Sunday Commentary: Some Are Not Taking Omicron Seriously Enough

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

There is a shift going on—perhaps it’s the fact that Omicron is less severe but much more contagious than previous variants—about moving from a system of containment to management.  The problem I have with that approach is it ignores that, while more people are vaccinated and overall the variant is less serious, it still poses substantial risk of hospitalization and, yes, even death.

The NY Times today noted, “Universities from Northeastern in Boston to the University of California-Davis have begun to discuss Covid in ‘endemic’ terms — a shift from reacting to each spike of cases as a crisis to the reality of living with it daily. And in some cases, there has been backlash.

“Most universities are still acting with caution. They are delaying the start of in-person classes and warning students that case counts could explode because of Omicron,” the Times reports.  “Yet some universities are also saying that spikes in cases do not have to be as disruptive as they were in the earlier waves of the pandemic.”

The Times notes that Chancellor May “faced a strong negative reaction after a Dec. 30 statement in which he characterized the Omicron variant as ‘milder’ and suggested a shift to ‘living with Covid-19 at an endemic level.’”

Classes were going to resume on January 10 but a petition, signed by 7500 people, referenced May’s use of the term “endemic” and accused the university of “not prioritizing the immuno-compromised, the disabled, unvaccinated people, children, those who live with people from any of these groups, or the general health of the public.”

The result is that May announced this week that in-person classes are delayed until at least January 31.

The problem is, while for many people this disease, although extremely transmissible, produces mild symptoms, we are still seeing huge numbers of people hospitalized and dying—and that number figures to go up.

Everyone kind of has to figure out how they want to handle things.

Last week I made the decision to pull my kids out of school until this situation calms down a bit.  Yesterday I was discussing the issue with a teacher in Davis who said, of his 85 students, 15 have caught it so far and he has been closely exposed a number of times.

“This ain’t right,” he said.  “This is destroying education.”

My sister who teaches in Los Angeles said at their high school there were 257 positive cases last Friday.

LA this week topped 45,000 cases a day, California over 100,000 and the US 14-day average is at 806,000.

The number of cases is staggering.  But I have had a few discussions this week with people who really believe that we need to get back to life as normal, that we need to stop panicking and that the severity of a lot of these cases is pretty mild.

There is some truth to that and the science suggests that Omicron does not invade the lungs nearly as thoroughly as Delta or other previous versions.

The problem, however, is that despite comments to the contrary this is not like having a cold.  For one thing, I have read a lot of medical professionals saying that they have never seen anything as transmissible as Omicron.

Even with nearly two-thirds of the population and three-quarters of those over the age of 12 being fully vaccinated, this is a serious health threat.

We have seen the daily average soar to more than 800,000, nearly four times a year ago which was the previous peak.

But I’m also watching the hospitalizations, and they are spiking as well—now above the number from a year ago.

And what about deaths?  Nearly 2000 people died yesterday from COVID.  And that number has only really started going up in the last few weeks.  Deaths are a lagging, not a leading, indicator.

The number of cases is still rising faster—113 percent increase over the last 14 days.  Hospitalizations have increased by 73 percent.  And deaths by 55 percent.

That’s not good news.  That suggests that hospitalizations and deaths are still going to see a spike.

Sixty-five million have contracted the virus, 848,000 in the US have died.  Some want to shrug off the deaths because it’s a small percentage.  But even at one percent, that could mean 3 million deaths in the US if everyone got it.

Experts have warned that, yeah, it could become endemic, but it’s so transmissible that we could see new waves every six months that completely disrupt life and our economy.  Vaccination and masking could knock down these waves very quickly, but people refuse to comply with basic common sense and, because of that, a lot of people are going to die who don’t need to right now.

Last week, the WHO (World Health Organization) director warned that, despite Omicron seeming to be less severe than Delta, it was a mistake to call the variant “mild.”

“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as ‘mild,’” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference. “Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalizing people, and it is killing people.”

Some have suggested that Omicron is a sign that COVID is going from pandemic to endemic.

But experts warn against that view.  Professor Christina Pagel, the UCL (University College London) Director, in a tweet last week warned, “A virus isn’t endemic just cos a govt minister says it is and just cos people want it to be. The current pattern of waning vax, new immune evasive variants, and minimal public health response seem set to doom us to massive surges once or twice a year.”

She added, “If that continues we’ll keep picking off the vulnerable, keep stressing a weakening NHS, create more chronic illness & mass disruption through people off sick every time. Lower quality of life for all of us.”

