Vaccine-Only Mandates as a Manifestation of the Bizarre Civil War-Stoking Impulses of the Professional-Managerial Class in the US

Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine I would ever want Bernanke and Geithner back in charge. Yes, vast swathes of the public at least dimly recognized that the financial crisis bailouts were designed to preserve the banking system at their expense. Yes, no executives went to jail or even had their feathers ruffled. Yes, the Fed, the Treasury, and central bankers all over the world refused to believe that the derivatives-leveraged debt bomb was aimed at the heart of the financial system, even though they had warning in the form of three acute phases before the big Lehman-triggered blow up.

But compared to the clown show we have managing the Covid crisis, the Fed-Treasury team was a paragon of managerial virtue. There is every reason to loathe their banking system friendly, cognitively captured priorities, backed by Obama’s fundamental conservatism and personal reluctance to cross anyone in the clubs he’d just joined. But they were bloody well competent at pursuing those bad objectives.

By contrast, most readers are all too familiar with the sorry conduct of public health establishment in the US over the course of the Covid crisis, from the initial denial of the possibility that it could become a pandemic,1 to advising against masks, to ending lockdowns too early, to imposing too few restrictions on international air travel, to refusal to impose quarantines with teeth, to the premature May “Mission Accomplished, take off your masks” pronouncement.

Today, we’ll discuss the vaccine mandates as a perverse example of the “othering” that has become a prominent and not-productive element of the official response to Covid. It as if this focus designed to serve the emotional needs of those in charge, in particular reaffirm their claim to authority and assertion of special privileges, rather than prevent death and suffering. And the “others” are responding in kind to the open hostility, starting with Biden saying he’s lost patience with the unvaccinated.

Vaccinations Alone Insufficient to Combat Delta….

A Covid strategy that relied pretty much exclusively on vaccinations could conceivably have worked with the original “wild type’ or “Wuhan” variant, where experts estimated that a ~65% vaccination level would reduce the replication rate to less than one, so the pathogen would fizzle out. There might still be outbreaks in low-vaccination areas, but Covid would be reduced to an intermittent, low-level problem.

But with Delta being far more contagious, or as the experts would say, having a higher unmitigated R0, it would take a correspondingly much higher level of vaccination to lower the R0 to below one, with most experts pegging it at 85% if not higher.

Getting to 85% would be daunting when you factor in not merely vaccine resistance/hesitancy and legitimate economic reasons to avoid vaccination (the risk of miss a day or two or work due to a routine reaction leading to a catastrophic economic downspiral) but also the fact that being vaccinated or getting Covid confers less than a year of immunity. The best guesstimates seem to be eight months for Moderna and contracting Covid, and close to that long for J&J, versus five to six months at best for Pfizer.3

Despite efforts to impugn data out of Israel showing declining efficacy of Pfizer vaccine4, confirmed by a large-scale study out of Mayo, it appears that the current vaccines do very little to reduce contagiousness. The CDC study of the Provincetown outbreak found similar nasal viral loads among the vaccinated and unvaccinated; other studies tried to claim the vaccines still reduced Delta propagation. To the extent it does, it ain’t much, on the order of 2.0

Moreover, waning vaccine effectiveness among the vaccinated translates into not merely more breakthrough cases, but also an increasing number of those with breakthrough cases winding up mighty sick. And all those cheery claims that virtually all of those hospitalized for Covid are unvaccinated is composed from anecdata since that information does not exist on a national level. From IM Doc:

I was informed today by the Health Dept that they have absolutely zero way of tracking correctly vaccinated cases. In that they do not have the ability to retrospectively find out which vaccination the person has had. So there is no way the CDC will be having this kind of detail, unless other states are doing this.

Readers have said California and some other states do have proper vaccination tracking systems, but in aggregate, they represent a minority of the population.

The reason we suspect the official-sounding anecdata is we are hearing from readers and medically-connected sources of specific instances of fully vaccinated individuals winding up in the hospital with Covid and some dying. IM Doc has even sent obits of medical professionals he knew who died of Covid, fully vaccinated, with no mention in the text, while the press makes relishes reporting on Covid deaths of the unvaccinated. Even though there is every reason to believe that deaths and hospitalizations are still significantly skewed towards the unvaccinated, the press hyping by how much is undermining confidence among the fence-sitters.

You might say, “But the booster program is starting! The virtuous vaccine-takers will be protected.” Um, not to the degree you’d like to think. Even for Moderna, the most effective vaccine against Delta, the neutralizing antibodies generated against B.1.351 by a third shot were only 40% of the level of the earlier jabs agains the wild type, per Moderna’s own research. Yet the booster program is now focused on Pfizer, the least effective vaccine against Delta. There’s a reason Israel is now talking about fourth booster shots.

You might say, “Well, the drug companies will soon have a booster that targets Delta.” Notice that they are instead offering boosters that are the same as the original shot, as in is designed to combat the Wuhan variant. The lack of any apparent plan to develop Delta or other variant-specific shots does not appear to be due to development or approval delays, but instead the span of variants. As GM explained:

It has been noted for some time that the mutations in Delta/B.1.617.2, on one hand, and B.1.351/Beta and P.1/Gamma, on the other, are orthogonal to each other. And there have been other mutational paths too, but those did not rise to significant prominence.

Which is essentially evolution into distinct serotypes, and is one big reason why we are still injecting the original Wuhan strain vaccine into the arms of people instead of a variant-specific one — the antigenic distance between the Wuhan strain and each of these variants is lower than the antigenic distance between some of them, thus the original vaccine gives the best breadth of coverage.2

Tellingly, even without necessarily having plumbed these or similar details, the media has started to abandon vaccine cheerleading. Notice the start of the segment, the host is clearly frustrated with the lack of sufficient vaccine success and probes Scott Gottlieb about therapeutics as a possible remedy:

And mind you, we haven’t even mentioned the elephant in the room, that of children as a contagion vector. The regular very large-scale tests by Imperial College established in 2020 that elementary school kids are twice as likely as adults to bring Covid into a household as adults, and older children, seven times as likely. Yet children have been omitted from the Covid computation until they started getting visibly sick with Delta and some dying.

And despite the full court press for adolescent vaccinations and enthusiasm for childhood jabs, it’s extremely unlikely that the uptake would get within hailing distance of adult levels. IM Doc lives in a very blue pocket in flyover. A report from early August:

We were at the parent meeting for the new school year this week. An informal vote was taken about this issue so the parents’s feeling could be gaged. There were 114 kids whose parents were there. The vote was 112-2. 112 kids will not be vaccinated.

What started off as an informational meeting turned into a screaming match between about 10-15 parents and the principal/school board. Massive standing ovations when these parents were stating that they will pull their kids and home school them before they would consent for them to be vaccinated.

And perhaps more relevant, with his area having a Covid upsurge, despite an 80% vaccination level in his county, to the degree that the National Guard are in his hospital, the local schools have contained infection among children:

Front page news story today – One of the largest school districts in the state – XXXX – now has almost 500 kids out in quarantine.

Schools up and down the mountain ranges in Montana are having similar issues.

All kinds of parents freaked out about masks and refusing to have their kids wear them, etc.

And yet in my kids’ district, a few here and there with COVID – and then appropriate measures taken.

A heavy community spirit.

All kids and teachers wearing masks. No communal cafeteria. We were asked last week to pack 2 lunches for each kid because they are trying to keep kids in their classroooms for lunches – and wanting no kids to have to eat cafeteria food. So some of the parents are sending 2 lunches with each kid to cover the other kids whose parents cannot afford (or whatever) to bring food. All windows in the class wide open with fans blowing. And they had installed fan filters in each room for when the winter comes. If a kid even has sniffles – they are called to be home – and for 7 days. No exceptions even if they are negative. The cold weather will start here very soon – will see how this all goes then.

We will skip over children for the rest of this discussion, but bear in mind that they create even more problems for viability of the Biden Administration vaccine-fixated response.

….Yet Biden Administration Doubles Down on Vaccines and Resorts to Coercion

Yet with that sorry fact set, here is where we are: With an 80% vaccine effectiveness against serious disease, a lot less than that against infection, the US is effectively doing the same as allowing 20% of people to be infected without any vaccine even if we vaccinated everyone, and it is a lot worse than that if we are far from that target.

And the official response is even worse. The vaccinated were told they could abandon precautions like masking, distancing, avoiding going to restaurants and bars. Due to the summer upsurge, the CDC has tried partially walking this hare-brained May guidance back and now recommends that the vaccinated mask up indoors. But the damage has been done. I see very little masking save at venues that require it, and readers across the US report report broadly similar behavior.

Rather than try to get the public to again adopt low-cost protective behaviors like masking, with soft measures like jawboning the major broadcasters to have all their on camera reporters wear mask, the Biden Administration instead is doubling down on its failed strategy of shaming by escalating and adding coercion into the mix, via vaccine mandates.

Remember, we can see that name-calling the unvaxxed has not worked well in the US data. We were early to start vaccinating the public and have had adequate supplies, yet as Lambert points out in Water Cooler, our vaccination levels are unimpressive by world standards.

As much as I don’t like the punitive glee too often visible in the discussion of the vaccine mandates, what is disconcerting is the strong-form of “vaccine only,” as opposed to the original formulation of “get the vaccine or get tested weekly.” Ahem, given breakthrough infections, why is regular (free) testing made into a punishment and not an incentive? If I could get weekly free testing at my workplace, I’d be all for it. And given the discussion of why vaccines alone are insufficient to tackle Covid, frequent testing would speed identification and isolation of the infected5.

And the reason the doubling down on a failed vaccination strategy via coercive mandates isn’t that the absolute levels of refusals will be all that high, but that they are almost certain to hit the already staff-starved hospitals, who have had a steady bleed of personnel due to burnout and reluctance to take even more exposure to Covid under Delta. Hospitals simply can’t afford to lose more staff. As we have pointed out, despite this recent Covid wave being less deadly than its predecessors, hospitals in many locations are closer to breakdown due to staff attrition.

It is touching to see Rochelle Walensky so concerned about the impact of mandate-triggered departures on already-strained hospitals. From The Hill:

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said she backed vaccine mandates for health care workers, but admitted that resulting staff shortages could present a challenge.

