COVID: The Big Drop, Free Beer, and a Good Show

Analyzing numbers is not an interest for most people, but this week’s COVID numbers are chock full of information that can tell us a lot about what has happened and what to expect next. I explain what the numbers tell us and then share more tid-bits on variants, vaccines, masks, as well as more on COVID fascism and hypocrisy.

The Big Drop

This past week was the largest decline in cases and deaths for any week throughout the pandemic. The case average for the week ending May 29 was 21,350, but then the average fell by another third this past week alone, ending at around 14,000 on June 5 (there are usually slight upward adjustments the following week, so we won’t know the exact number for another couple days, but it is still a huge drop in any case). Over the last seven-and-a-half weeks, since April 14, the average has fallen by more than 1,000 per day (about 58,000 the last 52 days). The average dropped by about 7,000 for the week just ending June 5. If it keeps dropping at the rate of a 1,000 per day, it will be at zero in two weeks. Of course, that won’t happen, but I mention it only to demonstrate how rapid the rate of decline has been the last two months. The decline is not going to stop on a dime and turnaround tomorrow; it will keep falling, probably a bit more slowly over the next week or so and then level off. It now appears likely before the end of June the rate should fall below the 10,000 per day range. 10,000 per day was the gold standard the great Sir Dr. Fauci set last year: U.S. needs to get daily cases down to 10,000 before fall, Fauci says (nbcnews.com).

Deaths in the U.S. have been declining every week since January 26, when they peaked at 3,473 per day. Some weeks there have been substantial drops and some weeks the numbers have inched down ever-so-slowly. This week, the pace picked up significantly. At the end of last week, the death rate was at 523 per day, but this week the number fell to 379 per day (again that number will likely adjust a few points upward due to the “catchup” period at the start of each week). This number is certainly going lower, much lower in the coming weeks, given the corresponding large decline in cases and increase in vaccinations.

From December 2020 to February 2021, deaths in the U.S. averaged more than 2,000 per day, making COVID-19 the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. over that period. It has been at least the third leading cause of death since the early days of the pandemic 2020, but with the decline the past week, COVID has fallen to sixth (behind heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke) . By the end of June, it will probably be out of the top ten. How much longer do we continue to talk about the threat of a disease which isn’t even one of the top ten threats to Americans?

One other number to examine is the rate of vaccinations; it has slowed further, falling below a million per day. In my last post, I speculated what the final vaccine numbers would look like if we could vaccinate 30 million in June. Given that we are already below a million per day, June’s numbers will likely fall short of 30 million which tells me we are nearing the end of the vaccination campaign. Per Bloomberg, as of Saturday, June 5, 51.3% are partially vaccinated and 41.6% are fully vaccinated. Those are not bad numbers and they will go a little bit higher, but we won’t reach 60% fully vaccinated; we will probably settle out around 55% or so.

Free Beer for Vaccines

We have seen quite a bit of what I call COVID fascism the past year. Our political leaders and media along with scientific experts have not followed the science with regard to HCQ, lockdowns, masks, and now they are repeating the mistake with vaccines. For the past year, they have politicized everything COVID related for their own advantage and it has cost thousands of lives.

I believe the vaccine has been a modern miracle and I received the vaccine myself as soon as I was eligible, but incentivizing vaccines by offering free beer, lottery tickets, and other stupid prizes is yet another outrageous political tactic. Would we do this for any other type of medical treatment or procedure? How about if your cardiologist offered a free car wash if you schedule an angioplasty with them? How about free concert tickets if you allow your dentist to put in that crown which you need so badly but have been avoiding? It sounds ridiculous but no less so than what our government is doing today. Our politicians are now fully invested in the vaccine and it reflects well on them if they get their vaccine numbers up. However, the goal should not be to vaccinate everyone you can. It makes sense for many, but others may have unique personal circumstances that need to be considered and may preclude them from receiving the vaccine.

https://news.yahoo.com/states-offering-cash-prizes-incentive-224624167.html

Many of the politicians advocating this policy will tell you that government should not get between a woman and her doctor when it comes to abortions, yet they are coming between patients and their doctors with regard to vaccines. They also use language regarding “choice” for abortion, but in this instance they don’t give a damn about about individual choice and freedom and instead want to compel individuals to follow their politically motivated medical dictates. Getting the vaccine numbers up whatever the cost is not following the science. Many people should seek medical advice before obtaining a vaccine, and this incentive might lead to some people getting the vaccine when they should not. Geez, I suppose I could get a third or fourth shot just for the chance to win a million dollars. Why not? Won’t I be doubly protected? I’ve covered vaccines extensively in several earlier posts, but let me summarize some of the concerns regarding vaccines that have been raised (all of these are supported by medical advice that I found through research and provided links to earlier):

