suffer the same fate?
    Not necessarily. But Delta’s U.K. comeback is a warning sign for the U.S.

    Experts have floated several reasons for the resurgence. One could be waning immunity. The earlier you vaccinate your population, the earlier population-wide protection starts to taper off (particularly among seniors who were first in line); that’s why Israel, the fastest country out of the gate on vaccination, also suffered a massive Delta wave over the summer. The fact that the U.K. initially relied on vaccines from AstraZeneca (which offers less protection against Delta) and Pfizer (which has waned more than Moderna’s) probably isn’t helping.

    Making matters worse, an estimated 43,000 people across the U.K. reportedly received incorrect negative test results due to “technical issues” at a private laboratory in Wolverhampton, allowing infections to keep spreading unchecked in the region. A new, possibly more infectious sub-lineage of Delta called AY.4.2 is also “on an increasing trajectory” across the country (though its role is unclear at this point).

    On top of that, U.K. residents are “increasingly reporting catching Sars-CoV-2 for a second or even third time,” according to the Guardian. A year ago, reinfection seemed rare; only two dozen cases had been recorded worldwide. But just like protection from vaccination, natural immunity also seems to fade over time and in the face of new variants such as Delta. In Oklahoma, for instance, reinfections have risen 350 percent since May.

    “With rising levels of Sars-CoV-2 infections in the U.K., many of us are personally aware of children and adults who got reinfected, sometimes after a relatively short period from their first infection,” Dr. Nisreen Alwan, a public health professor at the University of Southampton, told the Guardian. “We still don’t know much about the risk factors for reinfection but the theoretical assumption that once all the young get it the pandemic will be over is becoming increasingly unlikely.”

    Meanwhile, the post-July rollbacks and messaging from U.K. leaders seem to have persuaded many Britons to stop taking precautions. About 15 percent of U.K. adults now say they never wear a mask in public spaces, according to a YouGov poll from mid-October — far more than in Spain and Italy (below 2 percent) or France (about 4 percent). The poll also found that Brits were less cautious about using public transportation, attending large gatherings, and entering crowded spaces than their European counterparts. In Italy, nightclubs limit capacity and require proof of vaccination; in Spain, they require masks. In England, clubs are operating without restrictions.
  10. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Amid these differences, COVID rates in the U.K. and its peer countries have sharply diverged. According to the Financial Times, “the UK’s weekly death rate [now] stands at 12 per million, three times the level of other major European nations, while hospitalisations have risen to eight Covid-related admissions a week per 100,000 people, six times the rate on the continent.” In other words, the gap between cases and serious outcomes may be bigger in the U.K. than before — but more COVID cases still means more hospitalizations and deaths.

    “These small measures like mask-wearing, distancing, ventilation and an emphasis on homeworking are greater than the sum of their parts,” Martin McKee, professor of public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the paper. “It really doesn’t take an awful lot to bring this down, as France, Italy and others have shown.”

    And that may be especially true among younger people. Perhaps the biggest difference between the U.K. and its counterparts — including the U.S. — has been its lack of emphasis on vaccinating teens and slowing the spread of the virus in schools. Despite high-profile bans in red states such as Florida and Texas, masks are now required in about two-thirds of U.S. public schools, and a recent study found that schools without mask mandates were significantly more likely to experience a coronavirus outbreak than schools where everyone has to mask up. Quarantines are commonplace.

    In contrast, no one in the U.K. under the age of 18 has to quarantine after contact with a positive virus case, regardless of vaccination status, and masks are not required for any students or staff. And while the U.S. started offering jabs to 12-to-15-year-olds in May, the U.K. waited until September — and even now, England (one of the nations that constitutes the U.K.) administers them solely through schools, which causes all kinds of logistical delays.

    As a result, England’s teen vaccination rate is now less than half Spain’s, France’s, Italy’s or the United States’ — and U.K. infections are now “highest among secondary schoolchildren, with an estimated 8.1 percent of that group thought to have had COVID-19 during the week ending Oct. 9,” according to the Guardian.

