Is now the winter of our discontent?

July 31, 2021 • 12:15 pm

I was talking to a friend last night who told me how worn out she was from the pandemic—and she has family all around her, including two grandkids. That made me realize how worn out we all our from our more-than-a-year sequestration. Nobody has been immune.

And now the specter looms of yet another lockdown and mask festival, this time caused by the delta variant of Covid, which can not only infect those who are doubly vaccinated, but can live in huge numbers in their nasal passages and infect other vaccinated people.  A huge number of Americans are resisting not only getting vaccinated, but also to wearing masks. Some yahoo governmental officials have declared that they won’t even consider mask mandates. All of this this presages another tough time this fall and winter. These are my predictions, and I dearly hope I’m wrong.

a.) There will be another surge in infections, which in fact is starting now, and breakthrough infections will start happening with the vaccinated. Other variants may arise even more dangerous than the delta. Kids will start getting the virus.

b.)  Booster shots will be instituted by the fall, and the smart folks will get them. In fact, I think we’ll need at least an annual COVID shot because immunity is wearing off faster than many thought.

c.) Perhaps more Americans will start wising up about vaccination and masking, but not enough of them. On Thursday heard four healthcare workers on the NBC Evening News explain why they didn’t want to get vaccinated. Healthcare workers! One said she didn’t trust the CDC. Another, confronted with the “facts” about vaccine efficacy, said she didn’t believe them.

d.) We will start having more lockdowns and mask mandates, and people, worn out from the last ones, will be even more resistant than before. Eight of the fifty states have indoor mask mandates. As of now, only two of of them (Nevada and Hawaii), as well as Washington, D.C., include the vaccinated. But of course we know now that the vaccinated can not only get infected, but spread the virus. (The just don’t get as sick as the unvaccinated.)

d.) As schools start to open, and the concert/entertainment festivals start, superpreader events will occur.  (The giant Lollapalooza Music Festival is going on right now in Chicago. You can get in if you wear a mask, but if you’re unmasked, you’re required to show a negative Covid test in the last three days or your vaccination card. But which masked people will  be keeping them on in the huge crowd?)  This all will lead to more lockdowns and other restrictions.

e.) Schools will open soon. Many kids have not been vaccinated, and nobody under 12 is even eligible. What with the Delta variant about, which makes younger people sicker than the previous variants, proper social distancing, air filtering, and mask wearing are essential for live classes. Everybody connected with school is sick of virtual teaching, so schools will desperately try to stay open “live”. This will cause problems, and many schools may go back to virtual classes.

The upshot: the “Summer of freedom” we all expected is dissolving fast, and I suspect we’re facing another wearing Fall and Winter of Restrictions. Many more people in the U.S. will die than would have had they gotten their jabs, and we’re all in for more restrictions, masking, and travel bans.

In short, it’s going to be tough until well into 2022. Such is my prediction, which is mine. It’s depressing. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see it coming.

 

The Delta variant of COVID-19 (caption from NPR), which is more dangerous because it proliferates faster in the respiratory tract and reaches higher numbers: 1,000 times higher than previous variants.

The numerals in this illustration show the main mutation sites of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is likely the most contagious version. Here, the virus’s spike protein (red) binds to a receptor on a human cell (blue). Juan Gaertner/Science Source

80 thoughts on “Is now the winter of our discontent?

  1. Per Google the number of deaths in New York have remained very low. Delta is not looking more dangerous in New York. Of course, New York was already hit very hard from the first and second wave. This may indicate states that have already had a lot of infections and vaccinations have substantial protection from delta. Almost all deaths so far have been from unvaccinated and barring some new sinister mutation, I am really hoping we are getting out of the woods. I think a lot of the uptick in deaths is from states that wanted to signal their political party by not getting vaccinated. I very much hope this is coming to an end as my mental health has unfortunately taken some pretty good shots. In my 12 years as a retail pharmacist I have never experienced this kind of utter exhaustion.

  2. I spoke with an older woman in my neighborhood who said she got her first shot yesterday. I know that’s anecdotal, but something got her to start thinking it was a good thing to do.

