“The virus is evolving quickly and efficiently” but we can beat it with vaccines

“We’ve Come So Far With Vaccines, America. Now Keep Going.” (New York Times, July 3):

Seven months after the first shots were authorized for emergency use, 66 percent of adults — more than 100 million people — have received at least one dose. That’s not the 70 percent President Biden was aiming to reach by July 4, but it’s close, and it’s an impressive figure.

It is comforting to be reminded that Joe Biden was the president primarily responsible for the rapid development and purchasing of these vaccines. Uncle Joe takes care of us all!

But it’s too soon to declare total victory. The world is still locked in a desperate race between the coronavirus’s ability to evolve and society’s ability to vaccinate, and America’s lead in that race is precarious. The virus is evolving quickly and efficiently. Given enough time and enough susceptible hosts, it could still mutate its way around the human immune response and beyond the ability of existing vaccines to help. If that happens, the United States, and any other nations that have made such progress, will be forced backward.

If the vaccine evolves quickly and efficiently, what is the point of a vaccination project? If everyone in the U.S. were vaccinated tomorrow against all of the version of SARS-CoV-2 that exist in the U.S., wouldn’t a new variant arrive through the fully open southern border on Monday? From “Biden administration reverses Trump-era asylum policies” (Politico):

The Biden administration is reversing a series of Trump-era immigration rulings that narrowed asylum standards by denying protection to victims of domestic violence and those who said they were threatened by gangs in their home country.

In other words, anyone who can utter the words “my spouse hit me” or “a gang wants to kill me” is entitled to live in the U.S. for at least several years until a judge evaluates the truth of the statement (absent psychic powers, how is a judge supposed to figure this out?). Several years is certainly long enough to spread mutated SARS-CoV-2.

(The border is perhaps not “fully open” given that Kamala Harris tells migrants not to come to our party with some strong words.)

We don’t believe that if we gave 100 percent of humanity a flu shot we would eliminate influenza, right? Why do we believe that we can beat a “virus [that] is evolving quickly and efficiently” with our fairly sluggish vaccine system?

The scientists at Facebook told me, on April 30, that we can “end the pandemic” by adding a vaccine profile frame (Facebook previously granted FDA approval to vaccines):

What about Facebook today?

I would so love to meet the folks who believe the things that Facebook says aren’t true! Separately, one thing that is interesting about Facebook’s scientific information campaign is that it isn’t signed. Plainly Facebook has a deep bench of medical expertise, but who are the physicians and public health PhDs who authored the material that Facebook puts out? A typical newspaper article is signed by a journalist or two and approved by an editor whose name can be looked up. Quotes and opinions in the article will generally be attributed to a person whose professional background can be researched.

Circling back to the original topic… How is it possible to simultaneously believe that the virus is evolving rapidly and efficiently AND that vaccinations against a particular genotype (or set of genotypes) will prevent the virus from thriving?


13 thoughts on ““The virus is evolving quickly and efficiently” but we can beat it with vaccines

  1. My understanding (but I am not an epidemiologist like Donald J Trump, former Chief Epidemiologist of the US!) is that the virus can only mutate and be effectively transmitted via non-vaccinated humans (of all gender identities). So if everyone in the US was vaccinated, then new variants arriving would not be able to mutate or be easily transmitted, esp with the current crop of mRNA vaccines. But what do I know?

    • Paul: But by definition a vaccine-indifferent variant can spread among the vaccinated. Maybe our religion says that a variant can’t develop among a fully vaccinated population, but with 8 billion potential hosts on Planet Earth, a variant can develop somewhere else and then show up here in the body of an asylum-seeker.

  2. The C19 vaccines are “leaky” vaccines, “which means that only the symptoms of the disease are prevented. Infection of the host and the transmission of the virus are not inhibited by the vaccine. This contrasts with most other vaccines, where infection of the host is prevented. Under normal conditions, highly virulent strains of the virus are not selected. A highly virulent strain would kill the host before the virus would have an opportunity to transmit to other potential hosts and replicate. Thus, less virulent strains are selected. These strains are virulent enough to induce symptoms but not enough to kill the host, allowing further transmission. However, the leaky vaccine changes this evolutionary pressure and permits the evolution of highly virulent strains”.

    In the poultry industry, the use of leaky vaccines against “Marek’s disease” allowed highly virulent strains to evolve, and now any chicken that is un-vaccinated will die if infected.


  3. “I would so love to meet the folks who believe the things that Facebook says aren’t true!” – I’ll be happy to come by for tea 🙂
    “who are the physicians and public health PhDs who authored the material that Facebook puts out?” – doesn’t the Party have the final say in all matters, including medicine and science? If FB is not an integral part of the Party, for sure it has the appropriate representation embedded in the org chart, or as an advisory body on ideology, public policy, editorial content, etc.?

