- Immune training: Previous vaccines against other viruses might reduce severity of Covid-19 symptoms
- Social distancing works
- How many vulnerable Americans?
- Coronavirus found on food
- Bill Gates expects pandemic over by end of 2021
Immune training: Previous vaccines against other viruses might reduce severity of Covid-19 symptoms
One fascinating feature of the pandemic is the difference in the severity of the disease among infected people.
There is early research that indicates that if a person received vaccines against any virus before the pandemic, their immune systems might be primed to respond faster to a Covid-19 infection.
Dr. Andrew Bradley from the Mayo clinic said,
“When we looked in the setting of Covid disease, we found that people who had prior vaccinations with a variety of vaccines, for pneumococcus, influenza, hepatitis and others , appeared to have a lower risk of getting Covid disease.”
This concept is called “immune training,” and doctors have noticed it with other diseases. For example, people who get vaccinated for tuberculosis have a reduced chance of getting malaria. TB is caused by a bacteria and malaria is caused by a parasite. The organisms are unrelated.
There is no evidence that this will happen with Covid-19, but we are still very early in learning about Covid-19 and its response to immune training. Scientists want to consider all concepts from vaccine science and infectious disease treatment and prevention.
A bigger initial “viral load” increases severity of disease
When you are initially infected with a virus, the number of virus particles is not enough to cause symptoms. The virus particles have to enter cells, take over the cell replication mechanisms, reproduce themselves, kill the cells, move on to infect other cells.
This process gets repeated many times before there is enough cell damage for you to notice it. Once there is some critical mass of virus particles, it will be causing enough cell damage for you to feel bad and conclude that you are sick.
It also takes time for your immune system to figure out how to make antibodies and T cells that will remove the virus from your body and let your body heal. If the immune process starts in someone who has very few virus particles, it will be closer to completion by the time the person has enough virus particles to cause symptoms. He is more likely to have enough early immunity working to make his symptoms less severe, and his illness end faster, than someone who initially inhaled a huge number of virus particles.
This is where masks come in. If a very sick person coughs in your face, some big droplets containing a huge number of virus particles might enter your mouth, nose, or eyes. But if you are wearing a mask, those big particles won’t make it in to infect you. Tiny droplets might, but they will have far few virus particles. Theoretically, if you get sick, you have a better chance of having milder symptoms and getting better faster.
Social distancing works
Dr. Mark Siedner and others at Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of London are reporting in a soon to be released paper that social distancing has been effective in slowing the spread of Covid-19 in the US. The researchers looked at a 3 week period in March when most states mandated social distancing.
They concluded that this reduced the number of new cases by 600,000. If the death rate was 1%, this would have saved 3,000 lives during those 3 weeks. One has to wonder how many lives would have been saved if this was mandated at the national level, as it was in the majority of developed countries, all of which have had far fewer deaths per capita than the US.
Herd immunity from recovering or from vaccination
I have written several times that the average Covid victim infects about 1.5 to 2 more people in the US. I have said how herd immunity requires about 70% of Americans to be immune, either after recovering from Covid or from vaccination.
We will have far fewer deaths if it comes mostly from people getting vaccinated. With only currently about half the country wanting to get vaccinated, a lot of the herd immunity will come from infected Americans.
But suppose the vaccine is not as effective as we hope. Or that it takes a year to get 50% of the country vaccinated. Then we could easily see a third of the country catch Covid.
The problem with that is that the death rate is at least 0.5 to 1%. One percent of 120 million infected people will result in over a million dead Americans. I have written repeatedly that by the time the pandemic ends, there will be between 500,000 and 1 million dead Americans. Also, if we handled this as well as the average developed country, probably 80% of those lives would have been saved. But it is what it is.
How many vulnerable Americans?
Many people overseas are experiencing schadenfreude over fat, rich, selfish, arrogant Americans getting their comeuppance. As I explained last week, obesity only accounts for a small part of our greatly increased number of deaths. The lack of national political leadership is by far our greatest problem.
Obesity is important, but there are many other factors as well that increase a person’s risk of getting very ill or dying from Covid. Simply being over age 60 is enough. All told, 30% of Americans are particularly vulnerable to becoming very sick if they come down with Covid.