  3. Aside from the rate of infection, I’ve seen nothing indicating that the Delta variant is more deadly than the original, if anything the opposite. I am vaccinated, and I refuse to play Simon Says on this. If this were a real problem, the administration would be controlling infectious migrants and vaccinating all of them. The administration would also be pushing back on unions that are vaccine shy, or at least calling them out in public for being part of the problem. Members of the administration and Democrats would be more careful about their own masking. The Party Line (for that’s what it is, did you see how quickly the media jumped on the bandwagon?) is that the problem is those pesky Republicans, who are all anti-science and stuff. Well, last time I checked the AFT (who are trying to get another year off) and the postal workers weren’t Republicans, and the numbers show lots of vaccine hesitancy among the favored classes, and among health care workers. The current messaging is a hopeless muddle, and either the administration is panicking, or it wants to create a panic, or both. They pretend that they are following the science, but the science says that children are at very low risk, and that unless you have several co-morbidities, the death rate is less than one percent for others. If we were following the science, there would not be universal mandates, but targeted programs for the elderly and infirm. Right now in Florida we are averaging fifty-eight deaths a day attributed to Covid. That’s fewer than the flu. So come on down, the weather’s fine. My wife and I are going to the movies in a little while.

    1. Good for you you’re vaccinated. Why did you take the jab? So there.
      I do not think the messaging of your government is a hopeless muddle. I think their message has been consistent: Get the jab, it will not protect you 100%, but it helps, and the more get vaccinated, the better it will help. That message appears pretty clear to me.

    2. The current messaging is a hopeless muddle …

      Well, as J.M. Keynes might say, when the facts change, the messaging changes. What do you do, sir?

    3. “…the AFT (who are trying to get another year off)”.

      That’s needlessly and carelessly insulting to hundreds of thousands of teachers who worked like slaves (sorry) to get their students through the worst school year in decades. Nobody got a year off – for the teachers and students I know, it required more time and effort (not less) to teach and learn online, especially for teachers and students who were in hybrid teaching (partly in person, partly online). Teaching is not a system that teachers are trying to game for some kind of lush vacation. Have some empathy eh?

      1. Thanks for this comment. I had no idea what DrBrydon was writing about when he wrote that the AFT was trying to get another year off. It is amazing how poorly informed some can be.

    4. “Aside from the rate of infection, I’ve seen nothing indicating that the Delta variant is more deadly than the original, if anything the opposite.”

      The rate of infection is why it is more deadly. If you look at the numbers in, for example, Louisiana, many hospitals are at or over capacity. At this point, there is pretty good understanding of how to care for patients with COVID, but when there isn’t the capacity to care for them, they are more likely to die or have long term damage. The stress on the care system also negatively affects non-COVID patient care.

      “If this were a real problem”–conspiracy and political redacted- “but the science says that children are at very low risk, and that unless you have several co-morbidities, the death rate is less than one percent for others.”

      Children are at low risk? References, please?

      I reside in the one place in the NY metro with a rate greater than 100/100K. Vax rate is high, but the rejection by many of reasonable measures continues to drive infection. This rejection has been since the beginning over a year ago. I could throw anecdotes out, but the numbers speak for themselves.

      (I dread Monday. I have a site job on a ship fresh from a gulf coast port, and international prior to that. So I can pay my bills, as my salary as a teacher doesn’t cover it here.)

      1. “Children are at low risk? References, please?”

        See: this article: “Studies find that overall risk of death or severe disease from COVID-19 is very low in kids.”

        “COVID-19 caused 25 deaths in [people younger than 18 in England] between March 2020 and February 2021. About half of those deaths were in individuals with an underlying complex disability with high health-care needs, such as tube feeding or assistance with breathing.” Also: “None had asthma or type-1 diabetes”.

        That number compares with 3,105 all-cause deaths [again, U18 in England in same time interval]. Thus, except for kids with severe conditions, their risk from covid is small.

        1. “…the AFT (who are trying to get another year off)”.

          This comment is very unfair. My colleagues who are teachers (I am a retired teacher) just had the most difficult year of their careers. As if the job isn’t hard enough, adding on-line teaching drove the stress levels up. A flip remark such as “another year off” demonstrates very little understanding of the job and what it entails. Under normal circumstances, it is challenging. Under Covid circumstances, double that stress. Walk a mile in their shoes and all that.

    5. “Right now in Florida we are averaging fifty-eight deaths a day attributed to Covid. That’s fewer than the flu.”

      That’s deliberate disinformation and it is harmful.

