On the Origin of the Covid Pandemic

https://gop-foreignaffairs.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ORIGINS-OF-COVID-19-REPORT.pdf

This is too long for a meaningful excerpt. The origin of the report, and its motivation, are political, but it’s pretty detailed.

Have at it.

107 thoughts on “On the Origin of the Covid Pandemic

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210628/huge-number-of-hospital-workers

    Even if the data is flawed, the vaccination rates from hospitals mirror the general population. A May Gallup poll, for example, found 24% of Americans said they definitely won’t get the vaccine. Another 12% say they plan to get it but are waiting.

    It’s probably just me, but I don’t understand why teachers and medical workers aren’t required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. Or why the teachers’ unions are resisting.

  2. velikovskys: In Texas, the Governor will not allow mandatory vaccines for teachers in the public schools.

    That fits, but why are the national teachers’ unions opposed?

    I follow that paranoid right wingers are opposed, but so are lots of blacks. Farrakhan says the vaccine will sterilize blacks.

    And the messaging from the government has been inconsistent and completely inverted from effective advertising. There’s no FDA approval.

    More Americans have died of covid than were killed in WWII. We have a vaccine that has been given to billions of people, it’s safety record is better than Tylenol, it’s more effective than penicillin, and it isn’t approved. This is not just a technicality. There are entire countries that will not allow general use of a medicine that isn’t approved. It’s an effing war, and officials who are actually concerned about deaths can find a way to bend the rules. You cannot logically argue that everyone should take a medicine, and at the same time argue it isn’t ready for approval.

    Then there’s the completely bogus announcement that vaccinated people can transmit the disease. So on one hand we have talk of vaccine passports, but official waffling on wether the vaccine really works. And even if it does work, we’ll pretend it doesn’t work well enough.

    If I were in business, I’d hope my competitors had ad campaigns this bad.

  3. I’m really curious why the propaganda machine is MIA.

    Where are the actors and singers?

    Twenty times as many Americans have died of covid than died in Vietnam. We have a way to stop the war, and not a peep from Hollywood or the music industry. No concerts, no video streams from celebrities. It’s really odd.

  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/21/briefing/covid-vaccines-fda-approval.html

    Why, then, hasn’t the F.D.A. taken the final step of formal approval?

    It is following a version of its traditional, cautious process for vaccine approval. That process has historically had some big advantages, reducing the chances that Americans end up taking a faulty drug. To move much more quickly would risk undermining the public’s confidence in the F.D.A. and, by extension, the medicines it approves, Dr. Peter Marks, who oversees the process, has argued.

    But I think the F.D.A.’s leaders have failed to understand how most Americans really think about the vaccines. It is different from the way that scientists and epidemiologists do. It’s less technical and based more on an accumulation of the publicly known facts.

    It reminds me of another example of expert miscommunication, early in the pandemic. Back then, public health officials made highly technical statements about masks that many people interpreted as discouragement from wearing them. These statements ignored the many reasons to believe that masks could make a difference (like their longtime popularity in Asia to prevent the spread of viruses) and focused instead on the absence of studies showing that masks specifically prevented the spread of Covid.

    Later, officials insisted that they were merely “following the data.” In truth, though, they were basing their advice on a narrow reading of the data — and not understanding how most people would interpret their comments.

    The combination means that the F.D.A.’s lack of formal approval has few benefits and large costs: The agency has neither protected its reputation for extreme caution nor maximized the number of Americans who have been protected from Covid. “In my mind, it’s the No. 1 issue in American public health,” Topol told me. “If we got F.D.A. approval, we could get another 20 million vaccinated,” he estimated.

  5. petrushka: That fits, but why are the national teachers’ unions opposed?

