I hope you had a fun day today, and that Covid won’t end up having been an unwelcome guest at any of your celebrations. I am somewhere between bemused and worried at how our nation has almost completely developed selective blindness or is just willfully refusing to see the reality of now, as of 3 July, 12 days of steadily increasing new Covid cases.
We haven’t beaten the bug. We haven’t won the war against the virus. It is coming back again, stronger than ever before in both its Delta and now new Lambda form too, while we’ve “unilaterally disarmed” and are exposing ourselves to the virus more openly than any time since March last year. Only a few selected specialists are raising concerns, while most of the Press is cheering the return to “normal” times.
Times are not normal while the virus is rising at a rate of 12% growth per week….
As I’d predicted back in May, the objective set by President Biden to have 70% of adults vaccinated by 4 July was not met. This however is not really something that Mr Biden should be blamed for – he did his part (which basically comprised little more than not changing the plans set in place for vaccine purchases and distribution by the previous administration). For two months or thereabouts, we’ve had an abundant surplus of vaccines freely available to anyone who chose to be vaccinated, and that’s about the limit of what one can fairly expect of one’s public health authorities, surely.
As you can see, depending on whether you focus on getting people fully vaccinated or half-vaccinated, we’ve done better than most of the world.
But as this second chart shows, whereas other countries are accelerating their vaccination programs, ours is slowing down. Canada is vaccinating at a rate four times greater than we are. The EU more than twice the rate. South America and Asia, more than 50% greater, and so on.
Is it the fault of anyone other than the unvaccinated that they’ve chosen not to be vaccinated? Sure, there’s been appalling messages and confusing changes in policies and official opinions about vaccine risks, and in some cases, public health authorities have attempted bribery with various types of incentives, but with generally no lasting improvements in vaccination rates.
On the other hand, however, might the anti-vaxxers have some underlying facts and data to support their concerns? I seem to be seeing more and more concerning claims about the levels of complications associated with the two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and I’m not seeing any clear rebuttals and explanations to assuage the concerns being raised.
I’ve never been entirely comfortable with these two very experimental vaccines, nor with any of the claims made in support of them, which is why I chose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine myself. I’m also very eager to see the new Novavax vaccine complete the necessary paperwork and apply for (and probably receive) FDA approval; that seems like a lovely more traditional type of vaccine that combines great effectiveness with comfortable understanding of the process by which it works.
One of the most dismaying things we’ve learned over the last 18 months is how medical science is as political and subjective as any other topic. Even the most stately and illustrious of supposedly ultra-impartial “go where the science goes, never mind the consequences” medical journals have shown themselves to be aggressively partisan in their willful dismissal of science, and one of the worst, now, was once regarded as the best of all – Britain’s “The Lancet”, as the linked article explains.
Meanwhile, more background to the origins of the virus has appeared. One of the reasons put forward by the China-deniers is that the virus couldn’t have escaped because the Wuhan labs are very “bio-secure”. Well, apparently, that claim is no more grounded in reality as any of the other claims they’ve put forward, as this article explains.
One of the other China deniers, the semi-sainted Dr Fauci, has again been caught in what some might consider a lie to do with paying money to China to do his dirty work. You might recall he angrily denied this to Congress, a denial that seemed to be based on his paying an American company that in turn then paid the Chinese, allowing him to say he hadn’t paid the Chinese (directly). Now, let me try to remember, what is the penalty for lying to a Congressional committee? Something about “a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison, even if not under oath when lying“…..
And talking about economies of the truth, this article wonders if a major part of WHO’s surprisingly awkward ambivalence about ivermectin’s benefits is because of the conflicts of interest it faces, now that it gets substantial funding not just from national governments but also from third party organizations with vested interests.
There was only one small swap in the minor country list, and similarly, only one small swap in the major country list.
Following that trend, there was also only one swap in the death list too, but unsurprisingly, there were the usual swings and roundabouts in the activity last week list.
The weekly activity list again saw a reduction in levels for the most affected countries. Last Sunday, the UK wasn’t on the list, but this week, it is now at 8th place, with 2,514 new cases per million people reported over the last week, an increase of 68% from the week before.
Europe’s numbers – while good in several countries (Germany down 9%, for example) also shows growing points of concern. France is perhaps starting to get a taste of the Delta variant, with a 27% increase in cases over the week, the Netherlands had a 36% increase, the Czech Republic and Ireland a 38% increase, Portugal reported 53%, Spain 65%, Iceland 70%, and Greece a 97% increase.
The US had a rate of 1,542 new cases per million, an apparent drop but messed up by incomplete data collected over this special holiday weekend. The case number should be higher, and the number is actually an increase of more than 10%, according to my estimates, which I’ve developed by studying the numbers, state by state, to “fill in the unreported gaps”.
The world as a whole had a 3% increase in new cases. As I said above, the virus is far from beat, in the US and in the world as a whole.
Top Case Rates Minor (population under 10 million) Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (179,384)||Andorra (179,845)|
|5||San Marino||San Marino|
|7||Gibraltar (129,004)||Gibraltar (129,628)|
|10||Uruguay (104,764)||Uruguay (106,921)|
Top Case Rates Major (population over 10 million) Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (155,369)||Czech Republic (155,461)|
|2||Sweden (107,160)||Sweden (107,342)|
|3||USA (103,613)||USA (103,895)|
|10||Colombia (80,881)||Colombia (84,594)|
|12||Chile (80,252)||Chile (81,415)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Peru (5,732)||Peru (5,775)|
|2||Czech Republic (2,824)||Czech Republic (2,825)|
|8||Poland (1,983)||Poland (1,986)|
|9||UK (1,877)||UK (1,879)|
|10||USA (1,861)||USA (1,866)|
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 4,847||Mongolia 4,673|
|2||Namibia 4,463||Namibia 4,251|
|10||Botswana 1,770||South Africa|
|12||Paraguay 1,678||Cuba 1,934|
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Items below include are lower death rates cause for celebration, what happens when a govt official seeks to clarify something, another encouraging Covid treatment and why we need it, are we infecting our pets (and does it matter), Zimbabwe goes all in on ivermectin (and will probably need it due to its vaccine choice), another IVM study, do we need a vaccine booster or not, good news about the J&J vaccine, more vaccine data, and comparing UK case rates to US case rates.
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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.