The concern that SARS-CoV-2 could be spread by people without symptoms originally came from a single case report. It was alleged that an asymptomatic woman from China had spread the virus to 16 other contacts in Germany. Later reports showed that, at the time of contact, this woman was taking medication for flu-like symptoms, invalidating the evidence provided for the theory of asymptomatic transmission. As with other common respiratory viruses, SARS-CoV-2 spreads by being exhaled, coughed or sneezed into the air. The largest droplets fall quickly and settle on the ground whilst the most lightweight particles, known as aerosols, may remain suspended in the air for days. Once the virus is present in the environment, it spreads by finding its way into the respiratory tract of new hosts in a large enough quantity (known as the ‘viral load’ or ‘infectious dose’) to infect them. The theory of fomite transmission (touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the face) is not supported by scientific evidence.
…In asymptomatic individuals, the viral load is typically very low and the infectious period is also short in duration. They may still exhale virus particles, which another person may encounter. However, the overall likelihood of transmitting the disease to others is negligible. Thus asymptomatic cases are not the major drivers of epidemics. As Dr Anthony Fauci of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stated in March 2020: ‘In all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person.’
The main purpose of science is to question and attack. To subject ideas to the greatest scrutiny. Those who decide to shut down and stifle debate – whatever they may believe themselves to be doing – are, in fact, traitors to the cause of science. Stranglers of the enlightenment, assassins of progress.
They are not alone, and things have gotten far worse in the past year or so. Science has taken a terrible battering during Covid-19, though I have always known that dissent against a widely held scientific hypothesis is difficult.
For a virus that spreads via airborne transmission of aerosols—something scientists have known for many months, though it took the World Health Organization until the end of April to update its guidance—these plastic barriers between diners were always a confusing addition. Think of the particles that disperse through the air when someone smokes a cigarette. A plastic barrier wouldn’t prevent you from smelling that cigarette and breathing some of that same air.
Pilot schemes for nine of the worst-hit areas will see councils offer to house the contacts of positive virus cases in order to stop transmission in overcrowded households.
Just 15 people among the 58,000 who took part in government-run trials for reopening large events tested positive for Covid, The Telegraph can reveal.
The trials included the FA Cup final and a semi-final at Wembley, the Brit Awards at the O2 arena in London and DJ sets at the Circus nightclub in Liverpool.
Hard to justify right now for most children in most countries
Following widespread vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 of older adults and other highly vulnerable groups, some high income countries are now considering vaccinating children; just days ago, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in children 12-15 years of age. Young people have been largely spared from severe covid-19 so far, and the value of childhood vaccination against respiratory viruses in general remains an open question for three reasons: the limited benefits of protection in age groups that experience only mild disease; the limited effects on transmission because of the range of antigenic types and waning vaccine induced immunity; and the possibility of unintended consequences related to differences in vaccine induced and infection induced immunity. We discuss each in turn.
So in recent weeks I’ve made a clear decision no longer merely to point out what it is that governments and their advisers and spokespersons around the world are doing is wrong, scientifically unjustified and harmful, but to join the dots in an attempt to provide potential explanations of why they’re doing these things.
…Why do I say this? Simply because there is no benign interpretation of the acts of commission and omission consistently imposed upon us and no explanation of the statements which are flatly wrong other than an intention to deceive the population.
…It is my deduction and conclusion that the only motivation that fits all the observations is the intention to ‘herd’ every citizen into a VaxPass system. This is a completely novel system. Never before have all individuals been represented in a single, interoperable database as a unique digital ID, accompanied by an editable health-related field. Whoever controls that database, and the algorithms which govern what it permits and denies, has literally totalitarian control of the entire population. There is no personal threshold crossing or transaction which doesn’t fall to those operating that system.
Covid-19 lockdowns shaved 3.5% off U.S. GDP in 2020 even as the federal government spent more than $2.6 trillion in relief measures. Millions of children fell behind in learning and nearly 100,000 businesses closed for good.