    It seems Delta has changed changed people view toward vaccines

    “But on Thursday, AFT President Randi Weingarten shifted gears and told news outlets that she would consider supporting vaccine mandates to keep schools open and students and staff safe. “Things have changed with Delta raging, and with the proximity of the full approval of the vaccines,” she told the New York Times. “Because of those two facts, we are considering all alternatives, including looking at vaccine mandates.”

    https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/teachers-unions-have-opposed-vaccine-mandates-but-that-may-change/2021/08

  6. petrushka: Twenty times as many Americans have died of covid than died in Vietnam. We have a way to stop the war, and not a peep from Hollywood or the music industry. No concerts, no video streams from celebrities. It’s really odd.

    Concerts during a pandemic to advocate social distancing? Might not be persuasive . Vietnam? Sound a bit like Walter Sobchak. Here you go old timer , “ https://www.newsweek.com/ariana-grande-instagram-celebs-telling-their-fans-get-covid-19-vaccine-1616029

    “The White House has enlisted pop star Olivia Rodrigo to record videos encouraging young people to get vaccinated, as the administration broadens its public campaign against Covid-19.

    Known for hits “Deja Vu” and “Drivers License,” Ms. Rodrigo is visiting the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Biden and top Covid-19 adviser Anthony Fauci in the face of slowing vaccinations nationwide and the spread of a virus variant, an official said.

    Videos featuring the 18-year-old singer will be shared on her social media platforms, which the White House said have a combined 28 million followers, as well as through the government’s own pages.”

  7. petrushka: And the messaging from the government has been inconsistent and completely inverted from effective advertising. There’s no FDA approval.

    Sounds like Pfizer is close. FDA approval will not make any difference to the willfully ignorant who have their talking heads ( probably vaccinated ) stoking their fears .It will get those in the military and those who work for businesses requiring vaccinations , of course Republicans at state level are doing everything to stop those businesses. The same misinformation will be out there , FDA approval or not. What has increased vaccination is the fear of this new variant.

  8. petrushka: Then there’s the completely bogus announcement that vaccinated people can transmit the disease.

    Missed this, why do you think this is bogus? It said ,with Delta variant, some of the vaccinated ( think 20%) can infect others , often for a shorter period of time than the infected unvaccinated . That was what caused the revision of wearing masks indoors again .For those who never stopped , knowing that breakthroughs occur, it was just another reminder that this pandemic is far from being over for vaccinated or not.

    .

    petrushka: . So on one hand we have talk of vaccine passports, but official waffling on wether the vaccine really works. And even if it does work, we’ll pretend it doesn’t work well enough.

    Works for me, I look at the hospital rates of the vaccinated and it is very low. For the unvaccinated , younger and bad outcomes . That is my first requirement, not die. Check .And the vaccine in others means if I transmit virus to them chances are good they will have a mild case . Second requirement not kill my loved ones.Check. The rest is up to me, wear masks indoors with strangers , avoid crowds Both I am happy to do

    If I were in business, I’d hope my competitors had ad campaigns this bad.

    Maybe CDC should have touted the vaccine as a weight loss product listing in very small print the side effect of saving you from dying of Covid . Shot in Monument Valley with narration by Sam Elliot. And lose the whole vaccination lingo. Downer.

  9. Last I heard, both Pfizer and Moderna had applied to the FDA for full approval, which is likely to be granted soon. Reporting on transmissions has been a bit garbled; my understanding is that breakthrough cases (fully vaccinated people who get infected anyway) are the ones who transmit the virus as prolifically as the unvaccinated.

    The incessant bitching at the CDC for inconsistent messaging is irritating, since their recommendations have been entirely appropriate for conditions at the time those recommendations are made – but conditions have changed a lot, and continue to change. Might as well blame a curve in the road for being “inconsistent” as you drive off into the field.

    On the other hand, it looks like the CDC is much better at epidemiology than psychology. Anyone who takes their eye off their microscope and looks around can see that if you recommend that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks, AND there’s no way to tell if someone is vaccinated, NOBODY will wear a mask and all will claim to be vaccinated! Finally it got through to them that to have unvaccinated people wear masks, everyone needs to wear a mask – even those who may not really need to. Honor systems without enforcement are stupid.