We’ve pointed out that a big group that is reluctant to get vaccinated is reproduction-aged women, who’ve heard, often from women they know personally, reports of whacked-out menstrual periods, including cases of their cessation. The CDC has refused to take this seriously and is late to look into the issue. The lack of investigation allows these worries to fester and grow.

New York City is at risk. From New York hospitals brace for mass staff shortages as vaccine deadline looms:

Maxine Carrington, the personnel chief for Northwell Health, said she has had personal conversations with each staff member who is not vaccinated in order to try to increase vaccinations. “I’ve had personal conversations with team members, and I was asked by one: ‘Are you really going to fire us on the 27th?’ And I said, ‘let’s put that aside for a minute and let’s talk about saving your life. Why don’t you want to get vaccinated?’” Carrington said

Mind you, these hospital workers are regularly the antithesis of Southern-state Bubbas, but you’d never know that from the likes of the New York Times. Morning Newsletter, which ran a story today on how only 60% of Republicans had gotten one jab versus 86% of Democrats (hhm, poor follow through in both groups, Lambert’s Water Cooler shows the national vax level at 55.3%) with the headline, Covid’s partisan pattern is growing more extreme, which a reader translated as “Time to put redneck whiteys in concentration camps.”

So how can narratives like these co-exist?

There are two factors that are missing in the computation of raw numbers. First is that the officialdom has incentives to minimize the impact of these policies. For starters, the chart above is about firings. It’s not hard to imagine that “retirements” are not counted.

Second is that most people who object, or were pushed over the edge by this requirement after all of the Covid stress, would resign before the deadline and find another job. Why burn bridges by being forced out? Particularly for low-level workers that are the backbones of hospitals, like CNAs, cleaners, and cooks, there are other jobs in this staff-short economy for workers who aren’t very highly paid. CNA pay is appalling and they’d be likely to find new work quickly.

There are signs of resistance among other modestly-paid workers; whether they’ll follow through and work only for vaccine-tolerant employers remains to be seen. From Detroit’s ABC station:

“I’ve met a lot of resistance, I’ve had two people get quite angry with me to be honest with you,” said Gail Smith, staffing manager at Snelling Staffing Services in Roseville.

Smith said some of her employers are now requiring the vaccine, and applicants are not happy.

“It’s been 100 percent of the candidates I’ve spoken with. Nobody has said, ‘sure no problem,’ they all had hesitations,” she said.

Many of those interviews were for custodial positions in hospital or school settings, where vaccines have been required. But now, since the majority of the agency’s clients have more than 100 employees, Smith expects to face that pushback more often….

“They’re getting really uncomfortable. They don’t want to miss out on the job, but they’re torn. They’re very torn,” said Smith.

Again, most of these applicants are likely to fall into line, but note that the open positions include those for hospitals and schools, which are already short-handed.

Brunches with Cats pointed out in comments that other strategically-placed workers, like transport workers, weren’t keen about mandatory vaccinations and enough in her state of Washington (which has a vaccine-only mandate) are already resigning so as to affect service levels. As she observed:

Yep. Inslee and staff don’t believe that state employees threatening to quit over his mandate will actually do it. We’ll find out shortly, as they have to have both shots (or one J&J) by Oct. 4 to be “fully vaccinated” by Oct. 18 or be fired.

Whether or not it’s for political points, it could backfire big time if personnel shortages cause cutbacks in public services. It’s already happening within the ferry system, in part due to workers out sick with the virus, but there have been rumors that some are calling in sick in protest or refusing to accept overtime to cover for sick coworkers. As a result, many sailings are being cancelled, leaving passengers stranded on the dock for hours.

State troopers also are in an uproar over a reported blanket refusal to grant religious exemptions within the division, on the grounds that there’s no way to accommodate them. The gov’s proclamation includes the legally required exemptions for medical or religious reasons, but even if granted, they have to pass the “reasonable accommodations” test.

Because they’re truly delusional, they’re requiring employees to register with a third-party vaccination verification program, which means signing an odious 50-page EULA before sending personal and medical data off to the Microsoft cloud. According to one of my ferry contacts, union reps responded to their concerns by saying they had been “addressed” with management, period, and BTW could they help out HR by uploading their documentation by the end of this week.

The regular abuse by anti-vax parents of school vaccine requirements by getting cooperative doctors to send in notes claiming that Johnny can’t be vaccinated is now making it difficult for the few who work for employers like United that have implemented a strong-form vaccine mandate do have bona fide health issues to request an accommodation via weekly testing.6 The law firm representing six United employees as part of a class action suit succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order. Most anti-vax suits are terribly drafted so I don’t anticipate that many of the legal challenges to the vaccine mandates will prevail in the end. However, United’s position that six years of unpaid leave amount to a reasonable accommodation for plaintiffs who have (potentially bona fide) medical reasons not to take the vaccine seems like a stretch.7

And even though the press reports that vaccination rates among blacks and Hispanics are rising, there are doctors who object to mandating the vaccines.

But there is one cohort that does fit the “Bubba hatred” stereotype, and that is some hard-core evangelical sects in flyover. However, at least for the one described below, their opposition is not to vaccines; many have taken them and the unvaccinated among them would be amenable to “doing your patriotic duty” exhortations….which are utterly in absence as far as Team Biden is concerned.

From a regular reader immediately after the Biden Administration extended its vaccine mandate from Federal employees to private businesses with more than 100 workers in early September:

This is very serious – I think these Biden people have no idea what they are about to unleash. They have seriously underestimated how common these feelings are in large swaths of this country. Places that grow the food and drill the oil. They have underestimated how many minorities feel the same way. .

Their worst prophetic nightmares are coming true daily before their eyes. They have been told these days were coming all their life and have been steeling themselves for it. They are not anti-vax in any way shape or form. This passport, get fired, lose your life and livelihood is the Rubicon to them – and as of today it has officially been crossed.

An-email from a close relative’s religious leader:

Effective today, the government of the United States of America has cast its lot completely and totally with the evildoers. There is now no going back. The lot has fallen. They come after our jobs and livelihood now. Tomorrow, will come the passports and the Mark of the Beast. It is on the way. We are a fallen and deluded country. We are deceived. God will not be mocked.

None of the chosen will take the Mark in any way shape or form. To do so would lead to hellfire for eternity.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, war has been declared today. We must fight the Evil. We must fight the Beast until the day of the Glory of the Lord. We must begin to look after one another. We must fight the use of the Mark in our affairs. If we do not fight with all our hearts, souls, and minds before the coming of the Glorious Day, all will be lost.

We will all be getting down on our knees tonight at 7PM. We will need to get ourselves spiritually prepared. They have declared war on us today. We will respond in kind until the day that He arrives to take us up into the clouds.

Needless to say, this is the sort of development that the mainstream media is not keen to report. And in fairness, neither they nor I have a ready way of determining how many believers have reacted this way. How significant this response turns out to be will be largely a function not of their numbers, since they are clearly a minority, but whether they are strategically placed via their employment. But the US is already up to its eyeballs in supply chain disruption, so even if evangelical opposition added to this picture in a serious way, it would be hard enough to parse out so as to facilitate it being minimized.

By contrast, some white collar workers are being handled with care. The Verge reported that Apple is implementing a mandate-lite, requiring regularly testing of unvaccinated employees but not pressing them to take the jab.

In other words, the harder you look at it, the more difficult it is to find any logic for vaccine coercion without a parallel hard push for non-pharmaceutical interventions. Is it desperation and denialism? Blind belief in their own authority and self-perceived moral superiority? Sheer laziness, because a multi-pronged approach would be hard?

I can’t fathom it save perhaps deep-seated cynicism in action. The best-informed recognize the US lacks the will and the institutional capacity to manage the pandemic, and so the vaccine mandate is just another Pharma-enriching approach that also pre-positions the blame cannons squarely at Bubba. In reality, the adopted a “let-er-rip” strategy and the vaccines are at best an effort to protect the health care system…but they aren’t succeeding at that either under Delta.

It’s already obvious that the results will not be good unless the officialdom gets lucky and Covid evolves into a more contagious yet wimpier variant. And so far, the gods have not been kind.

____

1 Contrast with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s January 26, 2020 warning.

2 Continuing from the same e-mail from GM:

But how big is the antigenic distance exactly?

Here is a new preprint:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.09.14.21263564v1

They also had a strain isolated from an HIV patient after 190 days of infection, which is a bit of a mix of P.1/Gamma and C.37/Lambda — R190K, K417T, D427Y, F490S, N501Y. That’s called “D190” in the preprint

Figure 2 shows the results for the neutralization reductions:

Baseline

— B.1.351/Beta on ancestral strain serum: 7.2x reduction
— B.1.617.2/Delta on ancestral strain serum: 2.0x reduction (in their assay it is low, others show it to be 5-6x; it varies a lot)
— D190 on ancestral strain serum: 8.8x reduction

Cross-strain:

— Delta on Beta serum: 12.4x reduction
— Beta on Delta serum: 33.6x reduction
— Delta on D190 serum: 27.1x reduction

A reduction of 33x means essentially no immunity — the protective threshold is less than 10 on that scale.

So it will be very interesting to see if some non-Delta serotype survives and rises in poorly vaccinated populations that have been swept by Delta.

C.1.2 in South Africa is a good candidate, maybe even B.1.621/Mu could have caused another wave in India if it got there in significant numbers and could establish itself before it goes extinct.

But long-term, unless the Delta advantage is unique to this particular structure and the fitness landscape turns out not to be flat but with a sharp peak, we will likely end up in a situation with multiple serotypes for which cross-immunity does not work.

3 Even these estimate may be generous in practice. Recall that we flagged official data from Israel in early July that showed that infection rates, even when stratified by age, were proportional when comparing the vaccinated to the unvaccinated. That meant that 5-6 months from when most Israelis were vaccinated, the vaccine (in Israel almost exclusively Pfizer) conferred no protection against contagion.

Other evidence of the vaccines offering only limited reduction in Delta spread. From GM:

Useful example of what happens in an contained population, in this case a prison

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7038e3.htm

80% vaccination, and relatively recent too — half were 4-6 months from second dose, the rest less than that — resulted in 70% attack rate among the vaccinated (and 93% in the unvaccinated)

Attack rates in the 4-6 months groups — 89%

Moderna held the best — 40% attack rate. Pfizer at 81%, but it’s not clear if those are matched by time from second dose.

