2021-11-03 General


In addition to just “numbers of deaths”, you can also estimate “years of life lost” to describe how bad an epidemic is. For example, HIV had a huuuuge number of years of life lost because the people who died from it were unusually young. This article looked at years of life lost to COVID-19 by country. It found that:

  • five times as many years of life were lost to COVID-19 as were to the 2015 influenza (which was a bad) season;
  • years of life lost were higher than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea;
  • men lost more years of life than women;
  • the countries whose people lost the most years of life were Russia, Bulgaria, the USA, and Lithuania.

This article reports that children are more likely to end up in the hospital in the US than in the UK, despite there being a lot more cases in kids in the UK.


(Apologies if I have reported on this already — I feel like I have, but I can’t find evidence that I have.) This study on vaccine effectiveness waning compared people who were in a randomly-controlled trial of Moderna, but after the participants who got placebo were unblinded and given a chance to get the real vax. This means that there was one highly-studied group of people who got the shots early (July through December 2020), and another that got the shots later (December 2020 through April 2021). When Delta hit in July/August 2021, the early-vax group was 36.4% more likely than the late-vax group to get an infection and 46.0% more likely to have severe illness. Conclusion: Moderna effectiveness dropped over time. (Note though, that some of the placebo people chose not to get vaccinated, and this might mess with the data slightly.)

This article reports that the World Health Organization has approved Covaxin, a vaccine made by Bharat Biotech in India. It got approved by India a long time ago


A few weeks ago, AstraZeneca announced that they got good results from an antibody cocktail, delivered by injection. This article says that today they requested approval from Health Canada for the drug, called AZD7442. In trials, AZD7442 reduced the chances of hospitalization by 77% in people who were in the early stages of COVID-19.

This article talks about the new Canadian Critical Drug Initiative, a partnership between the University of Alberta and the not-for-profit Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation drug company.

Recommended Reading

This article talks about Puerto Rico’s highly successful vaccination drive.

This article discusses moral injuries and health care professionals. It’s US-focused, but hospitals are hospitals.

This article reports on efforts to run clinical trials of treatments in Africa.

This article says that there were some pretty massive ah irregularities at some of the sites (run by a contractor) of the original Pfizer/BioNTech Phase 3 vaccine study.