Operation Snail Speed

WSJ Lack of emphasis on therapeutics

Less than 1% of COVID funds spent on therapeutics.

58 thoughts on “Operation Snail Speed

  1. By any measure it is fair to criticize Stumble Joe for screwing up the government response to the pandemic. Even if you believe that Covid vaccines are safe and effective, it should be clear they are not accomplishing all we want from public health policy.

    Pandemic response policy should include both vaccination and treatment (meaning outpatient and inpatient, two very different domains).

    Poor Joe has fallen down on the job because he doesn’t think treatment is important. And, besides, he gets mean about vaccination. Floor meet face, Stumble Joe.

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    1. I think it’s worse than that. I think his administration is so obsessed with coercing vaccination on the few remaining unvaccinated that he is reducing the availability of therapeutics to leave them with no other option than accepting the vaccine.

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      1. Ugly slanders roll very easily from “conservative lips.” Just like your Dear Leader.

        You can call sound public health policy an obsession if you must, but if everyone were now vaccinated, we would not be facing the level of sickness and hospitalizations that we are today.

        What I find interesting in your typical comment is that your dogma is that the marketplace can solve all problems. There is obviously a very substantial market for these NEW therapeutics. Why must the government be ordering them and not Walgreens? I believe that these drug companies are developing and producing them as quickly as they can already. How would unfillable orders from the government change that? How has Biden reduced the physical availability of any proven medicine?

        You can call sound public health policy an obsession if you must, but if everyone were now vaccinated, we would not be facing the level of sickness and hospitalizations that we are today.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “if everyone were now vaccinated, we would not be facing the level of sickness and hospitalizations that we are today.”

          That’s dubious.

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          1. “That’s dubious.”

            Well, based on the EVIDENCE that it is the unvaccinated – now a minority of the adult population – who are suffering and dying FAR out of proportion to their numbers, I will stand by my statement.

            Contrary to what you may “learn” from the websites you surf, the vaccines work. They are not fake news.

            Here is a very interesting article from Time Magazine which has a video of how nearly miraculous the development of the vaccines was. It was not Trump’s genius. It was that science had just reached the level of understanding needed in the last year.

            Also the article contains charts comparing CURRENT hospitalization rates for the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated. In Virginia the weekly rate of hospital admissions for the vaccinated was 1.6. The comparable rate for the unvaccinated was 39.6! That huge difference (25x) is not a statistical fluke. It demonstrates BEYOND ANY DOUBT that the vaccines are extremely beneficial and therefore important.

            https://time.com/6138566/pandemic-of-unvaccinated/

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Most people currently dying or in ICUs have Delta, it just takes time for people to die.

            Omicron has squeezed Delta out simply because the vaccines DO NOT prevent transmission.

            They are about half as effective on preventing hospitalization as they were with Delta.

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          3. Not just dubious, known to be wrong.

            The vaccines have no effect on transmissibility of Omicron, and a limited power to keep you out of the hospital.

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          4. RE: “In Virginia the weekly rate of hospital admissions for the vaccinated was 1.6. The comparable rate for the unvaccinated was 39.6! That huge difference (25x) is not a statistical fluke.”

            Yes, it is (a statistical fluke). That is, the comparison is based on “per 100,000” rates.

            In Virginia over the last year, about 3,000 fully vaccinated patients have been hospitalized with Covid-19 and about 1,000 have died. These “actuals” are just as valid as the “per 100,000 rates,” but they give a very different impression.

            If every Virginian had been vaccinated for all of the last year, we’d be talking about the 6,000 hospitalizations and 2,000 deaths due to breakthrough infections. The vaccines wouldn’t seem quite so effective.

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          5. “Not just dubious, known to be wrong.”

            LOL!

            Known by whom?

            What part of Virginia’s unvaccinated being 25x more likely to be hospitalized than Virginia’s vaccinated do you think you can explain away? And that is during the Omicron surge with weekly data from the end of December.

            By the way, I did not say the pandemic would be gone if everyone were vaccinated. I said we would not have the level of sickness and hospitalizations that we have today. That simple statement is the truth and not in the least bit “dubious.”

            You are putting your doctrinaire preferences ahead of clear thinking. You should be able to rant and rave about those oh so onerous vaccination mandates without throwing in fibs about vaccine effectiveness that are EASILY shown to be bullshit.

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          6. “Yes, it is (a statistical fluke). That is, the comparison is based on “per 100,000” rates.”