    And while most kids don’t get terribly sick, they do transmit the virus to others.

    “If you don’t clamp down on prevalence [in schoolchildren], you’ll get the spread of infection and possibly reinfection, which will then potentially spread to parents whose vaccines may be waning, and more critically to grandparents and clinically vulnerable people,” Stephen Griffin, associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds, explained to the Guardian.

    That appears to be the problem now vexing the U.K., leading to calls from experts to revive mitigation measures before winter comes — a move the British government said Wednesday it was not yet ready to make. “We are right on the edge — and it is the middle of October,” Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the health care system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, warned this week. “It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.”

    To avoid a similar Delta comeback, the U.S. would be wise to heed Taylor’s warning. America is already doing some things right. Teen vaccinations continue apace. Boosters — which are rolling out more slowly than expected in the U.K. — may soon be available for Americans as young as 40. And the Biden administration is planning to introduce vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 later this month. Even then, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicated Wednesday that her agency will still recommend that all teachers, students and staff mask up at school.

    “As we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent,” Walensky said during a White House COVID briefing.

    Fortunately, U.S. cases, deaths and hospitalizations are falling right now. But Delta’s U.K. resurgence is a reminder not to relax too soon. Even in a country with a higher overall vaccination rate and far more testing, the virus can still spiral out of control — especially if you let it spiral among young people first.
  11. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

    A newly-discovered mutation of the delta variant is being investigated in the U.K. amid worries that it could make the virus even more transmissible and undermine Covid-19 vaccines further.

