Immunity, US Delta outbreak characteristics, and markets
Two pieces of a larger puzzle. This puzzle generates a coherent theory of COVID, connecting many findings that are all anomalies under the current theory + history of COVID outbreaks. Sounds crazy, right? Good. There are massive market inefficiencies resulting from this discrepancy and these anomalies, and I've been lucky to trade on them, generating 180% returns since February 2020. The differences between what the world sees with anomalies swept under the rugs & what I see with all anomalies accounted for suggests there's still another +60% to be harvested as of mid-December 2021. Will share info for 1% of earnings above 6%. Some COVID stuff:
Vaccines reduce hospitalizations at population-level for Delta outbreak
1) Hospitalizations per 10K capita as a function of vaccination rate since the start of the Delta outbreak, points are US states. I shared an earlier version with Bill Hanage during the Delta outbreak - you can see vaccination rates accumulate as points move left to right, and the role of vaccines reducing hospital burden is apparent in the negative slope most pronounced in August 2021.
Vaccines don't dampen transmission for Delta outbreaks. Recent infections do.
2) Vaccines reduce hospitalizations at the population level, consistent with longitudinal studies of vaccinated patients finding vaccines reducing the probability of severe outcomes. However, do vaccines dampen transmission? Below is the case growth rate as a function of three metrics of immunity: CFR-adjusted cases per-capita since the start of the Delta wave, deaths per-capita since the start of the Delta wave, and vaccination rate. The initial patterns were driven by case growth in states where Delta was first introduced. After that short period, Delta outbreaks became consistently characterized by lower transmission rates in states with higher burden and higher transmission rates in states with higher vaccination rates. There are many confounds - states with higher vaccination rates may have more densely populated areas that could conceivably increase their transmission rate. Nonetheless, this suggests that one of the most robust immunological features dampening transmission is not vaccines, but natural infections. The relative importance of immunity vs. behavioral changes can't be known unless you have strong beliefs on e.g. the extent to which people in Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Idaho, Mondana, South Dakota etc. are changing their behaviors.
Altogether, this evidence points to the probable immune evasion of Delta, contrary to the common paradigm that Delta is simply more transmissible (it may be more transmissible, but it's outbreaks can't be understood without immune evasion, and these population-level findings are strongly consistent with the observations from Provincetown that are largely swept under the rug by the common paradigm). My current virological+immunological hypothesis for Delta, and the mechanism of immune evasion, is speed & kinetics. Delta's high ACE2 affinity and high viral titers enable high initial population sizes upon exposure, and their fast growth in cell culture combines with high initial population sizes to allow infections that effectively out-run the 4-7 day lag it takes for memory B cells in an anamnesic response to proliferate at the site of infection.
These and more anomalies have been organized into a consistent theory of COVID outbreaks that explains many anomalies - why South Dakota peaked in November 2020 at far fewer deaths per-capita, why we didn't have an Alpha wave (except in Detroit - that's important) but did have a Delta wave across US states, and what this means for Omicron. At the moment, though, I'm withholding this discovery from peer review because peer review is dominated by people who hold the common paradigm - that Delta is more transmissible - and consequently a theory synthesizing many anomalous pieces of the puzzle can't be properly told until those anomalous pieces of the puzzle are more widely known. However, the academic peer review system is highly effective at suppressing dissent of the common paradigm - holders of the common paradigm are the main editors of the major journals, and it takes just one prominent reviewer's dissent to reject a manuscript, suppressing minority views and reinforcing incumbent beliefs. Consequently, seeing what I see feels like watching the world theorize about shadows on the wall of Plato's cave. I can tell you key features of Omicron that stem from successful corroboration of this theory's predictions from Delta, and how those insights hidden in plain sight allowed me to predict many unusual features of even Gauteng's Omicron outbreak. The information is out there, but the deluge of epidemiological data requires synthesis, and currently the main synthesis given to managers & the media is the common paradigm for which South Dakota, Alpha, and many other anomalies have been swept under the rug. I'd share this more publicly, but the hostility towards contrary views on COVID towards prominent professors like Ioannidis, Levitt, Bhattachyra, Gupta, Kulldorf and more suggests that sticking my neck up as a rando from Bozeman isn't a wise decision. The good news - socioscientific inefficiencies, such as a guy in Montana working with hedge funds nad having a solid predictive theory of COVID that he doesn't want to share with the world because peer review sucks, underlie market inefficiencies that exist right this second because market actors are relying on the assumption that epidemiological translations of this information is efficient. Rather than market expectations averaging over a posterior density of different paradigms, weighting forecasts based on the evidence supporting different paradigms, we're seeing the common and more established paradigm competitively excluding the novel and more likely scenarios of COVID via peer review suppression of minority views. Hence - while I can't make an impact in peer review due to the incumbent advantage of the common theory, there's some solace to be found in paying bills by trading stocks and, down the road, recording all this to generate an economic theory on socioscientific causes of market inefficiencies during the COVID pandemic. Wanna know what's going to happen with Omicron? Stay tuned. Think I'm crazy? Good. That's a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for being ahead of the curve. Science!!!