            No, it isn’t a statistical fluke. And, especially when data sets from other states show terribly similar disproportionate suffering by the unvaccinated.

            The raw numbers you prefer may well “give a very different impression.” A wrong impression. 1,000 deaths sounds really bad, but how many people were in the group discussed is HIGHLY relevant. It is ONLY the rates, not the raw numbers that carry information about the vaccine’s effectiveness. Really, Mr. Roberts, this is elementary.

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          7. Again, deaths and hospitalizations are irrelevant to spreading Omicron

            The argument for vaccine mandates is to stop the spread of the disease so your disease doesn’t harm others.

            Vaccinated and unvaccinated spread Omicron just as well.

            Those who remain unvaccinated are more likely to get seriously ill or die, but that only harms them.

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          8. RE: “Really, Mr. Roberts, this is elementary.”

            The elementary point is that “per 100,000” rates — while statistically valid — are not realistic when the baseline actuals are orders of magnitude less.

            In effect, you are proposing that a counterfactual is more true than truth.

            But there are other reasons your claims are dubious. One is that neither CDC nor Virginia report hospitalizations broken down by vaccination status and variant. Consequently, you have no way of knowing what variant your “per 100,000” rate for vaccination applies to.

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          9. You are right, the hospitalizations by variant are not known. However, we DO know that it is the vaccine resistant virus that is exploding – the Omicron variant. In fact, it is north of 95% of the new infections. So the lack of that data is not much of an issue.

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          10. “The vaccinated SPREAD Omicron just as effectively as the unvaccinated.”

            I find that highly doubtful. The sicker you get with an infection the more virus you have to shed. The sicker you get with an infection, the longer you are sick and spreading the virus.

            But even if that statement were 100% true, it leaves out that – even though they are not perfect against Omicron – the vaccinated – particularly those who have had the booster shot – are less likely become infected with it than are the vaccinated. At least according to Pfizer.

            https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-provide-update-omicron-variant

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          11. “Vaccinated and unvaccinated spread Omicron just as well.”

            That is simply FALSE. People who are not infected do not spread it at all. According to Pfizer, vaccination topped up with a booster offers significant protection against infection by Omicron.

            People who end up in the hospital because they did not get vaccinated are NOT hurting only themselves. Never mind that they are spreading the virus more effectively than the vaccinated, when they fall critically ill out of all proportion to their numbers, they are hurting everyone who needs those hospital beds or places in the ICUs that they are now overwhelming. That is not a theoretical concern. It is happening.

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          12. Exactly!! Poor Paul in his quest to make ignorant excuses for Joe compl every overlooks the FACT that Omicron cares less abt vaccines. It’s amusing to watch idiots double down on idiocy trying to save face.

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          13. “the FACT that Omicron cares less abt vaccines.”

            With all due respect, Bob, you are simply wrong. Dead wrong.

            While the vaccines are less effective against Omicron vs earlier variants, they still provide a great deal of protection especially for those who get the third or booster shot. This can be seen in the data on hospitalizations where in Virgina recently the rate of hospitalizations of the unvaccinated was 25x the rate for the vaccinated. Same in other states where data is available.

            Liked by 1 person

          14. And once again, the argument for vaccine mandates is based on harm to others,

            There is no difference in contagion for Omicron based on vaccine status, and thus no basis for a mandate.

            Sure, I am vaccinated and boosted, But that was my choice, not one I can command someone else to take,

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          15. “There is no difference in contagion for Omicron based on vaccine status, and thus no basis for a mandate.”

            I don’t think that is true. If you are unvaccinated, you get sicker and stay sicker longer which DOES have significant relevance to contagion.

            But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that is true. The point you are ignoring is that the vaccinated are much less likely to become infected in the first place. You cannot spread something you do not have.

            Liked by 1 person

          16. Again, the vaccinated ARE NOT less likely to be infected.

            In fact, since so many are having mild or no symptoms, they are more likely to circulate and infect others.

            There is no evidence at all of lowered infection, just milder.

            /informed speculation

            This may be because the Omicron virus completely evades antibody protection but remains susceptible to dell mediated immunity. That is consistent with the need for the booster, which triggers the cell mediated immunity more than the earlier 2 shots.

            /end speculation

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          17. “Per the CDC. . .”

            Do you really not understand how irrelevant to this discussion that is?

            Sure, Omicron spreads more easily from the INFECTED. That is what the evidence shows.

