Delta variant likely to bring a fall and winter of masks, vaccine mandates, anxiety

Authors: Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money Fri, August 20, 2021, 8:00 AM

The rise of the Delta variant has upended previous optimistic projections of herd immunity and a return to normal life, with many health experts believing mask mandates and tougher vaccine requirements will be needed in the coming months to avoid more serious coronavirus surges.

While there are promising signs that California’s fourth COVID-19 surge may be starting to flatten, the fall and winter will bring new challenges as people stay indoors more often and vaccine immunity begins to wane.

The rapid spread of Delta among the unvaccinated — and the still relatively small number of “breakthrough” cases among the vaccinated — shows that significant increases in inoculations will help stop the spread. In fact, officials are now preparing to provide booster shots to those who already got their first series of vaccinations, saying the extra dose is needed to keep people protected.

Still, “the vaccines themselves are not going to likely be sufficient. And during times of increased transmission, we’ll need other tools available to protect all of us — and particularly those who, at this time, can’t be vaccinated, like our children,” said UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.

California is in a better position than other states because of relatively higher vaccination rates, and there is little appetite for a return to stay-at-home orders. But in settings where more people gather, strategies that can be used to keep COVID-19 controlled include ensuring people are either vaccinated, have a recent negative coronavirus test or both, Bibbins-Domingo said.

“There will be a time when we have our masks off again as transmission goes back down. But I think we’re going to have to be prepared that if we’re in an environment when there’s more virus around, that it is sensible that we have another layer of protection — and that will be masks,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “And I don’t think we’re going to be totally throwing our masks away anytime soon, frankly.”

Policies like mandatory masking and requiring vaccines or regular testing in workplaces “are going to be very important if we are ever going to get over this pandemic,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a medical epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

It was once thought that as soon as 70% to 85% of a population was vaccinated, communities would reach a high enough level of herd immunity that the threat of COVID-19 would be mostly behind us. Now, “that’s out the window,” Bibbins-Domingo said, and computer models suggest the coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future. “Almost certainly, we’ll be dealing with it this winter.”

How long the pandemic will last depends on any new variants that emerge, the ability to adapt the vaccines to them and temporary measures that may be needed to tamp down surges, Bibbins-Domingo said.

There are several key factors that have altered what we previously understood about COVID-19 and underscore just how far off the end of the pandemic still is.

The first is the emergence of the Delta variant — at least twice as transmissible as the previous dominant variant, Alpha, and capable of producing a viral load up to 1,000 times greater in the upper throat.

“The big challenge with Delta is that it’s so much more transmissible than the original strain. … And really, this is possibly an unprecedented change in terms of the amount of the” shift in the so-called R-naught, or the basic reproductive rate of the coronavirus, Shane Crotty, a vaccine researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, recently told a forum at UC San Francisco.

Originally, a person infected with the ancestral strain of the coronavirus spread it to 2.5 other people on average. But the Delta variant is estimated to spread to five to eight other people. That means that within 10 cycles of transmission of the virus, in a population with no immunity to the virus, instead of fewer than 10,000 people being infected, more than 60 million will be infected, Dr. Carlos del Rio, an Emory University epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert, said at the same UC San Francisco forum.

This is why vaccine mandates will become more important, especially at places of employment, del Rio said. “I think the going phrase that we’re hearing over and over is: ‘No jab, no job.’ And I think mandates are going to make a big difference,” he said.

Second, breakthrough infections — in which fully vaccinated people become infected with COVID-19 — are still uncommon but no longer rare. “I think vaccinated persons are much safer than unvaccinated persons, but they’re not completely safe. Breakthrough infections occur often enough with Delta that you will see them,” del Rio said.

While a vaccinated person with a breakthrough infection can transmit the virus to others, he or she is likely to be infectious for a significantly fewer number of days, del Rio said. “And therefore your contribution to transmission is much lower if you’re vaccinated than if you’re not.”

And that’s why wearing masks indoors remains important. Del Rio said many infectious-diseases doctors never stopped masking indoors, even after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it wasn’t necessary for fully vaccinated people.

