Numbers Are Now Available for Accurate Comparisons of Two Evils

When comparing things we need to ensure apples are not mixed with oranges.

Most of us remember how bad the Delta variant of COVID-19 was just a few months ago. I was one of the fortunate ones to survive Delta with just a cough and a bit of fatigue. Many were not.

However, the latest headlines are focused on daily records of new cases of COVID-19 brought on by the Omicron variant. For weeks, health authorities recognized the enhanced capability of the Omicron variant to infect people.

However, there was little confirmation that it was as deadly as the Delta variant. There seemed to be a ‘wait and see’ world view, or at least in the United States, of the real impact of this viral mutation.

New Comparison

https://www.axios.com/cdc-omicron-death-delta-variant-covid-959f1e3a-b09c-4d31-820c-90071f8e7a4f.html?fbclid=IwAR1wqpjnC1S4_cH5i3Vd2oc_CUBslhqzxbRczXOn78plu94oi-nDYmuquxY. Kaiser Permanente Southern California published results showing that the Omicron variant is much less deadly than the Delta variant – 91% less deadly.

Delta Variant

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SARS-CoV-2_Delta_variant. The Delta variant of COVID-19 surfaced in India in late 2020. It was not until May of 2021 that North Texas reported the first cases of Delta in the United States. There are roughly 13 mutations in the SARS-Co-V-2 virus spike associated with the Delta variant.

The first case of Omicron reported in the United States was in December 2021. Over 50 mutations were observed, with 30 of them in the spike. https://www.acrobiosystems.com/A1353-According-to-the-mutations%3A-Why-is-Omicron-causing-such-concern.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoY-PBhCNARIsABcz770wzBtNnQO6Rzkl5DeCefrj3PFCw6I1KPV6E_Ld9KoYSGAQ-k3mCPYaAi5XEALw_wcB

Omicron Study

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.11.22269045v1.full.pdf. Over 50,000 Omicron infections and nearly 17,000 Delta cases were reviewed in this study. All were confirmed cases between the end of November 2021 and the first of January 2022.

People infected with Omicron were three out of four times less likely to need treatment in an ICU than those with the Delta variant. Slight over one out of two needed hospitalizations in a similar comparison. None required ventilators.

Hospital visits were also significantly shorter with those infected by Omicron (1.5 days) to Delta (5 days). The problem facing our healthcare industry is not the minimal number of days in a hospital but the overwhelming magnitude of Omicron infection.

Variant Statistics

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. During the height of Delta (and it is not over yet), the new cases of COVID-19 were over 160,000 daily. This week, over 800,000 cases of Omicron were reported.

The number of infected is probably well over a million because many do not have symptoms or are so mild they do not get tested. In some cases, testing facilities were overwhelmed, and people recovered before testing could be done.

Daily deaths averaged over 2,000 at the height of Delta’s surge. However, the daily deaths continued to climb this past week to 1,800. Some reports indicate that some of those deaths are probably related to Delta infections.

That makes sense when you look at the worldwide statistics. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. The Delta surge had over 650,000 new cases daily at its height compared to over 3.25 million new cases daily from the Omicron variant. In addition, worldwide deaths continue to decline from over 10,000 daily deaths from Delta compared to this week’s report of under 7,000 daily deaths.

Conclusion

Hospitals are being pushed to the maximum in parts of the United States because four to five times more people are infected with COVID-19. The good news is that many are released within a couple of days when they have the Omicron variant compared to around a week for those infected by Delta.

I think this is a possible pathway for herd immunity. Two percent of Americans have died from COVID-19 – most of them in the first three months of the pandemic. The death rate is less than one percent when the early deaths are not considered. Factor in the people with multiple health issues, and the death rate is probably under half of one percent.

Annually, the United States typically has 2,800,000 obesity-related deaths, 650,000 heart-related deaths, 600,000 cancer deaths, 480,000 smoking-related deaths, 465K COVID-19 deaths, 385,000 2020 COVID-19 deaths,  40,000 pneumonia-related deaths, and 35,000 seasonal influenza deaths on the average.

Less than 60,000 out of 860,000 deaths from COVID-19 occurred in people less than 50 years of age. Should you worry about becoming infected by the Omicron variant if you are under 50? Yes, everyone should worry.

How much you worry depends on your health, mostly on your immune system.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Is the Best Saved for Last, or Is It Another Temporarily Hope?

Hopefully, temporary vaccines will become a thing of the past.

We were promised a vaccine that would protect us from infection, and if infected, it would ensure we would not have severe symptoms, and the chance of death was significantly reduced. Unfortunately, however, that is not reality.

Our real-world today is one of the temporary vaccines with monthly booster shots. And, on top of that, more and more fully vaccinated people are ending up in hospitals and dying – many more than we expected or were promised.