    Still, there are many unknowns surrounding this descendent or subtype of the delta variant — formally known as AY.4.2 — which some are dubbing the new “delta plus” variant.
  12. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Your local epidemiologist
    Vaccines for 5-11 year olds: Your FDA meeting cliff notes
    Today VRBPAC (an external scientific advisory committee to the FDA) voted in favor of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds. VRBPAC was the second stop in a long process to get the vaccine authorized for emergency use.
    (This is copy and pasted from my newsletter. There are lots of figures and data sources and hyperlinks. For better viewing go here:
    This was a much anticipated meeting for two reasons:
    1. Originally, the FDA hinted they would not consider an EUA for kids <12 years. But, Delta and pandemic resurgence caused the FDA to change perspectives.
    2. The VRBPAC step was not conducted for the adolescent Pfizer vaccine; VRBPAC doesn’t have to be called for an EUA amendment. But they were called for the vaccine for 5-11 year olds.
    So, today 18 members of VRBPAC met to discuss hundreds of pages of data. These members are a mix of pediatricians, immunologists, virologists, epidemiologists, and other scientists across the nation. There were also presentations from the sponsor (Pfizer), FDA, and the CDC. Here was the agenda. Here are all the powerpoints. And here are your cliff notes…
    Kids aren’t spared from the harm of COVID19. CDC presented the epidemiology of COVID19 outcomes among 5-11 year olds. These are close to real-time numbers:
    Infection: More than 1.9 million 5-11 year olds have been infected by COVID19 during the pandemic. During Delta, there was a sharp increase in cases; 5-11 year olds represented 10.6% of cases in the week of Oct 10 (they make up 8.7% of the population). There are still kids susceptible to COVID19. Only 42% of kids aged 5-11 years have antibodies from natural immunity.
    Hospitalization: There’ve been >8300 COVID19 hospitalizations of 5-11 year olds
    -Over 30% of 5-11 year olds hospitalized did not have an underlying condition.
    -When compared to other kids, 5-11 year olds had the least number of hospitalizations. But, starting in August, they had the highest rate since the beginning of the pandemic.
    -Once hospitalized, 1/3 of kids ended up in the ICU.
    -There were exceedingly low (only 9) hospitalizations for flu during 2020-2021. At the same time, there were significantly higher COVID19 hospitalizations. Had mitigation measures (masks, closed schools) not been in place, these numbers would have been much higher.
    -MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) is highest among 5-11 year olds. This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. There’s been 5,217 MIS-C cases reported as of October 4, 2021. 60-70% of patients are admitted to ICU and 1-2% died.
    Death: There have been 94 5-11 year olds that have died from COVID19. For context, this places COVID19 as the 8th leading cause of death for this age group. More recently (during Delta), COVID19 jumped to the 6th leading cause of death in this age group.
    Long COVID19: 7-8% of kids experience long COVID19. The following symptoms occur among kids for more than 4 weeks: fatigue, headache, insomnia, trouble concentrating, muscle and joint pain, and cough. There are also impacts on quality of life: Limitations of physical activity, feeling distressed about symptoms, mental health challenges, decreased school attendance/participation.
    Secondary outcomes
    -In-person school: COVID-19 in children leads to lost in-person learning and other adverse outcomes. This has resulted in 2,074 schools closed, 1,069,116 of students and 68,718 teachers affected.
    -Transmission: Kids also significantly contribute to the spread of the virus. Secondary transmission from young school age children can and does occur in both household and school settings
    ***Clinical Trial Results***
    The clinical trial was organized into two cohorts:
    1. 2,268 trial participants (including 1,518 vaccine recipients) followed for at least two months past the 2nd dose
    2. A “safety expansion” group of an additional 2,379 participants (1,500 vaccine recipients) followed for a median of 2.4 weeks after the second dose. This was done per the FDAs request “to allow for more robust assessment of serious adverse events and other adverse events of interest”.
    First Pfizer presented their results. Then the FDA presented their results. The FDA always analyzes data themselves to ensure there is no conflict of interest. This is normal practice.
    During the clinical trial, the most common adverse events (AEs) was fatigue (39%), followed by headache (28%) and muscle pain (12%).
    -Most AEs were mild or moderate and resolved 1-2 days after
    -Interestingly, fever and chills was less frequent compared to older kids/adults
    -Adverse reactions was higher for dose 2 compared to dose 1
    There are two other adverse events linked to the vaccine:
    1. Lymphadenopathy (swelling of lymph nodes): 13 vaccine participants vs. 1 placebo participant. We saw this in adult clinical trials too.
    2. Hypersensitivity: Such as rash and dermatitis after the vaccine compared to the placebo
    There were 5 severe adverse events. None were linked to the vaccine:
    -Ingestion of a penny (1 person in the vaccine group)
    -Fractures (2 people in the vaccine group and 1 in the placebo)
    -Infective arthritis (one person in vaccine group)
    There were no cases of myocarditis (heart inflammation), anaphylaxis or deaths among ages 5-11 in the clinical trials.
    Does the vaccine work for 5-11 year olds? The FDA required Pfizer to prove immunobridging. Pfizer also included data on two other outcomes:
    Immunobridging: This is a process that compares antibodies among 5-11 year olds to another age group (in this case 16-25 year olds) in which the efficacy of a vaccine is already established. The clinical trial found that antibody numbers were comparable to the older age group. In other words, the vaccine works.
    Effectiveness against Delta: Pfizer also included data on a subsample of participants’ (34 participants) to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine-induced antibodies on specific variants. The vaccine worked great against Delta.
    COVID19 disease: Pfizer also showed efficacy. During the clinical trial there were 19 cases of COVID19: 3 cases in the vaccine group and 16 cases in the placebo group. This equates to a 90.7% efficacy.
