Covid Sightings: Omicron Reinfections, Brain Effects, Shabby US Performance, Western Australia Border Controls

Some Covid developments that seemed worthy of a few more pixels than a link and a quick comment.

Omicron reinfections. We’d warned that Omicron reinfections were showing up at a surprising rate, given that Omicron was hardly anywhere at the end of November. The only conclusion one can reach is that some (many?) who get Omicron don’t get meaningful immunity. It appeared that the reinfections were in those famed “mild” cases.

Recall that the Imperial College REACT surveys are among the best data in the world on Covid. They test ~100,000 people every five weeks or so. And recall since the UK is a civilized country with a national health service, they have good data about the participants. The UK, unlike the US, also sequences a high percentage of the positive Covid samples.

The last REACT survey was January 5 to 20. CNBC summarizes the key findings:

The study found that 99% of sequenced positive swabs came from people infected with the omicron variant, with only 1% of infections being caused by the delta variant.

“We observed unprecedented levels of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in England in January 2022 and almost complete replacement of delta by omicron,” the study’s authors said in their paper released Wednesday.

Two-thirds of the 3,582 participants who tested positive in January reported they had already tested positive for Covid in the past. A further 7.5% of infected participants said they suspected they had previously had the virus, but had not had this confirmed with a test.

Indirectly confirmed by:

Additional intel:

Brain effects. We mentioned Anthony Leonardi’s concern, expressed in an interview in November with WSWS, about a Covid study performed on twelve rhesus macaque monkeys. Eight were infected with Covid and all sacrificed to examine their brains. All the infected monkeys had Lewy bodies when none of the controls did. As we explained, that is a big deal because Lewy bodies over time produce Lewy body dementia, a degenerative disease.

Lambert found a hot-off-the-presses preprint on human brains. N=only 5, but scientist GM confirmed that it’s hard to do studies that require human tissue; the researchers have to be lucky and patient. From SARS-CoV-2 invades cognitive centers of the brain and induces Alzheimer’s-like neuropathology:

Acute neurological disorders occur in many patients, and one-third of COVID-19 survivors suffer from “brain diseases”. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 invades the brains of five patients with COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s, autism, frontotemporal dementia or no underlying condition by infecting neurons and other cells in the cortex. SARS-CoV-2 induces or enhances Alzheimer’s-like neuropathology with manifestations of -amyloid aggregation and plaque formation, tauopathy, neuroinflammation and cell death. SARS-CoV-2 infects mature but not immature neurons derived from inducible pluripotent stem cells from healthy and Alzheimer’s individuals through its receptor ACE2 and facilitator neuropilin-1. SARS-CoV-2 triggers Alzheimer’s-like gene programs in healthy neurons and exacerbates Alzheimer’s neuropathology…

We found that SARS-CoV-2 invades the cognitive centers of all five COVID-19 patients, leading to Alzheimer’s-like neuropathology or Alzheimer’s neuropathology exacerbation. SARS-CoV-2 infects human inducible pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived mature neurons from healthy individuals, leading to amyloid beta (A) deposition, increased inflammation, neuronal death and increased expression of Alzheimer’s mediators. Strikingly, we found that SARS-CoV-2-infects neurons from healthy individuals through a shared gene expression program with Alzheimer’s neurons, leading to activation of the infectious pathways and supporting the infectious etiology of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eeek. The only possible solace is this was a very small study; perhaps this damage isn’t as pervasive if you get a bigger and therefore more representative population. Still….

Shabby US performance. The august New York Times has roused itself to acknowledge the fact that the US has the worst Covid death rate per capita of any wealthy country. Only sorta-shambolic places like Greece and Russia score lower.

The Times attributes this poor outcome solely to our poor vaccination rate. It only barely and late acknowledges poor underlying health, such as a high rate of diabetes and obesity, and did not mention very uneven access to health care. It only mentions masks only once, again late, omits ventilation and ignores isolating when sick. Instead, and I am not making this up, it makes those who question the officialdom responsible too. From U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries:

“Death rates are so high in the States — eye-wateringly high,” said Devi Sridhar, head of the global public health program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who has supported loosening coronavirus rules in parts of Britain. “The United States is lagging.”

Some of the reasons for America’s difficulties are well known. Despite having one of the world’s most powerful arsenals of vaccines, the country has failed to vaccinate as many people as other large, wealthy nations. Crucially, vaccination rates in older people also lag behind certain European nations.

The United States has fallen even further behind in administering booster shots, leaving large numbers of vulnerable people with fading protection as Omicron sweeps across the country.

Despite beginning Covid-19 vaccinations months earlier than countries like Japan and Australia, a smaller share of people in the United States are now fully vaccinated.

The resulting American death toll has set the country apart — and by wider margins than has been broadly recognized. Since Dec. 1, when health officials announced the first Omicron case in the United States, the share of Americans who have been killed by the coronavirus is at least 63 percent higher than in any of these other large, wealthy nations, according to a New York Times analysis of mortality figures….

Hospital admissions in the U.S. swelled to much higher rates than in Western Europe, leaving some states struggling to provide care. Americans are now dying from Covid at nearly double the daily rate of Britons and four times the rate of Germans.

Due to the hour, I can’t assess the New York Times’ international vaccination rate comparison. And recall also that our IM Doc contends that many of his vaccinated patients are not listed as vaccinated in official databases, so the ones who are hospitalized are incorrectly counted as unvaxxed hospitalizations. So US data is bad and one also has the issue of consistency in cross country comparisons.

Nevertheless, I had a quick look at Statista, which lists the raw number of vaccinations by country per 100 people. It creates a different picture that the Times story. Japan, with its impressively low Covid rate, is virtually on a par with the US, when you’d expect Japan to be much higher due to having an aged population and compliant citizens who see their doctors a lot. Greece’s vaccination rate is above the EU average, suggesting that having a broken hospital system can more than offset the benefit of a solid level of vaccination.

And here is the Times’ shameless dissenter-bashing:

More Americans have also come to express distrust — of the government, and of each other — in recent decades, making them less inclined to follow public health precautions like getting vaccinated or reducing their contacts during surges, said Thomas Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A study published in the scientific journal The Lancet on Tuesday by Mr. Bollyky and Dr. Dieleman of the University of Washington found that a given country’s level of distrust had strong associations with its coronavirus infection rate.

“What our study suggests is that when you have a novel contagious virus,” Mr. Bollyky said, “the best way for the government to protect its citizens is to convince its citizens to protect themselves.”

Gee, perhaps if the government showed more interest in protecting its citizens, they also might be willing to take up suggestions about how to care for themselves and their fellow community members? The lack of recognition of the impact of the neoliberal conditioning, as in treating everyone as an island responsible only for themselves and at most their immediate family, is striking.

Western Australia’s cordon sanitaire of sorts Oddly, the press has largely ignored Western Australia’s stringent and generally very successful Covid restrictions. The Financial Times has a long story yesterday on how they were being tested by Omicron plus fatigue. Despite predictable whining by senior businessmen who can’t abide having to quarantine if they want to visit, as well as complaints about worker shortages, the piece was pretty even-handed if you read it in full. For instance, it pointed out that the mining industry in the far side of the back of beyond often had trouble with staffing and it wasn’t clear how much of the current crunch could be attributed to Covid. From the Financial Times:

Western Australia, the country’s largest and most mineral-rich state, was due this week to finally open its domestic borders after two long years operating as a “hermit state”.