New Vaccine

https://republicanpost.net/scientists-in-texas-announce-affordable-covid-vaccine/. Corbevax has been developed in Texas and is the latest vaccine, hopefully not a temporary vaccine like the ones available today. This vaccine was started almost twenty years ago – long before our current pandemic. However, the early work led to a usable and effective vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Testing to date has been done in India. It is effective, safe, and affordable. The developers expect that it will be a game-changer for poorer countries. NPR (National Public Radio) reported that the vaccine is effective in preventing infection from COVID-19

India Testing

https://www.theblaze.com/news/texas-scientists-say-they-have-developed-a-game-changer-affordable-covid-vaccine-ignored-by-us-government. The India clinical trials showed that the vaccine is 90% effective against the original viral strain and 80% effective against the Delta variant. Testing is ongoing with the Omicron variant.

Corbevax Development

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/05/1070046189/a-texas-team-comes-up-with-a-covid-vaccine-that-could-be-a-global-game-changer. The research began at George Washington University around 20 years ago. The original focus was on tropical infectious diseases. Emphasis shifted when SARS broke out in 2003. Work was continued at the Baylor University College of Medicine and the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development in Houston, Texas.

The SARS outbreak fizzled out before the vaccine could be fully developed. So when coronavirus entered our world two years ago, scientists resurrected the earlier SARS work and applied it to COVID-19.

Vaccine Types

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/different-types-vaccines. Some vaccines use live (attenuated) viruses such as measles, mumps, and chickenpox. Other vaccines may use inactivated (dead) viruses such as Hepatitis A or polio. Inactivated toxin vaccines are effective against diphtheria and tetanus. This past year, we were made aware of the mRNA vaccine with the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

The Corbevax vaccine uses a process that has been effective for Hepatitis B, Pertussis, Pneumonia, Meningitis, and sepsis. They are called protein subunit vaccines. These types of vaccines cause the immune system to respond effectively when the protein subunit associated with a specific virus enters the body. This technology has been around a long time and has had longstanding effective results.

When the mRNA vaccines were introduced, I was skeptical and made my opinion well known in many of the articles I wrote that I would wait several months before deciding about getting that type of vaccine. However, I felt that a viral vector would probably be my choice because it was older technology. Viral vector vaccines have been around for decades. Examples are those used against Ebola, Zika, HIV, and influenza.

I planned to make my announcement and get a vaccine in September 2021. But, alas, that did not happen. Instead, I was blessed with a mild case of the Delta variant and only had a cough and fatigue for a few days.

Conclusion

I never got a vaccine, and recent studies now solidify my thoughts that naturally acquired immunity is the best type. Temporary vaccine immunity wanes with time. Will Corbavax wane with time? We shall see in six months to a year.

The new Texas COVID-19 vaccine is much less expensive than the current COVID-19 vaccines and can be produced, stored, and administered more efficiently than existing coronavirus vaccines.
The researchers developing Corbevax said their protein subunit vaccine was available for public use at the lowest possible price. The Texas research team received funding from private charities and philanthropies in New York and Texas.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

How Permanent is Permanent When Living in a Pandemic World?

Pyramids are one of a few things that appear permanent in our world.

We know that death and taxes are permanent parts of our lives. Change appears inevitable everywhere else. What seemed like permanent today is not tomorrow.

For example, we were led to believe that COVID-19 vaccines were permanent – 95+% effective in protecting everyone from becoming infected with the pandemic virus. Even if you become infected, the odds of you ending up in a hospital or dying from the virus are extremely low. Is that true a year later?

No, it is very far from the truth, and the truth is not setting anyone free. Most people do not realize that COVID-19 vaccines have a shelf life of around six months. They are very effective for two months, and then the protection begins to wane – significantly. Israel will not let anyone enter their country unless they prove they had an immunization within the past six months – even those with naturally acquired immunity.

What is the Real Skinny on Permanent Protection?

https://gript.ie/nphet-covid-immunity-after-infection-is-permanent/?utm_campaign=later-linkinbio-griptmedia&utm_content=later-23496297&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkin.bio. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in Ireland published data recently stating that naturally acquired immunity from coronavirus is permanent – something totally foreign to what we hear and see daily.

The NPHET said that those infected and recovered from COVID-19 have a robust and long-lasting immunity from future infections – somewhere in the zero to one percent range. https://gript.ie/another-study-also-shows-covid-immunity-after-recovery-is-strong-and-long-lasting/
This makes sense because of our history of post-recovery immunity from nearly every other disease.

We catch chickenpox or other childhood diseases, and our doctors have told us that we have natural protection for the rest of our lives. When vaccines were given, there might be a time (years in most cases) when a booster shot is needed to renew the protection. That is what our history of disease and survival has taught us.

Immunity Memory

https://www.cell.com/cell-reports-medicine/fulltext/S2666-3791(21)00203-2. The July 2020 edition of the scientific journal, Cell, published data showing that our body’s immune memory for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is broad and durable. Months after recovery from coronavirus, our antibody response persists with memory B and T cells.

Over 250 COVID-19 patients were examined eight months after recovery. The SARS-CoV-2 spike binding and neutralizing antibodies showed an extended half-life greater than 200 days. This means that the plasma contains the necessary immune response needed for long-term protection.

