☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Friday, September 24, 2021 ☙ Llama, Llama 🦠
Today’s exciting roundup includes news about Florida beginning to source more lifesaving mAB treatments; llamas come to the rescue; another study endorses mABs ...
Good morning, coffee swillers. Today’s exciting roundup includes news about Florida beginning to source more lifesaving mAB treatments; llamas come to the rescue; another study endorses mABs; NPR reports the pandemic may finally be winding down for good; New York’s new governor announces a plan to replace all the icky uninjected nurses; more awful side effects and damage caused by experts to kids; college football defies “mask science;” and I fisk an unintentionally comical Atlantic feel-good piece originally written to reassure nervous vaxxers.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
The UK has been in the news a lot this week.
🦸♂️ Governor DeSantis of Florida announced yesterday that the state has signed an agreement with UK-based GlaxoSmithKline to purchase 3,000 doses of monoclonal antibody treatments, right after Joe Biden suddenly rationed federal shipments of the drugs to the Sunshine State for “equity.” In the next weekly shipment, Florida was scheduled to receive fewer than 18,000 doses, state officials say. That’s down from 70,000.
GSK’s wholesale cost to the state per dose is $2,100—about what competitors are charging the federal government. Florida is providing the treatments to citizens for free. Great job, Governor. Keep it up. You’re literally saving grandma.
🔬 A new study of monoclonal treatments in Native American populations published in the JAMA Open Network Tuesday concluded that the mABs were highly effective at reducing Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. A scientist at Johns Hopkins pooh-pooh’d the results, arguing that the mABs are more expensive than Covid-19 vaccine injections and can only be used AFTER somebody is infected. So. Case closed, I guess.
🦙 The animal reservoir may be having its uses after all. A British study concluded that llama antibodies to Covid-19 may be usable through a nasal spray to neutralize the virus in humans. I am not making that up. Apparently, llama antibodies — called nanobodies — are smaller and simpler than human ones and work great.
“Nanobodies have a number of advantages over human antibodies,” said study author Ray Owens, a scientist at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in England. “They are cheaper to produce and can be delivered directly to the airways through a nebulizer or nasal spray, so can be self-administered at home rather than needing an injection,” Owens said.
Public Health England described the research as having “significant potential for both the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.” It said the nanobodies “are among the most effective [COVID-19] neutralizing agents we have ever tested.” Well.
They get the llama nanobodies by injecting spike protein into the irascible animals, which probably just makes them even crankier, and then harvesting the beast’s nanobody proteins through a process that I assume is not entirely comfortable. In the words of every doctor who ever lived, “you might experience some discomfort.”
The scientists didn’t say how the nasal treatments might affect people’s mood, or whether they might cause bad spitting habits.
The Dalai Llama was unavailable for comment. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)
🔥 According to NPR, a consortium of researchers that advises the CDC predicted this week that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic might be over — and said that a steady decline in confirmed coronavirus cases through March could very well be on the horizon. The CDC wasn’t paying attention though, because it was checking its TikTok feed right at the time the researchers said that.
Justin Lessler of the University of North Carolina — who helps to run the group of advisors — told NPR, “Any of us who have been following this closely, given what happened with Delta, are going to be really cautious about too much optimism. But I do think that the trajectory is towards improvement for most of the country.”
Their model predicts that “Deaths from COVID-19 would fall from about 1,500 a day now, to fewer than 100 a day by March 2022,” NPR reported. New infections, according to Lessler, would slowly but surely continue to drop from approximately 140,000 per day to approximately 9,000 a day by March 2022.
The scientists’ predictions are based on increasing natural herd immunity — ironically, thanks to the more transmissible Delta variant. “I think these projections show us there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Lessler said. “The biggest driver is immunity. We’ve seen really big Delta waves. The virus has eaten up the susceptible people. So there are less people out there to infect. … [I]mmunity always wins out eventually.”
Natural immunity. If only we’d had someone to tell us about that from the beginning. Oh, well!
🤡 New York’s new Governor Kathy Hochul — who replaced disgraced Andrew Cuomo — has been thinking really really hard about firing all those nurses for being un-injected. She might not be the sharpest kitchen cutlery in the knife block. She answered a reporter’s question yesterday about how the state could replace unvaccinated and terminated hospital workers. She said they were working with the Department of State to try to hire nurses from the Philippines. Brilliant.
🔥 According to newly-released CDC data, “the portion of 5-11-year-olds who are classified as overweight or obese is now 45.7 percent, up from 36.2 percent before the pandemic.” That’s an increase of 25% in the rate of obesity among young children, the largest ever recorded in HISTORY. By far. I wonder what could be responsible for this bizarre, inexplicable phenomenon?
Oh wait! I know! Experts.
And, by the way, obesity is a FAR worse killer than Covid, regardless of age. Obesity can and does lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and even certain cancers. But the experts were SURE — one hundred percent positive — that throwing ALL other health measures into the dumpster was worth it, to bend the curve.
Oh wait. The curve never bent.
So we traded all these other awful health outcomes for no advantage at all. Because Dr. Fauci said so. Thanks a lot, dummy.
🏈 One of the least-reported stories these days is how jam-packed college football stadiums have been this Fall. Here in Gainesville, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium holds about 100,000 folks every game. Two home games have opened to a packed stadium. There aren’t a lot of masks, that’s for sure. Reports from attendees and available video suggest that fewer than 10% of folks are wearing the dirty face rags.
The first game against Florida Atlantic University played on September 4. So we should be seeing the super-spreader event by this point, right? Two weeks after? Where is it? Hmmmm?
So … if college football games aren’t killing everybody, then … what’s the emergency? For real?
