Thursday, January 13, 2022

Covid playground

This is just a "post" to allow comments between people interested in the current COVID saga more easily. Comments on all posts older than two weeks are to be moderated by myself, just to keep the spam under control. So here are two weeks of unmoderated commenting scope if people want to exchange comments if I'm off working or weekending with the kids.

There you go Eric. Good idea.



Passthecream said...

Great! I'll pick up from Eric's most recent post to the previous thread:

"Dogs could detect Covid scent in 23/45 Long Covid suffers but 0 / 181 controls. Seems to suggest persistent infection."

I know that the I...n drug is hugely controversial but I read last year ( where???) that it was also useful in remediating long covid which was a bit of a mystery to me at the time. However this supports the possibility of it being effective in the case of either the primary infection or long covid.

--- and maybe some of the other 22 undetectables were crypto Ivmn users?

LA_Bob said...

Eric, good suggestion. Thanks.

Eric said...

Thanks, Peter. That'll speed up discussions. In the "statistical illusion" thread I posted data from NYT for NYC, Boston, Chicago that had new infections and time-shifted ICU admissions and deaths. It seemed to imply that Omicron is just as bad as Delta and previous variants. Then there was a Californian preprint that seemed to suggest 4x lower rates.

Here's the data for Germany up to yesterday (Jan. 13th) broken down by state. Note that unlike the NYT-graphs there is no time shift and Omicron may simply be too new here (it didn't start picking up until about Xmas). Also, the two other data sets are new hospital admissions and ICU occupancy, the latter, of course being an integrated number that may contain a good number of lingering Delta cases and I suspect also non-Covid ICU admissions.

What is interesting is that Omicron is much slower to catch on because restrictions such as mask mandates indoors or vaccination passes were in place before the onset and tightened thereafter. The northern state of Schleswig-Holstein with a low population density but close ties to adjacent Denmark has the most impressive peak, followed by the Northern city states of Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin. While it is pretty early for drawing conclusions, the data from these staes are in line with the 4x reduction in ICU admissions from the Californian study.

The northern state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) borders on the Netherlands, as does Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine Westphalia), but Omicron is much slower there to catch on. Of course, the Netherlands stepped on the brakes hard in December. The tiny state of Saarland has very close ties to France, as do the larger states of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland Palatine) and Baden-Württemberg, but nothing much is happening there.

In general, the northern states have the highest vaccination rates, with the southern states a few percentage points lower and the eastern states 10 -20% lower. It is the eastern and southern states that had a pronounced Delta wave well into December while the Northern states were pretty low throughout 2021, so my first take away is that recent exposure to Delta (not necessarily proven infection) conveys immunity to Omicron. I don't think there is any data out there showing that vaccination will result in higher susceptiblity for Omicron compared to unvaccinated and not recovered people.

Eric said...

And here's some new excess mortality data for Germany in 2021:

There is excess mortality for 2021. Some of this was expected due to the aging population. The breakdown by causes is still under way, but it is already clear that there is a strong correlation in time and place with the remainder of the second wave and third and fourth waves.

The last two paragraphs point out that vaccinations (which were not reasonably complete until summer) seem to have reduced mortality:

Implausible are reports that vaccination against coronavirus has led to an increase in deaths. "The regional patterns speak against it: In states with high vaccination rates, there have recently been few striking findings with regard to excess mortality. In contrast, it was comparatively high in federal states with low vaccination rates," says Felix zur Nieden of the Federal Statistical Office. Here, the trend in Saxony is particularly striking. In the first week of 2021, the figures there were already 77 percent higher than the average for 2017 to 2020, followed by Thuringia (plus 55 percent) and Brandenburg (plus 53 percent). At the state level, death rates cannot currently be mapped for the entire year just ended. In November 2021, however, they were above the respective average of the four previous years in all federal states. The highest deviations here were again in Saxony with an increase of 49 percent and Thuringia (plus 47 percent) as well as Bavaria (plus 32 percent). The deviations were also 20 percent or more in Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg. Thus, excess mortality is most evident in those states where not only vaccination rates were lowest, but also Corona infection rates were previously highest. The deviations were lowest in the city states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen - where the figures were less than ten percent higher than in previous years.

Translated with (free version)

ChrisErHam said...

@eric I can't help but wonder about phrases such as "vaccines have reduced mortality" when excess deaths have been the norm for the past year and more. Armchair statisticians and the media were hyperanalysing excess death statistics when covid was fashionable to talk about, now the vaccines have been rolled out and deaths from/with covid have dropped, people are no longer questioning excess deaths in the same way. Why?

Any mention of excess deaths are just in passing and quickly moved on from, people are much more comfortable with excess deaths than excess deaths from covid. I can't help but wonder what role vaccines play in all this. If the vaccines worked as people thought they did, that the excess deaths previously seen are a result of covid. Then effecive vaccines against covid would surely mean that deaths drop to the norm, or maybe even below the norm, at least for a little bit, but that hasn't happened.

Also when media sources use the excuse "aging population" I think that is just w lazy, blanket statement to make people more comfortable that excess deaths are taking place. Journalists should be questioning, rather than providing answers. But that is different topic on modern journalism.

