Omicron Cases Serious in Denmark and Overall Morbidity Picture Not Pretty Either

The US press and some wannabe pundits are keeping up the happy talk on Omicron as more and more contradictory evidence is coming in on case severity. Remember as we stressed the baselines are questionable since outside the UK’s REACT surveys, no one has a very good handle on the total level of Covid cases, since asymptomatic cases are seldom caught. And it’s not as if asymptomatic cases are harmless. One large-scale study, through February 2021, estimated that 20% of asymptomatic Covid cases result in long Covid. And that’s pre the more aggressively-replicating Delta became dominant.

There was reason to regard the cheery take that Omicron cases weren’t showing up as severe as premature. Let’s start with how long the lag between disease appearance and first deaths was at the get go:

And for the subsequent waves, we’ve seen other patterns that lead to underestimation of severity. First, that’s the story at the start of every big Covid wave. Young people, who have more robust immune systems, get most of the early cases because they are generally much more social as well as often less rigorous about self-protection. Second, hospitalizations and deaths trail infections. Third, for South Africa in particular, its population is young (average age 27 versus 37 in the US and over 40 in the UK), which will somewhat blunt worst outcomes.

As we know, Omicron is mighty contagious, so even less severe cases with many more infection can well yield hospital system collapse, but the claim that Omicron ain’t all that bad is not proven in RSA:

And we have disconcerting data from Denmark, which does a good job of reporting:

77% of Denmark’s population is fully vaccinated and 22% boosted.

With the rise of Omicron, we have also seen something of a revival of the meme that Covid is no worse than the flu in our comments section. I suspect that’s being touted around the Web as part of an informal campaign to preserve holiday spending festivities. So we again need to remind readers that the downside of Covid doesn’t come only from dying or being hospitalized. Unlike the flu, it can and often does wreck all sorts of havoc on a disconcertingly wide range of functions.

At least long Covid is getting more attention, but like chronic fatigue syndrome and advanced Lyme disease, those who don’t have it likely find it hard to relate to how debilitating it is. Due to the very wide range of symptoms, it’s proven difficult to nail down. And a second issue that affects Covid research generally is the time needed to organize and execute a study, vet the data, write a paper and have it accepted for publication. It’s easily a year lag, which means that the vetted studies are nearly all pre-Delta, for instance.

Nevertheless, a study from February 2020 to February 2021 estimated that 20% of asymptomatic cases resulted in long Covid. A metastudy by the Pennsylvania College of Medicine concluded that half of those who contracted Covid had gotten long Covid. From their writeup:

More than half of the 236 million people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide since December 2019 will experience post-COVID symptoms — more commonly known as “long COVID” — up to six months after recovering….

….survivors experienced an array of residual health issues associated with COVID-19. Generally, these complications affected a patient’s general well-being, their mobility or organ systems. Overall, one in two survivors experienced long-term COVID manifestations. The rates remained largely constant from one month through six or more months after their initial illness.

The investigators noted several trends among survivors, such as:

  • General well-being: More than half of all patients reported weight loss, fatigue, fever or pain.

  • Mobility: Roughly one in five survivors experienced a decrease in mobility.

  • Neurologic concerns:Nearly one in four survivors experienced difficulty concentrating.

  • Mental health disorders:Nearly one in three patients were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorders.

  • Lung abnormalities:Six in ten survivors had chest imaging abnormality and more than a quarter of patients had difficulty breathing.

  • Cardiovascular issues:Chest pain and palpitations were among the commonly reported conditions.

  • Skin conditions: Nearly one in five patients experienced hair loss or rashes.

  • Digestive issues:Stomach pain, lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting were among the commonly reported conditions.

The research on whether vaccines prevent long Covid is mixed. From a late November article in Nature:

Vaccines reduce the risk of long COVID by lowering the chances of contracting COVID-19 in the first place. But for those who do experience a breakthrough infection, studies suggest that vaccination might only halve the risk of long COVID — or have no effect on it at all…

At present, public-health officials are flying blind when it comes to long COVID and vaccination. Although vaccines greatly reduce the rates of serious illness and death caused by COVID-19, they are not as effective at completely preventing the disease, and long COVID can arise even after a mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infection. Countries with high infection rates could still end up with many cases of long COVID, even if nations have high rates of vaccination.

IM Doc is reporting even more collateral damage. From a recent e-mail:

Other than the immediate post-SARS issues related to the lungs – which if the patient survives seems to be improving in most people, the vascular issues (MIs, DVTs, PEs, CVAs many weeks and months later) and the brain issues are by far and away the most important. Brain fog, depression, memory loss are the most common with brain function. I am now also seeing highly advanced intellectual people being forced to quit their jobs. They no longer have the attention span nor the ability to do their work. In the past month, a nuclear physicist and a climatologist, both in their late 50s, have both told me they can no longer evaluate datasets and do calculations correctly, and will be retiring in the near future.

Another concerning thing I am beginning to hear from my oncology friends is the absolute explosion of soft tissue cancers that are happening. This is especially true of malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. One of my oncology colleagues noted to me the other day that he found it very troubling that these two in particular were going parabolic – the two soft tissue cancers whose etiology most have to do with a disordered immune system. Lymph tumors like lymphoma and myeloma are also apparently going off the charts as well.

The media seems to be content informing everyone this is happening because of a delay in diagnosis [due to lockdowns]. I could see validity in that a year ago. Now, that supposition is just sheer lunacy. My own office is crawling with in-person visits. The tele-visits for the most part are over and really only used for acute COVID and lab results and long distance patients.

GM added:

This was predicted already last year when it became clear what the virus does to T cells.

You go through a large T-cell exhaustion and derangement event and then you have fewer of them to monitor your own cells for malignancies. Thus one of the key mechanisms through which the body cleanses itself of tumors is diminished. An aged immune system is not so good with dealing with them, which is one reason (along with the sheer accumulation of mutations over time) why old people get cancer so much more frequently.

Well, the virus directly causes derangement of cellular immunity so logically it should also cause an explosion in cancers. If what your are seeing is confirmed as a trend, and if it’s these two types specifically that are exploding that is quite solid supporting evidence, then that hypothesis will turn out to be have been correct.

So don’t kid yourself. Mask up. Ventilate. Be very discriminating as to who you see over the holidays, and use every excuse to have it be outdoors if the weather is at all accommodating. Better to be a Scrooge this year and have more happy and healthy Christmases down the road.

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  1. Jackiebass63

    I personally decided early on that even when things seemed to look better, I was going to continue to use caution and adhere to safe practices. My gut feeling is Covid is and will be a danger for a long time. I seem to be right in my thinking. It is sad but it seems it is difficult to trust most of the people putting out information via the press. I bothers me that our country is so divided that we can’t come together to fight this health crises. It would benefit everyone.

    1. James Simpson

      Divisions are being created and nurtured by the ruling class. They are not naturally occurring in the people.

      1. allan

        This is not completely true. Certainly there is some manipulation from the top.
        But there is also a type of personality who doesn’t think that rules, any rules, apply to them,
        and they have absolutely no concern for the well being of others.
        The old saying could be updated to, Pandemics don’t build character, they reveal it.

        1. Pate

          Wikipedia: HANLON’S RAZOR is an adage or rule of thumb that states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (or some other aspect of the human condition?).” Known in several other forms, it is a philosophical razor that suggests a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for human behavior.

