Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 10 June, 2021

Word this week emerged of a US report concluding that the Covid virus may have leaked from the Wuhan lab.  But there’s an interesting twist to what otherwise seems like just one more in a growing chorus of stories all pointing credibly at the Wuhan labs as the source of the virus.

The twist?  The report dates to May – but not May this year.  May last year.  Why was it not publicized at the time?  Instead, the media, quite likely knowing about this report, decided to ignore it because it didn’t fit their predisposition to disagree with everything Trump said, and not only did they not publicize the report, they censored and de-platformed people who tried to raise credible concerns that the virus was artificially made and sourced from the Chinese Wuhan virus research facility.

The UK continues to tie itself in knots about the subject of vaccination “passports” (but, of course, so too do we in the US).  This article quotes scientists – probably the same scientists who worry about “vaccine hesitancy” and the reluctance of people to be vaccinated against Covid – now worrying that giving vaccinated people preferential treatment would cause social division.

They can’t have it both ways.  If they want to encourage people to be vaccinated, one of the best ways to do so is to give vaccinated people the privileges and benefits that naturally and fairly flow from having been vaccinated.

This article raises concerns about the Indian aka Delta virus variant becoming more common in the US.  It is the variant that is causing the UK to suffer new growth in cases, and there’s of course a concern the same thing might be about to happen here too.

The article goes on to wonder if we’ll make Joe Biden’s “70% of people fully vaccinated by 4 July” target.  There is no need to wonder, the outcome is very obvious.

On 9 June, the US had 42.2% of the population fully vaccinated, meaning we need to vaccinate 27.8% more people in 24 days.  Currently we are vaccinating about 0.33% of the population each day.  Unless we immediately start vaccinating people at a rate four times higher – ie 1.2%, we’re going to miss that target; and indeed, the target is probably already impossible because it takes 21 or 28 days to fully vaccinate a person with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

That’s not to say we’ve not done a good job to date, but the peak vaccinating rate of 1.01% on one day only, 13 April, was rapidly abandoned as rates then started going back downhill again.  With the worry of the Indian variant, and mixed messages about what is happening to the numbers of new cases being reported each day, there’s every reason to want to speed up our vaccinating program.

If you’ve not been vaccinated, and are hesitating to do so, I’d suggest you do the same as me, and choose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  With only one jab instead of two, there are fewer side effects, and it doesn’t use the new mRNA process to create immunity.  While its quoted effectiveness is lower than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it is measuring a different thing, so you can’t compare the three vaccines (yes, it is woefully unacceptable that vaccine manufacturers can pick and choose the number they choose to highlight to support their vaccine approval requests, isn’t it).

Here’s an interesting thing that surely slipped past my radar, although back in 2016, few of us were probably at all interested in arcane legislation to do with medical matters.  Did you know that the grandly named “21st Century Cures Act” allows the government to bypass the otherwise present requirement for patient informed consent prior to being dosed with experimental medicines and vaccines?

That sure does not seem like a good change.  Details here.

It is interesting how social pressures have changed – well, at least here in the Seattle area – with mask wearing.  Initially, I felt awkward wearing a mask, and feared other people would see it as a social signal indicating either that I was a hypochondriac or that I was infected with some serious disease.  That changed quickly, and soon enough I felt relaxed and comfortable wearing a mask, and awkward/embarrassed if I didn’t have a mask with me in public, and very resentful of people who were not wearing masks, or not wearing their masks correctly.

But now, with mask wearing disappearing as quickly as it appeared, what to do and how to feel?  I’ve enjoyed, the last 15 months, not suffering a single cough/cold/sore throat, nor having to even think about ‘flu either.  When they lift the final requirements to wear masks, for example, on planes, I’m wondering if I might not want to continue wearing a mask, because in the past, more often than not, after a long international flight, within a week, I’ve come down with a cold.

But if I’m the only person on the plane with a mask on, I expect I’d again feel like a social pariah.  Or might other people also be thinking about wearing masks from time to time in “high risk” situations?  I’d be interested to know what you plan to do.

This article talks about some of these mask-wearing issues.

