The last couple months, I have waited for the next COVID wave. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it has been so long coming. Last Fall, the COVID wave arrived in late September. This Fall, the latest spike didn’t arrive until the second week of November, much later than normal for a respiratory virus. It is not clear yet if we are in the midst of a significant spike. However, I am beginning to think not. Plus, Dr. Fauci warned of a double whammy this Fall and he is usually wrong, so that brightens my outlook just a bit.
As I often do, I look to the numbers and draw conclusions. People are justifiably wary of statistics because they can clearly be used to mislead and deceive. I try to give the relevant numbers, whether they tell a good story or a not-so-good story. I trust the numbers more than the talking heads. You can listen to the media and politicians who think they are experts on everything and have a set of pre-determined conclusions, but unless you gather facts for yourself, you won’t know for sure who is right.
Some day soon, I want to write a short story called “Follow the Science”. It will be about people who already have all the facts they ever need; any new facts or new trends just muddy the waters and must be labeled misinformation. They are comfortable in their delusion and their scorn of those who just can’t see it their way. When their side appears to be winning, it only strengthens their resolve (unfortunately winning, not the truth, is the real goal for so many these days). Luckily, in the end, reality will win, because reality always does. It will be quite a shock for our story’s myopic hero when he runs into that brick wall that has been in front of him the whole time.
In any case, at this moment, the COVID numbers tell a mixed story; your outlook probably depends on whether you tend to see the glass as half full or half empty. I think the glass is more full than empty myself.
This Year versus Last Year
Last November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, COVID cases in the U.S. were averaging 182,000 per day. November 24, the day before Thanksgiving this year, COVID cases were about half as much–roughly 96,000 per day. We can compare deaths as well: 1903 per day last year versus 1067 this year, another significant drop from a year ago. On the other hand, the numbers are now rising. Cases are up 33% since the start of November and several states have seen record high case numbers this Fall. As cases rise, deaths tend to follow suit. I certainly understand why folks remain concerned because COVID is still the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (although still pretty far behind cancer and heart disease). There is talk of more variants to come as well. Who knows when they will come and what to expect from the next deadly variant?
However, if you look at the numbers in another way, you can easily come to conclusion that the trend is moving in the right direction and we can give credit to vaccines. The U.S. started measuring COVID deaths around March 1, 2020. In the first month–before we knew what hit us–there were only 5,000 deaths recorded (I imagine there may have actually been more because we were classifying COVID deaths as something else, but, in any case, a low number were actually reported). Beginning in April 2020, the death count really ramped up. Between April 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, a period of 11 months, most of which was without vaccines, there were about 532,000 deaths in the U.S. or 48,300 per month. In the last nine months or so, since the vaccines numbers were at significant levels, there has been a significant decline in deaths. The table below illustrates the point; there has been a clear difference in the first year of COVID versus the second year.
|Time Period||Total Deaths||Monthly Average|
|March 1 2020 – March 31 2020 (first month of COVID)||5,000||5,000|
|April 1 2020 – February 28 2021 (next 11 months)||532,000||48,300|
|March 1 2021 – November 24, 2021 (last 8.75 months)||260,000||29,700|
I separated out March in this analysis because it would skew the monthly average; it is basically a statistical outlier (although even if you include March 2020, the average is still around 45,000 per month for the first twelve months and still significantly higher than the last nine months). By April 1, the COVID onslaught was in full swing. For my analysis, I then divided the remaining time period into two groups, so we could look at results pre-vaccination and post-vaccination.
Vaccine distribution in the U.S. began December 11, 2020, so vaccines had minimal impact during the first twelve months of COVID, including the first couple months of vaccine distribution. By March 1, 2021, vaccination levels were rising and vaccines were being made available to the public at large. In the almost nine months since March 1, 2021, what I call the post-vaccination period, deaths have declined to about 29,700 per month (260,000 deaths / 8.75 months), so something has been dampening the effect of COVID.
We can credit the vaccines for some of that difference, but to what extent did they help the cause? Besides vaccines, there are two other factors which may be contributing to the decreased death rate: natural immunity and improved treatments.
For the last six months, I have been looking at the death rate in states with higher vax rates versus states with lower vax rates. The higher vax’d states have consistently done better in preventing deaths, which clearly shows that vaccines are having a positive impact. The experts have said this as well, but then, of course, the experts have often lied and have often been wrong, and the experts have exaggerated the impact of vaccines, so I still want to see it for myself. Nevertheless, the lower death rates in higher vax’d states, did not happen by chance. Still, as I will show below, the differences between the higher vax’d states and lower vax’d states are shrinking. We appear to be at the point of diminishing returns with vaccines as more states get to the 50-55% vaccinated rate (yet another reason not to impose vaccine mandates!).