          1. Jane

            Doesn’t the reverse also hold? “Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice?”. It seems to me that hanlon’s razor is something dazzling and fancy to obscure the fact that the argument still needs to be made.

            1. Pate

              Yes I agree that the reverse holds and admit as much in my reply to PlutoniumKun below (10:31). Was merely trying to reference the point made by allan even if in a dazzling and fancy way.

              1. Richard

                If the reverse holds, neither holds. Each depends on the evidence of the case, which means both are just cute sayings.

          2. ArvidMartensen

            Once my efforts to achieve something in a community organisation was being inexplicably blocked at every turn. A motherly, sensible shoes, committee member told me over coffee that I should just put it down to stupidity rather than anyone working against my efforts behind the scene.
            Then I was inadvertently copied into an email chain by the conspirators. Lol. Game over.
            So much for this stupid rule of thumb, perhaps beloved of conspirators everywhere.

        2. david anthony

          There have always been conspiracy theories around pandemics, and the US is a conspiracy loving nation, but, what Fox News is doing is unparalleled in US history.

          1. jonst

            I wouldn’t call it “unparalleled”. Deeply regrettable, dismaying. But not “unparalleled” See Russiagate.

          2. Mantid

            Using the term “conspiracy theories” adds nothing to the conversation. The US Gvt invented the term to counteract questions and concerns with the Warren commission. They kept pounding that term and of course, it stuck. So since then when any event happens that the US gvt. (especially military and now pharma) wants to obfuscate, they roll that term out. 9-11, The anthrax scare, Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan, NSA et al surveillance, etc.

            I don’t watch Fox, by chance, but what is something they are saying that you think is untrue? Please discuss facts/studies and please avoid “conspiracy” terms. The only conspiracy is the MSM’s attempt to limit discussion of Covid and the weakness of the vaccines, If you need facts to prove that conspiracy, just ask Bill Gates or the WHO, CDC and their public/private partnerships.

              1. Jeff

                Funny, that’s been my reaction to reading the LA Times for a few years now. I gave up on broadcast news some time ago. To my eyes, it’s all Pravda lite.

                1. david anthony

                  Yes, the LA Times is ridiculous and yet, that does not counter my point. Watch Fox News and anything COVID related. If you’re not observing, you don’t know the other reality those people are living in. It’s not remotely reality based. And not comparable to our usual lying media.

                  1. Jeff

                    Any regular viewer of any broadcast news isn’t living in reality. CNN, major networks, Fox…. it doesn’t matter. The gaslighting is everywhere.

                    I’m not attempting to counter your point. I’m expanding it’s scope to include all mass media. Investigative journalism appears to have entered cardiac arrest at all major news outlets. Maybe it’s more profitable for them to carry the water of whatever story arc they want to tell.

                    “All the news that’s fit to print.” Quaint idea.

        3. Alphonse

          This rhetoric is itself the problem. You are dividing society into the Good and the Selfish. That doesn’t overcome division: it creates it.

          If you have a large population who aren’t going along, that’s either human nature, which is not going to change, or it’s a structural issue, which cannot be resolved at the level of individuals. Either way, you will only make it worse with sanctimony. That doesn’t work – not for Christians, not for social justice, not for covid.

          This is why the mandates and passports are so destructive. Expelling people from the community is no way to protect it. What do you plan to do with with your new subpopulation of of angry and alienated outsiders? They are still there – but now they’re not just opponents, they are enemies.

          For me and many others, this turn to scapegoating is more frightening than the virus itself. Some, like me, fear the virus – I was ahead of the game on masks. I took the vax. Some do not, decrying the virus as a minor risk and masks as worthless. I suspect the common threat is polarizing, collapsing the second group into the first. That is unfortunate. But what all agree on is that social contagion is more dangerous than the biological contagion of the virus. We believe – I believe – that the mandates, the passports, and the constant outpouring of dehumanization, exclusion and hate from the Good and the Righteous are totalitarian.

          You can disagree with my judgment You can disagree with my priorities. But when you leap to moralizing, disagreement collapses into enmity. There is no room for debate with the Bad and the Unclean.

          I am putting this as gently as I know how, because it is genuinely the hate, not any particular policy, that bothers me the most. I hope it was unintentional, but that is how I read your comment: a division of the world into the good and bad. You’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists. To which my response will always be: if those are your terms, I am not with you.

          1. AJB

            Any form of ‘us’ and ‘them’ creates a recipe for disaster. When one group thinks they are ‘right’ and all others are ‘wrong’, same outcome. The media and the politicians should be explaining more than spreading fear and panic. Slogans and labels (i.e anti-vaxxer for those who are hesitant) just deepens the divisions. People need to understand what the choices are, not just be told or spoken down to. My two cents worth anyway..

            1. Alphonse

              I agree entirely. Paul Kingsnorth has an excellent article:

              Covid is a revelation. It has lain bare splits in the social fabric that were always there but could be ignored in better times. It has revealed the compliance of the mainstream media, and the power of Silicon Valley to curate and control the public conversation. It has confirmed the sly dishonesty of political leaders, and their ultimate obeisance to corporate power. It has shown how ideology, on all sides, can mask itself with the pretend neutrality of “science”.

              Most of all, it has revealed the authoritarian streak that lies beneath so many people, and which always emerges in fearful times. In the last month alone, I have watched media commentators calling for censorship of their political opponents, philosophy professors justifying mass internment, and human rights lobby groups remaining silent about “vaccine passports”. I have watched much of the political Left transition openly into the authoritarian movement it probably always was, and countless “liberals” campaigning against liberty. As freedom after freedom has been taken away, I have watched intellectual after intellectual justify it all.

              I have learnt more about human nature in the past two years than in my preceding 47. I have learnt some things about myself too, and I don’t especially like them either. I have noticed my ongoing temptation to become a partisan: to judge and condemn those on the other side of the question, to find a tribe I can join. I have noticed my tendency to seek out only sources of information which confirm my beliefs.

              In my circle I was the alarmist as the virus approached. I went along with all the restrictions. Then came the vaccine mandates. I am appalled to see politicians encouraging people to hate their neighbours. I am shocked to hear friends wish torment on the unvaccinated.

              I cannot think of any moment in history when Us and Them was the way to go. Though I feel the pull, in my own anger at authoritarians, conformists, the PMC. I have to remind myself that this is not the way.

              The virus is frightening. The new authoritarianism is frightening. So many crises give us reasons to fear. When we fear, we forget how to think. When we fear, we forget how to feel. When we fear, we hate. We must not fall in to fear. We must not fall in to hate.

              I agree about speaking to people with honesty and respect. How we treat others makes us who we are. What value our lives if we ruin our souls?

              1. allan

                I wish that everyone was as calm and reasonable as you are.
                Sadly, they are not. A case in point:

                Dave Ramsey Fired Employee for Taking Covid Precautions, Suit Says [NYT]

                The radio broadcaster and anti-debt crusader Dave Ramsey has been accused of firing an employee for wearing masks at the office and for wanting to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.
                The lawsuit said that Mr. Ramsey, an evangelical Christian and the owner of Ramsey Solutions, a personal finance advice empire that he started in 1992, ran a “cultlike” environment where employees who worried about the pandemic were accused of “weakness of spirit” and told to pray if they wanted to ward off the virus. …

                Mr. Amos, 45, said he was hired in 2019 as a senior video editor making $90,000 a year, then was fired in July 2020, after repeatedly telling his supervisors that he wanted to work from home to protect the health of his wife and son, in accordance with his own Christian beliefs. …

                “Employees who wore masks to meetings were mocked and derided,” according to the lawsuit. …

                Are we to label trying to hold a toxic workplace environment to account
                as scapegoating?