            But the evidence also shows that you are significantly less likely to become infected and become a spreader if you have had the full course of vaccination. You can’t spread it if you don’t have it. The fewer people getting infected, the slower the spread.

            Beyond that, if you have been vaccinated you are far, far less likely to end up in the hospital or the morgue compared to the unvaccinated should you become infected. Again, a documented fact.

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          18. Was the quote from the CDC too long to read all of it?

            The vaccines ARE NOT preventing infection nor are they preventing spread, but they are providing some degree of protection against death and hospitalization.

            Where is your evidence that vaccinated people are not becoming infected?

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          19. From Pfizer.

            “Preliminary laboratory studies demonstrate that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine neutralize the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529 lineage) while two doses show significantly reduced neutralization titers”

            https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-provide-update-omicron-variant

            From the following peer-reviewed study. . .
            https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)01496-3

            “Three mRNA vaccine doses elicit potent variant cross-neutralization, including Omicron”

            It is critical for some degree of Omicron immunity to get that third shot. I will also be first in line for the fourth shot to be better tuned for Omicron when it is available.

            Liked by 1 person

          20. The Pfizer press release was only a week after Omicron appeared. Even then, it does point out that Omicron evades the antibodies.

            The Cell article was form Dec 23, and precedes the CDC determination that the vaccines do not affect contagion. Things change fast with new variants.

            Both papers support my speculation that the protective effect comes from the CD8 T-cells and not from the humoral antibodies,

            That cellular immunity comes too late to prevent infection but slows it enough for the body to create its own Omicron specific antibodies before too much damage is done, By then, of course, the spread has occurred.

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          21. RE: “In fact, it [Omicron] is north of 95% of the new infections.”

            Another dubious statistic that tells us nothing. When you can show us that Omicron cases are driving hospitalizations and deaths come back and explain to us how effective vaccinations are. Until then, you’re just spouting irrelevancies.

            As it is, all we know with certainty at present is that the vaccination program is NOT preventing contagion.

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          22. The Pfizer press release was. . .

            I started this back and forth with a simple and obviously true statement. I said. . .

            “if everyone were now vaccinated, we would not be facing the level of sickness and hospitalizations that we are today.”

            Our resident anti-vaxxer disputed it, of course. No surprise. And you chimed in calling it false. But since you cannot defend calling it wrong you set up the straw man of “contagion” and started whacking on it even though we have little data about it. And you completely ignore that Omicron is not the only virus out there. Our anti-vaxxer even argues that all those unvaccinated hospitalizations may be from the earlier variants (which would not be occurring if everyone were now vaccinated).

            The EVIDENCE that we do have confirms the statement that I made.

            (1) The vaccinated suffer a lower level of sickness than the unvaccinated.
            (2) As you noted, the vaccinated frequently do not get sick at all.
            (3) The unvaccinated are at least an order of magnitude more likely to end up in the hospital.

            It is clear that you can’t handle the simple truth. Maybe, somewhere deep inside you do care about people and you know that if your anti-mandate fixation prevails – as it did in SCOTUS – then thousands of people will die who need not have?

            Liked by 1 person

          23. I agree that vaccination is the wise choice, but I do not believe in forcing my wisdom on others.

            If a person chooses not to get vaccinated, it is no one’s business if it hurts only him. The sole justification for mandating vaccination is to prevent the spread to others, and with Omicron, vaccination doesn’t do that.

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          24. “I agree that vaccination is the wise choice, but I do not believe in forcing my wisdom on others.”

            Milk out the nose hysterical. You attempt to force your wisdom on everythng.

            Liked by 1 person

          25. So, you’re intimidated by policemen carrying guns, or do you feel protected?

            FYI, policemen have a higher rate of accidental and unlawful shooting than CHP holders.

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          26. Policeman, yes.I know that they are properly trained.

            As far as accidental discharges goes, if a police officer has an accidental discharge it is reported,; if your next door neighbor does, unless someone is injured or killed by it, it isn’t reported.

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          27. Cops vs CHP accidental deaths.
            That is a meaningless comparison. CHP holders are not on the streets day and night and responding to every bit of trouble that comes along.

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          28. “If a person chooses not to get vaccinated, it is no one’s business if it hurts only him.”

            That is a very big IF. People being denied a hospital beds and even diagnostic services because the unvaccinated are absorbing all the resources is already happening in many locations. And, the families of foolish people suffer emotionally and financially when avoidable deaths occur.