4 Don’t even try Simpson’s Paradox. One of my very plugged in economist colleagues said as soon as Israel started publishing official data showing declining vaccine efficacy, Pfizer was all over them to try to get them to change it. They didn’t. And as GM said:

There were lot of people talking about Simpson’s paradox and how in Israel they did not properly age match, and how VE was not properly calculated. Israel has some of the most competent statisticians in the world, and they did in fact properly age match, but more importantly, whether we got the percentages right does not matter, what matters is whether hospitals are overrun with vaccinated patients. If they are, and they are, then the vaccine has been broken through to an extent that makes it a failure.

5. But oh, no, that isn’t necessarily happening either. Due to this post already going into the over-long territory, I have not tracked down the prevalence of another anti-public-health measure, that of requiring only the unvaxxed who have been exposed to a positive Covid case to isolate.

6 I fail to understand why school systems have been so chickenshit over vaccine evasion. Why didn’t they require anyone who sought a medical exemption to submit evidence from their health records to substantiate the claims? Oh, and threaten to pursue the suspension of licenses of MDs who had clearly fabricated? The AMA is pro-vaccine and they’d be keen to rout out anti-vax MDs. If that approach had been developed and de-bugged, it would not be hard to implement a similar scheme for Covid vaccines. But that horse left the barn a very long time ago.

7 The niceties of employee rights in this area are over my pay grade. However, generally speaking, it appears that employers normally don’t have offer many/any concessions are far as vaccinations are concerned. However, in this case, some flavors of the Federal mandate and most state and local implementations allow for frequent testing as an alternative, which could conceivably allow the plaintiffs to contend they are entitled to testing as an accommodation.

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170 comments

  1. Rob Sopenlehto

    The study quoted from GM doctor that is used to infer that vaccines provide only a minimal reduction in transmission has a very small sample size, from which it may not be appropriate to make such a broad assessment. Further, a prison population where people are contained close together for long periods of time is not exactly ‘real-world’ data on the typical behaviours of the population.

    Larger recent study seems to indicate a larger effect of vaccines on reducing transmission in the range of 30 – 60%: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.11.21253275v1.full-text

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The study you cited is irrelevant now. It was before Delta became endemic. We’ve pointed to its uselessness before and it is disappointing to see you invoke it. The CDC’s finding of the same nasal viral load in the vaccinated and unvaccinated is far more germane.

      We stated in the post that a heavily-vaccine-reliant strategy might have made sense before the highly infectious Delta, which also partly escapes the vaccines, came along. It doesn’t now. It won’t unless and until nasal vaccines, which have the potential to be close to sterilizing, are perfected and distributed. Novavax has one under development that seems promising, but the earliest it might be approved is end of 2022.

      1. GM

        Yeah, that has been a common trick.

        Papers take a long time to actually get published.

        So something that comes out now in NEJM is generally six months behind current events

        But because it comes out now it gets reported in the media as “new study shows X is true” even though that refers to a long gone world.

        In this case even the preprint is not new — bioRxiv and medRxiv IDs have the submission date in them, and in this case it is March 11th 2021. That’s six months ago. Those variants are long extinct now.

        However, note that the variants being extinct allows for another dishonest trick to be played, which is the “Well, things are going very well, but then Delta came can changed the game, how could we have known?”

        1. CDC lifted the mask mandate and the administration declared complete and final victory over the virus weeks AFTER all that had to be known about Delta to realize that this is a grave mistake was already well known.

        2. That a variant with such general properties (vaccine escape plus higher contagiousness) was going to eventually evolve was predictable and predicted long before it did in fact evolve.

        3. It displacing all other variants robbed us of the opportunity to see the vaccine wearing out against the original variants too. Which would have happened, just on a somewhat more extended timeline.

      2. Rob Sopenlehto

        Shane Crotty discusses current estimates on reduction in infection and transmission of Delta here: https://twitter.com/profshanecrotty/status/1428785688015630337/photo/1

        Here Shane Crotty says in that thread:

        “So, vaxxed people can surely transmit Delta. How ofter do vaxxed people transmit compared to unvaxxed?

        At least 7X less, because vaxxed people get that many fewer infections (< 30 Ct).
        14X less seems a conservative estimate (i.e., 93% fewer transmissions)"

        The study they are discussing, and further studies referenced in the study, all show that despite viral load being at one time the same, it declines significantly faster in vaccinated cases. Are there reasons that we shouldn't trust their assertions or this data? If this has been discussed previously here, I do apologise, but I'm a consistent reader and I haven't caught anything that definitively says that vaccines do not reduce infection or transmission.

        A quick search seems to suggest you agree with this though? Here: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/09/our-two-covid-problems.html
        You link to an article that discusses current current views on the reduction on transmission through vaccination. In that article, they quote someone from WHO who estimates 75 – 80% reduction in transmission.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Shane Crotty is Making Shit Up. That Singapore paper cannot and will never prove anything about Delta transmission.

          If you had bothered looking at it, you would see that its purpose was to determine if having been vaccinated was of any benefit for breakthrough cases. They looked at 216 people who’d been admitted to a hospital with a confirmed Covid case.

          Peak viral shedding occurs a day or two BEFORE symptom onset and for the day afterward, and viral shedding falls rapidly after that (note this is not the same as internal progress of the disease; this is why, for instance, the CDC measured nasal viral load as its quick and dirty proxy for contagiousness of the vaxxed and unvaxxed in Provincetown). It takes at least 24 hours to confirm a Covid case using a PCR test. So it would be highly unlikely for anyone to have been included in this study when they were most infectious.

          On top of that, the chart in the tweet still manages to confirm that the viral loads for the vaccinated and unvaccinated were on average virtually identical through day 6. That would be well past the period when anyone was contagious.

          Yes, the vaccines were beneficial because they helped the infected clear the virus faster and as a result become less ill and recovered faster on average. But if anything it supports the thesis that for the Delta variant, the vaccines do not reduce contagiousness.

          GM added:

          Empirically we have plenty of examples of contained populations with very high vaccination rates that still experienced major outbreaks. There was that Briitsh navy ship with 100% vaccination back in July as a great example.

          And then the Texas prison study showed very nicely what is actually happening — 80% of the vaccinated got COVID.

          So I am not sure what exactly there is to argue here…

          You also misrepresented what Thomas Neuberger said in the post that we reproduced here. (On top of that, Neuberger is not a Naked Capitailism site writer, as you can see from the link back to his site. We often put up posts that we don’t fully agree with; sometimes we even put up posts we largely disagree with to provoke discussion_.

          Straw manning is a violation of our written site Policies and grounds for having your comments privileges limited or removed.

          Here is what Neuberger did say (emphasis original):

          Let that sink in. The current Covid vaccines were not designed to prevent infection. That’s a major reason why “breakthrough infections” occur. In addition, because the vaccines do prevent severe symptoms and a vast majority of cases, the number of breakthrough infections must, by definition, be under-counted….

          It may well be true that these vaccines, to some degree, do protect against infection, but (to use a club brandished against those who recommend studying ivermectin) no clinical studies, to my knowledge, have established that, or have established the degree of that protection.

          Neuberger included that link only to acknowledge that some parties were tying to claim that the vaccines reduced infection; he stated that he had yet to see any solid clinical evidence and so remained skeptical. And in keeping the article linked in that section above is dated March 9, 2021, so again pre-Delta and again irrelevant for your purposes.

          I suggest you drop this line of argument. You appear unable or unwilling to evaluate the evidence you are providing and determine if it actually proves your thesis.

    2. MT_Wild

      I think the comparison between a prison population and a school population is blatantly obvious.

      Overcrowding, under staffing, poor architecture, sealed windows, etc., etc. Except in the case of schools, a majority of the population is unvaccinated.

    3. Dwight

      Prison study is more germane to health care and nursing home settings. Doctors/nurses-patients are in close contact in confined spaces, like guards-inmates. And schools, as MT_Wild said.

  2. ambrit

    I had to go into the Clinic today for a PET scan.
    First, I was prepped for the procedure by a newbie nurse. Nothing against the young woman. She was attentive and alert. She was not afraid to ask for help from a senior nurse who stepped in the room to check up on her.
    Second, she was wearing a N95 mask with a cloth mask over that. When I mentioned that fact she offered that she was not vaccinated and thus required to wear a mask. When I looked about later, I noticed that a significant number of medical personnel were not masked. Hmmm…
    Third, I asked her why she was not vaccinated. She responded that many of the nurses working there had serious reservations about the vaccines.
    Four, I may have erred but I mentioned to her the issues with the mRNA vaccines and “women’s reproductive processes.” I pointed her towards this site and also the FLCCC site. She mentioned that she could not get a straight answer out of management about the “issues” attendant to the vacines. She said that she tried once and then gave it up as a “bad job.” (Such would be logical as a form of self protection in such a system.)
    Needless to say, we will continue to go masked in public.

  3. Pavel

    CDC director states that she “needs to work” on finding out why health care workers are often vax hesitant. Perhaps:

    1) many already have natural immunity having worked on the front line for 12 months plus when no vaccine was available?

    2) they have first hand knowledge of the role comorbidities play in serious Covid illness (a “pandemic of the obese”) and if they are reasonably healthy don’t feel at personal risk?

    3) as you note above, very real concerns with menstruation and fertility issues

    This bloody minded and hamfisted firing of essential HCWs as typified by NY gov is the most hypocritical and irresponsible thing I have seen yet. The ridiculous thought that National Guard members can just waltz into a ward and replace experienced staff who often have long term relationships with patients is ludicrous.

    Words fail me.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Well much like those NY Guardsmen who dutifully answered the call on 9-11 and patrolled without masks (so as not to upset the m̶e̶d̶i̶a̶ people), only to die awfully 10 – 20 years later of lung diseases.

      …. Or got shipped off to the Stanbox and kept away from their families and careers for years owing to ‘stop loss’ policies.

      Methinks there will be a sharp decline in weekend warriors, especially skilled ones, if the State continues to make them be the bandaids for its own incapacity. And perhaps outright refusal to play the roles thoughtlessly pushed on them.

      After a while too, I wonder if counties and towns start organizing their own Well Ordered Militias, or resurrecting the Sheriff’s posse comitatus.

    2. Acacia

      That was my first thought too about this absurd “plan” to sack HCWs and bring in the National Guard. Incredible.

      It’s almost like the Dems want to get slammed in the midterms next year.