                1. Alphonse

                  I don’t know what you want me to say. I wear an N95, and I think that’s outrageous.

                  Many of those opposed to vax mandates are also opposed to mask mandates. They don’t believe that masks work – because they don’t trust authorities (for good reason). They think masks are dehumanizing – as NC has pointed out in events with maskless elites and masked staff. They are particularly upset about the masking of toddlers and small children.

                  On this last point, I am persuaded. Otherwise, I think they are wrong. I think masks work. Even if they didn’t work, I don’t think that wearing a mask is a big deal. It’s not comparable to a forced medical procedure with unknown risks that permanently changes one’s body and sets terrifying precedents (e.g. the history of vax mandates and forced sterilization).

                  But that’s not my main concern.

                  GM thinks the virus could lead to a drop in average life expectancy of a decade or so for young people today. Such a catastrophic potential outcome makes a strong case for radical public health measures.

                  So we have the prospect of an expanded and empowered technocracy integrated with a medical-industrial complex. It is laying the groundwork for a social credit system regulating everyday life. It already wields media and experts to deceive and control the population. It sends people to camps without legal due process. And it stirs up hate and wishes for the death of an entire population of “undesirables.”

                  I would choose a shorter life over medical totalitarianism. Our ancestors lived shorter, harder lives beset my many calamities. They fought for civil liberties, for community, for self governance, for freedom. They thought these things were worth risking life for. So do I.

                  For me, the real question cannot be answered by experts. It is not the facts of the disease, the danger of the virus or the safety of the vaccines. It is what kind of lives we want to live, and what kind of people we want to be. I am not saying the alternatives are this stark – I hope they are not. But this is where I stand.

              2. BeliTsari

                We’ve a terrifying pandemic killing the most vulnerable among us and very likely to spread exponentially across all demographics; wrecking havoc at a time we need to force concerted action to wrest back some say, if we’re to survive…

                Unfortunately, they’re feeding us to a frigging coronavirus, to distract us, concurrently? Happy holidays!

      2. Count Zero

        ‘Divisions are being created and nurtured by the ruling class. They are not naturally occurring in the people.’

        Oh I wish so much that this was true but, alas, it really isn’t. It’s just a cheap slogan.

        Divisions fomented by powerful interest groups and their media outlets only stimulate divisions and antagonisms that are already there and rooted in social conditions — especially the insecurity arising from competition for jobs or housing or other resources.

    2. William Hunter Duncan

      I realized this past Fall, these vaccines are not going to fix the problem. So I realized I have to take charge of my health as a first and most important defense. To that end I have cut back coffee, processed sugar, alcohol and tobacco by 90+%. I’m improving my cardiovascular strength and limiting all but the most essential indoor activities. I’m embracing a kind of asceticism, and quite frankly, getting right with my relationship to the source.

      That seems preferable to a jab regimen/faith in corporate Pharma and hoping for the best.

      1. ks

        A good idea, no doubt, but we need to take on the whole industrial system of food production and delivery. That’s not something that can be done at the individual level.

        1. William Hunter Duncan

          Absolutely necessary for long term resilience, restoring biodiversity and health generally of the biosphere and people. There is in fact a lot people can do on the individual level, such as growing a lot of your own food, or purchasing a lot in the fall and preserving it. One thing I do is fill as much of a freezer as I can with soups I make in the fall from fresh whole foods (look at that, every time I type whole foods autocorrect replaces it with Whole Foods.) But yeah, there is a lot more I could do, and most of us are totally dependent on corporate Ag.

          There is no shortage of people who want to restore the local foods infrastructure. The only thing standing in the way is a lack of political will.

  2. lupemax

    there’s a meme out there that says delta-omicron is an anagram of ‘media control.’ A co-incidence?

    1. James Simpson

      If by that you mean the corporate media is pushing the idea that we should do as little as possible against a massively infectious viral pandemic because to do otherwise might reduce corporate profits for their paymasters, then yes, there’s media control.

  3. Roger Blakely

    All front-facing retail workers need to be in respirators and goggles. There is a dose response to SARS-CoV-2. The less virus you inhale, the better you feel.

    Last week Marketplace mentioned an HR study tracking which workers in the economy are quitting their jobs. There was a statistically significant–not overwhelming–correlation indicating that more front-facing retail employees are quitting their jobs in low-vaccination states than in high-vaccination states. My guess is that many front-facing retail employees are finding themselves sick all of the time from inhaling SARS-CoV-2.

    I suspect that much of the long COVID problem can be attributed to people inhaling SARS-CoV-2 on an ongoing basis.

    1. BeliTsari

      We’d believed that as well? We’d sorta managed to reduce viral load, despite HUNDREDS of maskless, desperate sluggo mouth-breathers, kvetching into iPhones at 98dB, nose to tail. Or, app-shoppers, all crazy to find a particular yuppie All Natural, Gluten FREE, Reduced Cruelity fetish in friggin Fairway, compelled to cough & sneeze directly into each other’s face? It felt like our silly-ass, useless PPE had primed the pump, immunologically, delayed days 7-12 symptom-wise; that the Quercetin, D3, zinc, NRPT, bromaline, nitric oxide precursor & aspirin hippy-dippy snake oil had some effect?

    2. Basil Pesto

      There is a dose response to SARS-CoV-2. The less virus you inhale, the better you feel.

      I don’t have a link to hand right now (sorry!) but the most recent research I read on this topic cast considerable doubt on this hypothesis

      1. Michael McK

        I read something like that a couple weeks ago. This seems to reference it:
        Basically it says more exposure leads to more of a chance of catching it but there is no difference in potential severity from a lower exposure vs. a higher one.
        It has always seemed logical to me that a smaller number of viruses would infect a smaller number of cells giving your system a chance to get ahead of them and have only a mild case before fighting it off and I think that is true for some diseases but apparently not for COVID19.
        More cautious research needed.

        1. Mantid

          I would hope this is true “a smaller number of viruses would infect a smaller number of cells giving your system a chance to get ahead of them”. However, the majority of problems don’t come from the virus itself, but from the person’s immune response. The cytokine response is what cases the inflammation in various organs and throughout the body. So, my guess is fi you get it, you get it. In addition, from an earlier link today, nearly 50% of people who get the disease develop long covid or vestiges thereof.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, that is not correct with long Covid. Many long Covid cases had mild or no symptoms, hence no cytokine storm.

            In fact, one study suggested that as many as 36% of Covid cases had no antibody response:


            And that might explain why some with long Covid symptoms don’t have antibodies:


          2. Michael McK

            I think I have shared this here before re. long Covid:
            There is a simple protocol (aside from “CCL5 antagonists such as Mataviron”) that has had good (though not perfect) success.
            In short, rogue, long lived Monocytes (mobile cells who normally present a newly encountered antigen throughout the body for a couple days max. to stimulate body-wide immunity) live for months presenting the toxic spike protein in odd places.
            The same mechanism may be involved with long Lymes and EBV.

    3. Dikaios Logos

      I’d add that front-facing workers’ PPE, including the respirators, should be provided by management at no cost to the employee. Of all of the upsetting things I see, going to a chain store with a massive balance sheet and seeing the risks’ of the virus solely born by individual workers is perhaps the most galling of all.