Maybe the vaccines are good, I'm not entirely sure myself what I think of them. I can't help but wonder if the vaccines are saving people from covid but allowing or potentially even causing them to die of other things. Regular viewers of English football have noticed something strange. Having watched football for 20 years I have never seen a match be halted for someone in the crowd having a cardiac event, now it seems to be a weekly thing. In two different games last month within hours of each other, a fan in the crowd had a heart attack. One media report I saw said incidents like this are due to a Western diet, so I'm not concerned. Thank god it wasn't covid.

Eric said...

@Chris: If you run the whole article through a translator, you will find some of your points addressed.

Now for something different, wanted to post this. We have debated low dose exposure before but I wasn't aware of a well designed study. Here it is:

This could probably explain why so far, in every country, a wave caused by a new variant that could reinfect the recovered would taper out long before everyone was infected even if you assume that real infections were 5x higher than recorded infections.

cavenewt said...

The possibility of repeated small exposure brings up an interesting point as offered by El Gato Malo today:

"the societal cohorts are so mixed up now as to make extracting data from them on this really difficult. when you have near complete vaccination in the high risk groups and only the weakest and sickest unvaxxed, the bias by group becomes overwhelming. when, because the act of vaccination itself makes you more likely to get covid, it means that the vaxxed groups are more likely to have had covid and thus naturally acquired immunity you add what is a potentially large amount of outcome bias that cannot be quantified or adjusted for."

I've been thinking this for a while now. What with vaccinations, boosters, unconfirmed previous infections, and micro-exposures, not to mention severe doubts about various testing protocols, flailing around in the weeds of detailed statistics is starting to feel rather pointless. Drawing back and looking at the bigger picture in various areas might be more helpful.

The world map of hotspots on the front page of the New York Times every day has become ludicrous. The United States is one big dark red mass, as are most, if not all, other highly vaccinated regions. Perverse vaccination effects? Or just an artifact of massive amounts of testing?

Gato also offers a prisoners dilemma scenario.

E-S said...

Just a little bit of fantasy:

If the PCR tests can detect traces of vaccination or infection persisting for months ; if anyone who catches a cold in winter gets tested (and then all their entourage has to test too)...

Then we'd see a meteoritic rise in positive cases following the rapid rise of test numbers, with a positivity rate converging towards something resembling the vaccination rate of the tested population, with mild or no symptoms in the vast majority of cases, crowding out the actual covid-19 cases (those could be down to residual / long tail) ; hospitalisations and ICU numbers would be close to or at pre-covid levels ; people would report (erroneously) getting covid-19 multiple times, sometimes over a span of a few months at most ; the overall severity of covid-19 would (wrongly) appear to be decreasing... What other consequences ?

Eric said...

Cave, you make it sound like it is a fact for you that being vaccinated makes one more susceptible to infection. I'll admit that this might be real in the first one or two weeks after vaccination (some data sets are quite convincing, others like one I quoted recently show no trace of this). I have, however, not seen anything pointing to increased susceptibility after two weeks, aside from a flew flukes in the UKHSA data that can possibly explained by other preselection criteria. I you are aware of anything as solid as e.g. the Gibraltar booster data, please point it out to me.

E-S, PCR cannot distinguish between live virus and neutralized virus so will detect infection for a few days after someone is no longer infectious. It is rare for someone not to get a negative test after two weeks, and virtually unheard of after four weeks. In fact, PCR fails to pick up infection in long Covid cases, unlike dogs...

By coincidence, I was yesterday thinking if PCR could pick up the vaccine, something I have never seen suggested. I don't think it can, first of all, because the blood borne vaccine has a hard time getting to the mucous membranes, which is why we form the kind of antibodies that will fight Covid in blood, but need live virus to form antibodies that will fight Covid on the mucous membranes. The other thing is that PCR test usually test for two or more often three genetic signatures of virus DNA, and these were selected not to include signatures of the vaccine.

Eric said...

Page 23 shows that there is no negative efficiency whatsoever in Germany. I think the striking proliferation in Northern states is more a case of immunological debt - they had very low cases loads for the last 9 months - and closer ties to Scandinavia and the UK.

Bremen is a special case as they upped testing and tracking during the holidays unlike all other states where it went down with medical and health authority personel being on vacation. They did that because they had a very nasty wave a year ago.

cavenewt said...

Eric "Cave, you make it sound like it is a fact for you that being vaccinated makes one more susceptible to infection."

Not so. I don't know what to think, as you might have also gathered from what I said about flailing around in the statistical weeds.

I do think it's funny about the New York Times map of hotspots every day, but I don't take it seriously because it's measuring cases, and I've said more than once that I ignore cases.

Captain Sunset said...

Having taken a big snort of smelling salts, and at the grave risk of sounding very, very cold-heart (along with a likely dam-burst of knee-jerk opprobrium), can I ask... have we just lived through the first (yet to recorded of course) full-scale asymmetric propaganda-fuelled social media tweetademic?

cavenewt said...

Captain: how dare you. I'm canceling my subscription immediately. Just as soon as my knee calms down.

cavenewt said...

"Page 23 shows that there is no negative efficiency whatsoever in Germany."

According to this recent article in that notorious right-wing publication The Lancet, there's not a whole lot of positive efficiency (efficacy) either.