      58 deaths per day is 21k deaths per year. In *Florida alone*. The number of deaths attributed to the flu last season was 21k for the *entire country*.

  4. …and reaches higher numbers: 1,000 times higher than previous variants. That may be, but we honestly don’t know. All measurements have been of genome copies, not of infectious virions.

  5. I’m sorry to say that I agree with everything Jerry has written here. True, the forthcoming winter of discontent won’t be AS bad as last winter, but it will be bad nonetheless.

  6. Our only real hope is vaccination mandates. Life for the willfully unvaccinated needs to be made difficult. You should have to show your vaccination card to get in to theaters, airports, places of employment. Those of us who have wore masks until fully vaccinated, who scrupulously maintained social distance, who avoided in-person shopping and travel, and got vaccinated as soon as we possibly could are sick to death of making excuses for covidiots.

    I’m with Andrew Sullivan on this one. He says “…Forcing all the responsible people to go back to constraining their everyday lives for the sake of the vaccine-averse is both unfair and actually weakens the incentive to get a vaccine, because it lowers the general risk of getting it in the broader society. So the obviously correct public policy is to let mounting sickness and rising deaths concentrate the minds of the recalcitrant. Let reality persuade the delusional and deranged. It has a pretty solid record of doing just that.”.

    I would never have felt this way before. But this is now a pandemic of the willfully unvaccinated. My tolerance for them is gone.

      1. Not so. There are plenty of mandates. Schools mandate vaccinations for children. The military mandate lots of vaccines. Companies can make vaccinations conditions of employment. Being unvaccinated is not a protected class in the US.

      2. Maybe not, I wouldn’t know. IIRC George Washington mandated the vaccination against smallpox for the continental army in 1777.
        If Biden goes for mandates, he at least is in ‘good company’.

      3. I think the Constitution gives the US president authority to issue mandates for employees of the national executive branch — which is to say, for almost all federal workers.

        And I don’t think anything in the Constitution prohibits private employers or businesses from issuing mandates for their employees or for customers who use their services, or prohibits governors from issuing mandates for state employees.

    1. Totally agree with vaccine mandates and “passports”; it’s the only way we’re going to move past this. There are too many fools out there who will only get vaccinated once they’re not allowed to eat out, go to the movies/concerts, fly, work, etc.

    2. GB,

      Totally agree with you. I don’t know if you coined the term “covidiots.” I find it especially applicable to that group.

      Mike

    3. There is talk of this here and there of the unvaccinated being the ones locked down this time. Still these nuts will kill us all as they cook up new variants. I’m so sick to death (well hopefully not literal death yet) of wilful ignorance.

  7. There are some encouraging signs, not yet fully understood. The delta variant is mysteriously slowing down in the UK and India. Death rates remain fairly low. I think that the virulence of the disease will decline enough that people will accept the risk and decide to live normally while taking reasonable precautions..

    1. As a general rule in epidemiology, at least for highly virulent diseases, when transmission drops, virulence abates. The more reason to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

      1. Alas, that’s not a pattern one can count on. Consider the counterexamples cited here:

        https://theconversation.com/will-coronavirus-really-evolve-to-become-less-deadly-153817

        I don’t think we can necessarily rely on decreasing virulence with Covid-19. It would certainly be a mistake to allow ourselves to be too reassured by the cases where, historically, an infectious agent became a chronic but far less deadly hazard than it had been originally.

        1. It is only a general rule (as said), a rule of the thumb. I’m not surprised at all there are exceptions

    2. ‘In short, it’s going to be tough until well into 2022. Such is my prediction, which is mine. ‘ Yes, I know, Monty Python, but you share your prediction with at least a few 100 millions of others.

    1. But is that drop in cases due to the school holidays in the UK? It’s too early to be the result of the dangerously-named “Freedom Day” hyper-spreader event.

  8. Based on history and the intelligence of people I would not expect us to fully recover from this virus for some time. History is something to ignore for many people and that is why we see things repeated over and over again. Lots of folks love to ignore science and believe in conspiracy theories and religion. It would be interesting to take an on site survey of all the people who pack into churches tomorrow without masks or vaccinations and shuck out dollars for an invisible g*d. Surprised that we cannot get to herd immunity when the herd does not respect each other. I am not.