      If nothing else, company-provided PPE would reduce the business’s own risks, but somehow even this is missed.

      1. Joe Well

        It is shocking considering that KN95 masks are only a little less comfortable than surgical masks, are less than a dollar each, and are widely available.

        1. aletheia33

          right, and why is our USA gov’t not providing packs of them to every citizen regularly? and perhaps enforcing a mask mandate? not to mention sufficient air cleaners for every household. budgets can be adjusted. pentagon $$ can be reassigned as needed. that’s part of what budgets are for. and this is what public health departments (are) used to be for.

          it’s excruciating to watch, isn’t it? that humanity’s science today can know so much about a pandemic, and know what needs to be done, and the rule of the stupid means it cannot be done.

          1. LAS

            In NYC, the city gov (thru the health department) has been giving out masks, gloves, sanitizer for over 18 months — mostly in high poverty neighborhoods with urban density. We have also given out air purifiers, air conditions, and tablets — again to select low-income people. The city also has paid qualified residents $100 to get vaccinated.

            Current discussion is focused around distributing in-home tests. These are somewhat more complicated b/c a random low literacy user is likely to execute it improperly and get a false negative result. Could be counter productive.

            Since Omicron, mask mandates have returned to the city & state. Also I am observing muted (unadvertised) tolerance for remote work again. This is what tells me the powers ARE worried about the variant. Publicly, they do not want to walk back their earlier guidance that vaccines confer freedom, but in some subdued ways they actually are admitting that vaccines alone are not sufficient protection.

            At the same time, the economic climate in NYC is overall rather poor. So locally operated non-covid programs are starving for funds. The city gov. emphasizes taking advantage of all federally funded program opportunities possible to alleviate social pressure and needs. Most importantly, at the federal level, it would be great if emergency authorization could be extended so people could stay on Medicaid a little longer. Otherwise, millions of people will start to lose their temporary health coverage in early 2022.

        2. BeliTsari

          Having tried to work in N95, I’d only ~30 rewashable graphite, nanofiber KF-94 in car 200 miles away, as we’d been infected, despite procedure masks & gloves. Just came back from a root-canal, in midtown Manhattan and 0.3 μm masks were all but unavailable 20 months back. We’d been all but called MAGA-Rooskibots for trying to not infect delivery folks (pandemic, wasn’t really a word, unmasked neighbors wanted to hear, before they’d skedaddled upstate?) Wearing butyl gloves at the ATM or science fiction masks in the elevator, simply wasn’t done?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    I just talked to a colleague who has just recovered from 10 days away with Covid – she and her husband had a nasty dose (Delta, I assume) despite full vax plus booster. She is very nervous, to put it mildly, about the prospect of getting Omi. And now the government here is trying to get everyone a booster shot before Christmas to fend off Omicron. They are thinking of restrictions starting next Monday. Far, far, too late, as nearly everyone who has been paying attention has pointed out.

    I feel like screaming every time someone has said to me ‘Omicron seems to be milder….’. And people wonder why nobody trusts the public health establishment any more.

    1. Pate

      With apologies to Hanlon, Is not the lack of trust in “the public health establishment” a feature not a bug?Does not demonization of government – destruction of the public good and public assistance – go hand in hand with privatization (a leg on the neoliberal stool)?

      1. Cas

        I don’t blame anyone for not trusting government, or feeling obligated to follow laws, although that means our society can’t function. This fits nicely with the neoliberal/libertarian playbook described in Nancy MacLean’s book Democracy in Chains. If you don’t have time to read the book, here is her interview with Ralph Nader.
        It traces the history of liberalism from John Calhoun “no government can tell me what to do with my property (which included slaves)” to the Koch brothers. These are people who never believed in democracy. Her book and Evil Geniuses by Kurt Andersen lay out the deliberate steps taken by the ruling class? oligarchy? to control all branches of government so it no longer functions for public welfare but for the accumulation and protection of wealth. I’d say they’ve succeeded.

        1. Pate

          Have read (and highly recommend) MacClean’s Democracy in Chains. And of course it’s not that they don’t want laws and rules ie gubment, it’s that they want to make the rules and laws. It’s called negative freedom: freedom for me but not for you. But this ain’t something new; the constitution is largely about limiting democracy in order to protect property. If you haven’t already you might enjoy an oldie but goodie: Chas A Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution.

          1. Mantid

            It is true that the constitution limits democracy, but the extent to which the Oligarchs have locked in those limits and created even more effective limits and controls, is off the chain when compared to the 1700s.

            1. Pate

              Many of those original “barriers to power” are still with us – it is the structure of government that solidified those limits on the popular will (a republic, not a democracy; a bicameral legislature where the upper house (unlike the ceremonial House of Lords) is designed to check the “peoples’ house”; staggered terms and elections; electoral college; indirect democracy; and judicial review to name but a few. But I agree with your point about more modern barriers to power that work to limit majority rule/the popular will/democracy. For example, today we have corporate personhood and the unlimited funding or our elections (and lobbying) by corporate monopolies. Yes, power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    2. Ignacio

      The “Omicron has to be milder” meme will do a lot of damage indeed. In fact as early Denmark data shows above it is not surprising if Omicron results in higher hospitalization rates in countries with high vaccination rates, precisely because Omicron antigenicity is much more different than Delta’s regarding vaccinated and previously infected. Thus, given most are not longer naive, if both variants were equally virulent, Omicron would result in worse protection and more hospitalizations. Besides, vaccine protection is not equal in all people and the most vulnerable will almost certainly end paying the most for the misleading message.

      As Lambert has repeatedly pointed here and there: Go die!

  5. James Simpson

    How is it in China these days? Is there widespread panic over the Omicron variant? From what I can tell, because the Chinese people and their government instituted careful, science-based and popular anti-virus methods in 2020, their nation is virtually free of the virus and life has gone back to normal. Still, we in the UK and those elsewhere in the capitalist world can rejoice in our capitalist freedoms to be ill and maybe die, whilst paying pharmaceutical corporations vast sums to research vaccines and then even vaster sums to buy them.

    Anything is better than socialism, right?

    1. Louis Fyne

      PRC had their Omicron case. But I wouldn’t trust their stats.

      And even if their stats are 100%, PRC uses surveillance-enforcement methods generally unthinkable in the West. just saying.

      JP, KR, RoC meaaures are theoretically what the West could have attained if the Western body politic was not so torn apart by identity and class politics.

      Even contact tracing and mandatory quarantine in JP, KR RoC are pushing the bounds of what the West would tolerate.

      Korea moved to a “Living with Covid” national strategy (that”s literally what it is called) in Nov. aka “let it rip” if you want to be cynical.

      yet even worst case in Korea beats the West hands down

      Deaths are rising and ICU wards are approaching full on a national level with, despite mass vaccination, contact tracing and mask wearing compliance unseen in the West. omicron has been detected but is isolated there so far.

      1. v

        And even if their stats are 100%, PRC uses surveillance-enforcement methods generally unthinkable in the West. just saying.

        Oh yeah, evil-Chinese survaillance- enforcement LMAO

        Dude, I really hate to break it, but the Internet wasn’t invented for no reason by (D)ARPA & Co.

