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The Omicron Threat Don’t Signify January 3, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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Herr Fauci opines on the Omicron threat:

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said Sunday that hospitalizations are a better guide to determining the severity of the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 than case counts.

He did still warn that even though many unvaccinated individuals are going to get asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases, a “fair number” of the “tens of millions of people” who have not received any COVID shot are going to come down with severe coronavirus cases.

Fauci went on to say, “As you get further on and the infections become less severe, it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases.”

So let’s look at the hospitalization story, shall we? Here’s the CDC’s graph of people who are hospitalized who also have a confirmed COVID infection:

Wow – the rate is skyrocketing right now. But as so many, many people have pointed out (including, finally, Fauci himself) this statistic is meaningless, since it includes people who are mildly symptomatic or even asymptomatic. What everybody really wants to know is: How many hospital admissions are because of COVID?

And here’s your answer, courtesy of COVID-NET, which is a relatively small survey of 250 hospitals. Large enough survey to capture trends, though. COVID-NET only counts patients who are hospitalized because of COVID, so that’s the stat we really want. And here’s the CDC’s plot of that data:

Apologies for the ridiculous aspect ratio of the plot. I could have downloaded the data and replotted it, but, well, . . .

Anyway, you can see a precipitous dive in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Could be Christmas-related, though you didn’t see the same thing in last year’s data. But the simultaneous rise in the COVID rate in hospitals (the upper graph) combined with the drop in COVID-caused hospitalizations (lower graph) likely means that:

==> A ridiculous number of people are catching Omicron, but the cases are so mild they don’t require medical treatment <==

So by Fauci’s recommended metric, we’re gonna be just fine.

Day 6: The ‘Cron is Gone December 31, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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My brief flirtation with COVID-19 has ended – it’s all over but the residual goop-clearing and catch-up power sleeping. I don’t have a particularly formidable immune system (I catch everything) and when I’m infected, it usually settles in my chest for a week. Figured I was COVID’s favorite sort of target.

But this new version was not a problem, barely an inconvenience. Whether it’s due to the wimpiness of the virus, a resurgence in my immune system (hah!), or the two Moderna shots I had (back in April, so…), I don’t know. But my impression is that:

  1. Ordinary protocols that protected people from infection in the past won’t prevent Omicron infection.
  2. Having been infected, Dayquil and Nyquil don’t help as much as they usually do.
  3. The fever bounces around quite a bit.
  4. Lasts about 5 days
  5. All in all, it was a minor inconvenience.

Happy New Year!

My Old Haunts Aflame December 30, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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Used to live in Broomfield, CO up until a few years ago, so the fires in the Superior area are giving me one of those “someone walking on my grave” chills. I also rented a house in Superior back in 2002, so I’m very familiar with the area.

Last year we had COVID-19 and the horrendous fires that made the sun a feeble red glow. This year plenty more COVID and now a fire that’s already burned down hundreds of homes.

We almost made it out of 2021. Almost.

Very Ear-y Photo December 30, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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This is a Reuters photo that was in a New York Post article on the failures of De Blasio’s reign as NYC mayor. What struck me was the right ears of many of the officers in the photo, which were caught by the sun in a visually arresting way. If you defocus your vision a bit, it’s really striking:

Day 4 of the ‘Cron December 29, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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My brother the doctah gifted me with a case of the Omicron variant on Christmas Eve. I started feeling it a couple of days later, and by Monday I was enjoying the full onslaught.

Which, for an onslaught, has been pretty unimpressive. I’d rather have this than the flu, actually. The thing that has struck me about Omicron is that it gives you a day where you feel pretty good, and then comes back the next day making you feel like a truck hit you.

…as opposed to the flu, where “Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy.”

So thus far I’m kind of pleased with getting infected, presuming that it gives me some sort of immunity henceforth. Small price to pay. In fact, while this is lasting longer, the peak discomfort was worse with the 2nd Moderna shot than with Omicron.

Everybody seems to be getting it – it’s the latest craze. My brother said 20 doctors in his group got it, and my realtor said they shut down their office after 5 people got it.

I hope everybody else’s experience is as mild as mine has been.

Merry Merry Happy Happy December 25, 2021

Posted by Pupster in Ballistics, Blogroll, Ducks, Family, Handblogging, Love, Lurkers, Mufuckin Pie!, Music, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Science, Sex, Stupid shit, Terrorist Hemorrhoids, Women Ranting.
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May your nogs be eggy, your puddings figgy, and may your trash cans overflow from castaway Christmas containers and wrappings.

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Container Ship Backup Containment November 11, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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With the Biden administration on the job, there’s absolutely no reason to fret about the container ship backup at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports:

Yup, no reason at all.

More Damning Vaccine Efficacy Data November 6, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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[I am not a physician or involved in any way in the medical profession. Any comments I make are solely on the basis of the article I’m discussing, and should not be construed as medical advice or counseling. While I make disparaging marks about COVID-19 vaccines based on the article’s data, my family and I are fully vaccinated (though now I’m wondering why).]

Instapundit.linked to a new study of almost 800K VA patients, whose data was used to assess the efficacy of the CoV-2 vaccines. While the results differ from the articles that were discussed in previous posts, they do show quite clearly that the vaccines suck at preventing Delta variant infections, and that they don’t offer much benefit. I should mention that the authors claim that their analysis supports how important vaccinations are. I’m not seeing it.