Additionally, the spike-specific IgC+ memory B cells were persistent and provided rapid responses to counter new infections. Virus-specific T cells (CD4 and CD8) were fully functional and had a half-life greater than 200 days. The CD4 T cells target the spike protein, and the CD8 T cells target the nucleoprotein providing greater protection than a vaccine targeting specific sections of the spike protein structure.

Overall, the expectation is that naturally-acquired immunity from COVID-19 is effective, persistent, and long-lasting in people who have recovered from the pandemic virus.

Reinfection Expectations

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00676-9/fulltext. The United Kingdom medical journal, Lancet, recently reported that reinfection from COVID-19 is in the zero to one percent range based on their studies. This is a bit counter to a recent report from Israel that stated those never infected with COVID-19 and vaccinated were far better protected than those who recovered from the pandemic virus and had naturally acquired immunity only.

How Can That Be?

https://www.science.org/content/article/having-sars-cov-2-once-confers-much-greater-immunity-vaccine-vaccination-remains-vital. The peer-reviewed publisher of Science (Science, Technology, and Medicine) reported a few months ago that natural immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 virus is considerably more compared to the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Naturally acquired immunity is the highest level of protection against the Delta variant as studied at that time. The power of the human immune system against infectious disease is highly protective. More than 32,000 were assessed in the review of this study.

The risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 was 27 times higher in the vaccinated group compared to the natural immunity group. In addition, hospitalizations for COVID-19 among the vaccinated were eight times higher than in the natural immunity group.

Natural Immunity is Permanent

https://twitter.com/PhilipNolan_MU/status/1461031911627927559. Professor Philip Nolan is the Chair of NPHHET’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group. He states unequivocally that infection-induced immunity is permanent. His tweet link above shows several slides of his models.

Ireland, like Israel, is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/ireland/ and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/israel/).

Yet, lower infection rates are being observed today in areas with previously high records of infections. The rationale is that naturally-acquired immunity from previous infections keeps the spread of the Omicron variant at bay.

Unfortunately, it appears in many countries the areas with low infection rates are now experiencing higher infection rates with the Omicron variant.

Natural immunity will continue to grow as new unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people contract the virus. One of my recent articles (https://wp.me/p4ztmz-1ww) described how 100% of COVID-19 deaths in a week recently were breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated people. Breakthrough hospitalizations are increasing everywhere.

Conclusion

Follow the MONEY! No one can make money if everyone has naturally acquired immunity. Therefore, more vaccines and booster shots are not required. Is this true? I do not know. However, it seems true to me.

It seems intuitively obvious that naturally acquired immunity should be effective, durable, and persistent. So why would our body’s immune system decide that it will work differently with the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

Are the researchers and facilities better in Europe than in the United States? Is that why we see articles published like those I referenced today. If the information is available, peer-reviewed, accurate, and pertinent to the health of everyone in the world, why is it not being plastered across the United States? I do not know why. People at higher pay grades that I make those decisions of what to tell the world and what to hold back.

It makes no sense that naturally-acquired immunity is not being hyped as equal to if not better than vaccines. It does make sense that I need to be sold something else in the meantime that money can be made during this crisis. I have written many times that antiviral drugs wiped out the Delta variant in India in just a few weeks.

Yet, there now appears to be a concerted effort to ban future use of specific antiviral drugs to treat pandemic patients in various places in India. Antiviral drugs are cheap, proven safe, and available. It is difficult to make a profit on something that has a low-profit margin compared to a brand-new wonder drug that has not been fully approved.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

How Much is It Worth to You?

Some experiences never leave us.

I flew to Rota, Spain, to perform my two weeks of active duty with the Navy Reserves during the summer of 1975. I was in VP-91which was based out of Moffatt Field, CA. Our schedule cycle was a Duty, Ready Alert, Training, and Off (my recollection from nearly 50 years ago). Every four days, it repeated. That afforded each crew four days of R&R in Spain or nearby.

We flew antisubmarine missions on submarines transiting into and out of the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, we flew surface surveillance, search and rescue, and other missions as tasked. There was nothing to write home about most of the time – from an unclassified perspective, of course.

We were inside the Med by 500 miles, not far from Algiers, during one training flight. We were roughly 20 miles off the coast with a 12-mile international boundary extending into the Med.

There was a Soviet Foxtrot submarine on the surface, barely moving. We were at 5,000 feet above him, talking amongst ourselves about heading down for a closer look. When we decided to descend, a Russian Mig 17 jet entered the picture – probably flown by the Algerian Air Force out of the Tafaraoui Air Base outside Oran.

It appeared to us (from above) that the Mig was doing simulated strafing runs on the submarine. He was very low and approaching from front and back of the sub at relatively high rates of speed. He did almost a dozen approaches and a couple over the top of the sub and then disappeared. We took many photographs of the encounter and decided to depart without further exploring the submarine any closer.