"The epidemiological relevance of the COVID-19-vaccinated population is increasing"

"High COVID-19 vaccination rates were expected to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in populations by reducing the number of possible sources for transmission and thereby to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease. Recent data, however, indicate that the epidemiological relevance of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals is increasing. In the UK it was described that secondary attack rates among household contacts exposed to fully vaccinated index cases was similar to household contacts exposed to unvaccinated index cases (25% for vaccinated vs 23% for unvaccinated). 12 of 31 infections in fully vaccinated household contacts (39%) arose from fully vaccinated epidemiologically linked index cases. Peak viral load did not differ by vaccination status or variant type [1]. In Germany, the rate of symptomatic COVID-19 cases among the fully vaccinated (“breakthrough infections”) is reported weekly since 21. July 2021 and was 16.9% at that time among patients of 60 years and older [2]. This proportion is increasing week by week and was 58.9% on 27. October 2021 (Figure 1) providing clear evidence of the increasing relevance of the fully vaccinated as a possible source of transmission. A similar situation was described for the UK..."

We can argue all day about details of whether, for instance, the vaccines increase one's susceptibility to infection, a conclusion that may only be obvious in hindsight after all this is over. The more important point *to me* is that the vaccines are *not helping*. If I have any belief at all, it is that mandates cannot be justified on the facts. I am not anti-vaccine. If someone wants to get vaccinated, that's their choice. It's the mandates and lockdowns that I object to. And, of course, the suppression of legitimate scientific discourse.

Passthecream said...

Fwiw I can't be bothered tracking down the relevant official statistics which might not even be published yet, and since I still can't get my head around all the conflicting data sets, but the News from NSW is:

"The New South Wales chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has warned deaths from Covid-19 are likely to spike in the coming days, as hospitalisation data shows unvaccinated people with the virus are 13 times more likely to end up in intensive care.

“Given the broader community transmission of Covid I would like to flag that the number of deaths are likely to be higher over the coming days,” she said. "

She said it somewhere in this 46 min. ramble:

Passthecream said...

Interesting non-sequitur there, using 'as' to link those two unrelated phrases.

altavista said...

270 doctors call out Joe Rogan
"As physicians..."

Letter is signed by:

50 PhD academics
60 college professors
29 nurses
10 students
4 medical residents podcasters

WTF has come of this world?

cavenewt said...

Pass—re "as". One of the usages of the word "as" is equivalent to "because". In that sense, the sentence makes sense (to me anyway).

But that "13 times more likely" is yet another example of an egregious misuse of relative risk, and it's hard to imagine it's unintentional. Everybody here already knows that, but if only the general public could figure it out…

LA_Bob said...

"WTF has come of this world?"

Nothing that hasn't happened many times before, altavista.

Passthecream said...

CN Yes, "because" would make a more blatant connection but to my mind there is no causal relationship between the two statements "deaths from Covid-19 are likely to spike" and " unvaccinated people with the virus are 13 times more likely to end up in intensive care"

How, what where? It just doesnt add up, more so given the low percentage of unvaccinated in NSW.

baggirl said...

Be careful of any statistic linking hospitalizations and the jab - at least in the U.S. - because if you have been jabbed, they DO NOT test for covid, making the "unvaxxed" the only hospital covid numbers that they have.

altavista said...

Bob, this s**t only happened once before. This dude also followed "science"


cavenewt said...

Pass, I should've clarified that when I said that sentence "makes sense" I meant only in the *grammatical* sense.

Today is a day to mourn for the innocent hamsters who, like innocent mink before them, are paying the price for our self-delusion. I keep waiting for them to call for mass genocide of whitetail deer in the American Midwest

House cats next?

Passthecream said...

CN that reminds me of the story of how many of the cats in London were destroyed during one plague outbreak since it was believed that they were responsible for the disease. Wrong move! The rats multiplied, the fleas jumped more, etc.

There is a theory that Omicron may have come about by the original strain of CV19 going through a mouse population and coming back altered. Presumably if we destroy all the other creatures that can catch it then we might not have any more such fortuitous events and nature might never take it's course. Are there any recorded instances of people catching the bug back from deer?


Passthecream said...

An interesting article:


Captain Sunset said...

And so it came to pass... HMG/Boris on the BBC says Covid is (more or less) over in Ukistan, but ya still gotta get vaxxed peeps! Plonkers. What face-saving shite. Other than the UK big brass 'donkeys' of WW1, or the mad US crusaders of the Vietnam War, I can think of no other bigger cock-up than this Covid embrolgio. Well, maybe Somalia, Iraq 2, Syria, Afghanistan etc., etc. Maybe, Iran too. I was actually there as resident manager of a UK engineering company when it all went tits-up. Nearly everyone was in total denial as to what was happening. Utter madness! Mindless!! I actually called it (do I have some stories to tell), and that is why I have a small UK pension to get by on today! So, goodbye Covid?

karl said...

This has happened before - perhaps on a smaller scale.

Just finished Kendrick's new book - The Clot Thickens: The enduring mystery of heart disease. Quite worth the read. The cholesterol theory needs to be replace with the 'tear and clot' understanding for medicine to move forward - do we really have to wait for a generation to die before we can move forward? This book - and his previous one Doctored Data are sad examples of how the public gets fooled by regulatory capture.

As a long time CAD patient, I realized that things I was told by my MD were just wrong - false narratives. Following the trail took a lot of time and effort - but it was Pharma at the lead - cooking research - locking up the data. So the CoVid sagga is a bit of a rerun to me.

The great harm done - I think they knew/know that the masking was theater - made it look like people were 'doing something' - scaring people to isolate - quite evil.

