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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,121

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An Uncertain New Phase of the Pandemic, in Which Cases Surge But Deaths Do Not

Annals of Inquiry
An Uncertain New Phase of the Pandemic, in Which Cases Surge But Deaths Do Not
With the Delta variant, people now have to make different calculations about personal risk. The problem is that the parameters are not yet fully known.
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells
July 31, 2021

So many things have gone wrong in the American response to the pandemic, but two important things have gone right: scientists have developed a vaccine, and older Americans have got it. Seventy-six per cent of Americans between the ages of fifty and sixty-four have received at least one dose, according to the Mayo Clinic’s vaccination tracker. Between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-four, it’s ninety-one per cent, and among those over the age of seventy-five it’s eighty-seven. (Slightly smaller numbers have received a full, two-dose vaccination.) Blue states have been a little more compliant, and the red states a bit less, but the regional differences among older Americans haven’t been so big. Even in deep-red South Carolina, ninety-three per cent of senior citizens have received at least one dose. In Nebraska, ninety-five per cent have, and the numbers in Idaho and Florida are ninety per cent and ninety-eight per cent, respectively. There was no mass campaign to combat disinformation among the aged, no detectable conversion of anti-vaxxer senior citizens to pro-science liberals. “They have the same worries about the vaccine, but when they did the risk-benefit it was just so clear to them that the risks were so severe,” Mollyann Brodie, who runs public-opinion surveys on the pandemic for the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me. There is a dark irony in this. For months, conservative television hosts have fulminated to a largely older audience about the madness of the vaccine campaign: Tucker Carlson has scrunched up his face and said the word “Fauci” with Old Testament menace; a renegade ex-Times reporter named Alex Berenson has rattled off statistics in a rhythm that sounds designed to perplex. Through it all, this older audience has tuned in loyally, from armchairs in Idaho and South Carolina, while already fully vaccinated—their cells displaying the telltale protein piece, antibodies formed and ready. They have taken the campaigns on television neither literally nor seriously; they have understood that it is for show.

The broadly effective vaccination of older Americans and the embarrassingly ineffective vaccination of everyone else, just as the highly contagious Delta variant has won out in the microbe wars, has given the pandemic its current uncertainty: cases are rising sharply, but deaths are not. One reason for this strange situation is how heavily the coronavirus’s risk of death is concentrated among older people––most of whom are now vaccinated. At the outset of the pandemic, the Dartmouth economist Andrew Levin had calculated the mortality risk from COVID-19 by age (he originally used data from South Korea, Iceland, Sweden, and New Zealand , because it was the first available), creating tables that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still uses. Over the phone, just back from a congressional hearing, he read me the numbers: at the age of thirty, one in five thousand infected and unvaccinated Americans might be expected to die; at forty, one in fifteen hundred; at seventy; one in forty; at eighty, nearly one in ten, close to five hundred times the mortality risk of a thirty-year-old. Vaccinating the elderly was the essential prophylaxis—it kept the vulnerable safe and gave everyone else a little more freedom. Levin did a calculation for me and estimated that, even though just half of Americans over all have been fully vaccinated, those vaccines (concentrated among the most vulnerable) have cut the infection-fatality rate by about seventy-five per cent. William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard, told me, “The relationship between cases and outcomes—be they hospitalizations or deaths—has been altered. It is no longer the same.”

This is what made everyone pretty sanguine at the beginning of the summer. As the Delta variant has spread, the relationship between the virus and the most severe illnesses is different from what it has been in the past. Since mid-June, the seven-day average of new cases in the United States has grown by five hundred and fifty per cent, from about fourteen thousand to about seventy-seven thousand. But the number of deaths is almost exactly the same. In mid-June, the national seven-day rolling average of daily deaths was about three hundred and fifty. On Friday, it was three hundred and one. (That level, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, means that COVID is now just the seventh-leading cause of death—far below heart disease and cancer and also below accidents, strokes, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s, and just above diabetes.) The experience of the U.K., where the Delta variant has already peaked, was similar. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota who served on the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, reviewed with me data from this summer’s U.K. surge, sorted by age group, and compared it with those from that country’s previous surge. The case numbers were about the same, he pointed out. But the deaths? “Way down, way down, way down.”

Now there is news that brings to the fore the problem presented by a surging number of cases in which people get the virus but do not die from it. On Thursday, the Washington Post published a leaked slide deck from the C.D.C. that summarized what its scientists had discovered about the new variant: Delta is much more contagious than prior strains have been, and leads to more serious illness. Most strikingly, the C.D.C. slides referred to data from a recent outbreak in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, in which vaccinated people who had acquired breakthrough infections had viral loads just as high as the unvaccinated. This outbreak was an outlier in some respects (men made up eighty-five per cent of the cases, and six per cent of the individuals were identified as H.I.V.-positive, and the C.D.C. appended several other caveats) but its publication helped to intensify a public debate over whether vaccinated people might be able to spread the virus more easily than had been previously thought. The slide deck did not contain any new information about deaths—against which vaccines are still, the data show, broadly protective—but it did sharpen the image of the present moment, in which the unvaccinated are at heightened risk of serious illness and even the vaccinated are no longer so sure that they’re entirely safe. “I think given the properties of Delta, it’s not going out on a limb to say pretty soon, people are either going to have been vaccinated or infected,” Hanage, of Harvard, told me.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Aug 1, 2021, 07:48 AM (7 replies)

Rep. Matt Gaetz Tells Crowd His Brain Is Affected by 'the Florida Variant'

He couldn't be more deplorable.