But the rapid rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant prompted an abrupt reversal of that plan…

Western Australia is home to many of the country’s largest mines, ranging from the huge iron ore pits in the Pilbara operated by BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and Hancock Prospecting to smaller operators digging for nickel, lithium and gold.

The border closure has played a large part in protecting the country’s mining industry from the worst ravages of the pandemic. Omicron has begun to penetrate the state, with the first case confirmed at BHP’s Yandi iron ore mine last week when a train driver tested positive, forcing 70 of his colleagues to isolate.

Covid-19 cases, which have had a devastating effect at mines outside the state, have been rare. But the closure of Western Australia’s borders has also led to a labour shortage, particularly of train drivers, mining and electrical engineers, geologists and geophysicists….

Australia initially adopted strict border closures internally and internationally, which helped keep its toll of infections and deaths comparatively low. Most states relaxed the restrictions, however, after vaccination rates increased and in response to accusations that the border closures infringed on citizens’ rights. Only Western Australia has kept its border closed.

Jakob Madsen, professor of economics at the University of Western Australia, questioned how much of an impact the border closure has had on the labour market, noting there was already a shortage in the industry due to a mining boom that has been heightened by some workers’ unwillingness to get vaccinated, a government requirement.

I’d very much appreciate further comment from readers Down Under and otherwise knowledgeable about how Western Australia is faring. Having said that, when I lived in Sydney, WA got the short shrift in news coverage. But it most assuredly is not an autarky; the growing areas are in the eastern part of the continent. But WA should feature on the list showing that Covid minimization is possible and also does not cripple the economy, US media mouthpieces to the contrary.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘I’d very much appreciate further comment from readers Down Under’

    I’ll just put in a brief comment here to answer this particular question and the answer is – crickets. I have heard very little news from Western Australia in fact since they decided to keep the borders closed and when I think about it, is like the dog from the Sherlock Homes story who did not bark. Other commenters from Oz may have a different viewpoinbt. I guess that the difference between the daily handful of cases that they are having in W.A. is too big a contrast with the butcher’s bill that we are racking up in the rest of Oz. And by my count, 3,000 have now died since they opened up the country in July.

    Also – in the news they were reporting the number of people who died of Covid. But recently they have changed the format and now say the number of people that died with Covid. One other thing. Apparently a bunch of executives are having a hissy fit and have packed their bags and left Western Australia because of the decision to not open that State. Business people will kill us all to keep all their profits flowing-

    1. GM

      Cases in WA are consistently between 10 and 20 the last few days, with a few unlinked every day too:

      Still no lockdown and still no mass testing, so it is not looking good

      Apparently a bunch of executives are having a hissy fit and have packed their bags and left Western Australia because of the decision to not open that State.

      One would think that would be an actual positive…

      1. The Rev Kev

        I don’t think that WA has the medical resources to open up so if it is too spread, it may be better to keep the restrictions up to ‘flatten the curve’ of hospital admittances. The interesting bit will be when they have to shut down entire mines due to infections as I know that that will grab Scotty’s attention as that will effect the economy. Mass testing, like you say, would be a good idea but there is still a shortage of them as the government never thought to stockpile kits before opening up the country.

        1. GM

          Note that you don’t do mass testing with kits, you do it with pooled PCR, Chinese style.

          The kits don’t scale.

          And in fact their real purpose has been to enable mass infection, because there is no mechanism for mandatory isolation to go with them as they are often not tracked, plus they have a high false negative rate.

          WA never invested in large-scale PCR testing capacity, and neither did AU and NZ as a whole, while that was the first thing China did to exit the Wuhan lockdown.

          1. Kris Alman

            Denmark is the country to watch when it comes to BA.2.

            From this preprint, Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron VOC subvariants BA.1 and BA.2: Evidence from Danish Households:

            In week 52 of 2021, BA.2 accounted for around 20% of all Danish SARS-CoV-2 cases; in week 2 in 2022 this had increased to around 45%, indicating that BA.2 carries an advantage over BA.1 within the highly vaccinated population of Denmark. The RT-PCR test used in Denmark does not target the S-gene deletion to detect Omicron cases, but instead targets the spike position L452 Wt (Spiess et al., 2021). Thus in the current set-up, Danish RT-PCR data cannot distinguish between BA.1 and BA.2. However, whole genome sequencing (WGS) is conducted routinely in Denmark (, providing the opportunity to identify and differentiate between BA.1 and BA.2.

            The U.S. DOES NOT routinely conduct whole genome sequencing. So when BA.2 takes off here, we simply won’t know.

            But the preprint’s conclusion is ominous:

            We conclude that Omicron BA.2 is inherently substantially more transmissible than BA.1, and that it also possesses immune-evasive properties that further reduce the protective effect of vaccination against infection, but do not increase its transmissibility from vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections.

            1. Duke of Prunes

              I really don’t understand that conclusion.

              I think I get the first part that BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1 and the vaccine is less effective against it. But then it goes on to say that it’s not more transmissible from vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections? I thought we just said it’s more transmissible? Is there a different transmissibility from a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated person? Isn’t an infection an infection?

      2. Basil Pesto

        Yes, while they did admirably postpone their border re-opening after seeing the Omicron shitshow in the eastern states, they do seem less determined to contain any outbreak that crops up now. I don’t think their success will hold for much longer. Hope I’m wrong. As you’ve pointed out before though, the fact that they’re not taking serious measures to maintain their freedoms by adopting durable measures to do so such as more rigorous TTIQ, mass PCR testing or constructing bespoke quarantine facilities would suggest that the writing is on the wall.

        fwiw, enjoyably outspoken eliminationist Dr David Berger is based in Broome in the state’s north, and has been saying for months that he is under no illusions that WA will go the way of the eastern states sooner or later.

    2. bwilli123

      The MSM in Australia very quickly fell into the Federal Govt/Business line of having to inevitably ‘learn to live alongside the virus’. Their HQ’s are based in Sydney & Melbourne and are not representative of the rest of the country. There is also the rabid Murdoch media factor to contend with.
      The 4 smaller states had basically zero daily new cases at the end of November when they previously had agreed to reopen borders based on nationally vaccinated levels. The re-opening coincided, of course with Omnicron but because Christmas was coming they stuck with it. Besides which the govt and media eagerly grabbed at the notion it was ‘mild’.
      Media criticism of the zero states was aimed almost exclusively at the Labor Party run states of Qld and WA and focused heavily on interviewing the proprietors of health clinics, cafes and hairdressers; the only small business media identities have contact with, and so think are representative of the whole. They also quickly found who were the ‘go to’ experts that would support their biases, and heavily featured their views however wrong they continued to be.
      They ignored staff in frontline aged care, or people with co-morbities, or the immuno-suppressed where possible. Anyone in fact that had reason to fear open slather.
      Covid has exposed the fault lines of Neo-liberalism; the hollowing out of public services, again and again, particularly at the federal level. It will result in a wipe out of the Liberal Party at the federal level, although not to the degree seen in Western Australia in 2021 where it was reduced to 2 MP’s from 13 (and partly due to Covid)
      In South Australia, particularly Adelaide I still am seeing 100% masking compliance amongst adults at my local shopping centre. PCR tests are free for symptomatics and close contacts. RAT’s are free for registered close contacts through drive in distribution centres located across the city. State goverment vaccine centres are run smoothly.
      Daily new cases are trending down from a peak of 5,500 per day a month ago to less than 1500, though expected to increase with start of school (for which there have been inadequate preparations)
      There is still a large degree of trust in the public health professionals in this state (if not the government directing it) led largely (in the public eye) by the state chief medical officers who have risen to the occasion in this state, and others, and fallen by the wayside in NSW.