Vaccinated people with breakthrough infections have much more mild illnesses because the body is already equipped to defend itself against the virus and likely can avoid lung illnesses or hospitalization, said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health officer for Orange County. But without prior immunity, the virus can lodge deeper into the body and cause more severe illness, eventually making it very difficult to breathe.

In Los Angeles County in April, fully vaccinated people accounted for 5% of all coronavirus cases; by July, they accounted for 30%. But fully vaccinated people, who now account for 55% of L.A. County residents of all ages, continue to be well-protected against hospitalization.

Unvaccinated older adults — age 50 and above — are 12 times more likely to be hospitalized than their vaccinated counterparts, and unvaccinated younger adults are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated in that age group.

For More Information: https://news.yahoo.com/delta-variant-likely-bring-fall-120056591.html

Most face masks won’t stop COVID-19 indoors, study warns

Authors: by John Anderer

New research reveals that cloth masks filter just 10% of exhaled aerosols, with many people not wearing coverings that fit their face properly.

WATERLOO, Ontario — N95 or KN95 face masks may be the best way to avoid COVID-19 during crowded indoor events. That’s the recommendation from a new study reporting most cloth masks just don’t do the job when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus within enclosed spaces.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo simulated a person breathing in a large room with a cloth face mask on. Despite wearing a mask, the study finds a large buildup of aerosol droplets suspended in the air. Besides raising awareness on the vulnerability of certain face masks, these findings also emphasize the need for proper ventilation indoors. More ventilation means less of a chance for potentially viral aerosols to linger around.

“There is no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room,” says study leader Serhiy Yarusevych, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, in a university release. “However, there is a very serious difference in the effectiveness of different masks when it comes to controlling aerosols.”

Studies continue to show that aerosols exhaled by infected individuals can indeed infect others with COVID-19, even if someone is standing more than six feet away.

For More Information: https://www.studyfinds.org/face-masks-wont-stop-covid-indoors/

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

A collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)     VACCINE RESOURCES     VACCINE FAQ https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

All Journal content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available.

For More Information: https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

COVID-19 false dichotomies and a comprehensive review of the evidence regarding public health, COVID-19 symptomatology, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, mask wearing, and reinfection

Authors: Kevin EscandónAngela L. RasmussenIsaac I. BogochEleanor J. MurrayKarina EscandónSaskia V. Popescu & Jason Kindrachuk BMC Infectious Diseases volume 21, Article number: 710 (2021) 

Abstract

Scientists across disciplines, policymakers, and journalists have voiced frustration at the unprecedented polarization and misinformation around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Several false dichotomies have been used to polarize debates while oversimplifying complex issues. In this comprehensive narrative review, we deconstruct six common COVID-19 false dichotomies, address the evidence on these topics, identify insights relevant to effective pandemic responses, and highlight knowledge gaps and uncertainties. The topics of this review are: 1) Health and lives vs. economy and livelihoods, 2) Indefinite lockdown vs. unlimited reopening, 3) Symptomatic vs. asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, 4) Droplet vs. aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, 5) Masks for all vs. no masking, and 6) SARS-CoV-2 reinfection vs. no reinfection. We discuss the importance of multidisciplinary integration (health, social, and physical sciences), multilayered approaches to reducing risk (“Emmentaler cheese model”), harm reduction, smart masking, relaxation of interventions, and context-sensitive policymaking for COVID-19 response plans. We also address the challenges in understanding the broad clinical presentation of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. These key issues of science and public health policy have been presented as false dichotomies during the pandemic. However, they are hardly binary, simple, or uniform, and therefore should not be framed as polar extremes. We urge a nuanced understanding of the science and caution against black-or-white messaging, all-or-nothing guidance, and one-size-fits-all approaches. There is a need for meaningful public health communication and science-informed policies that recognize shades of gray, uncertainties, local context, and social determinants of health.

For More Information: https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-021-06357-4

Masking school children is abuse

No scientific studies support the CDC guidance

Authors: PrintBy Jenny Beth MartinSaturday, August 14, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When it comes to imposing mask mandates – especially for school children – Democrats simply don’t get it. If President Joe Biden and his cronies don’t pay more attention to parents and the health care professionals who care for their children, they’re going to set themselves up for an even worse shellacking than the one they suffered in 2010, when they lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives and brought an end to their short-lived era of one-party rule.