Also, in most analyses somewhere between one third and one half the population has contracted COVID. This is highly significant. Studies have also consistently shown that those with natural immunity have far less chance of being re-infected than those with vaccine immunity.
As I pointed out last week, the CDC has been negligent in tracking natural immunity https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/11/21/covid-game-changer/. They say they are interested in knowing how many can be re-infected after contracting COVID, but then admit they have not tracked this number. It appears to me they just don’t want to know. They would rather attribute all the gains of the last nine months to increased vaccination rates, primarily because it is politically expedient to do so. However, it is not only reasonable to assume that the millions who have natural infection are tamping down the number of cases and deaths, it is highly probable, a virtual certainty. The CDC doesn’t want us to know how much natural immunity is helping versus vaccination immunity because the result would be embarrassing (if you’ve read my blog for the last year or you are a thinking person who has paid attention and has just a little bit of skepticism, you know we have good reason to suspect them from withholding the truth about this and so much else). Our pediatrician in his latest newsletter re-iterates this point as well:
Again we see data that the medical system should be tracking and documenting natural infection as a risk reduction factor for the nation in SARS2 transmission and severe disease. The persistence of the policy makers in not recognizing natural infection as a sign of immune recognition and resolution for most is again driving more governmental mistrust and poor understanding of correct messaging.
Given the lack of data, it is very hard, almost impossible, to tease out the impact of each of these two factors, but we can try to make some educated guesses and put some limits on the numbers. The decrease in deaths the last nine months is roughly 40%, 18,600 per month less than the earlier time period. Given various studies, like the comprehensive Israeli study from August which showed natural immunity to be 13 times better than vaccine immunity, we can try to posit how much vaccine immunity and natural immunity are each helping.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume the natural immunity advantage is only half of what the Israeli study showed (I take the conservative estimate because I don’t want to err on the side of natural immunity). In this case, vaccines would have reduced deaths by about 2,500 per month while natural immunity would be reducing deaths by about 16,000 per month. We’ll take both reductions, for sure, as both are significant, but this would mean vaccines are reducing the death rate by 5% over the baseline period while natural immunity leads to a 33% reduction–and that’s taking the conservative estimate. Below, I also ask the question of whether we will continue to see that positive impact from vaccines. Will that 5% interest continue to be compounded or not? Also, will the risks from the vaccines outweigh their benefits?
Finally, there are treatments for COVID that are starting to gain traction in the U.S., treatments like Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies and Ivermectin, and these are also factors in limiting deaths. Because these treatments have not been widely accepted and because (unbelievably) there is an actual campaign to discredit them and discourage their use, it is impossible to determine the impact of this factor. I would say it is probably the least impactful of the three factors I consider because of the lack of complete acceptance.
Nevertheless, I still continue to point to Florida, our one control group among the 50 states, the state which is banking on monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID, and has for the last month or more had the lowest death rate in the U.S. Treatments are working in Florida, despite people who know nothing about nothing labeling them horse medicine and irresponsible public health officials who appear to be schilling for the drug companies.
As of Friday, November 19, Florida was averaging 8 deaths per day, or about .37 deaths per million, the best per capita rate in the nation at the moment. Florida also has a fairly robust vaccination rate at 61% fully vax’d, so let’s compare its per capita death rate to other states with similar or higher vaccination rates to determine if it is the vaccination rate or the use of early treatments that is making a difference in Florida. Oregon has a slightly higher vax rate than Florida, but is averaging 8.3 deaths per million, 22 times greater than Florida. Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota are all slightly more vax’d than Florida, and all have significantly higher death rates (between 4.79 and 7.12 per million, all at least 13 times higher than Florida). Remember too that Florida has the second oldest population in the country, more vulnerable to COVID than these other states with fewer seniors. Somebody ought to tell folks the fountain of youth has finally been discovered in Florida–and it has little to do with vaccines.
|State||Total Daily Deaths||Daily Deaths per million||Vaccination Rate||Population|
Florida is averaging almost the same number of deaths per day as Maine despite have 15 times more people and an 11% lower vaccination rate. Go figure.
Waning Effectiveness of Vaccines
The following graph baffled me when I first saw it. Who knows what this means? Singapore is the third most vaccinated country in the world (88% fully vaccinated). It appears that the vaccine was making all the difference in the world for Singapore until September 2021, and then inexplicably the vaccines appear to have totally failed the people of Singapore, at least for a period of time. The infection and death rates skyrocketed from almost zero in early September to extraordinarily high levels in just two months. Now the rates are coming down again. Can you figure this out? I really don’t understand it myself.
