Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 14 March, 2021

 

We continue to be unsettled by “experts” who are relying on the concept of “herd immunity” as a promised salvation from the virus scourge.  The promises of herd immunity they make invariably contain two fundamental errors.

First, in order to make the leap from the 1.5% of the world who has officially experienced the virus to the 70% or more that needs to have had an infection so that herd immunity can start to kick in, they tell us that the actual number of people who have had the virus is very much larger than the official number.  There is plenty of irony that some of those people, in their former guise as virus-deniers, were previously asserting that virus case numbers were enormously over-stated, but are now claiming numbers are vastly under-stated.

Whether the official count is close to correct, greatly understated, or overstated, we’re still so far from 70% as to make it irrelevant.

This error is one which, in time, may become less central, because of course, every day sees another third of a million people newly infected with the virus.  It might take a long time, but sooner or later, there’s every chance we could get to 70%.  It is the second error that is the more inescapable.

The second error is the belief/claim that once people have been infected and recovered, they are not at risk of being reinfected a second time.  Unfortunately, the facts continue to contradict this claim.  Frankly, whether the reinfection is because of a different strain, or because the acquired immunity fades over time, is more or less irrelevant.  Whatever the reason, increasing numbers of people are being shown to get a second infection.

The response to this was “Oh, well, maybe people might still get a second infection, but it will be weaker than the first one, so it is not important if that happens”.  Tell that to the people who survived a relatively mild first infection and then died from their second infection.

The herd immunity hope has of course been massively strengthened by the deployment of vaccines.  That will definitely help grow the numbers of hopefully immune people, although it is also unknown how long a vaccination will remain effective – a combination of fading protection and new virus mutations might mean we have to be re-vaccinated every year, maybe more frequently, hopefully less frequently.

While national herd immunity might be created in some lucky countries with ample vaccine availability, it will be a long time before the entire world gets it, and if we need annual re-vaccinating, it might mean that some of the world is always lagging behind the curve.

We were astonished to see Melinda Gates pronounce that we could reach global herd immunity sometime in 2022.  Wishing something would be true isn’t the same as making it true.

The CDC is giving us more mixed messages.  Although we are now a year into this virus, the CDC still isn’t sure exactly how much social distancing is necessary for safety.  Might three feet be enough?  Or do we really truly need six feet?

How is it that something that has been such a cornerstone of our public defense against the virus is still so misunderstood?

The other part of this ambiguity is that it provides fodder for the virus-deniers, especially that part of the group who says “social distancing is not necessary”.

We’ve had over half a million people, in the US alone, in the last year, and we’ve spent tens of billions of dollars funding vaccine development and deployment.  Why have we not borrowed a few seconds of super-computer CPU time to fully model the spread and risk of aerosolized virus particles and virus droplets in various different atmospheric conditions to determine risk curves, confirmed with real world laboratory testing of aerosol/droplet spread, and come up with an exact set of responses?  Why did we not do that in March last year?  Unlike vaccines and their long development/trial process, this type of social distance testing could be done in a few weeks, and without even the need for any human guinea pigs at all.

Actually, there’s partially an answer to that.  In March, and indeed, for most of last year, the CDC, WHO, and other organizations were more focused on the risk of virus spread by touching an infected surface than they were on the risk of virus spread by droplets and aerosols.  This was based on inadequate research done 100 years ago, and accepted unquestioningly almost ever since.

Social distancing, while easy, is also potentially expensive.  Ask any restaurant or bar owner about the cost of social distancing and see how they respond!  So it is important to get it right.

It is another tragic failure and betrayal by the public health “experts” that this matter is still being discussed and debated, with the suggestion now that maybe 3 ft might sometimes being sufficient being of little comfort to people who have had their businesses bankrupted over the last year due to more stringent restrictions.

Meanwhile, the incompetent fools advocating erroneous policies keep their jobs, their pensions, and their benefits.

Here’s an interesting study by the CDC trying to track the impact on Covid cases and deaths as a result of mask wearing mandates around the country.

The conclusion – and you don’t need to read the CDC study to guess what it is, do you – is that mask mandates are helpful and have saved lives.