That’s the problem and you can’t just shrug it off to immuno-compromised or older people—people who otherwise might live another decade or two are instead dying prematurely from what is now a largely preventable death.

I know people want to get on with their lives, but what happens if the world has simply changed—what that will look like going forward?

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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13 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    “This ain’t right,” he said.  “This is destroying education.”

    There’s ample evidence that distance learning is destroying education.

    Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. The pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education. And the crisis had an impact on not just academics but also the broader health and well-being of students, with more than 35 percent of parents very or extremely concerned about their children’s mental health.

    https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/education/our-insights/covid-19-and-education-the-lingering-effects-of-unfinished-learning

  2. Rick Entrikin

    “This ain’t right,” he said.  “This is destroying education.”

    Hmmm…, wonder if that statement was by an English teacher.

    What I really wonder, though, is what you, David, actually expect or desire as a reasonable outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic?  You mention people “warning” of Covid becoming endemic.  What do you consider the preferred outcome?

    And as the “counter-narrative,” have you wondered why the mass media (and government) continue to focus on more and more vaccinations and boosters (which Omicron, seemingly, can evade in many people), with essentially no mention of treatments, such as Plaxovid, Pfizer’s oral antiviral, granted EUA by the FDA last month?

    1. David Greenwald

      I think instead of preferred outcome, we look at the likely outcome. Let’s say this becomes “like” the flu. With the flu, we have a vaccine that reduces your chance of getting it and dying, but doesn’t eliminate either. The flu comes back each year. It is slightly different and requires a modified vaccine each year. And between 40 and 60 thousand people die.

      But COVID is not seasonal. It has the potential to come back twice a year in huge surges as we saw this year. It’s far more transmissible than the flu. And it’s deadly enough to kill as many in a month as flu does in a year.

      That’s what we are looking at. OPtimal situation, people all vaccinate and during outbreaks wear masks in public, but they don’t.

      There are new treatments for COVID, probably in six months or so they will be in sufficient quantities to start reducing incidents of severe disease, just as there are similar treatments for the flu, in each case, you have to identify and treat immediately for it to be effective. It’s helpful, but not a solution.

      That’s what I see right now.

      1. Rick Entrikin

        Thanks for the thorough reply, David.   Interesting that your “likely outcome” essentially predicts endemic Covid-19.   And if Omicron (and other, less severe variants) can maintain dominance over more severe variants, such as Delta,  the ultimate outcome might be learning to “living with it.”

        Regarding seasonality, I think you might have jumped ahead a bit with:

        But COVID is not seasonal. It has the potential to come back twice a year in huge surges as we saw this year. It’s far more transmissible than the flu. And it’s deadly enough to kill as many in a month as flu does in a year.

        The following paragraph is from a paper in Biology (Basel). 2021 Aug; 10(8): 733,  reproduced on the CDC website.  (Before discovery of Omicron variant):

        SARS-CoV-2, much like influenza, tends to be a winter virus that feels more comfortable in cold and dry air [115]. However, so far, such conclusions should be drawn with caution. We know too little about whether the COVID-19 coronavirus is seasonal or not).

        Regarding the annual number of fatalities from influenza and Covid-19, the good news (albeit in the early stages of discovery) is that they might not be additive.  Early results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 might actually reduce the infectious ability of influenza viruses, as suggested by the title of the above-cited paper:  “Covid-19 Shuts Doors to Flu but Keeps Them Open  to Rhinoviruses.”

        Finally, to your answer regarding my question about the lack of media (and government) attention to new, oral antivirals, such as Plaxovid.

        There are new treatments for COVID, probably in six months or so they will be in sufficient quantities to start reducing incidents of severe disease, just as there are similar treatments for the flu, in each case, you have to identify and treat immediately for it to be effective. It’s helpful, but not a solution.

        Here’s a bit more information to consider.  This was taken from a Pfizer Press Release, November 5, 2021:

        PAXLOVID™ (PF-07321332; ritonavir) was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19
        In the overall study population through Day 28, no deaths were reported in patients who received PAXLOVID™ as compared to 10 deaths in patients who received placebo

        And this is a summary of ROLLING data submitted to the FDA as part of its ongoing request to FDA for an Emergency Use Authorization:

        “…in patients treated within three days of symptom onset (primary endpoint); 0.8% of patients who received PAXLOVID™ were hospitalized through Day 28 following randomization (3/389 hospitalized with no deaths), compared to 7.0% of patients who received placebo and were hospitalized or died (27/385 hospitalized with 7 subsequent deaths).  The statistical significance of these results was high (p<0.0001).

