Biblical and Constitutional Politics

Coronavirus General Commentaries

January 2022

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

These Commentaries are continued from Coronavirus General Commentaries: December 2021.

    These commentaries are only about the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. For my commentaries on other news events, see Commentaries on Biblical and Constitutional Politics. Opposite of that page, the comments are posted here in chronological order. Oldest on top, newest at the bottom. For additional Coronavirus Commentaries, see  Coronavirus Articles and Commentaries on Biblical and Constitutional Politics.


Masks Effectiveness

      In my three-part Does a Mask Protect the Wearer from the Coronavirus?, I state, “N95s are best, surgical masks are next best, while cloth masks are the least effective.” I also explain that 100% effectiveness is not necessary. What is need is a mask that is effective enough to reduce the viral load by which people are infected with the Coronavirus, so that they have a less serious illness.

      That order of masks effectiveness was verified by a recent study reported on Headline News (HLN) on January 11, 2022. It found the leakage from masks to be as follows: N95: 1-10%. Surgical: 50%. Cloth: 75%.

      That figure for N95s shows they would prevent infection. But, as CDC Director Rochelle Walensky explained in a clip from a year ago that HLN aired in this report, it is very hard to breathe through a N95 mask. That is why the CDC had not been recommending them, as most people would not put up with it for an extended period of time, like a whole workday. As a result, many would take the mask off, leaving them with no protection.

      That point I would totally agree with. However, where the CDC erred was in recommending cloth masks at all. I can remember Dr. Deborah Birx, of then President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, claiming a study found cloth masks were effective. And that is when they became acceptable. However, based on my research, I knew that was incorrect and have always worn a disposable surgical mask and have recommended my dad and others do the same. I knew a surgical mask was not as effective as a N95, but it was much easier to breath in, while it was more effective than a cloth mask. It is just a good compromise between breathability and effectiveness.

      This new study bears out that attitude. With just a 25% effectiveness, a cloth mask is just “facial decoration” as one of Biden’s Covid Team members recently admitted. That level of effectiveness would not be near enough to prevent infection nor even effective enough to reduce the viral load by which someone is infected with sufficiently to reduce the severity of a Covid infection.

      However, most people wear cloth masks. That is probably why some studies have found that masks do not reduce the rate of infection, hospitalizations, or deaths. But if most people wore surgical masks, then most likely, those studies would have found masks did not reduce infections, but they did reduce hospitalizations and deaths. That is because 50% effectiveness would not suffice to prevent infection, but it would reduce the viral load one is infected with sufficiently to reduce the seriousness of an infection. And if most people wore N95s, with a 90-99% effectiveness, then those studies would probably find masks reduce all three.

      Sadly though, it is such studies based on cloth masks that those on the right like to cite in their crusade against all masks. That blanket condemnation has led to the many fights we have seen over masks and to many needless hospitalizations and deaths. If instead, they would have recommended surgical or N95 masks, then much suffering would have been alleviated and many deaths avoided. Thus, you can add misinformation about masks to misinformation about the seriousness of Covid and about the vaccines to ways the right has caused needless suffering and death that I discuss in my two-part article Needless Covid Deaths and Hospitalizations and Other Updates.
1/11/22


Misinformation on the Left

      Less the reader thinks the left is off of the hook, I just updated Part Two of the Needless article to mention that misinformation by the left about safe and effective treatments has also led to much needless suffering and deaths. That includes calling ivermectin a “horse de-wormer.”

     That is actually a half-truth. There is a version of ivermectin that is used for livestock. It is available over the counter. But there is also a human version that is only available by prescription. Where some people have gotten into trouble is by taking the livestock version. Obviously, a horse is much larger than a human, so taking an amount of drug intended for a horse would lead to overdoses in humans. However, the human version, when properly prescribed by a physician, has a very good and long term safety record. And it has proved to be effective against Covid in some instances; though I still think hydroxychlotoquine + zinc is more effective.

    The left has also endorsed lockdowns far more than the right. I document in my Part Two of my article Statistical Refutations of Covid Deniers and Antivaxxers, that those lockdowns caused 100,000 deaths in 2020. I couldn't find an estimate for 2021, but I would guess it would be similar. Those lockdowns also caused much needless suffering, physical, emotional, and economic.

