COVID: Good Numbers and a Self Own

First of all, the numbers are all trending positive. Deaths have declined in the U.S. for 13 straight weeks. Cases have declined the last 8 days in a row; after rising in early Spring, they are now dropping rapidly. Cases are also plummeting in the problematic state of Michigan. More than half of the eligible U.S. population (16 and above) has received at least one vaccine and the rollout continues with 3 million vaccinated daily.

Let’s look next at an act too obvious to avoid, an act so brazen, so silly, so typical of the insanity of today that it makes me double over in laughter when I really should be crying in my beer. It is the epitome of the second half of my BLOG mission statement which is to expose the lies, double-standards, and hypocrisy that are running amok today. It is the reason I get passionate with those who just can’t (or don’t want to) see the obvious reality.

Last Sunday, April 18, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the following statement on “Meet the Press” as she was asked about the recent COVID uptick in her state:

  • “At the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether or not everyone does their part,” Whitmer told “Meet the Press.” “That’s the most important thing. This variant, the B117 variant, is what is growing so quickly in Michigan. We have the second most, I think, after Florida.”

It actually sounds fine so far. She is quoting the science and she appears to know the facts. But why mention Florida? Maybe she should have stopped there, but sadly she goes on:

  • ““Michigan and Florida are not next to each other. But this is the time in the year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are going on spring break, and all of these things can contribute to spread,” she claimed. “And that’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested. If you’ve been around someone who’s positive, stay home. And if you do get COVID, use one of these monoclonal antibodies so that we can keep you out of the hospital and help you retain your health.”

Now, she begins to lose me. She drags Florida into the conversation because she wants to imply Florida is the problem. Florida’s variant problem has infected Michigan, you see. It’s Governor DeSantis, not Governor Whitmer, that’s to blame for Michigan’s problem. She has done everything right, you see. If everyone would just stay locked up in Michigan like they were supposed to, things would have been better. Instead, those darn Michiganders have to go to Florida where the facist anti-science governor has not locked down–and then they return to Michigan and mess up Michigan’s good numbers. OMG!

I don’t buy that argument for a moment, but the next day, the spin is fully exposed as Whitmer is caught up in a double-standard whopper. After the interview on Meet The Press, it is revealed a Whitmer aide had recently traveled to Florida, exactly what Whitmer had warned against. Whitmer, when asked about this, struck a different tone, saying we should have grace because we after all we “all want to get out”. Michigan Gov. Whitmer, who sought ‘grace’ when aide vacationed in Florida, blames returning ‘snowbirds’ for Covid-19 case surge — RT USA News

I actually agree with the governor on this point. We don’t want to be locked up in our own state because of silly policies like yours. We all want to “get out” and live our lives and we should be allowed to “get out” without being called irresponsible by you. We should be able to travel from our home state to Florida on vacation if we like; we are supposed to be living in a free country. However, the day before the story of the aide came out, Whitmer presumed she could make decisions about when, where, and how citizens in her state take their leisure, but after it cuts a little closer to home, she pleads with us to cut the rule breakers (or at least this one particular rule breaker) a bit of slack. No. I cut you no slack. I wonder too why didn’t her aide listen to Whitmer? Did the aide know something we don’t?

After caught in the flytrap, Governor Whitmer now says that leaving Michigan for Florida is just fine–or is she saying that only because one of her own coterie wanted to travel? She sang a different tune just a day earlier.

It was Whitmer’s rules that created the need for everyone to run away in the first place. It appears she doesn’t like her own rules, or is at least willing to capriciously grant exceptions to friends. Isn’t it revealing to hear Whitmer urge others not to travel to Florida while making excuses for her own aide who travels there? In soccer, this is what is called an “own goal”, when someone on your team kicks the ball into the wrong net. Whitmer’s boo-boo is a political “own goal”.

But maybe it makes sense to leave Michigan for another reason. After all, Florida’s COVID death per capita rate is lower than Michigan’s, so perhaps one could even say that Michigan residents who travel to Florida are acting rationally because they are safer than those who stayed in Michigan. In other words, those who defied Governor Whitmer and left the state were actually “following the science” by increasing their odds in what we are told is the never-ending struggle to avoid COVID. How about that, Governor?

