Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Are the Boosters Fueling the Omicron Rocket?

Looking at the data it is difficult not to wonder whether the Covid vaccine booster shots are fueling the surge of Omicron variant cases.

Last week I wrote about the surge of Omicron cases that has made the Covid daily case graphs look like a rocket launch.

That trend continues and my prediction in that blog post that Florida would also soon see the Omicron surge has also come true.

Cases are up 4x in Florida in the last seven days.

7-day average of new reported cases in Florida
Source: The New York Times

It is sure to go much higher, as it will elsewhere, as there is undoubtedly a lag in reporting right now due to Christmas.

What is telling about the numbers from Florida is that the case growth is strongest in the counties that are the most heavily vaccinated. These are also counties in which booster uptake is the highest.

There is little doubt that the higher transmissibility of the Omicron variant makes those in urban settings more vulnerable than less populated counties. However, the case growth numbers in Miami-Dade county (80% fully vaccinated) are eye-popping. Cases are up +1,873% in the last 14 days.

Here are the leading counties in Florida based on daily cases per capita.

All are at or above the full vaccination rate for Florida as well as the United States at large.

Reported Florida cases, deaths and trends by county
Source: The New York Times

This heat map of Florida shows how much of the case incidence in the state is coming from the populous and highly vaccinated counties on the southeast coast of Florida.

Hot Spots for Cases in Florida
Source: New York Times

What makes this especially interesting is that this would not normally be considered to be the "high season" for viral spread in a warm weather climate. Most of the seasonal viral spread we see at this time of year is usually in cold weather climates.

We are seeing the same thing in Hawaii--another warm weather climate. Hawaii also has a higher vaccination rate than the national average. 95% of all those age 12+ have received at least one dose.

The Omicron Rocket has really taken off there in the last two weeks. Cases are up +964%.

Compare cases now to December of last year when there was hardly a blip in case with almost no vaccines deployed at that time.

7-day average of new reported cases in Hawaii
Source: New York Times

San Francisco (like Miami-Dade) has 80% of every man, woman and child fully vaccinated. 

It just set a new record of cases despite having some of the most stringent mask and vaccine mandate rules in the country.

7-day average of new reported cases in San Francisco
Source: New York Times

78% are fully vaccinated in Australia and that nation also has some of the most draconian Covid mandate rules in the world outside of Communist China.

None of those measures has prevented the Omicron Rocket in Australia.

7-day average of new reported cases in Australia
Source: New York Times

Bear in mind that the case counts above don't consider any cases identified in home test kits. These home tests are much more available this year than they were a year ago.

At what point does someone step up and state the obvious?

Something is not working here.

What would have been the reaction if we had seen similar case curves a year after the smallpox and polio vaccines were introduced? 

Would we say these vaccines were working?

I am also tired of the revisionist history where we keep hearing that "no one ever said the vaccines were going to prevent Covid infections".

The fact is that almost every one of the experts said exactly that.

In fact, this was tweeted out by Pfizer the day that the first vaccines doses left their plant in Kalamazoo, MI.

In the last week I know of three friends or acquaintances who came down with Covid who were fully vaccinated and boosted recently.

Yes, it is anecdotal evidence. However, when you also consider the charts above it does not look so anecdotal.

In that the case surge seems the greatest in areas that have the highest vaccination rates, is anyone asking the question whether the vaccines may actually make people more vulnerable to the virus right now?

Washington, D.C (67% fully vaccinated), New York (71%), New Jersey (70%) and Puerto Rico (72%) all have case numbers right now that are more than double what they were last year at the top of the winter peak. 

Source: The New York Times

These are the top locations for Covid cases in the nation right now.

Dr. Tony Fauci is certainly not asking any questions.

In fact, Fauci is telling people to not gather for New Year's Eve parties this year.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fauci-new-years-parties-omicron-cancel

Why? Is it because the virus is raging through places like DC, New York and New Jersey with twice the cases of last year despite high vaccination rates? 

No. Fauci says it is because you don't know the status of who is vaccinated in large groups.

Does he seriously believe that makes any difference right now?

"I have been telling people consistently that if you're vaccinated and boosted and you have a family setting, in the home with family and relatives," it's OK to gather, Fauci continued. "But when you're talking about a New Year's Eve party, we have 30, 40, 50 people celebrating. You do not know the status of their vaccination, I would recommend strongly stay away from that this year."

Does this guy ever look at the actual data? Fauci is still trying to blame this on those who are unvaccinated when the truth is staring him right in the eyes.

It is simply impossible to have the explosion of cases we are seeing in highly vaccinated areas without most of the transmission coming from those who are fully vaccinated.