Conventional wisdom holds this was worth it because lives were saved by shutting workplaces and schools and telling people to stay home. But a new study by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan shows the opposite. After the first month of the pandemic, organizations that adopted prevention protocols became safer places than the wider community. Officials who didn’t see that coming forgot that organizations are rational and look for cooperative solutions that improve the welfare of the group, such as reducing the risks of communicable disease.
…Meanwhile, Mr. Mulligan found that there is no evidence that homes became “places of solitary confinement and zero transmission.” That’s putting it mildly. Humans are social animals. Lockdowns were leaky at best with stir-crazy family members venturing out to see friends and relatives.
Unlocked Exclusive — in a hard-hitting interview, retired NHS pathologist Dr John Lee discusses the government’s response to the pandemic, analyses why proven scientific procedures were abandoned, makes the case for ending Lockdown now, and asks the question most doctors are unable to discuss in public. Covid-19: is the cure worse than the disease?
The risk of being exposed to Covid-19 indoors is as great at 60 feet as it is at 6 feet — even when wearing a mask, according to a new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who challenge social distancing guidelines adopted across the world.
MIT professors Martin Z. Bazant, who teaches chemical engineering and applied mathematics, and John W.M. Bush, who teaches applied mathematics, developed a method of calculating exposure risk to Covid-19 in an indoor setting that factors in a variety of issues that could affect transmission, including the amount of time spent inside, air filtration and circulation, immunization, variant strains, mask use, and even respiratory activity such as breathing, eating, speaking or singing.
Conclusions: The majority of studies report identification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on inanimate surfaces; however, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating the recovery of viable virus. Lack of positive viral cultures suggests that the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through fomites is low. Heterogeneity in study designs and methodology prevents comparisons of findings across studies. Standardized guidelines for conducting and reporting research on fomite transmission is warranted.
Adults who lived with children during the pandemic’s second wave were only slightly more at risk of Covid-19 than those who lived without them, suggesting school attendance has minimal impact on infection rates, a new study has found.
While there was a small increased risk of infection and hospitalisation for those aged 65 and under who lived with school-aged children between September and December last year, they were no more likely to be admitted to intensive care or die than those who lived without children.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the British Medical Journal, found no evidence of a noticeably increased risk of infection during the first wave in the UK between February and August, compared to those adults who do not live with children.
- Potential toxicity
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Altered microbiome
- Rise in other infections
- Environmental effects
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week that his state is ending its mask mandate and business capacity limits. While Democrats and many public-health officials denounced the move, ample data now exist to demonstrate that the benefits of stringent measures aren’t worth the costs.
…We have since learned that the virus never spreads exponentially for very long, even without stringent restrictions. The epidemic always recedes well before herd immunity has been reached.
Published 5th June 2017
But it’s hard to reach enough people for this to happen, especially in areas with poor public health infrastructure. So scientists are taking a leaf from the virus playbook. They’re devising vaccines and antiviral therapies that can spread from host to host.
Some 8.8 million schoolchildren in the UK have experienced severe disruption to their education, with prolonged school closures and national exams cancelled for two consecutive years. School closures have been implemented internationally1 with insufficient evidence for their role in minimising covid-19 transmission and insufficient consideration of the harms to children.
Most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are contagious for 4–8 days.7 Specimens are generally not found to contain culture-positive (potentially contagious) virus beyond day 9 after the onset of symptoms, with most transmission occurring before day 5. This timing fits with the observed patterns of virus transmission (usually 2 days before to 5 days after symptom onset), which led public health agencies to recommend a 10-day isolation period. The short window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22–33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and somewhat shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50–75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.
There’s no evidence that any of the current Covid-19 vaccines can completely stop people from being infected – and this has implications for our prospects of achieving herd immunity
Immunocompetent staff, patients and residents who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR should be exempt from routine re-testing by PCR or LFD antigen tests (for example, repeated whole setting screening or screening prior to hospital discharge) within a period of 90 days from their initial illness onset or test (if asymptomatic) unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms. This is because fragments of inactive virus can be persistently detected by PCR in respiratory tract samples following infection – long after a person has completed their isolation period and is no longer infectious.