  13. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    No myocarditis cases were reported in the clinical trial. This is great news but expected. The clinical trials were not nearly large enough to capture such a rare event.
    Myocarditis is the principal concern that people have with mRNA vaccines with children. So, CDC presented everything we know about vaccine-induced myocarditis. Key take home points:
    1. Myocarditis is a true safety signal, but rare. There have been 877 cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis among 12-29 year olds (out of more than 100,000,000 vaccinated). Of these, 829 were hospitalized and 77% recovered. At the time of analysis, 5 people were in the ICU. No myocarditis cases reported and investigated by the CDC have resulted in death.
    2. Not all myocarditis should be treated the same. Classic myocarditis (opposed to vaccine-induced myocarditis) has a relatively high mortality rate and can even result in sudden death. Classic myocarditis also impacts on how well the heart pumps blood (called ejection fraction). We don’t see mortality or ejection fraction reduction with vaccine-induced myocarditis. It’s a much more mild form of disease.
    3. Long term effects of vaccine-induced myocarditis. Kids tend to bounce back very well. A key study followed a subset of adolescents with vaccine-induced myocarditis. Adolescents fully recovered from symptoms and arrhythmias ~35 days. Data is limited, but continues to be studied. Unfortunately we are at the mercy of time.
    4. Why is this happening? We don’t know yet. Only 2 of the myocarditis cases among children have been biopsied. We think genetics and hormones may play a role.
    The FDA conducted an extensive benefit/risk assessment through a series of six models. Because we can’t see into the future, biostatisticians ran different scenarios based on varying three variables: COVID19 cases (pandemic could get worse or better); real world effectiveness of vaccines (we think this will be high, but could vary depending on waning and variants); and rate of vaccine-induced myocarditis among this age group (we think it will be lower than adolescents but we don’t know). All of these risks are deliberately conservative. In other words, they looked at worse case scenarios for myocarditis risk and vaccine efficacy. This is what they found…
    -For five scenarios, the benefits of a vaccine clearly outweigh the risks of myocarditis:
    —-Scenario 1: Used number of COVID19 cases on Sept 11, 2021
    —-Scenario 2: Used number of COVID19 cases at the Delta peak (worse case scenario)
    —-Scenario 4: Used a high real-world effectiveness of the vaccine
    —-Scenario 5: Used high COVID-19 death rate
    —-Scenario 6: Used a lower estimate of myocarditis rate than adolescents (this is the likely scenario given the impact of hormones on myocarditis and given classic myocarditis among this group is so low)
    There was one scenario (#3) where benefits didn’t outweigh risks. In this model, the FDA used the lowest level of COVID19 cases like we saw in June 2021. Using this, the model predicts more excess hospitalizations due to vaccine-related myocarditis compared to prevented hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in males and in both sexes combined. It’s important to keep in mind that there are benefits to the vaccine beyond hospitalization.
    There was quite a bit of discussion around the limitations of the risk/benefit analysis. For 5 to 11 year olds, 18% of COVID19 hospitalizations are not COVID19 related. The FDA risk/benefit ratio didn’t take this into account. The risk/benefit analysis also did not take into account natural immunity protection.
    As you can imagine, there was a robust discussion among voting members:
    Make it available to certain 5-11 year olds? Two members voiced frustration that this was a binary choice: all or nothing vaccine for 5-11 year olds. Some asked whether they could rephrase the question for specific kids, like obese or immunocompromised. Some pointed to the number than 42% of kids have natural protection and that vaccines may not help that much.
    On the other hand, others pointed out that 32% of kids hospitalized don’t have a comorbidity, and we have no idea where the pandemic will go. We have a flu vaccine to prevent 100 deaths a year and kids are dying at higher rates from COVID19. And, most importantly, this isn’t a decision for VRBPAC. VRBPAC decides whether the vaccine is safe and effective. Defining the policy (i.e. who gets the vaccine) is ACIP’s job. If VRBPAC doesn’t authorize EUA for kids, then no kid can get the vaccine.
    Should 11 year olds wait for the 12 year old dose? This was specifically asked by the members because of the 3 breakthrough cases in the clinical trial: 10, 10 and 11 years old. Pfizer said that the effectiveness of the smaller dose works the same whether you are 5 or 11. They think breakthrough cases were older because they were more exposed to the virus. Pfizer hasn’t tested this dose among 12 year olds. So, ultimately, they don’t know if parents should wait. CDC should weigh into this next week.
    Does the vaccine prevent transmission? Pfizer did not assess asymptomatic disease (and thus transmission) in the clinical trials. So, technically, they don’t know. They do know that adult vaccines reduce transmission. But adults had a higher dosage, does this matter? We don’t know, but we hypothesize that pediatric vaccines reduce transmission to some degree.
    So, VRBPAC needed to vote: “Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine when administered as a 2-dose series (10 µg each dose, 3 weeks apart) outweigh its risks for use in children 5-11 years of age?”
    Yes: 17 votes
    No: 0 votes
    Abstain: 1 vote
    The ball now goes to the FDA. Then, it goes to the ACIP and CDC next week. If all goes well, vaccines in arms for 5-11 year olds will come at the end of next week.
    Love, YLE
    I joined the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics last week for a Q&A regarding the vaccine for 5-11 year olds. See the recording here.
    Other Q&A questions for parents answered in my newsletter here
    Here are common vaccine concerns for parents and how to address them. If you’re a paying subscriber and want the PDF, just reply to this email. The latest draft is for adolescents specifically, but I’m happy to update for 5-11 year olds if helpful.
  14. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