I suppose Singapore could just be a one-off, so maybe it doesn’t really say much about vaccines at all. We should look at a few more countries before drawing any conclusions. So let’s look at Gibraltar, the most vaccinated country in the world; they’ve actually reached 100% vaccinated. So why did we see cases spiking again in October in Gibraltar, the country that has everyone vaccinated? Can we blame this spike on the unvaccinated? That’s the kind of chicanery the Biden Administration would try to get away with.
So, Singapore and Gibraltar, two of the three most vaccinated countries in the world have seen significant spikes in cases and deaths in the last two months, but they are small countries and not necessarily representative samples, so how about we look at some other places with larger populations, places like Portugal, which has an 87% vaccination rate or Spain with an 81% vaccination rate? Do we see a steady decline in cases as vaccination rates have steadily climbed in these two countries? Nope. Not here.
Why does COVID keep waxing and waning, even as the vaccination rates continues to climb into the mid-to-upper eighties? Why are COIVD cases once again rising in the two largest countries among the top ten most vaccinated? What are we to make of this?
Before you draw any conclusions, let’s look closer to home in our own country. Alabama is one of the least vaccinated states in the U.S. (46% are fully vax’d). From September 1 to November 24, the COVID 7-day case average has fallen from 5,330 per day to 458. Also joining Alabama in the ten least (per capita) infected states at the moment are Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, all states with vaccination rates in the 40’s. At the same time, Vermont is the most highly vax’d state (73% are fully vax’d). For most of this summer, cases in Vermont were in the single digits; however, as of November 24, cases in Vermont are at 380 per day, the highest they have ever been in the last two years. Joining Vermont in the top ten states with the highest per capita infection rates at the moment are New Hampshire, Maine, New Mexico, Colorado and Minnesota, all at 62% or higher fully vax’d (Maine is at 72%, the third highest vaccinated state).
What do you think this means? Does it provide strong justification for a vaccine mandate? I’ll answer my own question this time. The bottom line is this and there is absolutely no disputing it: vaccines are not stopping the transmission of COVID; you are just as likely to get COVID if you have been vaccinated than if you have not.
So why does our government continue to press vaccine mandates while downplaying and ignoring effective COVID treatments? Those of you who support vaccine mandates should ponder this question, but if you don’t have doubts about our government yet, please read on.
The U.S. has distributed more than 450 million vaccines and almost 60% of the country is fully vaccinated. We are once again vaccinating more than a million per day. Every single state, bar none, has more than half its population with at least one dose. All but five states with a combined population of 12 million (Mississippi, Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho, and West Virginia) have fully vaccinated 49% or more of their population, yet COVID is rising again in the U.S. and the states with the highest vaccination rates are among the most infected at this moment. Why? What does this mean?
Do you think when we get another 20% vaccinated and we reach that magical number of 80% fully vaccinated just like Singapore, Gibraltar, Spain, and Portugal our numbers will suddenly get better? If they do, I assure you it will not be because of the vaccines.
Given these facts, you have to question the motivation of our government. Why does our government keep chasing the holy grail of vaccination when vaccines aren’t holding down the spread of COVID? Are we always just a few percentage points away from some magical vaccine number that will make it all right again? Why did they change the definition of a vaccine in September? What number do we have to reach before that brick wall of reality hits those folks who keep telling us that vaccines are the answer and an end to a crisis that our government doesn’t want to end?
Joe Biden told us the number that he is looking for in a surprising moment of clarity. https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/pres-biden-97-98-americans-must-be-vaccinated-nation-can-go-back-normal. Really? Things are not going to get better until we reach Joe Biden’s goal of 97% vaccinated? I know many of you out there didn’t like Trump, but surely you must wonder how many brain cells are functioning in the guy that replaced him? Who is speaking through him when he says these things? Do you want someone who people say is nice (although I have a hard time seeing Biden as nice either) or do you want someone who can add two and two?
In any case, we can vaccinate every kid under 18 and get to a really high national vaccinated rate, but it won’t do anything for our COVID numbers. As we have seen, the vaccinated are transmitting COVID as much as the unvaccinated. The argument for masking, locking down, and vaccinating kids was so that they would not transmit the disease to adults. But vaccinating more kids won’t help slow down COVID, and the death rates in kids are so low that it won’t make that number any better either. So, please ask yourself: why is Dr. Fauci pushing the vaccines on our kids now? Do you think it has anything to do with the profits that Pfizer and Moderna stand to make with a whole another demographic for the jab? Why is he also pushing boosters when the FDA voted against boosters for anyone under 65? Our pediatrician weighed in on this point as well, someone in the industry who should know a bit about what is going on:
This is issue is likely to worsen before it gets better as hospital systems have prized the financial bottom line over staff health and salaries akin to the major health insurance giants prizing their bottom line over reasonable provider reimbursement and patient services. Witness the 2021 revenues of Atrium Health Care at $8.67 billion dollars and 2020 United Healthcare at $55 billion dollars as two examples of profits driving all decisions.
