Relying on first generation vaxes alone is a train-wreck

Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian must really like lockdowns. Judge them by the outcomes, not their words. How many billions of dollars lost, deaths, and broken businesses will it take for them to even investigate the bargain  vitamin and out-of-patent drugs plan which has saved thousands in the third world? Instead, they’re trying to sell us on a plan that might have been written by Big Pharma. It’s a dud.

Morrison called West Australians and Queenslanders “cave dwellers,” because they are free of Chinese bioweapons and mostly free of restrictions, deaths, and lockdowns. With insults and a totally Sydney-centric perspective, he may have just handed the next national election to Labor. The only thing that might save his government at the next poll is federal Labor incompetence.

There is a battle of models going on. Most show that opening the nation at 70 or 80% vaxed is reckless. The only model that doesn’t is the Doherty institute’s, and it’s a fantasy model. That’s the one Scott Morrison is betting the house on. All the models assume there is no other treatment and no one does anything to raise Vitamin D or Zn levels. So all the models are flawed, but we can still learn a lot.

The Grafton ANU modelling shows how futile it is to use leaky vaccines to protect the nation, and how disastrously dangerously flawed the Doherty modelling is. See this:

“And assuming 80 per cent vaccination coverage for only those over 16, as per the National Plan, there could be approximately 25,000 fatalities and some 270,000 cases of long COVID.

Buried quietly is modelling from The Burnet Institute, which suggests that fully 45% of these deaths will be among the vaccinated population. Do the maths. There are three million Australians older than 70. Even if we vaccinate 95% of them, and even if the Pfizer vaccine protects 96% of that group, there are still a lot of dead people after the virus has spread everywhere. And the AZ vaccine only stops 92% of deaths.

No wonder WA and Qld are rebelling against Morrisons Big-Pharma-Plan to allow the Delta virus to run free (“to do like Sydney”). Not only will it result in tens of thousands of deaths, but it will also mean long periods of restrictions to “flatten the curve,” as hospitals are overwhelmed. No one wants to copy the pain that the people of NSW are going through. Who can blame the smaller states? We almost suspect that what Berejiklian and Morrison are most afraid of is that clean states will show how wrong and incompetent the NSW approach is.

What if the ACT, Victoria, or New Zealand get back to zero? Won’t that make the “gold standard” state look like chumps.

The Doherty modelling is an imaginary world

In a fantasy simulation we can pretend we start with only 30 cases, which is about 800 cases lower than NSW already has. We can assume we can manage to track and trace them, which has already failed in NSW (test results are slow, and tracers are not even phoning infected people for a couple of days!). The Doherty model pretends that children don’t spread the virus much, and only simulates the first six months. It’s like they set out to show the nation can open at 70-80%, and made up the assumptions to achieve that.

In the fine print the Doherty group also assumes the Ro (rate of spread) is reduced from an awesome 6.3 down to 3.6. That means they also assume many ongoing restrictions are in place to halve the rate of spread. Presumably that means Australia can kiss goodbye to football finals, concerts, festivals, big weddings and funerals, and “live with” ongoing masks and lots of distancing. This is a Big-Pharma version of freedom, where we live with lots of deaths and the last 20-30% of the population are put under major pressure to get vaxed or to hide from public life. How much fun can you have? Booster shots. Big Pharma know that if the nation opens up at 80% the headlines will be full of stories of loss and deaths and reasons to push the last 20% towards an injection.

The Grafton modelling estimates hospitalization and deaths

Here’s a table we rarely see. There are a lot of caveats –see below.

CHR – Case Hospitalization rate.        IFR  – Infection fatality rate.

Deaths may be higher if…

  • They don’t include deaths related to long covid, or an “overshoot of herd immunity” which I think means a surge that overwhelms hospitals where death rates rapidly rise. They don’t include deaths due to non-Covid causes, such as suicides, undiagnosed cancers, or people avoiding hospitals because they are afraid of catching Covid.
  • These estimates only consider immediate acute Covid deaths. But in the first wave of the UK epidemic, people who survived and left hospital were subsequently four times as likely to be readmitted to hospital and eight times as likely to die than a matched control group. [14]
  • The next mutation escapes the current vaccines.

Deaths may be lower if…

  • Australians have higher levels of Vitamin D, maybe lower levels of comorbidities or high risk genes, or they might get scripts to use antivirals. These are not even mentioned in the paper.
  • The death rate due to Delta is lower than estimated here. The death rates are estimated from Canadian data which estimates that Delta is 2.3 times as deadly as the original Wuflu [11]. The hospitalization rate is likely be to be twice as much as the Alpha strain, which was already 1.5 times higher than the original, based on English and Scottish data [8] [9]). The hospitalization rate for Delta is thus three times higher than the original Wuhan Flu. It’s bad. The Delta variant pumps up the viral load faster, so it swamps immune systems faster and spreads more easily. That explains the higher hospitalization rate, and it’s hard to believe it won’t also increase the death rate — but it may not increase it by the same ratio. The deaths are more about vascular clotting and an overactive immune system, which doctors might be still able to treat.

