Abrupt increased COVID-19 death rates in Israel since March 2021

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by Hervé Seligmann, Institute of Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

 

COVID-19 vaccination status known at individual level: Increased death rates between injections

Reanalyses of death incidences among vaccinated and unvaccinated Israeli COVID-19 cases in data provided March 11 2021 by the Israel Ministry of Health (https://correctiv.org/faktencheck/2021/03/11/covid-19-in-israel-nein-die-impfung-erzeugt-keine-40-mal-hoehere-sterblichkeit/) find 0.43% (1566/368826) deaths for the unvaccinated from December 20 2020 (initiation of the massive vaccination project) to March 10 2021, and 1.33% (898/67761) for those who got at least the 1st vaccine dose, for the same 80-day period (Answer to Alice Echtermann german debunking try on the toxicity of Pfizer RNA VAX (nakim.org)).

Table 1. COVID-19 infection and status for vaccinated and unvaccinated, December 20 2020-March 10 2021, from the Israel Ministry of Health, published at https://correctiv.org/faktencheck/2021/03/11/covid-19-in-israel-nein-die-impfung-erzeugt-keine-40-mal-hoehere-sterblichkeit/.

The unvaccinated death rate around 0.5% since December 2020 was also found in the data from Dagan et al 2021 (data until February 1st, therein in supplement, 32 deaths among 6101 COVID-19 cases among 596618 unvaccinated individuals, Exposing distortions in the NEJM scientific publication on the efficiency of Pfizer’s vax (nakim.org)). Hence, vaccinated COVID-19 death rates are 1.33/0.43=3.13 times greater than for the unvaccinated. Israeli COVID-19 death rates until June 12 2021 are examined here, considering that over 63 % of the Israeli population is vaccinated (ourworldindata.org, Figure 1).

Figure 1. Cumulative Israeli Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination rate, December 20 2020-April 6 2021.

COVID-19 vaccination status unknown at individual level: Increased death rates at population level

Monthly percentages of COVID-19 deaths among Israeli COVID-19 cases are from data at worldometer (Coronavirus Update (Live): 125,121,573 Cases and 2,750,559 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Pandemic – Worldometer (worldometers.info)) (Figure 2). Overall COVID-19 death rates in December were 0.52%, corresponding to above mentioned ulterior unvaccinated death rates until March 10 2021. Overall COVID-19 death rates then gradually increase until March, then abruptly increase since March 2021.

Figure 2. Monthly percent COVID-19 deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases in Israel (circles) and in worldwide (triangles). Vaccination started in Israel December 20 2020.

Numbers in Figure 2 show that COVID-19 cases decrease from December to June, suggesting vaccine protection for most individuals, but also Increased death rates when developing COVID-19 despite vaccination. Assuming that unvaccinated death rates remained around 0.5% from December 2020-April 2021, the overall 9.55% June death rate pooling vaccinated and unvaccinated implies June vaccinated death rates above 10%, a 20-fold ratio between vaccinated/unvaccinated death rates. Plausibly, vaccination protects the majority likely to develop benign cases, but presumably weakens those already frail, exactly those that vaccination should protect. Previous analyses suggest risks are highest during the vaccination process, for the period between vaccine doses Exposing distortions in the NEJM scientific publication on the efficiency of Pfizer’s vax (nakim.org) and Answer to Alice Echtermann german debunking try on the toxicity of Pfizer RNA VAX (nakim.org).

Is this due to vaccine induced selection for vaccine escaping viral strains?

Arguably, increased post-vaccination death rates as compared to the unvaccinated during the same period might reflect different age distributions among vaccinated vs unvaccinated: the elderly were vaccinated first, and the unvaccinated include higher proportions of younger individuals. This is relevant to comparisons between death rates for vaccinated vs unvaccinated within a given period, but not for an overall increase in death rates for the whole population while over 63% of the population was vaccinated, such as in Figure 2. This criticism notably highlights the lack of publicly available vaccination data systematically including, at least, vaccination dates and status, sex, age and adverse reactions (not restricted to COVID-19-related), death included. This is because increased postvaccination COVID-19 mortality might reflect general vaccination-induced weakening, causing other unreported adverse effects beyond COVID-19. The abrupt increase in % COVID19 deaths since April would suggest, along this working hypothesis, cumulation of adverse postvaccination effects over time above a given threshold, reached 3-4 months after vaccination.

An alternative to this is that data provided are incorrect and differently tailored to fit some hidden agenda. It is more difficult to hide death cases, while numbers of cases are easily manipulable by altering PCR cut-offs, along circumstantial needs for lower or higher infection rates, such as around elections. This could create an artefactual increase in death rates as seen in April.

A third option is that vaccination selects for vaccine-escaping viral strains, among which some might be more lethal. A major proponent of this vaccine-escape hypothesis is Dr Geert Vanden Bossche, a professional of vaccination programs DVM, PhD | Geert Vanden Bossche. The increase in Israeli COVID19 death rates could be interpreted along these lines. If this population-genetic hypothesis is correct, these vaccine-escape viral strains might cause a major breakout after further mutations increase the contagiousness of these high-lethality vaccine-escaping viruses. The latter might also affect the unvaccinated, but it is unclear whether this would be at similar, lower or greater rates than for the vaccinated. Along this line of thought, the timeline for the epidemiological catastrophe would depend upon occurrences of specific mutations conferring to high-lethality vaccine escaping viruses high contagiousness. So the exact time until when this occurs is unpredictable, but it is a nearly deterministic outcome.

