France’s Case Surge and Deaths

By September 15, 2020 Commentary

This chart shows two things.  One is that the usual nonsense about the value of masks is grossly overstated.  France has had a widespread mask mandate for some time.  You can see how much it has suppressed cases.  The second is that while cases have surged, I assume in part due to excessive testing, look at how nothing has happened with deaths.  We are seeing this in several places.  It suggests a number of possibilities.  Some people are saying the virus has mutated to a milder form.  I don’t see any suggestion of that in the virus sequencing studies I peruse.  There are better treatment guidelines, which may limit deaths.  Another possibility is that the over-testing is catching a lot of very marginal infections, especially if higher cycle number thresholds are used.  That I think does account for some of it.  Some is age-related, with more of the “cases” among younger people.  But that latter factor is also related to what I believe is the primary explanation, what I have called front-loading.  Whether because of dose sensitivity or just more vulnerable immune systems, the virus had an uncanny ability to attack the most likely to succumb to serious illness in the early stages of the epidemic.  And some of these people were clustered in group living situations which facilitated further spread.  A lot of the most vulnerable either died or were infected and survived, so there are just fewer left to become infected.  In any event, it is a striking feature of the case uptick in many countries.

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