    As for what approach will change the minds on vaccination for “over my dead body” resisters, it looks like death is the only thing that works. Lots of stories in the news of people dying of covid and swearing it’s a hoax on their deathbed.

  10. velikovskys,

    Glad to see the White House has recruited a promoter. That doesn’t explain why singers have to be recruited, or why the talk shows aren’t full of celebrities showing off their vaccinations,

    There was a mention of psychology. What a surprise that stuff needs selling. And that selling is about benefits rather than about telling your customers how much you despise them. And in this case, about trust. Quick question: how many Americans died of 1976 swine flu, and how many from the vaccine?

    If you want to persuade, you have to get trusted people on the air, and you have to let them talk about the past, truthfully. Trusted has few intersections with politicians and bureaucrats.

  11. velikovskys: Missed this, why do you think this is bogus? It said ,with Delta variant, some of the vaccinated ( think 20%) can infect others , often for a shorter period of time than the infected unvaccinated . That was what caused the revision of wearing masks indoors again .For those who never stopped , knowing that breakthroughs occur, it was just another reminder that this pandemic is far from being over for vaccinated or not.

    Show me a source for the 20 percent figure.

  12. The new data says that a fully vaccinated person who experiences a breakthrough infection can spread the virus just as much as an unvaccinated person. Is this only for symptomatic infections?

    It’s expected that symptomatic breakthroughs are more contagious than asymptomatic breakthroughs.

    When extrapolating, it is critical to understand that this study is derived primarily from one major site in which the activities and the settings that were leading to infections are not necessarily representative of the day-to-day life of a fully vaccinated individual.

    https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/articles/new-data-on-covid-19-transmission-by-vaccinated-individuals.html

    Translated, this says that when 40,000 gay men crowd into low ceilinged bars, viruses spread readily. Possibly reducing the 95 percent effectiveness rate of the vaccine.

    And that regardless of vaccination status, people who get infected might spread it.

    Might. The non-anecdotal evidence is that breakthrough infections are usually cleared quickly. Much more quickly than in unvaccinated people.

  13. petrushka:
    velikovskys,

    Glad to see the White House has recruited a promoter. That doesn’t explain why singers have to be recruited, or why the talk shows aren’t full of celebrities showing off their vaccinations,

    If only that was true, I could use the cash. But if we are going to get personal, could I ask a personal question ? I may have missed the answer , did you get vaccinated? I ask because curious how did you decide that risk / reward favored the vaccine. For me ,it had nothing to do with celebrities on talk shows.

    There was a mention of psychology. What a surprise that stuff needs selling. And that selling is about benefits rather than about telling your customers how much you despise them.

    I don’t think Olivia Rodrigo is telling her young followers she hates them. I expect she is telling them the benefits of being vaccinated .But maybe you are talking about another customer base, I doubt anyone hates the under-informed. So may I assume the hardcore , election denying , immigrants hating , worried about critical race theory, unvaccinated? No ,pretty sure ,liberal celebrities are not going to persuade them , and I doubt conservative celebrities would risk alienating their base.

    And in this case, about trust.

    If we still are talking hardcore Trump fans , they only trust their tribe

    Quick question: how many Americans died of 1976 swine flu, and how many from the vaccine?

    Less than 600,000 on both counts , how many died worldwide?

    If you want to persuade, you have to get trusted people on the air, and you have to let them talk about the past, truthfully.

    For instance who is a trusted person on vaccines , give me the pitch.

  14. velikovskys: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1008919/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_31.pdf

    Think it was a report based on this study,

    That’s odd, because the chart I see in that report says there are no data for transmission after two shots.

    The report does say “ Analyses by dosing interval suggest that immune response to vaccination and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease improves with a longer (greater than 6 week interval) compared to a shorter interval of 3 to 4 weeks (8).” which seems like a good thing.