            I suppose – to be consistent – you must abhor laws that require people to wear seatbelts while driving. That is a “mandate” based on protecting those too silly to buckle up without the threat of a fine. But, as your various statements have made clear, your attitude towards those who lack your wisdom is – Let them suffer. They brought it on themselves. Right?

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Paxlovid and the other therapeutics on EUA and not fully approved so they have to be ordered through the government.

          If Walgreens and Rite Aid were able to order direct we would simply outbid foreign buyers.

          Humana would much rather pay $1000 (double the price) for a course than have me in the hospital for even a day.

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          1. “Humana would much rather pay $1000 (double the price) for a course than have me in the hospital for even a day.”

            Perhaps, but in order to keep you out of the hospital, they have to give the doses to millions. Now we are talking real money. Would Walgreens want to invest several billion, just to have a new and improved therapeutic come in behind this summer.

            Like the vaccines themselves, the government is taking out the risk of massive financial setbacks to even get the drugs. Paxlivid was the breakthrough champ for current therapeutics. So was Merck…until it wasn’t.

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          2. Millions? So?

            Better to have them in the hospital for a week?

            Humana doesn’t have to cover it for everyone, just for those at high risk who are newly infected.

            If even one in ten of those would have needed a week in the hospital, it would be cheaper than not protecting them all.

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          3. “They have to be ordered through the government.”

            Isn’t it that for-profit companies would RATHER not order? They would rather let the government take the risk on pharmaceuticals not yet fully tested.

            And, you have yet to provide any evidence that anything that Biden has done or not done that has had ANY effect on these new pharmaceuticals’ actual availability.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Have you been asleep the last two weeks?

            We’ve already discussed the totally inadequate order Biden placed and the lack of an option for more.

            But it would be easily fixed, Just have the FDA give full approval for Paxlovid, and the pharmacies and insurers would make certain it was available. It is in their best interests.

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          5. “We’ve already discussed the totally inadequate order Biden placed and the lack of an option for more.”

            Not too ridiculous. You think that you having provided your doctrinaire opinions settles the matter.

            You still have failed show – then or now – how anything Biden did or did not do affected the supply of these drugs. The bottleneck is not the FDA. It is manufacturing capacity.

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          6. Yes, manufacturing capacity is the limiting factor now, but unless Pfizer allows Boden to correct his error, about the time manufacturing is up to speed, we will run out of the original order and the supply will stop until foreign orders are filled,

            Pfizer, by the way, is being pretty decent about this. They are licensing generic production in poor and low middle income countries (53% of the population) at no charge.

            But all Biden has to do to fix this is to get the hell out of the way. Order the FDA to finish approval on Paxlovid and generics. Once it does, pharmacies and insurers will be free to scour the world for courses to market here.

            Just let the market place do its thing.

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      2. RE: “I think his administration is so obsessed with coercing vaccination on the few remaining unvaccinated that he is reducing the availability of therapeutics to leave them with no other option than accepting the vaccine.”

        Could be. Vaccination is easy to politicize and therapeutics would distract from that.

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      3. Well, someone must know about this plot. After all, there are hundreds if not thousands of folks from policy to implementation in bureaucracies like ours.

        After a year of Biden and 2 years of pandemic, I would think that leaking nefarious policies would have occurred by now.

        Of course, for the conspiracy minded, the lack of evidence, or even contrary evidence, is proof that the conspiracy is real.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Groupthink again? So out of large numbers of people, few if any would balk and leak?

            Leaks are how we know how the government is doing beside what the official line is. Been going on for a long, long time. Presidents can’t keep a secret among a handful of advisors, let alone a stand alone bureaucracy around public health.

            Unless you have facts about policies designed to slow therapeutics, it is just conspiratorial guesswork passed on as truth.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. A third alternative is that our ship of state is so large that fast changes won’t happen.

            Xi has an advantage. No appeals, just do what he and the leadership say. And do it now.

            Our “People’s House” has one representative for every 750,000. There is little, if any, incentive to heed constituents if the big money needed comes from a few donors, often secretly.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. RE: “Groupthink again? So out of large numbers of people, few if any would balk and leak?”

            People do balk and leak. Three that come to mind are Robert Malone, Peter McCullough and Scott Atlas.

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    2. “By any measure it is fair to criticize Stumble Joe for screwing up the government response to the pandemic. ”

      But NOT his predecessor? Seriously?

      You claim that calls of hypocrisy are about taking sides, this just shows how full of fertilizer that is.

      Liked by 1 person

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