  4. Oddly enough, because of fewer comorbidities, doesn’t it seem that a lower proportion of the global poor are dying from Novel Coronavirus? Cases and deaths? Suggesting that the goal is to allow the poor to die from a disease that developed nations are inoculated against suggests thats may be a one-two punch: relatively benign virus, vaccine, then malignant virus, which will really wallop the developing world. That’s extremely dark magic; that’s Georgia Guidestones-level of depopulation “for the good of mankind.” Yikes.

    • Chris: When I wrote (above) ” Thanks for that link. This would be consistent with my general theory that people in rich countries are eager to kill people in poor countries.” above, that was probably too strong. The rich have been desperate to save their own skins and have been mostly indifferent to the impact on poor people in their own countries and doubly indifferent to poor people in poor countries.

      Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose that God emailed everyone in the U.S. saying that what happened with Marek’s disease in chickens would happen with COVID-19, i.e., that continued vaccines for the rich would create a monster virus that would immediately kill all of the global poor who couldn’t get access to the vaccines (despite the feel-good efforts of rich say-gooders dumping containers of vaccines off at Third World airports). Would rich Americans and politically powerful Americans say “We made a mistake” and stop administering the vaccines?

  5. The mixed messages in the US are getting interesting. The NYT’s “keep going” is in contrast to Fauci, of all people, being a Debbie Downer at the vaccine party: Booster shots not needed [yet?].

    Are some of the vaccineers getting worried about the rate of sickness and death among the recently-jabbed? An Analysis of COVID-19 vaccine death reports looked into the quality of VAERS reports and found them mostly good, i.e. there really has been a rapid increase of vaccine deaths. See figure 7 which only goes to April. VAERS itself shows 9,048 deaths and 26,818 hospitalizations to July 7th.

    • VAERS is voluntary reporting, and it was estimated that only 10% of fatal adverse reactions ever make it there.

      Even then, perusing VAERS (you can download files in CSV format and load it into a database if you feel like doing data science) is highly instructive – in 2021 you barely see adverse reactions from other vaccines in the sea of COVID vaccine reports.

    • Cynics need only heap scorn on the activities of “experts” (who obviously operate only in their own self-interest). There is no prerogative to offer alternative and/or helpful solutions (because that would leave them open to criticism from other cynics).


    • Jim: If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I have been a Church of Sweden member since March 2020. If you insist on lockdowns, I would say that Ireland does it right (schools open; bars closed; the opposite of Maskachusetts!).

      David: I’m not sure why you reference “experts”. Prior to February 2020, nobody, including at the W.H.O., thought that it would be possible for humans to stop an aerosol respiratory virus from spreading. And stopping such a virus had never been tried. Thus, I don’t think that coronapanic is a field in which it is possible to have “expertise” nor to have “experts”. And, in fact, those who have attempted to play the role of expert have been unsuccessful, as measured by predictive power. For example, the self-proclaimed experts said that Florida would have a higher death rate than Maskachusetts. Czech Republic and Peru were predicted to sail through coronaplague unscathed due to masks and shutdowns. Presumably somewhere there was an expert who said that the Naughty Swedes would mostly be dead right now from Delta variant. Yet the Swedes refuse to be felled by Delta.

      Consider just the W.H.O. Masks for the incompetent general population were useless, their “scientists” said through early June 2020. Then the equally obvious expert conclusion was that masks were essential. Vaccines for children could not be recommended. When folks pointed out that this was inconsistent with the desires of politicians and school bureaucrats, the experts at W.H.O. flipped. So now children will be injected and can help us breed a super deadly COVID-19 for the unvaccinated in poor countries (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marek's_disease for how vaccines are the best tool for this program).

  6. The virus is evolving, but we as humans are not [1].

    Thanks for the level of Covidfear that has been planted into our minds by the government and media, getting out of it is simply not possible even when the vaccine is so effective [2].

    This makes me want to ask: why cannot our government and the media run such XYZfear program on other deadly issues that impacts sociality? Lets start with the war on poverty and education to name some. After decades and billions of billions in spending we have not seen any impact or accomplishment as we did with Covidfear of 99.2% [2] in just few months.

    I would love to see those failed programs tried again, but now with the twist of lockdown and $600 a week check. Maybe that’s the trick for a successful project?

    [1] https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/10/politics/cdc-schools-guidance-covid-pfizer/index.html
    [2] https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/07/08/coronavirus-kills-the-vaccinated-in-the-uk-but-not-in-the-u-s/

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