  15. Two observations about the British study. My reading is the vaccines reduce transmissions in breakthrough infections by half, for those having had one shot. No data for two shots. In context, breakthrough infections are pretty low after two shots, and the available data suggest transmission would be even lower.

    The other, unexpected thing is that the vaccines seem to be slightly more effective against Delta. Certainly not less effective. This fits the generalization that viruses tend to become more contagious and less deadly. But the difference is tiny, and might be noise.

  16. I’m on a soapbox here, and that’s a bad look. I know.

    My point is we have the “cure” for covid. The means to knock it out.

    What’s needed from government is not “science”, but salesmanship.

    I’m kind of untutored in marketing, but I believe if you want to close the deal with reluctant consumers, you have to initiate a conversation with them, and that’s a two way thing.

    If you want to solve a problem, and not just feel virtuous.

  17. petrushka:
    Two observations about the British study. My reading is the vaccines reduce transmissions in breakthrough infections by half, for those having had one shot. No data for two shots. In context, breakthrough infections are pretty low after two shots, and the available data suggest transmission would be even lower.

    The efficacy from infection after two is between 70 and 90%. Is that your understanding too?

    The other, unexpectedthing is that the vaccines seem to be slightly more effective against Delta. Certainly not less effective. This fits the generalization that viruses tend to become more contagious and less deadly. But the difference is tiny, and might be noise.

    I think real life observations are the delta causes more breakthrough infection. It also has lowered the age , hospitals report, of average age of those hospitalized. Have you looked at the Israeli study, slightly different results.

  18. Of course the age of hospitalized people has gone down. Can you think of a reason?

  19. petrushka:
    I’m on a soapbox here, and that’s a bad look. I know.

    I correspond with a few vaccine / Covid deniers, your use of actual evidence is refreshing,

    My point is we have the “cure” for covid. The means to knock it out.

    Delta has demonstrated Covid is a moving target, what is prudent for one variant is different for another. That has been the cause of some messaging problems .and mistakes, CDC quit tracking breakthrough infections in the spring, I think. Information that would prove helpful . But this is not an academic exercise, there is an ongoing pandemic. Just think that declaring we have a “cure” is premature .

    What’s needed from government is not “science”, but salesmanship.

    50+% have been sold . That leaves the rest. Delta has pushed some to sign up. That leaves this guy “ Sam Webb says he’s not against vaccines. His kids are up to date on their vaccines for school, and he got a flu shot a few years ago, the Weatherford truck driver said.

    But he won’t be getting a COVID-19 shot.

    Webb, a former Army medic, is among the thousands of Republicans in Texas and across the country who say they do not trust COVID-19 vaccines and will refuse to get one — even as public health experts and elected leaders say mass vaccinations are the key to a return to normalcy from the pandemic that has plagued the nation for a year.

    I’m kind of untutored in marketing, but I believe if you want to close the deal with reluctant consumers, you have to initiate a conversation with them, and that’s a two way thing.

    I agree that some unvaccinated are reachable and I think efforts are being made but some are unreachable Many loved ones of these unvaccinated are trying daily to make that deal.The problem is the media they consume is making a better deal , just ignore this and you will be fine.You can go to crowded places and not worry, it is all lies. Deaths ,lies .sick people ,lies . Pelosi, Fauci, Soros. FDA approval, lies .Right now they are working on ways to claim a religious exemption. And in the greatest irony , claim the right of personal body autonomy . Unfortunately they are a large minority.

    If you want to solve a problem, and not just feel virtuous.

  20. petrushka:
    Of course the age of hospitalized people has gone down. Can you think of a reason?

    One reason is old people do not think they are immortal , they got vaccinated. Another is Delta is spreads faster, getting folks that so far have avoided the virus , behavior stayed the same virus changed the rules.

  21. petrushka: Of course the age of hospitalized people has gone down. Can you think of a reason?