  • People who have already contracted COVID have natural immunity. Many doctors have reiterated this point and recommended against getting a vaccine if you already have natural immunity. They have indicated you receive no additional benefit from a vaccine; in fact, the opposite may be true. In a podcast I linked to last week, the doctor interviewed indicated that the risk of adverse affects from the vaccine may be four times higher for those who already contracted COVID versus those who never contracted it. COVID: How Low can the Numbers Go? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com).
  • Minors and adolescents have a minimal, almost zero, risk from COVID. There may be some very slight benefits from being vaccinated, but these benefits may be outweighed by the risk of taking the vaccine. Many pediatricians are urging a wait and see approach with regard to vaccinating minors.
  • There are adverse risks to taking the vaccine, including some deaths (this number is not zero and the CDC tracks adverse cases and deaths). Any vaccine, any type of medication, in fact, has risks. In most cases, the vaccine or medication provides benefits which outweighs the risks. However, people with natural immunity as well as minors and adolescents may actually be taking on more risk than benefit after receiving the vaccine. This is a tough call for some and may require a discussion with your doctor. Free beer should not be a factor in your decision.
  • If you can, especially if not sure if the vaccine is best for you, get tested for the COVID antibodies. The CDC has estimated that the number infected with COVID may be as many as three times higher than the number of cases reported. My wife was asked to participate in a study and has been getting tested at home for the last several months; the test is painless, self-administered, and takes only a minute or two. Getting tested for the antibodies will tell you whether or not you already have natural immunity. Why not find out first? At least you have more information for which to make an informed decision.
  • Finally, we don’t need everyone vaccinated. Herd immunity has always been the goal, whether that is achieved naturally or artificially via a vaccine. As a group we are protected from many other diseases without all of the population (herd) being vaccinated. We should realize there are many people that are just not comfortable taking a vaccine or maybe just want to wait and see before taking it. I don’t agree with some of their arguments regarding vaccines, but they should have that choice and they should not be ostracized. Our politicians have been wrong on many occasions this past year, so it is not surprising that their inconsistent behavior and rhetoric has created vaccine hesitancy among many folks. There may be others with specific medical conditions that can’t afford the risk of the vaccine. And, as stated above, there are kids and those who have already COVID who many doctors say don’t need the vaccine. Why do our politicians want to compel them all to get vaccinated? Why do they follow the science only when it is in their political interest? I will also say, for probably the hundredth time, why are our political leaders not asking scientific experts to determine how close we are to herd immunity? I don’t need to be a doctor to know this is the ultimate goal. Shouldn’t we measure how close we are to the goal instead of trying to force everyone into a one-size-fits-all box?

Let’s Put on a Good Show

I continue to share video logs from Don, the travel agent, because it is good to see the perspective from someone not overtly political who is aghast at the brazen hypocrisy so many of our politicians have exhibited this past year. One reason I write as well is to remind folks how much of our freedom is being lost because so many are willingly following the “experts” who are not experts at all and who are instead putting on a show for their own aggrandizement or to help their friends or family or to promote their own organization or party to whom they are more loyal to than anything else.

Don is from Canada and talks about their situation and their politicians, but it is clear that Canada’s current crop of politicians is just as awful as ours. He also mentions the hypocrisy of a couple U.S. politicians like California Governor Newsome and Chicago Mayor Lightfoot. I am looking forward to doing a COVID retrospective and gathering all of this hypocrisy into one collection. We must never forget what they said and did and how they tried to manipulate us so it will not happen again.

