Random Thoughts – Randocity!

2021: The COVID Paradox

Posted in COVID-19, Health by commorancy on May 10, 2021
The Thinker by Rodin

Many people, including the news media, are under the belief that COVID-19 is permanently subsiding in the spring of 2021. This is borderline delusional. There are solid reasons why this is likely not the case. Let’s understand why and explore.

Vaccines

Yes, the vaccines are a cause for hope. Unfortunately, the design of these vaccines doesn’t warrant celebration that the virus is going away any time soon. While the vaccines may help reduce symptoms and mortality rates, the vaccines likely won’t stem the tide of the virus spread (at least not instantly). Why? We’ll need to understand the mechanism of action for these vaccines.

The vaccines have been designed to teach the body’s immune system how to respond to this virus invader, or at least the portions that do the damage. It does that by taking certain portions of the virus’s genetic makeup and have the body respond to these genetic markers as though the virus were present. However, it does this by not having the immune system take a severe response, but instead only a mild response. This teaches the body about this foreign invader without having to become infected or have severe symptoms.

That’s a great design, but it also has one humongous flaw (and several others, which I’ll circle back to). That major flaw is that it still allows the virus to infect the vaccinated person. More than this, the vaccinated person can still spread the virus to others should they become infected. While the vaccine purports to reduce the effects of the virus’s symptoms, because portions of the virus are already understood by the immune system due of the vaccine’s method of action, the vaccinated person can still become contagious and transmit the virus. This contagious transmission is one of two big flaws that threaten to undermine the vaccine’s usefulness (at least in the short term while the United States attempts to distribute the vaccines to everyone). The second being…

Vaccine Longevity

Each vaccine’s duration has been assumed to last between 9 and 12 months in duration. That means that a vaccinated person can expect reduced symptom effects (after COVID-19 infection) for between 9 and 12 months, assuming this suggested manufacturer longevity holds true. By comparison, it has been typically found that a person who survives a natural infection from COVID-19 without having been vaccinated has antibodies that last about 3 months. For natural infections, 3 months after survival of COVID-19, antibody tests may no longer find antibodies present. Whether 9-12 months for the vaccine or 3 months after a non-vaccinated COVID-19 survival, the body is likely once again capable of a full blown severity COVID-19 infection.

With that said, we have a bigger problem looming. Before I jump into the looming problem, let’s discuss what’s happening today.

Spring 2021 COVID-19 infection rates

During the spring and summer of 2020, infection rates drastically dropped after winter had passed. There are a number of reasons for this fact, but suffice it to say that the pattern we saw in 2020 we are now seeing again in 2021. States (and news media) now believe that the vaccines are the reason. However, in spring 2020 we had no vaccines available and the virus infection rate went down just as dramatically.

While I know that state officials want to believe that the vaccines are playing a big part in this reduction of cases, the real answer is that the vaccines likely aren’t contributing much to this decline at all. The reduction in 2021 is most likely due to the same reason(s) we saw in 2020, without vaccines. The vaccines may contribute a tiny bit, but logic dictates that the reduction is simply because a warmer, sunnier outdoor season is upon us. Once the spring rolls around, people are outdoors more often, instead of huddling in stores, in restaurants or in their own homes. Less indoor huddling means less mechanisms of transmission. Thus, lower infection rates. Weather may also be a factor in the reduction, such as rain, humidity and storms which may reduce COVID-19 air transmission and surface longevity. Whatever the combination of reasons, it’s clear that what happened in spring and summer of 2020 is again repeating in the spring and summer of 2021. Yet, I hear crickets for news media discussing this.

Because this is most likely a repeating pattern, the fall and winter of 2021 will again bring more infections. The question is, how many? Will the vaccine make a dent by the fall? That’s a double-edged sword. Let’s now jump into the looming problem I mentioned above.

First Vaccinations

The first person vaccinated in the US for COVID-19 was December 15, 2020. Nine (9) months from December 15th is September 15th, 2021. That means that if the antibodies have worn off by September 15th, all of those first responders, elderly and those early vaccinated will again be ripe for infection by the fall and winter of 2021… assuming they don’t receive a booster vaccination sometime in mid-to-late summer.