    Off the top of my head, I can think of three: the older patients are
    1) Vaccinated
    2) Shielding
    3) Dead already
    Oooh, here’s one you won’t like:
    4) the delta variant causes higher morbidity (your generalizations about variants being milder are not borne out in reality, btw) and therefore more patients without co-morbidities are ending up in hospital.
    Not sure what you are driving at with your paste-a-thon, but your take on the EUA and on celebrity endorsements struck me as not thought through at all.
    For example, re the EUA, vaccine refusers of the left and right both use the “I’m not a guinea pig” and “The trials were rushed” rallying cries. If the FDA caved to political pressure and prematurely issued a full approval, they would have proved those morons right, in perpetuity. The ONLY benefit of a full approval would be the ability of employers to issue mandates. But mandates are a two-edged sword — they allow vaccine refusers to portray themselves as oppressed martyrs.
    Re celebrity endorsements, in addition to Olivia Rodrigo, you seem unaware of the work of Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Lionel Messi. You’ve been watching all the wrong channels, and it is this fragmentation of sources of information that is causing problems. The vaccine refusers listened to Dick Farrel and Robert F. Kennedy, and are more likely to do the opposite of what Jennifer Garner tells them to do. Jennifer is smart enough to be aware of this.

  22. DNA_Jock,

    I hadn’t known this about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. . There is something weird that happens to a certain segment of (particularly, but not exclusively) older Americans. There are these guys that go from being eduated, liberal, and open minded, to not just moderate centrists, but instead bat-shit crazy, right wing windbags. I am thinking of guys like Jon Voight, James Woods, Dennis Miller, Rosanne Barr, Ronald Reagan…. Plus you have your youtube celebrities like Dave Rubin, Tim Pool, Glenn Greenwald (He is about to tip over the deep end), etc…., who are obviously doing it for the money, but they also have something wrong with them. (Tucker Carlson used to be registered as a Democrat for cryng out loud).

    Its amazing to me when someone’s core beliefs can change so radically. I have a theory that something mechanical is wrong with their brains-seriously. Its like a form of early Alzheimers- their brains just get fucked up. Jon Voight believes that Democrats were working on behalf of Satan to steal the election from orange idiot. This is a guy who campiagned for George McGovern. He worked alongside Jane Fonda as an anti-war activist.

    Maybe Kennedy also has this brain problem starting.

  23. DNA_Jock,

    I accept most of what you said as a reasonable critique. But there are vax resisters from every political camp, and likewise celebrities. What’s needed is not necessarily glitz, but integrity. That means people who can confront fact based but statistically bogus fears. Example: I’ve read that more people died of the 1976 vaccine than from the disease it was intended to prevent. Even if the numbers are wrong, the vaccine was withdrawn.

    You can put up all kinds of charts and graphs to demonstrate the relative risk, but fearful people aren’t going to respond to that. They might respond to someone who can acknowledge the fear and talk about it. I’m thinking someone like Oprah. That kind of talk.

    I think the NYT answered your argument about rushing the approval.

    Approval has been given. When you authorize billions of doses, you’ve approved it. You are way beyond oops. No way that toothpaste goes back in the tube. The approval can be a special case, and all the caveats can be spelled out.

    But things are moving, even if slowly. Florida, the current bad boy, is doing more vaccinations per capita than any other state. Almost a third of the peak rate. They are also doing well with teenagers. I think that’s important. The only relative of mine that got covid was a teen. It’s been six months, and his sense of taste is still impaired.

  24. petrushka: Approval has been given. When you authorize billions of doses, you’ve approved it. You are way beyond oops. No way that toothpaste goes back in the tube. The approval can be a special case, and all the caveats can be spelled out.