  9. Of course the real problem lies with politicizing science and using a form of insidious folk psychology to determine the freedom to determine your own fate. Well, no because that sort of rugged individualism is not only selfish but can and will have lethal effects on vulnerable people in their orbit and people will perish. This is a world wide menace and if we can’t trust the experts then we are prolonging the suffering and the economic fall out, combined with a wicked accelerated global warming trend will impact even the privileged one percent and all this makes wearing a damn mask seem very easy and moral.

  10. I agree with DB James (and Andrew Sullivan). I will not wear a mask unless legally required to or unless I am around kids, because the only people who are likely to get very sick if I happen to transmit the virus to them are the unvaccinated — and those people brought it on themselves so I have no sympathy or consideration for them. If more of them actually die, then (a) more people might get vaccinated, and (b) the vaccinated as a percentage of total population will rise even if vaccinations don’t.

    1. Of course, here are also people who are unable to be vaccinated because of serious medical conditions – they are probably doing their best to shield, but might come into contact with other unvaccinated people (care workers or relatives) or even the small minority of people who have been fully vaccinated but for whom the jabs have been ineffective…

      1. Such folk deserve some consideration, of course. But mostly they need to assume responsibility for protecting themselves, avoiding restaurants, keeping distance from others, etc. They won’t really be safe until the covidiots are vaccinated, recovered with immunity, or dead.

  11. Evidence seems to be that, while the delta can indeed infect vaccinated people, the vaccines do give better-than-90% protection against serious illness (hospitalisation/death). Further, kids seem pretty immune to all variants (death rate less than 1 in a million for previously healthy kids), and that they also don’t spread it. Further, the evidence seems to be that the UK is pretty close to herd immunity, given the currently dropping rate of positive tests, despite easing of restrictions.

    So, yes, we’re likely to need yearly booster shots (no big deal for us, except that it then deprives the world’s poor countries of vaccine, given the limited production capacities) but otherwise it seems things in the UK could well be returning pretty close to normal over a few months.

    Of course there are still unknown unknowns … and the likelihood of further variants …

    1. Of course, that assumes that you are one of the lucky to have a pretty much normal immune system. Many are not and those include people with autoimmune diseases like arthritis, diabetes or people who suffer with lung ailments like asthma. They may do whatever they can to protect themselves then come into contact with someone else who has done everything they can but get the disease anyway and die.

      1. True (and I am someone with an auto-immune condition), but covid will keep circulating and we’re all going to encounter it sometime (unless we live as hermits). So we just have to trust the vaccines and get on with life. Certainly, if I get a delta-tweaked booster shot by Christmas, I’ll then act pretty much normal, since the alternative would be social-distancing for the rest of ones life.

  12. a.) There will be another surge in infections, which in fact is starting now, and breakthrough infections will start happening with the vaccinated. Other variants may arise even more dangerous than the delta. Kids will start getting the virus.

    Well, of course it’s going to infect children. There have been enough cases previously that we know that children don’t have some mystical (one might even say “god-given”) immunity. So, obviously, once the existence of a considerably resistant population (the vaccinated) starts to impact on the reproduction of the virus, it is going to amplify the reproductive advantage any variant has which does infect children.
    I wonder what – if any – aspect of the virus’ interaction with human physiology makes it less likely for children to get serious illness? (OK, “made it less likely”, and “so far”.) I vaguely wondered if it was something to do with distance of travel of air into the lungs – because it seems that a lot of the worst damage was done in lungs (with consequences elsewhere due to poor oxygenation). But that would predict a severity-height relationship which would include children, but would flatten off in the obese (because the lengths of their airways don’t get longer as their waistlines get longer). I haven’t heard of such a relationship, but I’m not following medical reports closely.
    Regardless – when the virus develops a mutation which is child-infective, there will be a hecatomb. Unless, of course, we manage to get the number of virus-breeding events (infections) down.
    Of course, there is absolutely nothing to prevent those new variants from emerging in, say, Ulan Bataar or Utar Pradesh, then spreading into the rest of the world.
    Elsewhere in Jerry’s post … where was it …

    Booster shots will be instituted by the fall, and the smart folks will get them.