Furthermore, when you look at the death rates among the states, you see that after states hit the mid-50’s, the death rate doesn’t significantly improve, even as they continue to vaccinate even more. Refer to the table below:
|Vaccination Rates||Total Population||Total Daily Deaths||Deaths per Million|
|67%+ (8 states)||47,866,783||91||1.9|
|63-65% (8 states)||69,801,397||234||3.35|
|56-62% (9 states)||65,892,727||159||2.41|
|54-55% (9 states)||67,565,171||256||3.79|
|49-53% (12 states)||65,076,140||270||4.15|
|41-47% (5 states)||12,037,305||50||4.15|
The states with the 67%+ vaccination rates have a death rate a half of the states in the lowest two tiers, but the differences are fairly small when you compare the states in the middle tiers. In fact, the states in the 56-62% tier are doing better than the states in the tier above them (63-65%) and almost as well as the states in the highest tier (67%+). Also, I have done this same analysis for months and the gap in the per capita deaths between the lowest and highest tier is shrinking. We are nearing the point of diminishing returns. As the last few states surpass the 50% vaccinated rate and then approach 60% (as they probably will in the next month or two), the death rate will fall a little less and a little less until vaccinations don’t have any impact whatsoever. We’ve done well with vaccinations to this point, so let’s leave it at that. Let’s call it a success and all go home happy. Let’s not inflict all the damage that vaccine mandates bring for no more gain in results.
Now let me ask you one more question, especially for those of you who still doubt me or distrust my motives. Maybe this one will convince you to see things another way if you haven’t already. And before I ask, let me also remind you of the words of candidate Biden who boldly stood up for transparency and the need to reassure all Americans about the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. Well candidate Biden had it right. So, please tell me why can’t President Biden say something to the FDA about this unbelievable, non-transparent, request?
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) filed an appeal at the courts to give them an extension of up to the year 2076 to review and finally release its files documenting the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine – a process that took them only months to finish.
Forget the debate about vaccine efficacy. I can tolerate a drug that may not be particularly effective at all it claims to do as long as it is still safe. But many folks, including many doctors, have raised concerns about the safety of the COVID vaccines (see prior posts for examples). I don’t know how to evaluate some of their claims about vaccine safety. Some concerns certainly give me pause, but how legitimate are they? What is the real number of deaths from the vaccines? What are all the side effects and how many have experienced them? Again, we don’t really have good numbers and that’s the real problem.
We should have all from the beginning expected some deaths and some serious side effects. No drug comes without such risks. But we should also expect when such concerns were raised, that our government agencies would try to nail down the real numbers, not push them under the carpet because it was too embarrassing or because it conflicted with some goal which could not be shared openly. What is this about locking up the vaccine data for 55 years? What conclusion are we to reach about this tactic? Do you think they are really trying to get to the truth, or do you think, like I do, that they are trying to hide something? I can’t say exactly what they are hiding, but I doubt it is good.
Remember too, the original polio vaccine was defective and we had to wait 8 years, until 1963, before a second vaccine was mass distributed. In 1976, another mass vaccination effort was halted when there were safety concerns:
In 1976, an outbreak of the swine flu, influenza A virus subtype H1N1 at Fort Dix, New Jersey caused one death, hospitalized 13, and led to a mass immunization program. After the program began, the vaccine was associated with an increase in reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which can cause paralysis, respiratory arrest, and death. The immunization program was ended after approximately 25% of the population of the United States had been administered the vaccine.
In 2021, other countries around the world raised concerns about the mRNA vaccines and have limited or halted their distribution.
Sore arms, headache and fatigue were the most common side effects in young vaccine recipients, the same ones as for adults. U.S. and European regulators cautioned, however, that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines appear linked to a rare reaction in teenagers and young adults — chest pain and heart inflammation. Swedish health authorities said the heart symptoms “usually go away on their own,” but they must be assessed by a doctor. The conditions are most common among young men, in connection with, for example, viral infections such as COVID-19. In 2019, approximately 300 people under the age of 30 were treated in hospital with myocarditis.
Does none of this matter? Is none of this relevant? Folks who are pushing vaccines for everyone would have you ignore all these other concerns. Ponder this one last question: why are we taking a different approach towards COVID than we ever have to any other such crisis or medical emergency in the past? It seems to me that everything is different with COVID; we do nothing like we have always done in the past and the explanation is always one word: COVID. COVID has been deemed a crisis, going on two years now. If some have their way, it will be a perpetual crisis, because crises should not be wasted and crises offer the best opportunity for change. We don’t have to follow the old playbook and we can use the crisis to do things that would be unimaginable at other times. Well, for many of us the unimaginable is here and we want to tell the rest of you to look out. That brick wall is standing in your way too. Think about it.