    Huh? Upthread, you seemed to be arguing that the lack of an FDA approval was problematic. Now you seem to be completely disregarding the difference between the EUA and an approval.
    Whatever. The EUA is NOT a full approval. Very importantly, the FDA can compel drug vaccine developers to do whatever additional studies the FDA desires, in order to gain that coveted Full Approval. Withdrawing an EUA is no biggie (see for example hydroxychloroquine, which IMO should never have received an EUA); withdrawing an approval is. So no, you are wrong about how the FDA issues EUAs and approvals.
    I used to do this for a living.

    Given your confusion regarding EUAs, when you write

    petrushka: I think the NYT answered your argument about rushing the approval.

    what do you think is “my argument about rushing the approval”, and in what way did the NYT answer it?

  25. Has anybody considered a third option?
    Both natural and “gain-of-function” options on the origins of SARS CoV-2 seem more than a longshot requiring a lot of faith to remain believable…

  26. J-Mac:
    Has anybody considered a third option?
    Both natural and “gain-of-function” options on the origins of SARS CoV-2 seem more than a longshot requiring a lot of faith to remain believable…

    What… is…the …third… option…?

  27. DNA_Jock: what do you think is “my argument about rushing the approval”, and in what way did the NYT answer it?

    I think your argument is that the FDA’s reputation will be enhanced by being cautious.

    I think not. De facto approval is approval, minus the advantages.

    Suddenly finding some dangerous side effect and withdrawing authorization cannot unsmear their reputation.

    The other part of your argument is bullshit. The FDA does not need a legal process to withdraw approval. The merest whisper of a serious problem, and the vaccine is dead.

    If it’s a serious problem.

    Could doctors still prescribe it? Probably. So what? Prescription medicine has always been a major killer.

    But where I live 70 precent of everybody has been vaccinated. The only effect of approval would be to remove an argument used by, at most, ten percent, who are holding out.

  28. FDA has three concerns:

    Safety, effectiveness, and paper shuffling.

    Now, for a palliative remedy, paper shuffling is not a big deal. There are medicines that only work in a minority of cases, and are not life saving.

    But for the vaccines, the effectiveness can be seen by anyone viewing worldometers. The more vaccinations, the fewer deaths, by an order of magnitude.

    Safety. Well, if the vaccines aren’t safe, we’re all going to die. No amount of shuffled paper will make that go away.

    The FDA routinely approves flu vaccines with 300 human tests. They have a streamlined approval system that begins while the vaccines are still in development. It’s been a year since the mRNA vaccines completed development. The factories were completed last summer, the logistics were in development all last year. All of this was done concurrently, and could have been examined by FDA concurrently.

  29. petrushka: I think your argument is that the FDA’s reputation will be enhanced by being cautious.

    Wrong. My point was that a lot of vaccine hesitancy has been driven by the compressed timeline of COVID vaccine development. Not that it was ever part of my argument, but I will note that I think the FDA can protect its reputation by NOT bowing to political pressure, and always following its established procedures and the scientific evidence.

    I think not. De facto approval is approval, minus the advantages.

    Still wrong. An EUA is not an approval. Hence the conversation, ffs!

    Suddenly finding some dangerous side effect and withdrawing authorization cannot unsmear their reputation.

    I do not understand what you are trying to convey here. If, hypothetically, the FDA were to suddenly find a dangerous side effect to an approved drug, and they withdrew that drug (perhaps temporarily, pending the implementation of a REMS) then I’d agree — that’s not a good look. But it is better than pretending not to notice and it is worse than pulling an EUA (e.g. HCQ)

    The other part of your argument is bullshit. The FDA does not need a legal process to withdraw approval. The merest whisper of a serious problem, and the vaccine is dead.

    I am not responsible for your ignorance. Of course the FDA needs a legal process to withdraw approval. Like I said, I used to do this for a living. How much interaction with the FDA have you had?

    If it’s a serious problem.

    Could doctors still prescribe it? Probably. So what? Prescription medicine has always been a major killer.

    I feel a JHU-inspired urban legend coming on.

    But where I live 70 precent of everybody has been vaccinated. The only effect of approval would be to remove an argument used by, at most, ten percent, who are holding out.