There is obvious harm - they are seeing a spike in non CoVid deaths - same as what happens during wars. The former countries of the USSR had huge spikes of heart attacks after the break-up. Stress is highly correlated with mortality.
My understanding is they knew/know that the masks don't work - the idea was to scare people into isolating. Horrible policy.

This false narrative is crumbling - it will take a long time. It is much easier to fool someone than to convince someone that they have been fooled.

The attack on the I-drug is Orwellian - If they claim that it has no effect - why does Phi$er’s new drug use the same pharmacological action? They are both 3CL protease inhibitors. (thus the phizermectin nickname).

I think (95% certain) that vit-D levels of around 60 are more effective at 'blunting severe disease' than the current vaccines - and without the risks. I know some retirement centers that put everyone on vit-D had little or no problems. (BTW - it takes time for the liver to convert D3 to the active form - one can't expect much if you wait until you are already sick).
Jump to 34:50

So the CDC is obviously spreading false information about VAERs - Bret's analysis of the deception is good. People setting public health policy should not be getting income from pharma patents.

My take on Fauci has changed - he reminds me of a fireman that practices arson so he has a chance to be a hero - seriously sick - not a competent scientist so on to become a vindictive bureaucrat that has no clue what science is. He is really good at his job - but his job is not protecting public health. Really well practiced at deception and gaslighting.

It wasn't just "worth the risk"-Fauci that funded the insane research - the old military/CIA-industrial-complex had it's hands on it as well.

I keep wondering if Petro has met Kendrick? A interview between the two would be great - please do good microphone work - the accents can be difficult if the room is echos .. A clip on mike near (but not in front of) the mouth works well. Helps if the room is not 'live' - lots of soft things to absorb sound.

Passthecream said...

The Kendrick book was a good read, a compelling and readable summary of his long running blog series on the same themes. I think he makes a good case for his core hypothesis. OTOH it could do with more thorough editing. There are several obvious errors, repetitions, tedious sentences and so on and his explanation of diabetes while reasonably favouring a low carb approach, is either so dumbed down as to be misleading, or just very odd. He seems to be suggesting that it's all about glucagon.

Passthecream said...

Arrgh, ... glycogen.

LA_Bob said...

Hi, Karl,

I have not yet read Kendrick's new book, but I note that Stephan Guyenet has recently walked back his long-time conviction that LDL is not causal for CVD. Tip of the hat to raphi for retweeting Stephan's long soliloquy.

I just think the irony is deeply amusing.

Eric said...

Bob, read Stephan's twitter update from your link. He's not making a lot of sense to me. If yoghurt and cheese are fine, why isn't butter? It the same fats in higher concentration, though the step from a full fat cheese to butter isn't that far.

He also says that some fats (butter, red meat, tropical fats) raise LDL-c which raise CDC, without providing those studies that changed his mind. This is a bit fast. High LDL does not mean high LDL-c, and last I knew, PUFA could lower c by keeping the liver from doing its work, but SFA could not raise it.

Peter, ready to the rescue?

Justin said...

I seem to remember he started pivoting once he finished his PhD. Had something to do with the new position he secured at a research lab? and his new mentor. He was actually one of the first bloggers I started following about 14 years ago and really enjoyed his posts back then. Pretty piss poor he didn't provide any studies in that long series of tweets.

Back to COVID. My oldest told me no more mask requirements at her highschool starting on Monday. She was so happy. She said she never wore hers the right way anyway. Lol!!!! Still mad that unvax kids who were in close contact with someone who tested positive have to stay out for 5 days even if you have a negative test. Vax kid's are not required though.

Justin said...

Pass, that's an interesting article indeed!

LA_Bob said...

Eric, believe me, he didn't make much sense to me, either.

cavenewt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cavenewt said...

Sorry for that deletion, I had misread LA_Bob's comment about Stephan's walkback.

Gawd, when will Twitter just die. Didn't Guyanet write, like, an actual article, with references?

Anyway, Stephan says at one point "The evidence has gotten even stronger that LDL causes CVD..."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't most if not all of this evidence epidemiological? Correlative? If true, that makes the remainder of that sentence somewhat ironic as he implies correlation to be pretty weak tea: "...and the evidence has collapsed that raising HLD-c [HDL-c?] prevents CVD (it does *correlate* inversely w risk)."

Peter said...

Eric, I no longer have access to ondansetron for my own personal consumption, so my ability to read/listen to Dr Guyenet is extremely limited. Before I throw up.


cavenewt said...

I'm thoroughly tired of statistics and graphs by now, but this is nonetheless interesting. El Gato Malo has another post today about how treating the 14-days-post-vaccination people as unvaccinated (in this case in Alberta, Canada) severely skews interpretations of vaccine efficacy.

In the comments people offered some other studies and articles illustrating the same thing.

“Latest statistics on England mortality data suggest systematic miscategorisation of vaccine status and uncertain effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccination” (described in "Possible systematic miscategorisation of vaccine status raises concerns about claims of Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness"

"The Impact Of Covid-19 Vaccines On All-Cause Mortality In Eu In 2021: A Machine Learning Perspective"
"The question whether COVID-19 vaccines have no effect on all-cause mortality or perform as intended, that is mainly reduce excess mortality, has been debated recently in the scientific literature. By crossing the all-cause mortality data with the vaccine data from public European databases, we compare the impact on mortality of two variables of interest namely a vaccine-dose-rate and a covid-case-rate. Using classical machine learning strategies and graphical models, we are able to assess the conflicting hypothesis about the effect of vaccines on all-cause mortality, at least in Europe. Our conclusions differ for different age-categories investigated but, until a better predictive variable is found, our results clearly suggest that the benefit-risk balance for the 0-44 years old is not in favor of those vaccines."

