Healthy Skeptics UPDATE for March 21, 2021
Natalie Kather, M.D & Stephen Cherniske
We have stated that ending the COVID pandemic does not depend on vaccinating 70% of the world population; that the COVID vaccines are best intended for the vulnerable, including the elderly and those with health issues including:
- Lung or heart disease (including asthma and a history of cigarette smoking)
- Autoimmune disease
- Type A and AB blood types
Since this is not the mainstream narrative – that mass vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic – we have been challenged to provide evidence for our position. For this we rely morbidity and mortality data published by the CDC.
The latest report states (and I never take text out of context)
“Fewer than 1% of registered students were identified as having school-related COVID-19. Both community-level and school-based mitigation measures are important in limiting transmission of COVID-19; school reopening can likely be achieved without widespread student illness in K–12 settings.”
Source: CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) March 19, 2021
From this report, we conclude that children age 6 to 18 are not at risk. But can they still be carriers, infecting their parents and grandparents? This is hard to quantify, because adults tend to have multiple community exposures. But we are encouraged by studies showing that the transmission rate amount students and adult school staff appears to also be less than 1%
Source: Low SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Elementary Schools — Salt Lake County, Utah, December 3, 2020–January 31, 2021
MMWR / March 19, 2021 / 70. Rebecca B. Hershow, et al.
Next, let’s look at the morbidity and mortality numbers among adults.
Again, forget reports on the number of cases. Anyone who tests positive is counted as a case, even if they have zero symptoms. Look at hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths. There you see marked improvement nationwide. Where I live (Washington state) there were zero COVID-related deaths last week. No doubt part of this improvement is related to increased vaccination, but the number of vaccinated people in WA (970,000) cannot fully account for such dramatic improvements in morbidity and mortality. We believe it is Washington’s early focus on vaccinating nursing home residents and assisted living facilities. In other words, targeting the vaccines for the most vulnerable.
Natalie and I could be wrong, and we will know if that is the case very soon. Because we now have two interesting involuntary experiments going on: Texas and Mississippi. Since both states are essentially 100% open, with no restrictions on businesses or gatherings, dramatic increases in hospitalizations and deaths among people ages 16 to 60 would indicate that mass vaccination should continue. So check back here for an update mid April.
In the meantime, stay safe; wear a mask in public, avoid crowds but please enjoy the company of loved ones who have been vaccinated. The data shows that even one shot affords significant protection, even in the frail elderly.