    I got sent a questionnaire by a marketing company a couple of days ago which included several questions about my willingness to take this years ‘flu jab, to take a COVID-booster jab, and to take the two together in one visit to the hospital (actually, it was the physiotherapy gymnasium not the regular hospital for the flu jab last year, but “meh”). Clearly the UK.gov institutions are doing due diligence in preparing for a winter multiple-jabs campaign, even if the Prime Liar and Council of Thieves are denying it.
    Also, they’re treating the “too many vaccines at once” argument put forward by Homo anti-vaxx variety MMR in particular with the attention it deserves.

    Perhaps more Americans will start wising up about vaccination and masking, but not enough of them.

    [Shrug] A self-correcting problem.
    Does anyone know what the longest-lasting (human) skin dye is? For marking the foreheads of people with the first, second, third, fourth … vaccine jabs in a way that will allow the unvaccinated to be shunned comprehensively by the marked. Going on current events, you’d need a dye with a half-life of 3 to 6 months. Obviously, I wouldn’t promote tattooing – because in a couple of years time we might need to re-use the forehead canvases for the next zoonotic disease we stir up. Or which the waterfowl and wild pigs manage to mix up between themselves. “Mwahahahaha-quack-oink!”

    1. “For marking the foreheads of people with the first, second, third, fourth … vaccine jabs in a way that will allow the unvaccinated to be shunned comprehensively by the marked.”

      I suspect there’s a not insignificant number of the unvaccinated who would consider such marks “the mark of the Beast.” Oooouuuutttt Spiiiiriiittt!

    2. I think there has been a huge failure of science communication around how the virus affects children. They were always vulnerable, they just didn’t die from it but there are many cases where they were very affected. If the kids start dying, I think that’s when there will be a change in some of the more vaccine hesitant (anti-vaxx are probably too far gone and will simply say they don’t believe it – such is the tragedy of cults).

    3. “For marking the foreheads of people with the first, second, third, fourth … vaccine jabs in a way that will allow the unvaccinated to be shunned comprehensively by the marked.”

      My inner misanthrope loves this!

      1. My outer misanthrope would buy your inner misanthrope a beer. Unfortunately it would have to pass through your outer misanthrope.

        Unless … where’s my “Uncle Jack’s Surgery Starter Kit”?

  13. “In short, it’s going to be tough until well into 2022.”

    And beyond. As long as much of the world’s population has no access to vaccines, the virus will continue to mutate and spread. Viruses don’t know political boundaries.

    Currently, 28.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 14.5% is fully vaccinated. Only 1.1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, not by choice but because vaccines are so unequally available. These are the people who will suffer the most. (Data from https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations.)

    1. Yes. They are the people who will suffer the most from all future calamities including climate change, a loss of low skilled jobs, and the many plagues to come.

  14. Sadly, I agree with everything that Jerry says. Let me amplify on the point he and others are making regarding variants. While it may be true that there is still relatively little risk of serious disease among the vaccinated, the fact that they can carry and spread a viral load is a concern. With so much viral replication occurring—both among the vaccinated and, particularly, the unvaccinated—the probability of emergence of even more serious variants goes up. More replications provides more opportunity for dangerous mutations. We need to get the entire replication load down as quickly as possible to prevent this. The current situation suggests that we will not get to that state for awhile, if we get there at all before another variant emerges.

  15. I finally stopped wearing the mask while at the supermarket about 3 weeks ago and now I have a cold!

  16. My comment comes in late, because I was at a community event talking about the vaccines from a cell biology perspective. I talk up how recent, but pervasive, DNA sequencing is, and how virtuous our ribosomes are.
    I worry the government message is correct, but they all sound like a bunch of used car salespeople. Who would you trust? Biologists could be the public friend to help folks “look under the hood” of this novel but fantastic vaccine.

    1. “I worry the government message is correct, but they all sound like a bunch of used car salespeople.”

      Well, that seems to be what the “infotainment” “bread and circuses” crowd best responds to, unfortunately.

  17. I am really bothered by the idea of nationwide restrictions based on the Provincetown study. The study references “large public gatherings”, and that they were “densely packed”.
    What is omitted is that it was “Bear Week” in Provincetown the week of 7/10 to 7/18, after having last years event cancelled. Media coverage names it as the largest such event in the world, with tens of thousands attending. Bear Week follows Independence Week (with Rough Trade events spotlighted!), and a number of similar events.
    The CDC might have been better off issuing guidance that large-scale orgies involving overweight men should be avoided until the danger from delta has passed. Even so, there were no deaths associated with the event.
    Of course, we don’t know the histories of those who were hospitalized, but images of the events seem to focus on overweight, unusually hirsute, middle aged men.