Eric said...

Peter, that belongs in the hall of fame of memorable putdowns!

cavenewt said...

OMG now it looks like they've redefined "voluntary", along with "vaccine", "vaccination", and "herd immunity".

German Health Minister: "No one will be vaccinated against their will; the vaccine mandate will simply lead people, ultimately, to accept voluntary vaccination."

Peter said...

Eric, I have more but no point getting persistently personal.

cave, that's rather like Winston in 1984, although for him it was physical torture which lead him to finally love the party and be ready, eager even, for his own execution.

Perhaps the German Health Minister might consider similar gentle encouragement to love the vaccine... Mandated to volunteer. LMAO. But not funny.


Eric said...

Cave, I hadn't heard about that quote until you wrote about it. Apparently, Dr. Lauterbach (he really is an MD, virologist, former fellow and adjuct professor at Harvard School of Public Health and later dean of the Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology at Uni Cologne and a longterm member of parliament, was the resident Cassandra before becoming minister and now has toned down his rethoric and demands because public office means one has to compromise and deliver) said something to that effect last year, and now some C-list singer posted a video clip and had a rant on public media.

The statement sounds quite bizarre, but it isn't if you think about it. We are already making life miserable for the unvaccinated, and if a law is ever passed, we can levy fines or impose more restrictions but not force-vaccinate anyone. Support for a mandate was quite strong in November when we had a devastating Delta wave but it is waning now. The fact that even boosters will not prevent transmission played a role in this. The government will not propose a draft law but MPs have been asked to submit draft proposals across party lines. This will take some time. Then German constitutional law is famously complicated and the supreme court scrupulous and non-partisan. So if they ever get to pass something, chances are that a stay will be requested and granted and the court will deliberate. By the time they are done everyone will have been in contact with Omicron, rendering the law pointless.

By the way, neither Lauterbach nor Drosten, to give them credit, are advocating second or periodic boosters though they say a fourth dose with a revised vaccine may turn out to be desirable. Similarly, ideas have been floated to mandate two or three doses but not periodic refreshers.

cavenewt said...

Well, eugyppius, who I think also lives in Germany, posted it today and said the quote is from a few days ago. That may or may not be true – I don't have the energy or the inclination to track it down and I don't speak German.

I do appreciate your explanation about the convolutions in German law. One could quibble about the exact meaning, especially since I don't know exactly what he means by "vaccine mandate". Does the mandate refer to being able to work at a job? Or does it literally mean everyone is mandated to get a vaccine? In that case, it's the exact opposite of voluntary.

All that aside, I fear you missed the ironic point.

Eric said...

Don't think I missed it. The statement does sound insane when you first hear it.

We don't know what will be comprised as the proposals are not in. We do have a vaccine mandate for measels that got more comprehensive a few years ago. Anyone working in health, care homes, daycare, kindergarten, school, or attending such an institution (as in going there daily or living there for more than four weeks) must show proof of vaccination. Failure to do so can meen you will be barred entry or have to pay a fine up to € 2,500. However, since there is also a school mandate, students cannot be excluded from school, which poses a conendrum and hence there are ways to get around.

I suspect the Covid vaccine mandate, if ever passed, will involve just more of the hassling and nagging already in place. There is a German saying: Launched a tiger, landed a bed rug.

Eric said...

There's more double speak for you, from today's Spiegel:

A fourth vaccination dose after a triple vaccination has already been given will probably not be necessary, Lauterbach said. "Anyone who has three vaccinations with mRNA vaccines or a similarly effective vaccine today or in the future has good basic immunization." Today's triple vaccination would thus also satisfy a vaccination requirement. There will be no compulsory vaccination, he said. The only thing the government is working on, he said, is mandatory proof of vaccination.

Translated with (free version)

I am not sure how accurately his words were summarized, but the translation of what was written in Der Spiegel is accuarate. I guess he didn't intend to say to go out and obtain a fake vaccine pass but this is really what it sounds like.

Eric said...

An interesting tidbit was hidden in the sports newsticker of Der Spiegel yesterday. Apparently, the Chinese run more PCR cycles than than European countries do these days. I wonder if this is also the case for India or Samoa because of news like plane takes of in England or Australia with everyone having a negative test and the arrives with a significant percentage of pax infected.

But the real question is how China (or island nations like Samoa) can keep up their no Covid strategy not that more infections variants are around.

Anyway, here's the newsticker thing:

For ex-professional luger Hackl, Olympics in China are not feasible

Former professional luger Georg Hackl has criticized the fact that the Winter Olympics are to start in China despite the pandemic. "Especially in a host country that deals with the pandemic in such a drastic way, sets significantly lower limits for PCR tests than in Germany, takes athletes off the ice track shortly before the start and locks them in quarantine, a major event like the Olympics is not feasible at all," the three-time Olympic champion told Welt am Sonntag. The major sporting event is scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20.
That's why my idea would be to postpone the Games because of the virus. You don't do yourself any favors by torturing everyone involved. The only ones you don't torture are the spectators. They are not allowed to come at all.
Georg Hackl, former professional luger
There are still discussions about virus limits. They are evaluated differently in China than in Europe. It is now important to know which limits are the focus of the tests, said Bernd Eisenbichler, sporting director of the German biathletes, for example. "We have to avoid having a positive PCR test at the airport in Beijing from an athlete who got on the plane with a negative PCR test just before," Hackl said. An international group of experts has already been formed to develop guidelines for the limits.