Rep. Matt Gaetz Tells Crowd His Brain Is Affected by ‘the Florida Variant’
HA HA...
Blake Montgomery
Published Jul. 31, 2021 8:49PM ET
Joe Raedle/Getty

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told supporters at a campaign event Saturday that the “Florida variant” and “freedom variant” of COVID-19 had infected his brain. Speaking in front of what appeared to be a trailer featuring a life-size image of Donald Trump and the words, “Trump won!” Gaetz said, “You’ve had all the experts say look out for the delta variant or the lambda variant, well next it’ll be the Chi Omega variant or the Pi Kappa Psi variant. I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant. It affects the brain. It gets you to think for yourself where you don’t just surrender to the truth that they’re trying to create in corrupt big media.” Though ostensibly a joke, the remark comes on the same day that Florida, Gaetz’s home state and the one he represents, broke its record for most coronavirus cases recorded in a single day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted by babylonsister | Sun Aug 1, 2021, 06:46 AM (19 replies)

I can't even.

This is a friend of mine's response after I posted a link to President Biden's accomplishments. She's smart yet delusional. I don't have the energy to argue.

Edit to add: "friend"... she was my neighbor in the early 80s but I haven't seen her since. So not close.


************ total BS. He didn't do any of those things with the populace in mind. He did it to push a socialist agenda and to get a large portion of the population dependant on the government. 1. He shut down the keystone pipeline WITHOUT a back up plan. We were fuel independent now we are dependent on China and Russia. Meanwhile he approves a pipeline being built by Russia in Europe. 2. Rejoined the Paris Accord - why? If the rules were the same for all countries it might have been beneficial. But the biggest powers - China and Russia don't have to play by the same rules. 3. He has made it profitable to stay unemployed and getting government checks. The beginning of socialism. 4. Small businesses are closing left and right not staying open. Those that are open cannot get workers. We have jobs starting at $15 an hour for unskilled workers. 5. He DIDN'T get schools to reopen in democratic states - the teacher's union had him by the gonads because of the political support they gave him. I have 2 educators in my family (my daughters) and both were in class last fall teaching and educating kids. We had online and in person education in Texas. 6. He is given credit for vaccines BUT he thought Trump was crazy and wouldn't be able to produce in under 5 years. Then he followed the distribution plan. 7. He's given vaccines to half the population - it might be higher if he and VP had been behind it fully from the beginning. Surely you remember Harris saying if Trump says it's safe I'm not taking it. Bet most don't remember her saying anything about the science. 8. There could be a much longer list but why bother. In closing - in case you don't think everything that Biden does is socialist and politically motivated - Why is travel between Europe and the US closed? Biden claims it is because of covid. If this is the case, why is the southern border wide open? Do you realize that the countries entering have VERY low vaccination rates? Do you realize that on Monday alone almost 700 positive covid cases were released to a Catholic Charities organization, put up in a hotel for quarrantine, were unsupervised and were in the town, restaurants, shopping etc coming into contact with local citizenry and likely infecting them? Do you realize that 70 border patrol agents have tested positive in one town alone putting other border patrol agents, their families and their communities at risk? Do you realize how dangerous leaving our borders open is? Forget about the good families that are breaking the law from jump for just a minute. What about the gang members, drug traffickers, sex traffickers, gun runners and in general just plain bad actors entering the Country? Doesn't that just give you a warm fuzzy? Sorry hon, this administration, is going to be the ruination of this Country. Oh and I almost forgot - why can't the Cubans migrate? They are truly oppressed. Is it because half the democratic party thinks the Cuban regime is the one to follow? Not my words check out AOC, Omar, Talib etc on the Cuban government. Or more heinous, because these migrants have lived under socialist/communism and would not vote for any socialist programs in this Country.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:53 PM (13 replies)

26 million workers have gotten a raise thanks to the Fight for $15, this week in the war on workers


26 million workers have gotten a raise thanks to the Fight for $15, this week in the war on workers
Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor
Daily Kos Staff
Saturday July 31, 2021 · 6:55 PM EDT

The Fight for $15 kicked off in November 2012, with a relatively small—yet also historically large—group of New York City fast food workers making what seemed an audacious demand: $15 an hour minimum pay and a union. The latter goal hasn’t advanced much since then, but $15? That has become solidly mainstream, and has brought big wins. A new report from the National Employment Law Project quantifies just how big.

The federal minimum wage remains just $7.25 an hour, the same as it was not just in 2012 but in 2009. But between state and local minimum wage increases, and executive action raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, NELP estimates that 26 million workers have gotten a raise. Nearly 12 million of those workers are Black, Latino, or Asian American. The added pay they’ve gotten amounts to $150 billion, with $76 billion going to Black, Latino, and Asian American workers.

Organizing works.


Quantifying the Impact of the Fight for $15: $150 Billion in Raises for 26 Million Workers, With $76 Billion Going to Workers of Color
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 31, 2021, 09:17 PM (2 replies)

Lollapalooza on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

Most of us are vaxxed and I would NEVER be in any place like this, for anyone. Going back to once a week in the stores, negative on the restaurants, masks of course, and home.

Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 31, 2021, 08:59 PM (13 replies)
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