But the story gets even better as it was later revealed that Whitmer herself had traveled to Florida earlier in the year: Whitmer Traveled To Florida To Visit Father, Spokesperson Says (msn.com). So, even after she herself traveled to Florida, she appears on Meet the Press to chastise others who followed in her path. When confronted with the fact that she had been to Florida herself, she explains that she had done travel right (unlike everyone else apparently); she wasn’t traveling for frivolous reasons, she wasn’t acting like those irresponsible college kids who traveled to Florida on Spring break and then callously returned home to infect other Michiganders (don’t you love that name?). Whitmer responds to criticism over Florida trip: ‘I wasn’t partying in Miami’ | Fox News.

But remember the aforementioned aide also traveled to Florida on vacation, not to visit a sick relative. Whitmer said the aide deserved grace for taking a Florida vacation but later said spring breakers partying on the beach need to be called out as irresponsible. Did her aide vacation in the correct manner, but nobody else knows how to safely vacation? Or maybe she just doesn’t like college kids or doesn’t like those particular college kids who go to Florida on Spring break? In any case, her aide may not know how to vacation more safely than adolescent college kids; pictures of the aide have surfaced and she was not social distancing nor was she wearing a mask and she appeared to be having a splendid time in Florida! Has any of this qualified as a double-standard? Or maybe Whitmer thinks she can say whatever she wants and twist herself in a pretzel rationalizing this because the media love her and hates the Florida governor? How callous and how cynical.

But please don’t call me heartless either. I think it is perfectly okay for the governor to visit her sick father in Florida, but I would like to remind her that she is not the only one who had a sick relative during the past year. Certainly, she is aware of those who were unable to visit dying family members or attend funerals because restrictions she imposed in her state? The rules don’t seem so reasonable when you are confronted with them yourself. Maybe if she had reflected on her own rules after being impacted directly, she would have had a different understanding of them and I would have some respect for her. Maybe she could have admitted it feels a little different when you yourself have to follow your own rules and not just criticize others who don’t? But, alas there is no self-reflection, no shame, no self-awareness in the least.

The citizens in Michigan must be embarrassed to have her represent them. I am embarrassed and I don’t even live anywhere close to Michigan. Maybe her voters will call her out loudly and recall her from the governorship? We all need to let our politicians know when they act badly or they will get the impression that they can act with impunity, just like a spoiled child who is never punished. Spare the rod and spoil the governor.

As I love to quote from Mark Twain: It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled. So many have been fooled by this one and so many will remain fooled because it hurts too much to admit we were fooled.

Crystal Ball Becomes Clearer

In my post last Friday COVID Numbers – Who is Telling it Straight? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com), I quoted the one-channel media’s hysteria over rising numbers. Over a 30-day period, cases rose from 56,000 per day to 73,000 per day, a 30% increase from mid-March to mid-April, and we are told the sky is falling. But in the last eight days the numbers have headed rapidly in the other direction, dropping back down to 64,000 per day; the 30% increase has been cut in half.

It was “run in circles and scream and shout” when there was a slight rise in cases, but now the tone changes when good numbers prevail. Instead, we hear: “we must continue to take precautions” or “don’t let your guard down yet” or “we are not out of the woods”. There is never any good news, never any hope for tomorrow from the liberal one-channel media and our good-for-nothing politicians. Instead, we hear: “be careful and listen to us”. Well, let me tell you, we are never out of the woods while in this world. Life is one risk after another, and we can’t let each new one paralyze us or we have no life to live. Tell them thanks for the warning, but you will live your life as you see fit.

Cases are dropping again as I predicted they eventually would. Deaths continue to decline as well; this is the 13th straight week during which the 7-day average for deaths has fallen. During the past week, the U.S. is still averaging 3 million vaccines per day and now 40.9% of the U.S. population has received one dose. This means that more than half of the eligible population has been at least partially vaccinated. Deaths will be crashing soon as we trace the same ground as the UK and Israel did after they reached this threshold.

Vaccine Numbers

The average age of those dying from COVID the last year is 78. This is the same as the average life expectancy. For the most part, we started by vaccinating the elderly. More than 75% of those 65 and up have been partially vaccinated to this point.

Because the interval between vaccines is 3 weeks (for Pfizer) or 4 weeks (for Moderna) by late May, the U.S. will have more than 75% of seniors fully vaccinated and more than half of those between 50 and 64 fully vaccinated.

I would think these numbers would be higher already since these are the most vulnerable, but there may be medical reasons for some seniors in poor health to not take the vaccine or it may be difficult to vaccinate elderly who are shut in. I will continue to watch this number to determine if continues to inch up, but in any case, it is already having a big impact on death numbers.

It appears to me that seniors will be, for the most part, protected from COVID by the end of May. Over the summer, we should be vaccinating the remaining folks in the younger age groups.

