Making sense of Covid-19 with Silman: my blog

What do the numbers mean !

Persistent high case numbers in the UK but does the Government’s ‘carry on as normal’ approach make sense?

New cases of Covid-19 are now around  50,000 per day, with deaths and hospitalisations seemingly rising.  Yet the government response is to focus on the successful roll out of their vaccine programme, and not to be unduly concerned. This ‘passive’ response is being widely criticised in the media and by some experts.  In this post I consider how far […]

Can a booster following Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines stop transmission?

The UK, following other countries, is now giving a 3rd dose of vaccine.  Whilst the Pfizer, AstraZeneca  and other vaccines protect against severe infection, they only are able to reduce, but not eliminate, transmission.  Despite the success of the vaccine roll out, increasing numbers of fully (ie double) vaccinated people are becoming infected with the Delta variant. What was […]

CoVid-19: natural occurrence or lab leak?

Three days ago, National Geographic website ran a story about the origins of the CoVid-19 pandemic, following on a US National Intelligence Council investigation published 2 weeks ago.  21 months into the global pandemic, it is still appropriate to address this question – and to me the answer is as elusive – and as fascinating – […]

Even if we were all vaccinated, Covid-19 would still be a problem

It was many experts’ original expectation that immunity acquired either from natural infection or vaccination, or both,  would result in a state of herd immunity: ie a sufficiently high proportion of the population would be resistant to becoming infected.  Thus, the virus would not have enough unprotected people it could spread infection to.  The pandemic would thus peter out. […]

Booster Jabs for Covid-19: What we know and what we don’t?

Two weeks ago the committee advising the UK government on vaccine policy recommended a booster (3rd) dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from September this year with a roll out to protect the whole currently vaccinated population  By contrast, last week the similar committees advising the USA government stated there was no evidence to support a […]

Will my vaccine protect me against the Indian Variant?

First data from Pfizer vaccine. The Indian Variant (now referred to as ‘Delta’) is recognised as being highly transmissible and, as a consequence, it is now the predominant variant in the UK and elsewhere.  The question in many people’s minds is whether, despite the rising number of cases, those who have been fully vaccinated will still […]

Our poo – the best early warning system against future waves of Covid-19

Amongst the unsung research heroes for tackling this pandemic have been waste water engineers and geographers.  Examining sewage for traces of the virus has been a truly worldwide effort that is now a key component for managing the pandemic. In this post I address the background and the questions raised by this development.  How is sewage testing […]

Indian variant, vaccines and immune escape: what do we know?

Hitting the headlines this week is news about yet another mutant strain, particularly newsworthy because of the accelerating tragedy of the pandemic in India.  This variant is now present in 40 countries. What do we know about this strain, its impact and in particular any possibility that the success of the vaccines could be imperilled? Is […]

High vaccine uptake can control pandemic even with lifting social distancing

That vaccines can protect against Covid-19, in its severe forms, is well established from clinical trials.  Questions remained as to whether (i) when applied to the wider population, these benefits would hold, (ii) vaccines could reduce transmission and asymptomatic infection and (iii) in the ‘real world’ these benefits would be achieved after allowing a return to […]


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