  2. GM

    I see this all the time and nobody corrects it, so let me do it.

    When you see “10% reinfection” in the UK, that actually means close to zero protection.

    Because that indicates how many of the current cases are confirmed reinfections, but you can only a confirmed reinfection you have been a confirmed infection before, and the UK only at 13-14% officially infected before Omicron came.

    In reality half of the infections now are reinfections because of all the infections that were not officially recorded previously.

    1. Greg Taylor

      Are reinfections equally common in the vaccinated, unvaccinated, and those previously infected with another variant?

    2. Ahimsa

      Would be interesting to know the breakdown of reinfections by infection status.

      Various nations’ data indicating vaccinated more likely than unvaccinated to be infected by Omicron.

      Also, of the vaccinated reinfections, was their initial infection before or after their vaccination?

      1. Ahimsa

        I haven’t been stopping by NC here as often as last year.

        Has there been reporting here on the apparent increased rates of infection with Omicron amongst vaccinated populations? It seems suggestive of Original Antigenic Sin along the lines described by Geert van den Bosch.

        It’s making the push to get everyone vaccinated (including low-risk cohorts) with a vaccine targeting the spike protein of a variant from 2 years ago seem ever more questionable.

        Hence my questions about the vaccine status breakdown of the reinfections. Are the current vaccines potentially imprinting people with ineffective immune responses to new variants??

        1. Mikel

          I can’t help but note the timeline for when the franken-spike proteins on Omicron and subsequent variants started appearing….

    3. R

      I think the UK had a significantly higher attack rate before omicron. I will find the reference and post it shortly. But even if it was 30%, a 10% reinfection rate is anywhere from 66% protection (if uniform in reinfection) to 0% (if all in patients of >12 months since first infection). So, point taken in broad terms but be careful not to overstate it.

      1. GM

        Again, it looks like there is still some misunderstanding.

        Let’s say we had 50% actually infected of which 12% were recorded.

        We see 10% reinfected now.

        That 10% can only come from those 12%.

        Does not mean the other 38% of the 50% is not getting reinfected, they are, but THAT is counted as a first infection if they get tested.

        So if the actual attack rate was 30% before (I think that is low, it was more like 40-50% before Omicron), and we are seeing 10% confirmed reinfections with Omicron, after 12% had officially tested positive, that means that close to half of the infections right now are actual reinfections.

    1. Dean

      It looks to me from the last line of table 2 that 4/4 Rhesus monkeys had lewy bodies but 2/4 cynomolgus had lewy bodies.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Well spotted; my bad for relying on the Abstract and not reading the entire thing carefully — there were two species of primate studied, but only the macaques are mentioned in the abstract.

        My apologies to Yves.

    2. Basil Pesto

      about a Covid study performed on twelve rhesus macaque monkeys.

      Terry Gilliam to the white courtesy phone, please.

  3. Mikel

    “Since the omicron wave, the reinfection rate has increased from less than 1% in the past to 10% of the total number of infections…”

    Over what period of time and for which variants? This doesn’t seem like info that can be conveyed in a soundbite tweet like this.
    Reinfection rate data would be better conveyed on a chart with graphs over time considering the temporary nature of coronavirus “immunity” that is.particular to coronaviruses in general – not just variants.

    “Anthony Leonardi @fitterhappierAJ has shown that the immune system T-cells are damaged by covid (shades of HIV), potentially undermining not just Covid immunity but immunity to other diseases, and part of Autoimmune dysfunction after covid..”

    The studies on T cells and covid are piling up and the officials are still laser focused on anti-bodies testing.

  4. Ignacio

    I was expecting these kind of news on reinfection, particularly omicron-omicron reinfection which implies a very short reinfection term. Israel being first to report this it will soon be reported elsewhere in Europe at least. This might result in waves doing their way down differently.

    At some point most infections will be re-infections given how many have been infected during this wave. But it would be new to see re-infections being significant in the same season. This might also change the evolutionary panorama for SARS CoV 2.

    The good thing, I believe, is that this might help keeping previous and more virulent strains at bay. It also seems that among those vaccinated or previously infected, omicron might boost better neutralization against former variants than against itself. Proof of original sin there?

    1. vao

      Weren’t there already reports of massive reinfection rates with pre-Omicron variants from Brazil (specifically Manaus) and Iran?

      1. GM

        Iran was estimated to be at 150% attack rate prior to Omicron, Sistan and Balochistan at more than 200%.

        Manaus is having a third wave now, and Iran is having a 6th one, indistinguishable from those elsewhere. No herd immunity whatsoever.

        And they vaccinated 60-70% on top of the previous infections too.

        Deaths are relatively low for now, as in South Africa. We will see how the next waves look, when we get something else.

    2. GM

      It doesn’t boost them to really high levels though.

      It looks like we might get a BA.2 Spring wave after the BA.1 one, but this may well only have the effect of driving the selective pressure further towards Omicron escape, and thus giving a second-generation non-Omicron variant the upper hand in mid-2022

      1. Ignacio

        Who knows what will occur in the future but what is certain is that with current variants being much more pathogenic than the former variants the chances that new variants can outcompete BA.1 or BA.2 are lower. This, as a probability game, which doesn’t rule out any of the possibilities.

      1. Ignacio

        This is it. Of course reinfection rates higher among those who are most exposed.

        Possibly, the faster the former infection was cleared the higher the probability of reinfection in a short time.

  5. Mikel

    Reading about all the brain/neurological findings on people with Covid and it’s no comfort to think what effects many viruses have on the brain but the funding or interest isn’t there for studies as it has been with Covid.

      1. Mikel

        Exactly. Hopefully what is being learned about Covid and the brain – it has the spotlight – will spur people not to treat the idea of an “endemic virus” (of any kind) with such a cavalier attitude.

        Covid has the funding for a lot of expensive neuro scans.

    1. Boshko

      Anecdata, n = 1: my 79yo father had a severe cardiac arrest in Jan 2020 that caused a TBI. After a weeklong coma in the ICU, he slowly recovers some physical functions. Eating, standing, reading, even some walking (which was shaky before) and writing. By Mar 2020 his progress is hopeful (obviously full recovery is out of the question, but some cognitive/physical function seems attainable). Then he gets covid in Mar 2020, and all progress is essentially back to square one, which improves then regresses monthly since.

