What the doctor does is examine vaccination rates around the world, including looking at which age groups get vaccinated and whether the countries have bad flu seasons. (Ray SoCal sent me a link this morning that did a bit of this, but just with Italy.) The idea is that people get hit with a double whammy. To me, this seems like an idea worth examining, because the demographics of this pandemic seem to vary so widely around the world.
We've already discussed how different the demographics are for Italy and Germany--and the social networking is undoubtedly a factor as well. Unfortunately, Germany is the one country for which data is missing re vaccination. The US also seems not to be tracking too closely with Italy's demographic mortality rates, where there seems to be almost a genocide of the oldies (recall the Milwaukee demographics that I linked this morning--apparently those are fairly typical for the US). There's gotta be an explanation for these discrepancies, and this makes some sense to me. Read these excerpts and see what you think:
I’m wondering if people who are being hospitalized and who are likely to crump are much more likely to be those who have co-infections with COVID and influenza, *particularly if they have no comorbidities or are not old*.
I think that is what explains why the US has hospitalizations rates break down the way they do (which was confusing me), why Italy is getting hammered all at once, and why places like South Korea and Japan have ridiculously low hospitalization rates of people, particularly those who are young.
The US vaccinates the elderly the most (pretty well to be fair), the young (6-17) second most, 50-65 third most, and the lowest people from 18-49 (basically only 25-30 percent of people).
But that age group in the US--which I've seen elsewhere gets vaccinated at about a 48% rate--seems to be providing a pretty high percentage of COVID19 patients. Hmmmm.
South Korea vaccinates an insane amount of the old, and pretty much is better than us even in the young. Japan isn’t so great BUT South Korea and Japan also tend to have low rates of influenza.
Italy sucks at vaccinating the elderly (they’re waaay worse than us) and pretty much everyone else too, plus they have high influenza incidence rates.
So you get a situation where South Korea and Japan have low hospitalization rates, with SK doing amazingly well, we have PREFERENTIALLY elevated hospitalization rates of our young between 18-49 (since we don’t vaccinate them very well), and Italy gets hospitalization of basically everyone, but the ones who get hammered are the elderly who are not vaccinated since they’re at highest risk a priori.
At this point the doc goes into a long and somewhat technical explanation for what he considers are the "tipoffs" that this co-infection thing is what's happening. Follow the link for that.
As an aside, the UK is great for older patients >65 in vaccinations (>70 percent) and TERRIBLE for younger patients (13 percent). They’re getting hit with younger patients being hospitalized.
France is even worse – they’re terrible for older patients (around 42 percent) and even more terrible for younger patients (13% but only for those who are “at risk”). Unsurprisingly, they’re getting hit with younger patients being hospitalized.
I can’t figure out Germany yet – they haven’t really released their hospitalization rate breakdowns, but they’re also terrible with young (and old) vaccinations.
This survey gives you an idea of why there's really no simple solution for the US--quarantining the elderly in the US misses a very important group that is getting hit hard: 18-49. People making that recommendation are simply using data--or more likely scuttlebutt--that applies in Italy but not here.
This also shows why transparency--as discussed here this morning--could be so important. In my town, one of the early cases was a special-ed teacher. It turned out that she didn't infect any students but did infect her family. Our local health official indicated that this was typical--that infection depends on the 10 minute 6 feet exposure guideline. That suggests that COVID19 may not be super contagious per se.
Wouldn't it be a good thing to have more of that information made available? It might help lead the way to more targeted social distancing that makes a difference while being somewhat more flexible. If we could come to a better understanding of why the way this disease is playing out in the US is different than some other countries, we just might be able to tailor our strategy in ways that our specific to conditions in the US.