Here is the short cut to the full COVID report for Wednesday

It has been reported that Mississippi and Texas are both returning to full business-as-usual, with no restrictions or mask requirements. This is flat-out crazy.

  • There are only three states in the triple red zone (fatalities, new cases, positivity rate), and Texas is one of them. The state is currently running a daily fatality rate (23 per million) higher than any country in the world (Slovakia is highest at 18)!
  • Mississippi, meanwhile is still running a 17% percent positivity rate, sixth highest of the 50 states, and even higher than Texas.

There are still many good signs across the land:

  • US COVID hospitalizations declined for the 51st straight day.
  • US COVID patients in ICU declined for the 49th straight day.
  • The US number of COVID patients on ventilators declined for the 46th straight day.
  • The current 7-day testing percentage is 4.2%, the lowest since October 4th.

442 thoughts on “COVID update

  1. Wow. I don’t see anything dated after February 9. I guess we got tired of talking about Covid.

    I hope Tanner is all right.

    1. Some of it is caused by an easing of the post-Christmas spike. Think of the first two weeks, approx Jan 9-22, not as a sudden downward turn, but rather as a return to the (already quite high) pre-Christmas levels.

      The decline since then is presumably related to vaccinations, or at least I have no alternate or supplementary explanation at the moment.

    2. No, still too soon to see vax effects. It’s social. Vax in CA is going very slowly. Supply shortages.

      Think about it. Surge on top of surge didn’t happen. People had thought they were experienced–savvy. Thought they could pull it off. Break the rules safely. The surge proved them wrong. They were chastened. At least, those who believed. Which is most of us. They backed off. Got careful again.

      I’m seeing lotta double masks in my county. That’s new. Cases cut in half. Precipitous drop in positivity–2 whole tiers. Widespread to substantial to moderate in 2-3 weeks.

  2. The US: “Wisconsin pharmacist who destroyed more than 500 vaccine doses believes Earth is flat, FBI says” Only in the US.

    1. Stuff it. You have your own collection of flaming loonies and fascists.
      Does the name Geert Wilders ring a bell? And even the beloved Queen Juliana had a wackola obsession with extraterrestrials and reincarnation.

      1. Can’t we all just agree that everyone is garbage (excepting, of course, commenters on this website, who are models of probity) and Covid just sets fire to them?

      2. Bill, the irredeemable awfulness of the United States is Tanner’s personal flat earth theory. Rational arguments about that are not going to get anywhere with him. That is why I approve of your telling him to stuff it.

        After granting that he is a model of probity, as Nature Mom suggests, of course.

      3. Everyone’s right, here. Especially Nature Mom. Yes, there are bad things anywhere. Wherever there’s relative freedom, there are outliers.

        But whatabout whatever Tanner’s country is a deflection. Misdirection is always the goal of any of the related rhetorical tactics, including the one where it happens to be holding up a mirror back at the accuser.

        I mean, the U.S. has problems right now. They’re big problems, not small ones. As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t care less about the problems in Europe or China. Well, I do care. But if America stays the way it is now, that’s the ballgame. If the Dems don’t get rid of the filibuster, little good gets done in the next 2 years. In the meantime, the GOP across the country keeps up the good work of rigging voting rules. So the GOP takes back the Senate. Then democracy dies in darkness. Ha ha. I just mean, it dies.

        So, don’t stuff it, Tanner. Make anyone here who’s a blind flag-waver sick of your anti-American negativity.

        1. Tanner is suggesting the USA is the worst place on earth. We are pointing out others that have the same issues. That does not seem like whataboutism to me. But if you feel America is the worst, feel free to actually make that case.

          1. Didn’t mean it to smell like that. My point is that there’s one (or, to your point, three) horse’s ass in any crowd. Probably some astonishingly cool people too, but they rarely make the news. This shouldn’t be generalized to an entire country, or its population.

  3. According to NBC news article posted to Fark.com on Sunday: “Protesters torch Covid test center in Holland on first day of curfew”.

    A) I am sorry to hear this is a problem in a place like the Netherlands.

    B) I await Tanner’s explanation of how this shows the US is awful.

    1. Per the GF, nothing yet in Haarlem where she lives but it’s been nasty in A-Dam. Whole thing started in a spot called Urk – which has now displaced Bergen op Zoom as my favorite Dutch place name.

  4. I’d like to add 2 updates with slightly softer takes on the new variants than my last. Afterward, if you’ll please forgive a couple of digressions tying off loose ends from closed threads.

    Troubling pattern of CoV mutants

    South Africa mutation may weaken effect of vaccines

    The term of art is antibody resistance. Anyway, it seems the thrust is, we might need to reformulate our vaccines to mop up hopefully smaller “aftershock” epidemics a few months later. IOW, 1 or more added rounds of shots.