        And this:

        “Similar reductions in COVID-19-related hospitalization or death were observed in patients treated within five days of symptom onset; 1.0% of patients who received PAXLOVID™ were hospitalized through Day 28 following randomization (6/607 hospitalized, with no deaths), compared to 6.7% of patients who received a placebo (41/612 hospitalized with 10 subsequent deaths), with high statistical significance (p<0.0001). In the overall study population through Day 28, no deaths were reported in patients who received PAXLOVID™ as compared to 10 (1.6%) deaths in patients who received placebo.”

        AND this:

        “The primary analysis of the interim data set evaluated data from 1219 adults who were enrolled by September 29, 2021. At the time of the decision to stop recruiting patients, enrollment was at 70% of the 3,000 planned patients from clinical trial sites across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, with 45% of patients located in the United States. Enrolled individuals had a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection within a five-day period with mild to moderate symptoms and were required to have at least one characteristic or underlying medical condition associated with an increased risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. Each patient was randomized (1:1) to receive PAXLOVID™ or placebo orally every 12 hours for five days.”

        Here are a couple of Pfizer’s production commitments upon EUA on December 22, 2021.

        •    Pfizer is ready to start immediate delivery in the U.S., in accordance with its agreement with the U.S. government to supply 10 million treatment courses between 2021 and 2022

        •    Pfizer raises production projections from 80 million to 120 million courses of treatment in 2022, as a result of continued investments to support the manufacturing and distribution of PAXLOVID

        PLUS, shortly after the December EUA, Pfizer upped its US government commitment to 1,000,000 treatment courses per month.

        So, you might wish to wonder, as I do, about the lack of media coverage of this breakthrough treatment, what has become of the first 1,000,000 U.S., treatment courses and think a bit more optimistically about the eventual outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic.

         

         

         

         

         

         

  3. Alan Miller

    That’s what we are looking at. OPtimal situation, people all vaccinate and during outbreaks wear masks in public, but they don’t.

    The mask direction by the guv’ment has been an unbelievable cluster-F.  Bottom line is it’s time for those who want protection to use masks that actually PROTECT the WEARER, not some kumbaya we’ll-all-wear-masks-to-protect-each-other scheme — a scheme I actually believed in at the beginning of the pandemic — when I had faith that human beings would work in harmony to protect each other and ram the virus into an exponential decay curve that would rid it from the Earth.

    From this pandemic societal response I’ve learned is that human beings as a whole sück, and for all it’s greatness, American society is one big sückfest when it comes to giving a dåmn about others.  Just look at how there has been this societal dismissal of those most vulnerable to the disease:  the old, the poor, the obese, the sick.  So since I’m healthy and young and of means, I’ll probably be OK!  Jesus!  Is this what Jesus would do?  We are a “Christian” nation, some would say.  Are we?  Are we even moral?

    We just need to protect ourselves from others, and give up on society.  Now, finally, after we are vaccinated and most won’t die, the government is finally telling us what we should have been told 1-1/2 years ago when people were dying en masse horrible deaths — use masks that protect you from others if you must go into enclosed public spaces.

    But still, the message is muddled — there are messages about surgical masks being ‘better’, and/or/ish to use cloth masks that you can’t see light through when held up to a light source.  Really?  Not confusing, Mr. Government?  Our government messaging sücks.

    I just read a study about masks and how long they protect you for.  Cloth masks – well let’s not even bother.  Surgical masks (if well fitted with the wire around the nose) are like good for protecting you for like 10-15 minutes – so great if you have to pop into a 7-11.  If someone has Covid-19 and you are both wearing well-fitted N-95 and like masks and in a room overnight, you should be protected.  That’s the difference we are talking, and that the government has not been talking, about.

    Of course, we’ve all been around or watched someone talking while their loose-fitting mask drops off their nose and even sometimes their mouth. Or looked into a restaurant and seen 90% of people inside ‘eating’ without a mask.  The virus doesn’t care about careless people or if the laws allow people to drop their masks indoors to eat.  The virus only wants to spread – and human stupidity is it’s friend.

    Now yes, our chances of dying are much, much lower now that there are vaccines.  So if you want to go sit in a restaurant or go to a concert, have it my friends.  Just be aware you may be contributing to spread, and you may pick up the virus.  You probably will feel like you had a cold like most people I know who have got it.  There’s a chance you will be a death vector that kills an unhealthy person.  Who knows?