        Just sayin’

        1. The Rev Kev

          You got that right. Yesterday news came out that the US, Australia and Japan are funding an undersea cable to boost internet access in Nauru, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia. And four years ago spent about AUS$137 million (US$98.2m) to develop better internet access for the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. You can bet that this is not being done for the benefit of those countries-

          1. Anthony Stegman

            Yes…these are all efforts to encircle and contain China. Military bases will soon follow the undersea cables.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        One port city now is in lockdown over Omicron. They will really struggle to contain it, but they’ve been remarkably successful so far with localised lockdowns. But when the Chinese lock down, they really mean it. Having said that, they aren’t doing anything which wasn’t historically done in the US and Europe with TB and smallpox and polio in the past, its just that we’ve forgotten our history.

        There have been plenty of outbreaks over the last year or so – including some not reported. I know of at least one in a small city west of Shanghai which was never officially admitted to, but a friends parents were stuck on a visit for several weeks because of it.

        There is open discussion at high levels in China (or at least, what passes for open discussion in China) about ‘letting it rip’. I think Omicron has changed that discussion – they want to keep it out and will do anything reasonable to do so. I don’t think China has the institutional/medical capacity to keep a cap on things in the way the RoK has been able to. Not least, its hospital system is a horrible mess at the best of times. In some ways, keeping a strict control on travel might be something the government doesn’t see as a bad thing. Its been particularly useful in keeping a lid on things in HK.

        1. Andy

          There is open discussion at high levels in China (or at least, what passes for open discussion in China) about ‘letting it rip’.

          Source? It’s not that what you describe is improbable but so many statements around Covid are supported only by anecdotes or hearsay. I, for example, read a comment on Twitter that officials in China were openly talking about ‘letting it rip’ if/when their vaccines are proven effective at preventing serious illness. But I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            There are lots of articles on the topic – this one in the SCMP for example.

            Whats important in China is not what is being said, but who is saying it and in what context. Back round last summer a few semi-important public health officials were openly floating that at some stage they would have to open up. The general reaction was negative, and notably these statements were later retracted. In other words, Beijing was sampling the mood and decided to stay the course – wisely it seems.

      3. drsteve0

        There’s plenty of surveillance in the West, maybe it’s just a matter of whether you like the snooping to be furtive and clandestine versus undisguised and acknowledged.

        1. Tony Wright

          “Undiguised and acknowledged” – and linked to an inescapable “social credit” system which effectively turns serial “offenders”,i.e. people who dare to dissent from the many and various CCP policies and practices, into non-citizens. Oh, and also linked to a cashless digital currency, with each and every transaction monitored and either rewarded or punished via the social credit system.
          Mind you, many financial pundits are forecasting the abolition of cash and the adoption of digital currencies in so-called developed nations as well in the near future. Does not bode well.

      4. Anthony Stegman

        South Korea is using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to monitor peoples movements. The China surveillance model is coming to a town near you.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          South Korea has a public surveillance system far in advance of the wet dreams of google (in fact, google is largely blocked from ROK, just look at the blank on google maps). Because most mapping apps available are from Korean companies, all closely aligned with the security system there, there is an incredible overlap of information they can use. As the initial wave of Covid proved, their ability to track everyones movements was incredibly detailed and accurate. The only thing they don’t have is much 3D information – hence an unfortunate man was publicly identified as having visited a brothel when he had in fact just gone into the ground floor 7/11.

          The system is China is much more about controlling information than people. There is also a very strong Big Brother element in China – they are not shy about letting people know they are being observed (you can sometimes see things disappear ‘live’ on WeChat). In ROK its a lot more subtle.

      5. Mantid

        “PRC uses surveillance-enforcement methods generally unthinkable in the West. just saying.” Please remember that the US military invented, practiced with (in Afghanistan) and sold our biometrics software to China. It’s now being deployed with great success (in China’s view) against the Uyghur muslim population. The US surveillance overlords are doing quite well on the home front. In fact, vax mandates are our trial run at establishing a citizenship score and rating system for Americans. So, China and the US/West are neck and neck.

  6. Gumnut

    Here is the link to the daily Danish news omikron overview charts: (every day late afternoon in the feed)

    Percentage distribution of omikron infected:
    – 14% unvaxxed
    – 2% 1st jab
    – 75% 2 jabs
    – 9% 3 jabs

    Compare to overall Danish vaccination status:
    – 16 % unvaxxed
    – 10% 1st jab
    – 54% 2 jabs
    – 20% 3 jabs

    There is some time-lag & probably age-skew in this, but at comparing just those numbers it looks like
    – there is a brief window of improvement after the needle (boosters are only a couple of months in action), see booster & 1st time % age being underrepresented
    – 2 jabs (likely 2nd one nearly 6 months ago) are overrepresented (over-confident behaviour?)
    – unvaxxed 1:1 (caveat: could be skewed by age), i.e any needle vs. no needle seems to make no infection risk difference with omikron

    And to all the mandate dogmatics out there – the elephant in the piegraph is that you are 5x likelier to be infected with omikron by a vaccinated person in Denmark. Corrected by proportions – your neighbour’s jabstatus makes no difference on the risk they pose to you.

    VitD 100micrograms can’t harm.

    1. Carla

      Thank you for this report. I just looked it up and 100 micrograms equals 4,000 international units of Vitamin D. We’ve been doing that daily for some time and recently added 100 or 200 mcg of K2.

      1. Mantid

        We have doubled that does for 2 reasons. It takes a while to build up in your system because Vit D acts like a hormone. I’ve taken a thyroid hormone for years and the arc of it’s effectiveness is quite long. One can’t take 20,000 IUs of vit. D for example, and end up with a higher vit D level the next day – it takes a bit of time.
        Also, we doubled it because Vit D overdose is ultra rare. One could take 10,000 IUs daily for months with zero ill effects. Vit. D is exceptional contra Covid.

    2. voislav

      There are several factors at play here that skew the statistics. Omicron infection rates should not be compared to the population as a whole at this time, it’s misrepresentation of the true picture.

      Omicron is at a very early stage of spread, so infection rates are not representative of the population as a whole, but rather of who is getting exposed (opportunistic infection). Primary vector for omicron right now is travel, it’s spreading through travel hubs, so typically large cities with high vaccination rates.

      So probability for exposure of vaccinated people (relative to the population as a whole) will be higher than for unvaccinated, who are more prevalent in rural areas. As omicron spreads to the rural areas, we’ll see the percentages skew more heavily to unvaccinated as the probability of exposure evens out.

      I get there is a temptation to draw conclusions based on early infection data, but it’s a garbage in garbage out exercise, it tells us nothing about vaccine effectiveness.

    3. Ignacio

      Let’s state this in a more simple and clear way: Vaccines barely protect against Omicron infection despite Pfizer’s selling pitch.
      Your observation on mandates: perfect!

  7. t4

    Omicron has rightly spooked our Health authorities.

    A week ago we had 86 Omicron cases, last night we had a new all-time high number of infections (8000+), of which Omicron contributed 1100+.

    Remember we test a lot of people ca. 4% of the entire population is tested every day (158.000 tests yesterday) and all positive tests are gene sequenced

    14th Dec 2020 we had 420 admitted to ICU, 14th Dec 2021 we have 481 admitted to ICU. And we have predictions saying 10.000 new infections (where Omicron will dominate) in a weeks time, so we could be looking at some ally scary situations, where we ru out of ICU beds due to lack of nurses, bot the actual beds.