What did surprise us was the wing tanks on the Mig-17. The Mig-15 has external fuel tanks under its wings – about midway to the tip of the wing from the fuselage. This Mig – similar in silhouette to the Mig-15 with 45-degree swept-back wings. At the end of each wing tip were fuel tanks. I had never heard of them or seen any pictures of them.

We wrote up our almost-unremarkable mission, attached the film cartridges, and never heard back from anyone about this Mig-17 with wingtip fuel tanks. Regardless, we had a good time tracking surface and subsurface contacts in the Straits of Gibraltar area.

Our four-day R&R came up, and several of us decided to go to Tangiers, Morocco. I rented a car, and four others hopped in, and we drove to Algeciras to catch the ferry from Spain to Tangier. During my indoc to Spain, we were told that we could go 20 km/hr. over the posted speed limit to pass a vehicle, so long as we returned to the speed limit once we were safely ahead.

My first opportunity to exercise this option came halfway between Rota and Algeciras on this trip. A Spanish police car was going about ten clicks under the limit. So, we followed it for a couple of so miles. I decided – it was actually a group discussion with consensus – to pass the police car. So, I did and was never bothered by him once I was ahead of him.

We bought first-class tickets for around $3 on the ferry and boarded. The ferry was not crowded, and we enjoyed a nice summer day going from one continent to another. I recollect it took a bit over three hours to arrive in North Africa.

We passed through the customs and immigration control without issue and began looking for a hotel. We noticed several guys marking the outside of suitcases with white chalk. I found out later and took advantage of it on our return.

We found a hotel near a mosque, a church, and a large market square a couple of blocks from the ferry landing – a short walk – for next to nothing for the next few nights. However, we discovered quickly that the water to the toilet, shower, and sink did not work.

That created a bit of a problem, but nothing serious. We bought bottled water to flush the commode, and all was well. The price was so low it was not worth looking for another hotel. Food, drink, and other entertainment were very nearby.

Our first mission was to visit the kasbah. So, we hired a taxi and found out that it was only a few blocks – fifteen or twenty minutes of walking. So after that, we walked, except when it was wiser to hire a taxi than carry a lot of stuff back to the hotel. I learned that lesson the hard way during a buying spree outside Utapao, Thailand.

One thing I will never forget is that every place we entered had lots of merchandise and no prices on anything. Whenever we asked how much something was, the standard answer was, what is it worth to you?

The exchange rate between the Moroccan dirham currency was in the range of 9 or 10 dirhams to one US dollar. After a while, I would respond that whatever I wanted to know more about was worth one dirham to me.

That game did not last long, and we broke the impasse and got a starting price to begin negotiations. Unfortunately, I discovered that prices were on articles outside the kasbah, and there were few, if any, negotiations. Regardless, the experience was entertaining, enjoyable, and worthwhile.

We did the scenic tour one day to visit the Caves of Hercules. The opening to the ocean is like the reverse image of the continent of Africa. We did the camel rides, ate local foods, and watched a few belly dancers.

A bit of advice when getting on a camel – hold on to the rear of the saddle because when the camel rises to his feet, the rear end goes up first, and you will be looking straight at the ground hanging on to your life. It was all good, and no one fell off or got hurt.

The return to Spain started with the colorful individuals with white chalk in the ferry area. One of the guys went over and asked what he did. So, for a few bucks from each of us, our bags were marked with chalk, and we boarded the ferry first.

This time, we bought second-class tickets for around $0.25/each and went straight to the first-class area with a couple of bags of wine, cheese, and bread. The return was unremarkable, with many ships passing left and right in front of us. Passing through customs and other required places in Algeciras went quickly. The drive was slightly longer than the previous trip – about two hours.

The following day, we had the duty and shared our experiences with others who wanted to tempt their fate in foreign lands. My other single days off would find me in Sevilla – a place I would return to many years later.

We flew back home, and it would be years later before I returned to Spain. I spent a couple of active-duty periods in the Azores and Bermuda and would have an occasional overnight visit to Spain in the ‘80s.

My wife and I walked the Camino de Santiago (500 miles in 30 days) in 2016. We spent six weeks in Spain and thoroughly enjoyed the people, the culture, and the food. I am not a Mexican food aficionado but love Spanish food. My wife is the opposite.

I used to drink white wine in the ‘70s and graduated to dry, red wines over time. I fell in love with the northern Spanish white wines, especially the white tempranillo, verdejo, godejo, and Albarino. There are no preservatives in most of the wines I drank on the Camino – a significant flavor enhancer without preservatives? Of course, there are excellent sherry wines.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Worried About Winter This Year – Maybe You Should Be

Winter dangers can come from many places. Ensure you are protected.

The first concern we should have is seasonal influenza. Last year, the pandemic virus stifled the invasion of influenza viruses, and there was nearly no seasonal influenza last year. However, this year, as of Christmas week, seasonal flu is picking up where it left off a couple of years ago.

Seasonal Influenza?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#ClinicalLaboratories. Nearly 20,000 positive tests, mainly influenza A, have been confirmed before the end of 2021. Flu shots help, especially if they are formulated against the strain of virus that appears in the winter.