    I have no opinion about such events, it does not seem like any of my business. But basing nationwide restrictions on the rates of disease transmission at such events seems poorly considered. Not just because a DILF pool party is always going to be more likely to spread disease generally than a movie theater, but also the possibility of immunosuppression being an issue among gay men as well as an issue in vaccine effectiveness.
    I have not seen anything about the interaction of PrEP and Covid, but it is certain that the group at Provincetown hadmuch higher PrEP use than the population in general.

    It may well be that my concerns have been considered and addressed, but it seems at first glance that this study is not particularly representative of the country as a whole. Not enough to impose general restrictions, anyway.

    1. I’m not 100% sure, since studies contradict each other, but surprisingly and unexpectedly, Covid (although mortality rates are higher) appears not to kill Retroviral Disease sufferers in the towering numbers expected here in South Africa, a country with one of the highest HIV rates in the world.
      TB or previous TB does appear to seriously increase the case mortality rate though, and many have or had TB. At present TB is still considered the greatest killer of RVD patients.
      It appears that the anti retroviral Tenofovir (TDF) reduces the case mortality rate more in AIDS patients, compared to other antiretrovirals.

  18. ‘On Thursday heard four healthcare workers on the NBC Evening News explain why they didn’t want to get vaccinated. Healthcare workers! One said she didn’t trust the CDC. Another, confronted with the “facts” about vaccine efficacy, said she didn’t believe them.’

    Well, on what basis does she and her ilk believe ANY facts about the efficacy of any therapeutic intervention she/they administer to a patient? Do they question the efficacy of the D5W or physiologic saline solution for maintaining metabolism and balanced electrolyte function, or respiratory aerosol therapy, or various medications, or anesthetics before/during procedures/surgery, or blood transfusions, or the “central line” antibiotic, or comprehensive suites of blood tests, or ECG tests – or even blood pressure measurements and other vital signs assessments- they administer? Did they have their children vaccinated for polio, smallpox, chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough and other debilitating childhood illnesses, even if they otherwise believe “I will NOT get vaccinated. Vaccinations are a personal choice”? Spare me!

    I perceive that more and more, who resisted vaccination, on video are remorseful in their hospital beds, stating that if they had it to do over they would get the shot, and are pleading with the vaccine hesitant to get the shot. For those who are science-averse, I perceive that to be the strongest-possible “messaging.”

    I’m mindful of Joe South’s song, “The Games People Play.”

  19. To all those who say: Vaccinate!
    Neither are the current vaccines really effective now nor will they be effective aganst the upcoming strains.
    Thus it is really dangerous to implement all those mandates. They will not really help much but they will set a dangerous precedence for other limitations of personal freedom.
    And, before you ask I’m vaccinated.

      1. Risk assessment:
        Low personal incidence rate of any adverse events against any medicines versus age above 50, paper shuffling job.
        ergo: Get the vaccine
        Does this answer your question?

        1. Seems moderately odd to do if you think it isn’t of much use. The rest of your reasoning is just pure misinformed paranoia. The sort that led people to oppose seat belt mandates. To say nothing of all the freedoms we’ve lost by having to comply with stop sign mandates.

          1. Misinformed paranoia? Where was that?
            That I assess the real, albeit limited, likelihood of adverse effects? This is already paranoia for you?

            1. “…they will set a dangerous precedence for other limitations of personal freedom.”

              Also, what came before that snippet. I stand by my characterization.

    1. Neither are the current vaccines really effective now nor will they be effective aganst the upcoming strains.

      Where did you come up with this bullshit?

      1. Some obscure author with a background in evolutionary science, who wrote:
        “delta variant of Covid, which can not only infect those who are doubly vaccinated, but can live in huge numbers in their nasal passages and infect other vaccinated people.”
        Have a nice day Mark.

        1. Your statement above and this quote are not equivalent.

          The current vaccines appear to do a good job of protecting from infection severe enough to require hospitalization or need intensive treatment.

          1. “appear to do a good job”
            That’s my point. They are not able to eradicate existing strains, newer data indicate that even vaccinated people are able to still spread the virus. So the measures planned for anti-vaxxers seem to me dangerous. Same for those measures that are addressing the spread of erroneous information.

