Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 26 August, 2021

As was expected, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.  Here’s a gushy article that talks of hundreds of thousands of pages of data being submitted – perhaps they were, but I’ll wager not one in every thousand pages were studied, with most of the pages being nothing other than supplementary meaningless data to allow the application to pass the “thickness” test – how thick is a printed out copy of the application.

The article also anticipates that changing the vaccine from a limited emergency use approval to a fully approved vaccine will encourage lots of the unvaccinated people to now be vaccinated.  I don’t believe that for a second, particularly because the full approval process was as superficial as the EUA approval was before it – for example, this article observes that the FDA didn’t hold a meeting of its Vaccination Advisory Committee to consider the application.  The last time this committee met was back in December 2020 – and, yes, a huge amount has changed since then, including an enormous database of side effects, much greater knowledge of vaccine effectiveness, new virus variants, and also new vaccine competitors.

To suggest that the Pfizer vaccine can now get formal approval without allowing the Advisory Committee to review the extraordinary changes in the last nine months is a stark indicator of how “the fix was in” and far from reassuring the undecided about now getting vaccinated, it would seem to give them still more reasons to be concerned.

Now that the Pfizer vaccination has been fully approved, there’s an interesting consequence.  Keeping in mind that EUAs can be granted only in cases where there is no approved alternative, does that mean the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will now lose their EUAs?

There’s a second interesting issue as well.  Now the vaccine has been fully approved, does that mean Pfizer will no longer be indemnified from any liability and can now be sued as people may choose to?

The rush of peoople demanding booster shots – and the eagerness of the government to allow them – strangely seems to be something that doesn’t need either a formal EUA or full approval.

In this article, the CDC director is now saying that perhaps the third shot might be enough and we’ll not need annual booster shots.  But she doesn’t cite any studies at all, and I’m left with the unmistakable feeling she’s simply telling us what we want to hear rather than the reality of what is in front of her.

For those of us who chose the J&J vaccine as being the lesser of two evils, you’ll be interested to learn that J&J is now suggesting we should get another shot too. J&J says that doing so causes antibody levels to soar to a count nine times higher than 28 days after the first shot.

But that isn’t really the appropriate measure – the key measure surely is understanding how antibody levels have dropped subsequent to the first shot, and matching that to the level needed for a good level of protection.  If the level after 28 days was deemed more than sufficient back then, who cares if a second shot raises them nine times higher.  That’s a bit like buying a 1,000 hp super-car in the hope it will make the morning commute in jammed traffic faster.

In evaluating the statements of all the pharmaceutical companies, it is essential to keep in mind that they are in the business of selling drugs for profit.  Of course they’ll advocate for more shots of their vaccines, whether we need them or not.  We should not be making decisions about multiple vaccinations based on drug company data.

The immediate issues of course are whether we need a booster shot at all, and if so, when.  Here’s an article citing assorted scientists who say the need for a booster shot has not yet been appropriately confirmed.

Question – how can we just “follow the science” when the scientists themselves are heading in opposite directions?

Talking about following the science, where are the scientists racing to follow behind this very powerful article showing the enormous impact ivermectin use had on the Covid outbreak in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh?  Ivermectin critics facetiously claim that there haven’t been large enough studies to justify the positive results appearing – so how about a study of 240 million people (the population of Uttar Pradesh)?

Here is some “science” best considered with a grain of salt – a claim that the Covid threat is beginning to fade and the next pandemic will appear in 59 years time.  The claim is nonsense in both its parts, not just for describing the last two months of steady increases as “beginning to fade” but particularly because the 59 year prediction ignores the most enormous element of risk/threat, a risk that surely should have been apparent because of the nature of the Covid appearance.  Our biggest threat is not from natural animal viruses magically transitioning to humans.  Our risk is demonstrably from manmade viruses escaping from laboratories (or being deliberately released).  The next pandemic might be only 59 months, or 59 weeks, or 59 days from appearance, depending on how lucky/unlucky we are and how headlong and uncontrolled our rush is into further dangerous virus and “gain of function” research.

