2022-12-29 General

Mitigation Measures

This article says that $14.8 million in quarantine fines have been given in BC, MB, ON, and Atlantic Canada. The article hints that most of that money will not be collected, but doesn’t really explain why.

This article says that 54% of Canadians would be okay with a mask mandate if cases rise. (They didn’t say by how much, though.) Almost a third (31%) of Canadians say that they usually or always wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

This article reports that PHAC mailed out six million postcards, urging people to get vaccinated. The article didn’t say which population the postcards were sent to, but I hope it was to people who were unvaccinated. (I did not get a card, and I’m up-to-date.)

A bunch of countries (including the US) are requiring COVID-19 tests on arrival from China, but this article says that Canada doesn’t show any signs of doing the same. (In case you hadn’t heard, China has dropped their Zero COVID policy and, predictably, their case counts have soared. Don’t fuck with exponentially-growing viruses!)


This paper from the USA says that people with loss of smell/taste who got platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) got somewhat better than those who did not get PRP.

This paper from the USA found that fully vaccinated patients with severe auto-immune disease (like rheumatoid arthritis) were half as likely to have Long COVID symptoms at 28 days, and only 10% as likely to have symptoms at 90 days.

This preprint from the USA found that overweight/obese adults taking the diabetes drug metaformin immediately after a positive COVID test were about half as likely to get Long COVID; those taking ivermectin were no more or less likely to get Long COVID; those taking fluvoxamine were 36% more likely to get Long COVID.

This paper from the USA compared people who had had COVID-19 with people who had cold or flu, and also with propensity-matched controls. Compared to the cold/flu/pneumonia group, COVID-19 patients were more likely to have palpitations, hair loss, fatigue, chest pain, dyspnea, joint pain, and obesity in the post-infection period. Fine.

Now the part that I don’t understand: there were a ton of things that were significantly more common in the COVID-19 group compared to the cold/flu/pneumonia group but which were not more common in COVID-19 patients than in the controls! I don’t understand how that could happen.

The symptoms for which that was true includes: pulmonary embolism, hypoxemia, other respiratory failure, dependence on oxygen,
pneumonia, tachycardia, unspecified anemia, heart failure, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, muscle weakness, and diagnoses of type 1 diabetes.

They found that loss of smell, anxiety, mood disorders, increased risk of stroke, cerebral hemorrhage weren’t any more common in COVID-19 and cold/flu/pneumonia groups.

I find this deeply, deeply strange, as I have seen lots of papers which say that lots of those symptoms are much more common in people who had had COVID-19 than people who had not. (Why am I telling you about this if I don’t believe the results? Because I think it’s important to report what is happening, regardless of whether I believe in it. Within limits.)


As this Twitter thread explains, the F486P mutation is difficult for SARS-CoV-2 to achieve: it requires two mutations (not one, like is almost always the case) plus the base pair changes to get there are relatively high energy. As this specific tweet in the thread points out, “F486P is not a mutation you would expect to see unless there are very strong selective forces favoring it.” XBB.1.5 has this mutation, and is starting to make strong headway in the US. This blog post talks more about XBB.1.5.

XBB in yellow


This paper from China says that their oral drug, VV116, is as effective as Paxlovid with slightly fewer side effects.

This preprint from Australia says that Molnupiravir can cause viable, persistent mutations in SARS-CoV-2.


There’s a vaccine which is grown in a relative of a tobacco plant that was developed in Canada by a company called Medicago. Medicago was a joint venture between Phillip Morris International (yes, the tobacco company) and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. Medicago was slow, but eventually made a vax that works. (PHAC has approved it.) However, they couldn’t get WHO to approve it because WHO has rules against doing anything with tobacco companies. This article says that Medicago somehow kicked Phillip Morris out of the partnership, presumably so they could have another go at getting WHO approval.

This report from the USA says that a bivalent mRNA booster (Omicron+COVID Classic) gave 73% additional protection against hospitalization than a monovalent COVID Classic booster between September 8 and November 30, 2022.


This preprint from Australia says that people with COVID-trained immune systems produce T-cells really fast — within a day after SARS-CoV-2 infection — and high levels of T-cells predicted a short case.

This press release from a university in Australia says that COVID-19 can cause problems in depth perception, but my understanding is that it should only be temporary.