      1. Will S.

        They probably do. After all, there are few things the Dems hate more than being in charge and having to actually govern.

        1. c_heale

          I think they like being in charge, micromanaging, gaslighting, and having subservient employees. What they don’t like is being called out on lies they are telling.

    3. Big River Bandido

      No offense toward people who serve in the Guard, but if I walked into a clinic and saw them there I’d turn on my heels and walk out. The mere sight of military personnel in a non-military hospital setting would give me the creeps.

  4. Jonathan Brisby

    A very significant portion of the population (not just in the US, but also in much of the world) refuses to wear masks, maintain social distancing, get vaccinated (which may not grant “perfect” immunity but still certainly confers benefits greater than the risks), or anything else at all to demonstrate a modicum of consideration for public health it becomes impossible not to see their actions as a direct threat against not only themselves but also against the civically-minded who are willing to be inconvenienced (and bear some small risk by being vaccinated) in order to try to contain this beast.

    I have to ask, when we’re faced with that, what the hell are we supposed to do?

    There is certainly legitimate anger to be found in the response of the US government, but when I consider just how utterly ungovernable the populations of the world have been, it’s a stretch to understand why most of my anger shouldn’t continue to be pointed squarely at the people who’ve demonstrated their unwillingness to bear some inconvenience & slight risk out of respect for society as a whole.

    It really feels like we’re fighting a second pandemic, one that’s gone on far longer than COVID, a pandemic of sociopathy.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I have to ask, when we’re faced with that, what the hell are we supposed to do?

      One of America’s most pleasing characteristics is that most Americans believe there’s always a solution to anything. Sometimes there isn’t.

      I think the Biden administration, through its bungling, has painted itself into a corner. Right now, IMNSHO, coercion is a moral issue, not a pragmatic one, because the regulations are patchwork, and will get tied up in the courts, and don’t kick in immediately. That said, they are unlikely to work by themselves. The Administration must trust to luck that the CDC modeling is right (a slender reed, in my view).

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? It was the Dems that shat this bed. The Republicans are at least up front about wanting the economy open no matter what the human cost. The Biden Administration promised to make a fresh start with its “Follow the science” but it’s pretty much the same with better packaging. Biden’s May Mission Accomplished was all about the CDC capitulating to Biden’s demand that everyone have a “normal” Fourth of July, the hell with the public health consequences.

      You act as if this piss poor attitude sprung up organically. It was created here by our supposed leaders.

      In the Czech Republic, maskwearing was universal because everyone on live TV adopted it, and modeled distancing. They even repainted billboards to put masks on faces.

      Dem Congresscritters were very late to adopt masks.

      The Biden Administration bolstered the “masks as a hardship” by touting abandoning masks as a reward for getting the vax!!! How can you airbrush this out of your “hate the Bubbas” mythology? I’ve had VASTLY more difficulty getting PMC friends from the Northeast to wear a mask near me than Southerners (I give them a mask if they don’t have one). Except the staff at CVS and that is CVS’ fault.

      And then even though the CDC backtracked, has there been any meaningful messaging? No, it seem more important for the CDC not to call attention to its colossal blunder.

      And that is before we get to the grotesque hypocrisy of our Dem elites: The French laundry dinner. Obama’s birthday, where only servers were masked. London Breed partying without a mask, Dem legislators fleeing the Texas voting rights vote on a private jet, all unmasked. The Met dinner, where unmasked AOC was served by masked wait staff.

      Oh, and has the CDC said bupkis about ventilation? No, they apparently don’t want to admit error on aerosols either.

      1. Nikkikat

        Thank you Yves! Excellent comment particularly with regard to Biden Admin abandoning masks and mission accomplished.

      2. Whatdoiknow

        …Obama’s birthday, where only servers were masked… The Met dinner, where unmasked AOC was served by masked wait staff…
        Love it, the elite being served by the untermenschen, or as the French socialist president Hollande used to refer to them in private conversations “the toothless”
        To the student of history, we are going through a period very similar to what the French before the revolution. God help us all.

        1. Pavel

          Great comment.

          These feckless and arrogant and hypocritical politicians will soon find out that they reap what they sow.

          It won’t be pretty. Batten down the hatches. I say this with sadness and alarm, not glee.

      3. chrimbus

        the only coordinated-ish messaging around me (circa boston) are lawn-sign type posters in multiple languages encouraging vaccination. There was never anything similar w/r/t testing (totally incomprehensible system around here) or masking, only whatever individual businesses (or the MBTA) had posted on their doors (usually downstream of whatever the CDC had been saying).

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” wear masks” . . . “maintain social distancing” . . . “get vaccinated” . . . to maintain public health?

      It reminds me of the old Sesame Street song . . . ” One of these things is not like the others, one of these
      things just doesn’t belong” . . .

      “get vaccinated” doesn’t belong. It has nothing to do with “slowing the spread” of covid, because it does not slow the spread of covid. It may still help the vaccinated get less sick themselves when they get infected, meaning they may themselves be less of a strain on hospital resources. But it is not like masking and social distancing, which are designed to slow the spread. My dislike for the malicious “no mask freedom” coughers-in-your-face does not extend to the un-covaxxed, for that very reason.

      And of course WHO, CDC, etc. still try their evil and malicious best to suppress knowledge of aerosol spread of the virus as best they can, even now. And the Joemala Administration issues zero mandate to owners or controllers of buildings to upventilate those buildings and install virus traps in the airflow path, nor has the Joemala Administration requested or directed any money towards that purpose, so far as I know.

      As to the covaxx-mandate resisters, they might well remember the saying: ” If you would strike at the king, make sure to kill him. ” If covaxx-mandate resisters are going to leave essential jobs in the hope that the pressure will somehow get the Joemala Administration to walk back the mandate, they are going to have to co-ordinate their walkouts, resignations, other-job-takeups, etc. so as to achieve a massive enough departure from the health workforce so as to actually be able to shut most of the hospitals in this country all the way down, and keep them shut all the way down until the Joemala Administration is tortured into cancelling the mandate.

      And while the Joemala Administration is busy creating the kind of pressure which will drive people into resistant behavior, the Right and the Hard Right is separately from its own end working to engineer Civil War on purpose. Colonel Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis has called for Civil War several times, sometimes in the guise of pretending to lament what he pretends to only predict, and at other times openly hoping for it, calling for a military uprising to Restore the Constitution, etc. And that is just one example.

      Given which side has the guns, and which side actually WANTS a Civil War, it would appear that the West Wing Joemala Liberals may not be fit for long term survival in Darwinian terms.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please do not spread disinformation. We are having a hard enough time with conveying the most accurate take we can find given the combination of (often) too small or not-representative samples or outdated-by-Delta research, and needing to consider preprints, even before you get to spin.

        Getting vaccinated does reduce the spread, but it appears not by much, and it appears not at all if you offset that effect by abandoning most/all of those other things. Saying otherwise discredits you and the site.

        And regarding the apparent partial vaccine escape of Delta, it may be not due to the differences in the spike protein, but with brute force replication speed.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Noted, with apologies.

          If vaccination does indeed reduce the spread a little, then by how little ( or how much)? Is it too soon to even know? If people mask and distance-from-others, but without being vaccinated, what percent less slowdown of corona spread do they still achieve?

          If the other measures without being vaccinated are almost as spread-slowing by themselves as if the practitioners of masking and distancing had been vaccinated as well, then the mandate would seem almost entirely harmful. But if being vaccinated is important to making masking and distancing work rather better than they would on their own, then what should be the approach to people who will not get vaccinated for ideological or cultural warfare reasons?

          If obstructions to getting vaccinated were all cleared away . . . . vaccination offered at worksites, employers forced to grant as much time off as needed to get vaccinated and recover from the 1 to several days of bad effects some people have, government replacement of all income missed thereby, etc.; were seriously practiced, would the number of strictly ideological/cultural/religious vaccine refusers be low enough that the virus spread would still be slowed?

          And if people who want to get vaccinated are prevented from doing so by militant anti-vaxx rioters deliberately shutting down vaccinated sites for the seekers of vaccination, how will that problem be handled? Because that kind of active vaccine-site-disruption is deliberate anti-social aggression which will spread unless stopped. Those kind of people inspire hatred among the rest of us and are themselves working very hard to get a civil war going.

          The Republicans and movement conservatives should get their share of the credit for trying to undermine and prevent public health efforts from their end. The audience-of-millions Fox News agitator Tucker Carlson has called on his viewers to practice fight-starting aggression against wearers of masks. Pretending that isn’t happening won’t stop it from happening.
          Eventually one of Tucker’s fans may assault the wrong mask-wearer. Given how the results will be viralized all over social media, what will happen then?

          It is survival-compromising to pretend that the culture war right does not actively seek a civil war and does not actively seek to prevent public health, when in fact it does. Enough pretense to the contrary will eventually cause health-respecting masked, vaxxed, and distancing citizens to take kinetic steps against anti-health aggressors to protect their own physical selves against such anti-mask aggressors.

          Or alternatively, in cities where police will not enforce mask mandates with enough violence to deter the violent anti-mask violators, all the public-facing workers may well quit their jobs en masse in the bitter knowledge that government does not care if they live or die when confronted by sociopathic violent mask-freedom rebels.

          Or on the other hand, what if public-facing workers and their health-conscientious on-site customer bases, resigned to the fact that government will do zero to protect them from anti-mask assassins and rage-shooters and mobs of violent hoodlums; create their own vigilante self-protection forces to terminate the anti-mask ( and anti-vaccination site) aggression themselves with enough violence to make it stop and stay stopped? What happens then?

          Blaming it all on the PMCs won’t solve the Governor Abbott-DeSantis-Ducey-etc. problem. it will not solve the Fox News Tucker Carlson problem.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            It is very hard to come up with good estimates, particularly since the people writing the papers tend to over-hype their findings.

            The two claimed mechanisms are: slightly shorter peak viral load period and “vaccinated people who get infected with COVID-19 have high levels of the virus in their noses and throats, but not all of that virus is infectious.”

            GM’s take of the latter study, which also was not very large scale:

            Yeah, it got 2x more contagious, the vaccinated are only 1.8x more contagious, we are winning…

            In other words, there are various assertions, the sources marshal what they say is evidence, but it’s not compelling. But you can’t dismiss some contagion reduction out of hand.