    But what we really don’t know is what ‘Long Covid-19’ syndromes will come out of Omicron.  Perhaps nothing, or perhaps it does something that will harm the health of millions.  We just don’t know yet.

    While this doesn’t rise to the level of government-sanctioned, I trust my high-IQ friend more than the government, so take this as you may.  He’s done some research and concluded a P-100 is a better filter for the virus than the N-95.  It’s also easier to get because there hasn’t been a run on them.  Carefully cover and seal any such mask’s output vent with a surgical mask to protect others!!!

    To illustrate the stupidity of enforcement policies, this same friend was boarding a flight with his P-100, with surgical mask covering – nay taped carefully – to protect others.  They wouldn’t let him board the flight, because they said they don’t allow that kind of mask.  Of course, the reality is that what isn’t allowed is to not have a proper mask covering the outflow of air, which his did in spades!  Also ridiculous, he’d been on several previous flights of the same airline with no boarding problems.

    As a society, we are hopeless and stupid.

    Have fun out there kids!

    1. Ron Oertel

      From this pandemic societal response I’ve learned is that human beings as a whole sück, and for all it’s greatness, American society is one big sückfest when it comes to giving a dåmn about others.

      Are you saying that it’s time to stockpile toilet paper, again?  🙂

      As I recall, the government was initially even “afraid” to acknowledge that masks are effective, given that they knew such an acknowledgement would create a shortage for healthcare workers. And unfortunately, they were probably right.

  4. Alan Miller

    Are you saying that it’s time to stockpile toilet paper, again? 

    I buy bamboo toilet paper once per year by the case.  No shortage, more absorbent, arguably friendlier to the environment.

  5. Don Shor

    People need to take this variant seriously. There are major impacts right now and those will continue for several weeks or more.

    Businesses have been hit hard by staffing issues. The current guidances mean that an employee who is exposed is going to be off work for some period of time, an employee who tests positive or gets sick will be off work for a period of time longer than would be the case with a cold or flu. Those employees are going to need sick pay, and will likely exhaust their accrued sick leave with just one episode of COVID. Employers have to decide what to do about employee pay and covering their shifts with other paid employees, and there is no longer any paid leave available from the government. So staffing shortages are just going to be the norm now for some time.

    Trivializing the illness ignores the fact that infected people are flooding our health care system. Many who have this variant are getting very sick. We are all now paying the price, collectively, for the decisions of those who chose not to get vaccinated. Nearly every method of slowing the spread has been obstructed by certain political groups, and most recently by the Supreme Court.

    I strongly disagree with Alan Miller’s comment that “and for all it’s greatness, American society is one big sückfest when it comes to giving a dåmn about others.” No, Alan. Some Americans. Most chose to accept the rules and abide by the guidances. Some didn’t. This is not a “both sides” thing because the refusals are heavily concentrated in the members and officials in the Republican Party. 

    Here are excerpts from an article in The Guardian about Omicron:

    Understanding Omicron’s severity

    Covid-19 is still a very serious disease with unknown outcomes, even for the less severe Omicron variant.

    Am I just going to get Covid no matter what I do?

    “That’s not true,” said Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I don’t plan on getting infected with Omicron. I’m vaccinated; because I’m over 65, I’m boosted. I wear a mask whenever I’m in public and indoors around people I don’t know. And I have no intentions of being infected with this virus.”

    While the more transmissible Omicron variant is infecting more people than ever before, taking proven precautions can still prevent it: getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing high-quality masks, improving ventilation and avoiding crowds indoors.

    Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research: “This is a real-deal virus where there’s unpredictability,” he said. “Some people can get very sick. Some people can get long Covid. Some people unwittingly will then get immunocompromised people sick”, leading to hospitalization and death.

    … And it’s not at all clear if recovering from Omicron would protect against future variants.

    “It can still be severe,” Topol said. He calls it less severe, not milder.

    In animal studies, Omicron was less effective than Delta at infecting lung tissue, making severe pneumonia less likely. And according to a new preprint study, which has not been published or peer reviewed, illness was shorter and hospitalizations were half as likely among those with Omicron versus Delta.

    But a lowered risk of getting very ill doesn’t mean no risk, Offit said. “You still could have all of those things happen to you – you still could be hospitalized, go to the ICU, require mechanical ventilation and die.”

    Is that why some people are still being hospitalized?

    The US has record-high hospitalizations, and cases are more than three times higher than our previous highest peak, a year ago.

