the vaccinated superspread hypothesis
assessing the riddle of more recovered, more vaccinated, and more dying despite a lower CFR variant
there has been a strange riddle in the covid data of late.
we have a lower CFR variant of the disease that has become predominant. delta has roughly 1/3 the case fatality rate of prior variants (like alpha)
far more people have acquired immunity from having had and recovered from covid. this immunity is long lasting and extremely effective. (much more so than vaccines)
high risk cohorts were significantly reduced last year. there is less “dry tinder” now.
we have FAR more people vaccinated now. it’s 50-90% in many places and in many high risk groups. last year it was zero.
this has led many to posit that vaccines not only don’t work, but that they make you worse.
but on an individual level, this does not appear to be true. (though there is quite a lot of evidence that vaccines induce higher risk in the two weeks post administration and that this is being accounted for dishonestly, added to the “unvaccinated” butcher’s bill, and artificially enhancing reported VE.
BUT, even if we control for this, vaccines are showing efficacy in preventing deaths among the vaccinated. it’s more like 50% than the 90%+ being claimed, but VE against death in the 50%’s should still be showing BIG community effects with so many people in the high risk groups vaccinated.
but, on a societal level, it’s not. we’re seeing breakouts to new seasonal highs vs last year and epidemics in covid death rapidly following vaccination campaigns. (MORE)
all else equal even without vaccines, we’d expect to see attenuation in covid deaths for the reasons laid out above. instead we see acceleration.
the case rate in covid would need to be 3X last year to drive equivalent deaths and higher than that to show excess. but, it’s nothing like that, especially once you control for testing levels.
this is showing up in excess deaths as well as covid deaths, so the signal looks real.
the data has caused a lot of hand wringing and confusion.
grab a seat, because i have an idea to inject into the debate, i sincerely hope that i am wrong, and i suspect a fair few folks are not going to like hearing it, but it’s the best fit i can find for the data.
so here we go:
the covid vaccines are extremely leaky and may well accelerate contracting and carrying covid.
they allow for very high viral loads to go unnoticed and generate a new and severe asymptomatic spread vector to where none existed before.
the high viral loads lead to greater contagion. they may lead to greater severity (but this data is iffy and contested)
vaccine campaigns cause superspread events because vaccination leads to a 2 week window of 40-100% more covid risk that then gets counted as “unvaccinated” because the definitions are bad.
this combination makes those vaccinated with one dose or more into superspread bombs.