Are the vaccines and booster fueling the Omicron Rocket?

There is some evidence of that in studies in the UK and Denmark.

A UK study suggests that someone who is triple-vaccinated is more than four times as likely to test positive for Omicron as someone who is unvaccinated.

This study was tweeted out by Dr. Robert Malone who is credited with inventing the mRNA technology over 30 years ago that has been used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

A study out of Denmark indicated that the unvaccinated actually had the lowest cases per capita of Omicron.

Those fully vaccinated had the highest per capita cases.

Source: https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/theres-something-antigenic-in-denmark

An analyst that I follow calculated that being double vaccinated more than doubles your risk of contracting Omicron based on the data in the Denmark study.

A booster on top of the two shots would reduce your risk but it is still 75% higher than not being vaccinated at all according to the analyst's calculation of vaccine efficacy,

Source: https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/theres-something-antigenic-in-denmark

Below is a chart taken directly from the Denmark study.

Note that the study does not even include any vaccine utility in the first two weeks after the second shots. 

Vaccine efficacy is not considered until two weeks after the second shots.

Between 31-60 days after two shots, Pfizer was found to have only 16% efficacy against Omicron. That drops to 10% after 60 days. After 90 days, it is substantially negative meaning you are more likely to get the virus when vaccinated compared to doing nothing.

Moderna is a little better but the vaccine is still without value against Omicron after 60 days and also has negative efficacy after 90 days.

(Click on to enlarge this or any other image).

Source: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21267966v3.full.pdf

This graph form the study displays the same data which might be easier to comprehend.

Source: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21267966v3.full.pdf

This study indicates that someone would need to get a booster practically every other month to maintain any kind of vaccine protection against Omicron.

That also does not consider the fact that in the first two weeks after any shot you may actually be suppressing your natural immune system until the vaccinal antibodies build up. However, this data suggests that protection never gets that robust to begin with and then quickly decreases until vaccine efficacy is actually negative after 90 days.

Bear in mind this is early data and may be superseded by better information as we learn more about Omicron and how the variant responds to the vaccines.

However, shouldn't there be more questions being asked before we tell more and more people to get more and more jabs?

This is particularly true as we see cases in South Africa falling as quickly right now as they took off originally in the nation that first identified the Omicron variant.

Notice that the declines in Covid cases almost always mirror the trajectory of the increases in any graph you look at.

Have Omicron cases come down in South Africa because of more vaccinations?

South Africa has actually been doing fewer vaccinations in December than they have in previous months.

South Africa has also vaccinated a much smaller percentage of its population than other heavily vaccinated countries that are seeing massive spikes in cases right now.

Contrast the daily confirmed cases in these heavily vaccinated countries (Portugal, Spain, Denmark, UK, USA) compared to South Africa.

South Africa has about 25% its population fully vaccinated. All of the other countries are over 60%.

Here are the confirmed cases in the same countries.

All of the heavily vaccinated countries in this chart are still heading up on the Omicron Rocket.

South Africa is already heading down.

Looking at South Africa, might it be better to actually consider reducing the vaccination effort in the middle of the pandemic?

Are the vaccines and the boosters actually fueling the Omicron Rocket right now?

Are the increasing number of variants being caused by the vaccines?

I don't know but someone above my pay grade should be asking these questions.

However, the two guys at the highest pay grades in the United States government (Fauci and Biden) are not asking any questions even as the Covid battle has changed. They just keep doubling down irrespective of the facts and data that confront us.

As stated above, Fauci is still looking for unvaccinated people to blame.

Biden stated today that there is no federal solution to Covid. He has now declared that it is a state level issue.

Does that mean all of his federal mandates are null and void?

Never mind that Biden spent all of last year's campaign saying Covid had to be addressed as a federal issue and that Trump should be removed because he had no plan to deal with it.

At this point, I have no more words. It would be comical if it was not so serious. We are two years into this and those in charge don't have the slightest idea of what they are doing.

The good news is that hospitalizations are not moving up as fast as cases are. 

If it stays like this we might have a chance to build up herd immunity with this surge of cases, that we did not get from the vaccines, without overwhelming hospitals and seeing rising deaths.

However, Covid is always a numbers game. If we see double the cases, even if Omicron is half as serious as Delta, that still means the same hospitalizations and deaths are possible just based on the sheer number of total infections.

This is why having vaccines that do not provide sterilizing immunity, and do not prevent the disease and  transmission (as the smallpox, polio and most other vaccines we are familiar with), are such a disappointing failure no matter how much the experts try to convince us otherwise. 

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