      Physical recovery aside (which depends so much on regular PT and OT–impossible in lockdown 2020), his cognitive recovery practically flatlined after his covid infection (which didn’t require a ventilator, but supplemental oxygen–he was hospitalized from a bad fall, which led to the covid diagnosis). Infinitely many confounding variables here, not to mention the great unknown of what a TBI does–itself a sweeping term for any traumatic brain injury–but it’s hard not to see some obvious correlations.

  6. jonboinAR

    I hope I can tell my experience with Covid-19 here without it being annoying as in, derailing the topic any. If it is, I apologize and won’t complain if y’all moderate it out. I’m just wondering if others have had the same luck taking supplements against Covid-19 as I seem to have had.

    To add a variant (sorry!) to the topic, if I may, are there others besides me in the NC community who seem to have had quite good luck with the Corona while taking a regimen of supplements specifically meaning to combat it? I’m pretty certain that I’ve been exposed to it several times, most recently last week. I’ve tested 5 times, I think, including over this past weekend. They’ve all come back as negative for Covid. The most certain I’ve been of exposure was in mid-December, 2020. My wife had “the Cove”, a mild case, thankfully. I spent the 10 or 14 days (can’t remember which) of isolation in the same house with her with the central air running. I don’t know how much staying at the other end of the house could have helped me, but that’s all I did to protect myself, uh,…. geographically from her.

    Now, beginning about 2 weeks before my wife came down with Covid-19, I luckily(?) had started a daily regimen of several supplements. I began taking, and still do, 4000 IU of Vitamin D, 150 mg of zinc (that I take less now of, but daily), 2500 mg of Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin K, and an ordinary multi-vitamin. In the past month with the Omicron variant seemingly rampant in my area, I’ve begun taking a quercetin supplement, too. This I take for a few days, and then cycle off of for a few.

    Now, so far it’s been so good. I have not caught the Corona. I’m virtually certain that I’ve been exposed, to some extent or other, at least 4 times. All of these exposures that I’m pretty sure I’ve had, have been while I was on my supplement. Oh, shoot! Nearly forgot: I’m also vaxxed and boosted with Moderna. While I quarantined with my wife, though, and was surely exposed to some extent, I was not vaxxed or boosted. I got my vaccination in April of 2021, my booster in December of 2021.

    Now, I’m not certain if my experience in isolation can really be given much value. I’ve no training in statistical interpretation, but have picked up enough by reading to understand that a single anecdote can never mean a lot, if anything. I, emotionally or intuitively or something, attribute my good luck so far to some combination of my supplement regimen and the vaccine regimen. If it’s alright with Yves and Lambert, may I ask what others think about this and what have been their experiences with supplements, vaccines and “The Corona”?

    1. Darius

      I take a daily multivitamin with vitamin D and zinc. At night, I take another 1000 mg of vitamin D. I see it as no-regrets precaution. I also think the RDA is probably enough but go a little higher on vitamin D. I also try to avoid the three Cs. Crowds Enclosed places and close contact. Also triple vaxxed. So far, I haven’t tested positive either. YMMV, I suppose. I have to say I got the idea from the NC commentariat. I’ll look into these other supplements.

    2. Jack

      JonboinAR, I personally do not take supplements. I get regular exercise, lots of sunshine, and am in fairly good health. I have gotten the initial dose of J and J and the J and J booster. I have been tested 5 times over the last 2 years when I knew I had been around someone who had or came down with Covid. All negative. I wear an N95 mask whenever I go into any store but do not wear one outside. I do not go to bars and restaurants or attend any events where I have to remain around a group of close packed people inside any dwelling. I am 65 and retired, but I have a part time business where I marry couples. I marry about 35-40 couples a month. The weddings vary from small ceremonies outside to large weddings which are most often outside, even in the winter ( I am in SC). I stay away from people except when I am actually performing the ceremony and signing the paperwork. I usually do not shake hands and just perform the Covid “bump”. If I do shake hands (the habit is still so ingrained that sometimes I slip and accept a handshake) I always use hand sanitizer after the event. After every large event I always use a nebulizer when I get home with a food grade hydrogen peroxide and saline solution. I have never gotten Covid. I attribute my “success” so far to the fact that I avoid situations where I am would get any sort of a level of exposure. You have to get to some plateau of a viral load to get infected, though with Covid that level is understood to be fairly low. No exact number has been identified at least as far as I can find, which is another indicator of the poor state of governmental interest in understanding this disease and wiping it out.

    3. Basil Pesto

      I’m double vaxed with AZ – with Omicron Inconsider myself unvaxed. Wear N95s with a somewhat technical cloth overmask indoors. I don’t go out heaps but I’m not entirely risk free, as I go into shops, cafes etc. on a pretty much daily basis, but never for very long periods (<5 minutes, probably longer in a supermarket). I’ve also started going to local bars etc. more lately, drinking + reading (not talking/socialising) outside only (might cave and do some indoor drinking in the 2-8 week period after I’m boosted, although hopefully by the time I’m eligible an Omicron-specific vaccine will be available). Haven’t caught it as far as I know. (my throat’s maybe been feeling a bit weird this week but I’m thinking it’s nocebo effect and I’m too shook to dip into my modest RAT stockpile to check, lol)

      I take supplements – D and B12 were actually prescribed by my doctor during lockdown last year after I got blood tests and was showing low levels. I take a D3 + K2 supp, though I’m back to playing golf a lot lately so the D supp is probably unnecessary. I take Zinc too. I also occasionally take melatonin but this is legit for sleep, even though some research has suggested a C19 benefit.

      I take these far more in hope than expectation, because that is all the data suggests I can do. I have no time for
      people who suggest these interventions have more power than they are actually shown to, or that they represent a viable solution to the pandemic, are some clandestine secret panacea but nobody knows it because there’s no money in it, or even as a viable alternative to vaccines. They’re low risk so I just quietly take them and hope for the best. fwiw, here’s a thread I read today about vitamins as a potential double-edged sword

      1. marku52

        Interesting Utoob at MedCram–about sunlight VS covid. Data suggests that the seasonality of Covid comes not from UV-B induced Vit D, but instead from deep tussue IR created Melatonin. (Study manages to separate UV, and temp and humidity as other plausible factors)

        Melatonin moderates oxidative stress, and that is the proposed mechanism of sunlight helping to reduce Covid damage.

        Get out in the sunshine if you can!

    4. Tomfoolery

      We supplement w Vit D and Mg. We had used Zinc, but wife’s doc said zinc should only be used when you suspect contact, not as a daily thing, so we stopped that. Unvaxxed, but generally and avoid crowds and low ventilation places (blessed to work from home).

      We had a recent known close contact – wife was talking to son on same sofa for 3+ hours the day before his symptom onset (2d before his positive test). She never tested positive, and had only one night of questionable symptoms (night sweat). We attribute her minimal/no infection, and lack of infection to the rest of the house, partially to the supplements, but mostly to the medical grade air filter we had running in the room. Who knew ventilation could have an impact? ;-)

        1. K.k

          I too am curious. I have read some study from the early aughts that discusses zinc supplementation and prostate cancer. But from what I recall the concern was with supplementing with around 100 mg daily for prolonged period of time, like 10 years. I have a friend who was advised to take it easy on the zinc from his doc as well. But at least in his case the concern was the zinc supplement interacting with other medications.