    All 45+ years old, and 4.5 month since 2 stab is now offered a booster, and they hope to have 3.5 mio. receive the booster before 31st Dec.

    This is more or less the only tool left in the box, except of course a full lock down

  8. schmoe

    I am not sure that I understand IMDoc’s last paragraph:

    “The media seems to be content informing everyone this is happening because of a delay in diagnosis [due to lockdowns]. I could see validity in that a year ago. Now, that supposition is just sheer lunacy. My own office is crawling with in-person visits. The tele-visits for the most part are over (emphasis added) and really only used for acute COVID and lab results and long distance patients.”
    – Wouldn’t the end of televisits and transition back to in person visits be when you would find cancers missed due to lack of in person visits? Is he saying that in person visits have been back to normal for the past year, in which case I do see his point.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think he is saying to underscore the point.

      And at least here, imaging didn’t stop except during lockdowns and they were short. Even if a doctor was doing mainly televisits, he could still send patients he was worried about to get an MRI or CT scan. So I don’t even really buy the lockdown excuse. It might have delayed procedures due to a backlog in surgeries, but much less so in diagnoses.

  9. ChrisRUEcon

    … they have learned nothing.

    The failure of the West on full display yet again.

    Still up on the “US Embassy & Consulates in China” website:

    “All travelers, including U.S. citizens who enter China, are screened upon arrival and subject to a minimum 14-day quarantine. While restrictions around domestic travel within China have eased, local quarantine requirements can vary significantly between cities, and regulations can change very quickly. All international arrivals should be prepared to complete quarantine at a government-selected facility or hotel at their own expense, with no control over the amenities, even if they maintain a residence in China. Cities and provinces within China may also require quarantine for domestic travelers, regardless of nationality.”

    China never stopped. I confirmed this anecdotally via a European friend whose spouse and child returned to China at the start of the last school term. Three weeks in all for them as returning citizens – two weeks at the point of disembarkation where two consecutive negative tests were required at the end to be permitted to leave – tests were administered either daily or every other day. They then had one week quarantine in the city of their final destination.

    There could never be an Oslo style outbreak in China. I really hope people are more serious this holiday season but with everybody in government leading us along with a “Happy Shiny People Holding Hands” version of the pandemic, I grow more concerned every day.

    1. drsteve0

      Couldn’t agree more. Years and decades hence, Shirley it will be appreciated that China’s approach was the best in terms of the greatest good for the greatest number? Why didn’t the West give SARS2 the same urgency as SARS1 or MERS? Because of the lower CFR? – who knows? The whining about China’s effective methods is sour grapes propaganda. China’s biggest problem is other nations pressuring them to return to unfettered trade and travel.

  10. Bricky

    I don’t want to be that guy, but I’m getting more and more the sense that the data coming out of SA is being subject to conscious manipulation. ICU usage and patients under ventilation in Gauteng were increasing significantly (about 4x over a 2 week period), but for the past 5 days, have held steady while case numbers and hospitalizations have continued to increase. This makes no sense to me. Even under a mild scenario, ICU usage should still track up over time to correspond to increased cases and hospitalizations.

    Also, there were a few articles about a week ago citing an administrator by name at a large Gauteng hospital, saying that admittance numbers and people requiring oxygen were increasing 30-40% a day. If I’m not wrong, that same hospital was reporting the death of a 15 year old directly attributed to covid, and saying that they had not seen this many young people requiring care before. But these were very isolated articles appearing in a British tabloid and picked up by minor outlets like the NZ Herald. All other media sources in English were touting very mild cases according to SA hospitals and doctors. So which is it? How can you square these diametrically opposed reports?

    I’m beginning to think South Africans felt burned by being nice guys sharing details their outbreak at a very early stage and being rewarded with economically devastating and insulting travel bans. So I don’t know if it’s an amorphous uncoordinated desire to minimize things, or an active directive from the government, but it seems like something is going on.

    1. Objective Ace

      >ICU usage and patients under ventilation in Gauteng were increasing significantly (about 4x over a 2 week period), but for the past 5 days, have held steady while case numbers and hospitalizations have continued to increase.

      Maybe they ran out of ICUs?

      1. Bricky

        Gauteng’s ICU usage is officially way way below previous peaks, so they have plenty of space for more patients.

  11. ML

    India had the misfortune of suffering perhaps the severest delta covid contagion a few months back. Recent screening of people in several cities – one of them being New Delhi – has shown that 90 +% were seropositive, even though the vaccine rate was way lower. This means that a major segment of population was unvaccinated, got infected but was asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.
    I think India should serve as a most appropriate field to evaluate the possibility and severity of long-term effects of covid.
    So far, there are no definitive indications there of these, at least as reported in the media.

  12. Objective Ace

    You go through a large T-cell exhaustion and derangement event and then you have fewer of them to monitor your own cells for malignancies. Thus one of the key mechanisms through which the body cleanses itself of tumors is diminished. An aged immune system is not so good with dealing with them, which is one reason (along with the sheer accumulation of mutations over time) why old people get cancer so much more frequently.

    Well, the virus directly causes derangement of cellular immunity so logically it should also cause an explosion in cancers

    Do not the vaccines cause a similar derangement of the cellular immunity (though perhaps to a lesser extent)? I believe that’s sort of the point–prepare the body for Covid by “gearing up” the immune system

    1. Raymond Sim

      Do not the vaccines cause a similar derangement of the cellular immunity (though perhaps to a lesser extent)? I


      The T-cell derangement and exhaustion are due to INFECTION BY AN AGGRESSIVE PATHOGEN. They’re not a ‘gearing up’ they’re the immune equivalent of combat fatigue.

      1. Mikel

        “The T-cell derangement and exhaustion are due to INFECTION BY AN AGGRESSIVE PATHOGEN..”

        And…well…Objective A’s question still remains a valid question that is unanswered.

      2. Objective Ace

        Intentional or not (we seem to only be concerned about antibodies) I would imagine the T-cells are also reacting to the spike proteins that the vaccines induce. And judging by the amount of antibodies after vaccination, there’s even more spike proteins that result from the vaccines than a natural covid infection

        1. TBellT

          Spike proteins don’t replicate on their own. With a strain like delta that reproduces at a quicker rate than the original, I don’t see how the amount of “particles” wouldn’t be higher in infection. Maybe the higher antibody count is due to the difference in the route of introduction to the body.

        2. Raymond Sim

          The spike is not the whole pathogen. Are you under the impression the mRNA vaccines produce full-blown viral replication?

          What exactly do you think T-cell derangement is? By what mechanism do you think the vaccines would deplete T-cells?

          As for this:

          …there’s even more spike proteins that result from the vaccines than a natural covid infection

          You seem to be misconstruing fake news about antibodies to the spike protein into something significantly more wrong.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            That is not what authoritative sources say. Please do not Make Shit Up. This isn’t the first time you’ve made highly confident assertions and then doubled down when you’ve been flat out incorrect.

            Messenger-RNA (mRNA) vaccines against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 provoke a swift and strong response by the immune system’s T cells—the heavy armor of the immune system—according to a study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


            This paper talked around T cell production relative to severity of infection. It seems that the T-cell response precedes (and should hopefully prevent) any cytokine storm. However it also suggests that even asymptomatic cases can have what Penn would call a “robust” immune response”

            A comparison of virus-specific T cells in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients revealed that the ability to mount a significant virus-specific T cell response is independent of the presence of symptoms.