Comparing the vaccines:…

From the ANU Grafton modelling press release:

Even 80% vaxed is not enough for Australia to live free

Professor Quentin Grafton from The Australian National University, Dr Zoë Hyde from the University of Western Australia and Professor Tom Kompas from the University of Melbourne examined the Australian Government’s National Plan to reduce restrictions once enough adults are vaccinated.

Under the National Plan, once more than 80 per cent of adults receive two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, equivalent to approximately 65 per cent of the total population, the nation will “manage COVID-19 consistent with public health management of other infectious diseases”.

Professor Grafton said the new modelling showed “we simply can’t afford to do that, both in terms of lives and long-term illness from COVID”.

“We found substantial morbidity and mortality is likely to occur if the Australian Government sticks to the National Plan,” he said.

“Our modelling shows if 70 per cent of Australians over 16 years of age are fully vaccinated, with a 95 per cent vaccination level for those aged 60 years and over, there could eventually be some 6.9 million symptomatic COVID-19 cases, 154,000 hospitalisations, and 29,000 fatalities.

“And assuming 80 per cent vaccination coverage for only those over 16, as per the National Plan, there could be approximately 25,000 fatalities and some 270,000 cases of long COVID.

“In contrast, and if children are also fully vaccinated, national fatalities for all age groups would be reduced to 19,000 with 80 per cent adult vaccination coverage. This would fall to 10,000 at a 90 per cent adult vaccination coverage.

“Children also directly benefit from vaccination. If we could achieve 75 cent vaccination coverage among children and adolescents, we could prevent 12,000 hospitalisations in these age groups.”

Grafton conclusions are to Triple vax the over 60s and vax all the kids?

The Grafton team are essentially saying we need to vaccinate at least 90% of all Australians including children to consider opening with a lower death rate. They assume that 95% of the over 60s are vaccinated, and even consider doing this with two doses of AZ plus the Pfizer booster shot to maximize protection. But even with all that  vaccination, the death rates are still too high unless children are vaccinated too. Even under this scenario, with “only” 70% of Australians vaccinated and the over 60’s “triple vaxed,” there will still be  nearly 30,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 with long Covid.  Nearly half of the deaths will be in the vaccinated. Nearly 7 million Australians will get symptomatic infection — which still means some significant productivity hit to workers and students, even if “it’s like the Flu”. We can bear that, but do we have to?

Is it worth it? All these deaths, the sickness, and the experimental vaccines is to allow us visit friends overseas, and let in tourists to help our tourism industry. It also means Qantas can make more money, and we can accept mass immigration that most Australian don’t want (and which pushes down blue collar wages, and pushes up house prices). It also means we can take in Chinese paying students to universities. “Yay”.

Obviously, if we’re honest about this package, it’s not an easy sell to the average voter. So the government is burying the reality in false messaging, and using joke modeling. We can spot the fakery when they say “permanent lockdowns,” “the hermit kingdom,” and “living in the cave” — as if any sane adult was ever suggesting our choices are only 95% vaccination with death and disease OR lockdowns forever. As if there is not a whole spectrum of choices in between. The keywords to spot binary false choices are “perpetual” or “permanent” or “inevitable”.

Obviously the West has totally failed to stop the Chinese Bioweapon. It is now a given that we’ll all get it or one of its descendants eventually. But there is a huge difference between getting this mutation now — without any respectable treatments and with 30,000 deaths — and getting a different mutation a year from now — with a suite of antivirals and / or the second generation of vaccines (which might be so much safer). Monoclonal antibodies may make travel possible without a vaccine. So may a combination of antivirals, like the way we treat AIDS. The next mutation may get nicer like Spanish Flu did, or it might not.

What they are trying to do is distract Australians from the real debate, which is about borders and antivirals. Sadly, many Australians are falling for it.

If we let the virus run free without treatments the whole nation will end up in one long Sydney-type drama, with ongoing restrictions to stop the hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

The modelling from Professor Grafton, Dr Hyde and Professor Kompas is available online as a pre-print publication. Read an analysis article by the three researchers about their findings and proposed four-step national COVID-19 response at Policy Forum.

REFERENCES

[8] Nyberg T, Twohig KA, Harris RJ et al. Risk of hospital admission for patients with SARS-CoV-2
variant B.1.1.7: cohort analysis. BMJ 2021; 373: n1412.
[9]  Public Health England. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in
England. Technical briefing 15. London: Government of the United Kingdom, 2021.

[11] Fisman DN, Tuite AR. Progressive increase in virulence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants in
Ontario, Canada. medRxiv [pre-print] 2021. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.05.21260050

[14] Public Health England. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in
England. Technical briefing 20. London: Government of the United Kingdom, 2021.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_
data/file/1009243/Technical_Briefing_20.pdf

ANU Modelling:  https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/modelling-highlights-risk-in-national-covid-plan. Paper at  https://osf.io/ytkdg/

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August 25, 2021