          I heave been taking Optizinc on and off for the past two years. I actually think i may have been deficient in zinc as i find it gives be an noticeable energy boost for the second half of my day and and seems to help with some skin issues.

    5. lordkoos

      I’ve been in many situations where I could have caught it, and perhaps I did catch it with mild or no symptoms. I have been taking supplements also for a long time, taking vit D, B and C for years. Now also take vit K, have been taking Quercetin for over a year as I found it helps with enlarged prostate symptoms (try it, old guys!). I also start taking Ivermectin ahead of time when I think I will be in an exposure situation. Niether myself or my wife (we are both 70) have become seriously ill in the last two years. I have only been tested a couple of times when I had what I thought was a cold, results were negative.

      1. Skunk

        I think what you’ve said here is important: “Perhaps I did catch it with mild or no symptoms.” Whether or not you ever had an asymptomatic case, there must be a large number of people who were infected without symptoms. If there is hidden neurological damage that later becomes apparent, we may not even associate the future problems with the actual cause (e.g., infection with SARS-CoV-2).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the neuro-damage in people known to have had covid is distinct from other kinds of neuro-damage from other causes, and if people who seemingly never had covid get covid-signature-type neuro-damage years later, dare one suppose that they might have had unknown covid in their pre-neuro-damage past?

  7. Samuel Conner

    I suppose one could argue that the under-acknowledgment of adverse vaccine outcomes is tidily balanced by under-recognition of chronic post-acute COVID-19 sequelae.

    Both brought to us by our public health authorities.

    Ignorance is bliss!

    Until it isn’t, a point we may be beginning to reach.

    IM Doc (I think) has commented that he expects incandescent rage when the poor anti-infective efficacy of the vaccines is widely acknowledged. I would expect even more anger when the degree of chronic impairments is clearer — what gigantic risks our leaders have taken with their “let ‘er rip” approach.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that the taxonomists who chose the species name Homo sapiens were a bit ‘out over their skis.’ Or maybe they were right, but didn’t recognize the range of varieties. Perhaps we are ruled by examples of Homo sapiens var. sociopathicus.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      perhaps the incandescent rage will be ameliorated by cognitive impairment.
      the lewey body stuff is frelling terrifying.
      zombie apocalypse.
      I’ve always hated our overlords, to some degree…proportional to how much i learn about their doin’s and hypocrisy and evil.
      this is so much worse.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I knew someone who eventually died of it. He was very docile and quiet for many years before the diagnosis came. Not a zombie but forgetful.

        1. TimH

          There are all sorts in the nursing home that my mum is in. Some quiet, some verbal or like to make banging sounds with walking frames etc.

          Society is NOT set up for hordes of normal-looking but cognitively impaired citizens in 10 years time. Living in a large dense city like Atlanta will be an “interesting time”, in the proverbial sense.

      2. Samuel Conner

        The day the Leonardi interview was linked at NC was a bad day for me — thinking all day about “Lewy apocalypse”.

        I hope that onset is not rapid and there is time to adapt, both at the level of ‘individual afflicted people’, and ‘society at large.’

        OTOH, given the degree of denial, obfuscation and pollyanna-think we have seen so far in public discourse about the pandemic, it’s hard to be optimistic that adequate adaptation measures will be undertaken even if there is time for them.

        Not at all unlike with climate change.

        Back to ‘zombie apocalypse’ — perhaps the next movie will be a documentary.

        1. chuck roast

          We may well have been experiencing a zombie apocalypse for decades without even suspecting it. Having been a humanities major I am well equipped to comment on scientific subjects (ha!). Anyway, I also spent a good number of years administering the Clean Air Act. I always suspected that a major reason for the increase in dementia and alzheimers in the last half of the 20th century was the presence of airborne lead from the emissions of gasoline engines. Recently the instances of these mental diseases has diminished. Leaded gasoline was phased out in 1975. Correlation is not causation, but it is creepy to hear that this latest plague could lead to really bad mental health outcomes just when overall mental health appeared to be improving.

    3. Glossolalia

      Has anyone come across a compilation of media and government officials spreading vaccine misinformation? I know of Rachel Maddow and Uncle Joe so far, but there must be many more.


      “Now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person,” Maddow said on her show the evening of March 29, 2021.

      “A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else,” she added with a shrug. “It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people.”

      Uncle Joe:

      “How about making sure that you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else.”

      1. The Historian

        There are a ton of media personalities of every persuasion saying: ‘It’s not that bad. Let it rip!’ which to me is just as bad as saying that ‘vaccines will protect you’. I am particularly disappointed in Breaking Points. I can understand why Saager Engeti says that – he’s a libertarian – but I cannot understand why Krystal Ball is following along. I always thought she was smarter than that.

        1. Eclair

          I have the same reaction to Saager and Krystal and their attitude towards CoVid, Historian. I have read and heard too much about the possible long term effects of the SARS Cov-2 virus over the past 8 or 9 months to dismiss it so cavalierly. But, I am a cautious type. Well, even Breaking Points can’t be perfect.

    4. steve

      John Berger’s the Operator rides roughshod over humanity and the souls are but detritus. I hope the anger, if it comes, plays to the detriment of the Operator but that is iffy.

  8. BeliTsari

    What a CHEERY way, to start each day. Kinda like Lenny Bruce carrying court documents and legal texts to entertain his drunked-up audiences? Lewy bodies: CHECK, Tau bundles: CHECK, pediatric CHF & micro-clots… It occurs to us that a LOT of us marks, reinfected with omicron after gnarly mRNA side-effects & chronic PASC, might not show up as ever having tested positive, as government tried to disappear breakthrough cases (like schoolkids?)

    We’re STILL curious, about FREE immunoglobulin testing (since my PCP knows we’ve had it, but as in 2020) I’d like to await something that WORKS?

      1. BeliTsari

        You’d long-ago become the single best source: a self-editing/ correcting amalgam of pertinent, astute timely and transparent clearinghouse of clear-headed, journalistic, equanimous, updated & prescient information on the terrifying, world-wide pandemic… (along with accurate reporting on the SARS CoV2 virus & COVID plague, media has used as Catastrophe Capitalism’s catalyst?) Thank you ALL!

      2. AndrewJ

        I owe you and all the rest of the writers, moderators and the commentariat thanks. I was thinking only a few months ago that I might as well go get Omicron, “get it over with” and/or see how well I fare. The reporting here and having a heart failure survivor / Covid-cautious close friend turned that around. I remain leery of continuous boosters, but going forward my MO is “Don’t get COVID. It hurts you every time.”

    1. vegasmike

      I saw Lenny Bruce late in 1963. I was 17 at the time. I listened to Lenny Bruce comedy records earlier. They were brilliant and in no way politically partisan.
      His last days were sad and pathetic. He was a pioneer and like many pioneers his career didn’t end well.