Mr. Biden said last week his administration is “checking” to see whether or not he has the legal authority to order a nationwide mask mandate for school children. “I don’t believe I do [have that power], thus far,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “We’re checking that.”

That sounds suspiciously similar to what he said two weeks ago regarding the CDC-promulgated eviction moratorium – right before his administration had the CDC issue a “new” eviction moratorium.

But what’s a Supreme Court ruling when you’re a radical Democrat convinced you know best? Certainly, nothing to worry about, at least not enough to prevent you from doing something you don’t believe you have the legal authority to do. After all, to paraphrase (a most likely apocryphal quote) from Joseph Stalin, how many divisions does John Roberts have at his disposal?

First things first: Despite the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents know that school children should not be forced to wear masks as a condition of attending class in person. The CDC’s new guidance isn’t based on any scientific study proving that wearing masks reduces Covid transmission in children, as Drs. Marty Makary and H. Cody Meissner pointed out in a recent op-ed, there has been no scientific study with data to prove the point.

Further, explain Drs. Makary and Meissner, not only is there not any proof that forcing children to wear masks will help them; there actually is proof that forcing children to wear masks will hurt them: “[Children] who have myopia can have difficulty seeing because the mask fogs their glasses … Masks can cause severe acne and other skin problems. The discomfort of a mask distracts some children from learning. By increasing airway resistance during exhalation, masks can lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. In March, Ireland’s Department of Health announced it won’t require masks in schools because they ‘may exacerbate anxiety or breathing difficulties for some students.’ Some children compensate for such difficulties by breathing through their mouths. Chronic and prolonged mouth breathing can alter facial development. It is well-documented that children who mouth-breathe because adenoids blocks their nasal airways can develop a mouth deformity and elongated face.”

For More Information: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/aug/14/masking-school-children-is-abuse/

Do Masks Work? A Review Of The Evidence

Authors: BY TYLER DURDEN

Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” So tweeted then–surgeon general Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020, adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.”

Two days later, Adams said, “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.”

Less than a week earlier, on February 25, public-health authorities in the United Kingdom had published guidance that masks were unnecessary even for those providing community or residential care:

“During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff.”

About a month later, on March 30, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that

“there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit.”

He added,

“In fact there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite” because of the possibility of not “wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly” and of “taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that.”

For More Information: https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/do-masks-work-review-evidence

Do Masks Work?

A review of the evidence

Authors: Jeffrey H. AndersonAugust 11, 2021 Covid-19Health CarePolitics and law

Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” So tweeted then–surgeon general Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020, adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.” Two days later, Adams said, “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.” Less than a week earlier, on February 25, public-health authorities in the United Kingdom had published guidance that masks were unnecessary even for those providing community or residential care: “During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff.” About a month later, on March 30, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that “there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit.” He added, “In fact there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite” because of the possibility of not “wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly” and of “taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that.”

Surgical masks were designed to keep medical personnel from inadvertently infecting patients’ wounds, not to prevent the spread of viruses. Public-health officials’ advice in the early days of Covid-19 was consistent with that understanding. Then, on April 3, 2020, Adams announced that the CDC was changing its guidance and that the general public should hereafter wear masks whenever sufficient social distancing could not be maintained.

Fast-forward 15 months. Rand Paul has been suspended from YouTube for a week for saying, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work.” Many cities across the country, following new CDC guidance handed down amid a spike in cases nationally caused by the Delta variant, are once again mandating indoor mask-wearing for everyone, regardless of inoculation status. The CDC further recommends that all schoolchildren and teachers, even those who have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, should wear masks.

The CDC asserts this even though its own statistics show that Covid-19 is not much of a threat to schoolchildren. Its numbers show that more people under the age of 18 died of influenza during the 2018–19 flu season—a season of “moderate severity” that lasted eight months—than have died of Covid-19 across more than 18 months. What’s more, the CDC says that out of every 1,738 Covid-19-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, just one has involved someone under 18 years of age; and out of every 150 deaths of someone under 18 years of age, just one has been Covid-related. Yet the CDC declares that schoolchildren, who learn in part from communication conveyed through facial expressions, should nevertheless hide their faces—and so should their teachers.