The other factor I’ve been watching for — and missing — is, where is all the hapless hysteria about the terrifying risks of big sporting events like we witnessed last year? It’s not gone — it’s just mutated into grim battles over Covid injections, jobs, and forcing kids to breath through bacteria catchers all day.
💉 An unintentionally hilarious Atlantic article published on Wednesday tries to soften the blow for Covid-injection fans who bought all the experts’ lies that the shots would keep them from catching the disease. It is headlined, “‘Post-Vax COVID’ Is a New Disease.”
Hahahahahahahaha! A NEW disease! Oh my gosh! That is so pricelessly comical! The shot kept you safe after all! You aren’t sick with Covid! It’s something totally different! It’s “Post Vax Covid!”
Oh it hurts to laugh this hard. Thank you, Atlantic. Whew, that was a good one.
Just to put things in perspective, the Atlantic’s editors and reporters are NOT vaccine skeptics. Oh no. They LOVE the injections. They’re probably on their fourth booster by now.
Still, take a look at how watered down the claims are now about the Covid injections. What’s the opposite of a “ringing endorsement?” It’s like that.
The article begins with an anecdote about a breakthrough measles case from over thirty years ago. So that proves … something? Nothing? No stats on measles breakthrough cases. “It happens.” Okay then.
Here’s the money paragraph:
> ”We’re not yet at the point where we can officially label post-vaccination COVID-19 cases as ‘modified’; maybe we never will be. Some immunized people are still getting dangerously sick. But the shots are softening COVID-19’s sharp edges: On average, breakthrough infections seem to be briefer, milder, and less contagious.”
They are just giving me too much material. Let’s walk through this amazing paragraph line by line.
> ”We’re not yet at the point where we can officially label post-vaccination COVID-19 cases as ‘modified’; maybe we never will be[.]”
This is SO awesome. In other words, we can’t REALLY call the disease that you got after believing the injection would keep you safe something different from “Covid.” We wish we could. But … it’s NOT different. Never will be. But we can suggest the IDEA to you. So YOU can call it something different from Covid. Because you’re a dummy, dummy.
> “Some immunized people are still getting dangerously sick.”
Okay, it HAS to be bad for them to be admitting this, right? The feline is out of the fabric sack now, right? Because about ten seconds ago, admitting this would have gotten the Atlantic’s editors disinvited from every swanky cocktail party and hedonistic masked gala in New York City.
> “But the shots are softening COVID-19’s sharp edges: On average, breakthrough infections seem to be briefer, milder, and less contagious.”
On average. As a lawyer, I notice certain carefully-chosen words that people use when they say stuff. These words leap out at me. My brain is a finely-honed BS detector. People try to lie all kinds of ways. Using weasel words is one of them.
So guess which word is the giveaway in that quoted sentence? It’s SEEMS. Seems!
It SEEMS like breakthrough infections are briefer, milder, and less contagious. Seems like.
Hahahahahaha! What does “seems” mean? It means nothing! You can’t hold me to it! It just seemed that way!
The internet defines “seems” as: “gives the impression or sensation of being something.” It’s a feeling word! Not science.
The internet definition also mentions this, “used to make a statement or description of one’s thoughts, feelings, or actions less assertive or forceful.”
Less assertive. Less forceful.
And it finally adds this one, the rivet in the body box: “be unable to do something, despite having tried.”
Oh, dear. That’s not too good, Atlantic. The injections just “seem like” they make infections less serious. They just seem that way.
And — oh, man — what a gift this article is. It just keeps giving. Check out this delectable line:
> “Since the start, COVID-19 has been tough to define.”
It’s been tough to define! What even IS Covid, after all? Who knows!
The Atlantic just swerved awfully close to calling the whole deal a “Scamdemic” right there. That kind of talk used to get you cancelled. I bet I even get a banner warning for including that word in my post this morning. Facebook! It wasn’t me! It was The Atlantic!
> “Inoculated bodies are less hospitable to SARS-CoV-2, making it harder for the pathogen to infect them; when it still manages to, it seems to be purged much faster, affording it less time to cause symptoms—especially the bad ones—and fewer opportunities to hop into other hosts. ‘I think about it as defanging the virus,’ Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory, told me.”
Seems. I “think.” More:
> “These qualitative shifts aren’t easy to capture, especially with the studies coming out now that measure vaccine effectiveness in the real world. Most of them gravitate toward metrics at two opposite ends of the SARS-CoV-2 spectrum—how well the vaccines protect against all infections, or against severe disease, hospitalizations, and death—with less precision around the murky hinterlands of mid-level symptoms that exist in between.“
Less precision! The murky hinterlands in between. That sounds like something I would write. I love it. The murky hinterlands of ignorance.
> “COVID-19’s march toward diminution won’t be linear or uniform. Immune cells forget; viruses shape-shift; our vaccines will need touch-ups or boosts.”
Immune cells forget. In other words, it doesn’t last. We’re going to need some new vaccines.
But don’t worry! We can always just start focusing on the people who DON’T die:
> “A small number of post-vaccination infections are now trickling into my social circles, and it’s actually been sort of comforting to hear some of the stories.”
Sort of comforting! Sort of comforting to hear about the breakthrough cases. It’s been sort of comforting because some of the people with breakthrough cases did just fine and didn’t die after all. Which is, by the way, just like people who recovered naturally — but pay no attention to THOSE stories. We don’t need to focus on THOSE. They aren’t comforting, like breakthrough cases are.
If they keep this stuff up, I’m going to need a bigger blog.
Have a fabulous Friday and I’ll be back again tomorrow with more Covid commentary for you.
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