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epidemiology – deonandia

CATEGORY / epidemiology

COVID-19: Do Masks Work?

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

As I write this, much of the Northern hemisphere has been struck with a wave of multiple childhood respiratory diseases, COVID-19, RSV, and influenza prime among them. Pediatric hospitals are being overrun. Right now in Ontario, we are beyond 100% capacity, with (I’m told) some ICU beds doubling up kids:

One proposal to help slow the traffic into the ERs is to reinstate masking in most, if not all, public indoor settings. This possibility has triggered that tired debate of (a) whether masks work at all, and (b) whether they are harmful at all. (more…)

COVID-19: The Latest Nothing-Burger Anti-Vax Nonsense

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

As I write this, I have a sick child at home to whom I am giving solo care, have pulled multiple all-nighters this week, and have an enormous document due tomorrow. And yet I’m taking the time to write this brief blog post because some journalists have tagged me in an ongoing discussion about the latest COVID-19 vaccine nothing-burger “scandal”. Please understand if my patience seems strained, as I am running on fumes today. (more…)

COVID-19: Let’s Look At Some Studies the Anti-Vaxxers Are On About

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

Today’s topic is just what the title suggests: taking a closer look at some of the studies/documents that are currently driving the anti-vaccine agenda. I’ll only look at three such studies in this post, because I only have so much time before my toddler barges into my office demanding that his socks be interchanged –or something equally as critical.¬† So let’s get to it.

(more…)

COVID-19: Does a 4th Vaccine Dose Prevent Infection?

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

Earlier this year, I wrote a post explaining how prior to the rise of the Omicron variant, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines were actually not bad at preventing both infection and transmission of the disease. Hence the strong evidence base for policy measures like vaccine mandates at work and vaccine passports at places like restaurants.

Omicron changed all that to a high degree by greatly reducing the vaccines’ ability to curtail infection and transmission, but not their ability to provide strong protection against the worst measurable COVID outcomes, like hospitalization and death.

That analysis was based on the assumption that most people had received only two doses of the vaccine. But I ended that post by citing some evidence showing that a third¬†dose restored much of the jab’s effectiveness at preventing infection.

As I write this, that original Omicron strain has been supplanted by more transmissible subvariants. Currently, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants account for the majority of cases in North America. Both subvariants show an ability to overcome immunity garnered from both vaccination and prior infection from Omicron, suggesting that even three doses are no longer effective in preventing infection and transmission.

We are now in the era of 4th doses. So I thought it would be helpful to revisit the evidence around whether four doses can help prevent infection.

Spoiler alert: the evidence, as it is, suggests that four doses definitely increases our ability to avoid infection altogether. But there is debate about exactly how much that increase is, and how long it will last.

(more…)


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