I know many people don’t want to get involved or follow politics, but in this day and age when politics has seeped into almost every aspect our daily lives we can’t afford not to. Folks, we have to stop listening and following these politicians when they overstep their bounds. We have to vote out and hold accountable government officials who are clearly representing their own self-interest and not the interests of the people they represent. We need better folks in politics, but we won’t get better people unless more of us start paying attention to what these folks are saying and doing and hold them accountable. You can’t just listen to them a few weeks before the election. If we don’t pay attention to what they are doing and saying throughout their terms, then they will continue to overstep their bounds and that will result in a continued erosion of our freedoms until we have a country which we no longer recognize (and it won’t be for the better):

Remember too that questioning the efficacy of masks last year was something that got many people censored or de-platformed by our social media. Don’t forget this either. It is not just our politicians who are putting on a show and attempting to control the flow of information. Social media also wants to impose their view of the world on us and they attempt to do it by limiting what we see and hear.

Why can’t a regular citizen like Don or me or you question the use of masks in this instance or in any other instance? Why can’t we highlight the hypocrisy and show that those who make the silly rules don’t believe in them any more than folks like Don and I do? Why can’t we demand the whole unvarnished truth? Don and most of us are not doctors, but our opinions matter. Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and other experts have been proven wrong time after time and they have deliberately withheld or altered information to shape public opinion. If we are not allowed to question these experts, how can the truth ever come out? How will things ever improve and how can we learn from our mistakes? The debate must happen without restrictions and if that means a few crackpot ideas are included in the discussion, so be it. The alternative is to shut down the crackpots along with those other voices who are really on to something. America has always stood for the former and I still prefer it as well.

The UK Variant

We have heard much discussion about COVID variants over the last several months. The UK which had seen a dramatic decline in COVID cases, dropping to about 2,000 per day in early May has seen a rebound with cases back up to 4,500 per day as of June 5. The rise in cases is attributed to the new the COVID Delta variant.

UK tightens borders and travel rules as variants spark new alarm | Coronavirus | The Guardian

If we learned one thing from this pandemic, it should be not to panic. Everyone says follow the science and then they often don’t, but following the science is what is actually needed. These numbers from the UK should be watched and get serious consideration. On the other hand, in the last few months we’ve seen other rises in cases for short periods only to see them fall again shortly after. Remember the panic over cases in Michigan a couple months ago? There was a very dramatic rise in cases from mid-March to mid-April followed by an even bigger decline the last month-and-a-half. Although this increase was short-lived, at the time our media told us the sky was falling.

Even after the Michigan scare, in May, there was an uptick in cases in Washington and Oregon as well, but then that increase petered out quickly as well. The uptick in the UK is still fairly slight as can be seen from the graph below. Deaths in the UK have not risen either; they’ve remained between 5 and 10 per day for the last month.

This uptick has not yet spread to other countries. Cases in Israel have fallen to just 16 per day (down from 8,300 per day in January). More than 13 U.S. states, including medium-sized states like Connecticut and New Mexico have seen cases fall below 100 per day. California, a state of almost 40 million has seen cases drop 98% and they are now below 1,000 per day for the first time since last March. In fact, cases world-wide have been rapidly declining the last six weeks. So, while taking the UK numbers seriously, we need to wait a moment and see if the UK variant is signaling the start of another trend or not.

Furthermore, COVID in the last year caused much unnecessary collateral damage because of panic, misinformation, and overly zealous restrictions. As President Trump said often last year the cure was sometimes worse than the disease. Instead, we should be asking questions such as: are the current vaccines effective against variants? I’ve heard speculation both for and against their effectiveness against variants. Also, does COVID mutate as quickly as the flu which requires an annual booster? I’ve heard that COVID does not mutate that quickly and that immunity from the current vaccines would likely last for several years, but I would like to hear from more of our medical experts. We need to see where the science settles on all this. Demand answers and real proof; don’t just parrot that the oft-repeated “follow the science” line, but truly follow the data, the numbers, the true science from the true experts not those out for their own self-interest.

Fauci the Fiend

One of the biggest stories of the past week, or what should have been the biggest story of the week, was BuzzFeed‘s revelation of Anthony Fauci’s emails from early last year. The periodical was able to obtain this information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. There is devastating information which makes the great Dr. Fauci look bad; it reinforces the notion that he and others were not actually following the science in many instances. His own self-interest or the interests of his scientific colleagues or his loyalty to his own organization often appear to matter more to him than the truth or the public interest. I will leave this subject for a future post as it is a topic which need to be analyzed in detail.

Steve Deace compares Dr. Fauci to the literary villian, Faust, in his expose released earlier this year. I recommend again you find out more about what really happened. We need to know the truth about this past year, so we can be prepared for whatever chicanery they try to pull the next time.

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