Current Numbers

There were no changes in US rankings, and unlikely to be any in the foreseeable future.  The differences in weekly case and death rates are so minute, and the gaps between the state rankings so large, that it would take many months for most rankings to become likely to change.  I might abandon this table because it has become so static, due to the slow down in new cases and deaths.

Slovenia dropped two places in the minor country list.  A few minor swaps in the major country list.

On the death list, Argentina came straight in to ninth place, and looks likely to move up to 8th or even 7th place within a week.

And, the most “interesting” list, the rankings for the last week, had the usual mix of rapid risers and fallers.  The US and Canada both reported 285 new cases per million, with the US enjoying a 13% drop from a week previously.  The UK had a rate of 645 new cases per million, a 63% rise.  The world as a whole had a 16% decline.

US Best and Worst States

Rank Cases/Million Deaths/Million
A week ago Now A week ago Now
1 Best HI (25,710) HI (25,986) HI (354) HI (357)
2 VT VT VT VT
3 OR OR AK AK
4 ME ME ME ME
5 WA (57,909) WA (58,481) OR (636) OR (646)
47 UT (126,897) UT (127,494) MS (2,461) MS (2,469)
48 IA IA RI RI
49 SD SD MA MA
50 RI RI NY NY
51 Worst ND (144,474) ND (144,806) NJ (2,956) NJ (2,963)

 

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (177,723) Andorra (178,403)
2 Montenegro Montenegro
3 San Marino San Marino
4 Bahrain (140,499) Bahrain (145,699)
5 Gibraltar  (127,635) Gibraltar  (127,843)
6 Slovenia Maldives
7 Maldives Seychelles
8 Seychelles Slovenia
9 Luxembourg Luxembourg
10 Aruba (102,795) Aruba (103,262)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (154,988) Czech Republic (155,173)
2 Sweden (106,031) Sweden (106,584)
3 USA (102,691) USA (102,983)
4 Netherlands Netherlands
5 Belgium Belgium
6 France Argentina (89,198)
7 Argentina (85,227) France
8 Portugal Portugal
9 Spain Brazil (80,452)
10 Brazil  (78,539) Spain
11 Poland Poland
12 Chile (72,823) Chile (75,425)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,538) Peru  (5,624)
2 Czech Rep  (2,809) Czech Rep  (2,816)
3 Brazil Brazil
4 Belgium Belgium
5 Italy Italy
6 Poland Poland
7 UK (1,873) UK (1,874)
8 USA  (1,836) USA  (1,845)
9 Mexico (1,750) Argentina (1,841)
10 Colombia (1,748) Colombia (1,830)

 

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 Bahrain  9,792 Uruguay  7,350
2 Uruguay  6,898 Bahrain  5,292
3 Argentina Argentina
4 Colombia Colombia
5 Costa Rica Paraguay
6 Paraguay Mongolia
7 Chile Chile
8 Trinidad & Tobago Costa Rica
9 Brazil  2,156 Kuwait
10 Kuwait Brazil 1,924
11 Mongolia Oman
12 Malaysia  1,654 Trinidad & Tobago  1,805

 

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 Entries – today and in the past, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

If you’re a contributor, you should make sure you’re logged in to the website, and when you are, you’ll see the purple text and balance of the newsletter below on the website.  If you’re not logged in, or reading this via email, you need to log in on the website first.

Items below include a new way to mitigate “long haul” Covid, a strange way of signaling your preferred level of social distancing, what I think about elbow bumping, the continued need for a good testing program, the return of the common cold, strange decisions by the FDA, two more studies support ivermectin use, what’s up with the editorial standards and policies at JAMA, Royal Caribbean Cruises cave to FL/TX demands to not enquire about passenger vaccination status, a new chart to analyse US new Covid cases, is a 70% vaccination level possible, Hawaii does some outside-the-box thinking, while Canada avoids thinking at all, China reacts extremely strongly to a very few new Covid cases, and Scotland’s policy makers may have been drinking too much whisky prior to a recent decision.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

……….

END OF SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

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

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

 

1 thought on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 10 June, 2021”

  1. “Thinking is the most unhealthy disease in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any disease. Luckily, in England at any rate, thought is not catching.”
    —Oscar Wilde

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