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Corona's Toll in the Ex-USSR
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This post sums up the coronavirus epidemic in Russia in 2020. There will subsequently be a larger post surveying the world at large and prospects for its containment before the New Year.

 

The observation that Russia is massive understating its COVID-19 mortality rate was first noticed by bloggers around May, when they noticed that a disproportionately high share of doctors seemed to be dying and that preliminary deaths registrations in the ZAGS system were far higher than official Corona deaths*.

By June, these observations had made their way into writeups on Novaya Gazeta and it has subsequently been confirmed that this artifact is both systematic and intentional.

[EDIT: Kobak posted graphs for November hours after I did this post, so I updated.] According to stats professor/blogger Dmitry Kobak, excess mortality during April-October November 2020 amounted to 184,000 deaths (+18% overall) 264,000 deaths (+23% overall)**:

Here is a map of its evolution, month by month, from April to October November:

And here it is by regions**:

That is because, unlike Western Europe, Russia is being struck much harder by the second wave. It is going to get worse before it gets better, with excess deaths probably rising to close to 300,000 by the end of the year (the US will have ~450,000). In net terms, it’s now clear that Russia has done worse than the US, as well as most or quite possibly all EU countries. At the end of the day, that’s probably not that surprising. While Russia’s population is not exceptionally old by European standards, it’s certainly less healthy at any given age (strong lingering legacy of binge drinking, with a pre-Corona life expectancy of 73 years), living spaces are crowded and automobile ownership is low by Western standards, winters are long, and healthcare quality is “Second World”, not EU or US level. Moreover, despite its reputation as a “police state”, Putin hasn’t seen fit to do anything useful with those powers: Mask ordinance enforcement is much less stringent than in most European countries, as in the West there is no centralized quarantines, and it upholds a “mainstream” attitude to travel bans**.

EDIT 2012/12/29: Literally as I posted it, preliminary Rosstat data came in for Nov 2020, showing +78,000 deaths increase y/y this month & bringing excess mortality total to 245,592 for the period of the Corona epidemic. Confirms that end year figures should be around 300k, or 50% higher than the US in per capita terms.

 

However, where Russia did shine is in PR, with most Russians genuinely convinced that the Corona situation is much worse in the US – despite its per capita death rate now approaching to 50% above the latter’s. Though I suppose the American media’s achievement in meming that the US did a better job with Corona than China is the more impressive accomplishment – after all, at least US and Russian excess mortality is at least on the same order of magnitude, whereas China’s is two orders of magnitude lower.

If there’s a region of the world that I got more “wrong” than right in terms of Corona impact it is, ironically, Russia and the ex-USSR. I was too optimistic on Russia, and now on the V4 as well, which has also been ravaged by the second wave. Ironically, my initial pessimism on the Ukraine may be proved correct after all – especially considering that it will be the last major country in this region to get access to vaccines (they will only be able to start vaccinating no earlier than in February).

This also doesn’t mean that Western journalists who covered the pandemic in Russia were accurate or useful in the slightest. To the contrary, they were actively spreading fake news that Russia was already undergoing a coronavirus epidemic as early as February and publishing tabloid-style headlines implying Putler was pushing medics out of hospital windows. Conversely, with scant exceptions, they almost entirely failed to cover the hard statistical evidence that Russia was purposefully downplaying the Corona death toll, with the topic being picked up near exclusively by Russian data bloggers and liberal journals. The Western journalists have since moved on to the greener pastures of creating black PR against the Sputnik V vaccine. This demonstrates the long-running truism that Western journalism on Russia is negative value added – even on topics where it is both perfectly possible and ethically necessary to highlight Russian failure and deception, they prefer to make things up.

 

However, there are two brighter notes. Despite the oil price collapse, the Russian economy has also managed 2020 relatively well. Its GDP will decline less than the US or almost any EU country. I assume this is a result of lax Corona restrictions after the first wave in May, the redirection of tourism to domestic destinations, and probably a greater general resilience of the economy to oil price shocks six years after the end of the commodity super cycle. As such, it is quite the irony that whereas my otherwise very good Corona predictions were overly optimistic with respect to Russia (I thought it’d have fewer deaths per capita than the US or the UK, which was true in the first wave but turned very wrong by the second wave), they were to the contrary unduly pessimistic so far as the Russian economy was concerned (I predicted its GDP would fall by 10% back in March, in reality, it should fall by just ~4% this year, which is better than in almost all Western countries and all the BRICS except China).

The other minor Russotriumph is the successful development of the Sputnik V vaccine by the Gamaleya Institute, and its creeping international acceptance – regardless of the blitz directed against it by Western propagandists and their domestic Russian allies***. Sputnik V has had 700 million orders, putting it in the “Big Five” along with AstraZeneca (3 billion), Novavax (1.3 billion), and Pfizer and Sanofi (700 million each). Some interest has even been expressed by countries at the edge of the Western sphere, such as Israel and Hungary. A few days ago, the Gameleya signed a memorandum of cooperation with AstraZeneca.

The Sputnik V vaccine may soon be joined by another vaccine, the EpiVacCorona developed by the Vector Institute.

 

***

Ukraine almost entirely avoided the first wave due to low travel intensity, and a strict and early lockdown more drastic than in either Russia or floomer Belarus; as of Jan-Sept 2020, it still had 2% lower deaths y/y (436,500 then vs. 426,700 now). However, as in the rest of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, September is when the second wave began to really pick up pace – see map below – so this state of affairs will almost certainly sharply reverse now. As in the rest of East Europe, it has no appetite for a second, longer period of lockdowns.

According to a report by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, excess mortality for September was already 14% higher than a year before (see map right), and October is going to become very sharply worse still.

As noted above, the Ukraine is notable in that – along with most of Sub-Saharan Africa – it has only managed to secure access to vaccines for just 5% of its population. Meanwhile, non-EU but Russia-aligned countries like Belarus should get the Sputnik V vaccine soon after Russian domestic requirements are satisfied. Consequently, even though Ukraine has had less excess mortality to date than Russia or Belarus, it may ultimately converge to or exceed their level due to the extra few months they’ll have to make do with no vaccines. This is what happens when you’re not independent rich, and have no indigenous vaccine production capacities, nor any close relationships with those countries that do.

***

Belarus doesn’t release preliminary demographics data these days, can’t say much about it apart from the fact that circumstantial data (leaks; Google searches for “loss of sense of smell”; etc) suggests it’s following the general Russian/East European trajectories. There is a good chance we will only get a good picture of developments there after a year or two.

***

Kazakhstan has curiously seen a much sharper mortality spike in its southern, more Muslim, and much younger regions (map right shows excess mortality increase in Jan-Sep 2020 y/y).

 

This is confirmed by the ethnic data: Excess mortality rose by ~12% for Europeans (Russians, Germans, Tatars); ~37% for Kazakhs; ~46% for Uzbeks. Curiously, though, Koreans saw excess mortality of ~35%, despite having the demographic profiles of Europeans.


* Map of the undercount, via @popdemography Twitter account:

** Russia blocked flights from China soon after word spread of coronavirus, but waited until March 18 to block EU flights and blocked flights from the UK over its new strain about a day after the Netherlands and Germany.This is telling where kremlins’ actual reference points lie.

*** Many of these liberal hypocrites have nonetheless rushed to get themselves vaccinated with Sputnik V as soon as it became available to the general public.

 

Other Russia-related Corona reading:

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Corona, Coronavirus, Fraud, Mortality, Russia, Ukraine, Vaccines 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

    Commenting rules. Please note that anonymous comments are not allowed.

  2. This should be expected. Like mentioned, Russia’s population is simply less healthy than the population of Western countries. It would be interesting to see gender statistics. I feel certain there’s significantly more men in their 50s dying than women.

    What is the 2021 mortality going to look like? Lower or higher than 2019? Slow vaccination would lead to continued high mortality. But mortality could also decrease because certainly a decent portion of the ones dead to Corona in 2020 would have died in 2021 anyway.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  3. @Shortsword

    I don’t see how it could be higher next year. Searches for “loss of smell” peaked in November, so mortality peak should be November-December. By the time the next wave rolls along, vaccinations should be at “herd immunity” levels, I should hope.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
  4. @Anatoly Karlin

    Note that I wrote higher or lower than 2019, not 2020. Continued high mortality throughout early 2021 could lead to higher mortality in 2021 than 2019 even with successful vaccination.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  5. @Shortsword

    Ah, right! Good question. I suspect similar. Deaths will obviously still be highly elevated in January and likely to some extent February too. OTOH, deaths were 6% lower during Jan-Feb 2020 y/y, I assume that positive pre-2020 trend towards improving health resumes, plus some of the people who died from Corona in 2020 will not die in 2021. Probably the two effects will mostly cancel each other out.

    Edit: Actually, thinking some more about it, I think it’s very likely 2021 mortality will be significantly less than in 2019. Assuming no further SHTF scenarios.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
  6. utu says:

    “…the V4 as well, which has also been ravaged by the second wave…” – Poland and Czechia screwed up royally. A deadly combination of incompetence and hubris. While their Spring lockdowns were very successful because they entered them at very low infection rate and Czechs were good at masking they entered Summer thinking (if there was any thinking involved) that the epidemic was over while the virus was percolating and they were not doing effective contact tracing. Maybe they were tracing but not doing much with the information. Then they were hit really hard. Czechia first, eventually reaching 1000 deaths/million and then Poland. Czechia had a good sense to go for a second lockdown after its prime minister’s profuse public apologies for screwing up but Poland was in denial and while introducing various restrictions they refused to go for a lockdown. While Poland has about 700 deaths/million it is believed that the excess deaths are more than twice as high.

    It seems that there was a basic lack of understanding how to fight the epidemic.

    (1) Lockdown is the fastest way to reduce the infection rate. Lockdown does not have to stop the epidemic but it suppose to bring the infection rate to the manageable level when you can control it by contact tracing.

    (2) There is no single valid argument for delaying a lockdown. Sooner you start more lives you save and less time the lockdown will last to bring the infection rate to the manageable level.

    (3) One long lockdown at high infection rate is more costly and less effective than two or three punctuated lockdowns at low level infection rate.

    The basic failure came from not comprehending that the most important objective of the epidemic management was to save lives, to postpone deaths until a cure or vaccine become available.

    The most fundamental failure was that nobody in the West (except for NZ) decided to go for virus elimination strategy and instead they got caught in false alternative of curve flattening death postponement or herd immunity do nothing strategy. Karlin called it idiot’s limbo.

  7. It looks like corona became a high strain on the already underperforming public health system, which is the reason for these excess deaths. Economic factors may have also played the role, I would like to see statistics on the increase of suicide and heart-related illnesses. Also the statistics show that the average age of corona casualty in Russia is 67, compared to 82 in some western countries.
    What I don’t know is how things could have been done differently by Putin, except locking up the borders with Europe earlier on. Strict lockdowns would be unenforceble, California-style permanent lockdown would destroy the economy, and mask mandates are not enough. Right now there is nothing that can be done with the virus, except scale the healthcare system to handle new patients and prepare for vaccination as soon as possible.

    Also 300K by the end of the year is a bold extimation, the trend is not necessarily linear, it can easily be 200K. The US excess deaths by that time could also be higher than 450K. The real problem for the US is not corona, but 32% people at risk for foreclosure or eviction on top of the completely destroyed labor market. Despite what people like Richard Spencer say, Biden is not competent enough to radically change the situation.
    One more thing, from a purely economic perspective, for Russia more dead pensioners means less strain on the economy, since old people rarely have significant savings and rely on government pensions to live. For the US, boomers are a huge and wealthy consumer base. That can be an additional reason for relatively low, by western standards, damage to the Russian economy.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  8. @Nail Idrisov

    It is already literally +246k up to Nov (see “EDIT”), there’ll be 50k more this month give or take, +300k total for 2020 is pretty much set in stone.

    What needed to be done: Centralized quarantine. Border closures. Actual enforcement of the masks mandate, not the half assed way it was actually done (instead there are retard-tier rules on wearing gloves, which I think is a unique Russian “innovation” – happily, almost never enforced). Can add various other things, but there are the Big 3, which were sufficient for effective suppression across East Asia.

  9. In brief, Norway and Finland proven to be the most civilized nations of Europe, Russians proven to be White negroes, Uzbeks proven to be barbarous peoples that can’t social distance.

    BTW, Indonesia has even worse underreporting of COVID deaths than Russia, which obviously affects worldwide statistics. The worst underreporting is in the floomer Nicaragua and Tanzania.

    • Replies: @Nail Idrisov
  10. @Anatoly Karlin

    Border closures, yes. Quarantine only works with total travel restrictions across region, early on and for a short time. Travel restrictions tried in Russia were not though through and unenforceable. Mask mandates are unenforceable anywhere in Europe, even Germany can not make everyone on public transport wear masks in a correct way all the time. Plus there was a shortage of masks early on.
    Right now eradicating the virus is impossible anywhere, the only focus should be making sure the healthcare system functions and economic damage is as low as possible.

    Still don’t know why Dagestan death rates were that high, could it be because of higher percentage of living together of elderly parents and youth plus bigger family size?

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
  11. @E. Harding

    Superior Africans handled the pandemic better than white devils, corona is a biological weapon sent by Yakub to punish evil Europeans for slavery!

  12. Also, given that Uzbeks are barbarous peoples who can’t social distance, the COVID statistics from Uzbekistan seem very suspect. Turkmenistan not reporting a single COVID case is obviously LOL. I’d like to see some seroprevalence studies from Central Asia.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  13. Beckow says:

    This is a Boomer Remover plague – a cosmic rebalancing act, boomer panic and fear. As with all boomer behaviour, narcism is their primary response: lazy, elderly teachers sitting at home and collecting pay while the kids are staring at 6-8 hours of ‘video instructions‘. Nice. We couldn’t infect the old ladies, they need to spread a bit more goodness and sunshine to the world.

    Overall, this will be fantastic for the economy in the long run. The fear once introduced cannot be mitigated, so the elderly will stay in personal lockdowns for the rest of their lives. The vaccines are a mental placebo, they might make some feel better, but the fear will remain. That will leave the world to the young, as the gods have intended.

    The narrative was supposed to be: ‘pandemic’, lockdown, miracle vaccine, and then a reappearance of healthy (post-populist) joy. As with all complex plans, it got out of hand.

    • Disagree: Mr. Hack
    • LOL: Shortsword
  14. @E. Harding

    In general, huge Third World underestimates means true Corona death toll for 2020 is more than 5M, not the current tally of 1.8M. But that’s a discussion for the next post.

  15. Sputnik V has had 700 million orders, putting it in the “Big Five” along with AstraZeneca (3 billion), Novavax (1.3 billion), and Pfizer and Sanofi (700 million each).

    Problem is, with the exception of Pfizer/BioNTech only 40 days ago, and Sputnik V only ten days ago these are still “vaporware” vaccines you might say. OK, the companies have real vaccine candidates, not vacuous PR, but also not proven to work or be safe.

    AZ/Oxford is a clown show, although as part of the Oxford woman led phase they may have stumbled upon a dosing regime that works much better than 62% efficacy as designed. They’re about to try to get U.K. approval so we’ll hear more soon, and they’re also, and I still cannot believe it, Officially working with the Sputnik V people for another approach. Gamaleya nailed it for a conservative virus vector vaccine with what should be the obvious solution, use different viruses for the first and second doses (ambitious Janssen is trying for a single dose, with a poor backup of a second dose 57 days after the first).

    Noravax only started their U.K. 15,000 subject Phase III trial at the end of September, is still recruiting for it, so they don’t yet have much safety and efficacy data. Sanofi/GSK really messed up their guesses in their Phase 1/2a trials, not enough antigen for the elderly. Phase 2b will start in February, they say with the control arm being another COVID-19 vaccine. Which is great, but they aren’t estimated to be ready to ship until the end of 2021, their Phase III trail(s) obviously following Phase 2b if it is successful in finding good dosing for the elderly.

    Also note FDA standards are quite a bit tougher, around 30,000 people minimum for a Phase III trial, something like 172 cases total for both arms of it for efficacy (it’s possible that’s a standard set to harm the BAD ORANGE MAN, wouldn’t be the first FDA COVID-19 action against Trump), and two months of safety data from half the vaccine arm of the trial (which is what is taking the longest). All that for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA, which BTW the EU doesn’t have has a concept), they’re quite open in saying it’s not “approval.”

    Still, it’s a very good thing we have reason to believe there are multiple “active” vaccine types that are safe and effective for stopping Corona-chan, and for passive, Sinovac’s inactivated virus CoronaVac is in the final crunching numbers phase of their Brazilian Phase III trial. Supposed to be at least 50% effective based on some independent criteria for getting this far or something like that, rumors it’s around 90%. Again, we’ll hear pretty soon. Noravax and Sanofi/GSK are also passive, protein plus adjuvant; active == let’s hijack a few host cells!

  16. Wyatt says:

    Vodka is more lethal than Corona. Fight me, blin.

  17. The UK still has the highest death toll in Europe, the worse excess deaths, the steepest recession and the worst second wave. So however bad it is in Russia, it is worse in the UK.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
    , @LondonBob
  18. @Beckow

    This is a Boomer Remover plague – a cosmic rebalancing act, boomer panic and fear.

    It’s time I start crunching some numbers (almost useless CDC hasn’t updated their page on this since mid-August), but what I’ve added up in my head but not consciously from my local area, it’s as much or more a Silent Generation plague. The oldest Boomers were born in 1946, so they’re now 75 years old. If that CDC page is to be believed, when you go from the 65-74 to 75-84 cohort, death rates jump by 2.4 times. For over 85 and older, by 7.3 times. So even if there weren’t that many Silents to begin with, and fewer of course as many died earlier, they’re in much more danger. This is something I pay attention to because my parents are moderately early Silents.

    Apropos of nothing at all, are Boomers a thing in the former USSR???

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Sparkon
  19. @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia will probably have around 1,700,000 deaths in 2021 and perhaps 1.3 million a year by 2025.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
  20. Do you think covid will cause some geopolitical events in future like wars or other chaos in Eastern Europe.

  21. @AlexanderGrozny

    Did you even read what was posted? Russia has had more deaths than UK. Not just in absolute numbers but per capita too. UK was definitely hit worse economically though, there’s no doubt about that, a 10% GDP drop and a public debt increase by 20% of GDP.

  22. Dmitry says:

    Problem with Sputnik V is not the effectiveness of the vaccine, but the level of domestic production capacity (i.e. 30 million doses will be produced domestically by June or July 2021). According to media, domestic production capacity for vaccines primarily has trouble with manufacturing components of the second dose.

    Unless all vaccines are targeted at the over 60 age group, which doesn’t seem to be the current plan (30 million vaccines would be enough to cover over 95% of over 60 population), then that means not enough domestically produced vaccine to exit the coronavirus crisis before summer.

    Optimistically, though, we know that India’s pharmaceutical is going to produce 300 million doses of Sputnik V in 2021. So if a significant proportion of India’s production of the vaccine can be returned to Russia, there is a solution.

    Alternatively, there could be solution to the problem by only applying the first dose to the population (this strategy Gintsburg is promoting now: https://tass.ru/ekonomika/10287027 ). This would provide shorter immunity compared to two doses, but could be relevant as the emergency solution.

    • Replies: @JL
  23. @utu

    Kobak has numbers for other countries together with Economist/NYT estimates of the national undercounts.

    Dec 29 excess mortality estimates:

    Russia at 254/100k, Poland at 222/100k. No overcount estimates for Czechia, Hungary; Hungary, at least, should be in same ballpark, I recall reiner Tor saying there’s a significant undercount there

    [MORE]

    Dec 10 excess mortality estimates:

    At this point, Russia was at 207/100k, Poland was at 177/100k.

    • Thanks: utu
    • Replies: @Shortsword
    , @reiner Tor
  24. @Shortsword

    Keep in mind that Karlin relies on a bunch of conspiracy bloggers when estimating Russia’s death toll from coronavirus. You can’t compare this to official UK stats.

    • Agree: Gerard.Gerard
    • Troll: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Shortsword
  25. @Felix Keverich

    Conspiracy bloggers like Rosstat?

  26. No, I’m talking about that Kobak guy. He has quite an ego, placing himself on the level of New York Times.😂

  27. @AlexanderGrozny

    Russia is not going to hit 1.3 million deaths in 2025. Continued increase in life expectancy will decrease mortality but at the same time more baby boomers born in the 50s will die off. For comparison, the number of deaths in 2019 was 1.8 million, down 110k from 5 years earlier. So 1.7 million is more in line with what you should expect. That’s without taking Corona into account. At best 1.6 million because of Corona.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
  28. @Shortsword

    The UK and France both have older populations than Russia and have a crude death rate of less than 10 per 1,000 (before Covid) whereas Russias is 12 per 1,000. With the same mortality rates (either crude or age adjusted) as the UK and France, Russia would have 1.35 million deaths.

    Russia has a slightly younger population, lower alcohol consumption and a lower obesity rate than the UK so it is a mystery why it still has a higher death rate.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
  29. @AlexanderGrozny

    Alcohol consumption has been reduced by a lot recently. But that’s a recent thing. Damages from excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t disappear the moment you start drinking more moderately.

    Smoking is also a big killer. Russians smoke more than both the French and the British. Russians have probably historically smoked cigarettes with worse filters as well.

    Russia’s life expectancy was most recently 73.4, that’s still 8 years lower than UK and 9 years lower than France. But UK and France have both more or less completely stagnated in life expectancy growth while Russia’s has been rising on a relatively fast pace of about half a year per year. At best Russia will “only” have 5 years lower life expectancy than UK and France in 2025 but that’s still a big difference.

    • Replies: @Rahan
  30. @Anatoly Karlin

    Could you give a source on Polish excess deaths? I can’t find any.

    • Replies: @utu
  31. unit472 says:

    I suspect virtually EVERY nation has massaged the covid numbers to suit some perceived national interest or objective. In the US numbers have been inflated to meet a political need or to cash in on the bounty hospitals get from covid. Patient dies of pneumonia or influenza the hospital has to get paid by his private insurance, his personal assets or try to get him on medicaid before he dies. Covid is money in the bank for hospital administrators so pneumonia and influenza no longer afflict patients.

    In other, poorer countries, they likely have no idea how many cases or deaths due to covid are happening because of a lack of medical resources to test and diagnose.

  32. @Shortsword

    Russian death rates have miraculously decreased in last decade (as ukrops have remained a sickening disaster)….. but that still results in ours being 30-50% higher than most western countries.

    So if UK excess deaths are 80000, then if you say Russia death rate in normal year is 40% more than UK… you have to factor the UK number up by 1.4 and THEN scale the populations if you are doing country to country comparisons. So that 80000 goes to 112000…and then multiply by 2.2 if comparing to Russia gives weighted number of about 250000 dead in UK

    If UK has, say, 650000 dead in normal year, and if we are taking the excess death for this year to reach 100000…. and taking these BS numbers from Karlin about Russia reaching about 320000 excess death when last year total dead was 1.8 million….. you have to compare the 100k/650k versus the 320k/1.8M (or is it 1.9M?) from the two countries. As you see they are both very similar.

    But of course this is just slander drivel from Karlin, for reasons that I won’t bother to go in detail now….. but include reasons like ZAGS more time to register larger amounts of deaths and do it quicker because of circumstances and procedural changes in divorces and extension on parents time for birth registration resulting in much less of those claims being processed, Muslims – particularly in Kavkaz region, central Asian states and others closing of their borders to own millions of citizens working in Russia for several months…. and normal statistical patterns and obviously our 100% rate on autopsies which I don’t think any western state is close to

  33. mal says:

    Maybe its been explained elsewhere but on the ‘excess deaths’ plot the dark black line is the baseline against which the excess deaths are measured (red line and red shade), yes?

    It seems low. I get why, partially (health improvement of Russian citizens and less drinking), but also, pre-Corona in 2020 winter, at least in St Petersburg, was rather mild. So old people who were supposed to die in Jan-Mar 2020 shoveling snow or whatever didn’t die. I guess that left more old people for Corona Chan to feast on too, but in general, even without miss Corona, I would expect deaths to rise for the months after mild winter as regular death catches up on its schedule.

    And indeed, if you look at the grey line (some past year) where Jan-Feb deaths were just as low as 2020, you see substantially elevated death levels in Mar-May of that other year.

    Obviously, July and Sept-Nov are still blowouts regardless of the baseline, but I just had a question on where that black line comes from. If it was explained elsewhere, link would be appreciated.

    • Agree: melanf
    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
  34. utu says:
    @Shortsword

    On Dec 7 Poland had about 20k covid deaths. This article here (you can google translate it) states that total excess deaths was about 45k.

    https://www.money.pl/gospodarka/30-tys-ukrytych-ofiar-epidemii-tak-wielu-polakow-w-ostatniej-dekadzie-nie-umieralo-nigdy-6583723217840800a.html

    The article states there are 30k hidden deaths of the epidemic. So the ratio of non-covid excess deaths to covid deaths is about 3 : 2.

    And here is European data base from which you can get weekly deaths for most European countries. \ You need to set parameters and you end up with Excel file which you need to parse country by country. You need to figure out the baseline yourself by downloading 2019 and earlier years.

    https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/population-demography-migration-projections/data/database?node_code=demomwk

    • Replies: @Shortsword
  35. @utu

    Thanks. Looks like the situation in Poland has gone bad very fast, the excess mortality really only started taking off in October.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  36. Good talking past the sale here. Vaccines for these flu like illnesses are notoriously unreliable and that is not even to talk about the experimental nature of the latest batch. Vaccines are not likely to have much more than a placebo effect on covid 19.

    A strong immune system is one that is exercised often. You cannot get this isolating and wearing a mask.

    You might catch a long term disability though from using an experimental vaccine. Seems some people keel over almost immediately. Never mind, at least you will be helping one or other of your fellow humans by increasing their bottom line.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  37. melanf says:

    Proponents of strict vaccine testing under the non-pandemic time protocol have played a dark role in delaying the introduction of vaccines.

    Pfeizer, Moderna had data on the effectiveness of vaccines at least in the early fall. Who can properly explain: the delay in using these vaccines was due to the desire to bring down Trump (so that he did not proclaim vaccination as a success) , or were there other reasons?

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  38. utu says:

    How Melbourne eradicated Covid-19 (Dec 4, 2020)
    https://www.vox.com/2020/12/4/22151242/melbourne-victoria-australia-covid-19-cases-lockdown

    There is no secret sauce to Covid-19 containment. It just takes commitment.

    Policymakers dreaded an endless cycle of lockdown-reopening-lockdown — exactly the situation the US finds itself in. They realized that amorphous goals of “slowing the spread” or “flattening the curve” had been ineffective in mustering public support for the stringent mitigation measures that would be necessary to contain the virus.

    So they went big. The state’s roadmap largely followed a policy proposal laid out in September by the Grattan Institute (a nonprofit think tank supported by the state and federal governments): “Go for zero.”

    The goal was not just to slow Covid-19 down. It was to eradicate the virus. The state had gone into a stage 4 lockdown — most businesses closed, there was a nightly curfew, and residents were ordered to stay within five kilometers of their home — in August, and it was then extended in September, with the explicit goal of eventually reaching zero new cases.

    The Grattan Institute also recommended ramping up contact tracing, another established part of an effective Covid-19 response, and mandatory isolation.

    “A system that relies on self-isolation in which people are unable or refuse to self-isolate cannot succeed,”

    If they did all that but one week, or two or three,… sooner the lockdown would be shorter. The key is contact tracing once the infection rate is below the threshold that the contact tracing system can handle. And obviously contact tracing is not about contacting people but about guaranteeing them. I suspect that in many counter they just went through the motions of contact tracing and then failed do do the most important thing or could not force the ‘suspects’ to quarantine.

  39. JL says:
    @Dmitry

    I initially drew this conclusion as well, that production bottlenecks would be the main impediment to mass vaccinations in Russia. However, the problem is more likely the population’s unwillingness to get vaccinated, in general. Anecdotally speaking, Russians seem to either not care at all (типичный авось) despite seeing their relatives dropping dead all around them, or they’re afraid of both corona and the vaccines. Indeed, in Moscow, they expanded eligible groups at a very rapid pace, suggesting there were few takers, to the point where now anyone who wants it can get it.

    https://lenta.ru/news/2020/12/29/corona/

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Dmitry
  40. People clustered in protests had bad effect on corona transmission in Belarus.

  41. melanf says:
    @JL

    At the moment, it is the lack of a vaccine that is the main obstacle to vaccination of the population. There are at least 30 million people in Russia who are ready to be vaccinated, but a measly hundreds of thousands are vaccinated

    • Replies: @AP
  42. Beckow says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Technically, you are correct – the elders worried about the silent corona killer are themselves mostly Silents, but the old geezers really all kind of meld together. There is also something odd about the Silents to Boomers sequencing. Was that intentional branding? A long silent night is over, now for some booming noise?

    The 65-84 cohort is scared. My point was that they will never come out again as before, this is an endgame for them. And you can only do so much damage remotely. We can always unplug the mobile towers.

    I don’t know about the USSR, do they even live long enough to capture different generations? I have always thought it was just some youthful marching around in silly uniforms, a few years in the Siberian mines, vodka baths, and then they are gone. AK is worried about their ‘excess deaths‘, but isn’t their whole existence an offensive excess to humanity? Corona has come for a reason, it’s time to face up to that.

  43. Dmitry says:
    @JL

    expanded eligible groups at a very rapid

    I think this will be because the “Sputnik V” vaccine was not verified to be safe to use for people over 60 until 2 days ago, so the potential eligible groups to vaccinate were very restricted until now. The important thing is to vaccinate the over 60 population, and yet this most significant group for vaccination, had only been allowed to be vaccinated since two days ago.

    the problem is more likely the population’s unwillingness to get vaccinated,

    Yes it is true that vaccine skepticism might become a problem, by reducing demand for vaccine lower to become than the tautological “herd immunity” concept (1–1/R0).

    This is something to worry about in the future, rather than this month. Russia, so far only 0,04% of the population has been vaccinated. So even if the vaccination availability is already multiple times higher in Moscow than a national average, there cannot be less supply than demand anywhere in the country yet.

    If you want to analogize to business vocabulary, the uptake of vaccine will follow a kind of “s curve”. At the moment “market” is completely “unsaturated” though – there too small supply of vaccine this month get to get even near the foot of such a curve.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Gerard.Gerard
    , @melanf
  44. Dmitry says:
    @Dmitry

    less supply than demand anywhere in the country yet.

    Oops, I mean to write this sentence other way round: “there cannot be less demand than supply (of vaccine) in the country yet.” (Considering there is a very small supply of vaccine so far).

  45. Dmitry says:

    US and Russian excess mortality is at least on the same order of magnitude, whereas China’

    They also seemed have a better public understanding about airborne diseases in East Asia (probably because of experience with SARS earlier in the century), compared to in Europe and USA.

    In Singapore television, they were talking about the importance of HEPA filters in March. Things like air purifiers have been a large industry in South Korea or Japan (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkmB5vd5fiA.), and will likely have been installed in a much higher ratio of buildings in those countries, compared to in Europe.

    Considering the peaceful summer in much of Europe (as infection rates fell with the reduction of indoor behaviour caused by warmer weather), to prepare for the winter wave of the epidemic. European countries could have afforded to the extra time to mass install HEPA filters in public buildings, shops, transport and offices, which could have lowered the infection rate this autumn/winter.

    In autumn/winter, people are resistant to opening the window due to the cold, so the HEPA filter becomes an important alternative for the office buildings, transport, shops and public spaces.

    There are similar kind of anecdotes on Twitter about the airport culture between Europe and Japan – where in Paris the windows are not opened, while in Japan the airport has ventilation.

  46. Looking back, it seems the panicmongers got the death toll wrong by a factor of ten. 100,000+ dead Swedes would indeed have been something for the ages; 10,000 dead Swedes — most of them already at death’s door — posterity will meet with a shrug.

    • Agree: LondonBob
    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  47. Pericles says:
    @utu

    Spain has had long, serious lockdowns but still seem to be among the worst performers. Sweden has until recently stayed open and maskless though with official nagging, and has done no worse. Yet not that great either and we still have a second wave so ‘herd immunity’ seems to be a bust. Denmark has been more conventional and serious, but still ran into problems. And so on.

    In summary, it seems official actions in whatever general form have so far not worked out very well, in Europe at least.

    • Replies: @utu
  48. Pericles says:

    Lol, on March 22 I predicted Corona-chan for Russia too when it looked like you were avoiding it.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-wishes/#comment-3786770

    I also predicted a general second wave in the next comment.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-wishes/#comment-3786780

    Well, I guess that’s the power of going with the null hypothesis, if you will. Man proposes, God disposes.

  49. utu says:
    @Pericles

    Spain actually did well under the circumstances in the first wave. They introduced it too late like UK, France. But they brought infection rates down to daily death rate below 10 in late June and July but then they did not know what to do in August when their contact tracing system get overwhelmed and waited until late September to introduce a partial lockdown. They should not have waited that long. You go to a lockdown the moment your contact tracing system cannot keep up with rising infections.

    I think there was no vision and no leadership in Europe. People would follow and comply if a specific goal was clearly defined as it was done in NZ or Australia. You must outline the greater good and ask for sacrifice and appeal to solidarity and people will follow you. But people felt frustrated that governments did not seem to know what they were doing and what they wanted to accomplish. So when the second lockdown was needed governments were reluctant to further annoy people.

    And then there was anti-covid internet campaign by all kinds of skeptics and deniers and wackos making people question and doubt everything. If that camping was organized by some external agency of a foreign power they should be congratulated for its effectiveness in destroying the cohesion of society and making it unable to engage in the concerted efforts that were needed.

  50. @Dmitry

    150000 had already got vaccinated before mass vaccination program started….. so the 0.04 per million statistic quoted here for Russia is BS as 150k would be 0.12 per 100….. and that’s with the vaccine not allowed until just now for the over-60s – who are ( with health workers) the main target group and demographic group exponentially more eager to get vaccinated in those other countries listed.
    Most of the 150k have had the two doses, but the other countries only the time for one

  51. melanf says:
    @Dmitry

    The figures for Russia in the picture look fantastically understated. Ginzburg (head of the Gamalea Center) estimated the number of people vaccinated by Sputnik at about 700,000, and 30,000 doses of the Vector Center vaccine were used (according to the vector center itself). It is possible (and even likely) these figures are overstated, but 60,000 vaccinated from the picture is clearly an underestimate

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  52. AP says:
    @melanf

    Friends in Moscow say anyone can get a vaccine there now. Technically one should be a teacher or whatever but they don’t ask or require proof.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @JL
  53. melanf says:
    @AP

    Friends in Moscow say anyone can get a vaccine there now. Technically one should be a teacher or whatever but they don’t ask or require proof.

    Well yes. Residents of St. Petersburg go to Moscow to be vaccinated (and vaccinated without problems)

  54. @Swedish Family

    Looking back, it seems the panicmongers got the death toll wrong by a factor of ten.

    Or you’re not considering how people changed their behavior based on the predictions by the “panicmongers” of what would happen if they continued business as usual. A lot of this didn’t have to be prompted by governments, see the various early travel and hospitality sector crashes, and did oil in general crash before lockdowns and work from home became a big thing??

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  55. @mal

    All this Corona thing is a kind of religion with the sect of Covid- deniers battling the sect of Covid- believers.

    AK is a firm and ultra orthodox Covid- believer.

  56. @melanf

    Proponents of strict vaccine testing under the non-pandemic time protocol have played a dark role in delaying the introduction of vaccines.

    Pfeizer, Moderna had data on the effectiveness of vaccines at least in the early fall. Who can properly explain: the delay in using these vaccines was due to the desire to bring down Trump (so that he did not proclaim vaccination as a success) , or were there other reasons?

    The official reason is very simple, safety data. Based on the observation that the vast majority of severe vaccine side effects show up in one and half months, for Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs, not licensure) the FDA demands two months of safety data from one half of a Phase III trials’ subjects who got the vaccine. And that was the gating factor in making EUA applications. Even if you were to cut that by 15 days, and as it is the usual suspects are screaming bloody murder about insufficient safety testing, you still wouldn’t get EUA applications before the election, although Pfizer with their November 20th application would be close to November 3rd.

    These are hard ethical risk/benefit issues, including on the subjects in the control arm, which prior to now had to get a placebo or a vaccine for something entirely different. The longer you collect data from them getting COVID-19, well, the more of them get COVID-19, and that’s a legitimate reason for the Sputnik V Phase III trial to end at 78 cases instead of the FDA’s ~172 threshold. Which might have been increased to harm the BAD ORANGE MAN, but in any case for SCIENCE!!! regulatory authorities would prefer that you to wait even longer for more cases for better statistical certainty before offering the vaccine to your control subjects. Don’t wait long enough for side effects to show up, you run a terrible risk of harming more people than the disease, which are required to be low risk unlike drugs since they are given to ostensibly health people.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Pericles
  57. 128 says:

    What I find admirable in a way, about how the Chinese run things is how Beijing can just shut up dissenting voices in a way that Western governments, including Russia can not or will not.

  58. @Leander Starr

    Good talking past the sale here. Vaccines for these flu like illnesses are notoriously unreliable….

    Citation Needed beyond the flu. Which is a special case for pathogens we try to inoculate people for, our bodies don’t latch onto “conserved” parts of the virus from either a natural infection, live virus vaccine, or the most common protein plus adjuvant vaccines. So those vaccines are not “eternal” like we have for so many other viruses that mutate at much higher raters than coronaviruses, which have a unique among RNA viruses proofreading mechanism.

    Whereas fairly recently as these things go, serological (blood) tests were done on 1918-9 pandemic survivors, and as far as we could tell their immune systems were ready to terminate with extreme prejudice that particular no longer circulating strain. The length of natural or vaccine stimulated immunity to SARS-CoV-2 by definition cannot be known for sure, you learn that as each day passes. But the immune system responses sure look to be eternal.

    Whether this immunity, which for natural immunity also includes the nucleocapsid protein, includes sufficiently conserved regions of the spike protein remains to be seen (a key word here for antibody mediated immunity is “polyclonal”). Again in part by definition, although I’d imagine there are groups trying to make good guesses about this based on what we know about how spike proteins function. Which we’ve been studying hard since SARS showed up, and then MERS provided SARS wasn’t a one off.

    Some of that research was used by vaccine developers for the exact design of their spike protein to avoid antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). That may not be true for the inactivated virus vaccines … but per the first sentence of this paragraph those also potentially immunize against the nucleocapsid protein, and for all we know, perhaps others. The key to avoiding ADE is invoking a strong immune system response, and that can be tested for in animal and Phase I trials.

    • Thanks: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
  59. @That Would Be Telling

    Some of that research was used by vaccine developers for the exact design of their spike protein to avoid antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). That may not be true for the inactivated virus vaccines … but per the first sentence of this paragraph those also potentially immunize against the nucleocapsid protein, and for all we know, perhaps others. The key to avoiding ADE is invoking a strong immune system response, and that can be tested for in animal and Phase I trials.

    Please tell us more.

    What would be the currently developed vaccine that according to you would have the highest ADE risk?

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  60. @Bashibuzuk

    Please tell us more [about antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE)].

    What would be the currently developed vaccine that according to you would have the highest ADE risk?

    See this article for the most important modifications made to the wild type spike protein. TL;DR thanks to Jack D, “some molecular twist ties were added,” a key word to look for is “stabilized.”

    I only know BioNTech, Janssen, and Moderna used the results of this research. But any honest Phase III trial will discover an ADE problem, you’ll have roughly as many COVID-19 cases in the vaccine arm, and they’ll be lots worse overall. See the article for how ADE was explained after a tragic RSV vaccine trial with infants, 80% of those who got the vaccine ended up in the hospital, and two died. See also the dengue vaccine problem due to there being (at least) two relevant strains of it.

    • Replies: @sudden death
    , @Bashibuzuk
  61. JL says:
    @AP

    You can get the vaccine legitimately through a private clinic without being a member of any of the professions currently authorized, you just need the free government funded healthcare policy and Moscow registration. As far as I know, residents of Moscow are the only group of people in the world with this opportunity currently.

  62. Rahan says:
    @Shortsword

    Alcohol consumption has been reduced by a lot recently. But that’s a recent thing. Damages from excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t disappear the moment you start drinking more moderately.

    Smoking is also a big killer. Russians smoke more than both the French and the British. Russians have probably historically smoked cigarettes with worse filters as well.

    Russia’s life expectancy was most recently 73.4, that’s still 8 years lower than UK and 9 years lower than France.

    I’ll just widen the context additionally.

    1) The Russian Bender
    Average drinking rates spread out across a year do not take into account the clusters of intense turbo-drinking. Therein arises a cultural difference. A Russian enters a bender usually by accident, just going overboard during Friday night and the weekend, and then suddenly he’s never going down again. He slurs on the phone how he’s got food poisoning and won’t be coming to work the next few days, and goes deeper into the bender. At first he went out dressed appropriately and bought classy booze. By day four he goes outside looking like a bum and uses his rapidly diminishing cash to buy the cheapest crap available, plus some sad sausage to not starve, if he’s still sentient enough to do this.

    A week has gone by. Does he try to exit the bender, or does he keep going? Any glimmer of reason, or an intervention by someone can lead to attempts to exit the bender. Some men are professionals and they know what they need, they buy the needed meds in the local drugstore and nurse themselves back to adequacy over a couple of days, and then looking like death warmed over, they stagger back into work, after their “bout with food poisoning”.

    In Russia a one week bender counts as a “short term bender”, while beyond a week it’s officially a “long term bender” https://zdorovnet.ru/alkogolizm/zapoynyy-alkogolizm.html

    According to other sources, a bender below 10 days is but a “pseudo-bender” https://nasrf.ru/baza-znaniy/lechenie-alkogolizma/kak-bystro-vyyti-iz-zapoya In same source, they mention that Russian women tend to go on longer benders–months as opposed to weeks.

    Over here the category is: pseudo-bender is under a week; real bender is up to a couple of months; heavy bender is up to half a year.
    https://narcorehab.com/articles/zapoy-i-zapoynuy-alcogolizm/

    Frequently individual effort to get back to reality is not enough, so you have to call in either a private medical service, or a state one (if you’re broke). The private ones will be delicate and efficient, put you on a drip in your own home and nurse you back to sanity. The state ones–roughly take you into a loony bin for a week or more, and then you’ve got this in your file.

    2) Emphysema
    On the Western Internets this is a “no going back” illness that you have to at best manage to live as long as possible with the least problems.
    On the Russian Internets you just manage it with vitamins and maybe oxygen, and if it’s gotten real bad, there’s this easy operation to cut out a chunk of lung and then three months later you’re good as new.
    https://www.polismed.com/articles-ehmfizema-legkogo-prichiny-simptomy-priznaki.html#anchor_5

    (With this approach to what is and what isn’t heavy drinking and what is and what isn’t a terrible health condition, it becomes easier to understand why Jordan Peterson had to go to Russia to find doctors who’d be all: “What? Just a pill addiction? A mere couple of years? Sure, buddy, we’ll get you to kick it before dinner. You’ll be as good as new. Sign here. Natasha, get the drip!”)

    3) Russian men average lifespan
    This is basically the reason why health conditions which are seen as super terrible and lethal in the West, are seen as “meh” in Russia. Because the average male life span is such that if you’re reached 60 you’ve beaten the odds. It’s like being 80 in the West. And being 45 already means all systems are starting to fail, if you’re the average male. If you as an average Russian man drop dead after middle age, this just means you’ve grown old enough to die. So the “terrible conditions” that get in the way of enjoying life when you’re 85 really count as minor irritants, because you get them at 40 or 50 and drop dead a decade later and that’s just life.

    Especially in the more trad parts of Russia where the males on average make it to 62 or 64.
    The average Russian woman lives a decade more than the average man.
    https://tass.ru/nacionalnye-proekty/6798689

    You read an article “what are they doing now” about the cast of some vintage classic film or series, the info about the female actors is indeed what they are doing now, while the info about the male actors is when they died.
    Thus, in spite of the average Russian health-related habits being better than at any point in recorded history, it’s still a very specific culture. At any given part of the year, there could be millions of people who have for one reason or another dipped health-wise into the bare minimum where they can still be alive. Their hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, are all hanging on to dear life by their fingernails.

    When COVID hits them at this, frequently self-inflicted low point, their organisms have as much reserves to fight back with as Freddie Mercury did when the time came. Likewise when a Russian man who lived like this reaches the ripe old age of 50 or 60. His heart, lung, kidney, liver, and everything else now is kept going by a suitcase of pills. Here too, Corona Chan has it easy.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  63. melanf says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    The official reason is very simple, safety data.

    In fact, this is hypocrisy. Employees of the Gamalea Center were vaccinated in March. That is, already in March there was a working vaccine in Russia (and for sure in Western pharmaceutical firms). But because of the clarification of “safet issues” (March- November), hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people died

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  64. Sparkon says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    The oldest Boomers were born in 1946, so they’re now 75 years old.

    Not to nitpick, but the oldest Boomers turned 74 in 2020.

    From what I’ve read and remember, there was not really much of a baby boom in the former USSR in the immediate post-war period, but there were a lot of unwed mothers.

  65. @That Would Be Telling

    If there will be notable problems related/caused by ADE it will have just as bad effect on pharma industry as Fukushima had on atomic energy sector.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
  66. @That Would Be Telling

    Is it possible at all to 100% avoid ADE with any of the currently available vaccines?

    Also, some people have already been re-infected after half a year period following an initial infection with the coronavirus. A second infection seems more damaging. This would suggest ADE.

    Can we be sure that the immunization provided through any currently available vaccine would last longer than 6 months year?

  67. melanf says:
    @Bashibuzuk

    Can we be sure that the immunization provided through any currently available vaccine would last longer than 6 months year?

    The head of the Gamalei center was vaccinated on March 30, according to his own words, he now has the same antibody titer as in April.

    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
  68. joniel says:

    Super cold weather moves in across Russia in October. Not coincidentally that is when the second wave started. As hard it as it is to believe, the virus was far less prevalent in the spring. One thing that is needed is a strategy to disinfect indoor air, including in old Krushchev era apartments. Smoking indoors should be banned completely.

    Of course, I don’t know why Los Angeles is getting hit so hard. Weather outside is pleasant there, except in the summer.

  69. @sudden death

    My understanding is that ADE is only possible when the antibodies are not effective enough to completely neutralize the virus, but available in the right amount to allow the virus using them to infect a subset of cells it usually doesn’t have access to.

    The efficiency is dependent on both quantity and quality of the antibodies. Antibody response being polyclonal, the quality is variable. The naturally acquired immunity after a first coronavirus infection seems rather short term (6 months ?). At the end of this period the quantity of antibodies would be too low to completely neutralize the virus.

    Therefore after around 6 months following the coronavirus infection (or vaccination?) we would have an insufficient number of antibodies of a variable quality. This seems like the perfect scenario for ADE. If this is real, then I would avoid taking any of the vaccines, unless they can guarantee that there’s no ADE.

    Am I missing something?

  70. @melanf

    This is good if it is indeed true. I hope this also proves right for the majority of the Sputnik V vaccinated people. Naturally acquired immunity against the coronavirus seems rather short term. Perhaps Sputnik V using two different viral vectors allows for a longer immunization? If true that would be excellent.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  71. @Anatoly Karlin

    Come on, AK-47. We love you, man, but you’ve gotta break out of this hysteria. Apply that “retard-tier” assessment to the lockdowns and other absurd police-state measures that are being imposed on us (in the US, imposed by people whose behavior shows they don’t believe their own exaggerations about the virus, like CA Governor Newsom).

    By the way, it’s funny how people who can do their work mostly or all online are more prone to supporting lockdowns — they don’t get foreclosed or evicted, lose their family business, spend through their savings, and experience fear, despair, and eventually homelessness and food insecurity.

    Even better is when such people smugly condemn the few places that did not consign a big portion of their people to such a fate.

    Virus hysterics: if people want to cower at home and wear a face-diaper, do it; by contrast, somehow my almost 80-year-old mother, an intelligent and highly formally educated person, is able to think it through calmly and continue to live normally, as are most of her friends of similar age. They know that self-inflicted medical conditions from poor diet, lack of exercise, and in some cases smoking, pose more of a threat than the virus, even at their age. They also know that the virus itself poses much less of a risk even to people their age when they are not morbidly obese, heavy tobacco smokers, diabetic, or otherwise wrecking their own bodies and weakening their immune system.

    Nice for people who don’t have to worry about losing job or business due to lockdown, but many people don’t have the same luxury. Help us get back our liberties, our ability to earn a living, and a normal HUMAN life for our children.

  72. @melanf

    The official reason [for FDA’s longer time to grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUAs)] is very simple, safety data.

    In fact, this is hypocrisy.

    So different standards of acceptable safety data are “hypocrisy?” Good to know.

    While one can and many do argue the FDA is over cautious and worse sometimes petty in ways that probably kill people, they’re still the gold standard in drug and biologics approval. And the case you try to make for Russia without their getting more than scant safety data way prior to starting their Phase III trial, as well as using surrogate endpoints instead of real ones (unless they did challenge experiments without telling the world) … well, Russia is not the USA, and the USA is not Russia.

    We in the USA believe vaccines have to be proven in huge trials, 15,000 people minimum getting the vaccine, generating both safety and efficacy data because both are needed for a risk/benefit analysis. To repeat the top line thesis I ended the comment you’re replying to, vaccines are given to ostensibly healthy people, so we’re particularly concerned about their not having outcomes worse than getting the disease (normally factoring in the probability of that, not relevant for novel Corona-chan except for those who’ve already gotten it).

    See the discussion on antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), if a vaccine candidate suffers from that, for anyone who’s still naive when they get the vaccine a COVID-19 infection will end up being much worse than never having gotten the vaccine in the first place. Now that we understand ADE serological (blood) studies can pretty well rule it out in the most dangerous Phase I trial, but it’s an example of how this topic is not simple, because our immune systems are wild and crazy, usually in a good way, but as I’m sure we all know not always.

    • Replies: @melanf
  73. melanf says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    So different standards of acceptable safety data are “hypocrisy?”

    No, not different. Those standards of “safety ” that exist in Russia, the EU and the United States (and probably everywhere in the world) in the context of the pandemic turned out to be hypocrisy. In the context of a planetary catastrophe, it was necessary to review the requirements for the safety of vaccines (for example, to infect vaccinated volunteers with coronavirus, in order to quickly obtain data on the effectiveness)

    We in the USA believe vaccines have to be proven in huge trials, 15,000 people minimum getting the vaccine, generating both safety and efficacy data because both are needed for a risk/benefit analysis

    It is correct that the vaccine was tested on a large sample of volunteers, but this process was too long in time (just like with the Sputnik vaccine)

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  74. @RadicalCenter

    They also know that the virus itself poses much less of a risk even to people their age when they are not morbidly obese, heavy tobacco smokers, diabetic, or otherwise wrecking their own bodies and weakening their immune system.

    But they still seem not to get the very simple fact that those who are morbidly obese, heavy tobacco smokers or diabetic are objectively overflowing hospitals to the point where people like your mother will not be able to get adequate or timely help for some mundane accident like broken bone?

    Lockdowns are not about protecting such people from the virus, they will likely die anyway over extended timeframe, it is about protecting whole organized healthcare system from short circuiting due to momentarily overload.

    • Replies: @AP
  75. @RadicalCenter

    Assuming for the sake of the argument that this is all true, I don’t see why “la politique du pire” shouldn’t be applied to this.

    If America is redeemable then it might make sense to support policies that would lessen popular unrest, but if America in its present socio-political formation is too decayed to be reformed then it would be best to hope for the enactment of policies that will increase national revolutionary consciousness.

    The USA is already at 60% “non-Hispanic” White Americans, better to have a financial crisis, hyperinflationary conflagration, a major military defeat against a peer great power, mass unemployment and new “Hoovervilles” or something similar now rather than when the internal positions are worse.

  76. Pericles says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    If I remember Sailer correctly, Pfizer seems to have just let their study go on without examining the results until Orange Bad Man got voted out by many ballots. Then two days later –!

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  77. AP says:
    @sudden death

    Indeed, in addition to many elderly, obese, or diabetic people being killed or experiencing some sort of long lasting debilitation by the virus, it’s spread and resultant overload of the healthcare system has led to a lot of others having to put off elective procedures (from cataract surgery and interventions on broken bones or joint replacement to cancer screenings and breast cancer surgery) because selfish pieces of shit “won’t wear a face diaper because muh freedom.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/08/op-ed-cancer-surgeries-and-organ-transplants-are-being-put-off-for-coronavirus.html

    That having been said, some finesse could have been applied towards lock-downs (i.e. in Michigan for example they didn’t let lawn mowing companies operate despite such work involving zero interpersonal contact).

    • Replies: @128
    , @RadicalCenter
  78. @Pericles

    If I remember Sailer correctly, Pfizer seems to have just let their study go on without examining the results until Orange Bad Man got voted out by many ballots. Then two days later –!

    And conveniently timed for the CEO’s next predeclared as required by the SEC tranche of stock selling. Indeed, they were getting samples for RT-PCR testing to confirm that symptomatically diagnosed COVID-19 cases were indeed COVID-19, and simply put them on ice to run through the machine after the election.

    No harm to actually getting the vaccine to people due to their having to wait almost three weeks for enough safety data, their EUA application was submitted November 20th, but, well, until very recently they had a severe allergy to anything related to Trump including Operation Warp Speed (OWS).

    After announcing they were going to miss their early production promises by a full half due to supply chain issues (and such news is often the beginning of more slippages), probably in the context of negotiating the second 100 million dose contract with the US, multiple sources are saying they’re now accepting help from OWS, which in theory will allow them to supply those doses by the end of the second quarter, previously they were saying it would be another quarter.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  79. @melanf

    In the context of a planetary catastrophe, it was necessary to review the requirements for the safety of vaccines (for example, to infect vaccinated volunteers with coronavirus, in order to quickly obtain data on the effectiveness)

    At this point, you’re trolling whether you realize it or not. Safety is not efficacy. In fact, the two can be a tradeoff, a more effective vaccine or drug might be more dangerous, the latter is very common.

    But what tears it is your completely ignoring the points about how giving a lot of people an insufficiently tested vaccine might result in much worse outcomes than not; see the RSV vaccine example, imagine if 80% of the people who got the vaccine then required hospitalization for very serious COVID-19. Russia despite the boasting of politicians as far as I know held off mass inoculations until more post “registration” safety data was generated, they certainly claimed they were going to.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @melanf
  80. 128 says:
    @AP

    You are aware that when China locked down, they stopped everything including schools and all manufacturing activity right?

    • Replies: @AP
  81. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    The sources listed on the bottom of the website. https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

    Information is sometimes a week behind. 52000 inoculated for Russia links to https://tass.com/society/1238521 – on the statement of Mikhail Mishustin, 22 December .

    Today, the Mayor of Moscow has said that 50000 people have been vaccinated so far in Moscow alone, so the figure for this week will obviously significantly higher than it was on 22 December. However, all these numbers of this month, are just homeopathic relative to the numbers which will need to be vaccinated to exit the pandemic.

    working vaccine in Russia (and for sure in Western pharmaceutical firms). But because of the clarification of “safet issues” (March- November), hundreds of thousands, if not millions

    Scale up for mass production of the vaccine, would still require many months. As we see now, the delay now is with the production and logistics to rollout vaccine.

    This is one of the areas (like production capacity of the N95 masks) which should have been prepared, as an insurance for pandemics.

  82. Dmitry says:
    @Bashibuzuk

    The first dose of “Sputnik V” provides a short-term immunity of 3-4 months (in a majority of patients), while the second dose is required for longer term immunity.

    However, the components of the second dose are more constrained in terms of manufacturing, and this is where larger bottleneck currently is for production of the vaccine.

    So there has been some idea to use the first dose as an emergency mass vaccination, while not giving everyone a second dose. Currently, though this plan does not seem to have been adopted yet, as 300000 first doses of the vaccine were donated from Russia to Argentina last week.

    • Thanks: Bashibuzuk
  83. Dmitry says:
    @Rahan

    Male life expectancy in Russia has been rising very fast over the last decade. So here is an objective area where the situation in Russia is improving fast.

    In 2019 male life expectancy in Russia was somewhere over 68 years – so now (if we exclude 2020 as a pandemic year) it is not worse than male life expectancy was in UK in 1970.

    In 1970, UK was considered a highly developed country, and improvements in life expectancy only added an extra 10 years to male life in the subsequent 50 years. 10 years of life expectancy is not very overdramatic, in historical terms.

    By international standards, male life expectancy in Russia is slightly below average, but by historical standards it is already extremely high now. Male life expectancy in Russia in 2019, was already higher than African American men were in 2007, and somewhere equivalent to white American men in 1970, when the country was the wealthiest in the world.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
  84. AP says:
    @128

    Those involve interpersonal interactions.

  85. melanf says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    At this point, you’re trolling whether you realize it or not. Safety is not efficacy. In fact, the two can be a tradeoff, a more effective vaccine or drug might be more dangerous, the latter is very common.

    Safety is not efficacy – true, but are there any vaccines with” delayed ” (in time) dangerous consequences? To find out the frequency of allergic reactions that occur, you do not need many months of testing

    see the RSV vaccine example

    As far as I know, this vaccine worsened the course of the disease, that is, it had a negative efficacy

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  86. @Bashibuzuk

    This reply also attempts to answer what you note you’re missing in this comment of your’s, and is delayed because it’s an effortpost, but be warned I don’t know very much about our immensely complex immune systems, realized in the mid-1970s that if I wasn’t going to specialize in that field, I should learn it as needed.

    Is it possible at all to 100% avoid ADE with any of the currently available vaccines?

    100% is a very high standard not achievable when we’re talking about human immune systems. Now that I think about it, it’s very likely some people who get vaccinated get just the right or shall we say wrong weak response so when they get the real thing they really suffer if ADE is a possibility with a pathogen, which I understand can be the case with SARS type coronaviruses. This is part of something I try to emphasis about vaccines, and drugs and biologics as a whole: you give them to enough people, some will be maimed and killed. That’s just an unfortunate fact of life, why our FDA and any other sane regulatory agency does risk/benefit analyses before approving a drug or biologic (and our FDA for example has not “approved” the mRNA vaccines).

    So let me try to establish a little background in our immune systems, with the above warning some of this is likely to be wrong, some of it is for example obvious to me inferences from what little I know, which is a lot more than exactly a year ago.

    We’ve got two of them, the old innate immune system, and the only 500,000 years old adaptive immune system. The latter is so wild it can develop antibodies against chemicals which have never before existed on the earth, learning that factoid in the mid-1970s when I first learned college level biology led to the above mentioned learning policy about these systems.

    The innate is not bad, even includes “natural killer cells” that can recognize virus hijacked cells and take them out. In general, if you’ve got a bad enough infection, ideally it keeps you alive until your adaptive immune system can mount a tailored response. And these wars to the knife don’t kill you in the process, hence the now standard US regimen of prescribing an immune system depressing steroid for bad cases.

    The adaptive immune system takes some time to get up to speed, a week or more, but it provides very specific responses to the pathogen, including of course antibodies. Critically to your interpretation of a lot of bad science reporting, it is obvious from first principles that the horde of antibodies produced by your first infection or vaccines to a pathogen don’t hang around forever, else you’d run out of room for red blood cells in your plasma before you exited childhood.

    Instead, the adaptive immune system has memory mechanisms that allow it to quickly mount a full response if your body is again attacked by a pathogen, and testing for those is a “surrogate endpoint,” a proxy for “eternal” immunity as I call it. Which works for a whole bunch of viruses but not the flu (details on request for the latter, or see me above in comment #58, search for “conserved”). And as novel as Corona-chan is, we are in some jeopardy of a mutation becoming prevalent that escapes our current vaccines, but adjusting them should be easier than coming up with them the first time, sort of like flu vaccines.

    So with that said:

    Also, some people have already been re-infected after half a year period following an initial infection with the coronavirus. A second infection seems more damaging. This would suggest ADE.

    ADE should be possible within two weeks of your first infection, but I can’t comment on this claimed phenomena, except to say that based on what we know about COVID-19 natural immunity it’s from a malfunctioning or unlucky immune system.

    Can we be sure that the immunization provided through any currently available vaccine would last longer than 6 months year?

    “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Seriously, how can we know, except to a degree by examining memory cells from those who’ve gotten vaccines more than six months ago in Phase I and II trials? But those are pretty good proxies, and can be compared to natural immunity from those who got COVID-19 way more than six months ago.

    As for what you were missing in the above linked comment of your’s, it’s that high long term antibody titers are not important, should I would guess signal you’re continuing to get exposed to COVID-19 for whatever reason, or you’ve got a partly broken immune system. What matters is your adaptive immune system’s memory of fighting either a wild type virus infection or a vaccine and thus it’s ability to quickly terminate with extreme prejudice a new attack from that virus.

    • Thanks: Bashibuzuk, RadicalCenter
  87. @Dmitry

    Russian life expectancy is still shitty but it is improving rapidly. For example, in 2005 Poland had 10 year higher life expectancy than Russia but since then it’s been reduced to only 5 years. It will only be a few years until Russia has life expectancy comparable to EU countries on the lower end. It’s also very possible also that Russia reaches American life expectancy this decade (which has completely stagnated for a decade).

  88. @RadicalCenter

    I think it’s worth mentioning that Karlin was a proponent of tough lockdowns from the beginning, claiming among other things that lockdowns are going to improve the economy. He dismissed damage to small businesses as a form of natural selection.

    Today we can clearly see that countries that locked down hardest (including Karlin’s favorite Visegrad) have wrecked their economies without improving their pandemic outcomes. So instead of taking responsibility for championing this disastrous advice, Karlin positions himself as some kind of Cassandra , who was smarter than everybody else in his country. Whatever.

    • Agree: LondonBob
    • Replies: @AP
    , @RadicalCenter
  89. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Today we can clearly see that countries that locked down hardest (including Karlin’s favorite Visegrad) have wrecked their economies without improving their pandemic outcomes

    This was due to subsequent complacency.

  90. @AP

    We have heard more instances of people deterred from visiting hospitals and doctors’ offices due to exaggerated fear of the virus when those facilities were closer to empty than full.

    And let me guess, you aren’t losing your job, family business, home, and food security due to prolonged lockdowns. That’s for all the little people.

    Piece of shit indeed.

    • Agree: Getaclue
    • Replies: @AP
  91. @Felix Keverich

    Well, he is a highly intelligent and thoughtful guy, and I think he’ll admit it if and when he modifies his view on the necessity and proportionality of lockdowns, mask mandates, and antisocial distancing. Just wrong, on balance, about these measures right now.

  92. AP says:
    @RadicalCenter

    We have heard more instances of people deterred from visiting hospitals and doctors’ offices due to exaggerated fear of the virus when those facilities were closer to empty than full.

    People refusing to visit the doctor out of exaggerated fears are as mistaken as those who refuse to wear masks or isolate; the difference is they harm themselves.

    And let me guess, you aren’t losing your job, family business, home, and food security due to prolonged lockdowns. That’s for all the little people.

    So is death, apparently.

    Piece of shit indeed.

    How many people have you killed (directly or indirectly) if you were infected and refused to wear a mask and/or avoid others in enclosed places because of “muh freedom.”

    • Replies: @Getaclue
  93. Getaclue says:
    @AP

    He nailed you perfectly.

    • Replies: @AP
  94. melanf says:

    In St. Petersburg, polyclinics throughout the city are now vaccinating everyone against coronavirus. For incomprehensible reasons, this is done in secret – the official media are silent, but the opposition media got to the truth

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  95. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    Untargeted vaccination, does not seem a sensible vaccine rollout strategy in the context of vaccine supply constraints. When there is limited supply vaccine, then vaccine rollout should only be targeted at the priority groups (which have a higher probability of serious illness), as that would allow to exit the health crisis without requiring “herd immunity”.

    If there is to be 30 million doses of vaccine by June 2021, then this is sufficient to cover 95% of the over 60 population, and the majority of crisis can be exited before that time by specifically targeting the population groups that have a higher risk of serious illness.

    By vaccinating the highest possible proportion of vulnerable groups, then there is not a need to achieve herd immunity to exit the crisis, as COVID-19 has a very different death rate depending on the age of the population group. IF over 60s are vaccinated, the virus could still circulate through the population without significant health effects.

    But if the aim is for herd immunity (i.e. to stop circulation of the virus through the population) – vaccine is given randomly to the population regardless of their priority status – 30 million doses would only cover 20% of the population. For herd immunity, 30 millions doses of vaccine would only be successful if the reproduction of the virus is 1,25, which will probably not be until the introduction of warmer weather without a lockdown.

    • Replies: @melanf
  96. melanf says:
    @Dmitry

    Untargeted vaccination, does not seem a sensible vaccine rollout strategy in the context of vaccine supply constraints.

    Probably while the main goal is vaccination of doctors, but since (when vaccinating doctors) there are opened packages of the vaccine that need to be spent quickly, then everyone is vaccinated but it is not advertised (so that there is no crowd). However, the St. Petersburg plant Biocad promised to produce a million doses of the vaccine in December, and several million doses of the vaccine in January – this will be enough to vaccinate the population of the city

    If there is to be 30 million doses of vaccine by June 2021

    Not quite the right numbers. The authorities promise to increase the monthly production of the vaccine to 30 million doses by June. For this December, according to the authorities, more than 1 million doses of the vaccine have already been distributed, and in total, more than 2 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be released in December.