            1. Laura in So Cal

              Data point. My parents showed symptoms of their breakthrough Covid cases 6 months after their 2nd Moderna shot. My Dad got his case from a fully vaccinated friend whose symptoms were so mild she barely noticed. My Dad was pretty sick and gave it to my Mom who got sick about 5 days later with mild symptoms.

            2. Geof

              I assume that the main impact of the vaccines is that they reduce the change of being infected in the first place. Someone who resists infection due to the vaccine can’t pass the virus on to others. Even if vaccination has no impact on the contagiousness of infected individuals, the reduction in the number of infections reduces spread.

              I have a lot of comments elsewhere that translate “just as contagious” to “no impact on spread.” There’s a lot of all-or-nothing thinking going on.

              That said, although I am vaccinated, I am strongly opposed to mandates and passports.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                No, no, no, no.

                This is a known unknown. There is no data.

                These vaccines were not designed to prevent disease spread. They were designed only to reduce severe infections and deaths. Even in the clinical trials, they did not report on their impact on preventing infection (by contrast, some of the foreign vaccines, like Sinovac, did). And even if we had had that data from the original clinical trials, it is made irrelevant by Delta.

                There is no good data whatsoever on asymptomatic cases because only people in environments where they are tested regularly (like staff in some hospitals) would even know they had a case. The CDC refused to track the data and has corrupted it by setting different PCR test thresholds for vaccinated v. unvaccinated patients.

                And we know asymtomatic cases can spread big time given the high nasal viral loads with Delta.

                1. Geof

                  If I understand you rightly, you’re saying the vaccine may (we don’t know) not prevent infection at all, but instead produce asymptomatic cases which remain transmissible? Well shoot.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Correct. That is why the vax only mandates are nuts. They could be justified as preserving the health of essential workers like teachers and hospital employees and transit workers, so they wot’t be hospitalized or if so, won’t be out long. Instead, they are regularly and falsely being presented as stopping transmission. With highly infectious Delta, they do so marginally. In many cases, running around maskless and going to bars can easily more than offset that effect.

                    It would be much smarter to test everyone who goes to school or works with other people indoors weekly and pay the infected to stay home. But our elites are too lazy to put that sort of program in place.

                    See the YouTube clip from the black doctor in MI in the post for a longer-form explanation.

                2. dainla

                  Completely impossible to test at the required level with an infrastructure that has been obliterated for 50 years.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            The audience-of-millions Fox News agitator Tucker Carlson has called on his viewers to practice fight-starting aggression against wearers of masks.

            Where in the holy hell did you come up with this crap???

            I watch Tucker almost every weeknight, and I have NEVER heard him say anything that could be remotely characterized as you have characterized it. Clips of all of Tucker’s shows are all over the web so if you can, and I doubt you can, please substantiate with a link.

            Distraction hysteria does not redeem you, and it certainly does not resolve any problems.

              1. divadab

                Well wearing a mask outdoors is useless and unnecessary and reduces oxygen to the bloodstream – so how is Tucker Wrong? It seems like child abuse to me…..

                1. Basil Pesto

                  A mask is not useless outdoors. While the risk of transmission outdoors is diminished, it is not impossible. Furthermore, the risk is greater with delta due to the increased viral load. It is a good idea to wear a mask outdoors in crowded areas. (see this link for example, or this one).

                  Mask wearing is not abuse of either adults or children in any meaningful sense of the word, anymore than making children wear, say, a bicycle helmet is. Some people, however (my father is one of them) struggle or are unable to wear masks, even if they would like to, because of other conditions such as COPD.

    4. GM

      I have to ask, when we’re faced with that, what the hell are we supposed to do?

      People would have been a lot more cooperative if it was clear there will be support for them and it was explained what the real threat is.

      Instead they were left on their own and subjected to a mass disinformation campaign by the usual suspects (the AEIR at the most extreme end, and then all the MSM, and then the government too) to downplay the virus and convince them there is no other way but to make it endemic.

      This was from December:

      https://www.foxnews.com/us/michigan-small-business-owner-viral-lockdown-tyranny

      A restaurant owner protesting restrictions, but notice what he said:

      “The fact that my government had enough money to work with. … You take $4 trillion and divide it among 100 million households, roughly … they could have given every household in this country $20,000 to sit down. Go home and sit.”

      This is the quote in the article but it isn’t the full quote — the man was actually talking about elimination of the virus in the full video.

      So we have someone protesting that his restaurant is closed but in the same time being open to an elimination program if he is being supported during it while also fully aware why he was not (the trillions that should have gone for that were taken from the population and pocketed by the financial oligarchy).

      That person should not exist according to the mainstream narrative that tells us it is the great ignorant unwashed that is ruining everything.

    5. flora

      So… wait… are you suggesting we need a one-world government? And maybe a single digital currency bank for the whole world? To, you know, keep people in line? No, I didn’t think you were suggesting that… ;)

  5. JBird4049

    May I add the infantilization of the population by the PMC/governments as well as the bubble universes they encasing much of the people in the tonier parts of San Francisco, Los Angeles, NYC, or even in the various capitals?

    Remind me of the pre Pacific War (World War Two) beliefs by some in such silliness that the Americans and Europeans were soft and would fold immediately when it got painful and that Asians, specifically the Japanese, were not that smart, capable, or technologically advance. People mistook their characterizations as reality, then they got hurt by the real reality.

    Reading the statements of people from the past, I often wonder if they are real, do that they truly believe what they are saying, or is it propaganda or mass mental illness?

    Reading the European and American racial bunkum when talking about their expanding colonial empires is just shocking. China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India were all thriving empires, civilizations and nations going back as far as the Bronze Age, and yet they Europeans talked of almost everyone outside of Western Civilization as almost children. Primitives.

    Then I go on line and see the loathing, the vaccine worship ping and the mask hatred, not to mention the hatred of the Deplorables. Then there is the constant rumble of complaints by the NIMBYs on the homeless. It has only been getting worse for forty years, yet they believe on laziness or drugs or something else like that, that explains it all.

    So seeing what I am now seeing makes the accounts I have read more believable. I just wish I wasn’t believing them. My former ignorance was much less stressful.

    I get a smidgen from my family, but fortunately they have compassion, a great amount of experiences, and common sense. They don’t accept or allow the dehuminization of others. However, it is just too easy for people to create and believe their own BS, which many Americans are now showing. This and the growing angry and foolishness.

    1. flora

      I remind myself a lot of online, extremely hot, short-take comments might well be from AI bot farms or paid correct-the-record employees. A lot of the online comments on any hot topics are, I suspect, not organic. My 2 cents.

  6. Cuibono

    “the more difficult it is to find any logic for vaccine coercion without a parallel hard push for non-pharmaceutical interventions”
    why you sure this is about logic?

  7. clarky90

    Perhaps the vaccine-hesitant, (The Meek) will inevitably, inherit the Earth from the vaccine-enthusiasts? Simply by default

    My fully Pfizer vaccinated, 62 year old, healthy friend Tony, died “peacefully in his sleep” two weeks ago. No obituary. No word, no explanation……..

    If two initial vaccines are required…… and then a booster every six months…. two injections per year. 21 injections in ten years. How many are able to weather this relentless assault, unscathed?

    I have spent my life avoiding asbestos, lead, insecticides, glyphosates, GMOs, drugs, doctors (except for broken/dislocated bones….), food additives…. .

    I have a darling nine year old granddaughter and a precious seven year old grandson. I am worried.

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      “Perhaps the vaccine-hesitant, (The Meek) will inevitably, inherit the Earth from the vaccine-enthusiasts? Simply by default.” Not if something equivalent to Marek were to happen.

      My knowledge of medicine is very sparse, but from my own readings, here are some of the things that can happen with a leaky vaccine.
      1. Marek’s. The unvaccinated will be the ones that suffer.
      2. ADE. The vaccinated will be the ones that suffer.
      3. None of the above. The last one here covers a ton of scenarios from the virus eventually mutating to be less severe, etc.

      1. Brian Beijer

        In regards to #1, I would rephrase that to, “The unvaccinated will be the ones to suffer first.” If Marek’s occurs; we’re all f**ked. I’m not a scientist, but that’s my take away from reading prior comments about Marek’s here on NC.

    2. Objective Ace

      Reading between the lines of the FDA’s advice: the difference between the initial vaccine and boosters is memory cells that will recognize Covid in the long-term future. Antibodies go away in 6 months. Memory cells (presumably) stick around forever. Getting boosters doesnt give you additional memory cells so are not as effective as the original vaccine.

      Of course this does beg the question: if FDA is advising people not to get a booster because of the memory cells from the original vaccine, why are we not applying the same logic to those who have had covid?

  8. rjs

    a few anecdotal headlines:

    Pennsylvania COVID-19 cases and deaths up tenfold after full reopening of schools
    K-12 schools caused more than half of all COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan last week
    Ohio reports more than 10,000 new school COVID-19 cases in past week

    now imagine Thanksgiving, when those infected kids mingle with their grandparents, whose vaccines are no longer effective…

    1. Joe Well

      >>now imagine Thanksgiving, when those infected kids mingle with their grandparents, whose vaccines are no longer effective…

      Probably that was partly behind the urgency of the push for boosters.

      The data that the skeptics want to wait for would come in the form of 100,000s of dead vaccinated grandparents.

      1. rjs

        57% of those vaccinated in the US got Pfizer, and most of them before May…Thanksgiving is less than two months away…while Israel may be able to get booster shots into a third of their population in two months, it ain’t gonna happen here…

  9. Brunches with Cats

    Yves, a thousand thanks for this compelling analysis.

    While the New York mandate will be the first test of whether more than an isolated few employees really will quit rather than roll up their sleeves, Washington State’s mandate is the more toxic. “Coercive” doesn’t even begin to describe Jay Inslee’s approach.

    You mention the advantages of testing, “given the discussion of why vaccines alone are insufficient to tackle Covid.” At a press conference last Thursday after the news broke that an additional 600 employees had joined a lawsuit against him, a reporter asked Inslee why he didn’t follow California and some other states allowing testing as an alternative. His reply: “We’ve found that testing does not save people’s lives. It just is not adequate to the task.” No one asked him for data to back up that absurd claim.
    https://komonews.com/news/local/hundreds-of-washington-workers-sign-lawsuit-against-gov-inslees-vaccine-mandate

    It’s not hard to believe they’re that clueless and incompetent, but the cynic in me thinks it more likely that coercion was intended all along as a strategy to inflame the base ahead of the midterms and maybe give Inslee a better pitch for 2024 or 2028 than “the climate change candidate,” which was a big yawn with voters.

