I like the way you think.
I’m looking at some graphs of Covid deaths and infections and realizing something I hope everyone else gets. In almost every pandemic that we’ve traced there have been three waves, with the second being larger than the first, and the third typically being about equal if not slightly larger than the first, but usually less than the second. If the world graphs are correct, we are entering a 3rd wave. Granted we have a vaccine and tools other pandemics haven’t had, but we aren’t completely out of the woods with this yet.
Utah… time to get on top of the vaccination game.
June 12, 2021
Rising COVID case numbers and hospitalisations are a matter of “serious, serious concern”, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, adding he was less optimistic about reopening the country than he was last month.
“It’s clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible and it’s also true that the cases are going up, and that the levels of hospitalisation are going up,” he told Sky News.
“Now, we don’t know exactly to what extent that is going to feed through into extra mortality, but clearly it’s a matter of serious, serious concern.”
Johnson is expected to set out on Monday whether a planned lifting of coronavirus restrictions can go ahead on June 21, or whether rising cases will force it to be delayed.
I could be mistaken, but I believe 6% of the new US cases are this same variant.
This is worrisome. I think the key bits of data now are, how many of those Indian variant cases are being hospitalized, and how many deaths are resulting? If vaccinated people are becoming ill from the Indian variant, how ill? And so forth.
I read an article this morning on KSL about why young people in Utah aren’t getting the vaccine and the answers people they interviewed and the subsequent comments illustrate how bad people really are at thinking things through. There was a common thread of comments but here were a few (paraphrased):
“I can’t afford to take a day off from school/work if I have side-effects from the vaccine.” Yes, when things are tight that can be a problem… can you afford to take off 14 days of school/work if you get the virus?
“We don’t know what problems may come long-term from the vaccine yet.” True, but we also don’t really know the long-term issues from Covid might be… except 1/3 of people who get Covid have long-hauler problems - even in younger people that may last weeks, months, years or may be permanent. My 16yo nephew got Covid 9 months ago and still can’t smell… and people who have lost their taste/smell it is a neurological issue - I don’t know why that doesn’t freak people out.
“The vaccine is too risky.” Math folks - even among young people there is over a 1.2% hospitalization rate and of those 15-24, 7 people have died in Utah. Whereas I couldn’t find any proof of actual deaths from the vaccination among young people anywhere.
Further an estimated 176M people have had Covid in the world and 2.26 BILLION vaccines have been administered with nearly no chance of death. I’d say at this point we know more about the vaccine than we do about Covid.
We really are bad at assessing risk both personally and even money-wise. A 1.3% chance for people under 24 to rack up huge hospital bills if they get hospitalized is a consideration beyond the risks of death.
I’ve told a few young people that the soda they are drinking contains more concerning chemicals that remain longer in their body than mRNA does. Another risk they aren’t considering. We’ve got to get smarter.
That one has me flummoxed as well. The people who are saying that are the same ones who are saying “the survival rate of the virus is really high, so why are you so scared?”
My spidey sense says politics are involved.
Edit to add: There is a 20 year old at work who refuses to get vaccinated. (we actually had folks come into the store offering to vaccinate right then and there). Anyway, he spouted “it’s my own personal choice. I’ve never had any vaccines”. I said to him that he might not remember getting vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, etc when he was an infant. He said his mom never vaccinated him for anything. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree with this one.
As if we need more confirmation that COVID has been mental and social hell for teens.
Building on @NewbombTurk’s observations. I know two Democrats who have not been vaccinated. When I asked them to help me understand what they are thinking, both said nearly the same thing (and they do not know each other).
“I want to see more data on the vaccine?” “It’s experimental.”
Both added, “I’ll get it if its required to travel overseas.” One wants to go to Canada, the other other to Europe.
My wife and I are somewhat stunned. We elected to say only this, “Based on everything we’ve read, the vaccine is safer by orders of magnitude compared to the risks of an infection from Covid19. We had almost no side effects from the vaccine. We are really happy we got it.”
Pfizer and BioNTech have started their application for full approval from the FDA (biologic license). It takes months because they have to have >6 months of data, then the process takes time to determine labels, manufacturing standards, keep vaccines on the market once the pandemic is ‘over’, marketing directly to consumers (can’t promote product under emergency authorization), etc.
Safety looks good obviously with 140M w/ at least a single dose in the US. They could get full approval as early as the 2nd half of this year. I would hope that would remove that barrier and more people would think it’s ‘safe’ and not ‘experimental’ but I’m keen enough to know most of that group will just shift to some other excuse (politics, don’t like needles, enough people are vaccinated to protect me, …). But, with full authorization, groups can mandate vaccinations (they can’t under emergency auth).
Have you seen us?
