The US, UK, and Europe seem to be in the grip of two opposing forces. On the one side is a race to vaccinate as much of the population as quickly as possible in the hope of causing new Covid case counts to drop. On the other side is a race to reopen as much of each country as possible, in a different race – the race to stop inflicting enormous financial damage on so many businesses, and social “harm” on us all, deprived of much of what we used to enjoy in our lives.
Can we vaccinate fast enough to counter the increased risks associated with abandoning social distancing restrictions? And what about the added severity of new more infectious (and more fatal) virus strains?
The ultimate answer to these questions remains very unclear. Both the US and UK have stalled with new case counts hovering around the 56,000 and 5,500 levels, respectively, and in the EU, the new case rate has grown about 50% in the last month.
As you can see, most of the world is seeing some growth in daily new cases being reported, it is only the US and UK that have strong reductions, and our reductions have more or less petered out to the point where numbers might be starting to rise again.
The good news in the US is that we’ll soon have a surplus of vaccines – more doses of vaccine than people wanting them. The UK is feeling slightly more anxious about its vaccine supply at present due to the EU’s threats to restrict the export of vaccine doses to other countries. The EU is starting to feel defensive about its own disappointing vaccination rate and climbing new case rate.
Not so here. Sometime in the next few months, we’ll reach the point in the US where everyone wanting to be vaccinated will have been vaccinated. But that’s not the same as saying the virus will be defeated, and new cases will disappear. Currently, we are being told it will take about an 80% vaccination rate to achieve some type of herd immunity, but only 69% of adults plan to be vaccinated (and who only knows about what will happen with children).
Two things worth keeping in mind about vaccines. The first is that you don’t instantly get full protection the minute you get the second of your two shots (or your only shot if taking the J&J single shot vaccine). Full protection takes about two weeks to build up after your second shot.
The second is that the vaccines don’t guarantee you anything. Sure, they claim to be 95% effective at helping you avoid a severe infection or death, but that still means one in every twenty people aren’t protected. Even if you are in the 95%, you still might get a mild dose of the vaccine, and you still might pass it on to other people.
RI and MA swapped places in the US death list.
Gibraltar, claiming a 100% vaccination rate among adults, has added two new cases to its total (now 4272 cases). I’ve not been able to determine whether the new cases are from previously vaccinated residents, or visitors, or unvaccinated residents, but have asked the Gibraltar Government for more information. The country has dropped one place on the minor country list.
Bahrain has now appeared on the minor country list, displacing Lithuania.
No changes on the major list, but Poland’s rapid rate of growth suggests it might move up the list very soon.
There were no changes in the death list.
US Best and Worst States
|A week ago||Now||A week ago||Now|
|1 Best||HI (20,135)||HI (20,532)||HI (319)||HI (323)|
|2||VT||VT||VT (348)||VT (357)|
|4||OR||OR||ME (541)||ME (544)|
|5||WA (46,759)||WA (47,490)||OR (558)||OR (562)|
|47||IA (118,045)||IA (119,198)||MS (2,331)||MS (2,348)|
|48||UT (118,635)||UT (119,546)||MA (2,431)||RI (2,461)|
|49||RI||RI||RI (2,449)||MA (2,468)|
|50||SD (130,223)||SD (131,829)||NY (2,547)||NY (2,575)|
|51 Worst||ND (133,064)||ND (134,107)||NJ (2,711)||NJ (2,739)|
Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (147,286)||Andorra (151,083)|
|2||Montenegro (136,556)||Montenegro (141,677)|
|9||Panama (80,109)||Panama (80,789)|
|10||Lithuania (76,981)||Bahrain (79,763)|
Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (134,198)||Czech Republic (139,447)|
|2||USA (91,337)||USA (92,576)|
|3||Portugal (80,198)||Portugal (80,513)|
|8||France (63,962)||France (67,668)|
|9||UK (62,825)||UK (63,380)|
|12||Poland (52,470)||Poland (56,981)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Rep (2,249)||Czech Rep (2,373)|
|2||Belgium (1,944)||Belgium (1,960)|
|3||UK (1,848)||UK (1,855)|
|4||Italy (1,720)||Italy (1,768)|
|5||USA (1,662)||USA (1,684)|
|6||Portugal (1,645)||Portugal (1,652)|
|7||Spain (1,559)||Spain (1,591)|
|8||Mexico (1,508)||Mexico (1,537)|
|9||Peru (1,493)||Peru (1,526)|
|10||France (1,402)||France (1,428)|
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Items below include a possible explanation for why there wasn’t a major winter peak in new virus cases, data on virus mutation rates, other unconsidered costs and outcomes of the virus, how big-pharma PR beats simple science in the battle for hearts and minds (and pocket-books), more hand sanitizer problems, a look at the growing list of problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine, should poor countries really be given priority shipments of vaccines, more on side effects, a new type of mask, why is the CDC so negative about cruising for so far into the future, yet another toilet paper shortage threat, a crazy doctor, and much more.
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1 thought on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 25 March, 2021”
I’m disappointed to hear that some people still tell you to be quiet when you discuss IVM or HCQ, (or any other Covid issue), because you’re not a doctor. I have a lot of respect for the medical profession, and would certainly admit that they know far more about biology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, etc. than I ever will.
Science is the logical, dispassionate search for physical truth. It requires knowledge, data and logic. But it is not the exclusive purview of “experts”. People who have scientific literacy and the ability to review studies and assess statistical results have every right to make judgments about them, whether or not they wear white coats.
In fact, most doctors are so busy with their daily work, they don’t have the time to keep current in the medical literature. And many don’t have statistical skills. As an aside, my Mother was a Medical Research Librarian, and I also worked in medical libraries, and I can tell you that librarians were vital members of the treatment team, pointing doctors to relevant literature and studies. They were not doctors but they helped save lives.
Most doctors are also not epidemiologists or virologists or public policy experts. And Covid-19 is a new virus; nobody (outside of the WIV) had any expertise in bat coronaviruses. As we have seen so frequently, “experts” in this case, have often been wrong (sometimes wildly so), and can have an incomplete perspective. They can also have biases (political and financial).
Attacking you is the logical fallacy of the “appeal to authority”, where the opinion of an authority figure, without any additional information, is used as evidence for an argument.
I would rather listen to the thoughtful analysis of a scientifically literate layman, who lays out his facts, data, and reasoning than an “expert” who does no such thing. It’s the difference between actively participating in your own medical care and just putting your care passively in someone else’s hands.
Over the past year, I’ve found your writing and analysis very helpful, and continue to appreciate it. I have found very few other sources of information that come close to what you have done. It’s appreciated.