Looming Problem

Because of all of the above, the COVID-19 infection rate is likely to go back up to record numbers by the fall if those early vaccinated don’t receive a booster shot soon. It also means that those who received a shot in late spring or summer of 2021 are more likely to endure a COVID free fall and winter than those who received their shot in December 2020 or January 2021.

Remember, though, the vaccine doesn’t prevent virus spread. It only reduces symptoms after infection. Those who are infected, but vaccinated can still spread COVID-19 to others around them while they remain contagious. Worse, because symptoms are drastically reduced, some people might not even know they have been infected other than a runny nose, itchy eyes, a slight fever or some other easily ignored symptom. Those vaccinated could even assume a mild cold or even allergies.

What that all means is that those who are vaccinated can easily keep the spread going unknowingly, particularly to those early adopters who may lose their antibody protection as early as September, possibly even earlier.

CDC Planning and Pattern Recognition

While the CDC has been intensely focused on getting the first round of shots into people’s arms, the CDC, CNN, New York Times and all the rest have completely ignored this looming threat that is but only a few months away. Worse, the optimism of this seasonal downslope is once again tricking people into a false sense of security. We were tricked into it in 2020 and the fall of 2020 was the worst in our history. Here we are again being sucked into this trickery a second time. It seems that the United States is entirely ignorant of its own recent history repeating.

This situation is as plain and obvious as the nose on the proverbial face. Anyone who can see patterns can see this is a repeating pattern. This repeating pattern, unfortunately, has an unexpected twist: the antibodies will be subsiding in the earliest vaccine adopters by the time December hits… which means that the 2021 holiday season may shape up to see one of the worst COVID death rates on record. Not only are we entirely ignoring the downslope pattern of the spring and summer, we are ignoring the fact that the vaccine antibodies will be expiring in the earliest adopters just at the time when COVID will be ramping up transmission rates again.

Can this juggernaut be stopped?

Unknown. The vaccines don’t halt the spread, unfortunately. If all of the United States can be vaccinated (and boosted) before September, maybe. Eventually, the virus will burn itself out because every vaccinated person will have been infected and survived. Once there’s no one left to infect, the virus will cease to exist. That’s herd immunity.

However, the United States is under a ticking clock. Because the health departments, the White House and the CDC are so focused on simply getting first vaccinations completed, they are entirely forgetting about those early vaccinated whose clock is ticking down to the holiday season.

Keep in mind that being vaccinated in December 2020 or 2021 January, February, March or even April, the antibodies will not carry you through the entirety of Winter 2022. Which means that a vaccine’s effects may start waning in the middle of a new pandemic surge.

States and Reopening

Because states have decided it’s time to reopen in full, that middle seats are again open for sale on airplanes, that movie theaters, pubs and restaurants are back to 100% seating, we are opening the United States up to an even worse seasonal pandemic in fall and winter of 2021, particularly without taking into account the longevity of the vaccine. Without boosters for those who received shots in December through April, the virus will again have fully vulnerable hosts to infect by winter.

States which have chosen to reopen in full are simply feeding into this pattern and into this false sense of security. They are also setting each state up for a particularly bad holiday pandemic season.

Alarmist

Some might call this article alarmist. I disagree. I call it being a realist and being able to recognize patterns. No one can really know the longevity of a vaccinated person. We won’t know until we know. The vaccine designers can make guesses, but that’s as good as it gets. We could find that the vaccine longevity is 6-8 months. We might even find that some who’ve received the vaccine might last as long as 3-5 months, in similar form to a non-vaccinated infection survival. We’re guessing about longevity. Even I am guessing based on the numbers given by the vaccine manufacturer.

Still, a booster is a must. To be completely safe, we must assume that 9 months is the limit. Meaning, those already vaccinated will need to have a booster prior to 9 months to make sure the antibodies remain active for another 9 months. This, at a time, when most of the population hasn’t even had a first shot.

The White House

Joe Biden and team have stated they are making the pandemic response a priority. Yet, you can’t make the virus a priority when you aren’t planning for ALL eventualities… even those listed in this article. Planning to stop this virus means not only inoculating first timers, but keeping those who are already inoculated valid. I can’t even recall one single news service like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC or any other large audience news service discussing this potential looming crisis.

Unfortunately, too many of these news services are far too optimistic and wish to bury their collective heads in the sand as if the vaccine is the end-all-be-all. That once we have a vaccine in our arms that it’s all over. Optimism has its place, but not when discussing a pandemic. A pandemic needs a realist, not an optimist. It needs someone who identifies patterns, calls them out and helps prevent that pattern from recurring. It also needs someone who understands exactly how these vaccines work and calls out gaps in when and how these vaccines might fail us.

The White House needs a better set of persons managing the pandemic instead of Dr. Fauci and the CDC. Optimists won’t stop a virus. Only doing the right things will. Unfortunately, the White House is allowing states to reopen in full without warning of these looming conditions.

Is the Pandemic Over?

While a lot of people seem to think so, I’m very cautiously optimistic. Instead, I’d rather look at all of the problems that can occur and see that unless these problems are handled before September, the fall and winter could see very bleak times again. In fact, I’m so cautiously optimistic about this, that’s why I’m writing this article. It’s easy to get caught up in this spring downslope as a sign that it’s ending. Unfortunately, we saw this same downslope in 2020 (as I stated above). Because of these repeating patterns and because of the (lack of) longevity of the vaccines, that’s exactly why I’m cautiously optimistic and exactly why I’ve written this article.

It’s too easy to get caught up in a false sense of security and then as October rolls around, we’re seeing a huge uptick in admissions to hospitals once again. I’d prefer to not see that occur, but unfortunately the United States and the expiration of the vaccines is setting us up for exactly this scenario.

Maybe I’m wrong. If I am wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. I’ll also be very happy if I am wrong, because that means far fewer deaths. Unfortunately, it’s not me who’s controlling these situations. It’s the vaccine makers, the state legislators, the White House, the CDC and even the news media who are making these decisions. It is these people who may be setting us up with a false sense of confidence that the virus is subsiding.

However, I don’t believe the virus is quite yet done… and it will find a hole to work its way into. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t care about human rhetoric, news programs, politics or optimism. It cares about one thing only, replication. That’s what it does. If the vaccines begin expiring just at the time when the holidays roll around, the viruses will find that weakness and exploit it. That’s what a virus does.

What can I do?

If you have already been vaccinated, you need to discuss getting a booster shot around August 2021 to reinforce your antibodies going into the fall and winter. If you have elderly loved ones, you will need to make sure they also get a booster. Remember that the vaccine doesn’t prevent infection or transmission. That means that having the vaccine, you can still bring COVID-19 home and infect those around you. If their vaccine antibodies have expired, but yours is still active, that means they could be in for a more severe infection or possibly death.

Additionally, you still need to wash your hands thoroughly before touching loved ones. You need to wear a mask. If you work in a high risk job interacting with lots of people in a public space, you will need to be cautious when you arrive at home to loved ones… taking all precautions. Precautions like washing hands, taking a shower, washing clothing immediately and wearing masks in close proximity to those who are more vulnerable.

At a workplace, you should avoid face to face contact when necessary and avoid small conference room gatherings with others. Instead, you should request your manager to adopt at-desk virtual meetings (i.e., Zoom or similar) to allow for minimal interaction and contact with other face-to-face workers. The phone is also your friend. Use it to contact workers instead of walking to their desk. If people like to swing by your desk for drop-in requests, ask them not to do this. Instead, ask them to email you or call you on the phone instead. Email and texting are additional options.

Workplace environments also tend to be petri dishes, including toxic air conditioning systems which can easily spread coughs and sneezes around the entire office. If it’s a multi-story building, the air flow handling system can carry particles from other office spaces into yours. This means you should step outside as often as you can. Get out of the building and away from a crowded work environment. Unfortunately, stepping outside probably means enduring smokers. You’ll want to avoid smokers as well, unless you smoke.

Finally, you should contact your healthcare provider to determine how to get a booster going into the fall. Without a booster of those early vaccinated, the fall of 2021 can easily turn into something worse than 2020’s death toll. A false sense of security is a very real thing. Let’s not get trapped into it again this year.

Unmasking the Vaccinated

The CDC just today (May 13, 2021) issued new guidance that the vaccinated no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, nor do they need to follow distancing guidelines. On the surface, this seems like happy news. Let’s understand why it is not happy news and why it plays directly into what could be a terrible pandemic winter.

Masks do little to protect the wearer from receiving the virus. If someone without a mask coughs or sneezes, wearing a mask is of little protective value. A mask, on the other hand, prevents a cough or sneeze from traveling beyond a few inches, thus preventing spread via long and wide air transmission.

Without a mask, a sneeze can travel 8-15 feet. With a mask, a sneeze might travel just a few inches away from the person wearing the mask. Let’s apply this to those who have been vaccinated or even to those who claim to be vaccinated (more important distinction).

The CDC has opened the door to allow basically everyone to remove their masks. Why? Because there’s no way to tell who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t. There isn’t some magical instant mechanism to see who has and who has not been vaccinated. Worse, the COVID hoaxers are real. They’ve been patiently hiding behind the scenes waiting to pounce on the day when the mask mandate is lifted. Here we are. Effectively, the CDC has told everyone they can remove their masks… not just those who are vaccinated, but everyone. Since there’s no way to tell who has been vaccinated, it’s now a free-for-all.

Worse, because the vaccinated can easily spread the virus far and wide, because they can become contagious, this is the first salvo towards another much more wide and deep pandemic surge. The CDC is supposed to be the Center for Disease Control, with “control” being the operative word. Yet, here we are. The CDC’s guidelines have given the United States a free-for-all open door pass to remove masks… this at a time when only 32% of the United States population has had only one shot. Less, if you consider those who have had a full two shots and have waited through the build-up period.

The reality is, it’s way too early and too fast to be mandating mask removal. Worse, this now opens the door to massive spreading by the vaccinated to those who have yet to be vaccinated. It’s a bad situation now being made worse. Sure, the numbers are dropping, but not because of vaccinations, but because of the repeating pattern we saw in 2020. While I know the CDC believes that the vaccines are responsible, that is a mistaken, almost deluded belief. Yet, here we are.

How this all plays out is as yet unknown. However, I’d expect to see infections begin ramping up by mid-july with hospitalizations increasing all throughout August and September. By December, we’ll likely once again be so deep in the middle of deaths that the CDC will have to reverse all of this guidance and realize, too late, that the vaccines haven’t made a dent. Oh well, I guess we now get to see just how bad it can really get even with vaccines in play.

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2 Responses

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  1. Sarah Beane said, on May 11, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I think it’s far too soon to declare that the pandemic is over. COVID-19 is here to stay, and I think that we’ll need a continued, concerted effort for years to come with vaccinations. Eventually, I think it’ll become a regular part of healthcare like the seasonal flu jab.

    Interestingly enough, there’s some evidence that transmission is reduced in someone who’s been vaccinated but infected. That being said, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels and should still be vigilant and careful.

    Stay safe!

    https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/commentisfree/2021/may/02/vaccinated-people-less-likely-to-pass-covid-on

    Liked by 1 person

    • commorancy said, on May 17, 2021 at 4:54 am

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The only reason transmission might be reduced is possibly due to a shortened contagious period. Once the body understands how to combat something, it can begin working on eradicating it right away. Without this working knowledge (i.e., without the vaccine), the body’s immune system has to start from scratch, which takes much, much longer to respond. So while the contagious period may be reduced (theoretical conjecture), that doesn’t mean the person is no less contagious during the contagious period and can still readily spread it to others via a sneeze, cough or by leaving latent virus behind via touching surfaces. Keep in mind the vaccine wasn’t designed to reduce transmission. Any discussion of transmission reduction is strictly theory being put forth by health “experts”, not by the vaccine makers.

      Worse, because a person’s symptoms are reduced by the vaccine, it means those who are vaccinated will be more likely to ignore sickness symptoms and go out and about, sneezing and coughing without a mask, because the CDC said it was perfectly okay to do just that. Considering that around 60% of the U.S. population still hasn’t had even one shot, it’s recipe for failure, making the CDC’s recommendation, at this time, reckless.

      We’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out. The CDC’s recommendation would not be reckless if 80% or more of the population were presently vaccinated. However, as I stated and as of this article’s publish date, at least 60% of the United States population still hasn’t had even one shot, let alone whatever the numbers are throughout the rest of the world.

      Liked by 1 person


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