Her breath sneaks out of the top of the mask and fogs up her reading glasses. She moulds the metal strip a little tighter over the bridge of her nose. The pubs are closed again. No income. Still casual after all these years. Another extension of lockdown is expected to be announced at 11am.
I’ll have to get online and apply for a payment.
At the shopping centre a man and his son are standing outside the pharmacy. Waiting? The father wears a football jersey and a long thin plait of hair runs down his back. He is mock fighting with his son. The boy jumps in trying to score a tap on his dad, then jumps back to avoid being slapped. The boy is not wearing a mask, neither is the father. Where is security?
“When the third wave began to subside in late April, only about 5% of the population were fully vaccinated. The vaccine coverage was almost zero among those aged 0 to 69 years, with only hospital workers and people from other selected professions have been immunized.”
. . . . .
“Herd immunity” is the accepted scientific consensus
Carlsson and Soderberg-Naucler say that these figures would lead most scientists to conclude that NPIs and voluntary behavioral changes made the second wave bend downwards in early November and that public weariness and/or mutant viral strains caused the third wave. They would also assume that the third wave bent downwards due to renewed public compliance with recommendations in the face of the recent surge, adds the team.
“Indeed, this is the by now accepted scientific consensus among scholars studying the pandemic, which is sometimes called ‘herd-protection,’ and builds on the simple idea that when a major deadly epidemic hits, society reacts in a way that is impossible to predict mathematically,” writes the team.
“The pandemic response in Sweden challenges this interpretation”
However, the pandemic response in Sweden challenges this interpretation with Carlsson and Soderberg-Naucler now presenting an alternative explanation for the pattern of viral spread.
The team says experts have previously proposed that “pre-immunity” or immunological “dark matter” could underlie the unexpected trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, failure to identify this dark matter together with various erroneous predictions involving pre-immunity led to the hypothesis being discarded.
“We believe that it is too early to discard the hypothesis that some sort of pre-immunity needs to be taken into account, in particular for accurate mathematical modeling,” said the researchers.
The team suggests that what looks like pre-immunity on a population level, could in fact be a consequence of large variability in individual-level susceptibility. Furthermore, this susceptibility may depend on innate immunity and cross-reactive protective immunity initiated by another virus or other factors.
Pre-immunity is a necessity for successful mathematical modeling
Carlsson and Soderberg-Naucler have now shown that mathematical models considering variable susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 are equivalent to simpler models that incorporate pre-immunity.
“Pre-immunity is a necessity for successful mathematical modeling of the pandemic,” they say.
“We argue that this is the key factor that has protected Sweden from a much higher hospitalization rate and death toll, given the Swedish mitigation strategy, and that it helps to keep cases down to a much greater extent than predicted by traditional models for disease spread,” write the researchers.
However, “since cases can still go up if NPI’s are lifted, the term herd-immunity can be misleading… we call it herd-immunity under limited restrictions,” they add.
Vaccination is a must
The team emphasizes that this study is not suggesting that it is safe to lift NPI’s, but rather it implies that around 60% of the community could have some level of protection against SARS-CoV-2 under current NPIs.
Such protection could disappear due to emerging mutations and exposure to higher viral doses following the lifting of restrictions, say the researchers.
Furthermore, it is impossible to know if pre-immunity is present or not, they write.
“Based on this, it is our firm conclusion that the vaccination roll-out must continue with high participation to avoid both personal tragedies and COVID-19 becoming endemic.”
medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.Journal reference:
More than 100,000 people flooded streets in France over the weekend and multiple COVID vaccination centers were vandalized as opposition grew to the government’s most recent pandemic strategy. In President Emmanuel Macron’s latest incarnation of lockdowns, government officials have decreed that unvaccinated individuals will no longer be allowed to enter cafes, restaurants, theaters, public transportation and more.
Needless to say, people were not happy.
France’s approach is unique, but it’s just one of many countries around the world imposing new restrictions as fears grow over a new variant of COVID-19. Australia’s recent restrictions have placed half the country under strict lockdown—even though a record 82,000 tests had identified just 111 new coronavirus cases—while restaurants in Portugal are struggling to surviveamid newly imposed restrictions.
One country not making much news is Sweden.
Sweden, of course, was maligned in 2020 for foregoing a strict…
July 28 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Wednesday raised its 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine by 29% to $33.5 billion, and said it believes people will need a third dose of the shot developed with German partner BioNTech to keep protection against the virus high.
The company said it could apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a booster dose as early as August.
Data showed that a third dose generated virus-neutralizing antibodies more than 5 times higher in younger people and more than 11 times higher in older people than from two doses against the more easily transmissible Delta variant of the virus.