    Hopefully, attorneys for the plaintiffs will present adequate evidence to the court showing that some of the underlying premises of the governor’s proclamation are questionable, at best — mainly, those that oversell the vaccines’ “protection” and ability to stop the spread.

    Lastly, thank you for hoisting one of my comments. I’ve been doing my level best to help my former union brothers and sisters by getting the word out, not only about the no-alternative mandate, but the added insult to injury of being coerced to give away their personal information to a third-party that states outright in its EULA that it can keep it forever and license and sell their “de-identified” data as it wishes. I’ve been up late several nights in a row trying to track down whether this is legal. Employers can mandate vaccines as a condition of employment (with some exceptions), and it’s legal for them to require proof. However, I haven’t yet found any indication that they can fire employees for refusing to use a specific third-party app. Despite the governor’s reassurances to the media that there will be no personnel shortages come Oct. 18, management apparently is getting nervous and harassing employees to comply, comply, comply. Sadly, they’re still getting no support from their union reps.

    Anyway, thanks again for using the full force of your no-holds-barred authoritative voice to blast this sh!t show.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Due to the length of the post, I did not elaborate on the point you made, about the offensiveness of using the mandates as an excuse for privacy abuses via app profiteering. So I hope other readers weigh in.

      In Maine, my houseguest and I (both vaccinated) were faced with a mini-version of this grifting. Bowdoin College has two nice small museums, its art museum and the Robert Peary museum. We found out that you not only need to make a reservation 24 hours in advance, but you also have to have Clear validate your vaccination status. As I explain below, I am pretty confident that they can’t but they will be happy to take my money and pretend they did.

      I would never do business with Clear or any of these other services. Clear is up front that they want you to send in a high quality photo for them to use as a biometric ID. Bad enough governments are going that way. No way will I voluntarily give one to a private company.

      My guest was just as appalled and she isn’t as vigilant about privacy as I am.

      And I sincerely doubt that outside people who got vaccinated in states that do have good vax reporting (like CA) that vaccinations can be “verified”. As I said earlier regarding my getting vaccinated at Publix, these private companies do not have the authority to compel Publix to waste time and effort digging through their digital files to establish that I did get a vaccine there….even assuming they retained that info after my insurer reimbursed them. I am highly confident Cigna wouldn’t. Nor does Washington State have the legal authority to get businesses in other states to spend money just because they say so.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > biometric ID

        And when the ginormous database of biometric IDs gets hacked, as it inevitably will?

        Well, you can just change your face, or your fingerprints, or your retina. No doubt “innovative” firms will be attracted by this compelling business model, and provide such surgeries, under the rubric of “identity restoration” or some such [family blog].

        1. Questa Nota

          That ginormous database is one of several, supplemented or cross-fertilized by the genetic history services. The latter aren’t consistent in how they treat privacy, and that has a horrific potential to unlock many more of Pandora’s relatives. At least, that is how a good chunk of the population sees things, rightly or wrongly, in the wake of so many scandals in DC and elsewhere.

          Overall, there is a shocking yet predictable decline in public trust. As the Queen asked about the Crash:

          Did no one see it coming?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I am fortunate in that I am in the tiny minority that is very likely not to have been picked up in those genealogy services. I have a very small extended family, only six cousins, all on my father’s side. He did a very extensive genealogy (using church records and gravestones) going back 15 generations before those services were fashionable. He wrote it up as a book (with lots of detail about various ancestors) for his relatives, including of course his brother. So they don’t have any family history mysteries they’d need to run down with a DNA test. And they are all pretty tame types, so I also doubt encounters with the law or paternity questions leading to them having been swabbed.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            Thank you for that link — and sorry for the late acknowledgement; was out all day.

            The app WSDOT is requiring all of its employees to use is hosted in the MS Azure cloud. They’ve been assured that it’s all encrypted, with a secure authentication process to access personal information, etc.

            Well, don’t you know, a few weeks before employees got the memo from HR, a company called Wiz hacked into Azure and were able to access personal and medical data from I forget how many big name corporations. They immediately notified MS, which of course said it was fixed and that no personal data was compromised. The
            incident was reported in some mainstream media outlets, so WSDOT had to have known, up to a week before the cheery memo to workers explaining how thrilled they would be that management was looking out for their privacy by choosing this trusted app, BS, BS, BS.

      2. Peter VE

        I was asked to upload my information to Verifly, (“a secure third-party travel app”), for re entry to the US on Aer Lingus. I declined. It’s bad enough to have Alphabet and Apple so deep in our lives….

      3. Cuibono

        not to mention that in italy this software has built in mandatory location sharing.
        IMo this is almost certainly where we are headed.

      4. dainla

        Clear is going to become a serious problem. I passed on going to an event also because Clear was required. And soon it will be the go to for flying once Biden pushes mandates for travel.

  10. Aumua

    In other words, the harder you look at it, the more difficult it is to find any logic for vaccine coercion without a parallel hard push for non-pharmaceutical interventions. Is it desperation and denialism? Blind belief in their own authority and self-perceived moral superiority? Sheer laziness, because a multi-pronged approach would be hard?

    It’s easily explained by the namesake of this site: Capitalism. The vaccine solution is one that doesn’t affect the bottom line, and the system needs people to get back to work making its products and services, and it needs people to get out and consume those products and services. Or else it faces imminent collapse, so that’s why those other mitigation measures are being sidelined.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      But it is becoming clear that the mRNA neo-vaccinoid solution and the forced mandate will affect the bottom line very badly from the flanks.

      And if enough people stay away from mass-crowding venues like restaurants and such anyway, both to avoid unrestrained spread of covid and to avoid future mobs of anti-maskers and pro-maskers fighting like Proud Boys and Antifas, then those venues will run out of business and money anyway.

      So the vaccine solution won’t work out capitalnism anyway, especially when the next wave runs amok through millions of indoor-confined people in winter exposed to hyper-dry indoor air compromising their mucus membrane surface immunity and further facilitating the infectability of the exposed. Including those who have had the mRNA neo-vaccinoid, which by the way is NOT a vaccine and never was. ( And I say that as one who took the two Moderna shots after weighing the risks and will NOT get on the booster after booster after booster hamster wheel).

      1. Aumua

        Yes I didn’t say it was really smart or anything, it’s just the best they can come up with now. It’s all teetering on the edge of collapse no matter what, so just kick the can down the last blind alley I guess. Defend it to the last. Whether it’s a vaccine or not depends on your definition of course, but I ain’t looking for any boosters myself. If some kind of more standard viral vector vaccine comes out I might consider it.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Luckily for me, I live in a university town where masking, distancing and being vaxxed is the social norm. And I live a semi-shut-in existence except for going to physical work which allows me to avoid people more than many people get to avoid people. I will go to a few restaurants over the next few weeks to get it out of my system so I can go back into deeper isolation during late fall and winter when we are all back inside breathing insufficiently ventilated hyper-dry indoor air.

          And I am good at looking gray in place, so I will hopefully attract no special attention from the coming waves of anti-mask/ anti-vax agitators and fight-seekers which might well try to infest University Townville like Proud Boys looking to spread fights and disease.

      2. Samuel Conner

        > capitalnism

        a typo, but it suggests a neologism that seems appropriate to discussion of a system that tries to preserve short-term income by placing the long-term survival of its workers and consumers at risk

        “capitanihilism”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It was more an expression of derision than a typo, but I can see how it could look that way.
          I have sometimes respelled words like . . . capitalnism, socialnism, communizzum, etc.

          But capitalnihilism is a very creative respelling of it and deserves a chance to see how far it will go.

          I also like sadisticapitalism and sado-capitalism and invite people to give those a try.

      3. Mike

        I work with mRNA. In the proper environment (a cell, be it your’s or a CHO cell), mRNA makes proteins. If those are recognized, that can induce a B cell response and antibody (hopefully neutralizing antibody). So, whether it’s a plasmid DNA vaccine, a mRNA based vaccine, a subunit protein vaccine, a killed organism vaccine, or an attenuated vaccine strain, the functional outcome, the generation of antibody, is the real test as to is it a vaccine.

  11. Maritimer

    “Notice the start of the segment, the host is clearly frustrated with the lack of sufficient vaccine success and probes Scott Gottlieb about therapeutics as a possible remedy:”
    ***********
    Rarely, if ever are therapeutics or prophylactics ever mentioned in the Canadian press. But, yesterday, in an MSM outlet:

    “From everything that we know so far, and we have several studies on this, it’s remarkably effective,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious diseases physician at Sinai Health and University Health Network and professor at the University of Toronto.
    But although he thinks it’s useful, Morris said, “In Canada, we just don’t have enough of it.”
    https://globalnews.ca/news/8218172/canada-regeneron-monoclonal-antibody-covid-treatment/

    When the News finally reaches Canada, you know you have a Spinning Problem. Looks like FLA has let one cat out of the treatment bag.

    Skeptics and tort lawyers may also want to ask how many other treatments like Ivermectin are available to those in power and with influence. Hard to believe any discerning and organically grazed 10%er Canadian just heads down to the local Stuporstore for a hoipolloi shot. After all what is money for but to have options, options…….

    1. c_heale

      Maybe therapeutics or prophylactics aren’t mentioned because the current vaccines (since they are non sterilizing) are prophylatics – they don’t stop the spread, just minimize the symptoms.

    2. T_Reg

      It’s not surprising that the only therapeutic even mentioned is monoclonal antibodies; it’s VERY expensive. I also noticed that the only therapeutics mentioned in the video in the article were those currently under development. Those will of course be patented, and will no doubt also be expensive. No mention of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D3, zinc, etc. Not profitable enough, I suppose.

        1. T_Reg

          Without cost to you; free at the point of service. The U.S. is doing the same thing (a very rare event) for Regeneron’s product, but the government still buys the product from Regeneron. A while back, I found a page on Regeneron’s web site describing a contract they had with the U.S. government. It worked out to $2,100 per dose.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Yes, I am starting to see the stories with unclear sourcing appear on monoclonal antibodies as well (usually framed as experts saying ‘this seems very effective, why aren’t we doing it yet?’)