    That’s because the other characteristics of Omicron – its immune-evasiveness and transmissibility – more than outweigh its relatively less severe symptoms. When more people get sick, there are more chances of the illness going very wrong.

    “A small percentage of a huge number is a very large number,” said Jorge Moreno, assistant professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

    What about this idea of being hospitalized “for” versus “with” Covid?

    “I think that’s grossly inaccurate,” Topol said. He recently cared for a Covid-positive patient with chronic lung disease who was coded as hospitalized “with”, not “for,” Covid. That’s because the patient needed to be treated for the lung disease – but it had only flared up because of Covid.

    “We do have 150,000 US hospitalizations with or for Covid, which is well beyond any record and is completely overwhelming health systems,” Topol said. “So, this debate is just nonsensical.”

    There are cases where patients are undergoing surgery or getting treated for accidents when they test positive for Covid incidentally. But that’s not very common, experts said.

    It’s far more likely that Covid exacerbates another condition or causes a different illness to rise to the forefront: complications from diabetes, renal failure, strokes, heart inflammation or failure, asthma, emphysema, pulmonary embolisms.

    Does that mean the types of complications caused by Covid are changing?

    “This virus does things no other respiratory virus does,” Offit said. “You can have strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, liver disease, and then whatever long Covid is.”

    One major complication from Covid has been diabetic ketoacidosis. “It raises their blood sugars; it creates conditions that are more threatening for patients with diabetes,” Moreno said.

    “Those are very urgent and sometimes life-threatening conditions. They still require a lot of care. They still require a lot of time in the hospital.”

    “The end result is our hospitals are filling up,” Topol said. “And it’s breaking the backs of the healthcare system, particularly the healthcare workforce.”

    Across the country, hospitals are nearing or passing capacity.

    Do vaccines still help against Omicron?

    Absolutely. Unvaccinated people in particular are still at risk for pneumonia and other complications, and vaccinations can dramatically lower those risks.

    “If you’re unvaccinated, you will have a longer illness, you will get sicker most likely,” Moreno said. “There is some evidence that it’s not targeting the lungs as much – however, one thing with Covid is that it can do whatever it wants, right? So once it finds the host, once it gets in, it’s unpredictable.”

    But vaccination, he said, “makes Covid predictable”.

    “You never ever want to get a viral infection,” Offit said. “But the good news is, you don’t have to. You can vaccinate yourself so you can experience the immunity induced by natural infection without having to pay the price of natural infection.”

    Sometimes it feels like each wave will last for ever. But are things getting better?

    “I do think that we are on the verge of getting past at least the bulk of Omicron,” Offit said. “You will start to see a decline.”

    And new treatments that are very effective at keeping Covid from getting serious are on their way. …

    Full article here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/16/no-intention-of-getting-infected-understanding-omicrons-severity

    Stop making fun of this. Stop pretending it isn’t severe. Stop making lame excuses for the leaders who are minimizing it.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Most chose to accept the rules and abide by the guidances. Some didn’t. 

      According to the Supreme court, the “rules” aren’t set in stone.

      Some people don’t believe in vaccines.  Even fewer believe that everyone should be “forced” to get them.

      Vaccines don’t entirely prevent the disease.

      Then, there’s the fact that this is a worldwide epidemic, and that the virus will continue mutating based upon that alone.

      Regarding the impact on hospitals, I understand that a lot of the problem is that a lot of healthcare workers themselves have tested positive (and are therefore prevented from working).

      In any case, I’d suggest that the Vanguard’s “opinion” (or yours or mine) isn’t going to make one bit of difference, at this point. Nothing but hot air.

      Maybe folks should just be concerned with what THEY’RE doing, rather than worrying about what everyone else is (or isn’t) doing.

    2. Rick Entrikin

      Excellent post, Don; learned a lot.  But just curious, why is it so common for people who post on the Vanguard to make accusatory, divisive comments about entire groups of people?  For example:

      This is not a “both sides” thing because the refusals are heavily concentrated in the members and officials in the Republican Party.

      All of my neighbors to the left and right of my house, have had Covid-19 during the past two weeks.  Three adults in one house, two adults and a 12-y-o junior high student in the other.  All of those people were vaccinated, four of the adults were boosted and NONE of them is a Republican.

      And, since there are reportedly so few Republicans in the City of All Things Right and Redpellent, it seems likely that they were exposed to Covid by a fellow Democrat, Independent or even a person of color.