            The issue here is whether repeated simulation of a T-cell response though multiple vaccinations gets you to a similar place to infection. That can be presumed to be not the case with the original two round regime given that most studies find vaccine-induced immunity to be less durable than infection-induced immunity.

            However, we have had readers who proudly say they got four shots as of a couple of months ago. IM Doc has one patient who has been jabbed 7 times and has been having serious health issues (although he is also seeing an Dr. Moonbeam for an extreme anti-aging program, so the results are more likely the interaction of the two regimes and not the crazy # of shots alone).

            1. Raymond Sim

              Yves, I can’t make out which of the things I said it is that you’re addressing.

              I’m not aware of any evidence of, or mechanisms for, T-cell derangement and/or depletion as a consequence of vaccination. That would be an awfully big deal.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                We only have so many T-cells. They get mainly made when we are young and in adulthood, T-cells are mainly divisions of existing cells. Repeated demands on T-cells cause T-cell exhaustion. From an overview of the topic:

                T cell exhaustion is a progressive loss of effector function due to prolonged antigen stimulation, characteristic of chronic infections and cancer. In addition to continuous antigen stimulation, antigen presenting cells and cytokines present in the microenvironment can also contribute to this exhausted phenotype.


                T-cell exhaustion is associated with autoimmunity:

                There are reports of autoimmune conditions getting worse after Covid vaccination. I know two people to whom this has happened. And one is very gung ho vax.

  13. The Rev Kev

    I have to admit on being suckered the past few weeks here in Oz. On the TV nightly they report the vaccination rates and break it down by single-vaccinated and double vaccinated. Then they break it down by State and nearly all of them are listed as being from 88% to 93% with the capital Canberra being over 95%. Wrong. Not even close. The real rate is about 78% single-vaccinated and 75% double-vaccinated. It was just a line of BS. How did they do it? I would guess that they do not include anybody under the age of about 16 or 18 which skews those figures way up. And as we all know, under 16s are fully capable of catching and spreading this virus. I feel so stupid in believing those figures. But what I did not believe were those video clips from medical staff from South Africa saying that Omicron is only mild and less people get really sick with it. And that was just a few hours ago. Even if it was mild, so many people would be turning up at hospitals that they will have to start triage and pick who gets an ICU bed lie they had to do in northern Italy in early 2020.

  14. Tom Stone

    When I look at critical systems and ask my self how resilient they are a year and change into the Pandemic…Oh shit.
    Healthcare was near a point of complete failure even before Omicron.
    We’re 60-90 days from complete collapse from simple exhaustion
    Supply chains are already a mess and going to get worse.
    Food shortages are quite likely.
    Current policies encourage mutations, Omicron will not be the last and is unlikely to be the worst.
    If the next successful mutation has a mortality rate of 5% or more….
    The USA does not have a functioning political system, it has been embrittled through corruption to the point that it can not deal with the reality of a pandemic.
    It won’t be boring.

  15. Antoine LeDada

    Again, Moderna is being the adult in the room and gives sober details of the situation. Per Dr Paul Burton, Chief medical Officer at Moderna :

    “The idea it will push Delta out of the way and take over may occur in the future, but I think in the coming months these two viruses are going to co-exist, and Omicron, which I would maintain is actually a severe disease, will now infect people on a background of very, very strong Delta pressure.

    It will also lead to a situation where individuals will become co-infected … which gives the opportunity for this virus to further evolve and mutate which is a concerning and worrying situation.

    We certainly don’t have to panic, we have many many tools at our disposal, we’ve learnt so much about this virus over the last two years, and we can continue to fight it, but I think Omicron poses a real threat.

    When you look at the data in SA about 15% of people who are hospitalised are in the intensive care unit, and while there’s variability, if you look back earlier in the year, at a time of delta surge in August, those numbers are about the same, 15%.

    So while the mortality rate we are seeing right now is mercifully lower, I think as a disease it is a very fit virus and it’s severe.”
    Source :

  16. William Hunter Duncan

    So I can’t really ask this in most places without being full-stopped with “it’s safe and effective” or “that’s misinformation”, but looking at that very long list of ailments, is there anyone serious considering maybe some of this has something to do with the prevalence of mRNA vaccines? Or a combination of covid and the vaccines? Because from my lowly vantage point at the very least it looks like a blind spot, and blind spots have a way of metastasizing over time.

    I’m just asking, because I hear a lot of talk about boosters and not any science really that they will actually improve the situation, and of course my employer is taking about requiring them, and quite frankly, finding so much dissembling and frank dishonesty out there, I am more inclined to go ascetic and embrace me some clean livin’ before I accept a booster regimen.

    1. Raymond Sim

      The virus has more tropisms (i.e. invades more types of our cells) than just any other, and it does a lot of damage. So a long list of ailments is to be expected.

      The list was already well filled out before the mRNA vaccines were even in trials, so I would think they’re ruled out except possibly as exacerbating factors.

      The earliest, most ardent advocates for boosting were people like Anthony Leonardi. There’s now a twitter account dedicated to translating him for everyday people – if I can find it, I’ll post a link later.

      Leonardi is a bit of a lightning rod. In my opinion, he’s very circumspect about what he asserts as scientific fact, especially in comparison to his detractors. However, he is not much given to false modesty, or to suffering fools.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        Good bot. Thanks.

        About this:

        “The virus has more tropisms (i.e. invades more types of our cells) than just any other, and it does a lot of damage. So a long list of ailments is to be expected.”

        I get that. But that doesn’t get to my fundamental question, what happens to those spike proteins created by the vaccines and do they in any way do the kind of damage people are attributing to them, that sound a lot like the ailments described? I don’t know but I keep asking and no one to date has given me a satisfactory answer either way.

        1. J.

          The spike proteins get transported to the outside of the cell that picked up the vaccine and sit on its surface for awhile until your immune system either destroys the cell or the protein is cleaned up by normal cellular “housekeeping” processes that clean up old proteins.

          Here is a useful summary:

          Here is a more technical discussion:

          The second article comments that the spike protein from a vaccine is
          1. stuck to cells, not free to float around and attach to endothelial cells as a complete virus would be, and
          2. the vaccine sequences used in US vaccines are for a modified spike protein that stays in its prefusion shape so it can’t bind ACE2 receptors as well as the original.

          Both would make spike proteins produced by the vaccine less dangerous than an actual virus particle.

          1. Wiliam Hunter Duncan

            These articles are informative. Thank you. That seems the general consensus from official Health Care.

            That said, both articles seem to suggest there is effectively no chance the spike proteins created can cause harm. But obviously harm is happening, and there is a belief out there that it is happening a good deal more often than what is reported; because there is such a censorious attitude in the media and in the Official Narrative, any information that might reflect badly on the vaccine is misinformation, whether it is true or not, that it might compromise the plan to get everybody vaccinated.

            It is hard to suss out how much harm is being created, because Officialdom acts as if no one is harmed by the vaccines, or that it is so uncommon it is negligible, but there is plenty of anecdotal information out there that a lot more people are being harmed than is reported. Health Care and media treating that like misinformation reminds me a lot of the DNC and and reports from the trenches in 2016 that Trump was gaining in the swing states, ignored because it didn’t fit the “she deserves it” narrative they were telling themselves.

        2. Raymond Sim

          I get that. But that doesn’t get to my fundamental question,…

          My point with that would be that discerning harms likely specific to the mRNA vaccines as opposed to those done by infection would be challenging at the best of times.