Public Health England says Pfizer shot 96% effective against hospitalization, and AstraZeneca shot 92% effective
Public health officials in the U.K. say they are increasingly confident that vaccines offer significant protection against the Delta variant of coronavirus, a hopeful sign as the highly transmissible strain spreads across the world.
Separate studies from researchers in England and Scotland published Monday found that while protection against infection was somewhat diminished against Delta compared with more established variants, two doses of vaccine offered considerable protection against severe illness and hospitalization.
The findings are the latest indicating that Covid-19 vaccines are able to protect people against new variants, despite early concerns that the variants might be able to elude them…
Update from U Health Management Meeting:
almost all Covid hospitalizations involve people not vaccinated. (Spread the word!)
Indications are the vaccines are about 92% protective against “Alpha” (UK variant) and about 72% protective against Delta (India).
(We’ll see how vaccination effectiveness against new variants holds up. Numbers & studies ongoing.)
In case you have not been following it, the UK has a vaccination rate very close to that in the US.
June 18, 2021
LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - Britain has reported another steep rise in the weekly reported cases of the Delta coronavirus variant, Public Health England data showed on Friday, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to delay the final lifting of lockdown restrictions.
PHE said there had been 33,630 new cases of the Delta variant first identified in India in the week to June 16, taking the number of confirmed cases to 75,953, a 79% increase on the previous total.
“Cases are rising rapidly across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant,” said Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency.
“It is encouraging to see that hospitalisations and deaths are not rising at the same rate but we will continue to monitor it closely.”
The Delta variant now comprises 91% of sequenced cases, Public Health England said. Using most recent data which includes genotyped data which has more rapid turnaround times, 99% of cases were estimated to be Delta.
In response to the surge in cases of Delta, Johnson is aiming to accelerate vaccination plans to give every adult a first COVID-19 vaccine by July 19, the new date at which he plans to end COVID restrictions in England.
On Friday, COVID-19 vaccinations were opened up to all people over 18 in England. read more
PHE added that vaccines were still effective at providing protection against risk of hospitalisation from the Delta variant.
It said that as of June 14, a total of 806 people had been hospitalised with the Delta variant, an increase of 423 from the previous week.
PHE added that of those hospitalised, 527 were unvaccinated, and 84 had received both doses.
so John Stockton
The European Union recommended its 27 member nations lift a ban on nonessential travel from the United States, but each country will decide for itself.
Cafes and restaurants on Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, last month. An increase in free-spending tourists would be welcome news for many European countries.
June 18, 2021
BRUSSELS — The European Union recommended on Friday that its member states lift the ban on nonessential travel for visitors from the United States, a move sure to be welcomed by Americans eager to travel to the continent after more than a year of tight restrictions.
The recommendation is nonbinding, and each member state can decide what regulations, including quarantines, to impose on visitors, and several nations quickly said they would open their doors to American travelers. Americans have been mainly banned from Europe as the United States grappled with one of the highest caseloads in the world.
The opening is also expected to provide relief for southern European countries that are very dependent on tourism, including Italy and Portugal. Those countries pressed the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, to act so that the entire summer tourist season would not be hurt by the absence of Americans, who are considered relatively big spenders.
The decision comes just days after President Biden’s visit to Brussels, where he met with top E.U. officials.
But despite vows of mutual affection between Mr. Biden and the officials, travel remains one-sided. Europeans are still barred from entering the United States for nonessential travel even if they have been fully vaccinated, following a sweeping travel ban announced by President Donald J. Trump in March 2020 and extended in January by Mr. Biden.
The formal decision on Friday was made by Europe’s economy ministers, who agreed to add the United States to a list of countries considered safe from an epidemiological point of view. That means that travelers from those countries should be free to enter the bloc, even if they are not fully vaccinated, on the basis of a negative PCR test for an active coronavirus infection.
But the European Union cannot compel member nations to open to American visitors. Each country is free to keep or impose more stringent restrictions, such as an obligation to quarantine upon arrival or to undergo a series of further tests.
Countries like Greece and Spain, more heavily dependent on tourism, already moved in recent weeks to reopen to tourists from outside the European Union, including from the United States. The European Commission criticized those early moves.
Greece abolished the requirement to quarantine for all E.U. residents, as well as travelers from many third countries, including the United States and Britain, in April, provided they had a proof of Covid-19 vaccination, recovery from the disease or a negative Covid test.
Italy will open its doors to travelers from E.U. countries, the United States, Canada and Japan under similar parameters, the health minister, Roberto Speranza, announced in a Facebook post. A spokesman for the health minister said the new rules will take effect Monday.
Following Friday’s recommendation, Germany announced that it would let in all Americans starting June 20, regardless of their vaccination status. The German government added that it would open borders to all non-E.U. citizens vaccinated with shots approved by Europe’s medicines regulator, and where variants of concern are not prevalent. This excludes Britain.