    I explained this already.

  30. petrushka: FDA has three concerns:

    Safety, effectiveness, and paper shuffling.

    If you say so.

    Now, for a palliative remedy, paper shuffling is not a big deal. There are medicines that only work in a minority of cases, and are not life saving.

    WTF is a “palliative remedy”? Palliation, by definition, has no effect on disease course.

    But for the vaccines, the effectiveness can be seen by anyone viewing worldometers. The more vaccinations, the fewer deaths, by an order of magnitude.

    Wrong. As you have demonstrated repeatedly on this very site. Vaccine effectiveness is measured in RCTs. You continue to be delightfully oblivious to all of the confounding factors that make your armchair research useless. I currently do this for a living.

    Safety. Well, if the vaccines aren’t safe, we’re all going to die. No amount of shuffled paper will make that go away.

    WTF? Here’s a tip: the vaccines are not safe. Nothing is. We are all going to die. Death and taxes, am I right?
    The question is whether the benefits outweigh the risks, or not. Even a positively dangerous vaccine is not going to kill us all. Here’s a useful factoid: for drugs, phase I trials are called “Safety trials”. This is inaccurate. Phase I trials do not test how safe a drug is, they are too small. They do test whether it is positively dangerous or not.

    The FDA routinely approves flu vaccines with 300 human tests. They have a streamlined approval system that begins while the vaccines are still in development. It’s been a year since the mRNA vaccines completed development. The factories were completed last summer, the logistics were in development all last year. All of this was done concurrently, and could have been examined by FDA concurrently.

    Yeah. This year’s flu vaccine is virtually identical to last year’s, and the decade’s before. Pretty much same old, same old. The Moderna and BioNTech vaccines use new technology, hence the tens of thousands of patients in their trials.
    Science.

  31. If you want to talk about bad looks, talk about the government mandating a vaccine that isn’t approved.

    You are equivocating about the word safety. Vaccines are safe if the benefits outweigh the risks, but how do you weigh risks for a person already at extremely low risk?

    The main reason to vaccinate young healthy people is for herd immunity. That’s asking individuals to accept a risk for the common good. Add a mandate, and you are approaching the logic behind conscription.

    Personally, I got the vaccine on the first day I was eligible. I was happy that it seemed so effective in clinical trials, but I would have gotten it if it were less effective.

    It’s been a couple of months since I started talking about Chile. Since then, Chile has gone from 9 percent Pfizer to 26 percent Pfizer (cumulative), and the death rate has dropped from 120 per day to 50 per day. Prior to the vaccine shift, the death rate was constant..

  32. DNA_Jock: This year’s flu vaccine is virtually identical to last year’s, and the decade’s before.

    Then why do people who have already had the flu or the vaccine still get it?

  33. petrushka,
    I am confused.
    You wrote

    Safety. Well, if the vaccines aren’t safe, we’re all going to die.

    and then

    Vaccines are safe if the benefits outweigh the risks

    yet you claim that I am the one “equivocating about the word safety”?.
    You ask

    how do you weigh risks for a person already at extremely low risk?

    It is pretty easy actually, although some multiplication is involved.

    petrushka: The main reason to vaccinate young healthy people is for herd immunity. That’s asking individuals to accept a risk for the common good. Add a mandate, and you are approaching the logic behind conscription.

    No, no, and no.
    True, that there is a communal good to high levels of vaccination, but for every vaccine in use that I can think of, it remains the case that our best estimates of the benefits to the recipients outweigh our best estimates of the risks. We could, of course, be wrong, in which case the idea of protecting the immunosuppressed, cancer patients, transplant recipients, and the very young would come into play. Separately, “asking individuals to accept a risk for the common good” is what we do as a society ALL THE TIME: cars pose a threat to pedestrians and cyclists, and yet we still allow people with a barely detectable levels of competence to drive one-ton killing machines. Preventable deaths ensue.
    So enough with your ‘conscription’ analogy.
    There was an interesting ethical argument re administering Gardasil to pubescent boys, since the primary beneficiaries would be their future girlfriends, but it turns out that it’s worth their while too (yes, we did the math…), because it protects them from cancer too, just not as much as it benefits the girls.

