As the Covid pandemic continues to defy predictions about when it will finally be ‘over,’ there is a curious phenomenon taking place across the United States and around the globe: Covid-19 case rates increasing alongside vaccination rates.
The textbook examples of this disturbing trend are the nations of Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Israel is now experiencing its fourth wave, which is being accompanied by another round of ‘booster shots.’ Israel has 61.5% of all adults “fully vaccinated” (although the use of ‘booster shots’ throws the term into question.)
The United Kingdom is experiencing another wave despite 66.5% being “fully vaccinated.”
The United States is seeing a wave that is now even larger than the first big wave in terms of cases. The U.S. has a 55% ‘fully vaccinated’ rate, which encompasses all adults, but skews older.
U.S. states vary greatly in terms of vaccination rates. Two prime examples of high case rate and high vaccination rate states are California and Washington. California has strict Covid rules, such as mask mandates and even mandatory vaccination in L.A. County.
Despite vaccination rates of 68% in the 12 and up demographic and 80% in the critical 65 and up demographic, California has experienced yet another wave in August. This has been accompanied by an increasing reported death rate.
Washington state is similar in that it has 73% ‘fully vaccinated’ in the 12 and up demographic, as well 89% in the 65 and up. Like California, these rates will be much higher within weeks. And like California, it is reporting soaring case and mortality rates.
In the midst of these remarkable trends is a brewing controversy: How much immunity is enough? As a baseline, there are two forms of immunity: Vaccinated and natural immunity. It was recently reported that the CDC estimated that 83% of the U.S. population had some form of Covid immunity, based on antibodies detected in blood samples. The CDC study showed that the estimation of those who had contracted Covid and recovered without knowing they had the illness was 120 million people – far higher than then 42 million currently being reported. That was in May. Once one factors in the ongoing Delta wave, that number could be upwards of 150 million people.
Amid this massive spread of natural immunity and vaccinated immunity, the goalposts on what constitutes “herd immunity” has shifted dramatically. “Since the start of the pandemic, the figure that many epidemiologists have offered has been 60 to 70 percent,” the NY Times originally reported in December. “That range is still cited by the World Health Organization and is often repeated during discussions of the future course of the disease.”
“In the pandemic’s early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did,” the Times went on. “About a month ago, he began saying ’70, 75 percent’ in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said ’75, 80, 85 percent’ and ’75 to 80-plus percent’.”
It is important to note that Dr. Fauci is acting as if natural immunity doesn’t even exist, when we know from the CDC’s studies that it could be as high as 40% in the United States. Regardless, the NIAID Director wants a vaccination target above 80 percent, while knowing that 98% of Covid deaths are among those age 40 and above. What is going on here?
One blogger, under the pseudonym el gato malo, has shown the spotlight on one possible explanation, while admitting that the author suspects “a fair few folks are not going to like hearing it.” In the interest of readability, I will select relevant passages and capitalize them appropriately (the author has chosen a peculiar style than shuns capitalization). The following is a “hypothesis” that represents what the author argues is the “best fit” of the current data in a number of cases under observation.
The current surge in Covid deaths is caused by the vaccinated.
The Covid vaccines are extremely leaky and may well accelerate contracting and carrying Covid.
They allow for very high viral loads to go unnoticed and generate a new and severe asymptomatic spread vector to where none existed before.
The high viral loads lead to greater contagion. they may lead to greater severity (but this data is iffy and contested).
Vaccine campaigns cause superspread events because vaccination leads to a 2 week window of 40-100% more covid risk that then gets counted as “unvaccinated” because the definitions are bad.
This combination makes those vaccinated with one dose or more into superspread bombs.
One might recall the case of the Texas Democrats or the Barack Obama’s birthday party at Martha’s Vineyard, where ‘fully vaccinated’ people gathered and nonetheless spurred ostensible ‘superspreader events.’ In August, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky changed her story and admitted that the vaccinated can indeed spread the Delta variant.
El gato malo presents evidence about why this explanation appears to fit the data in areas where there are case rates exploding despite presumably high levels of vaccinated and natural immunity.
You get a surge of spread… and then you get the later breakthrough cases (because the vaccines do not stop infection and just mitigate severity).
These BT [breakthrough] cases have massively high VL [viral loads] in often asymptomatic superspreaders that pass on high loading doses to the unvaccinated and greatly worsen the overall pandemic.
This further inflates apparent VE [vaccine efficacy] by subjecting the unvaccinated to a more profligate and severe disease vector than they would have been had no vaccination campaign ever been undertaken.
It moves the whole system to a a different valence.
Perversely, if the vaccinated comprise a spread vector that accelerates deaths in the unvaccinated, that would make it look like vaccines work.
Ouch. (Told you you weren’t going to like it).
The researcher then adds the appropriate disclaimer to the argument.
I want to stress, this is a hypothesis and a work in progress. It’s just the best fit to the facts I can find right now and I REALLY hope it’s wrong because if it’s right, this vaccination campaign is probably the worst health blunder in human history and the epidemiology and politics of that will get stunningly, surreally bad.
But if this hypothesis proves out, then calling this an ‘epidemic of the unvaccinated’ is 180 degrees wrong.
Indeed, it would be generous to call it “the worst health blunder in human history.” It would give rise to a diabolical scenario where two opposing camps – the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – would be clashing incessantly over who is killing whom.
The only plausible solution: More vaccines, forever.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.