🆕 Feature: Listen to the audio clip of the highlighted quote by clicking on the link in the timestamp.
Host: Dr. Mark Hyman
Guest: Dale Harrison, Biotech Consultant
Category: Health | 📰 News
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[15:35] “[I]f you think about viruses in general, they’re […] characterized by two things, the rate at which they infect people and the rate at which they kill people. And so right now, we’ve got a virus that is significantly more contagious than the cold […]. And potentially, we’ve got this new variant out of the UK that is where you’re seeing as much as a 70% increase in infectiousness. […] Couple that with the fact that it’s reasonably deadly […]. [Y]ou’ve got something that is more contagious than a cold and 10 times deadlier than the flu. And that’s a very dangerous combination, and it’s really sort of the multiplication of both of those two factors that’s resulting in hospitals and the ICUs being full of patients right now.”
[17:41] “[M]ost of the people who are dying are older, […] simply because they’ve got less ability to amount an immune response. They often have comorbidities, other issues that they’ve spent a lifetime developing, where younger people are healthier. But here’s the thing that’s interesting with this virus. If you ask the question: What’s the increase in likelihood that I will die this year if I catch the virus, compared to the chance of me dying this year if I didn’t? It roughly doubles your risk of same year death, irrespective of age, above the age of 15.”
[1:06:50] “[H]erd immunity requires four things, so you need an effective vaccine that offers a durable lifetime immune protection. You need a critical percentage of the population to be vaccinated, and the more infectious the disease, the higher that percentage is. The actual formula is one minus one over R-nought, which means that […] [based on] the estimates of the R-nought of this new variant, we’re going to need north of 90% of the population vaccinated. […] But the third condition for herd immunity is the vaccine has to confer sterilize and immunity because you need to be able to stop the transmission. […] Then the fourth thing that isn’t talked about as much is that the virus needs to not have an animal reservoir. […] The problem is, with COVID, it seems unlikely that we’re going to hit any one of those four key components that are required for herd immunity. […] [T]he thing that you hear in the news is really only about we only need a certain percentage of the population protected. But it’s more than that. It’s how you’re protected.”
[1:15:06] “[T]he best estimates are that this vaccine will likely reduce mortality by a factor of 10. So instead of having a 1% chance of dying, you’ve got a 0.1% chance, which now pushes the fatality rate down comparable to catching the flu, which I think a lot of people are fairly comfortable with the idea of catching the flu. I certainly am although I still get a flu vaccine every year because I want to tilt the odds in my favor.”
[1:15:38] “[I]f we make two assumptions, we assume that the vaccine will be effective in pushing the fatality rate down by a factor of 10, and we assume that you don’t have effective sterilize and immunity, and then we assume that there’s a political push to fully reopen the economy and to drop mitigation. What will happen is the virus will go endemic, meaning it will start to look more like a cold, a common cold, in terms of the rate at which it spreads through the population. So the thing in the U.S., is every year 93% of the population catches at least one cold a year. We have a billion colds a year in the U.S., and the average person catches three colds a year. […] [O]n average across 330 million people, we’re getting a billion colds a year. […] That’s what an endemic virus looks like, which means that instead of getting five to seven million cases a week, we could see 20 or 25 million cases a week if we drop all mitigation.”
[1:17:51] “Even with a hundred percent vaccination and no mitigation efforts, if the virus goes endemic, meaning we see 20 plus million cases a week, but most of those cases look like the common cold or even asymptomatic, you’d still are going to have roughly 10% of those cases develop disease, some sort of significant disease symptoms. Even if you can push the fatality rate down by a factor of 10, if you […] have 10 times as many people catching it, but you have one 10th of vitality rate, you’re going to end up with the same absolute number of people dying.”
[1:26:18] “The greatest danger point from a societal standpoint, is when we have 50% of the population vaccinated coupled with a growing pressure to drop mitigation. And I think that’s going to be an absolute danger zone because if you’ve got half of the population just butt naked, and you start to drop the mitigation measures, and you have a non sterilizing vaccine, that’s a lethal combination where you’re going to end up really starting to push the virus through the unvaccinated population at a really accelerated rate. And so, we could easily see, with the expected maybe 40 to 60% vaccination rate in a year, which seems to be the consensus among a lot of public health people, that I think next November, next December, we could see both case rates and death rates significantly above what we’re seeing right now.”
[1:28:28] “I think I’d be shocked to see universal [vaccine] mandates, partly because it’s going to be difficult to get compliance, but partly because I don’t think they’re going to be necessary. And the reason why is I think that there are other things that are going to nudge people toward getting vaccinated. And the real mandate is going to come from Delta Air Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, passport control in Paris, because they’re not going to let you in the fricking country if you don’t have a vaccination. […] I think it’s going to be non-governmental entities largely that are going to end up driving it.”
[1:36:14] “[W]hat I’m predicting is that what you’re going to see is people are going to end up needing to take weekly or monthly home antibody test. So probably a cheap lateral flow strip, pin-prick antibody tests that they’d be able to buy at CVS and take it at home. And those tests are going to basically going to look for, what’s your current antibody levels? And once the antibody level drops below a certain level, based on the test, you then go in and get a booster. So for some people that might be every three months, other people it might be every two years, because I think there’s going to be so much range in the level of durable immunity that you’re not going to be able to come up with a standard, everyone has to get vaccinated once every six months, once every 12 months, it’s going to be different for different people.”
[1:46:55] COVID is the symptomatic disease you get from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. And so the vaccine is quite good at protecting against COVID, meaning symptomatic disease. It’s not as good at protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection. And so there’s a subtlety in language there, but it’s important because a lot of the research papers will talk about essentially COVID protection, or COVID immunity, which is protection against symptomatic disease, which is not exactly the same thing as protection against viral infection.