week ending 2022-10-06 General

Mitigation Measures

As this article reports, all travel restrictions have been waived in Canada. No proof of vaccination, no masks on planes, etc. HOWEVER, reminder, non-USA citizens arriving in the US by air still have to be vaccinated (per this US government site).

This report is from the US (about Ohio and Florida, specifically) and not Canada, but it shows how taking mitigation measures, even at a personal level and not a governmental level, makes a difference. Republicans (who tend to be more mitigation measure hostile) have a much much higher death rate than Democrats (who tend to be less mitigation-measure-hostile). After vaccinations became available (second vertical line), Republicans started dying more: by January of this year, the excess death rate was 15% higher in Republicans than in Democrats:

You can make quite effective, cheap-ish, DIY air filtration units yourself. The most famous is probably the Corsi-Rosenthal box. (Spouse and I made one, ~CAD$200.) This tweet thread describes making a smaller air filtration unit which uses computer fans instead of box fans.

This paper found that Corsi-Rosenthal boxes (cheap, DIY air filtration units) are effective.


This study from the USA looked at Moderna Classic vs. several different variants with different numbers of shots:

Interestingly, the effectiveness against BA.1 waned more slowly than against other variants.


Good news! This huge study from the USA found that Paxlovid was useful for all 2x vaxxed adults (though it is more helpful the older you are).

For boosted adults, Paxlovid was harmful for the youngest adults, and it wasn’t possible to tell if it was helpful for 40-49 y/os.

This paper from Germany (in mice) found that the reason old mice do more poorly against COVID-19 is poor interferon response. The cool part is that they gave the old mice interferon-lambda and interferon-gamma, and found that the interferon treatment worked really well. (The bad news is that apparently interferon treatment is risky for reasons I have not explored yet.)

The bad news: there is a crop of new variants on the horizon which evade all of the existing monoclonal antibodies. The good news: they keep finding even better monoclonal antibodies, like 002-S21F2, described in this paper from the USA and India.

This paper found that Paxlovid did not impede immune response in people who rebounded.

This paper found that Molnupiravir didn’t decrease hospitalization in people who were vaccinated, but it did speed recovery.


I have said repeatedly that COVID-19 is not seasonal, and that we didn’t have a reason to believe that it would be worse in the fall. I might have to eat my words, as it looks like there’s been an increase in cases recently.

Maybe it’s because of cool weather, but maybe it’s because of schools? See next snippet.

This study from Italy found that transmission in schools was a driver of transmission in the community. This is not what BC Public Health has been telling us.


This tweet thread talks about how Variant of Concerns are named. Apparently, the reason we haven’t gone past Omicron is because they give new names when a major strain isn’t descended from the other major strains.

There’s a fair amount of chatter a whole alphabet soup of variants which have growth advantages and/or better immune evasiveness vs. BA.5. (You can look at this twitter thread if you want to learn more about what might be next.) I think it is fair to say that something will hit us in BC, probably in between one and two months.

From https://twitter.com/TWenseleers/status/1577810021592834049


This paper from the USA says that SARS-CoV-2 mucks with the immune cells themselves, turning on and off various genes.

This paper found that people were more likely to be hospitalized the worse the local NO2 and PM2.5 (2.5 micron-sized particle level). Ozone levels didn’t seem to have an effect. (SO WHEN IT IS SMOKY, WEAR A MASK!)

This paper from China found that previous COVID patients’ lung function usually got better over time. (They didn’t have “before” measurements, however, so they couldn’t tell if they got back to what they were before.) Corticosteroids helped.

This paper found that a protein called interleukin-6 (IL6) was higher in COVID patients who had delerium, and that was bad for the brain. (They found that IL6 caused an increase in IL12 and IL13, and those were what did the actual damage.)

Side Effects

This paper found that there was ~30% higher level of diabetic ketoacidosis in children during the pandemic than pre-pandemic. (Wait, you say, didn’t you mention this paper last week? Nope, that was a different paper which also found higher levels of diabetes in kids.)

This article says that Canadian kids’ exercise habits went down to a “D” grade over the pandemic. That’s actually not as bad as it sounds, only because they were only at “D+” before the pandemic.

Recommended Reading

This article is about how hard it is to be a touring musician now.

This article talks about changes the film/TV industry made/is making as a result of the pandemic.