Translated with (free version)

Eric said...

Cave, if you are interested enough to use a translator, these are the current ideas about the mandate:

- two vaccinantions and booster or recovery
- limited to two years
- enforced via misdemeanor fines (i.e. up to € 1000)
- won't start a central registry for vaccinations as this would run into legal hurdles and take too long - so how will they find the unvaccinated? traffic stops?
- maybe limit to over 50s and certain professions

I don't usually have much patience for Mr. Kubicki or his party, the liberal democrats (think fiscally conservative Republicans and the ACLU rolled into one - a strange mix!), but he has a point:
Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) tended to keep his distance: "Compulsory vaccination is therefore not effective because opponents will not be impressed by it either and will continue to refuse vaccination," Kubicki said. "Many will rather accept a fine notice than get vaccinated. And if they don't pay it, the district courts will have several years to deal with notices and appeals."

A very practical question, he said, will be who should enforce mandatory vaccination. "A state that can't implement what it mandates is exposing itself to ridicule. And that would be grist to the mill of conspiracy theorists and corona deniers," Kubicki said. In addition, he said, it is strange "to justify restrictions on fundamental rights with a mutant that we don't even know yet and a vaccine that may not even have been developed yet. None of us knows what's coming in the fall." He nevertheless expects a relative majority in the Bundestag for compulsory vaccination from the age of 50.

Translated with (free version)

raphi said...

This is the email I sent last week that nearly got me fired from my university, in I response to a blanket call to vaccination for people of all ages on my university campus.:

"Greetings dear colleagues,

I’m a PhD candidate in Health Sciences at the University of Minho’s ICVS. I wish to provide you with evidence for your consideration, rather than advocacy as has unfortunately become the norm.

- Covid-19 vaccines don’t prevent transmission:

- Covid-19 vaccines don’t reduce viral load:

- The risk of myocarditis is multiplied between x104 and x334.1 compared to the myocarditis risk from covid-19 alone, per million 2nd doses in 12 - 39 year olds:

- Pfizer’s own RCT shows its covid-19 vaccine makes no difference in all-cause mortality (page 11 supplementary appendix; 15 vs 14 deaths):

- Understandably, you may be confused as to why the statistics are so contradictory. This is because of statistical fraud, brilliantly explained here: (short summary: count the people in the 2-week post-vaccine immunosuppression window as unvaccinated rather than vaccinated)

- Ensuring your blood levels of vitamin D3 are sufficient is most likely a much more effective approach to reducing your risk of viral infections and surviving them:

I wish you all good health and the best of luck!

Best regards,

Raphael Sirtoli"


The school of medicine on my university campus immediately published an official position statement. I've never seen the administration react so quickly, to anything, ever!

"The School of Medicine of UMinho reiterates the strong support to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination strategy.

This position is unequivocally supported by the available scientific information and epidemiological data.

We therefore appeal to everyone to comply with this vaccination plan"

Peter said...

Okay Raphi,

Excellent email on your part.

Do you have any possible explanation for their response? Any at all?

These are dark times.


Peter said...

Much the same response to your information Eric. Dark times.


Captain Sunset said...

Dark times? This sort of bureaucratic behaviour is typical of corridor-creepers who can only ever aspire to tread such 'corridors of power' because they totally lack enterprise - other than the certainties of insider fiddling. They are petrified of making mistakes, and so become nowt but greyed-out ossified flakes. When I returned to the UK from Australia after 4 years, in 1972, I got a job as a hospital management trainee in a Yorkshire NHS hospital (I have always had an interest/curiosity in mental health). Anyway, I was shocked at the management's general (overly bureaucratic) behaviour. It really was an us-and-them mentality up against the medical staff, and so only lasted 6-months. I was so, so happy to getaway. If anything, such behaviour has become universally worse as more operatives get ever more power and sub-out the difficult work.

raphi said...


One of my supervisors Joao Bessa is President-Elect of the Portuguese Society for Psychiatry and Mental Health as well as a faculty member of the the University of Minho's school of medicine. My other supervisor is Luisa Pinto, CEO of a little startup on campus called BNML. It provides "A flexible design of the study to evaluate the therapeutic potential of new compounds, according to customer’s requirements" BNML customers are the pharmaceutical industry.

He called me up right after seeing the email and the first thing he asked me was "why are you posting anti-vaxx stuff?". The next day I was brought to their offices. I hadn't broken any rules, even according to them (or at least they failed to find a rule I had broken). However, they said their problem was with my "ethics around scientific discussions" and having "associated myself with ICVS" (the school of medicine and thus themselves).

They proceeded to tell me "you're not a scientist". Dumbfounded, I asked...why? All they could muster was something about "using non-peer reviewed science" and not talking to them about me email beforehand.

This isn't my first encounter with attempted censure under their guidance. In the first year I had to submit a thesis progress report. In my introductory paragraph I had written (paraphrasing) "It's all the more important to study the metabolic side-effects of antipsychotics because their efficacy may not be superior to placebo".

