Life is strange at present. On the one hand, the vaccine is becoming more and more widely available, at least in the US, and daily new infection rates have started to gently drift down again in the last few days – nowhere like the plummet in numbers in January/February, but any type of decline is still to be greatly welcomed. So, good news.
This is encouraging some states, most notably Texas and Mississippi, but also others too, to loosen up or completely cancel their restrictions. Other states, while not going quite so far, are hoping for good things very soon now (for example, Colorado), and Florida is repeating itself with public anguish over how to handle this year’s spring break crowds, just like it did last year.
Loosening the previous restrictions now is absolutely wrong. The virus is still abundantly present in all states, and indeed, with the growing prevalence of more infectious and more deadly strains, the need for caution now is greater, not less, than it was at any previous time in the last twelve months.
Think of it like stopping your car while driving down a steep slope. You need to apply the brakes, and after doing so, the car starts slowing down, and you then apply the brakes more, to eventually bring the car to a stop. You don’t then release the brakes and expect the car to continue slowing down, do you – not while it is still on the slope.
In this analogy, the slope represents the underlying presence of the virus. The brakes represent preventative measures such as masks and social distancing. And the car’s speed represents the rate of new virus cases.
Just as how, as long as the car is on the slope, you need to keep your foot on the brake pedal to slow the car down and stop it, and keep your foot on the brake, even after the car has stopped, so too do we need to keep our preventative measures in place as long as the virus is out there and we’re not all vaccinated with a vaccine that will be effective against the growing range of virus threats, some of which are increasingly showing themselves to be less controlled by the vaccines.
This is not rocket science. It is very basic and simple epidemiology and public health, and the governors in states such as Texas and Mississippi are getting it dangerously wrong.
Meanwhile, although some people are daring to hope the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a light (and I largely include myself in that optimistic group), other people are appreciating that it is still quite some distance between we get there. Here’s a reasonably sensible commentary that is rather depressing – our lives may be forever under a Covid cloud, with continued need for new vaccinations for new strains, and a requirement for caution prior to each new vaccine’s release to match each new strain, for some years to follow.
Meanwhile, “scientists” who should know better continue to come up with crazy untested ideas about mixing and matching vaccines. Maybe there’s some sense in their speculation, but the craziness is their eagerness to adopt untested, untrialed, unproven, unknown, strategies – something that is alarming and depressing.
Talking about scientists who should know better, perhaps a quick update on ivermectin is called for. Astonishingly, the National Institutes of Health is refusing to disclose who it is among their experts that is/are arguing against ivermectin, or why – they claim they are “unable” to comply with a Freedom of Information request to explain why they are not more positive on the drug.
It is bad enough they’re not singing ivermectin’s praises at the top of their voice, but to refuse to disclose who is responsible for their negativity and why, is perplexing. Their awkward silence implies guilt and their own knowledge that their decision was not made on a rational and supportable basis.
Meanwhile, Peru has unwittingly provided some mass-data that seems overwhelmingly persuasive in support of ivermectin use. In May last year, the country approved ivermectin as a Covid treatment. This brought about a 14-fold reduction in national excess deaths. That seems to argue very strongly in favor of IVM use.
But wait, there’s more. Inexplicably, after a new President was elected, the country changed its national guidance, and sharply restricted IVM availability and use. The outcome? Excess death rates increased 13-fold.
So, there’s proof, both ways. Start using ivermectin, and national death rates drop. Stop using ivermectin, and national death rates increase again.
One more thing about scientists who should know better. According to this WSJ article, the risible WHO investigation into the Chinese origins of the virus is not only being criticized by independent scientists (and me), but the eventual release of formal findings are subject to the Chinese government’s prior approval.
Is it possible to come up with a more guaranteed-to-fail approach to an “independent enquiry”. That’s a bit like trying someone in a jury trial, and not only having the defendant control what evidence the prosecution can show the court, but also requiring the jury’s verdict to be approved by the defendant prior to being announced.
There were no changes to either the US case rate or death rate rankings.
There were no changes in the minor country list. In the major country list, Sweden and Belgium swapped places, as did Belgium and the Czech Rep on the death rate list.
US Best and Worst States
|A week ago||Now||A week ago||Now|
|1 Best||HI (19,322)||HI (19,563)||HI (307)||HI (311)|
|2||VT (23,782)||VT (25,138)||VT (325)||VT (332)|
|4||OR||OR||ME (521)||ME (524)|
|5||WA (44,775)||WA (45,473)||OR (523)||OR (542)|
|47||IA (114,720)||IA (115,884)||MS (2,222)||MS (2,273)|
|48||UT (115,233)||UT (116,445)||MA (2,318)||MA (2,363)|
|49||RI||RI||RI (2,356)||RI (2,397)|
|50||SD (126,562)||SD (127,806)||NY (2,442)||NY (2,483)|
|51 Worst||ND (130,726)||ND (131,464)||NJ (2,606)||NJ (2,645)|
Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (139,619)||Andorra (141,904)|
|2||Gibraltar (125,727)||Gibraltar (125,965)|
|4||San Marino||San Marino|
|9||Aruba (72,892)||Aruba (74,800)|
|10||Lithuania (72,685)||Lithuania (74,498)|
Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (111,748)||Czech Republic (119,776)|
|2||USA (87,435)||USA (88,851)|
|3||Portugal (78,779)||Portugal (79,344)|
|8||UK (60,989)||UK (61,670)|
|11||Italy (47,488)||Italy (49,653)|
|12||Argentina (46,048)||Argentina (46,926)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Belgium (1,892)||Czech Rep (1,970)|
|2||Czech Rep (1,850)||Belgium (1,907)|
|3||UK (1,792)||UK (1,821)|
|4||Italy (1,605)||Italy (1,639)|
|5||Portugal (1,590)||Portugal (1,617)|
|6||USA (1,567)||USA (1,606)|
|7||Spain (1,471)||Spain (1,507)|
|8||Mexico (1,408)||Mexico (1,448)|
|9||Peru (1,380)||Peru (1,421)|
|10||France (1,309)||France (1,344)|
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Items below include a very important factor that can affect your Covid survival chances ten-fold, and similarly impact on how well the vaccine may protect you, a new way of detecting Covid infections, the US approves a third vaccine, which brings the question – which of the three is best for you, Canada’s unfortunate vaccine choice is a vaccine spurned by many other countries, and a look at vaccination and infection rates.
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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.