☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Thursday, May 26, 2022 ☙ PAKISTAN PROBLEM 🦠
Competing stories about whether the jabs supercharge your immune system or undermine it; a baffling pilot shortage; and something big is happening in nuclear Pakistan that you never heard about.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Thursday! Our roundup includes: Bloomberg’s cherry-picked studies seem to come to a vastly different conclusion than a recent study showing disabled antibody responses; a solid new Israeli study in the NEJM on comparative rates of reinfections based on jab status; fact checkers promise there’s no monkeypox virus in the jabs; a pilot shortage; and in the Minority Report, something big is going on in Pakistan and the media is on blackout about it.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 The new Stranger Things mini-season comes out tomorrow on Netflix. So.
💉 Let’s compare US news about the jabs to a new article in Israeli media. Remember, Israel is 2-3 months ahead of the rest of the world in the jabs timeline.
The first article is from Bloomberg, of course, headlined “How Omicron Infection Turbo-Charges Vaccinated People’s Immunity.” For a taste of irony, you might reflect on Bloomberg’s article yesterday warning that “everyone” is going to get re-infected.
Bloomberg’s new article reports on a pair of recent studies claiming to show that infection produced even BETTER immune responses than a booster shot in vaccinated patients. Guess who did the studies? The first one was Pfizer’s business partner, BioNTech. The other was the University of Washington, which is the same outfit that produced all those hysterically inaccurate early covid models used to justify lockdowns in the US.
I’m not saying the new studies are wrong just because they come from a known liar (U. Wash.) and the vaccine’s own manufacturer (BioNTech). But you know what I’m saying.
A cherry-picked expert who’d been involved just to the extent of reading the study was ready to conclude, “We should think about breakthrough infections as essentially equivalent to another dose of vaccine.” He cheerfully suggested that could mean that if someone had covid recently, they could wait before getting another booster shot.
“BEFORE getting another booster.” Which presupposes we were going to get it in the first place. Um. Anyway, moving on.
The upshot was that the two new studies claim that vaccinated people show more “memory B cells” than unvaccinated people who’d recovered from covid, “suggesting” that vaccine plus infection creates “better” protection than infection alone. Hardly “supercharged,” but did you expect Bloomberg to eschew a little hyperbole over a rare bit of seemingly good news for the jabs?
Now let’s look at this next breaking story from Israel National News, headlined “COVID Vaccines May Impair Long-Term Immunity to the Virus.” That doesn’t sound too good. The sub-headline warned, “Research suggests that vaccination against COVID via mRNA vaccines may reduce body’s ability to produce key type of antibody.”
The article reports on an April MedRXIv preprint headlined, “Anti-nucleocapsid antibodies following SARS-CoV-2 infection in the blinded phase of the mRNA-1273 Covid-19 vaccine efficacy clinical trial.”
Unsurprisingly, the researchers first found that unvaccinated people developed antibodies for the “body” of the covid virus, called the nucleocapsid, but vaccinated people didn’t. This is unsurprising because the jabs hijack your cells to make the virus’ spike part, but not the nucleocapsid part. So the vaccines can’t prompt the body to make antibodies to the nucleocapsid.
But what WAS surprising was that the researchers also discovered that upon subsequent breakthrough infection, vaccinated people STILL didn’t make the nucleocapsid antibodies, or at least, not as many as unjabbed folks. The article explained that in the unvaccinated subjects who got the virus, nearly all (93%) had measurable levels of nucleocapsid antibodies, but fewer than half (40%) of vaccinated subjects had those antibodies after a subsequent infection.
The researchers think the most likely reason for this is some kind of vaccine-induced suppression of the immune system:
“[G]iven the short time frame the more likely explanation is a vaccine-induced reduction in seroconversion,” researchers wrote, suggesting that trial participants given the vaccine had reduced levels of the anti-nucleocapsid antibodies as a direct result of the vaccine’s narrow focus on the spike protein.
Seroconversion means the body’s ability to make specific antibodies to a disease. So, “vaccine-induced reduction in seroconversion” is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you WANT to happen if you get infected after taking a vaccine.
So now let’s try to reconcile that somber finding with yesterday’s excited Bloomberg story, which claims Omicron breakthrough infections “supercharge” vaccinated people’s immune systems. I’m a lawyer, not a vaccinologist, but memory B cells, which were shown to be elevated in the studies Bloomberg cited, are the body’s “first line” of defense to infection. So maybe a well-primed unjabbed immune system doesn’t NEED as many B cells.
What we do need is a tie-breaker study.
🔬 Oh, what’s this? A brand-new study published yesterday in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE titled, “Protection and Waning of Natural and Hybrid Immunity to SARS-CoV-2.”