  9. T_Reg

    Considering Imperial College’s apocalyptic prediction in the past, which at least contributed to lockdown fever, I’m not inclined to use even a dry accounting of facts from them alone to guide public policy. I mpatiently await more studies, particularly regarding omicron-omicron re-infections.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is ad hominem. They collect better data and more systematically over time than any other body. You need to address their latest findings.

    2. Glossolalia

      I’m curious to see the reaction that the (non-peer reviewed) Johns Hopkins study gets.

      They were separated into three groups: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-placeorder (SIPO) studies, and specific NPI studies. An analysis of each of these three groups support the conclusion that lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically, stringency index studies find that lockdowns in Europe and the United States only
      reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. SIPOs were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average. Specific NPI studies also find no broad-based evidence
      of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality.

      There seems to still be a large contingent who think that if we just did a serious lockdown that we’d get rid of covid.

      1. Basil Pesto

        lol, economists.

        Presumably their peers will be economists too?


        lockdown, executed properly (which it seldom if ever was in the US and Europe, compare + contrast with China or Victoria 2020), is merely a form of quarantine. If your submission in the year of our lord 2022 is that quarantine doesn’t halt the transmission of contagious diseases, then you’re basically a raving loon.

        1. Glossolalia

          Quarantine may slow the spread of contagious diseases, but clearly doesn’t halt them since China and Australia are still dealing with Covid. It’s similar to the promise that if you get vaccinated you won’t get covid. People figured out pretty quickly that it’s not true. Similarly people have figured out that closing schools and businesses for weeks at a time doesn’t stop covid, it merely slows it down as it waits for you to reopen. But of course you can’t keep schools and businesses closed forever.

          1. CuriosityConcern

            It’s not just lockdown though, track and trace would need to really be implemented and without complete, adequate financial support the lockdown isn’t really an effective quarantine is it?
            The thing is, the example countries you cite did, from outside, appear to have effectively eliminated covid. But it’s impossible to keep it out if your neighbor and peer countries are not doing their part.
            I guess it boils down to the way you understand the precautionary principle. To me it feels like we’ve(US) become a nation of snake handlers, all talking in tongues and heedless of any consequence. Except we are juggling the vipers everywhere, not just our own homes or houses of worship.
            If I were supreme ruler for 2 months, I would spend one month on logistics for getting everyone in the world everything they need for the next month to spend as isolated as possible. All the world, at the same time.
            Yes, I know, pie in the sky, Hollywood movie type drivel. Maybe others here have a less grandiose but more workable scenario?

          2. Ira Leifer

            Quarantine allows time to innoculate a population with a deactivated viral vaccine NOT during an outbreak. This avoids evolutionary pressure of the vaccine on the virus. Its not rocket science.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Garbage in, garbage out. The graph seemed to suggest that it was focused on the US and Europe, when in fact it was Asia Pacific that enjoyed the most success with lockdowns. Possibly this was an artifact of the selection methodology, but it’s a real bias nonetheless.

        I searched for ‘New Zealand’ and found one paper that was attempting to use county by county data from the USA in the March to June 2020 period to forecast the effectiveness of the New Zealand response (I kid you not). The conclusion was that lockdowns made no difference to death rates and New Zealand should not use them. How well that prediction was borne out by history is left as an exercise for the reader.

        I didn’t look through the others but if that’s an indication of the overall quality then I wouldn’t put too much stock in this.

      3. OliverN

        A 62 page report that supposedly does a deep dive into the benefits of lockdown on Covid mortality, but the word “Australia” is nowhere to be found. Funny that isn’t it! So is this a case of someone creating a report reviewing the effectiveness of lockdowns, excluding any examples of successful lockdowns, and then concluding that lockdowns are not successful.

        Apparently lockdowns “only reduce mortality by 0.2% on average”. Contrast this conclusion with the fact that there were no deaths from COVID-19 in Australia from 28 December 2020 until 13 April 2021. Anyone disputing the effectiveness of lockdowns needs to address this in a genuine and non-obtuse manner. I won’t accept “Covid is a problem in Australia right now therefore lockdowns don’t work” as a reply, that’s just laziness from someone who does not care about what actually happened in Australia, what happened, the government response, the politics of the time, and the current politics/strategy.

      1. Glossolalia

        I think it refers to the continued belief in some circles that if we were to just “lockdown” (lock down what exactly, who knows?) that we could get rid of covid. Somehow the fact that everywhere that strict lockdowns have been implemented over and over again and yet are still dealing with covid doesn’t change this thinking. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        1. Joe Well

          Everywhere? China? New Zealand? Australia before letter rip? And did you not see how many deaths the US has had?

          How does anyone even write such things?

            1. Joe Well

              Those countries keep having to deal with COVID being imported from letter rip countries. If the world were only those countries, the pandemic would all be a historical anecdote.

              And meanwhile, a million dead Americans and countless more around the world.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Help me. At VASTLY lower levels than the West.

              And there is no evidence of less disruption. Our labor shortages are due to:

              1. People getting sick and having to stay home.

              2. People quitting high Covid risk jobs, including retiring early

              3. People suffering Covid damage (as in long Covid) preventing them from returning to work or at least for the same # of hours.

              1. Joe Well

                4. People missing work to take care of Covid-infected family, including children who can’t go to school.

                5. People fed up with higher workloads when coworkers are out from all of the above.

                6. People who can no longer afford to drive to work now that cars and parts are so much more expensive due to the pandemic (I am just guessing here but I would be way more reluctant to take a job that required much driving now) or stranded by reduced or less reliable public transportation.

                7. People poached by the companies trying to fill staffing holes created by all of the above.

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              Western Australia isn’t. Western Australia still has it locked out of Western Australia.

              Though one could make the clever rejoinder that Western Australia is too dealing with covid. It is dealing with NotWestern Australia’s covid by keeping its border against NotWestern Australia sealed.

    1. Joe Well

      “There is increasing evidence that the weather will be warmer soon and like all cyclical seasonal diseases this will abate somewhat only to be replaced by an even more horrific wave in the fall because we didn’t eliminate when the conditions were favorable to do so. Oh and by the way, the vaccines will be working less than ever by then so…”

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    In regards to Japan vaccination rates and death rates, I assume baseline health is an issue. My thought issues exposure to viral loads is an issue. Restaurants, churches, and places where people are loud have been the sources of transmission. Going by stereotypes, Americans are likely going to be shedding more virus than Japanese counterparts.

    1. Acacia

      Agree on the issue of baseline health in Japan.

      Regarding Yves’ note that the rate of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Japan was surprisingly close to that of the US, I would suggest three factors (1) the vaccine rollout was incredibly slow. By the end of May, 2021, only 3.2% of the population in Japan had received two shots (compared to 44% of the population in the US). AFAICT, the Suga government was busy trying to not cancel the Olympics, which had already been delayed from 2020 to July, 2021, and to staunch PM Suga’s plummeting approval rating. The LDP thus went from downplaying the epidemic to belatedly making some effort to promote the vaccines. (2) There have been no official vaccine mandates in Japan, no vaccine passports to enter restaurants, etc., and employers have been discouraged from implementing mandates. The government policy is that “vaccines will never be administered without the recipient’s consent. We urge the public never to coerce vaccinations at the workplace or upon others around them, and never to treat those who have not received the vaccine in a discriminatory manner.” (3) The policy against vaccine mandates has been adopted in recognition of the fact that there is actually a fair amount of vaccine hesitancy amongst the Japanese. According to “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Its Associated Factors in Japan“, the vaccine confidence index in Japan is “one of the lowest worldwide” with more than 70% of respondents in the survey expressing “concerns about adverse reactions”.

