And In Other News — There’s A Pandemic!

In light of the storming of the Capitol by white supremacist terrorists one week ago today, much of the rest of the news has fallen by the wayside, not even seen by many.  For instance, on Saturday an Indonesian jetliner, a Boeing 737, crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff on Saturday with 62 people aboard, all presumed dead.  Typically, this would have been headline news for several days, but in the U.S., it was barely a blip. 

One of the things that has dominated the news for nearly a year now is the coronavirus pandemic, yet for the past week it has received far less attention than the Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s role in it. Yesterday the U.S. recorded 4,281 deaths for the 24-hour period, yet we barely batted an eye.  This morning’s email contained my usual daily briefing by David Leonhardt of the New York Times with an update on the pandemic that I thought well worth sharing.


‘A game changer’

david-leonhardtLast week’s attack on the Capitol has understandably dominated the news. But I want to take a few minutes this morning to focus on the other vital story right now — the pandemic.

Below is a three-point summary of where we are now, with help from my colleagues covering the story and from a couple of charts. I’ll warn you up front: The situation is not good.

  1. The new variants are scary. Scientists are still learning about new versions of the coronavirus, including variants that emerged in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. The evidence so far indicates that they “are much more infectious than the Italian strain, which has been circulating here since February,” my colleague Donald G. McNeil Jr. told me. “That’s a game changer.”

Behavior that may once have been only moderately risky — say, airplane travel — may now be more so. The variants seem to be one reason cases worldwide are spiking:

pandemic-chart-1

  1. The mass vaccination campaign in the U.S. is off to a terrible start. The Trump administration promised that 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by Jan. 1. Instead, fewer than three million were — and only about nine million have now had their shots.

The Deep South has the country’s lowest vaccination rates. But this isn’t just a Republican failure: California, Virginia and some other Democratic-run states have also been slow. (Here’s data for every state.)

Vaccinations will probably accelerate in coming weeks, especially because President-elect Joe Biden and his team seem much more focused on the problem than President Trump. Goldman Sachs forecasts that about one quarter of Americans will have received their first shot by April 1, half by June 1 and three quarters by mid-autumn. The coming vaccination speedup is the one good piece of good news right now.

  1. Things are likely to get worse before they get better. The virus is spreading so rapidly that hospitals are struggling to keep up. About 130,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid symptoms, more than double the number two months ago. The strain on hospitals raises the possibility that many patients will not receive the best available treatments.

Los Angeles has recently had to ration oxygen. And Esteban Trejo, an executive at a company in El Paso, Texas, that provides oxygen to temporary hospitals, told Kaiser Health News, “It’s been nuts, absolutely nuts.”

The recent data on cases and deaths is noisy, because diagnoses artificially slowed during the holidays, says Mitch Smith, a Times reporter who follows the numbers. Still, deaths have already hit a record this week — more than 3,000 a day, on average — and the recent explosion of cases suggests they may be heading to above 3,500 and perhaps to 4,000.

pandemic-chart-2

The bottom line: Biden will be taking office next week during the nadir of the coronavirus crisis. His administration will need to both accelerate vaccine distribution and persuade more people to change their behavior — and the second goal is even more urgent than the first.

Unless Americans start wearing masks more often and spending less time together in cramped spaces, many more people are going to die.

15 thoughts on “And In Other News — There’s A Pandemic!

    • I suppose that makes sense, though I hear there are mutations elsewhere, too. We certainly are out of control here, with 3-4 thousand deaths every day now. But then, given the fact that there has been no guidance from our federal government, and the ‘president’ is more concerned about overthrowing the government than keeping people alive … SIGH. And half our people claim it’s a violation of their ‘civil rights’ to be told to wear a mask … I think I’ve just about had enough of the human species, y’know? I’m coming back as a wolf! 🐺