        The claimed benefits are pretty similar to those claimed for ivermectin, which can’t get a decent study. Somehow I doubt the monoclonals will suffer from that problem.

  12. Jen

    Before the start of the fall term, I, and pretty much everyone I spoke with anticipated a complete sh*t show when 4K undergrads returned to our “small liberal arts college,” which, BTW counts Geitner as an alum.

    Three weeks into the term, we have 5 active cases on campus, only 2 of which are students. What happened? The college mandated masks at all times indoors. Rather than scolding and shaming, they sent encouraging messages emphasizing that we are all in this together. Rather than “othering” the unvaccinated, their message is “you are protecting those who can’t be vaccinated, and those with vulnerable family members.” Yes, this still signals the virtuousness of the vaccinated, but it’s a much better message than “you can’t go back to normal because of the depolrables.”

    Everyone has to test weekly. Those few who obtained vaccine waivers have to test twice weekly. Those with positive results have to isolate.

    And, wonder of wonders, they are experimenting with ventilation to see if they can create some “mask optional” indoor spaces.

    It could still all go off the rails very quickly, but so far, so good. And I would say the vaccine mandate imposed on both students and staff has very little, if anything, to do with their success.

      1. KLG

        Same here at a similar size institution, as far as I can tell. And if an outbreak were to be severe, word would escape. All masked indoors. Vaccines encouraged, required in the health sciences schools (otherwise no students allowed in the teaching hospitals, which seems reasonable). Students are asked and expected to be responsible. Very little of the sanitation theater we saw last year. Nevertheless, mask usage out and about in the larger community is sketchy. Very sketchy.

        1. KLG

          Update: Serious shortage of nurses in the hospitals! Bed availability is not the problem. Staffing is insufficient. At least one hospital will fire employees who are not vaccinated.

          1. KLG

            Update 2: Fewer than 20 active cases in a faculty/staff/student population approaching 10,000. Masks and distancing work…Explicit institutional acknowledgment that vaccines do not prevent infection, which is good to see.

            1. Jen

              Indeed. I was particularly happy to see our administration explicitly acknowledging the role of ventilation in preventing spread.

              I do have to wonder what subversive ideas all this might be implanting in our young, impressionable future members of the PMC.

    1. Glossolalia

      Another anecdote: my son is in a private school in the DC suburbs. Very high vaccination in our county, and the school mandates masks. The school mandated weekly testing for everyone for the first 3 weeks (provided free, on-site), then optional if you’re vaccinated (not sure why they did this, why not just keep testing everyone?). But anyway, it seems like just about everyone continued getting tested anyway. We’re in week 5 and so far out of just over 1,000 students we’ve had 3 cases, and 2 cases among ~250 staff. I’m pretty happy with those numbers even though as you point out it could still all go off the rails very quickly.

    2. petal

      Jen, I was so happy to see the boxes and boxes of filters last Spring at a gym that was being used as a testing site, and them saying they were going to work on better ventilation. It was like “omg, someone’s actually paying attention.” They have also worked to make testing easier for everyone by making up baggies of testing supplies and pre-printed labels for people to take home which can then be dropped off at numerous sites on campus.

    3. johnnyme

      I was also expecting a [family blog] show this fall at the large state university I work at that has so far yet to materialize. Officially reported case numbers are very low. Students are required to be vaccinated (faculty and staff are not) and masks must be worn indoors at all times. Mask compliance is very good (I see maybe a half dozen or so unmasked staff and students each day and another half dozen lazily masked). Vaccine compliance is reported to be very good as well. Regular testing is not occurring anywhere to my knowledge so the reported numbers are a lower bound.

      The most striking thing to me which is most likely keeping our official numbers so low is the absence of students and staff physically on campus. In my little corner, it’s almost a ghost town and it really still feels like it’s summer. During the first week of school, I saw maybe 1/10th the number of students that would normally be there and it’s only gone down since then. Most of my co-workers are still working from home (I’m there every day and I run into only a handful each day when I’m out and about).

      Going in to fall, I was busy mentally formulating a strategy to avoid being in the halls during passing time, finding bathrooms with the best ventilation, avoiding elevators, etc. which I haven’t had to implement yet. I haven’t had anything close to a “salmon run” (which is what we call the times when you have to go down a hallway right when a large classroom disgorges its contents and you encounter a massive, hallway-wide wall of students coming towards you that you have to navigate through). Our enrollment numbers are reported to be good so either students are on campus only when their classes are in session and then leave right away or they’re going online as much as possible. It’s all so surreal.

      I’m hoping things stay this way with our case counts but I’m not confident that it will once winter forces everyone back indoors and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we’re fully online again by Thanksgiving.

  13. Ignacio

    Whether there are occasions when a country should join souls to respond against a menace, the Covid pandemic is one of these. But this time and particularly in the US it seems Covid is being divisive and this might possibly relate with cultural/societal reasons.

    Go and see what happens for instance in Germany when you have election results that force negotiation and agreements between parties with different visions. From day one they sit down and negotiate very complex and long agreements that are to be complied to the letter. Not a winner or a looser but a political agreement. Would this be possible in the US? The winner takes it all. You have to fight personally for everything: your food, health, education, attention for those yours that need it. Very little societal-wide insurances if any. Loose your job, loose all. If you are in need of any societal help you are a parasite in the eyes of the others. Go die! May be this is too extreme and there exist some safety nets scattered here and there as well as very helpful people, I can attest that.

    In Spain, during the first Covid wave we had the very same case of divisive politics. Covid was the occasion to win adepts and fight the political game: we blame all the deaths on you, sir! It was very nasty and some European media reported about it with stupor. It faded away when the lockdown ended but this is an example that shows this is not unique to the US. There is always time to mend the situation but it seems the division is getting more and more profound.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    In idle moments I’ve often wondered which is better to live under – a reactionary right wing government that is at least competent and pragmatic when it comes to decision making and delivering services, or a well meaning left wing government that is inept, indecisive and incompetent. I think the US is now doing a live action version of trying to mix the worst elements you could imagine. Future historians (if there are any) will be able to devote multiple PhD’s to try to work out where it all went wrong.

    Most governments around the world have not covered themselves with glory over Covid, and many have done very badly. But as Yves so eloquently expressed here, the US (with the exception of the early focus on rapid vaccine development) has repeatedly screwed up in an almost comical fashion. How on earth could professional political advisers be so stupid as to think that vaccine shaming would do anything but deep harm to both public health and the political stability of a country? The Trump administration was nightmarish, but watching this lot is like observing small children playing with a flamethrower.

    Its difficult not to see this as part of a very long term process whereby organisational systems, in particular governmental ones, have degraded over time through a malign mix of neoliberalism along with an increasingly inbred culture of arrogance among self appointed elites. In past history, regular wars or other disasters acted as a sort of broom to sweep away bad structures, and if the nation survived, it was often stronger. Maybe we are overdue the sort of crisis that would sweep away a lot of the rot. The problem of course is that not every country survives the crisis. The other problem is that the type of crisis we are looking at in the future are ‘frog in a hot pan’ type problems, and these are often the most dangerous.

    Anyway, to the main point – a bit of a report here from the other side of the Atlantic. Ireland has had vax levels (mostly Pfizer) that are close to Israeli levels (above 90% now), but still manages to have consistent levels higher than most European countries. Nobody seems willing to ask why. So far, anti-vaxxers are a noisy but tiny minority, who have made themselves reviled mostly due to their own stupidity. There is a high level of public trust in the authorities here, although its been noticably crumbling recently due to political ineptness. But it still hasn’t been divisive in the way its been in the US or other countries such as France. The key thing is that hospitalization levels are manageable, and everyone seems quite comfortable with that. But I expect there to be a lot of reluctance to get the third shot as there are lots of informal anecdotes around of people who fell ill after the shot, and inevitably have had short shrift from the medical establishment.

    Just one anecdote: A friend, on getting the second Pfizer shot, fell quite ill with swollen glands. Her doctor immediately sent her for hospital tests. The endocronologist at the hospital just said ‘oh, Pfizer?’ and sent her for regular checks while assuring her that this was a very common side effect of the shot, they’d seen lots of it. After 6 weeks she is still very ill and is showing signs of long Covid. I also have another friend who has reported long term fatigue after her shots. Both could possibly have been exposed do Covid at around the time of the shots. But there are lots of similar stories out there. They travel, and I think it will result in increased scepticism.

    1. Dave

      “a reactionary right wing government that is at least competent and pragmatic when it comes to decision making and delivering services”

      You just described Singapore. Yes I’d rather live there than under any incompetent government.

        1. chwee

          Surprised Singapore hasn’t gotten more mention. Cases were still in the low teens in July. But the new health minister that came on board decided that we could live with endemic covid, and pushed the vax rate from under 50% to 82% in just a couple of months – mission accomplished! And cases soared like crazy. Officially, case numbers are like 2000 per day now, probably huge undercounting as the hospitals are getting overwhelmed and they tell folks, if you are not too sick, just stay at home, don’t even tell us you are ART test positive. Hotel quarantine for visitors was cut from 21 days to 14 days… started discrimination against unvax to push everyone to vax (no dine-in, gym privileges etc). The focus became vax vax vax. Non-stop TV, radio, internet ads.

          But we are a super densely populated city. It was an insane move and they pretty much threw away the hard work that everyone had put in for the past 1.5 yrs… it really is down the drain now. Too endemic now, and they are still refusing to use the effective therapeutics, hearing word that seniors are still being given Remdesivir in the covid wards. Serious cases went from under 10 to 200+ in a month. Daily 2 to 3 deaths now, when we had like under 30 for the past 1.5 years.

          It’ll take too long to go into all the mistakes made.. I’ve been following the covid issue very closely since it all began, recognizing that it would be the seminal event triggering other crisis in the near future. Short note.. MSM now reporting that UK also having an RSV outbreak, with a mix of “the worst cold ever” that take people out for 1 to 2 weeks. Same as Israel having RSV in June, US in July. SG even before the covid surge had huge number of ARI cases filling the hospitals. To me, a sign of waning covid jab immunity… before the real Delta surge commences.

    2. Ignacio

      There is a lot of reactogenicity with both RNA vaccines, not exactly the same patterns with Pfizer or Moderna but the reactions can be quite nasty almost certainly due to shared epitopes in our body and the Spike protein. This manifests unequally in women and men and each person is quite a different case.