      Upshot: the situation in Japan and the low-ish COVID numbers would seem to add weight to the case against a vaccines-only approach to the epidemic.

  11. tegnost

    Gee, perhaps if the government showed more interest in protecting its citizens, they also might be willing to take up suggestions about how to care for themselves and their fellow community members?

    The business of .gov in the usa is providing captured “consumers” to it’s medical and educational industries.
    And from the beginning of the passage…
    “More Americans have also come to express distrust — of the government, and of each other ”
    Seems like they forgot to say we don’t trust mba’s or the corps[es] they shill and shiv for… just people or gov…not my experience.

  12. polar donkey

    I saw a video a year ago of Luc Montagnier on french news channel saying he thought Covid-19 was most likely caused by accidental release of a gain of function virus used in HIV vaccine research. Could this be why the autoimmune dysfunction is happening? I remember over a year and half ago talking to people I worked with about the first covid infection may not be too bad, but the cumulative effects of reinfection could really mess you up or kill you. We just don’t know yet and you really should be careful. They looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head.

  13. dan

    Occupy Ottawa Day 4: All Eyes on Alberta as Truckers Stand Firm Against Threats and Police Stand Down!

    “Today’s update on the Trucker Freedom Convoy switches to where the most intense action has been for the past couple of days in Coutts, Alberta, where Truckers are finishing up their 4th day of protesting at the border between Alberta and Montana.

    The Truckers were actually blocked in by the police, so there seems to be some confusion as to who is actually closing the border. The Truckers were willing to open a lane, but the police originally did not want to negotiate.

    Yesterday, Canadian police sent two officers to negotiate with the Truckers, who had agreed to open a lane to pass through the border, and the police apparently promised the truckers that while they would not allow more vehicles to join their group, they would allow food to be brought into them.

    However, it was soon discovered that they did not make good on their promise, and Truckers had to brave blizzard like conditions to walk several miles to get food.

    When the officers returned, the Truckers repeated their demands, which are to end the vaccine mandates, and dismissed the police, who promptly left.

    Today, an attorney arrived to represent the Truckers in their negotiations, and the Canadian police sent two new officers, apparently tactical officers, who read their demands to the Truckers to surrender themselves immediately or face the consequences.

    The Truckers stood their ground, and the police had no choice but to retreat. They apparently made a tactical error by sending a multitude of SWAT teams and other forces which left the check points unattended, which allowed many of the hundreds of other truckers waiting to join them to come through and join the protest, including farmers driving tractors and other equipment.

    Rebel News has had people embedded with the Truckers the whole time giving multiple video reports and interviews throughout the four days, and they are also helping to support the Truckers with legal fees.”

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Game over, man. Game over.’ – Private Hudson

    Been thinking about this post for awhile and there is nothing to get optimistic about here. I had thought in the back of my mind that this might be like the Russian Coronavirus from a century ago in that after a decade or so it will be over but it looks like this will not be so. I can see what GM meant in another comment how it was false to try and equate it with the great flu pandemic because this post is suggesting that it is too well dug in now. This is it. This is our lives going forward. Unless it magically disappears like MERS did it will be a cycle of constant infection and reinfection with accumulating damage each and every time, even if the damage is not obvious. I can’t even begin to think about how this will change human society and in fact human history but the consequences will be massive. Where is a Barbara W. Tuchman when you need one? She could have written a whole new book. I can see it now – ‘A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Twenty-First Century.

    1. GM

      We are left with having to pray for the virus to bail us out by showing its full hand early, which means that the 10% IFR version shows up somewhere soon and causes the kind of disaster than cannot be ignored and forces governments to go for elimination because it will be impossible to get the public to agree to living with something like that.

      And even then there will be resistance from the elites, but still, that is the only way out.

      But we are better off going through that nightmare as soon as possible than having to endure the slow grind of the “milder” variants that leaves damaged bodies and minds and a decayed society behind it.

      Unfortunately for us, the virus turns out to be a good strategist and with Omicron gave the psychopaths that rules us what they needed to justifying doing what they wanted to do from the start

      1. marku52

        It certainly is one of the things that ends the US empire. Like Rome, it wasn’t just one thing, it was one danged thing after another.

        Having the US filled with a permanently damaged workforce, continually having to bail out of work to care for others, will put a damper on the empire. The military already has a hard time getting enough cannon fodder, what with drug convictions, and diabetes and obesity from the terrible US industrial diet. A pile of Covid Kids will only make that problem worse.

      2. Raymond Sim

        But we are better off going through that nightmare as soon as possible …

        I hate to say it, but I feel the same way. I can’t protect my grandchildren from what’s happening now, or what’s to come, and it’s made a Bolshevik of me.

        1. Basil Pesto

          yes, I feel like GM might a superb propagandist* (meant as a compliment) because if anything’a going to make a radical of me – someone with no radical tendencies whatsoever – it’s his persuasive reading of the Covid situation

          * really, this is a testament imo to the strength of his/her rhetoric – I’d welcome counterarguments because in principle i hate being overly reliant on one source, but again, rhetorically, all rebuttals to GM/their general argument that I’ve seen are pretty pissweak

      3. Basil Pesto

        which means that the 10% IFR version shows up somewhere soon and causes the kind of disaster than cannot be ignored and forces governments to go for elimination because it will be impossible to get the public to agree to living with something like that.

        tbh, I vacillate between agreeing with this, and not being so sure anymore. One issue ia, if a higher CFR variant presents itself, the vaccines will be used to muddy the waters: “oh, but with vaccines the CFR is only 5%” or some bullshit like that.

        But this is an ‘argument’ I see coming up on twitter occasionally; the “oh golly gee oh boy, we haven’t stopped Omicron, therefore we can’t stop Omicron” fatalism. Would they be saying the same if the CFR was 10%? 30%? Presumably if it was 50% they would be like “okay we should probably try and deal with this”.

        And now that lockdowns are a poisoned chalice – repudiated by Very Serious Economists no less – what would happen if SARS3 were to come along in the next, say, 24 months? We’d be in shitter’s ditch.

    2. BeliTsari

      First, we were told WE had to live with forever-war. But I was able to hide in college, so poor kids died.

      Then, WE had to live with shitty 1099 gig peonage. But, I had certifications, connections so could eat?

      WE had to LIVE with TWO Republican parties. But, I can PASS as petit bourgeois & I’m served by both.

      We have to LIVE with being robbed & murdered by cops. But I’m WHITE with crooked cop friends…

      Now, we have to LIVE with a mutating PANDEMIC?
      Let me KNOW how that boring shit goes, an’at!

  15. haywood

    Thank you for these posts.