What About COVID-19?

https://gript.ie/100-of-covid-deaths-in-last-week-reported-were-amongst-vaccinated-people/. The short answer depends on where you live. Fully vaccinated people (breakthrough cases) continue to mount in numbers of new cases, numbers of hospitalizations, and numbers of deaths.

The vaccine you got months ago is not as potent as it was the first couple of months after you got it. The booster shot will extend the warranty a couple of months, but not much after that. Vaccines against this pandemic virus are like Band-Aids, and new ones (booster shots) must be applied – often.

Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre released data just before Thanksgiving, showing that breakthrough cases are becoming a major concern for healthcare providers. Forty-two percent of ICU patients were unvaccinated – meaning, nearly 60% of patients in ICU for COVID-19 were fully vaccinated.

One hundred percent of the people who died with COVID-19 in the second week of November 2021 were fully vaccinated. So why are the unvaccinated taking the brunt of negative headlines? https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/05/macron-french-president-wants-to-annoy-the-unvaccinated-.html and https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/unvaccinated-covid-patients-cost-the-u-s-health-system-billions-of-dollars/.

The statistics implying the unvaccinated are costing money and filling hospital beds are based on the start date of vaccines, not the most recent numbers. Those numbers are misleading, and the narrative tells us that vaccines protect us against the COVID-19 virus. Why did 100% of fully vaccinated Irish patients die in one week? Check out Scotland. The numbers are similar!

Conclusion

It isn’t easy to find breakthrough data in the United States, Yet I can go to other countries and track it easily and quickly. Minnesota is an exception and publishes weekly breakthrough metrics. When a vaccine is supposed to protect you from getting infected, from being hospitalized, and from death, how can you explain over 140,000 breakthrough cases, over 5,500 breakthrough hospitalizations, and over 1,000 breakthrough deaths? https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/vbt.html

Winter is coming, and the Twindemic we were promised last winter never materialized. Maybe the winter of 2021-22 will produce a Twindemic that many are not prepared for yet? I hope not.

I am a hot, humid, sultry Texas summer kind of guy and rarely venture into areas where snow appears in the winter. I have lived and worked in those areas, and it is not my cup of tea. Regardless, I am keeping my immune system strong and ready to repel any bacterial or viral invaders heading my way.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

The Gap is Narrowing and Not Knowing May Create Chaos in Your Life

There has always been a big gap between redheads, blondes, and others. This article is not about hair color.

More fully vaccinated people end up in hospitals and die from the pandemic virus every month. Yet, it seems that nothing is reported about it – at least in the United States. For example, I recently wrote about the high percentage (around 90%) of people dying from COVID-19 in Scotland who were fully vaccinated.

Ireland & Scotland in the Same Boat!

https://gript.ie/govt-data-deaths-amongst-the-vaccinated-surged-in-september/. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in Ireland accounts for the pandemic statistics. Unfortunately, like the United States CDC, the statistics are a bit biased.

Why do I use the term biased? Because they calculated percentages based on a start date of April 2021 when vaccines were introduced, and the complete protection of the coronavirus vaccine was at its highest point.

During the first couple of months after getting two shots, the risk of becoming a breakthrough statistic is around three out of 100,000 (not even a drop to be counted). After six months, the vaccine’s prevention wanes to under 50%, and the protection level is around one out of 500.

After six months, the fully vaccinated person approaches the same protection level as the unvaccinated every month that they do not get a booster shot. The booster should give you another six months of infection protection, but not enough time has elapsed to know thoroughly. Predictions based on the Omicron variant show around ten weeks of protection. https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20211227/covid-booster-protection-wanes-new-data

Combining the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine when it is fully effective with the levels of protection when it is less than 50% effective is disingenuous. It implies that the current effectiveness is much higher than it really is.

In Ireland, the statistics are starting to show the degradation of the COVID-19 vaccine’s infection protection. The deaths of unvaccinated people dying in Ireland in September 2021 was at nearly 60%. In October, the percentage dropped to around 45%. More fully protected (fully vaccinated) people are now dying from COVID-19.

We are told to get the booster shot as soon as possible. However, we are not told why. The gap is closing between the protection of fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Overseas, less than 20% of the population are unvaccinated over 50. This is the demographic most at risk of infection from the pandemic virus.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58522792. 90% of Irishmen are fully vaccinated. In the Irish data above, less than 20% were unvaccinated. During most of 2021, the gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated grew substantially. Now, with the vaccine’s prevention effectiveness dropping rapidly, the gap is starting to revert to pre-vaccine days where everyone is susceptible to infection.

When you see data that includes ‘since vaccines were introduced, you should be wary because the numbers do not indicate what is happening today. The shift in protection changed in September/October 2021, and the gap is getting bigger each month. The booster shot will equalize the protection levels for a while – until you need the fourth or fifth booster shot.

Conclusion

Winter is upon us and will be for another couple of months. Is that a factor for most of us? Probably. But, from the point of view of becoming infected. Vaccine protection is waning, and the booster shot is barely protective against the Omicron variant after two months.

