We’re not as protected as we thought we were

We all know that the only people hospitalized and dying of COVID-19 are lower forms of animal life such as the rednecked Trumpenproletariat from the deep South.  Here’s the New York Times of less than a month ago — https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/10/us/covid-breakthrough-infections-vaccines.html

“Serious coronavirus infections among vaccinated people have been relatively rare since the start of the vaccination campaign, a New York Times analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., shows. Fully vaccinated people have made up as few as 0.1 percent of and as many as 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in those states, and as few as 0.2 percent and as many as 6 percent of those who have died.”

Nothing to worry about up here in Massachusetts where roughly 2/3 of the population have been vaccinated.  Well that’s what I thought until Friday 3 September — when I saw this from the Massachusetts department of public health — https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/09/massachusetts-reports-1703-covid-cases-as-percentage-of-breakthrough-hospitalizations-continues-to-drop.html

149 of 609 hospitalizations (24%) with COVID19 had been fully vaccinated.  That is far from the protection we had been led to believe.  It could have been worse.  If the vaccination was totally useless,  the fully vaccinated should have made up 66% of the cases.  So there was some protection, but nothing like the New York Times and others were talking about a few weeks ago.


Addendum 26 September — There is a serious flaw in the above argument — for details please see — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2021/09/26/spot-the-flaw-in-this-argument-i-didnt/

So for the elderly, it’s back to restricted social contact and masks.

On a more personal note, I proved Richard Feynman right again.  He famously said ”

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Well I certainly did.  I read the following article in the 27 August Science –https://www.science.org/content/article/grim-warning-israel-vaccination-blunts-does-not-defeat-delt

It contained the following statement. ” As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated.”

I even took notes on the article.  Yet somehow I chose to ignore it.  Why?  Too threatening?  Didn’t fit with what I’d been told?  Kahneman has shown just how irrational, those who call themselves rational turn out to be.  Mea Culpa.

Addendum  7 September — https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/09/breakthrough-covid-cases-in-massachusetts-up-to-about-40-while-unvaccinated-people-dominate-hospitalizations.html

“The state reported a total of 601 COVID hospitalizations Tuesday 7 September ’21. Data shows that 160 of the 601 hospitalizations are people who were fully vaccinated — about 26% of all COVID hospitalizations. ”

So the data of 3 September referred to earlier are to be believed and likely NOT a statistical fluke as they are essentially the same as today’s.

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  • Peter Shenkin  On September 7, 2021 at 10:05 am

    I totally respect your willingness to say “I was wrong” in the face of new (and even old but ignored) evidence.

    I looked at some CDC data about a month ago, spurred on by another blogger who said “if you are fully vaccinated, you have nothing to worry about.” But the illness ratio between the vaccinated and unvaccinated was only 4-8-fold among the vaccinated. That was too close for comfort.

    Your ratio is 66/24 = ~3, which is not far off. I couldn’t figure out whether the CDC ratio pertained to illness, hospitalization or deaths. Your data are much clearer, and hence scarier.

    I have to question why I’ve been so blasé myself. It’s time to confess, as you have, that I was also, per Feynman, fooling myself: The victory of hope over common sense.

  • luysii  On September 7, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks Peter

  • Brian Mathews  On September 19, 2021 at 12:28 am

    About 85% of our hospitalized patients here in North Alabama are unvaccinated. Even more of those in the ICU and on the vent are unvaccinated. I think it is important to look at your local vaccination rate and the absolute number of cases before making a judgment.

    Also… the vaccines weren’t made for delta, I would presume that a delta specific vaccine would likely provide better coverage… time to get boosters rolling out that are updated.

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