“All in all, I think a third dose would strongly improve protection against infection, mild moderate disease, and reduce the spread of the virus,” Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said on a call to discuss quarterly…
What is the best age in human life? Have you heard the saying, ‘life begins at 40?’ I don’t know the sense of it. Does it mean that the first three decades are just a waste of time? That’s going to be a pile of massive rubbish then! Anyway, I’ll find it out soon. What about the 20s? Usually, most of us have already graduated from school at this stage. We have also found a decent job. Some of us were trying to save money to buy a dream car, to invest in a house, or to travel the whole world. At this point, we are starting to enjoy our freedom. No more school, less parental restriction and we handle our lives in our own ways. Oh! Also, people usually find their life partners in their mid-20s when everyone is already stable and ready to build a new cycle…
“Here is a website giving you the death rate per capita. As I understand it the Delta virus is very good at spreading. The latest outbreak seems to indicate that within family groupings almost all members of a family become infected from just one contact.” https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
I replied as follows:
Thank you, Gerard, for the link to the Worldometers Website. There is such a huge amount of information on this website that I could click onto it for hours. My understanding about the Delta variant of the virus is the same as yours: It is very good at spreading! And my understanding why this is so, is that this virus is airborn and stays in the air we breathe. So to get fresh air, seems to me to be of the utmost importance. So why do we quarantine people in badly ventilated buildings? And why do a lot of people do their shopping in poorly ventilated buildings? It is beyond me, why so called ‘experts’ do not talk about it more. Just with vaccinations we cannot get on top of the virus. This is how it seems to me. For how long shall this hackling about the ‘cost’ (well ventilated buildings cost money”) for how long shall this hackling go on? Because it costs money, they don’t even want to talk about it. All these vaccinations, do they not cost money too? Someone has to pay for these. And big Pharma is in big, big business! Eventual we do need a good vaccine, this is true. But good vaccines need an awful lot of research as I understand it. But nobody wants us to talk about this. Fair enough, it is an emergency now. What we need is sunshine and fresh air, right?
I ask myself, Is there any acknowledgement in Australia that this is the case?
In this Conversation article it says: “The role of airborne transmission has been denied for so long partly because expert groups that advise government have not included engineers, aerosol scientists, occupational hygienists and multidisciplinary environmental health experts.
And then they explain the difference between aerosols and droplets.
In November last year the Conversation published an article with this heading:
Many of our buildings are poorly ventilated, and that adds to COVID risks.
Why has indoor airflow not been a bigger part of the conversation?
Airflow inside buildings and other enclosed areas like public transport has received less attention than other prevention strategies, in part because of debate within medical and scientific circles about the role of aerosols in the transmission of the virus, with some experts focusing on bigger droplet particles as being more important in transmission.
Here another interesting point about the airflow in buildings:
“Airflow inside buildings and other enclosed areas like public transport has received less attention than other prevention strategies, in part because of debate within medical and scientific circles about the role of aerosols in the transmission of the virus, with some experts focusing on bigger droplet particles as being more important in transmission.
But in recent weeks, the World Health Organization, the American Centers for Disease Control, the European Commission and Canada have acknowledged airborne aerosol transmission has a significant role in the spread of coronavirus. . . .”
Here another expert opinion:
“All major buildings where people congregate should be assessed for ventilation, according to Professor Mary Louise McLaws, an expert in epidemiology, hospital infection and disease control and a member of the WHO’s expert panel on COVID-19.
She said confined spaces need ventilation rates of 3 litres of air per second per person.
“It’s [the ventilation message] not getting nearly enough traction because it costs money,” she said.
“It will cost money for every single building to go back and ensure it can do 3 litres per person per second and that is an enormous undertaking.
“They can do it in a hospital and some of the older-style hospitals are now being required to improve their airflow: they’re becoming woke to the importance of this.”
The Victorian Health Department’s Building Authority has commissioned engineering assessments of the HVAC systems within wards dedicated to suspected and conﬁrmed COVID-19 patients at 20 hospital sites over the coming weeks.
Some countries are already taking substantial action, with Germany recently investing 500 million euros to improve ventilation systems in public buildings.”
The above was already said in November last year! Now we have July, that is some eight months later. And what has Australia done in the meantime, I would like to know.
For instance, can anybody tell me, how much Australia is spending right now to improve ventilation systems in public buildings?
Does Australia even discuss this issue?
Good, improvements like this cost money. But wouldn’t this be money spent the right way?
Does anyone know, how much government spends on vaccinations? Yes, I agree, vaccinations are necessary. But it seems to me to improve ventilation systems in public buildings is absolutely essential, no matter how much it costs!