The good news is that fewer people are dying from Omicron – significantly fewer! https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/ireland/. New cases of coronavirus infection in Ireland this week have more than doubled (approaching triple) any previously recorded surge – over 17,000 yesterday. Yet, no deaths are attributable to COVID-19 this year (2022), or even in the last week of 2021. This is in stark contrast to the last surge that had dozens of daily deaths with far fewer cases of COVID-19.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Are You Really Fully Protected Today?

Protection comes in many forms. You want the kind that lasts!

The narrative today is to get vaccinated, then get your booster shot to be protected. What does that really mean? Is there something we do not know that we should?

Breakthrough Cases

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-breakthrough-data. I Googled current covid breakthrough statistics. This is the first article that appeared – published four days ago. One would believe there is no problem with breakthrough cases – those fully vaccinated people who became infected.

The article states that as of December 28, 2021, the New York State Department of Health is aware of just under 450,000 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 (fully vaccinated people). Just under a half-million people is a lot of people! However, it is only 3.4% of those fully vaccinated.

Additionally, there were just over 16,000 breakthrough COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York State – just over a tenth of a percent of the fully vaccinated. That sounds like absolute protection from the pandemic virus, eh? They are averaging the recent spike in breakthrough infections with the historical data from months ago – not focusing on what is happening this month!

Six or seven months after getting the two vaccine shots, the vaccine’s effectiveness to protect people from becoming infected drops below 50%. You are a ‘coin-flip’ with unvaccinated people. You can catch the virus nearly as quickly as any unvaccinated person.

But the health authorities tell us that even though the vaccine loses potency to protect against infection, you will still be fully protected against severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death. Are you?

Scotland & COVID-19

https://gript.ie/scotland-in-october-88-of-covid-related-deaths-were-fully-or-partly-vaccinated/. The early November report from Public Health Scotland reported that 77% of the hospitalizations in the previous month were from vaccinated people (fully or partially vaccinated). The big news not seen anywhere else is that 88% of those who died were vaccinated.
(https://publichealthscotland.scot/media/9994/21-11-03-covid19-publication_report.pdf)

The trend is continuing to escalate. The month of October saw 64% of new cases from vaccinated people. I delved a bit deeper into the October data regarding breakthrough deaths from COVID-19, looking specifically at those fully vaccinated people. Only 12 people (2.6% of the partially or fully vaccinated people) died during the last week of September 2021 through the third week of October 2021.

The last week of September showed 81% of the fully vaccinated people died from COVID-19. The following week had 82 succumbed to the virus. The second week of October 2021 had almost 88% die from coronavirus. The third week of October 2021 showed 93% of the fully vaccinated die from COVID-19.

Why are fully vaccinated people dying from the pandemic virus? I wish I could tell you. The unvaccinated averaged 71.5 years of age. The fully vaccinated averaged 77.5 years of age. Is that a significant difference? I do not think so. According to all the data published by CDC and the WHO, the slightly younger (six years) should have been at more risk.

Conclusion

Are vaccines more protective in New York State than Scotland? I do not know. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-58548727. Scotland reports that nearly 85% over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, with 95% of those over 40.

Virtually everyone over the age of 60 has had both vaccine shots. Over half the fully vaccinated have had the AstraZeneca vaccine, with almost 50% having the Pfizer series. Moderna accounts for less than 5% of the vaccination program in Scotland.

Why is the vaccination program not working in Scotland as well as it works in New York State? Ask the epidemiology experts because I do not know.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

What Are Numbers, Anyway – Just a Measure of Something Important

Numbers can be used to count and to represent aspects of our lives.

Headlines thrive on bad news – the worse, the better. The Omicron variant is like a combined earthquake and tsunami combined inundated and shaking news desks across the country.

When should we be concerned if there are 10,000 new daily COVID-19 cases? If the week before the total new daily cases was 50,000, then we should be elated. What if there were only 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases the week before?

I have argued since headlines hog the spotlight with record numbers of new cases in Florida, Texas, or Maine, that new cases mean nothing without some idea of the daily death rate. If the number of new cases doubles or triples from one week to the next and there is no increase in the daily recorded deaths, what does it really mean that we are setting daily records of new cases.

World and USA Comparison – New Metric – the Current Factor

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/  I took the number of new cases on certain days and the corresponding number of daily deaths (all numbers are seven-day averages) and made a composite metric incorporating the death rates with the daily new case rates.

I suggest that COVID-19 statistics reflect both the seriousness of rampant increases in new cases along with the impact of deaths. Usually, deaths happen about nine to twelve days after infection. However, for this comparison, I used the same date.

I chose the current Omicron variant surge for one data point (or current factor), a Delta variant surge for another, two other surge points, and a random point when no surges were detected. I used the numerator of my calculation at the number of daily new cases divided by 1,000. The deaths were counted as exact numbers for that day.

For example, on January 3, 2022, there were 1,618,627 new cases of COVID-19 worldwide. I rounded the new case number up to 1,619,000 and divided it by 1,000 to get 1,619. The number of daily deaths reported on that day was 5,914. The result was .00279. I multiplied the result by 100 to get a more recognizable number. When numbers are 0.00x or 0.05 or something else, many people cannot relate as easily to a whole number (with a single decimal point).

Right now, 27.9 is just a number (a current factor in my jargon) – not representative of much. However, comparing that number to previous surges (or dates, or countries, or states), then the seriousness or impact of the pandemic might mean a bit more than skyrocketing new cases of the pandemic virus.

6.5 is the calculation based on a random date within the Delta surge (23AUG21). Our current factor of 27.9 means there were many more new cases with fewer deaths. The actual number of deaths recorded worldwide on 23AUG21 was 10,147. Therefore, to have a value of 27.9 in the Delta surge, the number of deaths would have to be 2,390 – a number less than 24% of the actual number because there were far fewer new cases reported on that day.

The higher the current factor – the lower the death rate regardless of the number of new cases.
For the following dates, 03MAY21, 20JAN21, and 08SEP20, the respective current factors were 5.8, 5.5, and 4.9. Relatively speaking, the surges in June and January of 2021 were roughly equal to the new cases and death rates experienced in an off-surge time of 08SEPT20.

What about the United States on those exact dates?

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. The respective current factors are 41.7, 11.9, 2.8, 7.4, and 5.0. So when the world was seeing a 27.9 current factor, the United States had many fewer daily deaths in comparison with a current factor of 41.7 (the number was higher).

The 11.0 (23AUG21) for the USA is near twice the 6.5 worldwide current factor. Again, the United States was experiencing about half of the world’s death rate.

Conversely, in May of 2021, the world COVID-19 current factor number was 5.8, and the United States was at 2.8 – much less than the worldwide number – reflecting more deaths in the United States compared to the world. In January 2021, the United States had fewer deaths compared to the date worldwide. In September of 2020, both the United States and the world were nearly equal 4.9 to 5.0.

Conclusion

Worldwide COVID-19 vs the USA

The various health gurus in federal, state, and local governments might have similar statistics that are reported internally. I do not know. However, the public should not feel that 400,000 new cases yesterday is a ‘nothing burger’ compared to the death rate experienced months early when the new case rate was 100,000 – just picking numbers at random to make a case.

Without knowing the number of deaths that correspond to the number of new cases, what does the mere number of new cases really mean? It is just a number – even it is setting daily records every day for a week or more. Look at the deaths and see how bad the pandemic is affecting us.

The chart above shows that the Delta surge did not have near the impact we believed at the time – the deaths and new cases tracked reasonably close to each other. However, the Omicron variant surge has a major diversion from the entire pandemic – far fewer deaths per new case of COVID-19. The higher the number the fewer deaths reported per new case.

Without some indication of ICU beds available or used, the number of ventilators available or used, the number of daily deaths, etc., there needs to be some rationale (a connection of sorts) to the reported numbers of new cases that headlines scream nearly every week. Some states may not have the healthcare facilities to handle a surge. A current factor would even the playing field by giving more credibility to the numbers of new cases in Seattle, Miami, or Akron.

We should receive numbers that mean something to us – a current factor (a number or a statistic) that incorporates the accurate measure of the pandemic upon the country, state, locality, hospital, etc. But, how do we measure it – we must compare apples to apples, so to speak?

My numbers are picked at random to make a point. Comparing Italy to France in September 2021 might have some importance – might? What is the measurement used for? I think with new variants that might be more deadly, then knowing the full impact of the viral variant is more important than knowing that XYZ country has 50,000 new COVID-19 cases this week compared to last week.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Remarkable Results from a Drug That Treats Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

A developmental drug developed from fisetin in strawberries shows unbelievable results.

I wrote an article recently (https://wp.me/p4ztmz-1wc) about how fisetin, a flavonoid found in strawberries and other fruits and vegetables, blocks pathways that allow Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to grow and thrive. Further study shows that a drug has been developed based on one of the pathways for AD to develop and has been very successful in laboratory animals.

Alzheimer’s disease & CMS121

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200804165119.htm. CMS121 is a developmental drug that has remarkable success in slowing the aging of brain cells. Studies were done with mice to determine the effectiveness of this drug in reversing AD symptoms.

Our brains metabolize lipids – fatty molecules. The process involves several pathways. Fisetin blocks lipid peroxidation – the oxidation of lipids in the brain. By tweaking the fisetin molecule, scientists developed different variants of it – as we often see with coronavirus (Alpha, Beta, Delta, and now the Omicron variant).

CMS121 was found to improve mice memory and reduce the degeneration of brain cells. Clinical trials have just started. https://www.technologynetworks.com/drug-discovery/news/investigational-alzheimers-drug-cms121-begins-phase-i-clinical-testing-354533

The Study

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2213231720308533?token=3106568621DCBC07F8B09C0AA5C722DDC4328CB3D2B25BC089EA24118E94E2068AB0A1913EF6601BA2A8FA79751212C5&originRegion=us-east-1&originCreation=20211231190700. Two primary contributors to AD are beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Fisetin does not disrupt the pathways to those end factors. However, many factors or pathways lead to AD—some symptoms of AD result from neurodegeneration.

