Molecular biology specialist and medical blogger Irina Yakutenko posted a video on her YouTube channel, in which she talks about how things are with covid in Europe. Here are some excerpts from the episode, which can be seen in full on the channel.
About who gets sick and dies
If we watch reports on Russian television or on the Internet, we will see that some kind of nightmare is happening. Yes, the numbers are growing, and not just growing: records set since the beginning of the pandemic have been broken in many countries. Again, we see clogged hospitals, many countries introduce lockdowns or other restrictions. In short, it looks like there were no vaccines. Everything looks very similar to what happened at the beginning of the pandemic, and opponents of vaccination or hesitant ones say: you see, we said: get vaccinated, don't get vaccinated - everything is the same, there is no difference.
Indeed, the situation in Europe is not very good. However, let's take a closer look at what is happening in order to understand how correct the conclusions that can be drawn from a cursory assessment of the situation are.
First, let's look at the number of cases. In the description for the video, I will attach several graphs that show the cumulative number of cases among the vaccinated and among the non-vaccinated. It is clearly seen from these graphs that the number of cases of diseases in groups of vaccinated is about six times less than in groups of unvaccinated.
If you look at the number of deaths, it turns out that among those who are not vaccinated and become ill, 12 times more people die than among those who fell ill despite the vaccination. In other words, we can see that although there is a lot of growth, it happens very differently in two groups of people: the vaccinated group in the non-vaccinated groups.
Both those and others get sick, but the vaccinated get sick much less, and those who get sick rarely get the disease into a severe stage, and all the more rarely people die.
Why there are vaccinated among the victims
If we look at hospitals, and even more so at intensive care units, the numbers there are even more impressive. The vast majority of people who lie there with severe covid belong to the unvaccinated group, that is, those who have not received a single dose of the vaccine. People who have received one dose of the vaccine, as it were, does not count at all, because it gives only partial protection. Therefore, although they are less likely to get sick and less often get seriously ill, nevertheless the numbers there are also unpleasant. So if you only got one dose, be sure to get the second. There are practically no people who have received the full course of vaccination in intensive care.
Those who, despite the full course of vaccination, still end up in intensive care, belong to high and very high risk groups. That is, they are either already very elderly people, or people with a large bouquet of various diseases that increase the risk and severe course of covid. Either both together - these are often parameters that depend on each other: the older you are, the less healthy you are.
In other words, for these people, covid is so dangerous that even against the background of protection, they sometimes get sick and die anyway. Without protection, they would have died with a 100% probability.
Why many countries are introducing lockdown
It turns out that the critical situation in hospitals, which is now observed in many European countries and due to which new restrictions are being introduced, is not at all due to the number of cases. In itself, the number of cases is not such a fundamental parameter, it is the condition of the hospitals that is important. Because when hospitals are clogged, especially intensive care, it means that the health care system is under threat. Regardless of whether we are vaccinated or not vaccinated, we can get hit by a bus, we can have a heart attack, stroke, appendicitis, severe pregnancy - whatever. And when people with all these conditions arrive at hospitals, there simply will be no places for them. Because all these places are packed with people with severe coronavirus. And, as we found out above, they are mostly clogged with people who, for various reasons, did not receive vaccinations in a year. It is these people who are now occupying beds, and in case you have an accident, it may happen that you will not have enough space due to the fact that all hospital beds are already taken. This is why countries are introducing lockdown.
Why herd immunity doesn't work
So what are the two reasons for the current situation in Europe? The first reason is the insufficient level of vaccinated people among the entire population. Yes, if we compare with Russia, people who have received a full course of vaccination in Europe, of course, are much higher. But in fact, it is categorically insufficient, because now we have a delta, and this is not at all the same strain as in the beginning. It has other properties, first of all - it is much more contagious. Therefore, for this strain, collective immunity, that is, such a state when the general immunity in society is so high that outbreaks die out by themselves simply because the virus has no one to jump on, and so for the delta strain with its high infectivity, this threshold is more than 80 %. Almost no country in Europe has reached this level, which means that herd immunity does not work, that the virus has enough food to spread. That is, we see that vaccinated people are protecting themselves first of all: in a situation where there are many unvaccinated people, collective immunity does not appear. And against the background of an insufficient level of vaccinated people, that is, when herd immunity does not work, in many European countries we have received too sharp and too rapid easing of restrictions. That is, the virus has an additional opportunity to spread: we alleviate this situation by allowing all people to communicate with each other freely - vaccinated, unvaccinated.
About what would have happened if everyone had been grafted
We do not yet have super accurate data, but observations have already accumulated that the vaccinated can become infected and can transmit the virus, but this happens with much less efficiency than the unvaccinated. For the vaccinated, the coronavirus is, in the vast majority of cases, something like a cold: an unpleasant condition, itching in the throat, maybe a cough, a runny nose, the temperature lasts a couple of days. In short, it's okay, a common cold.
If we imagine the situation that the whole society was vaccinated, and the virus continues to spread - say, because it has acquired resistance, we would get a picture of high incidence rates, but at the same time there is no critical situation for hospitals and health care.
But this is not our situation. We have many unvaccinated people who are infected with coronavirus both from, first of all, others who are not vaccinated, and from vaccinated people who can still transmit the coronavirus to them. Especially when there are no restrictions, when they are hugging each other in the bar for three hours, singing songs - in this situation, the probability of infection, of course, is, because they are very close and communicate for a very long time. But if the vaccinated in such a situation contracted the coronavirus and spent two days at home with a runny nose, then the unvaccinated, depending on age, was most likely to be admitted to hospital and intensive care.
About the forecast for Christmas
By all accounts, Christmas in Europe is going to be dull. Fun parties will be limited if not canceled. Christmas markets, which are loved by tourists from different countries and the inhabitants of Europe themselves, will be closed, or there will be some strict rules. For example, only people with a vaccination certificate will be allowed in. In general, a free, merry Christmas is not to be expected this year.