When will we arrive at COVID nirvana?

Of those who have not yet been vaccinated, a good percentage probably won’t get the vaccine. As I expounded in a prior post When Does COVID End? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com), we don’t need to vaccinate all and we should not force all to be vaccinated. There are clearly side effects from the vaccines and certain demographics (younger women especially) appear to be more vulnerable. But, in the end, the current strategy is working and each individual has a personal choice to make with regard to the risk versus reward from the vaccine. Some may also be waiting to see how the rollout goes before taking the vaccine themselves; I’ve received mine, but I don’t blame anyone for waiting.

As of Thursday, April 22, about 134 million have received one shot (40.9% of total U.S. population). This is just over half of the eligible population. About 88 million (26.9%) have received both doses; this is a third of the eligible population. So, let’s say half of the remaining pool is vaccinated. That’s purely conjecture, but we appear on track to reach it. That would get us to about 200 million people vaccinated. As the pool of un-vaccinated shrinks, the rate of vaccinations will likely slow, but we could get to 200 million vaccinated in two or three more months, depending on the rate of vaccinations. That would mean around 60% of the U.S. population is vaccinated. That’s higher than the current U.K. number and it’s right about where Israel is right now. Both Israel and U.K. continue to do exceptionally well and we are on the same glide path as they are.

In addition to possibly reaching 60% vaccinated, we still have a large body of unvaccinated who already had COVID. In a prior post, I pointed out the number of infected may be approaching 100 million. If half of those, say 50 million, are among the un-vaccinated, that could push us to 250 million with immunity (natural or vaccine induced). That’s more than 75% of the U.S. population, certainly enough for herd immunity by any expert’s (including the greatest of all doctors, Dr. Fauci) standard.

States

Let’s take one last look at the vaccine numbers by examining a few states. New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine have all exceeded 50% of the population with one dose. Vermont and New Mexico are on the verge of hitting 50%. New Hampshire, in fact, is on the verge of 60% with one dose. From what I’ve read, one dose on its own offers a significant amount of protection. The second dose just gets you across the finish line.

Some states are not doing as well and it will take another several weeks for the lagging states to catch up. So, I would say our vaccine numbers are pretty good but not stellar right now. It will take at least another 3 or 4 weeks to get the nation as a whole to 50%.

The six states mentioned above are all doing better than the national average in deaths per capita. The nation as a whole is averaging 2.23 deaths per million per day, but all these six states are well below that mark. Vermont has had just one death in the last 7 days:

% of population
JurisdictionDoses administeredEnough for % of peoplegiven 1+ dosefully vaccinatedAverage Daily DeathsDeaths per 1,000,000
U.S. Totals218,947,64334.240.926.97302.23
New Hampshire1,117,32743.058.929.110.74
Connecticut2,913,57442.550.933.771.96
Maine1,068,26542.350.734.610.74
Massachusetts5,467,55841.250.731.3121.74
Vermont502,37442.149.433.30.150.11
New Mexico1,674,79741.048.833.631.43
Vaccine numbers and deaths per capita

At their peaks, Massachusetts had 174 deaths per day and Connecticut 114 deaths per day These are the two most populous among the group of six states. Now Massachusetts and Connecticut are experiencing only 12 and 7 deaths per day respectively, a far cry from where they once were. Both states, especially Massachusetts, have seen death numbers crash in the last two months as the vaccine program has ramped up.

Clearly, as the numbers in Israel and the UK have demonstrated the vaccine rollout is having an impact and the numbers keep improving as the percentage vaccinated increases.

Another Interesting Number

Because of the shrillness of the media message with regard to COVID, many people believe the problem is much worse than it is. The problem is serious, but nonetheless, the risk is very much overstated. See the results from this recent poll of Americans:

  • People were asked during a Franklin Templeton/Gallup study what “percentage of people who have been infected by the coronavirus needed to be hospitalized.” Thirty-five percent of those asked said that over half of infected people would require hospitalization from the disease. Meanwhile, only 18% correctly stated that the risk of hospitalization was somewhere between 1%-5%.

The full story link is here:

Public vastly overestimates risk of hospitalization from COVID-19: Study | Washington Examiner

So, the shrillness of the media has an impact, a very negative impact. More sanguine, optimistic voices like mine have a hard time breaking through when so many are motivated by fear. It may appear that folks like me are pollyannas and we want to deny the harsh reality of the situation. But, given the results of this poll, who actually has the hold on reality here?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: