Category Archives: COVID-19

Backing Into a Weak Form of Herd Immunity?

Are we in the US on track to back into a form of herd immunity?

About 62% of the US population has been fully vaccinated (but only about 36% being boosted as well, according to the CDC). Another 12% have received at least one dose. And over 18% have had *confirmed* cases. The likelihood is that, including asymptomatic infections or infections of people who didn’t bother to get tested, at least double that percentage, somewhere on the order of 40% of all Americans, have been infected.

If we just randomly assign that 40% of infected people among all those vaccinated and unvaccinated, that’s roughly 85% of the US population that should have at least *some* resistance to renewed infection. Another month of Omicron is probably going to take that up to 90%.

It’s possible there is a doomsday variant out there, but it’s more likely that, as COVID becomes endemic, each wave displays less and less virulence, not because they are inherently “milder,” but simply because the vast majority of the population has some, increasing, level of immune resistance.

–Bonddad Blog: Coronavirus dashboard for January 10: how “mild” Omicron is depends upon how much you lag the data

One of the few rays of sunshine I’ve seen in all the discussions of the data…

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COVID Risk Chart

Useful info from The Conversation, Here’s where (and how) you are most likely to catch COVID – new study. Useful, but not very surprising:

Bottom line: indoors is OK, but only if you are a monk in a drafty monastery with a rule of silence? And returning to in-person classes is a bit dicey?

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UM Tries to Duck the Omicron Wave

The University of Miami just announced new anti-COVID policies for the start of the Spring Semester. Among them:

  • First, classes will start on time Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, we will pivot to remote instruction for the first two weeks of the spring semester, with in-person instruction resuming on January 31. All orientation activities will be held remotely as scheduled. Students in clinical rotations will be permitted to continue as scheduled, subject to requirements of their host sites.
  • Only staff who have been on campus directly supporting students and faculty should return to on-site work next week as planned, while those who are now working remotely will be expected back in person on January 31.
  • Proof of a negative COVID test within 48 to 72 hours of arrival on campus will be required for returning students, and residential students will test again upon arrival. If you feel unwell, delay your return to campus until you are better, and we strongly encourage those traveling to have a negative test before making their way to Miami.

This is smart in two ways. First, it means our classes will not contribute to the spread of the new variant while it is most prevalent in the population. Second, it creates a two-week period for students who caught something at home or in transit to figure it out and, in most cases, get over it.

I gather a lot of universities around the country are doing something similar. The longer this goes on, of course, the more it will have a permanent effect on higher education in general and law teaching in particular.

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One Vaccine to Rule Them All

Walter Reed Army Hospital may have developed a general vaccine that will work against both past and future variants of COVID-19, indeed against the whole family of spike-protein-using coronaviruses.

If this pans out, it’s a game-changer. Except, I suspect, for the 3% of the population that is immunosuppressed (most commonly due to anti-rejection meds for transplants or to various chemotherapies), but even they benefit if everyone around them is vaxxed.

Some help is on the way for the immunosuppressed too in the form of a new monoclonal antibody COVID-prevention treatment that lasts up to six months and is about 70% effective.

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A Defining Fact

From Monmouth University polling via Kevin Drum:

Speaks for itself, with however the minor caveat that people sometimes tell pollsters what they want to be the case rather than admit some truths.

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The Next Wave is Here

Chart of Covid-19 virus particles in Boston’s wastewater by date.

From Massachusetts Water Resources Authority spotted via Exponential View.

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