Age-associated immune physiology, not viral genetics, associates with increased death rates

Assuming that patterns in Figure 2 are not artefactual, these results imply two important pieces of information, one optimistic, and one pessimistic. The optimistic one is the decrease in cases, the pessimistic is the increase in % COVID19 deaths since vaccination. The latter hints at the vaccine-escape hypothesis, which would lead to a catastrophe reminding, but probably worse than, the 2nd wave of the Spanish flue. Further information on age groups of COVID19 cases in the past months suggest that for now, the population genetic selection hypothesis is not at work. Though speculative, this is the only really optimistic piece of information I got from months of analyzing publicly available data (the only ones available to me).

Information on age distributions of COVIF19 cases and deaths are available at קורונה – לוח בקרה (health.gov.il), the official site of the Israeli health ministry, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Age distribution of COVID19 cases (A) and deaths (B) from the Israel Health Ministry for the last month, accessed June 20. Green, females; blue, males.

Last month, the 3 last months, the 6 last months, the 12 last months, and since the start of the pandemic. Table 2 shows these data, accessed June 12, pooling sexes. Percentages of COVID19 deaths did not increase over the last month for age classes below 30 and above 70. The drastic increase from Figure 2 is due to increases in COVID19 death rates specific to age classes 30-70.

Year

Age

 

%vacc

2021

May12-Jun12

2021

Mar12-May11

2020-21

Dec12-Mar11

2020

Jul12-Dec11

2020

Mar-Jul11

Ratio last month/prev
0-9 69      0 4080 1 78678     3 34498    5 1213   0   0
10-19 21.1 114    0 4836 0 99895     2 68219    3 3169   1   0
20-29 71.7 66      0 2565 4 83366   20 65206    6 7628   1   0
30-39 76.7 66      2 2408 6 63538   24 48024  17 2527   2 30.19
40-49 80.4 49      0 1906 16 51293   70 42992  32 2262   5   0
50-59 84.7 49      5 1162 45 36058 164 33190 152 2138  10   7.77
60-69 86.7 32      5  833  85 22219  455 22667 372 1604  31   3.95
70-79 95.5 29      5  456  96 11139  771 11529 689   930  69   1.67
80-89 93.2 21      3  284  96   6066  981   5782 921   491  94   0.66
90+ 95 6        1   87   41   2070  502   1984 530   235  81   0.50

Table 2. Numbers of Israeli COVID19 cases and deaths for different periods since the start of the pandemic, sexes pooled. Data from  קורונה – לוח בקרה (health.gov.il) accessed June 12. 2nd column, percent full vaccinated. Last column, the ratio between death rate in the last month and the mean death rate for the previous periods.

This pattern of increased death rates specific to intermediate ages, and in particular the 30-39 age class, has to be interpreted with caution. It suggests an interaction between COVID19, the immune system and vaccination, that increases COVID19 death rates for these age groups when developing COVID19 despite vaccination. This interpretation assumes that most of the relatively few cases reported are for the vaccinated, because unvaccinated COVID19 death rates seem relatively stable and around 0.5% for the December 2020-March 2021 period, as reported above.

Hence, vaccination apparently induces over time a weakening of the immune system, at least for ages between 30 and 70. This effect might propagate over time to younger and/or older age classes, but for now there are no signs of this. The age-specific effect is unexpected according to a straightforward population-genetic vaccine-escape scenario of viruses. In principle, those aged 30-40 have very low COVID19 death rates, but these increased from 1/1000 COVID19 deaths to 3/100 COVID19 deaths in the last month.

A vaccine escape hypothesis is a population-genetic-driven hypothesis that should affect all age groups. So observed age-specific patterns seem more compatible with human physiological mechanisms, rather than viral genetics.

There are scenarios are compatible with the vaccine escape hypothesis. These imply a balance between the strength of the vaccine immuno-depressor effect and the immune system strength, together with the viral replication rate in relatively healthy individuals (30-40 years old). Their relative health would enable longer periods during which viruses replicate and hence mutate, without dying, but also without healing, because their immune system is weaker than for the younger age classes, especially after vaccination. At this point, this complex interaction scenario remains a possibility. The data as they stand and interpreted along the simplest hypothesis, suggest physiological mechanisms where vaccination depressed the immunity of individuals with relatively strong immune systems, but not the strongest nor the weakest immune systems. Alternative scenarios are more complex and would imply that this situation favors the development of vaccine-escape mutants.

Dagan N, Barda N, Kepten E, Miron O, Perchik S, Katz MA, Hernán MA, Lipsitch M, Phil D, Reis B, Balicer RD 2021 BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting. N Eng J Med;10.1056/NEJMoa2101765.

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