Portugal reopened access to visitors coming from the United States on Tuesday, but the restart also coincided with an uptick in infections and the highest daily number of new cases since March. On Friday, a weekend lockdown was announced in the region of the capital, Lisbon, to contain the rising caseload.
More open travel last summer between European countries was blamed for deadly surges in cases.
But more than half of E.U. residents have now received at least one vaccine shot, creating better conditions for opening economies and restoring freer travel. Still, worries remain about opening up while highly contagious new variants, like the one known as Delta, are spreading.
“Bringing back travel between continents is a good thing, but it is not risk-free,” said Marc Van Ranst, one of Belgium’s top virologists and a government adviser. “Loosening travel restrictions during the summer period will inevitably lead to the spread of the Delta variant, also in countries where it is not established yet.”
Still, Dr. Van Ranst said he did not expect a major surge in Covid-19 cases like that last fall, but he insisted on the importance of a second vaccine dose to provide adequate protection.
Jean-Michel Dogné, a professor at the University of Namur in Belgium and an adviser to the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization, praised the decision to open up to travelers from the United States because America “is vaccinating a lot, and with vaccines that are effective against the Delta variant.”
But he also cautioned against opening up too much and too quickly. “We are in an intermediary situation,” he said. “The vaccination campaign is advancing, but we need to follow the situation very closely and be ready to reintroduce restrictions.”
To do so, the bloc has maintained a so-called emergency brake, a legal tool that allows it to quickly impose more restrictive measures.
In spring 2020, to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the European Union largely blocked the arrival of external travelers. There were a few exceptions for nations that fulfilled specific criteria, including low infection rates, as well as more general conditions, like the overall response to Covid-19 and the reciprocity of outside countries in welcoming European visitors.
By introducing these less precise requirements, the bloc gained more discretion in choosing which countries to include in the list. China fulfills the quantitative criteria, but the entry of Chinese travelers is conditional upon reciprocity, though the E.U. economy ministers approved dropping the reciprocity requirement on Friday for Hong Kong and Macau. The reciprocity requirement seems to have been dropped in the case of the United States.
The European Commission said on Friday it was “hopeful” that the United States would relax its travel ban soon.
“We have received reassurances that this is a high priority issue for the U.S. administration,” said Adalbert Jahnz, the Commission’s spokesman for home affairs, adding that an expert group was meeting Friday with an aim “to re-initiate safe and sustainable travel between the E.U. and the U.S.”
Restrictive policies on movement on both sides of the Atlantic separated families and communities, caused billion-dollar losses to tourism and airline industries and mostly stopped trans-Atlantic business travel. Many Europeans living and working in the United States did not travel to Europe because once the U.S. ban was in place, they could be denied re-entry to America, said Célia Belin, a visiting foreign policy fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.
“My whole family is in France or Belgium,” said Ms. Belin, a French citizen living in Washington, D.C. “We have been completely isolated here. It has been heartbreaking.”
As Europe’s vaccination campaign gained momentum after an initial slump, the European Commission recommended last month to allow entry without restrictions to anyone from outside the bloc who was not an E.U. national and who was fully vaccinated with shots approved by the bloc’s medicines regulator or by the World Health Organization.
Friday’s decision extends that recommendation to everyone from the United States, vaccinated or not.
The lifting of travel restrictions between the world’s wealthiest countries with high vaccination rates further highlights the stark global inequalities when it comes to access to Covid-19 vaccines, experts say.
“Only 0.3 percent of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered globally have been in low-income countries,” said Dr. Thomas Kenyon, chief health officer at Project HOPE, a global health and relief organization, and former global health director at the Centers for Disease Control. “This is due in large part to inadequate global vaccine supply to meet current demand and the inability of low-income countries to compete in the marketplace against wealthier nations.”
The further opening of the European Union comes as it works toward a July 1 goal for the widespread implementation of a Covid certificate system. Sixteen member countries started issuing and accepting the certificate at the beginning of June, ahead of schedule.
The certificate records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative within the past 72 hours, and is to allow people who meet one of the three criteria to move freely across the 27 member countries. The bloc’s long-term goal is the compatibility of its certificates with those issued by national authorities in partner countries such as the United States, but that goal could be far-off.
We were booked in a kayak trip for 10 days down the Douro River in Portugal for May 2020. That trip was postponed to late September 2021. Who knows, maybe we make that trip, maybe we don’t.
He pretty much disappeared after his playing days, and now he reappears and this is where he decides to plant his flag???
I looked it up. I approve of Stockton going back to keeping his opinions to himself.
Cancel him, don’t cancel him, it doesn’t matter - he’s already taken as much money as he is going to out of the system. After seeing him emerge from the Delta Center after a game in the NBA finals with teal pants, a pink shirt and a white belt I didn’t take his advice on fashion either.