    NC’s regular Covid links, and especially these standalone pieces with longer form commentary from the Covid brain trust, has done so much for my health and well being. Not only has it kept me safe in a plague, but I no longer spend hours every day doomscrolling twitter for heterodox Covid news, which took a terrible toll on my attention and mental health.

  16. annie

    My father’s parents both died in the great flu epidemic–but in 1922, not ’18 or ’19. My grandfather, whom i did not know of course, was a country doctor in Georgia; my grandmother was pregnant with her fourth child. My father, their eldest, was orphaned at 10.

  17. CloverBee

    Serious question: what can one do to support our body in regenerating T-Cells? Foods to eat? Best kind of exercise?
    WTH happens to kids with Lewy bodies in their brains?

    1. Samuel Conner

      > WTH happens to kids with Lewy bodies in their brains?

      There goes the solvency of the Social Security disability fund.

      OTOH, as Federal expenditures are not funded by taxes, fees or deductions from gross income, there’s no reason in principle that all disability benefits could not continue to be paid. Political will may be deficient. But perhaps that will change — having disabled a significant proportion of the population with “let ‘er rip” chronic COVID sequelae, perhaps the Federal government will accept responsibility.

  18. Anthony G Stegman

    With all the sabre rattling going on regarding Russia and Ukraine Lewy body dementia may be the least of our worries. Perhaps radiation will kill the Lewy bodies.

  19. Anthony G Stegman

    Baseball fans may know this – Hall of Fame pitcher for the NY Mets Tom Seaver died of Lewy body dementia + Covid-19 back in 2020.

  20. Dave in Austin

    Here are my contribution to this set of first-person experiences and the tentative grappling with small sample cause-and-effect the reports represents.

    For reasons I won’t go into here, I’ve studied some of the less obvious aspects of military history… not the “bang-bang”, the “which general was best” and the maps-with-arrows stuff.

    All militarys are highly structured and of necessity follow rigid rules imposed from above. The from-above “what we do” rules are called doctrine. In peacetime people on the receiving-end of doctrine see no reason to rock the boat, and anyway, doctrine is often right for reasons that most of the Captains-on-down really don’t understand.

    Then war arrives and much of the doctrine turns out to be either wrong or wrong in parts. To use some WW II examples crack Spitfire squadrons used to dog-fighting with the Germans got sent to the Pacific in 1941 and got pretty much wiped out by the light, very maneuverable Zeros. The US Navy had the same experience.

    At this point the “We want to stay alive” kicks in. Watching your friends die makes the fear of being reprimanded for disregarding doctrine seem minor. By Midway the guys in the air had taken control of their own fate from doctrine. A Lt. Cmdr. named James Thach thought “We’re cold meat if we dogfight but we have self-sealing gas tanks and armor and the Japs don’t, so if we operate in pairs a 1,000 yards apart, then when one pair gets jumped we just turn toward each other, go into a slight dive and the second pair is in a head-on gunfight with the Zeros. Scary but we’ll win most of the time because of the armor and self-sealing gas tanks. Not an obvious solution but a good one It worked at Midway for one squardron and it spread instantly through the whole Pacific theater.

    Covid is turning out to be the same. The per-existing doctrine turned out to be partly wrong. General Fauci and the rest of the people at headquarters ignored the news. Now we, the munchkins, talk to each-other, take hints, try things and settle on a defense in depth, something which is almost never built into doctrine because defense in depth presupposes that the first- and second and third- line of defense may be only partly useful. Why this doctrine-improvisation paterns not studied academically I don’t understand.

    I’m fully vaxed (and volunteered for the Moderna study in 2/20); I take vitamins and supplements; I at first avoided all contact but now I take calculated risks (not chances); I have three different types of masks for different occasions; when I find myself in a position where I might have been exposed I go home, clean up carefully and irrigate my nasal passages and gargle. I play the odds as I see them. So far, so good.

    But the first line of defense is obvious. Eat right; exercise like your life depends on it (it does; I just got back from a 1 ¼ mile swim); don’t get over-weight or diabetic; get enough sleep; use air filters. And accept responsibility for your own behavior and (harder I think) be willing to listen to other people who are taking the same approach.

    And finally… avoid snark like the plague (pun intended). 77 and still counting.

  21. Dio

    Local in Western Australia. Kids went back to school this week and hey presto we have 3 schools with positive cases. One school has been shut down for a day with exposed children and teachers sent into isolation for 14 days, one has had their entire senior year sent into isolation and another is sending some classes into isolation. We’ve had a couple of mines with cases but so far no major disruptions to output. It is coming though as schools are a perfect vector.

    The business leaders complaining are really just a handful (tourism/airline/national retail etc) and are supported by our local 1 town newspaper which is for OPEN borders. Most small to medium businesses have seen NSW’s economy fall into a pit and don’t want anything like that coming West. Premier McGowan says he won’t do lockdowns again which is disappointing but I’m not surprised, he has been under sustained media, legal and Federal government attack for most of the last 2 years for his successful strategy of keeping the virus out of the state. To date we’ve had 9 deaths from COVID since the pandemic began but this will surely rise. Hospital sector is short staffed and we have less ICU beds per capita than any other major capital in Australia.

    1. Dio

      The Western Australian public schools have had ventilation audits carried out and have various protocols in place to increase airflow. Mostly this is open windows and doors, which can be a problem when the temperature outside is 38 degrees celsius like today. In addition the WA Education department has provided 12,000 air purifier machines and CO2 monitors to all of the 900? public schools that needed assistance to meet whatever ventilation benchmark was set. Students are supposed to be wearing masks at all times at least Years3 (aged ~8) and up.

  22. Mikeyjoe

    When the re-infection rate will be calculated in NYS it be may skewed lower by home testing if it is not included. Some school districts are giving out home tests kits to families also.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Ha! Will be interesting to see what all happens if the Chinese have a bona fide cure in hand first … #TYVM

      1. orlbucfan

        If the Chinese figure out a bonafide cure, word will get out and some enterprising American biochemist will follow suite. As will similar minds in other countries. Thank you, NC for your Covid coverage. I check it daily. So far, have followed the sensible precautions, and have not contracted the “crud.”

  23. LawnDart

    Covid breathalyser, 5-minute results:

    I don’t know if this was posted yet, but if not, now you have it.

    The device has a 3.8% false-negative rate, and I’m not sure where that falls on the spectrum of good or bad.

    I wonder if a breath-test refusal in certain jurisdictions could lead to an automatic revocation of breathing rights, if this stuff gets bad enough… …what might (Cory) Doctorow say?

  24. Mak

    For the most of the last 2 years the state Premier has had extremely high support from locals. Western Australia has essentially been COVID free and restriction free for 2 years.

    Though that has changed significantly over Christmas. Omicron is slowly seeping through. And widespread support of the continued border restrictions is waning. The halting of the planned reopening on Feb 5th was very divisive. It is now very much mixed thoughts from people in Western Australia. Locals who have no desire and no reason to travel have plenty of reason to continue enjoying the COVID free life. Others have spent months or years away from their home and families on the other side of the country.

    I’ve been running a construction project in Western Australia while I’ve been based out East. Half our workers in Western Australia haven’t seen their families for more than six months. Morale is obviously low.

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