So, a few days ago I pointed out the record number of Dutch kids with pneumonia. It’s the highest number in three years, though I’m not sure they consistently monitored these numbers before 2019. In late 2022 when this was happening, the argument was “RSV from resurgent lockdown debt”.
The numbers were updated, they now look like this:
So I want to emphasize again: Last year we saw this big strange increase in RSV, so we were told it’s probably just “lockdown debt”. If that were the case, the next year’s wave of pneumonia is not supposed to be even bigger! The pathogens responsible are mostly the same as always, including RSV again.
Now the most dominant explanation is that mycoplasma pneumoniae just comes in waves once every few years. But this is a very dissatisfying explanation. We’ve never had a wave of pneumonia from mycoplasma pneumonia before. It’s a bug that circulates, sure, it is responsible for a minority of pneumonia cases, sure, but there’s a reason you’ve never heard of it before: It’s not a big deal.
“All the kids are suddenly sick of a bug you never heard of before, but it’s normal” Is not a very satisfying explanation. So they come up with a bunch of other stuff too. The media are blaming “vaping”, “lockdowns’ and “climate”. Yes, they’re blaming vaping, for a problem affecting kids aged 5-14. They’re throwing shit at the wall, to see if anything sticks.
So there are two explanations that seem worth considering to me.
On the one hand, it may be the case that these children are the proverbial “canary in the coalmine”. We know that mass vaccination has resulted in a situation, where most people now have elevated levels of exhausted T cells, as well as an IgG4 response to SARS2 Spike protein. As I have explained before, you may expect evolution to operate on other respiratory viruses, allowing them to also benefit from that distorted immune response.
It’s possible that this has resulted in numerous people now serving as asymptomatic carriers of a variety of respiratory pathogens, pathogens that they are able to somewhat keep under control, but not able to eliminate, as their bodies struggle to destroy the infected epithelial cells. In the absence of inflammation, you thus don’t see severe illness in these people, but they continue spreading these viruses their immune systems now tolerate.
This then becomes noticeable in healthy young people who still have a normal immune response to those viruses. That would be one explanation.
The other explanation is simpler: These young people have been constantly exposed to SARS2 and now suffer some degree of immunodeficiency. There’s one thing we know about mycoplasma pneumoniae: It’s commonly seen in people with HIV.
Have a look at this study:
During 2012–2015, we tested respiratory specimens from patients with severe respiratory illness (SRI), patients with influenza-like illness (ILI), and controls in South Africa by real-time PCR for Mycoplasma pneumoniae, followed by culture and molecular characterization of positive samples. M. pneumoniae prevalence was 1.6% among SRI patients, 0.7% among ILI patients, and 0.2% among controls (p<0.001).
You see the obvious problem here. If this bug is found in 1.6% of severe respiratory illness cases, then under normal circumstances it won’t cause a massive surge in pneumonia in children. Again, last year they were telling us the RSV epidemic was caused by the lockdowns. That was at least somewhat plausible, because we know RSV puts a bunch of children in hospitals. But as you can see here, this is a marginal bacterium, that’s normally a very minor contributor to hospital admissions for influenza-like illness.
But there is one circumstance where this bacterium does become a problem and you’re not going to like it:
The mean annual rate of hospitalization for M. pneumoniae patients during 2013–2014 was 27.9 cases/100,000 population (95% CI 18.9–37.4) (Table 3). HIV-infected persons had 19.5 (95% CI 14.4–26.4) times greater odds of M. pneumoniae–associated SRI hospitalization (102.2/100,000 [95% CI 64.9–136.4) than did HIV-uninfected persons (14.9/100,000 [95% CI 10.3–19.0]). The highest rate was in patients <5 years old (220.0/100,000 [95% CI 121.0–314.8]).
The body depends strongly on T-cells to deal with this particular bacterium. If something’s wrong with the T cells, you would expect to see this bug cause more severe infections.
With severe immunodeficiency, you start to see weird opportunistic pathogens in our environment cause sickness in people. But with milder levels of immunodeficiency, things like Mycoplasma pneumoniae start causing trouble.
Why would the problem be worst in China? Because they kept SARS2 out for so long. So when the levee inevitably did break, they suffered massive numbers of infections all at once, resulting in worse immunodeficiency right now in Chinese children than in the Western world.
SARS2 causes a decline in T cell numbers for a long period. And we now see evidence of increased T-cell exhaustion throughout the whole population. After a failed vaccine, it takes some time for all hell to break lose, but we’re now getting there.
We also once again have substantial excess mortality:
The problem is that elevated levels of immunodeficiency in a subset of the population just tends to take a whole population with it. As an example, the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa was followed by an outbreak of tuberculosis, affecting people who were HIV negative too.
Again I have to emphasize, this virus SARS2 was already everywhere before we had a name for it. We never really stood a chance of eradicating it. The only human pathogen we ever eradicated was smallpox, which took centuries.
But what did not have to happen, was this insane attempt to vaccinate everyone against it. That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in today.