  15. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

  16. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Trying to Make Sense of COVID's Mysterious 2-Month Cycle
    David Leonhardt
    October 4, 2021

    COVID-19 is once again in retreat.

    The reasons remain somewhat unclear, and there is no guarantee that the decline in caseloads will continue. But the turnaround is now large enough — and been going on long enough — to deserve attention.

    The number of new daily cases in the United States has fallen 35% since Sept. 1. Worldwide, cases have also dropped more than 30% since late August. “This is as good as the world has looked in many months,” Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research wrote last week.

    The most encouraging news is that the most serious forms of COVID are also declining. The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID has fallen about 25% since Sept. 1. Daily deaths — which typically change direction a few weeks after cases and hospitalizations — have fallen 10% since Sept. 20. It is the first sustained decline in deaths since early summer.

    These declines are consistent with a pattern that readers will recognize: COVID’s mysterious two-month cycle. Since the COVID virus began spreading in late 2019, cases have often surged for about two months — sometimes because of a variant, such as delta — and then declined for about two months.

    Public health researchers do not understand why. Many popular explanations — such as seasonality or the ebbs and flows of mask wearing and social distancing — are clearly insufficient, if not wrong. The two-month cycle has occurred during different seasons of the year and occurred even when human behavior was not changing in obvious ways.

    The most-plausible explanations involve some combination of virus biology and social networks. Perhaps each virus variant is especially likely to infect some people but not others — and once many of the most vulnerable have been exposed, the virus recedes. And perhaps a variant needs about two months to circulate through an average-sized community.

    Human behavior does play a role, with people often becoming more careful once caseloads begin to rise. But social distancing is not as important as public discussion of the virus often imagines. “We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus,” as Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota, has told me.

    The recent declines, for example, have occurred even as millions of American children have again crowded into school buildings.

    Whatever the reasons, the two-month cycle keeps happening. It is visible in the global numbers: Cases worldwide rose from late February to late April, then fell until late June, rose again until late August and have been falling since.

    The pattern has also been evident within countries, including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Britain, France and Spain. In each of them, the delta variant led to a surge in cases lasting somewhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 months.

    In the U.S., the delta surge started in several Southern states in June and began receding in those states in August. In much of the rest of the U.S., it began in July, and cases have begun falling the past few weeks. Even pediatric cases are falling, despite the lack of vaccine authorization for children younger than 12, as Jennifer Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins University told The Washington Post.

    I want to emphasize that these declines may not persist. COVID’s two-month cycle is not some kind of iron law of science. There have been plenty of exceptions.

    In Britain, for example, caseloads have seesawed over the past two months, rather than consistently fallen. In the U.S., the onset of cold weather and the increase in indoor activities — or some other unknown factor — could potentially spark a rise in cases this fall. The course of the pandemic remains highly uncertain.

    But this uncertainty also means that the near future could also prove to be more encouraging than we expect. And there are some legitimate reasons for COVID optimism.

    The share of Americans ages 12 and older who have received at least one vaccine shot has reached 76%, and the growing number of vaccine mandates — along with the likely approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 — will increase the number of vaccinations this fall. Almost as important, something like one-half of Americans have probably had the COVID virus already, giving them some natural immunity.