Thirty percent means that all of us know many people who have a high risk of a serious form of Covid. If the pandemic has not touched your circle yet, it will.
How much more risk do Americans have compared to other developed countries?
Yes, the US has 22% of the world’s deaths with only 4% of the worlds’s population. But how does the US compare to other developed countries?
We chose to not create a national plan, although our politicians are claiming they are doing more than any other country. Sweden is an interesting comparison. Instead of their politicians doing nothing and claiming to be doing a lot, their politicians are doing nothing and claiming to be doing nothing. They decided to let the disease run its course and wait for herd immunity to develop on its own.
When you adjust for the size of the population, an American has the same risk as a Swede of dying from Covid. This makes sense because neither they nor we are doing anything at the national level to stop citizens from dying.
What about other developed countries? The average American is 2.1 times more likely to die than a Canadian and 4.5 times more likely than a German. Our risk is 35 times that of an Australian, 85 times greater than a South Korean, and 112 times greater than a New Zealander. All of those countries had leaders who created plans and led their citizens to participate in the fight against the virus.
I’m not opposed to leaders choosing to not have a plan, like Sweden, if a strong majority of the population agrees. The problem with the US is that most Americans expect our leaders to lead when there is a crisis. Remember JFK and the Cuban missile crisis or George W. Bush with his bullhorn after 911? If a leader turns around and only sees a handful of people following him, is he really a leader?
As you know, I believe we should have had a plan because the number of preventable deaths is shocking. There is no acceptable excuse. We don’t have to be South Korea. If we simply did what Germany did, more than 100,000 Americans would still be alive today.
Hospitals now have many more young Covid patients
Watching ignorant, foolish political leaders on the state and national level over the past 2 months essentially take credit for winning the war against the coronavirus was kabuki theater. I talked about how absurd this was in June and July. You can say that the pandemic is ending and that we are bending the curve, but that does not make it true. The virus is not going away, and to think otherwise is anti-science lunacy.
These arrogant, selfish anti-science fools encouraged people to resume their normal lives and the result was predictable. Also, telling young people that Covid is really a disease of the elderly and just a minor illness for people under 50 is nonsense.
Many 30 year old people are fat and in terrible shape. Their risk of getting a serious case of Covid is as high as that for a healthy 60 year old. Thirty years of age means nothing if you are fat and out of shape, giving your body the health of a 60 year old. About 10% of Millennials have high blood pressure, substance abuse, or high cholesterol, and 19% have diabetes. There are now more people hospitalized in the US from 18 to 49 years old than between 60 and 64 years old. Tens of thousands of people died over the past 2 months because many of these people trusted their leaders instead of common sense and science.
Coronavirus found on food
Well, it was only a matter of time. With tens of millions of infected people around the world, many food handlers would be infected. And many companies that process the food wouldn’t care.
Since June, there have been several reports of coronavirus on food and on food packaging in China. Health officials in Shenzhen, in their routine screening of imported meats, reported finding coronavirus on frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil. Health officials in Wuhu found it on the packaging of imported frozen shrimp from Ecuador.
There have been reports from other Chinese cities as well. The Chinese officials said that no one who may have come in contact with the contaminated packaging got sick.
I discussed fomite transmission a couple months ago. A fomite is any surface that can transmit the virus. I said that no one knows for certain, but fomite transmission, like from door knobs, sinks, or hand rails, probably only accounts for about 1% of Covid infects. The other 99% comes directly from someone’s mouth to your mouth, nose, or eyes, or indirectly via your hands.
Can you get Covid from eating?
I am unaware of any report of someone catching Covid from food. It is certainly possible, but cooking kills the virus.
If the virus is on the packaging and you touch it and then put your hand in your mouth, that could do it. However, that is extremely unlikely. Also, the viral load would be very small. If it were to happen, the person would probably get less sick than from someone coughing on them.
I heard more than one expert say that your stomach acid would kill the virus and therefore you would not get sick. That does not make sense. The virus-contaminated food would still have to pass through your mouth and esophagus before reaching your stomach. That would expose you to an infection.
But, again, there has not yet been a report of this. However, it is important to remember the math. With tens or hundreds of millions of infected people, even a 1 in a million thing will happen. There will eventually be a report of someone getting Covid from food.