        2. Yeah. Your original statement: Neither are the current vaccines really effective now nor will they be effective aganst the upcoming strains.. Your best piece of evidence: ‘delta variant of Covid, which can not only infect those who are doubly vaccinated, but can live in huge numbers in their nasal passages and infect other vaccinated people’. And you’re really claiming that the second statement provides any kind of support for the first??

          Surely you can do better—how about some numbers showing that hospitalizations and mortality among the fully vaccinated are the same as those among the unvaccinated, either currently or during the first year of the pandemic? Should be easy to come up with, given the force and self-assurance of your original proclamation, eh? We’re sitting here waiting and eager to be convinced!

    2. “Neither are the current vaccines really effective now nor will they be effective aganst the upcoming strains.”
      Not sure where this is coming from. From what I can gather of the data, vaccines are preventing serious illness and death among the vaccinated as the delta variant spreads.
      For example: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2108891

      To quote the results:
      Effectiveness after one dose of vaccine (BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) was notably lower among persons with the delta variant (30.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 25.2 to 35.7) than among those with the alpha variant (48.7%; 95% CI, 45.5 to 51.7); the results were similar for both vaccines. With the BNT162b2 vaccine, the effectiveness of two doses was 93.7% (95% CI, 91.6 to 95.3) among persons with the alpha variant and 88.0% (95% CI, 85.3 to 90.1) among those with the delta variant. With the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, the effectiveness of two doses was 74.5% (95% CI, 68.4 to 79.4) among persons with the alpha variant and 67.0% (95% CI, 61.3 to 71.8) among those with the delta variant.

    3. I wrote about how the Provincetown study might be a poor representation of the US, but it is a good example of just how effective the vaccine is. 10s of thousands of hedonists celebrating Bear Week, no social distancing, little masking, high risk individuals engaging in behavior that is the literal opposite of what one would do to prevent the spread of communicable disease.
      However, they came from a population with high vaccine conformity. A very small number had mild symptoms, a handful were hospitalized, and there were no deaths.

  20. I don’t see where we will ever really put this behind us.
    Even at herd immunity levels, people can still catch it and spread it, especially at super-spreader events, even among the vaccinated. More critically, we will need regular booster shots and that is our weakest link right there. Sure, many people will try to keep up with those, but many more will lapse in getting their booster. And ’round and round we shall go.
    So I don’t personally see how this ever ends.

    1. I recall seeing a chart that showed how much much immunity was required (in percent) for each variant. Delta basically requires 100% which in our age of wilful ignorance will be impossible even if all the kids were eligible for vaccination.

  21. On the bright side, it is only affecting humans negatively. I just watched an Attenborough documentary The Year the Earth Changed that covers how pollution was greatly mitigated and wildlife has flourished during this long absence of humans. Things you wouldn’t think of, like birds creating new songs since they can hear without the auto traffic, and humpback whale mothers leaving their calves for long distances since they can hear much further without the boat traffic- this allows them to eat more which is a must for nursing mothers. There are many other examples, a fascinating documentary. It’s depressing too, because it sheds light on just how detrimental human activity is to the planet and everything that lives here (including ourselves).

  22. Everytime I think about complaining about this situation, a voice in my head reminds me of how lucky I’ve been in Australia living in relative normalcy without knowing anyone affected by the virus. Still, it’s tiring, and it’s hard to stay positive because I don’t see any endgame where we return to actual normalcy. The hope was the vaccine, but I underestimated how political something so basic as healthcare has become.

    It sucks. It really sucks.

  23. I was thinking that the group of unvaccinated was a collective shoo-in for the Darwin Award, but then I thought that the members of this group have most likely already reproduced, so we’re still up sh*t’s creek.

  24. I hope you’re wrong also. You’re not wrong though. I agree 100% but moreso: I’m disappointed in a citizenry who doesn’t care about others (re masks, distance, vax etc)

    Sure new variants will pop up and what if one of them has a huge case fatality rate? Pretend, also, it is even more transmissible. maybe it mainly attacks kids, and those three factors could be a civilization ending proposition.
    I’m furiously angry at anti-vaxers – no a low IQ DOES NOT excuse them from civic responsibility.

    Trump’s election, Brexit and now this have recalibrated my 50 year old view of humanity.

    D.A.
    NYC

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