Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 27 June, 2021

The question I’m increasingly fixated on is whether new Covid case numbers are rising or falling in the US.  Unfortunately, so much weekend case reporting is not received until Monday/Tuesday rather than same day, so while there are reasonably reliable numbers through Friday, we can only guess at Saturday and Sunday’s numbers.

I can say with reasonable confidence that on Tues, Wed, Thu, and Fri last week new case numbers rose by increasing amounts.  Tuesday’s new case count was up 1% on Tuesday the previous week, Wednesday was 4%, Thursday was 13%, and Friday’s new case count was 14% up on Friday the previous week.  It is also worth noting that the four days prior to then saw steadily reducing decreases in new case numbers, so really there is an eight day trend of case numbers shifting from shrinking to growing.

I’ll know more about Saturday and Sunday in the next day or two, but at this stage, it would be astonishing (albeit also delightful) if the clear eight day trend suddenly disappears.  All of a sudden, articles such as this seem prophetic rather than alarmist.  Here’s a second similar-but-different article on the same topic.

The last few days of the week also saw some very surprising claims emerge about vaccines and their risks/benefits.  A peer reviewed journal published an article with a truly astonishing claim – For every three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination.  That’s surely not how vaccines have been sold to us, is it, and while part of that statement involves trying to reconcile different measures and risks between two different things, with of course problems in doing so, the bottom line claim is certainly eye-grabbing and headline worthy.

The second shoe to drop is within this article – the headline says it all – Vaccine-Related Blood Clots More Deadly than COVID-19 This Year In Australia.  One could make the headline even more extreme and be “accurate” – “twice as many people dying from blood clots as from the virus”.

But that is an easily understood example of the potential fallacy of comparing the two risks.  The thing is that Australia has had only one single Covid death this year, while administering 7.3 million doses of vaccine so far in 2021, and having two blood clot deaths.  So, which is the more meaningful statement – “risk of blood clot death is less than one in 3.6 million” or “risk of blood clot death is twice that of virus related death”?

I’d also point out that the blood clot danger seems to be a short term risk, the virus danger is a long term risk.  If we were to look at the numbers again in a decade, what would they show then, and, most of all, the unmeasured number is also important – how many people did not die from the virus because of taking the vaccine?  While something of an imponderable, isn’t that the most important measure?

Talking about unanswered questions and imponderables, the bizarre group of people who head up the CDC have come up with another head-scratcher of a policy decision.  They are surprisingly – astonishingly! – uninterested in understanding anything about vaccinated people who subsequently become infected with the virus.

Many of us would think that trying to understand the circumstances in which people can still catch the virus after being vaccinated would be incredibly helpful and valuable information.  But not the CDC.

And here’s another thing we’re not bothering to understand – what is the reality of “herd immunity”?  Remember how, six and more months ago, that was all that people could talk about, reaching herd immunity, and Dr Fauci gave a series of wildly different numbers as to what percentage of the country would need some type of immunity for the country to achieve herd immunity – breaking the bad news to us gently, as he subsequently boasted.

Do we need 70% immunity?  More?  Less?  How do we equate immunity from prior infection with immunity from vaccination?  How long do they both last?

None of these essential questions has a clear consensus answer at present, and for reasons best known to itself, the government doesn’t really seem to care.

Current Numbers

The Seychelles vaulted up two places in the minor country list with a very active current case rate.  Colombia jumped two places in the major country list, and also in the death count list too.

In the “active last week” list, it is nice to see still lower numbers for the “top scoring” countries.  The US reported 244 new cases per million people in the last week, a 5% drop on the week before, while the UK reported a rate of 1,509 new cases per million, a 57% increase.

The world as a whole showed a 2% increase in new cases.  That’s a very unfortunate increase – while we’re vaccinating everywhere, clearly new variants such as the Delta variant are having a stronger negative impact.  We’re losing the battle against the virus at present, in other words.

Top Case Rates Minor (population under 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (178,872) Andorra (179,384)
2 Montenegro Montenegro
3 San Marino Seychelles (152,767)
4 Bahrain (149,511) Bahrain (150,752)
5 Seychelles  (142,749) San Marino
6 Maldives  (130,784) Maldives  (133,343)
7 Gibraltar  (128,292) Gibraltar  (129,004)
8 Slovenia Slovenia
9 Luxembourg Luxembourg
10 Lithuania (103,665) Uruguay (104,764)

 

Top Case Rates Major (population over 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (155,294) Czech Republic (155,369)
2 Sweden (106,753) Sweden (107,160)
3 USA (103,358) USA (103,613)
4 Netherlands Netherlands
5 Argentina Argentina
6 Belgium Belgium
7 France France
8 Portugal Brazil
9 Brazil Portugal
10 Spain Colombia (80,881)
11 Chile Spain
12 Colombia (76,743) Chile (80,252)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,699) Peru  (5,732)
2 Czech Republic (2,822) Czech Republic (2,824)
3 Brazil (2,345) Brazil
4 Belgium  (2,159) Belgium
5 Italy Italy
6 Poland Colombia
7 Argentina Argentina
8 Colombia (1,944) Poland (1,983)
9 UK (1,876) UK (1,877)
10 USA (1,854) USA (1,861)

 

Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Mongolia  5,247 Mongolia  4,847
2 Uruguay  4,692 Namibia  4,463
3 Colombia Colombia
4 Argentina Uruguay
5 Namibia Argentina
6 Oman Kuwait
7 Kuwait Oman
8 Brazil Brazil
9 Bahrain  2,366 Tunisia
10 Chile Botswana  1,770
11 Paraguay South Africa
12 Botswana  1,571 Paraguay  1,678

 

The rest of this newsletter is for the very kind Travel Insider Supporters – it is their support that makes all of this possible, and it seems fair they get additional material in return.  If you’re not yet a Supporter, please consider becoming one, and get instant access to the rest of the Diary Entry, additional material on previous diary entries, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

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Items below include some great news about an effective and perhaps safer vaccine that will hopefully soon be approved, the US is now among the worst countries in the world for vaccination rates, the UK and Israel give us a hint about what the future will hold, and the stupidest possible reason to quarantine vaccinated travelers.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

……….

END OF SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

 

1 thought on “Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 27 June, 2021”

  1. fh7742

    Re: Why is the UK so slow to allow its own vaccinated citizens to leave and return home again without quarantine?

    It’s bizarre. “Freedom” — that thing the anti-vax crowd keep talking about — is exactly the incentive needed to get hesitaters to the vaccination centers. As you say, we don’t know what it will take to reach community immunity, but clearly we haven’t reached it. So everything — really, everything — must be done to increase coverage, before other new strains develop.

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