Predictions of Covid-19 waves questioned

By Roland Mpofu Time of article published Nov 23, 2021

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ROLAND MPOFU

PANDEMICS Data & Analytics (Panda) has warned that Covid-19 vaccines have not lived up to their early expectations of preventing transmission.

This is according to the latest data that has shown that in countries such as the UK that have reached herd immunity the number of cases is rising, while in places where the vaccine uptake has been low, such as in South Africa, the numbers are decreasing.

Panda is not quoted in mainstream media because of its stance on the Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges to popular but often untested and unresearched narratives around statistics, lockdowns and vaccines.

Panda’s spokesperson, Gabriel Brunner, said looking at the latest data released by the UK Health Security Agency the mass vaccination of any country should not expect to have a meaningful positive impact on the rise and fall of cases.

“It is clear by now that the vaccines haven’t lived up to the early promise of preventing transmission.

“In fact, the latest data published by the UK Health Security Agency shows that in all age groups, except under-29s, the case rate per 100 000 people is higher in those who are fully vaccinated compared to unvaccinated.

“In the age range 40 to 70, the case rate is approximately double in the fully vaccinated group. Therefore we should not be expecting the vaccination levels of any country, including South Africa, to have a meaningful positive impact on the rise and fall of cases,” warned Brunner.

He was reacting to questions about the current situation in South Africa where the number of positive cases has been dropping significantly yet the vaccinated population was slightly above 32% compared to the UK where the vaccinated population was above 80%. There the number of positive cases was increasing and there were predictions of a fourth wave in December.

Brunner also lashed out at “mainstream experts” for giving too much credit to the causal relationships between lockdown levels and the spread of the deadly pandemic and also questioned their models for predicting the Covid-19 waves.

“Lockdown levels have not had a causal relationship to the behaviour of any of our previous waves,” he said.

“In other words, the natural behaviour of the virus spread far overwhelms any second order effect of a lockdown level. Mainstream experts seem to believe the opposite and hence they continue to make failed predictions.

“They would have expected a serious resurgence by now because of a month of political rallies, where little distancing or mask wearing were observed. We were on a downward trajectory anyway, and this continued,” said Brunner.

He said Panda was a group of multi-disciplinary professionals who perceived the global reaction to Covid-19, and the lockdown in particular, as overwrought and damaging to the point of causing a great tear in the fabric of society. Hence, Panda sought to develop science-based explanations and tested them against international data.

“Panda supports the use of safe and efficacious vaccines as part of a focused protection strategy.

“Transparency of all efficacy and safety data for vaccines is crucial for informed consent, and bodily autonomy must be respected at all times. Mandatory vaccines have no place in a free society,” said Brunner.

“Rest assured we are looking closely at the data on vaccine efficacy and adverse reactions as it comes in. If any conclusions are reached, we will publish them.”

Brunner said the previous wave starting points seemed to be approximately six to seven months apart, and therefore the start of another wave could come somewhere in December or January. “All else being equal, the severity of a wave in terms of sickness, hospitalisations and deaths should wane over time as the population acquires more immunity from previous waves.

“To the extent that mass vaccinations have a negative impact on this (selective pressure on the virus itself to a vaccine/immune evading strain) or a positive impact (fewer people getting seriously ill) this remains to be seen,” he said.

However, Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of the SA Medical Association, is of the belief that the UK lifted restrictions in mid-July, resulting in less people adhering to non-pharmaceutical interventions, and this combined with the reopening of schools, human behaviour and going into winter months played a role in the surge in cases.

“Combined with this, the data is emerging that antibody levels are dropping/waning after six months. The UK was one of the first countries in Europe to roll out vaccines. The more infectious Delta plus might contribute to higher cases of infection,” she added.

“However, data available showed around 75 000 people required hospital treatment for Covid-19 in the UK between the start of July and early October this year, compared with 185 000 between October 2020 and January 2021, when the number of infections was comparable but vaccines were less available,” said Coetzee.

She added that data from Israel showed that people receiving their third dose of Pfizer vaccine were almost 20 times less likely to get severe Covid-19 and 10 times less likely to be infected than their counterparts who received their second dose and last dose at least five months ago.

”To summarise, human behaviour and the waning of vaccines play mayor role,” said Coetzee.

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