       

       

       

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        But just curious, why is it so common for people who post on the Vanguard to make accusatory, divisive comments about entire groups of people?  

        Exactly.

        Initially, I believed that Republicans were the ones (exclusively) making this a partisan political issue.  However, I have since changed my mind, largely based upon comments such as Don’s.  (However, he is not alone in this, nor is the Vanguard itself.)

        It’s an extension of the unnecessary division in this country, driven by partisan politics. (I still can’t figure out how/why anyone can so closely associate themselves with one party or another in the first place.)

    3. Alan Miller

      I strongly disagree with Alan Miller’s comment that “and for all it’s greatness, American society is one big sückfest when it comes to giving a dåmn about others.” No, Alan. Some Americans.

      I’m not sure what you are disagreeing with.  I didn’t say all Americans don’t give a damn about others, I said as a whole, America is one big sückfest.  Whatever makes America great, uniting behind fighting the virus does not come out of that.  But of course some Americans; what’s the ‘strong disagreement’ ?

      Most chose to accept the rules and abide by the guidances.

      You live in a blue town in a blue state  “most”.  I’ve talked to a few people who have driven across the country at different times in the pandemic, and unless you happen to hit Austin, TX or Madison, WI, for about 2900 miles from Colfax to Pittsburgh it’s like there is no pandemic.  But even here in Davis — how is any Democrat inside eating in a packed restaurant or bar in downtown Davis with their mask off and everyone else’s off not ignoring the reality of the spread and contributing to the spread?  How is anyone still wearing a cloth mask not doing the same?  Rules and guidances are unimportant — understanding how the disease spreads and avoiding that is what’s important – and that isn’t happening even here in Davis – and for 3000 miles east, not happening at all.

      Some didn’t. This is not a “both sides” thing because the refusals are heavily concentrated in the members and officials in the Republican Party.

      That’s meaningless.  Yes, it’s more heavily weighted in the Republican party.  So what?  The issue isn’t weighting, it’s the individuals who, for left-leaning or right-leaning reasons – tending to be don’t-trust-the-government and don’t-trust-western-medicine types (I fall into both those categories to some degree, but not extreme in either) who are not getting vaccinated.  Plenty of Democrats have also partisan weaponized the pandemic as well, and the CDC and Fauci have told numerous lies and lags that have left people on all sides not trusting ‘guidance’ because its ever changing and confusing and contradictory and filtered through media and social media.

      Stop making fun of this. Stop pretending it isn’t severe. Stop making lame excuses for the leaders who are minimizing it.

      I don’t know if you’re talking to me, but you’re talking to someone, and I’m the only person you mentioned by name.  I’m not doing any of those things (making fun, pretending or lame excusing).  Or you weren’t talking to me and you were talking to some person you didn’t name, and I retract that last sentence – [but none of the sentences that came before.]

      As I’ve said many time before – what is the purpose or goal of partisanizing the pandemic?  Especially in Davis.  You can swing a dead cat all day long and not hit a Republican, so what’s the point?  On the other hand, Davis is full of anti-establishment, anti-western-medicine, anti-vax style people who wouldn’t be caught dead with a Donald Trump bumper sticker.  I know dozens of them, which means there must be hundreds or thousands.  So why worry about Republicans in Davis?

  6. Rick Entrikin

    Here is the most recent information I could find regarding the distribution of Paxlovid:

    Jan 4 (Reuters) – The Biden administration doubled its order for Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment, the company and the White House said on Tuesday, providing the government a total of 20 million courses as it fights a record surge in COVID-19 cases.
    The White House now expects some 4 million treatment courses of the pills to be available by the end of January and 10 million by June, three months sooner than previously planned, according to an administration official.

    So the total Pfizer commitment to the U.S., government is now 20,000,000 treatment courses, with 4 million due within the next two weeks and 1.5 million more per month thereafter.  All of these projections far exceed the original, December 22, 2021 estimate of 800,000 per month. (As of today, roughly 150,000 people are hospitalized “with” Covid, nationwide.)
    The efficacy and data leading up to the 12-22-2021 FDA EUA for Plavoxid are summarized above in this thread.
    Vaccines remain the first line of defense, but Paxlovid and other antivirals in the pipeline offer new hope for a return to “normalcy.”
    Note: The federal government contracted to pay Pfizer $5.29 billion for the first 10 million treatment courses.  That is $529 per course.  (The cost of the ‘extra’ 10 million courses was not revealed as of 1-4-2022.)

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