          In the situation we’re in, with such widespread previous infection, much of it asymptomatic and/or not discernable except by particularly sophisticated testing, and those things compounded by absolutely terrible public health data collection, a vaccine-specific problem would have to be a real doozy to be discernable as such. Not comforting I know.

  17. Tom Stone

    I have no hope of a coherent or rational response to Omicron and subsequent variants on the part of the USA.
    And the political fallout will be substantial, blaming the Unvaxxed will work for a little while longer, but it is reaching its “Sell By” date rapidly.
    Be careful and be lucky.

      1. Mantid

        The linked article you present is quite flawed and biassed and has a flavor of “cherry picked pie”. It has been debunked as an honest review of data by quite a few people.
        The “better” place to go for info on ivermectin and all other known “treatments” is here: It is updated every few days and when any study comes out, it is reviewed for accuracy and placed on the dashboard chart side by side with all other studies.

  18. Roger Blakely

    It is important that IM Doc mentions that some cerebral workers are getting frustrated and quitting work. I’m thinking that all of the brain damage is reversible. I’m thinking that cerebral workers will end up being just fine after six months of being free of SARS-CoV-2. However, it may take years for such conditions to come about.

    1. Sue inSoCal

      I’m hoping you’re right. Loss of brain function and/or central nervous system disorders are disabling for thinkers. Not just frustrating. Devastating. I, too, don’t like this happy talk about the “mildness” of omicron. As for now, I’m double masked and not swanning around. People are packed in this town like sardines partying like it’s 1999.

      I loved the anagrams.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Speaking as a guy with some pre-covid spongiosis, I think your optimisim is misplaced, or at the very least premature. Brain plasticity isn’t a superpower.

      We’re talking about widespread destruction of tissue and scarring, what precedents do we have to tell us what to expect, let alone what to expect when so many must recuperate on their own, all at once?

  19. HH

    Current 7-day average daily COVID death statistics for selected countries:

    Taiwan (population 20 million): 0
    Israel (population 8.8 million): 2
    New Zealand (population 4.9 million): 0
    Singapore (population 5.9 million): 5
    Canada (population 38 million): 20
    Norway (population 5.5 million): 6
    Sweden (population 10 million): 3

    1. LawnDart

      USA (population 332,000,000): 1092

      Wahooo!!! We’re #1!!! USA! USA!USA!

      (…except the numbers don’t add up…)

      1. Mantid

        USA first. Yea baby! But don’t forget Beattlebaum (Spike Jones), I mean Uttar Pradesh (India) with a population of 250 million. They’ve averaged ZERO deaths over the last few weeks. They’re running “dead” last.

        1. Ram

          I wish people stop referring Uttar Pradesh (UP) for any thing related to COVID. UP has child mortality rate of 40 per 1000 which is higher than many sub saharan african countries. To believe UP has zero covid death is a macabre joke . If u want to any stats on how india is doing, refer Kerala stats as a proxy . I just returned from Kerala and everyone is masking even in the smallest villages. Kerala is having pandemic in slow motion instead of surge. Their sero positivity rate is yet to hit 60% while in many india cities its in 90+ range. Multiple kerala numbers by 10-20 , you will get India numbers (even 10-20 is lower range..Deaths have been 70-80 times of reported numbers in many states like UP)

          1. Raymond Sim

            It would be nice if, at the very least, people would make some passing mention of all measures undertaken, not just their favorites.

            For instance, if I understood the newspaper articles I read correctly (English as a common language is sometimes also a barrier to understanding.) local train service was severely restricted, with restrictions not lifted till after Durga Puja.

  20. Ram

    India which had a devastating delta wave is going to massive testcase for natural immunity vs vaccine . Stats from India are as reliable as North korea so thing to watch out is hospitalization. So far things are quiet . India is fully open including schools so it’s open season for omicron.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? South Africa is at 70% to 80% seropositivity already due nearly entirely to prior infection (their 26% vaxxed overlaps significantly with those who also already had Covid) and we see how Omicron is faring there.

  21. Hank George

    “Another concerning thing I am beginning to hear from my oncology friends is the absolute explosion of soft tissue cancers that are happening. This is especially true of malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. One of my oncology colleagues noted to me the other day that he found it very troubling that these two in particular were going parabolic – the two soft tissue cancers whose etiology most have to do with a disordered immune system. Lymph tumors like lymphoma and myeloma are also apparently going off the charts as well.”

    I am very suspicious of this statement. It strongly suggests it wasn’t written by a physician or for that matter anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with oncology.

    Melanoma and kidney cancer are never referred to as “soft tissue cancers.” Neither are lymphomas or multiple myeloma.

    Soft tissue malignancies are mainly sarcomas and primary bone/cartilage cancers. They have far lower incidence rates than the cancers mislabeled here as being of “soft tissue” origin

    I spent 50 years as one of the country’s leading life insurance medical underwriters and I guarantee you no experienced underwriter with a degree in basket weaving would make such a dopey mistake as mislabeling melanoma, kidney cancer, lymphoma and multiple myeloma as soft-tissue malignancies.

    The stench here is quite disconcerting, doubly so considering the importance of hyping up the latest COVID-19 variant like chicken little running around the barnyard trying to rake in billions more vaccine revenue!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      IM Doc has taught for years at a med school which has top tier national standing in his speciality, internal medicine, and been on an Institutional Review Board for over a decade, including as its chairman, for clinical trials. You are out of line in challenging him and even worse in accusing him of not being a doctor and us of not having vetted him.

      I hoisted his comment from e-mail, which on the one hand he knows is fair game within our Covid Brain Trust unless they’ve asked that it be treated as confidential, but on the other hand he did not write with publication in mind. His response:

      This is a classification scheme that has been ongoing change for years –

      When I was young – these were both referred to as soft tissue cancers – however, now they are referred to as solid tissue cancers.

      THat is my fault – and I should always endeavor to be much more accurate in my writing –

      The fact is that medical people would look at that statement and know exactly what I was talking about.

      Currently – SOFT TISSUE cancers – are muscle, ligaments, bone, and SKIN

      SOLID TISSUE cancers are all the organs – so technically today a RENAL CELL CARCINOMA would be considered a SOLID TISSUE cancer –

      FLUID and LYMPH CANCERS are leukemia’s and lympomas.

      When I was young the SOFT and SOLID were all lumped together in SOFT –

      I am sorry – this person is a severe nit picker. We older physicians make “mistakes” like this all the time – and everyone knows exactly what we mean. Someone who is trying to discredit a statement with an overdone argument has no such grace.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Even I know that older docs often make this mistake when speaking informally.

        Why wouldn’t a medical insurance underwriter?

        Such a weird basis for an attack.

        1. Raymond Sim

          But if the gentleman has actuarial expertise and can explain to me why my alarm over Omicron is Chicken Little stuff I’d be grateful to be relieved of my anxieties.

  22. ML

    ‘Stats from India are as reliable as North korea’
    Your compliment to North Korea will make them happy.

  23. Deltron

    I’ve been trying to pay attention to news on an increase in soft tissue cancers and came across this from PolitiFact yesterday…

    So, they are rating the claim false, but admit there’s no evidence to support (or deny) the claim. However, it mentions soft tissue cancers were already on the rise, pre-pandemic. Instead of “rating the claim as false”, perhaps they should just say “we don’t know.”

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