Lazy Caturday Reads: The Pandemic is Bad Again and Getting Worse.Posted: August 7, 2021
I hate to keep focusing on the pandemic; but, unfortunately, it’s bad again and getting worse. The AP reports: US now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day.https://apnews.com/article/health-coronavirus-pandemic-b0811d7287ef240ae619ba1e385e0a63
The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in yet another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country.
The U.S. was averaging about 11,000 cases a day in late June. Now the number is 107,143.
It took the U.S. about nine months to cross the 100,000 average case number in November before peaking at about 250,000 in early January. Cases bottomed out in June but took about six weeks to go back above 100,000, despite a vaccine that has been given to more than 70% of the adult population.
The seven-day average for daily new deaths also increased, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It rose over the past two weeks from about 270 deaths per day to nearly 500 a day as of Friday.
The virus is spreading quickly through unvaccinated populations, especially in the South where hospitals have been overrun with patients.
Health officials are fearful that cases will continue to soar if more Americans don’t embrace the vaccine.
“Our models show that if we don’t (vaccinate people), we could be up to several hundred thousand cases a day, similar to our surge in early January,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said on CNN this week.
In early August—well before the colder months when the coronavirus thrives—many Americans, even vaccinated ones, are finding themselves with the same sort of anxieties they were relieved to let go of in the spring: If I eat at a restaurant, what is the risk to myself and others? What about going to my workplace? And what will restrictions allow me and my loved ones to do a couple of months from now?
Of course, the pandemic is nowhere near as bad as it was last winter, thanks to vaccines that confer high levels of protection against symptomatic cases of COVID-19. The 60 percent of U.S. adults who are fully vaccinated are substantially safer than the 40 percent who aren’t, even with the Delta variant circulating.
But emotionally, the near future feels uncertain again. Just a few months ago, I felt like the rest of the year was easier to visualize. Now a light fog seems to have descended, similar to the denser one that obscured the future for the first year of the pandemic. I’m back to feeling a mild sense of the “horizonlessness”—the lack of a firm reference point in the future—that was pervasive last year.
Even some experts are surprised by the swerve the pandemic has taken. Before Delta, Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at UC Irvine, wasn’t expecting a significant resurgence of the virus—or a need to re-mask—until the fall. Earlier this summer, “I was out there saying that it’s okay to take off your mask,” Noymer told me. “And here we are seven weeks later—there’s Delta, and guess who’s masking at the grocery store again, even though he’s fully vaccinated? This guy. I feel the same whiplash.”
David Smith at The Guardian: Biden said America had ‘gained the upper hand’ over Covid – has Delta changed the game?
A month ago Joe Biden appeared to have victory over the coronavirus pandemic within his grasp. As tens of millions of Americans got vaccinated, cases, hospitalizations and deaths were falling precipitously.
Not so fast. In the past week alone the highly contagious Delta variant fueled a rise in daily Covid-19 cases of 43% and pushed deaths up by 39%. Republicans such as Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, proved all too willing to take the politicization of face masks to new extremes.
Biden is confronted anew by the reality that he is trying to govern a nation cripplingly polarized in politics, media and even science. The US president and his team of experts’ mission to tame the pandemic and heal divisions has collided with the Delta variant and the DeSantis variant.
“They may have underestimated the degree to which vaccine hesitancy would become a Republican party platform position,” said Laurie Garrett, an award-winning science writer and author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. “They were imagining that they were dealing with people who were individually scared, had concerns based on crazy things they read on the internet, were fearful of getting autism.
“What they didn’t imagine is that there would be this whole deliberate Republican party position of opposition to all things that Biden would put forward about Covid. It’s not just vaccines, it’s masks, it’s social distancing, now it’s going to be vaccine passports. I’m just waiting for the guns to come out.” [….]
Garrett added: “The White House has really struggled to come up with a strategy to deal with the 20, 25%, virulently anti-vaccine faction. I don’t think they’ve come close to imagining a strategy for that.
“It’s not for lack of trying. They’ve got they’ve gone through the entire cookbook of recipes for, confronting vaccine resistance and refusal.and I think they just are at a loss, just as we are for just about everything else that goes on politically in the United States right now.”
The vaccine resisters will choose to poison themselves rather than get two life-saving shots in the arm. The Daily Beast: Pharmacists Fight Off COVID Truthers Demanding Horse Medicine Instead of the Jab.
It’s not snake oil, literally. But as bogus COVID-19 miracle drugs go, horse paste comes pretty close.
As coronavirus infections rage among the unvaccinated, those suspicious of the shot are championing a new supposed COVID-19 cure. Thanks to a dubious study of ivermectin, a drug used in humans to treat parasites like scabies, cranks have seized on the drug as the new solution to coronavirus prevention and treatment.
Devotees have besieged pharmacists with prescriptions from shady online prescribers, forcing pharmacies to crack down and treat the antiparasitic drugs like opioids. As human-approved ivermectin prescriptions have been harder to come by, enthusiasts have taken to raiding rural tractor supply stores in search of ivermectin horse paste (packed with “apple flavor!”) and weighed the benefits of taking ivermectin “sheep drench” and a noromectin “injection for swine and cattle.”
“There is certainly a noticeable increase in calls to poison centers regarding ivermectin being misused,” a Texas-based poison control specialist, who requested anonymity due to concerns of repercussions, told The Daily Beast via email. “It’s clear that a vast majority are associated with a belief that it will prevent or treat COVID. That said, I do want to be careful not to be sensational—there’s no epidemic of ivermectin overdoses in hospitals, but it’s needless suffering given the lack of conclusive evidence of a benefit.”
All to treat and prevent a disease for which there’s a free and widely available vaccine.
There’s much more on these crazies at the link.
Last year, before the vaccine was available, hundreds of thousands of bikers converged in Sturgis, South Dakota for a massive super-spreader event, and then took the virus home to infect their friends and families in several other states. Now vaccine resisters have once again converged on Sturgis for another super-spreader.