Let’s go to the charts:

I’m not clear on the precise definition of “Hazard Ratio,” but I take it to be the relative likelihood that you’re going to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Relative to what? I dunno. I’m also confused about the x-axis, which should be numbers (like “2 months after full vaccination”) not months (what does “May months after full vaccination” mean?).

In any case you can see that Moderna loses a third of its protection, Pfizer loses half, and Janssen (J&J) is pretty much spent.

This next chart shows the cumulative likelihood that you’ll be infected. You can see the steep decline in starting in late July as the Delta variant becomes prevalent:

These curves make it seem like the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are really helping reduce the chance of infection. But if you look at it another way, once the Delta variant hit, the difference between being unvaccinated and fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine is . . . two and a half weeks.

Yup – vaccinated folk just wait 2.5 weeks and the odds of being infected are the same as those who weren’t vaccinated at all. For Pfizer you just wait 2 weeks, and for J&J it’s about a week and a half.

So let’s talk about death. the charts below compare the likelihood of survival of people under 65 (left chart) with those at or above 65. First, a note about the curves. Most people are in the high risk period of the illness from 1 – 4 weeks after infection. After that period has passed, the slopes of the curves should be the same (i.e., they all go downhill at the same rate).

If they don’t go downhill at the same rate, either there are lingering effects from the infection, there are confounding factors, or the data and/or data analysis are wonky. Looking at the left-hand, under 65, chart, it looks like the slopes are pretty much the same after 10 weeks. On the right-hand chart, however, the slopes of the unvaccinated and vaccinated are quite different. I suspect this is due to comorbidities, which may have been more prevalent in the unvaccinated group. Comorbidity charts can be found in the paper.

But here’s the message from the charts: If you are less than 65, have no comorbidities and you get COVID-19, the difference in the probability of surviving is 1%. So if you have concerns or medical conditions that make you hesitate to get vaccinated, you’re not missing much. In the higher-risk group (65+), you’re about 7% 21% (Update: I read the number wrong, so you’re 21% more likely to survive with a vaccination) more likely to survive if you get vaccinated.

A second point is that there doesn’t seem to be any spike related to the Delta variant in the later months, which suggests that it’s not very lethal.

A Caution About the Data. Or at least my interpretation of the data. Here are my concerns:

  • The study starts in February, but the general population wasn’t allowed to get the vaccine until April. So almost all of the vaccinated data for the first two months involved people who were 65+.
  • The fact that the vaccines looked worse as more people got vaccinated is not comforting.
  • This study ran for 7 months, so the data on deaths, which spans 6 months, is biased toward the shorter times. That is, if you track someone who received a positive PCR test in the first two months, you’re fine. But if they tested positive at the end of month 4, you can only track them for 3 months. That bunches up the data towards the left-hand of the chart. Combine that with the smaller number of vaccinations in the early months, and the right hand side of the vaccinated curves on the death charts is very lightly weighted.
  • As mentioned above, the study seems to conflate calendar months with months from or to an event (like positive PCR result). It’s like they assumed that everybody who was vaccinated was fully vaccinated at the beginning of the study (Feb 1).

Halloween Candy Calculator October 27, 2021

Posted by skinbad in Food.
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Not a bad idea. Although I almost didn’t get past the ridiculous subtitle: “Don’t get stuck with dreaded mounds of extra Hershey bars this year.” What the H? You madam, are FAKE NEWS.

Mindblow: 7734, from Heroes is actually hell written upside down on a  calculator: sabaton

Variables are:

Duration

Number of anticipated kids

Generosity

Days to Halloween

Number in Household

Sneakiness/Snitching Factor

Forecast

For me? I just finished a basement remodel (a giant TV with new carpet and paint around it). I’ll probably hide out there and watch something scary. My calculations aren’t very complicated: (number of doorbell rings) (zero response) = zero candy needed.

What a Small and Lonely Planet We Be October 19, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) snapped this photo of the moon in front of the Earth. Kind of made the bottom of my stomach drop out. (Taken from the NASA/GSFC website, where you can find much higher resolution photos.)

Pfizer Loses Again October 17, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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A study comparing antibody response due to COVID-19 vaccines came out a couple of days ago. They looked at antibody response over time for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Here are the measurements from the study (Figure 1 from the link):

The left-hand data are for Pfizer, the middle are for Moderna, the right-hand are for J&J. Over the 8-month study period, Pfizer went from 1789 to 53, Moderna went from 5848 to 133, and J&J went from 146 to 629(!).

So Pfizer is the worst of the 3, and J&J is the best. While the two mRNA vaccines drop precipitously, the J&J vaccine’s antibody response is actually increasing over time.

The need for a J&J booster isn’t obvious, at least from this study, but the experts say that the 2nd J&J shot cranks up the effectiveness of the vaccine to 94% – in line with the mRNA vaccines’ initial effectiveness.

All I can say is, based on this data and the breakthrough severity data that was posted 3 days ago, I don’t think I’d pick Pfizer’s vaccine at this point.

A Quick Comparison of Military Priorities October 15, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.
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American Military:

North Korean military.