He didn't want to debate the matter or simply ask me to use weaker language, he outright said "you can't write that". He didn't care to evaluate the validity of my references.

I informed Peter Goetzsche of this and he said he sees this all the time. He wasn't in the least surprised.

cavenewt said...

This kind of dogmatic thinking has been going on for so long, even in fields as cut-and-dried (one would think) as physics.

Being curious, I duckducked Doctor Goetzsche. And read this article on sciencebased (!) and marveled at the tone. This was pre-Covid.

1984 indeed.

cavenewt said...

Speaking of 1984 and dark times…the irony of censoring perhaps the world's most iconic book about the horrors of censorship.

"Wokery beyond parody because university slaps a TRIGGER warning on George Orwell's 1984..."

"Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘There’s a certain irony that students are now being issued trigger warnings before reading Nineteen Eighty-Four. Our university campuses are fast becoming dystopian Big Brother zones where Newspeak is practised to diminish the range of intellectual thought and cancel speakers who don’t conform to it.

‘Too many of us – and nowhere is it more evident than our universities – have freely given up our rights to instead conform to a homogenised society governed by a liberal elite “protecting” us from ideas that they believe are too extreme for our sensibilities.’"

One of the books that earned the warning was Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time". I found this book so compelling that my local book group took it up. One of the warnings about it has to do with "the death of an animal". So how about Charlotte's Web? As a child, I cried at the end, as well as Puff The Magic Dragon. I hope they're also putting warnings on things like cozy mysteries (confession: I'm guilty of reading) for trivializing murder into a cutesy genre. Heck, the whole murder mystery and thriller genre. And let's not even touch on horror stories and slasher flicks...

Peter said...

Interesting Raphi, as simply as pharma controls the universities. For governments to be controlled by pharma was expected. I guess Pfizer's lawyers have run circles round Johnson and his advisors and have them over a contractural barrel. Un'ies look like funding is equally powerful barrel to be over...

cave, where are the people who couldn't give a fcuk about wokery? Is this how Western civilisation is going to crumble?


Justin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-S said...

Lessening of covid-19 symptom severity correlates to sunlight exposure independently of vitamin D levels according to

The mechanism would be through NO generation ?

cavenewt said...

"Lessening of covid-19 symptom severity correlates to sunlight exposure independently of vitamin D levels"

I'm currently reading Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying's "A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide To The 21St Century." Interestingly, just last night I read a bit about vitamin D as part of a critique of Western reductionism. The point is that there's more to sunshine than just vitamin D. (Pages 65-66)

Eric said...

Well, it has been long known that lack of intense light makes for winter blues. I live in an area that is often cold but sunny in winter. This winter, we've had more periods than usual where it stayed overcast with a leaden sky for days on end. Though I was never much impacted by the weather, I found it makes me gloomy, too, and a few sunny hours are like a breath of fresh air.

I have also taken to "making" some Vit. D via a 311 nm narrow band lamp though I have been afraid to use it to onset of erythema.

Thanks for pointing out the book by Weinstein and Heying - sounds very interesting. However, this excerpt from an Amazon review gave me pause. What do you make of it?

"If we follow the staple of their argumentation - the omega principle that states that cultural traits and traditions serve the gene (and therefore there's no dichotomy between nature and nurture) then it is also implied that all traditions are inherently good, because why would genes "adopt" any bad cultural traits? If this is the case, then we one can argue that wars, oppression and traditional hierarchies and institutions that facilitate those are completely natural and shouldn't be opposed.

If it's not the case and there are in fact some bad and dangerous cultural traits (which authors admit themselves, thus contradicting their original argument), then who should decide what's good for our genes/society and what's not? It seems like the authors take this responsibility based on what they personally see as morally acceptable.

Some parts of the book really do sound like conservative propaganda that tries hard to be scientifically rooted and non-biased, but fails to do so due to poor or missing sources. A lot of advice is given in the areas where authors have no expert authority whatsoever - which is fine if sources are given and/or convincing reasoning is used - but the authors give qualitative judgements based purely on personal experience or their moral values in such areas as medicine, politics, pharmaceuticals and education."

LA_Bob said...

Hi, Eric,

Just my own take on the review you quoted (which I can't find, but, oh well):

" can argue that wars, oppression and traditional hierarchies and institutions that facilitate those are completely natural and shouldn't be opposed..."

Complete nonsense. I can agree that wars, oppression, and traditional hierarchies are completely natural. I can also believe that opposing them is completely natural as well. I'm suspicious of 30,000-foot perspectives on "man" that some people take -- as though they're channeling god -- while forgetting they're still just humans with opinions. I guess it's the natural thing to do.

I'd analogize it to Peter's oft-stated frustration with high-level vs low-level metabolic processes. He may hate the high-level processes, but he doesn't pretend them away either. They "dirty" up the science, but nature is not responsible for what inconveniences us. He can bitch about it (the natural thing to do), but he knows it ain't going away. Not an exact analogy, I guess...

By the way, I don't believe Brett Weinstein is now nor ever was a "conservative".

Incidentally, the linked article was by Bari Weiss, and she mentions The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, a book I truly found fascinating as it made philosophy interesting.

cavenewt said...

Eric – just reading something and even recommending it doesn't mean I buy into it 100%. I'm halfway through the book, and so far they're offering some interesting perspectives from which to view evolution.