  34. phoodoo: Then why do people who have already had the flu or the vaccine still get it?

    because it protects them from novel strains of flu they have probably not encountered before.

  35. DNA_Jock,

    DNA_Jock: because it protects them from novel strains of flu they have probably not encountered before.

    But you just said the vaccine is the same one they have been using for years?

  36. phoodoo:
    DNA_Jock,

    But you just said the vaccine is the same one they have been using for years?

    My layman’s understanding is that some viruses remain pretty stable, while others are moving targets. The flu seems to be a fast-moving target, and covid seems to be one as well. So as a virus mutates, any given vaccine will become increasingly less effective, and new vaccines must be tailored to the latest variants. With the flu, the vaccine tweaks seem pretty small and slightly different flu vaccines can be created yearly. I suppose we can hope that the covid virus won’t experience bigger changes so often that vaccines can’t keep up.

  37. phoodoo,

    You might take a look here

    It says there are several strains of flu virus and the vaccine make-up is selected each year in anticipation of the likely predominant strain.

  38. phoodoo: But you just said the vaccine is the same one they have been using for years?

    No, I didn’t. I wrote that the flu vaccine is virtually identical to prior ones. The HA antigens delivered differ year-over-year, but petrushka was discussing the FDA review of the factories and logistics for the mRNA vaccines. My point was that the CMC portion of the BLA is ‘same old, same old’ for the flu vaccines, but for mRNA vaccines it’s brand new technology.

  39. Quick question, please. Is this the right formula to calculate Re?

    Re = R0 ( 1 – ( Vac * Ve ) )

    Where:
    Vac = percentage of the population that is vaccinated.
    Ve = vaccine efficacy

    Sorry, I still don’t know how to use Latex here

    EDIT: I guess I’m missing a term: those who acquired natural immunity.

  40. As a first pass, yes.
    Be aware that Ve here would refer to efficacy at preventing infections, and that R0 is a function of both virus genotype and human behavior.
    Once we start to consider breakthrough infections, then there’s a whole new R0.
    I was going to make a wisecrack about ‘the number with natural immunity being small compared with the number vaccinated”, but I had another look at the numbers, so I’m gonna shut up now.

  41. DNA_Jock:
    As a first pass, yes.
    Be aware that Ve here would refer to efficacy at preventing infections, and that R0 is a function of both virus genotype and human behavior.
    Once we start to consider breakthrough infections, then there’s a whole new R0.
    I was going to make a wisecrack about ‘the number with natural immunity being small compared with the number vaccinated”, but I had another look at the numbers, so I’m gonna shut up now.

    Thanks, DNA_Jock.
    According to this the have been an estimated 120 million infections in the US between Feb 2020 and May 2021, or a 36% of the population. Is this the data you are referring to? Sounds like a lot.

    Going by your response, I’m guessing this will be incorrect, but I’ll try anyway.
    How about this formula to factor in natural immunity?

    Re = R0 ( 1 – ( Vac * Ve ( 1- Ni ) + Ni )

    Where:
    Vac = percentage of the population that is vaccinated.
    Ve = vaccine efficacy
    Ni = percentage of the population with natural immunity

    The idea is, if we have say a 60% of the population vaccinated, but the vaccine is only a 90% effective at preventing infection, then the percentage of immunized people is down a 10%, or 54%. Now, if a 30% of the population already has natural immunity, of the 1 – 54% = 46%, a 30% of those, roughly a 14%, are also immune. So the total % of immune people is 54% + 14% = 68%

    The rest would be the same: Re = R0 ( 1 – 0.68 )

    I don’t know, just thought I would throw it out there in case it makes any sense or I can learn something

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