But look at the two charts above.  The change between mask-wearing and unmasked outcomes is trivial – in the realm of one or two percent, and that’s before you start to consider all the dozens of other variables that go into case rates and how they were adjusted for.  The data is almost valueless and without meaning.  That is not to say that masks are valueless, it is just to say that this study is valueless.

Now here’s the thing.  If a similar study was conducted to evaluate ivermectin, it would be laughed off the stage, its supporters denigrated as being members of the extreme loony fringe, and the study flipped around to show how nonsensical the claims are for ivermectin.  But because this study is for something that conforms to the official narrative – mask wearing is good – it is uncritically endorsed by the CDC.

Current Numbers

There were no changes in US state rankings, either for cases or deaths.

The minor countries had no changes, and in the major countries, Sweden moved up to fourth place, while Belgium – seemingly not all that long ago in first place, is now down to fifth place.  The Czech Republic continues to suffer an extraordinary rate of new case growth.

On the death rate list, the US moved up one place, matched by Portugal dropping one place.

US Best and Worst States

Rank Cases/Million Deaths/Million
A week ago Now A week ago Now
1 Best HI (19,699) HI (19,959) HI (314) HI (319)
2 VT (25,774) VT (27,068) VT (333) VT (343)
3 ME ME AK AK
4 OR (37,291) OR (37,844) ME (525) ME (539)
5 WA (45,661) WA (46,297) OR (544) OR (551)
47 IA (116,337) IA (117,451) MS (2,288) MS (2,319)
48 UT (116,923) UT (118,024) MA (2,382) MA (2,415)
49 RI RI RI (2,399) RI (2,423)
50 SD SD NY (2,497) NY (2,529)
51 Worst ND (131,736) ND (132,504) NJ (2,654) NJ (2,691)

 

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (142,756) Andorra (145,646)
2 Montenegro (127,004) Montenegro (133,243)
3 Gibraltar (126,143) Gibraltar (126,559)
4 San Marino San Marino
5 Slovenia Slovenia
6 Luxembourg Luxembourg
7 Israel Israel
8 Panama Panama
9 Aruba (75,741) Aruba (78,396)
10 Lithuania (75,000) Lithuania (76,197)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (123,229) Czech Republic (130,475)
2 USA (89,359) USA (90,509)
3 Portugal (79,605) Portugal (80,019)
4 Belgium Sweden
5 Sweden Belgium
6 Spain Spain
7 Netherlands (65,270) Netherlands (67,430)
8 UK (61,919) UK (62,499)
9 France (59,723) France (62,282)
10 Brazil Brazil (53,757)
11 Italy (50,785) Italy (53,364)
12 Poland (47,462) Poland (50,417)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (2,025) Czech Republic (2,166)
2 Belgium (1,913) Belgium (1,929)
3 UK (1,827) UK (1,842)
4 Italy (1,652) Italy (1,691)
5 Portugal (1,625) USA (1,646)
6 USA (1,618) Portugal (1,640)
7 Spain (1,521) Spain (1,545)
8 Mexico (1,466) Mexico (1,497)
9 Peru (1,433) Peru (1,467)
10 France (1,355) France (1,383)

 

The rest of this newsletter is for the very kind Travel Insider Supporters – it is their support that makes all of this possible, and it seems fair they get additional material in return.  If you’re not yet a Supporter, please consider becoming one, and get instant access to the rest of the Diary Entry, additional material on previous diary entries, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

If you’re a contributor, you should make sure you’re logged in to the website, and when you are, you’ll see the purple text and balance of the newsletter below on the website.  If you’re not logged in, or reading this via email, you need to log in on the website first.

Items below include a look at the puzzle of the US keeping tens of millions of doses of a vaccine it neither wants nor needs, and how the AstraZeneca vaccine is becoming increasingly unwanted in other countries, a look at global vaccination rates, particularly in the context of our herd immunity discussion above, our surprise at how the worst country in the world for new case rates is seldom mentioned, while countries with rates three times lower get lots of press sympathy, the puzzle of how Europe, with increasing new case rates, also wants to open its doors to tourism, and speculation about what will happen in the US now that 16 states no longer require mask wearing.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

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

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

 

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