COVID-19 Discussion (No Politics)

I’ve caught a glimpse of this, too. One of my son’s in laws is a construction guy, admitted they all blew it off as being political, a conspiracy, “…until Gary died”.

He said the younger guys are still pretty strong on avoiding vaccines. Machismo is a good descriptor, even if we’re not talking about latinos.

I’ve never thought of machismo as a uniquely latino thing. Did I perhaps miss some context here?

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I don’t agree with all the conclusions in this paper but it is interesting and seems like a chance to learn from the last year’s experience.



We analyze the tone of COVID-19 related English-language news articles written since January 1, 2020. Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals. The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials. Media negativity is unresponsive to changing trends in new COVID-19 cases or the political leanings of the audience. U.S. major media readers strongly prefer negative stories about COVID-19, and negative stories in general. Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining. Among U.S. major media outlets, stories discussing President Donald Trump and hydroxychloroquine are more numerous than all stories combined
that cover companies and individual researchers.

L.A. Times:

Vaccinated people can get ‘breakthrough’ infections: How worried should we be?

With coronavirus cases spreading rapidly throughout California and the nation, reports of infections among those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are increasingly drawing attention.

But while these “breakthrough” cases are sometimes highlighted as a precautionary tale - a signal of the shots’ shortcomings - the reality, experts say, is that the vaccinations remain as consistently effective as ever where it counts: protecting people against severe illness.

That remains true, officials say, even as Los Angeles County health officials shared a seemingly ominous data point Thursday: 20% of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in June occurred among vaccinated people. Less than two weeks ago, they said over 99% of COVID-19 cases were among the unvaccinated.

At first blush, these numbers may seem to disagree with each other. But a closer look at the data underscores some key findings cited by public health experts, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts in California and by federal officials.

There are two things occurring: More than half of Californians are now fully vaccinated, yet coronavirus transmission has gone up. And while coronavirus case rates are rising in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the rates continue to be much worse in unvaccinated people — a trend that’s expected when viral transmission rises.

Why are there cases among vaccinated people increasing?

The following two statements can be true at the same time:

Between Dec. 7 and June 7, the unvaccinated accounted for 99.6% of L.A. County’s coronavirus cases, 98.7% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.8% of deaths.

Out of all coronavirus cases confirmed countywide in June, 20% occurred in residents who were fully vaccinated.

The first sentence speaks to the extraordinary effectiveness of the vaccines. Yes, the period between Dec. 7 and June 7 does cover a time period when vaccine supply was limited. But it also provides a viewpoint into what hospitals are seeing and explains why doctors are so convinced at the effectiveness and importance of the vaccines: Extraordinarily few hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among vaccinated people.

The latter percentage is not so surprising as it might initially seem.

Say, for instance, there were roughly 1,000 coronavirus cases in a month among fully vaccinated people, and there were 4,000 more coronavirus cases among people who were either unvaccinated or partially unvaccinated. In this community, a population of 10 million people was split: Half were vaccinated, and half were not.

One could focus on how 20% of the coronavirus cases occurred among vaccinated people.

But one could also point out that how, for every 100,000 residents, 10 vaccinated people tested positive, and 40 unvaccinated people tested positive. That means unvaccinated people, in this hypothetical example, are four times as likely to test positive for the virus.

Statewide, officials note that while there are instances of vaccinated people becoming infected, the risk remains much more pronounced for the unvaccinated.

From July 7 to 14, the average case rate among unvaccinated Californians was 13 per 100,000, according to the state Department of Public Health. Among those who had been vaccinated, the comparable figure was 2 per 100,000.

Interesting little screed. I agree with this part of it, mostly.

If I’m vaccinated, I’m not going to get sick. That’s the whole point of getting vaccinated.


If someone else is unvaccinated and gets sick, how is that my problem? They should’ve gotten vaccinated. Why should I have to participate in an “honor system” or be subject to some sort of mask mandate, just because somebody else took a risk and is now facing the consequences? I didn’t do anything wrong.

I’m vaccinated. If you want my opinion, you should get vaccinated. And if you don’t want my opinion, you should get vaccinated.

That’s it. That’s all I or anyone else can do. If you choose not to get vaccinated, that’s your right as an American. You’re gambling with your life, but it’s your body and your choice. The government cannot force you to put something into your system against your will.

And, also, in addition to that: If your employer says you have to get vaccinated and/or wear a mask, and you don’t do it, he has every right to fire you. You can go and be an individual American at home or some other place of business.

These are all individual decisions. The state cannot mandate them. That’s not the role of the United States government.

He’s actually wrong. The Supreme Court decided in 1905 that it is constitutional for the government to order mass vaccination. It would cause an idiotic civil war if they did that now, but they do have the authority to do it.