How did mask guidance change so profoundly? Did the medical research on the effectiveness of masks change—and in a remarkably short period of time—or just the guidance on wearing them?

Since we are constantly told that the CDC and other public-health entities are basing their recommendations on science, it’s crucial to know what, specifically, has been found in various medical studies. Significant choices about how our republic should function cannot be made on the basis of science alone—they require judgment and the weighing of countless considerations—but they must be informed by knowledge of it.

In truth, the CDC’s, U.K.’s, and WHO’s earlier guidance was much more consistent with the best medical research on masks’ effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses. That research suggests that Americans’ many months of mask-wearing has likely provided little to no health benefit and might even have been counterproductive in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

For More Information: https://www.city-journal.org/do-masks-work-a-review-of-the-evidence

Anti-maskers hurl abuse, threats after Tennessee school board reinstates mandate

Authors: By Yaron Steinbuch

Wild video captured a group of irate people in Tennessee hurling threats at health care professionals and school board members after a mask mandate was reinstated — with one man threatening, “We know who you are! You can leave freely, but we will find you!”

The chaos erupted Tuesday night in Franklin, just south of Nashville, where the Williamson County Board of Education approved the mask requirement for elementary schools as protesters gathered outside, according to News Channel 5.

During the heated debate before the measure was passed, a parent who identified himself as former Marine Daniel Jordan told the board, “Actions have consequences. If you vote for this, we will come for you, in a non-violent way,” CNN reported.

He added: “In the past, you dealt with sheep, now prepare yourself to deal with lions.”

Dr. Jennifer King, a parent and physician, told the board, “As a pediatric ICU physician, we are seeing more younger previously healthy children admitted with respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome than we have in prior strains, as cases in children are on the rise.

“This trend will only worsen if we don’t act now,” she said during the raucous meeting, where attendees cheered, clapped and booed. Police escorted some disruptive people out of the room, footage shared on Twitter shows.

For More Information: https://nypost.com/2021/08/12/anti-maskers-hurl-threats-after-school-board-reinstates-mandate/

42 peer-reviewed studies that show masks are neither safe nor effective (it’s about subjugation and control not health – except for destroying it)

Authors: POSTED BY GARETH ICKE – MEMES AND HEADLINE COMMENTS BY DAVID ICKEPOSTED ON 16 AUGUST 2020

Links to Peer Reviewed Studies of the Effectiveness of Face Masks for COVID-19 Protection: https://davidicke.com/2020/08/16/42-peer-reviewed-studies-that-show-masks-are-neither-safe-nor-effective-its-about-subjugation-and-control-not-health-except-destroying-it/

Masking: A Careful Review of the Evidence

Authors:

Paul E. Alexander – February 11, 2021

The question on whether to wear a face mask or not during the Covid-19 pandemic remains emotional and contentious. Why? This question about the utility of face coverings (which has taken on a talisman-like life) is now overwrought with steep politicization regardless of political affiliation (e.g. republican or liberal/democrat). 

Importantly, the evidence just is and was not there to support mask use for asymptomatic people to stop viral spread during a pandemic. While the evidence may seem conflicted, the evidence (including the peer-reviewed evidence) actually does not support its use and leans heavily toward masks having no significant impact in stopping spread of the Covid virus. 

In fact, it is not unreasonable at this time to conclude that surgical and cloth masks, used as they currently are, have absolutely no impact on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 virus, and current evidence implies that face masks can be actually harmful. All this to say and as so comprehensively documented by Dr. Roger W. Koops in a recent American Institute of Economic Research (AIER) publication, there is no clear scientific evidence that masks (surgical or cloth) work to mitigate risk to the wearer or to those coming into contact with the wearer, as they are currently worn in everyday life and specifically as we refer to Covid-19. 

We present the evidence in full below. We also state that should adequate evidence emerge that supports the effectiveness of surgical and cloth masks in this Covid pandemic (or any similar type masks), then we will change our position and conclude otherwise. Our focus is on face masks for  Covid but we will touch gently on the issue of school closures and lockdowns, as these three issues remain the key public health policy catastrophes we have faced as global societies. 

For More Information: https://www.aier.org/article/masking-a-careful-review-of-the-evidence/