Talking about gain of function, where scientists deliberately make viruses more dangerous, here’s an excellent article about such activity.  One of the biggest supporters of gain of research is none other than “the patron saint of viruses” himself, Tony Fauci.  That would be the same Tony Fauci who says, about himself, “everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job” (a great article at the link).

Current Numbers

French Polynesia rose up one place in the minor country list, with an enormous increase in cases in the last week.  Georgia displaced Aruba at the bottom of the list.

The UK rose two places in the major country list.  In the death rate list, the US dropped a place, with Mexico rising.

The activity for last week table has both the US and UK rising two places, and North Macedonia debuting.

In Europe there was a 3% rise in cases overall.  Norway had a high 68% rise in new cases, Germany continues to experience strong growth, with another 48% increase in the last week, while Austria enjoys a more mild 27% rise.  Spain reported a 20% drop in cases, and both Sweden and France had a 14% drop.

Canada continues to see its case numbers rise, with a 28% increase over the last week.  Mexico had a 10% drop, and the world as a whole had a minor 0.8% drop.

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Seychelles (195,787) Seychelles (199,671)
2 Andorra (193,540) Andorra (193,988)
3 Montenegro Montenegro
4 Gibraltar (156,205) Gibraltar (157,784)
5 San Marino San Marino
6 Bahrain Bahrain
7 St Barth St Barth
8 Maldives Maldives
9 Aruba French Polynesia (142,084)
10 French Polynesia (126,414) Georgia (133,700)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (156,272) Czech Republic (156,388)
2 USA (114,742) USA (118,061)
3 Argentina (112,051) Argentina
4 Netherlands Netherlands
5 Sweden Sweden
6 Spain Spain
7 France France
8 Portugal Portugal
9 Belgium Belgium
10 Brazil UK (97,058)
11 Colombia Brazil
12 UK (93,604) Colombia (95,116)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,902) Peru  (5,911)
2 Czech Rep  (2,831) Czech Rep  (2,832)
3 Brazil Brazil
4 Colombia Argentina
5 Argentina Colombia
6 Belgium Belgium
7 Italy Italy
8 Poland Poland
9 USA (1,930) Mexico (1,964)
10 Mexico (1,926) USA (1,956)

 

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 Georgia  8,786 Georgia  7,757
2 Cuba  5,508 Israel  5,894
3 Israel  4,827 Cuba  5,780
4 Malaysia Malaysia
5 Botswana Mongolia
6 Eswatini UK  3,472
7 Iran North Macedonia
8 UK  3,124 USA  3,229
9 Mongolia Botswana
10 USA 2,952 Eswatini
11 Kazakhstan Iran
12 Ireland  2,454 Costa Rica  2,799

 

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Items below include further good news on a very promising anti-Covid drug, WHO tests three more anti-Covid drugs, does a prior infection give good immunity, what is the ideal interval for a third shot, will vaccine passports now require three shots, putting the US Covid experience into context, some platitudes from Dr Fauci, looking ahead, lessons from Thailand, New Zealand and China, Delta Air Lines, and a novel approach to relieving virus related stress.

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

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

 

1 thought on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 26 August, 2021”

  1. Just an interesting observation. I was on a call with a colleague in Noida, India tonight. Greater Noida is the one of the most densely populated parts of Utter Pradesh providence (being just across the river from New Delphi — a bit like NE New Jersey and NYC).

    He made two interesting comments:
    – Covid infections are increasing (not exactly “the pandemic is completely dead in Uttar Pradesh” as the article referred in Thursday’s posting says)
    – It is nearly impossible to go inside any building in Noida without a mask

    I truly would love for ivermectin to be the treatment for Covid and get us out of this mess.

    I struggle with the ground reality mentioned above and the silliness of lines from the link (which is an Op-Ed) such as ” many of these seasonal workers who work half the year in the big cities returned home to their villages”

    The greater metro areaa in Utar Pradsesh of Prayograj (>5 Million), Kaper (>3 million) and Noida is over 1/3 of the population of Utter Pradesh — not exactly villages.

    I simply struggle with cause versus causation and, having been to Noida, how the research hospitals and University’s are not publishing more and we have less Op-Ed’s.

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