They analyzed more than 5.7 million people in Israeli databases. The conclusion is a little dense, let’s read it and then we’ll parse it:
The adjusted rate of confirmed infections among recovered, unvaccinated persons 4 to less than 6 months after infection was 10.5 per 100,000 person-days at risk; this rate increased to 30.2 among persons in this cohort 12 months or more after infection. In the two-dose cohort, the rate was 21.1 among persons vaccinated within the previous 2 months, and this rate increased to 88.9 among those vaccinated 6 to less than 8 months previously[.]
In other words, unvaccinated people’s actual re-infections within six months of their first infection was 10.5 per 100,000, and 30.2 after a year. For double-jabbed, it was wildly higher: 21.1 per 100,000 were infected within two months of vaccination, with a whopping 88.9 reinfections per 100,000 when you went out to eight months.
They also checked severe disease, and the news wasn’t good there either. The researchers found rates of severe disease in persons 60 years of age or older, were 0.6 per 100,000 “person-days at risk” in the previously-infected unvaccinated group, but 4.6 per 100,000 in the two-dose group. (They found that a booster lowered the rate again, but they couldn’t measure whether it held up, because their three-dose data was less than two months old.)
This study is especially significant for the large size of the data set (5.7 million) and for the quality of the journal (NEJM).
So … NOT “supercharged,” apparently. Kind of the opposite of supercharged.
🔥 A pushed AP “fact check” story showed up at the top of my Twitter feed this morning headlined “Monkeypox and shingles are different viruses and there is no evidence of COVID-19 vaccines links, experts say.” Well, that’s good to hear. The article says that false information “circulating on social media” claims the mRNA shots “cause monkeypox.” It then “debunks” that claim using childish hyper literalism, going through the jab ingredients and showing there’s no monkeypox IN the vaccines, talking about how no monkey DNA was used to develop the shots, etc etc.
I was slightly interested by the bare fact that they clearly feel the need to proactively “debunk” any link between monkeypox and the jabs, but apart from that the article was a yawner. But then I noticed this bullet point, tucked into a little summary sidebar: “There have been cases of individuals developing shingles after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine however experts express there is no definite link, AP reports.”
Oh, so there’s no DEFINITE link. Remember, they’re playing the hyper-literalism game. So in other words, they just admitted that there’s a link. It’s just not “definite.” And it never will be.
Some social media users have been theorizing that the monkeypox “outbreak” is a cover for an upcoming shingles outbreak. It’s an interesting theory but I don’t see the evidence yet.
🧑✈️ Earlier this week, the Daily Wire ran a story headlined, “U.S. Airlines Desperate For Pilots Consider Cutting Training Requirements.” Uh oh. Well, we ARE in the age of “safety first,” so I’m sure this will only IMPROVE safety. CNBC reported on the same story, noting that “earlier this year, Delta Air Lines joined other big carriers in dropping a four-year degree from its pilot hiring requirements.”
The article unironically blames the horrible pilot shortage on early retirement packages offered to pilots because of covid market slowdowns. Not one single word about the jabs and mandates. For some reason.
What does “self inflicted injury” mean?
🚀 *THE MINORITY REPORT* 🚀
🚀 WHAT is going on in nuclear-weapons powered Pakistan? US media has absolutely nothing remarkable to say to us. A bland Bloomberg article yesterday was headlined, “Pakistan Considers Gas Import Deal With Countries Including Russia.” Ho-hum.
But social media sources report that a massive convoy of trucks and troops, led by recently-ousted prime minister Imram Khan, just entered the country’s capital in a great show of force. Here’s what Putin ally Khan had to say for himself:
(Khan: “We have entered Punjab and will InshAllah be heading towards Islamabad. No amount of state oppression and fascism by this imported govt can stop or deter our march.”)
Just last month, Khan was removed from office after a parliamentary vote of no confidence. According to sources online, since then Khan has blamed a Biden Administration “regime change” operation to punish him for visiting Russia’s president Putin, and for refusing to go along to the US State Department’s demands over the Ukraine war. Probably just kooky talk. Joe would never do that.
Late yesterday, Disclose.TV reported from Islamabad, showing the massive convoy basically occupying the capital and reported that the Pakistani government is now ordering troops there.
What’s Khan talking about with this “imported government” business? Why hasn’t our media informed us about these alarming developments in an unstable nuclear country? And, WHO imported the government? From WHERE? I surely don’t know, because I’ve been fed a tasteless diet of US media about monkeypox, but some people online seem to think that it is related to Joe Biden for some reason:
This is so weird because in other parts of the world, Joe has been such a lovely peacemaker lately. A real dove. He is definitely NOT trying to start World War III, why would you think that?
Why do I always get the feeling the Bloomberg is lying to us? It’s just this nagging suspicion that I can’t shake. I wonder, if Pakistan’s government is overthrown, will they even bother to tell us about it?
Have a terrific Thursday, C&C people! We are looking forward to a nice long Memorial-day weekend, but I’ll see you back here tomorrow like always.
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