Surf’s Up

4th Delta Wave building in BC

4th wave incoming.

British Columbia has a vax rate over 80% for first jabs with second jabs catching up fast. We also have exponential growth in “case” numbers and hospitalizations and admissions to the ICU are rising as well.

Our Health Minister and Public Health Officer have called a press conference tomorrow where, I expect, they will announce some restrictions – almost certainly travel restrictions, earlier bar closings and, perhaps, a return of the indoor mask mandate.

They will also probably have some unkind words for the unvaccinated although I would be very surprised if any form of vax passport was introduced.

While these measures will be pitched as public health responses to the 4th Delta wave they are, in fact, political responses to a fearful population a vocal portion of which is demanding “action”. The population is fearful because, it turns out that even a successful vaccination program, and BC has many shots in arms, does not actually stop COVID. While this may be blamed on the unvaccinated, the evidence from Israel and Gibraltar and Iceland suggests even high levels of vaccination, while helpful as to outcome, does not stop the Delta 4th wave.

I suspect Dr. Bonnie Henry already knew this. Minister Dix is a smart guy and likely knew this was coming. But the vax was oversold as immunizing when it isn’t. For the fearful, the vax was “the solution”. Now that it turns out to be pretty much a therapeutic rather than a sterilizing vaccine the fearful feel even more vulnerable. Which, in turn means they are advocating for restrictions, the harsher the better. Which is what, I suspect, Dix and Henry will be responding to tomorrow. (Remember, Henry did not impose BC’s first mask mandate, it was imposed by the government at the request of the BC Retail Council – public health had very little to do with it.)

Frightened people demand solutions, the more draconian the better. Politicians have to deal with those demands. The new school year is around the corner, the COVIDians – double vaxxed for safety and masking even without the mandate – are petrified that the Delta variant will kill them. They want the government to back up their fear with the traditional “strict measures”.

It will be interesting to see which way BC jumps. Will it continue along the path to more complete re-opening even at the risk of a rise in “cases” – as Alberta has done – or will it start the mask mandate/travel restriction regime again? Politically, this is a question of whether the government values fear over freedom. From a public health perspective there does not seem to be much that will stop the Delta 4th wave – at least anything which is open for public discussion.

I suspect fear is going to win tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t, but the fearful are a very motivated bunch. I hope that Dr. Henry stops short of re-imposing masks but, even more, I hope she takes a moment to remind people to take a walk in the sun, eat well, lose a bit of weight and rely on their vaccines, their natural immunity and the systems which support it.

The 4th Delta wave is upon us. I suspect the vast majority of us will be just fine.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Fear did not win this round. The only significant announcement was a vax requirement for people working in LTC facilities. While I doubt this will make much difference there is a logic driven rather than fear driven reason for such a mandate.

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8 thoughts on “Surf’s Up

  1. Philip Jemielita says:

    ” Now that it turns out to be pretty much a therapeutic rather than a sterilizing vaccine the fearful feel even more vulnerable”

    Jay, I am trying to understand what “sterilizing” means. Does it mean that once vaccinated, there is zero chance of a breakthrough infection? Can you point me to some information here?

    Thanks.

    • Jay Currie says:

      That’s basically it, Phil. A sterilizing jab kills the virus and prevents you from getting it again. There are very few vaccines which even come close to that. Smallpox, polio with exceptions.

      The current vax gives you a few months of protection against serious outcomes in the event you contract COVID. However, the likelihood of serious outcomes for people under the age of 80 with no co-morbidities has always been very low. But you can still be infected and still transmit the virus even after you are jabbed. And, of course, only the jabbed experience any side effects from the jab.

      Your own risk/benefit analysis will depend on things like age (and we’re getting older), risk of exposure – which depends on where you live and what you do – and co-morbidities.

      Frankly, I see the current jab as a stopgap until we have really good, early, treatment protocols. This is not a virus which should kill you. Rather it presents a set of symptoms which we – well the medical boffins – need to figure out how to treat.

      Treatment is key because there is every chance that COVID will mutate over time. The vax is unlikely to keep up. Good treatments and attention to personal health are the way forward.

      • Phil From Kerrisdale says:

        Jay, I found this article to be pretty interesting on how vaccines work.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/americans-are-losing-sight-endgame/619916/

        It particular the interplay between antibodies, t-cells and memory cells. What I learnt about the delta variant is that its incubation period is only a couple of days – this period is around or less than the period it takes for the immune system to fully react to an infection. Smallpox or measles have long incubation periods so the vaccine are near bulletproof.

        If the virus mutation rate knocks out vaccines as effective, would this not also knock out the effectiveness of treatments also?

        At any rate, the most interesting cost/benefit analysis I have seen is that Delta has calculated its costs to treat unvaccinated employess – it works out that it will start charging unvaccinated employees $200/per month extra in insurance charges. I rather like this approach more than mandates. If people make choices then they should also pay the costs for making these choices.

  2. Justausername says:

    AUG 24 masks on. It worked so well last year, eh. Can’t actually prove it, and well over 90% of the literature on masks and the flu pre 2020 say they do nothing, but the virtue signalers get to show us how much they care about us, so it is all good. They are doing something!

  3. Justausername says:

    As for the “deadly” delta virus, I suggest our “experts” have a look over seas at the UK and check out the possibility that it isn’t near as deadly as they are reporting. Gauging the past infection to mortality of roughly 2 weeks, the cases are up but the deaths are pretty flat. Not only that, but I am suspect of the mortality numbers. When they count up people in hospice as “death by covid” I know they are full of crap.

    For some great transparency on covid numbers Alberta’s website shows that about 75% of the mortality involved 3 co-morbidities. True, there were people who tragically passed away who were completely healthy, or at least undiagnosed. Still, it is educational to see the numbers and realize that the governments are feeding the media, and the media is lapping it up without thought or question. But, no mean tweets, so mission accomplished! They just can’t figure out the exit strategy quite yet as they scared the people so badly that they need to keep playing the game.

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