    2. At the end of the Vox article there’s a typo “arm’s race”. My feeling is this sort of slip was rare in the heyday of print, but is all too commonplace now. In a direct quote, a speaker can’t misspell words. The reporter is to blame. In a like vein, MidCon deserves a Mrs. Malaprop Medal for his contributions to humor: “eutopia”, gotta say that’s good; and “both sides of the isle”. Gilligan’s, I presume.

    3. What bugs me about “unlikeable” is it’s passive aggressive. “X is unlikeable” isn’t the same as “I don’t like X”. This diff is insidious. The latter is mutual — just between us. X can say “I don’t like you either.” This isn’t a claim, really. Veracity isn’t in doubt. No evidence is called for. It stands at face value.

    But how do you counter the claim that you’re unlikeable? That’s an opinion, not a fact. But it’s unfair. The opiner has shed the onus. “Hey, I’m just the messenger.” The burden of proof falls on the receiver. Who’s placed on their heels. Forced to make a case in their own defense not to their accuser but relative to bystanders. In short, this move is dirty pool.

    4. About that rioter shot by a cop. The blame lies not with that officer. Security forces were outnumbered & unprepared — without nonlethal means. Individual cops didn’t know who was still in harm’s way nor whether any of the rioters might be armed.

    WaPo: Rioter shot dead in the act of Capitol B&E

    Rioter shot to death climbing thru smashed window

    Includes an eyewitness account by a Republican house member.

    1. MyKep, thanks for making all these good points. I do have a question about your point 4 – are people saying that the woman who was shot dead in the January 6 insurrection should not have been shot? I hadn’t heard that, and I am surprised.

      1. Yes&no. In ripples. No, AFAICT, most people aren’t saying not a “clean shooting”. Cop did his job. In the moment. Made a call. Like a ref. But yes, she should be alive. She should never have been there.

        Defenses should’ve been prepared. Nonlethal means should precede deadly force. The crowd should’ve been held at bay. Out beyond a wider perimeter. Intel should’ve been heeded. Then there’s the incitement. Gullible people were baited. Mis-led. By lies.

        In a wide angle lens, armed cops shouldn’t be our catchall problem-solvers. In gun training it’s said, never point a gun at a living thing unless you truly intend to kill it. (Set aside drug darts.) Cops should be a last resort. As enlightened minds say rightly of soldiers.

        If we can’t deal with a good citizen like Ashli Babbitt — who IMO was nuts — short of killing them, then arguably a “free country” is not possible.

        1. I agree, Ms. Babbitt should not have been able to get to where she was in a position to need to be shot. That is because of Trump and his appointees, IMO. They deliberately refused to mobilize against the rioters.

          As for your third paragraph, I further agree that armed cops should not be where so many problems get dumped. That is what “defunding the police” is REALLY about. Unfortunately, that label was a godsend to the right.

          Finally, per your last point, I think in a free country it is not practical to prevent people from committing suicide. Some people do that by forcing others to kill them in self defense.

          Changes there will await improvements in funding for mental health care and improvements in psychological science (or non-lethal weapons?), but it is hard to see how it can be stopped entirely in a way consistent with personal liberty.

          1. Yup. To amplify rather than disagree, gun-control advocates argue misleadingly in that statistically, the serious reason to have fewer guns in circulation isn’t violence but suicide prevention. Especially handguns. That’s the means of choice for most males. Any delay in doing the deed is often enough to halt the decision.

          2. Add: Another maxim we’re taught is there’s no such thing as an unloaded gun. Except for a brief moment after you’ve actually looked & know for a fact that the chamber, barrel & magazine are all empty.

          3. No, it’s that they don’t *stress* suicide. They talk about accidents & assault. Both of which are just blips compared to suicide. Often they don’t even *mention* suicide. Because suicide isn’t polarizing. It lacks the emotional/political juice they want to drive the issue with.

          4. BTW, I’d point out the distinction between “in that” in my original sentence & just a naked “that”.

          5. M: “arguably a “free country” is not possible.”

            R: “In a free country it is not practical to prevent people from committing suicide. Some people do that by forcing others to kill them in self defense.”

            1) That doesn’t rebut my claim. There’s no such thing as a free country. It’s an aspiration. My position contra extremists is that given we have conflicting aspirations, we can never get there. It’s good to have these aspirations. But realistic expectations will let us improve. Progress in our good directions is the most we should expect. We should appreciate what we’ve achieved. Not only bemoan our shortcomings.

            2) I had just talked about that very thing. That reducing guns in homes would in fact prevent suicides. Not all. But some. Your attempt to move the goalposts on me was well-meaning but if you think about it, my point was we obsess over the pathological cases, disregarding their rarity.

            Sure, it might’ve been much better had I been able to propose a way to reduce “suicide by cop” incidents to 0. Had I offered that & we did cut that to 0, that would still be far less impact than the reduction in boring suicides by more conventional means that gun control could do for us. But here, right here, we’ve just illustrated why that’s such a hard case to make. We can’t keep our eye on the ball.

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