    Consequently, once again, I must decry the needless suffering and death in this pandemic. That leads to my next commentary.
1/11/22


 Sadly, I Was Correct Covid Deaths Would Rise

      In Part Two of my article Needless Covid Deaths and Hospitalizations and Other Updates, I wrote the following:

 

      CNN’s Covid tracker on January 3, 2022 indicated the seven-day average from a week ago for cases was up 103% and hospitalizations were already up 31%, but deaths were down 9%. But I would bet that in a week or so, hospitalizations will be up even more, and deaths will also be up.

 

      Here we are eight days later, and CNN’s Covid tracker on January 11, 2022 now reads for the seven-day average from a week ago: cases up 53%, hospitalizations up 29%, deaths up 33%.

      Thus, sadly, I was correct in regard to deaths, as they are up, quite a bit in fact. Going from being down 9% to being up 33% is a 42-percentage point swing. That is due to the lag deaths always have behind hospitalizations that I mentioned in that article. But it good that I was wrong about hospitalizations. The increase dropped two percentage points, while the increase in cases dropped a whopping 50 percentage points. That means, both are still increasing, so we will still more suffering and deaths over the next couple of weeks.

      With Omicron now the dominant variant, with 95% of new Covid cases being from it, that confirms what I said in that article that Omicron is not mild, as many on the right have been claiming. It is in fact a serious disease for those without natural or vaccine immunity. But saying it is “just a cold” has caused many to let their guard down, leading to needless infections and suffering.

      However, the fact that cases and hospitalizations are not up as much probably means we are reaching the peak of the Omicron wave. Thus, just as I predicted, the Omicron wave and with it the pandemic will be slowing down over the coming weeks. We will then enter the endemic phase, where Covid is always with us, but we don’t experience the big surges that we have experienced over the past two years.
1/11/22


Updated Covid Numbers

 

            On January 19, 2022, NBC Radio News announced that we stand at 858,000 Covid deaths. That same newscast reported there are now over 66 million confirmed USA cases of Covid. An article on the IHeart app put the number more exactly at 66.3 million. That means, 20% or 1 in 5 Americans have now been infected with Covid.

      Doing the math, that is a 1.3% case fatality rate (CFR). That is lower than my calculated 1.6% CFR in my article “Statistical Refutations of Covid Deniers and Antivaxxers.” Some will claim that is because Omicron is milder than Delta. But more precisely, it is those who are vaccinated and get infected who are most likely to have mild cases from Omicron.

      That is verified by other numbers I heard on local radio stations this morning here in the Pittsburgh, PA area. WJAS reported that 75% of Pennsylvania adults are now fully vaccinated, while KDKA reported that only 15% of current hospitalizations and recent deaths are among the fully vaccinated. Thus, the vaccinated are unlikely to be hospitalized or die from Omicron. That also means, the 25% of the PA population that is unvaccinated accounts for 85% of current hospitalizations and deaths.

      Thus, the unvaccinated are still at risk of severe illness from Omicron. Doing the math, the unvaccinated are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized and/ or to die from Omicron. And yes, almost certainly, all of these current hospitalizations and deaths are from Omicron, as NBC Radio News also reported on this day that 99% of Covid cases are now from Omicron.

      In addition, despite claims to the contrary, the vaccines do reduce your risk of being infected, along with being hospitalized and dying from Covid. The following are the stats for the past year for Allegheny County, PA, where I live and where Pittsburgh is located.

 

      Seventy-eight percent of all covid-19 cases reported in Pennsylvania from Jan. 1, 2021, to Jan. 4, 2022, were among people who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated)….

      People who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated made up 85% of hospitalizations for which covid was the primary reason for admission. Of the deaths reported during that time, 84% of people were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated (Trib Live. Covid).

 

 References:

      BCP. Statistical Refutations of Covid Deniers and Antivaxxers.

      IHeart. One In Five Americans Have Been Infected With COVID-19 Since Pandemic Began.

      NBC News. Coronavirus deaths: U.S. map shows number of fatalities compared to confirmed cases.

      Trib Live. Covid hospitalizations high among young children in Allegheny County.


 

These commentaries are continued at: Forthcoming.

Coronavirus General Commentaries: January 2022. Copyright 2021 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above commentaries were posted in January 2022.

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