Bill Gates expects pandemic over by end of 2021
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world and one of the world’s most respected infectious disease experts.
In a 2015 Ted Talk, he predicted that a worldwide virus pandemic was inevitable and it would cost $2 trillion. This one will probably cost $10 trillion.
Wired.com interviewed Bill Gates last week and here are some of his notable quotes:
“I’m surprised at the US situation because the smartest people on epidemiology in the world, by a lot, are at the CDC… You would expect the CDC to be the most visible, not the White House or even Anthony Fauci. But they haven’t been the face of the epidemic…They have basically been muzzled since the beginning. We called the CDC, but they told us we had to talk to the White House a bunch of times. Now they say, ‘Look, we’re doing a great job on testing, we don’t want to talk to you.’ Even the simplest things, which would greatly improve this system, they feel would be admitting there is some imperfection and so they are not interested.“
“The White House didn’t allow the CDC to do its job after March… So the variance between the US and other countries … are [sic] not the CDC’s fault. They said not to open back up. They said that leadership has to be a model of face mask usage. I think they have done a good job since April, but we haven’t had the benefit of it … for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022.“
“Before the epidemic came, we saw huge potential in the RNA vaccines—Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Curevac. Right now, because of the way you manufacture them, and the difficulty of scaling up, they are more likely—if they are helpful—to help in the rich countries. They won’t be the low-cost, scalable solution for the world at large. There you’d look more at AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.”
“This disease, from both the animal data and the phase 1 data, seems to be very vaccine preventable. There are questions still. It will take us awhile to figure out the duration [of protection], and the efficacy in elderly, although we think that’s going to be quite good.“
“The FDA, to their credit, at least so far, is sticking to requiring proof of efficacy. So far they have behaved very professionally despite the political pressure. There may be pressure, but people are saying no, make sure that that’s not allowed. The irony is that this is a president who is a vaccine skeptic. Every meeting I have with him he is like, ‘Hey, I don’t know about vaccines, and you have to meet with this guy Robert Kennedy Jr. who hates vaccines and spreads crazy stuff about them.'”
Q: Wasn’t Kennedy Jr. talking about you using vaccines to implant chips into people?
“Yeah, you’re right. He, Roger Stone, Laura Ingraham. They do it in this kind of way: ‘I’ve heard lots of people say X, Y, Z.’ That’s kind of Trumpish plausible deniability. Anyway, there was a meeting where Francis Collins, Tony Fauci, and I had to [attend], and they had no data about anything. When we would say, ‘But wait a minute, that’s not real data,’ they’d say, ‘Look, Trump told you you have to sit and listen, so just shut up and listen anyway.’ So it’s a bit ironic that the president is now trying to have some benefit from a vaccine.”
Q: But people aren’t getting their tests back quickly enough.
“Well, that’s just stupidity. The majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted … When we tell them [the government] to change it they say, ‘As far as we can tell, we’re just doing a great job, it’s amazing!’ Here we are, this is August. We are the only country in the world where we waste the most money on tests. Fix the reimbursement. Set up the CDC website. But I have been on that kick, and people are tired of listening to me.”
Q: As someone who has built your life on science and logic, I’m curious what you think when you see so many people signing onto this anti-science view of the world.
Well, strangely, I’m involved in almost everything that anti-science is fighting. I’m involved with climate change, GMOs, and vaccines. The irony is that it’s digital social media that allows this kind of titillating, over-simplistic explanation of, ‘OK, there’s just an evil person, and that explains all of this.’ And when you have [posts] encrypted, there is no way to know what it is. I personally believe government should not allow those types of lies or fraud or child pornography [to be hidden with encryption like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger].
Dr. Brooks’s earlier special reports on the Covid-19 pandemic:
- 35 overrated Covid-19 vaccines, anti-vax, obesity, and drug business profits
- Covid-19: Heart disease, Russian vaccine, and the end of the hydroxychloroquine hoax
- Many Covid vaccines and treatments, and less flu
- The coronavirus pandemic: Biggest worldwide event of our lifetimes
- Covid-19 pandemic vaccine and its euphoric market impact