Due to the politicization of the pandemic response, I agree government-mandated vaccination is off the table this time. That said, the private sector sure as hell can mandate their employees get vaccinated or be terminated. A lot of large companies have already begun imposing such rules. The NFL did it. My guess is the NBA, NHL, and MLS will be following suit. Goldman did it, too.

The vaccines work. They work better than anyone would’ve even expected - even with the breakthrough cases. Not getting vaccinated is nothing short of making a decision to actively participate in a game of roulette where two of the possible three outcomes are bad.

It’s time to put away the roulette table.


I’m not arguing with your statement. However, if all anybody ever has to do is politicize the hell out of something and threaten “civil war”, just to get their way and “own” the other side, then we’ll never get anywhere as a nation when these type of things arise again (and are arising, like climate change).


You make an excellent point that is part of philosophy, government, and political science. We have a social compact in the country. It depends on people being willing to follow the laws and act like citizens who care about other citizens. When that goes away, we don’t have a country anymore. We don’t even have a society.




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State governments, I believe. Or is this order broader?

I have been vaccinated since April. Went to Smith’s (Farmington) and Costco (Bountiful) this weekend wearing my mask – could count how many other mask-wearing customers on one hand.

As an Asian American, I’m also paying attention to see if anyone says anything to me about mask/corona. That said, being 6’1" and 215 lbs, and relatively muscular, have yet to have any encounter. We’ll see.


This has been the most striking part of the pandemic to me. The warping of the definition of “freedom” into “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and however I want. You can’t stop me, and the effect on my fellow Americans (including sickness and death) be damned”. That’s immature toddler behavior. Freedom comes with a responsibility that we at least pretend to give a ■■■■ about each other.

Societies with that extreme level of malicious individualism aren’t likely to be sustainable in the long term.


I posted this before, but had to again, as it perfectly captures what everyone is saying:

We all accept and obey all kinds of laws every hour of every day, many of which cause much more individual inconvenience, than most of what has been asked of people during the Pandemic - I mean, wearing a mask inside a grocery store really is not much of an inconvenience at all, is it?!?


This is not encouraging. New study suggests that due to how the Delta variant works, vaccinated people can still be active spreaders of the virus. Translated for us laypeople (from a friend of mine on the NJ state COVID response team):

It’s a game changer. The theory I’d seen prior to Delta was that being vaccinated meant the virus levels in a vaccinated person never reached high enough numbers (because the vaccine was helping your body respond faster), which meant few virons being released which meant extremely low chances of a vaccinated person transmitting illness (regardless of whether or not they were symptomatic). The belief was that vaccinated people were not spreading illness - another reason why they said it was safe for an unvaccinated person (like a grandkid) to be indoors with vaccinated people (two sets of fully vaccinated parents), all unmasked.

If the biggest change for Delta is that it’s ramping up virus production faster along with causing a higher number of virons to be shed, then we need to find out if that’s a problem for vaccinated people as we’ve told them no more masks. In short, this would help to justify mask use for everyone, regardless of vaccination status because you’re still potentially infectious even if as a vaccinated person you’re fully asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

I’m not sure if there’s a correlation to viral load for a person with the virus and symptoms. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn there are completely asymptomatic people shedding the virus like its their job. Modern Typhoid Mary situations where they just have no idea they’re a walking outbreak.

On Thursday at Physician explained the matter of viral load and Delta to me. Delta is able to cause breakthrough infections because of its high viral load. It is not deadlier than Covid-19 for vaccinated people. It can break through the antibodies in those vaccinated because of the intensity of the viral load it carries. When I am with vaccinated people, I don’t wear a mask. When I am in places where I am I’m not sure of others’ vaccination status, I wear a mask. That’s how I have decided to deal with Delta.

The decision related to the exercise of police power by the states. I don’t think the federal government has the constitutional authority to require vaccination. I’d have to look at that. States clearly do have that authority.

What you are saying here raises the interesting question of whether the riots last summer were violations of the social compact. If there is a mask mandate, and no one follows it, there is no mask mandate. There aren’t enough law enforcement officers to enforce a mandate if if enough people refuse to follow it. The same is true of rioting, looting, burning buildings and police cars, and so forth. If enough people do those things, there is no stopping them, and there is no law.

This was a really good, balanced interview with Céline Gounder (clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious disease at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine, host of the “EPIDEMIC” podcast, member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board) regarding how we move forward from here. The soundbite that stood out to me was this one, regarding the increased contagiousness of the Delta variant:

At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC said that a close contact was somebody that you’re indoors with unmasked for 15 minutes or more. The equivalent of that with the Delta variant is not 15 minutes, it’s one second.