    Eventually, immunity will become widespread enough that another wave as large and damaging as the delta wave will not be possible. “Barring something unexpected,” said Dr. Scott Gottleib, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and author of “Uncontrolled Spread,” a new book on COVID, “I’m of the opinion that this is the last major wave of infection.”

    COVID has not only been one of the worst pandemics in modern times. It has been an unnecessarily terrible pandemic. Of the more than 700,000 Americans who have died from it, nearly 200,000 probably could have been saved if they had chosen to take a vaccine. That is a national tragedy.

    COVID also isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. It will continue to circulate for years, many scientists believe. But the vaccines can transform COVID into a manageable disease, not so different from a flu or common cold. In the past few weeks, the country appears to have moved closer to that less-grim future.

    Whatever the next few months bring, the worst of the pandemic is almost certainly behind us.

    © 2021 The New York Times Company
    DWK likes this.
  17. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Vaccine confers better protection than natural immunity, CDC finds
    October 29, 2021, 4:15 PM

    WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, the conservative radio host Dennis Prager announced he had contracted the coronavirus. This was, as far as he was concerned, good news. The unvaccinated Prager had hoped to protect himself against COVID-19 the old-fashioned way: by getting sick.

    “It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity,” Prager said, echoing an anti-vaccine argument echoed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other pro-Trump figures who have turned coronavirus vaccination into a culture war that, public health officials say, could prolong the pandemic for everyone.

    Prager is wrong, suggests a new study published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that finds that natural immunity offers far weaker protection than does a vaccine. The new study finds that people who had natural immunity from having recently fought off COVID-19 and who were not vaccinated were 5.49 times more likely to experience another COVID-19 infection than were vaccinated people who had not previously been infected.

    “The data demonstrate that vaccination can provide a higher, more robust, and more consistent level of immunity to protect people from hospitalization for COVID-19 than infection alone for at least 6 months,” a CDC press release said.
    The new study runs counter to an Israeli analysis, made public in August, that suggested the opposite, with natural immunity seemingly offering greater protection than vaccination.

    “Vaccine-induced immunity is way better than infection and recovery, what some call weirdly ‘natural immunity,’” Baylor College of Medicine infectious disease expert Dr. Peter J. Hotez tweeted on Friday afternoon. “The anti-vaccine and far right groups go ballistic, but it's the reality.”

    It was a reality public health officials were eager to highlight, given the continued resistance of some Americans to coronavirus inoculations. “We now have additional evidence that reaffirms the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, even if you have had prior infection,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that accompanied the release of the new findings. "This study adds more to the body of knowledge demonstrating the protection of vaccines against severe disease from COVID-19.”

    About 192 million people in the United States have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the CDC. That figure comprises a 58 percent share of the American population, which most epidemiologists believe is not high enough to prevent community spread.

    The study looked at 7,000 patients hospitalized with “COVID-19-like illness” across nine states in the first nine months of 2021. Some of these patients had been vaccinated; although the coronavirus vaccines are exceptionally good at protecting against hospitalization, they are not perfect, especially when it comes to vulnerable or older individuals.
    (The study included only recipients of the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna; the single-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson uses an older technology and has been administered with far less frequency in the United States than its mRNA counterparts.)

    The unvaccinated subjects in the study group had been previously infected with COVID-19 in the six months before the second bout, which resulted in hospitalization. Just how long natural immunity lasts has been another topic of debate and research, in addition to the strength of that immunity relative to vaccines.

    The coronavirus vaccines were developed during the administration of Donald Trump, a Republican. But with President Biden, a Democrat, having largely overseen the rollout of the vaccines — as well as implementation of vaccination mandates — some Republicans have seen political benefit in challenging vaccination on ideological grounds.

    In doing so, they have used “natural immunity” as an argument against vaccination. The new findings appear to weaken their case.
    Hught and DWK like this.
  18. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

    For every headline you read, there's another that states the opposite these days.

    Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital

    Israelis who had an infection were more protected against the Delta coronavirus variant than those who had an already highly effective COVID-19 vaccine
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    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

  20. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

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