The present looks bleak because the past was disastrous, causing a high fatality rate today. (Fatalities are a trailing variable, predicted by the new cases 2-3 weeks prior). Both the USA and the world set records for the highest single-day fatality counts in history.
The future, however, looks promising because of the ever-decreasing rate of new infections and hospitalizations, so the light continues to shine at the end of the tunnel. At the moment, the world’s vaccination efforts still seem to be outrunning the spread of the virus. Yay, us! (Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the new, faster-spreading strains don’t reverse this trend.)
Here is the “new cases” trend for the last nine days:
Last Tuesday versus the previous Tuesday
Last Wednesday versus the previous Wednesday
Thursday versus last Thursday
Friday versus last Friday
Saturday versus last Saturday
Sunday versus last Sunday
Monday versus last Monday
Tuesday versus last Tuesday
Wednesday versus last Wednesday
US COVID hospitalizations declined for the eighth straight day.
US COVID patients in ICU declined for the sixth straight day.
The number of COVID patients on ventilators declined for the third straight day.
For these medical professionals, it is difficult to hold back tears:
“From a nurse in South Dakota who spoke on CNN today, the brainwashed are literally dying and fighting with the nurse that it’s a hoax and must be something else:”
“I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm.
They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that “stuff” because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.”
Who knew that Harvey Weinstein had his own airline?
The story is even weirder than my headline. It was actually on a Qatar Airways plane on the tarmac, and the justification for this bizarre examination is that there was an abandoned newborn in the airport toilet.
Scott Atlas is a radiologist. He has no training in virology, epidemiology, public health management, statistical analysis, or any other field that would be relevant to the COVID crisis. It appears that he knows far less about viral diseases than laymen who have been cramming on the subject. You would be better off listening to a witch doctor. They always wear masks. And at least garlic poultices and incantations can’t do any harm. It is also believed that Atlas is nudging President Trump in the reckless direction of using a herd immunity strategy with no vaccine on the horizon.
It probably won’t work because the immunity seems to be short-lived, which means that, lacking a vaccine, a population might never get to a point where 2/3 of the people have antibodies, because by the time the last people are infected, the immunity might be wearing off in those infected early. Let’s suppose that the antibodies last only four months. In that case, the only way to achieve herd immunity is to get antibodies into 220 million people almost instantly, and the only realistic way to do that is with a vaccine. Infecting 220 million people through community spread in three months may not even be possible, but if it were, the health care system could not possibly handle the number of hospital patients that would emerge from the strategy.
At this point I don’t know the actual average duration of immunity, nor does anyone else. Top researchers throughout the world are still learning about COVID-19. But if it is truly as short-lived as four months, we will have a decidedly difficult time with the logistics of fighting it – even with a vaccine, let alone by community spread.
“Russian investigators said Saturday they were looking into “a possible ecological catastrophe” in the eastern Kamchatka region, after scores of dead sea creatures washed up in one of it bays and surfers reported burns to their eyes and throats.”
What more can go wrong this year?
It’s difficult to imagine anyone in the future looking back at 2020 with nostalgia.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Actually, he’s right to say we should not be shocked by their actions. He’s just wrong about the reasons.
I’m not shocked at all that a teenager committed an act of violent mayhem in public with a powerful weapon in a country where a teenager can roam about with impunity in public with a powerful weapon. It’s completely obvious that it’s not a matter of whether these sorts of things will happen, but merely of when.
The USA’s national indicators are still looking much better than they were before this week:
New cases are down about 8% from last Saturday. That is the fourteenth consecutive day of declines, and the 17th decline in the past 20 days.
Fatalities are also down, about 13% less than last Saturday. That’s the fifth decline in the past six days.
The first decline in new cases began twenty days ago, and the first decline in new deaths began six days ago, precisely 14 days later.
Hospitalizations dropped again, and are at the lowest point since July 9.
It is important to note that these current declines are not happening because we ARE doing so well, but because we WERE doing do poorly. Even after that short-term improvement, the USA is still one of only four countries in the world in the red zone for both its new case rate and its new death rate. The four countries are Peru, Colombia, Brazil and the USA. This is not a list we want to be on. We have to do better.
There is also a major negative to consider, America’s testing rate. Positive tests are now more than 8% of all results. Ten states in the USA were above 12% on Saturday.
Note further than five states in the USA are in deep trouble because ALL of the following are true: (1) their new cases rate is higher than any country in the world; (2) their new fatality rate is higher than any country in the world; (3) their rate of positive tests is above 12%. Those states are Mississippi, Florida, Nevada, Georgia and South Carolina.
In a new theoretical study appearing in Nature Scientific Reports, a pair of statistical researchers have warned that rampant human consumption has sent us on a tailspin towards a rapid catastrophic collapse — which could happen in the next two to four decades. Forest density, or the current lack thereof, is considered the cataclysmic canary in the coal mine, according to the report.
Frankly I don’t know how seriously I should take this, and I don’t have the time to study it, but this and the recent “covid could last for decades” news, with its corollary implications for our new normal routines, lead me to wonder if my generation was the one to experience “peak human life” and that it will never be as easy again.
There is a criminal investigation into Deutsche Bank currently occurring in SDNY. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s principal lender and possesses all of his financial data. Jay Clayton counted Deutsche Bank as a client and defended them in a massive money laundering scandal.
There is also an ongoing criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani, which will presumably disappear when a Trump sycophant takes over the office.
So … usual corrupt shenanigans.
Except for one thing. The current guy did not actually step down!
BREAKING / NBC News: In a statement U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman says “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning.”
He says he found out he was “stepping down” by reading it in a press release.
NOW: AG Barr says in a letter to Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman that Trump has now officially fired him, and that’s that, rejecting any argument by Berman that a judicial appointment means he can’t be removed.
Berman has cleaned out his desk. Barr and Berman seem to have reached a compromise. Berman’s trusted deputy will continue in the US Attorney position until the Senate can confirm a replacement. I assume the Democrats will delay the confirmation of Jay Clayton as long as possible