2021-09-04/05/06/07 General

Testing/Transmission

This preprint says that getting a swab stuffed waaaay up your nose for a COVID-19 test makes about 20% of people cough or sneeze, which generates aerosols (which are dangerous). Men cough or sneeze significantly more than women do. (Maybe women are more conscientious about holding it in?)

Pro tip, y’all: if you need to sneeze, tickle the roof of your mouth with your tongue. That will reduce or eliminate your desire to sneeze. You’re welcome.

Variants

This preprint from Norway says that Delta isn’t any more likely to put you in the hospital than Alpha.

Note that there were two recent studies (a study in England and a study from Denmark) that said Delta was more likely to give you severe disease. I want to say that I’ve seen this before: there was a lot of concern early with Alpha that kids were proportionately more vulnerable and was Alpha was more vicious than COVID Classic. Neither ended up being true for Alpha (although this paper begs to differ), and most of the studies lately say that Delta doesn’t target kids more (it’s just that more people period are getting sick).

Alpha not being more severe and not infecting children proportionately more does not mean that Delta might hit kids and/or being more severe, but it’s a caution to wait and see before panicking.

Vaccines

According to this article, there have been 5.48B doses administered world-wide, and the current rate is 38.7M per day.

At this rate, with no increase in vaccine production speed we will reach 70% vaxxed on March 9 2022, and 85% vaccinated on April 17.

There are a ton of vaccines still in development. While there is an obstacle to vaccine trials (see below), more and more vaccines are coming on-line all the time.

My calculation does assume that vaccine delivery will not be a limiting factor. I think that vaccine delivery is just not that hard when people are motivated: Mongolia, Bhutan, and China have all done a good job of it. Yes, the mRNA vaccines need a really cold cold-chain that makes deploying to remote areas, but most people don’t live in remote areas and most vaccines don’t require that kind of cold-chain.

(Also, if it there is a remote village that you can only get to via a seven-day hike, then that village is not a particularly large threat to the world population.)

Yes, my calculation assumes that people will be as willing to get a vaccination as they are now. Some won’t (see hesitancy in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the USA), but I’m pretty sure that vax rates will be high in most countries.


This article says that there is a snag hampering vaccine developers: access to approved vaccines. Once there are effective vaccines, it is unethical to do random clinical trials with a placebo, you’re supposed to compare the new vax to an approved vax. And countries/companies are having trouble getting an approved vax.


This preprint did a meta-review (where they look at a bunch of papers and combine the data) of papers on vaccine effectiveness over time. It found that people still had really high markers of immunity against COVID Classic (as measured by IgG antibodies, B memory cells, and helper-T cells) even 6-8 months after vaccination. Only 0.2% of people had reinfections.


Buried in this article is something that says that Israel is not seeing increased levels adverse effects from booster shots compared to dose1 and dose2.

Kids

This long article talks about what scientists know or think about why kids are less susceptible to COVID-19. They talked about lots of possibilities, but the two which seem most likely to me are a faster innate immune system response and, ironically, less familiarity with coronaviruses.

Recommended Reading

This article (referenced) above about theories for why kids are less susceptible to COVID-19 is quite good.


This Twitter thread is an interesting look at supply-chain disruptions.


This interview transcript talks about saliva-testing.

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