if vaccines work, then why are they bending the curves in the wrong direction?
probably because they selected for the variants that ensured they would fail. because that's what leaky vaccines do.
israel has been a good laboratory for covid intervention assessment. they are a small nation in one climate zone with a small population, good record keeping, a pretty honest set of health agencies, and modern healthcare system. they did lots of testing and they also pursued damn near every mitigation in the book from lockdowns to masking to mandating vaccines and vaccine passports. and unlike many places, they were extremely serious about compliance. they even have an very useful control group in palestine that did almost none of these things.
this provides an interesting opportunity to measure the efficacy of such interventions. at this point, it’s so well established that masking and distancing have no effect that we can more or less drop them from consideration and focus solely on vaccines. (to the extent they worked, they would drive apparent vaccine efficacy in israel anyhow).
and the two states have had remarkably similar overall outcomes and had near identical cumulative deaths per capita through 2021. however, it looks like this might be starting to diverge and this creates a useful comparison.
about three weeks ago, i left THIS POST with some questions:
we now have enough data to start to answer this.
the relative vaxx rates are very different and israel is over 50% boosted vs ~0 in palestine. so, if boosters are working, this is about as good a natural experiment setup as you could ask for.
cases are a problematic metric due to variance in testing rates (and we know vaccines do not stop cases) and palestine does not report hospital data. but we can compare deaths, so this is the figure i used.
OWID is the source for all data.
this series is striking. as has commonly been the case, palestine lagged israel by a couple weeks. (i suspect this is reporting lag, this data is day of report, not day of incidence).
assuming this peak holds, the palestine peak was 21% below winter seasonal peak last year. israel was up 13%. that’s a meaningful divergence and the israeli figure is deeply unexpected given a milder variant and 18 months of vulnerable cohort depletion.
this starts to hint at something being quite wrong and also starts to rule out “variant” as the source, because it did not drive that outcome in palestine.
it can be notoriously difficult to eyeball area under curve, so i have plotted cumulative deaths here:
as can be seen, israel had gone pancake flat in november 2021 through jan 2022. then it inflected severely. this is omicron which hit the levant in the second half of december 2021. clinically, you’d expect about a 24 day log to show up in deaths and this tends to jibe with the data i’ve seen all over the world.
it’s possible that boosters were having some effect in bending the curve, but to the extent that they did, it was either fleeting or rapidly inverted in the face of a new variant. (or both)
this becomes extremely easy to see when we zoom into 2022 and start a cumulative count from 1/1/2022.
there is a powerful inflection in israel that does not exist in palestine and israel has seen roughly twice the cumulative per capital death rate of palestine so far this year.
if boosters are effective in preventing deaths from omicron, it sure does not show up here.
this also lets us rule out “omicron” as a source of greater underlying virulence/fatality. if this were so, it would be manifest in both places. the fact that it is not doing so supports the idea that omicron is an OAS/hoskins effect evolution taking advantage of the narrow antigenic fixation generated by mRNA and adenovirus vaccines. it also seems to show that this advantage is NOT, as many claim, limited to cases. it seems to carry through to deaths as well.
we can also compare israel to itself and see how this highly vaccinated and boosted period compares to the prior year when vaccination was zero. from this data as well, we see strong support for the OAS hypothesis.
israel had been doing better. then omi came and everything changed.
(to remove the skew from widely varying sample rate driven by big shifts in testing levels, i have normalized all cases data to 10 tests per day per 1000 population though given the absurdity of calling a high Ct PCR+ a “case” even lacking symptoms, all case data is troublesome to assess, but we work with what we have, not with what we wish we had)
cases nearly tripled and hospitalizations nearly doubled. deaths rose 13%.
according to israeli authorities and hospitals, this was not driven by “the unvaxxed” but rather by the vaccinated. they seem to make up more than their share of severe outcomes though one must we wary of simpson’s paradoxes. (more HERE)
it might be possible to construct an argument whereby vaccine efficacy is claimed on any given infection (once you are sick, better to be vaxxed) but if that is, in aggregate, swamped by a rise in cases (and we know vaccines lead to more cases, not fewer) then this is still not much of an argument. having vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization per case by 50% but tripling case risk is still a 50% rise in overall hospitalization.
the aggregate data is possibly supportive of this claim outcome, but it’s far from certain either way.
but still, if the overall outcomes are worse post vaxx in the active arm but not in control, from a public health perspective do we really care why?
cases were trending MUCH lower. then that changed in a hurry.
zooming in makes it all the more clear.
even adjusted for testing, this is a massive surge in cases.
we see the same in hospitalization.
and see the crossover to worse outcomes in 2022 when we zoom in.
overall, they are 39% higher in aggregate YTD vs prior yr.
deaths have not yet caught up, but appear likely to do so.
taken as a whole, this is pretty damning of the booster programs.
israel saw a big spike in deaths that was not present in the palestine control group.
it saw a massive jump in cases, a big jump in hospitalizations, and is rapidly converging on deaths (which will lag the others by ~3-4 weeks).
there is just no way to spin this as a win. it looks like an own goal.
this was the known and knowable outcome of widespread inoculation with a leaky vaccine. it is, in fact, WHY we do not use leaky vaccines.
they will rapidly and inevitably select for escape or vaccine enhanced variants. and now it makes you worse and worst of all, locks you into a suboptimal antigenic response pattern that may keep you from EVER generating real sterilizing immunity. the truly nasty part of this may take years to really see.
omicron was not “bad luck” it was invoked consequence of ill conceived intervention. even assuming they every worked as claimed (dubious) these vaccines were always going to fail because that’s what leaky vaccines do.
this was known and knowable. the drug companies that made them knew it. the regulatory agencies that approved them knew it. and many, many doctors, researchers and public health officials all over the world knew it. they were silenced, threatened, and attacked for it. and this is the bitter fruit of that harvest.
in the US, the data has been manipulated and misused so badly as to render it outright fraud. it becomes obvious when one compares the US data (which calls all “unknown or undetermined” patients “unvaxxed” and used the fact the the EPIC system is awful to create a false sense of VE) with a system that keeps good records as longtime gatopal™ HOLD2, newly on substack, has done here.
like so much of the rest of the covid response, we knew better than to do this, but it was done anyway.
and now, the US is lying about it while others are, at least, coming clean.
but this truth will be too vast to hide much longer, even behind these big lies.
and american health and regulatory agencies are going to have a great deal to answer for.
dr atlas (with whom many at rational ground, including even notorious internet felines, had the pleasure to collaborate) is correct in everything he says here except in his use of the world “almost.”