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    • Sadly, impeachment is largely symbolic. Moscow Mitch said he would not agree to use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session for a trial before Jan. 19. The Senate Republicans would simply run down the clock.
      So Dumpty would avoid impeachment for a second time, but finally be out of office!!
      Let’s pray the violence and chaos subside leading up to Biden’s inauguration.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Not symbolic if the Senate finds their cojones and convicts him, for then he will not be allowed to hold public office ever again. Doesn’t matter if it happens after he has left office, which will almost certainly be the case, for he has to be given time to organize his ‘defense’ and it takes time to schedule a trial. No, he is impeached, either way … it’s just a question now of whether he will be convicted, and I think there’s a good possibility that he will be, if Mitch votes to impeach. Yes, I could hope, but I very much doubt we’ll see a cessation of the violence before the 20th. I just hope that law enforcement is up to the challenge of securing the inaugural proceedings.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not sure if Congress/ Speaker Pelosi has the jurisdiction to pursue impeachment after Trump leaves office. That remains to be seen, after the 20th Trump reverts to private citizen again, he no longer holds official governing capacity to warrant removal. Impeachment is moot and largely becomes a personal vendetta for the Democrats… not that i blame them.

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    • Yep, the 1st ever president of the United States to be impeached not once, but TWICE! Now, if only the Senate will do their job and convict him, then he can never hold public office again! If only that could also apply to his family members, for at least two of his grown children, Junior and Ivanka, are threatening to run in 2024. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are hearing a awful lot about the Unholy Church of Trump’s followers. What happens when the majority who voted against him say….’Enough a-holes!’.
        And by the way…please….please form another third party…please…Like your antics on and after the 6th January are going to convince folk who didn’t vote for Trump to join you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, they seem to be the only thing in the news these days, and I have serious concerns about their threats for this coming weekend and for next Wednesday. I just hope that law enforcement doesn’t drop the ball or have their hands tied as they did last week. Thing is that the majority, those of us who voted for Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, are not prone to violence, don’t think that’s the way to solve our problems, so a massive uprising against the ignorant idiots in Trump’s corner seems unlikely.

          I’ve long said I wish we had a multi-party system, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. A third party is an option, but the deck is stacked by the Federal Election Commission rules against any 3rd party candidate. Ross Perot back in 1992 was the closest anybody has ever some as a 3rd party candidate.

          Liked by 1 person

              • Yes that I do.
                I’ve tried working off some of the anger by going on Facebook and picking fights with fellow left wingers who still think Jeremy Corbyn was martyred by The Press, The BBC, Traitors in The Party and ‘Fake News’ (sounds familiar Jill?) but since I go straight unashamed Stalinist/Leninist on them they get nervous back off.
                Seeing your brand of traitors, bigots, hate-mongers and ignorant brings out ‘The European’ in me…. ‘They started it…we’ll finish it,’ (You do not want to know the rest of the comments I have made up in my head)
                Since me and my can of kerosene will , therefore, be doing your cause no good at all, I will endeavour to tone it all down for you.
                Jolly and Joyful can come over and help me with my new alternative WP site which will be all about my books, information on characters, times, places and themes…Hey, every Great Author has to have one😂🤣🤣! (3 volumes 630,000 words…No kiddin’)

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  1. I hope everyone heeds the warnings and stops either playing macho man, el stupido, or it’s a Democrat plot. It’s a virus and a nasty one at that with variants coming rom many directions. As yet no-one can predict just how these variants will mutate. So, if you don’t want to see your population wiped out, wear your mask when out and listen to the experts.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi David, unfortunately the pandemic has been highly politicized in the states. Most state governors and mayors have reversed lockdown restrictions and unilaterally decided to reopen the economy in midst of this full blown crisis. NY’s Cuomo has announced all bars, restaurants, theatres, retail stores be reopened due to high unemployment and low tax revenue. All states are going under so they can’t afford another round of mandatory lockdowns, it’s up to citizens to act responsibly and wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated.
      Now that Trump’s out of office soon, perhaps the pandemic would improve under Biden’s administration? Hope so, CDC is projecting 10 – 20k deaths/ day by Feb if nothing changes.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sadly, the idiots in this country have mistakenly assumed that their ‘civil rights’ include the right to risk the health and well-being of us all. I think the U.S. will continue to see a rise in both cases and deaths, and I only hope that Biden’s plan can force people to either stay home or wear a mask. Hard to enforce, but … at least we can try! Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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