There is indeed what appears to be some personal opinion in there, but there's also a lot of sources cited. If absolutely everything has to be sourced, then it's not creative, it's journalism. I was disappointed with their half-sentence critique of paleo diets, which superficially pooh-poohed it based on a report that early hunter-gatherers subsisted on a lot of root carbohydrates. But I don't tend to take "diets" too literally, preferring to view them conceptually, rather than as a rigid checklist of what and how much of it to eat every day. And later on they do point out that humans would be better off eating an evolutionarily-appropriate diet.

As for the Amazon review you quoted, my first reaction is that the reviewer may have been predisposed to view it negatively because of the authors' vaccine-skeptic activities (Bret's Wikipedia introduction says "Weinstein has been criticized for making false statements about COVID-19 treatments and vaccines." Note it says "FOR making", not "OF making"). I did not view the book's discussion about cultural evolution the way the review describes it.

Justin said...

Game over in my county. My daughters and all of their friends are so stoked.

Eric said...

Bob, that is an except from a review of the book that I found on I get to see all international reviews, but doesn't surprise me if keeps them from you (fostering insularity may be good business).

I doesn't not bother me if some of their hypotheses do not come down at the right coordinates of the political coordianate system (which I realize is different in the US, and not just by a simple linear transposition).

I found something else at the bottom of a five star review from the UK that would probably bother me more if I am going to read the book. Having skimmed a few of their podcasts, I might end up perceiving this similarly:
"Perhaps one small point of concern I have [...] is that the author's tend to come out on these issues with all guns blazing... a more conciliatory or humble tone may have helped more people who would benefit be able to listen to the messages."

I am so sick of people with an attitude of I have found the key to everything and let me explain the world to you.

Cave, thanks for replying. I wasn't looking for an endorsement or anything, just your impression. I take it the current Covid mess does not figure in the book as it is too recent? As for nutrition, just looking at a bit of video, Bret looks to me like the a typical victim of American nutritionists and doctors - not likely he is following a paleo diet or anything reasonably natural.

Eric said...

Might be worthwhile to take a look at current death rates:

In a reversal compared with November, countries like France and the UK that have a little immunological debt and a highish vaccination rate and have let the Omicron wave rip see about 4 deaths / million and day. Spain, Portugal and Italy, that had very high vaccination rates and little debt but tigher restrictions are a mixed bag: 3.3 / 4 and a whopping 6. Denmark with also very high vaccination rates, maybe higher debt and some restrictions is in between at 2.9. Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in spite of lowish vaccination, very different case load history and approaches are all around 2. The real outlyer is the Netherlands at 0.6. They had extremely high infection rates in December, instituted a pretty strict lockdown that they are just coming out of and that did little to lower rates and still have low deaths as they did throughout 2021 when they were running high infections most of the time. I suspect they are using a different definition.

All in all, it is very hard to make sense of these numbers.

cavenewt said...

Eric – I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book. They do mention Covid and I believe they're going to address it more specifically near the end.

karl said...

You might want to check who is funding Guyenet - seems he is talking a lot about Pharma products these days - Drugs are not the answer to everything. Not someone I look to. If you want research money you have to embrace drugs for everything - and not see the obvious about LDL - too much money flows around the false narrative. The lack of drugs is not the cause of the T2D pandemic.


I have been intimately following CAD science for more than 15 years now - quality of editing besides - the key bit is I think Kendricks central point is correct - LDL does not pass through the intima (even the glycocalyx is somewhat of a barrier). There has been a lot of work trying to show that LDL does do that - they didn't find it - so it remained unpublished.

The key bit - if the clot happens first - and new intima grows over what is left of the clot (the Lp(a) bits are not easily resorbed) - that is what narrows arteries - and if this is true, it should change the treatment of CAD. The LDL found in plaque may actually be Lp(a) - that our bodies cannot remove.

This means that reducing clotting for people with elevated Lp(a) might really matter.

The other narrative - that of oxLDL - falls apart when you realize the only thing they know that reduces it is a low PUFA diet.

Cardiologists don't read a wide range of papers - they read what the cute Pharma rep cherry picked for them to see.

The research money is focused on drugs - not causes. The vast majority of papers are drug advertisements dressed up as science. The corruption is wide spread and hurts public health.

Captain Sunset said...

@ Karl, Right on the button! But, how to fight back... altogether? Remembering, that most folk are indeed a bit 'stupid, or at the very least, highly fearful of health issues?

Eric said...


"The other narrative - that of oxLDL - falls apart when you realize the only thing they know that reduces it is a low PUFA diet."

Excuse me for asking, I tried to understand the saga a long time ago but forgot most. That oxLDL results from PUFA makes sense, after all, PUFA are easily oxidized. But I seem to remember that PUFA + carbs is the perfect recipe for both obesity and CAD. So how does it fall apart?

Eric said...

Oups, seems the 14 days are over. Peter, could you please designate another playground?

karl said...

As Kendrick has pointed out - there isn't a paper that actually shows that LDL (or oxLDL) can pass through the intima to the other side. Tight junctions mean something. My understanding is there is a lot of unpublished research that tried to show this.

A correlation of oxLDL with CAD is also a correlation with a high PUFA diet - like the one Keys hid from the public when it turned out people in the PUFA group had higher mortality.

I think Kendrick is right - that plaque is a clot that has been paved over by new intima - if anyone has evidence to the contrary - I would love to see it.