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Dmitry
  97. @melanf

    The ourworldindata.org revision that only 52,000 people were vaccinated (as of Dec 22) seems strange in light of it now being easily accessible throughout clinics in at least Moscow.

    Obviously those numbers are a drop in the bucket even relative to just Moscow and would be rather disappointing if true. What’s the point of coming up quickly a vaccine if it only becomes relevant when the next winter rolls around and all but the more backwards countries have plenty of vaccines anyway?

    Not quite the right numbers. The authorities promise to increase the monthly production of the vaccine to 30 million doses by June. For this December, according to the authorities, more than 1 million doses of the vaccine have already been distributed, and in total, more than 2 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be released in December.

    Well that’s a useful clarification – good to hear that.

  98. melanf says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Obviously those numbers are a drop in the bucket even relative to just Moscow and would be rather disappointing if true.

    52,000 (for December 28) this is clearly a false understated figure. The source of the words of the Minister of Health Murashko, which the press quoted on December 22:

    “Today, more than 52 thousand cases of vaccination have been added to the information resource for entering data on vaccinated people,”
    https://news.rambler.ru/community/45483571-minzdrav-rf-raskryl-chislo-privivshihsya-ot-koronavirusa-rossiyan/?article_index=1

    But even on December 22, this figure was most likely greatly underestimated.

    • Thanks: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @melanf
  99. @Anatoly Karlin

    Obviously those numbers [of only 52,000 vaccinated in Russia as of Dec 22] are a drop in the bucket even relative to just Moscow and would be rather disappointing if true.

    I disagree based on my posture towards safety plus efficacy risk/benefit calculations, that would indicate the claims/promises made at the time of registration in August that it would initially only have limited use were adhered to. Which is the only sane thing to do until you have enough safety data, which you only get with a big Phase III study. And I have a much higher opinion of Gamaleya et. al. after doing a lot more analysis of their Phase III trial, and noticing again one critical detail I shouldn’t have forgotten about.

    Here’s the US ClinicalTrials.gov entry for the Sputnik V Phase III trial, the most important thing to note is that it is using a 3:1 ratio of vaccine to placebo trial subjects, vs. the standard including US style of 1:1. Per the press release, as of its initial December 14th release vs. updated info above the official release, the efficacy analysis was based on 22,714 trial participants. That should mean 17,000 got the vaccine, 5,700 placebo. I don’t know enough statistics to make a real analysis, but the statistical strength of 77 total COVID-19 cases resulting in 92% efficacy based on the 3:1 ratio and the sizes of both trial arms is much stronger than if the trial had been done at a 1:1 ratio.

    That press release also says by some point, the HTML file modification date is the 21st, 26,000 volunteers had been vaccinated as part of the trial, 5,000 more as of when they started their efficacy analysis. So that much more safety data, and since bad side effects are heavily weighted the closer you are to the final dose, except probably for time we’re talking about greater than the minimum FDA required levels of safety data. Which start at 15,000 people getting a vaccine, and for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), two months of safety data for one half the vaccine arm participants.

    TL;DR: Russia didn’t start mass vaccinations with Sputnik V until the authorities had good reason to believe it was both safe and effective.

  100. melanf says:
    @melanf

    Here, by the way, is an explanation of the oddity of statistics:
    https://www.bfm.ru/news/460626

    52,000 (as of December 22) this is the number of people vaccinated at vaccination points starting from December 5. Those who were vaccinated before (according to the Minister of Health-100 000 people) are not included in this number

  101. @melanf

    Safety is not efficacy – true, but are there any vaccines with” delayed ” (in time) dangerous consequences? To find out the frequency of allergic reactions that occur, you do not need many months of testing

    The claim in the US by our betters like Saint Fauci, but this agrees with my observations over many decades, is that almost all severe side effects show up in one and a half months. So our FDA set a safety threshold for granting an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), not full “approval” AKA licensure, at following a minimum of 7,500 people for two months after their last dose. I’ve read from an unreliable source, but this agrees with the Sputnik V Phase III trial protocol, that the FDA usually wants six months of safety data (this could be different with tens of millions being given the two mMRA vaccines under their EUAs, lots more data of the Phase IV type).

    see the RSV vaccine example

    As far as I know, this vaccine worsened the course of the disease, that is, it had a negative efficacy

    This prompted me to do a lot more digging. Interventions for respiratory syncytial virus are in particular targeted at infants, people get it at all ages, but per Wikiepdia “RSV is the single most common cause of respiratory hospitalization in infants” which is no small thing. Per the Merck Manual, “RSV is ubiquitous; almost all children are infected by age 4 years.” and it “is responsible for > 50,000 hospitalizations annually in the US in children under the age of 5 years.” And per other reading, natural immunity, to the extent there is any, does not last long, which at least by now strikes me as being a big warning sign about trying to develop vaccines against it.

    Per “The respiratory syncytial virus vaccine landscape: lessons from the graveyard and promising candidates“, in 1966-7 in what’s a Phase I or II trial based on the thankfully small number of subjects, “In the youngest age group, 20 of 31 of RSV naïve infants were infected with community-acquired wild-type RSV during the next RSV season and 16 (80%) required hospitalization including two deaths(4) in whom [enhanced respiratory disease (ERD)] was documented.” That is, they got the vaccine, then naturally got the disease in the next season for it. So much worse than getting normal RSV infections, thus why you don’t want to do mass vaccination campaigns until you have enough safety data, especially for something like COVID-19 which is not an automatic death sentence for anyone.

  102. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    Lol to understand the statements of the authorities is not easy.

    If there will be 1 million doses produced by the end of the year, 3 million produced in January,.. 18 million produced in April. 30 million in June orJuly. With such a curve, it would reach the 30 million doses domestically produced by May or sometime in April.

    St. Petersburg plant Biocad promised to produce a million doses of the vaccine in December, and several million doses of the vaccine in January – this will be enough to vaccinate the population of the city

    But if they would be used untargeted at one city because the plant is there, that would displace doses from other cities. The fastest strategy exit the pandemic on the national level, the doses need to be targeted at vulnerable groups only.

  103. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    With such a production, then total 30 million doses will be produced sometime for April. So if the rollout of produced vaccine is fast, 30 million people could be vaccinated in sometime in May. This is assuming just the domestically produced vaccine (and perhaps not adapting the strategy of a light vaccine).

    Either way, herd immunity would only be possible by June or July if the reproduction number is 1,25, which can be seem possibly too low. So trying to attain herd immunity is not the correct strategy in Spring. The way to exit the health crisis in Spring by vaccination, requires the doses to be specifically target on the vulnerable groups, so that the vulnerable population is protected even as the virus could still have a reproduction number above 1,25.

    Obviously those numbers are a drop in the bucket

    Statements are a little ambiguous anyway. For example, Gintsburg doesn’t say if the doses refer to the two doses together or separately.

    They were saying that they donated 300000 doses of vaccine to Argentina last week, but then they clarified that this only refers to the first dose.

  104. @utu

    Poland and Czechia screwed up royally

    Hungarians, too. The Slovaks were, as usual, more competent than Hungary, but not as much as I had expected.

    • Replies: @utu
  105. @Anatoly Karlin

    I think since late October it seems that the real numbers are double the official count. November was the deadliest month since January 2000 (when Hungary had almost 10% higher population), and I think the data was slightly revised upwards.

  106. utu says:
    @reiner Tor

    “The Slovaks…” – When they announced that they would test everybody it was a sign they lost control and ran out of better ideas. Finding the positives is only a first step. You need to quarantine all those who had a contact with the infected. If you do not do contact tracing and effective quarantining all your testings amount to not much.

    The V4 countries are the followers. There is no original thinking there. They are cargo cult countries that go through aping motions. They were spared the outbreak of the first wave because they went on lockdowns when the infection rates were low but the decision of lockdowns came from the West. Everybody was doing it at that point. And then they got into a self-congratulatory mode how great they were and really believing that they knew what they were doing.

    • Replies: @AP
  107. AP says:
    @utu

    I remember a few months ago the Polish guy Anon2 stating that Poland was spared as it was from the Black Death, due to the Earth’s crystal energy or something…

    If only it were true.

    • LOL: utu
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  108. LondonBob says:
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Excess deaths are about 65k last I read, the government is deliberately inflating numbers with faulty PCR tests and reporting deaths within twenty eight days of said faulty test as being with covid. Obviously the virus has been catastrophically mismanaged, we locked down after the virus had been and gone, the economic cost is just horrific.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
  109. LondonBob says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Made no difference at all.

    The lockdown fanatics got it wrong, all this hard lockdown countries in Eastern Europe now are hit in the autumn and winter. Fanatics won’t admit this though.

  110. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Plenty of people, especially in their 30’s and 40’s, succumb to the morbidity of this virus too.

    And where do you get your information regarding “lazy, elderly teachers” anyway? There are no canned presentations that the stay at home teachers use, they have to put on presentations using skype (or something similar) and field questions live, as they would in a live classroom. They are responsible for creating any presentations and lesson plans. It can be a more complex situation all around, affording the teachers more work and additional challenges that they wouldn’t experience in a schoolroom setting. All teachers, not just the older ones, work under the same constraints, so your observation is as groundless as it is vacuous.

  111. @LondonBob

    the economic cost is just horrific.

    And it’s just the beginning.

  112. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP


    “Natural Polish(ed) Crystal Wands”. 🙂

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