CMS121 uses the mother molecule to delve further into the lipid peroxidation of fats in the brain. The July 2020 journal of Redox Biology published a study demonstrating the reversal of neurodegeneration in mice models.

Mice were divided into three groups – healthy and two groups that had developed AD. One group of AD mice were treated with CMS121, and the other was not.

At nine months, mice have equivalent aging as middle age in humans. Several tests were done with the mice to determine memory and behavior. One group of the AD-induced mice was treated with CMS121, and the other was not. Three months later, testing was repeated. Included in this group were healthy mice.

The AD-induced mice treated with CMS121 performed as well as the healthy mice. However, the non-treated AD-induced mice performed more poorly.

Conclusion

The brains of the three mouse groups were studied for lipid accumulation and differentiation. Lipid peroxidation creates free radicals – molecules with unstable electron structures that rip electrons off neighboring molecules, causing inflammation. Left untreated, cellular inflammation can cause cell damage.

The health mice and those AD-induced mice treated with CMS121 had lower levels of lipid peroxidation. CMS121 had altered the biological advancement of lipid peroxidation caused by AD development by lowering levels of fatty acid synthetase (FASN). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231720308533

Clinical tests are underway, and this may open a whole new field of treatment that can reduce symptoms of AD, especially early-onset AD.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

A Strawberry a Day Might Impact Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Strawberries contain fisetin, a flavonoid that disrupts several pathways for Alzheimer’s disease to grow.

As we age, our risk for neurological disorders increases. It is part of life. Why do some people live past 100 years of age and never lose an ounce of brainpower or memory, and others can develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in their 50s? We may never know. However, we know a lot and are learning more all the time.

Each disease has a pathway for development. Almost everyone starts with chronic low-level inflammation that grows over time. Oxidative stress results from untreated inflammation, and then a whole world of disease development can occur – depending on the specific disease. When we know that a particular molecule or compound effectively blocks a pathway, that regimen is adopted and refined to address that disease.

Fisetin and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

https://content.iospress.com/articles/brain-plasticity/bpl200104. This article is lengthy and contains valuable information on fisetin and other neurological disorders – Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). This article will concentrate on fisetin and AD.

First, we must know a bit more about fisetin before going into the pathways of AD and what fisetin can do. Fisetin is an antioxidant that increases glutathione (GSH), a reduced molecule because it is an electron donor that can act as an antioxidant. It also maintains mitochondrial function when oxidative stress levels increase. Fisetin has anti-inflammatory traits that inhibit the 5-lipoxygenase protein enzyme (5LO), which is key to treating AD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689181/

Fisetin and AD Pathways

Fisetin effectively shuts down and prevents the development of AD pathways in preclinical trials. Anti-inflammatory and oxidative stress are two common pathways for AD to grow in brain tissue. Fisetin consistently prevented cognitive function loss in laboratory animals. Synaptic proteins were maintained at functional levels, and markers of inflammation were reduced. In addition, multiple markers of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation were noticeably reduced.

Reducing lipid peroxidation is critical in controlling the advancement of AD. Peroxidation of lipids causes changes in membrane permeability and fluidity that impact mitochondria function in the brain. It also alters and inhibits other metabolic processes. https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/1269/impact-of-lipid-peroxidation-on-the-physiology-and-pathophysiology-of-cell-membranes

Fisetin also activated the ERK pathway. An extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is one pathway the brain uses for signaling and memory. ERK regulates many aspects of cellular function – proliferation, cycle regulation, differentiation, tissue formation, and cell apoptosis (cellular suicide – a normal function over time). https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm.2020.8454

Fisetin also has a proven role in neurotrophic factor production. BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is critical for the brain’s nervous system to develop and function properly. BDNF promotes cell survival and differentiation needed in different brain cells. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00363/full

5LO (5-lipoxygenase) modulates oxidation and inflammation. The 5LO pathway in AD promotes increases in inflammation in the brain. 5LO and arachidonic acid are interwoven and affect the development of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294160/ and https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2014.00436/full

Conclusion

Fisetin was one of around 30 flavonoids studied as a neuroprotective compound that can prevent a specific type of cell death. Typically, cellular death is termed apoptosis. However, in this case, fisetin stopped ferroptosis (formerly known as oxytosis).

This flavonoid, fisetin, is being clinically evaluated in multiple studies to determine the effectiveness at various dose levels and in conjunction with other compounds – quercetin, isorhamnetin, and luteolin.

Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials in China are evaluating fisetin and ischemic stroke recovery. There are no clinical trials in the United States currently evaluating fisetin in neurological disorders. The most significant amount of fisetin is found in strawberries. So, would it hurt to add a few more strawberries to your diet? I think not!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com