      This is not to be ignored though still the benefits of mass vaccination overwhelm the much nastier effect of Covid 19 by a very, very long shot. And this means that talking about possible future shots care should be taken but this kind of fine tuning of vaccination programs seems to be absent so far and I think it will be cause of some trouble, not massive but unfortunate trouble that we should try to avoid.

      We are also being mistaken by prioritizing third doses and forgetting the rest of the world and some day we might pay the cost of not doing what would be the sensible and logical thing, even if we think in egoistic terms. It is better to progress vaccination programs everywhere before starting providing third doses massively. Israel has so far been the best example of this idiotic blindness as if what happens with Covid in the rest of the world wouldn’t matter also there. Do they see themselves as an isolated group of the chosen?

    3. JBird4049

      >>>Its difficult not to see this as part of a very long term process whereby organisational systems, in particular governmental ones, have degraded over time through a malign mix of neoliberalism along with an increasingly inbred culture of arrogance among self appointed elites.

      Don’t forget the not so covert Republican Party program of hollowing out the guts, the back office, of various federal, state, and municipal governments and their agencies; government is incompetent, and we will prove it by eliminating the people and tools needed to do their job, so see they are incapable now; also the Uniparty has found that partially replacing the cuts with corporations and their contractors is a great way to get bribes.

      And I love the children with flamethrowers simile.

      During the Cold War, I often heard the of the two sides described as two children in a roomful of dynamite, looking around with two light matches. Funny, I never quite thought that after the Cold War, I would re-acquire the same, almost nihilistic, dread, albeit at lower, less stressful level. There is not a strong chance of multiple one megaton Soviet ICBMs warheads hitting the entire Bay Area in an afternoon. There is only the increasing possibility of either civil unrest or outright revolution, to forestall ecological and economic collapse, or both over a period of years or decades. Years instead of an afternoon. No stress.

  15. Eustachedesaintpierre

    I guess it might very likely get horribly interesting if they were to mandate vaccines or as some are now calling them inoculations for kids. We are both fully vaxxed but I am glad that it is AZ rather than the Mrna’s, but as my daughter & stepchildren are long fully grown, I don’t have worry about them but I imagine that parents would, perhaps even more so than they would for themselves.

    I found this from TrialsiteNews which is I suppose anti- vax but in a very scientific way & to be honest I don’t have the nous to be able to make a solid judgement on it, but their criticism of the trials conducted for the mrna’s does strike me to be at least potentially valid as does their point that there is no way of knowing what the long term potential for adverse reactions are especially for kids. which seeing as they will have a long time in which they could develop them & which is of course all set against a background of the vast majority of them being able to shrug the virus offis possiblt worrying. It is also I suppose that it is also true that if in some future date an AR does appear that it would be hard to prove that it originated from a vaccine.

    I’m not trying to scare people here but in relation to the concerns of the nurse mentioned in a comment above, it does seem to me that there is a risk here, possibly due to bad information or the lack of it that should mean that questions need answering in a situation where the herd is being forced into a single pen.

    Anyhow I apologise in advance if this peer reviewed study is considered out of line & hope it goes into moderation, but here it is & it is pretty long for anyone hopefully with more credibility than myself who wants to consider it’s possible implications.

    Why Are We Vaccinating Children ?

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221475002100161X

  16. James

    Yves here. As readers know, it is not our practice to address comments in the formatted comment proper. But this one is long, completely wrong-headed, and offensive, and thus the normal response would be to trash it. However, I am instead going to make an example of this commentor in the hope that he finds his happiness on the Internet elsewhere.

    The text below is James, and I will insert rebuttals from GM and me, as indicated:

    This is such nonsense, both on NAbs/science and on the persuasion/behavioral economics.

    First, you totally discount immunological memory and are overly pessimistic about VE against hospitalization and death, not to mention completely ignoring the reduction in long covid. And it’s not at all clear that vaccinated transmit as unvaccinated. In fact, viral load declines more quickly.

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.28.21261295v1
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/the-vaccinated-arent-just-as-likely-to-spread-covid/620161/

    GM: Viral load is the same for about a week, which is when people are most contagious. Are we going to celebrate the 10-15% transmission reduction that derives from it falling more quickly after that as a victory over the virus? Seriously?

    Back to James:

    Next, I don’t know where you’re getting this statistic about NAbs from third dose at only 40% of the original series. To quote you…

    “You might say, “But the booster program is starting! The virtuous vaccine-takers will be protected.” Um, not to the degree you’d like to think. Even for Moderna, the most effective vaccine against Delta, the neutralizing antibodies generated by a third shot were only 40% of the level of the earlier jabs.”

    This is just patently untrue, both according to the study you quoted and Moderna’s own Q2 release (pg 28-29)

    The direct quote from the pre print you link to is… “Two weeks after the booster vaccinations, titers against the wild-type original strain, B.1.351, and P.1 variants increased to levels similar to or higher than peak titers after the primary series vaccinations.”

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.05.21256716v1

    So where on earth are you getting that 40% claim? Looking at table 4 from your link, titers 1 week after the primary vaccination against D614G were 1565 whereas they were 4588 2 weeks after a 50mcg booster of the original vaccine.

    This makes me question the credibility of all your anecdata. Seems you are cherry picking to make your argument.

    GM: This is why experienced scientists read papers by first skipping all the text and looking directly at the figures, to see what the data says rather than how the authors spun the data.

    Figure 3 in that same preprint shows that NAbs against the WT are higher than they were before. But that is irrelevant — the WT is extinct. Against the variants, they are at 40% of those against the WT, even when the booster is against the variant.

    Which means it will wear out even quicker than the second dose.

    Back to James:

    Finally, the behavioral claim doesn’t hold water. Arguing for masking instead of vaccine mandates, “without a parallel hard push for non-pharmaceutical interventions,” is an ahistorical, amnesiac reading of the last 18 or so months. 2020 saw a push for non pharmaceutical interventions, masks mainly, but many didn’t comply, largely the same people who are refusing vaccination. I agree about the CDCs public health failures, but they’re all in on vaccination because a rump of this country refuses to acknowledge covid and take minor non pharmaceutical interventions, much less a safe, effective vaccine.

    And while I’m all for piling on the yuppie, technocratic, professional managerial class, this is not that situation. I grew up in the South and have many family members unvaccinated. The hesitancy precedes the Biden administration’s actions, not the other way around.

    Moi: My goodness, you sure live in a cloistered world. In 2020, I was mainly in Alabama, but I also went to Texas, California, New York (multiple times) and Maine. The ONLY time in Alabama that there was a strong effort in support of masking was during the hard lockdown in 2020 and a bit thereafter. Nevertheless masking and distancing in public places here held up very well in Jefferson County until the May 2021 “Mission Accomplished” despite a stunning lack of official support (please tell me how often Biden wore a mask when on TV, for starters? He and every person in the Administration should have had them on all the time to model desired behavior).

    Lambert shredded your factually false assertion yesterday in Water Cooler. Hoisting:

    “Why Biden Bet It All on Mandates” [The Atlantic]. “‘Months ago, because of the potential political blowback, no one wanted to resort to mandates,” a senior Biden-administration official told me, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk more freely. ‘But then it became clear that we didn’t have any other choice, because, essentially, we had pulled out all the stops. We tried trusted messengers [to promote the vaccines]. We made it very convenient. It wasn’t enough.” • I bet that senior official is Ron Klain.

    Lambert here: They’re lying. The Administration didn’t pull out all the stops, even on vaccination, and the continued PMC preening that they did makes me want to claw my eyes out. First and foremost, they didn’t arrange for paid time off to get vaccinated (and for any adverse reactions). Second, they never attempted to make workplaces vaccination sites. Third, they seem to have expected no resistance from the right (“freedom”) and made no effort to prepare for it or head it off. Fourth, there was no national advertising campaign, on the model of “this is your brain on drugs.” Fifth, even simple measures like making sure, as Toronto did, that there were programs for those who fear needles were ignored. UPDATE Sixth, the “trusted messengers” obviously weren’t; perhaps the author thinks Fauci and Walensky are trusted, but that says more about the contagiousness of West Wing Brain than anything else. Seventh, calling people animals because they seek cheap and safe medications is at the very least an unconventional trustbuilding technique (as is lying about the medication itself). Eighth, the messaging strategy of the Biden administration has been bungled from pre-Inaugural planning to this very day; during the Trump era liberal Democrats kept whinging that Trump didn’t follow the “playbook” Obama left him. Well, it wasn’t a playbook, but it had some good ideas on messaging, and Biden didn’t follow them either. Ninth, the Biden administration never promoted a layered strategy, including especially ventilation. Why in the name of all that is holy wasn’t Jill Biden building a Corsi box on Good Morning America with some cute kids? It’s beyond belief — or would have been, once — that the liberal Democrats could talk themselves into the idea that “We did everything we could” when their intellectual laziness and policy flaccidity is so very, very obvious to the few of us who are paying attention. A less trusting soul than mine would give consideration to the idea that coercion was the endgame the whole time.

    So shorter: your comment is an exercise in projection, wrong from top to bottom but you seem to think indignant finger-wagging will carry the day. Not even a very good try. Daily Kos is over there.

    1. Tom67

      Yves, I so much enjoy your commentary regarding covid. It is not that I agree with everything you write. Far from it. For instance I believe masks help much less than you assume. But it doesn´t matter. I am so sick and tired of the moralistic nonsense and divisionary tactics of the people that govern us. Therefore it is such a relief to follow your reasoned way of approaching things. By the way I am German and things here are just as bad or even worse as in the States. But I got to say that the US offers some hope for you and the whole world. Thanks to your strong federalism you have different solutions tried in different states. You should be really thankful for that. As for your tradition of free speech. Your diversity and the lack of a centralized government along the lines of France or China will in the end bring about solutions. I am rather more hopeful looking at the US than I am for Europe

      1. Basil Pesto

        For instance I believe masks help much less than you assume.

        How come?

        (it is also more than a little insulting, or at least silly, to refer to Yves’ and other mask advocates’ belief in the helpfulness of masking as an ‘assumption’. Not least because when this all started, she was not pro-mask, and changed her position within a couple of months when she better understood the information about masking; this is the very opposite of an assumption.)

  17. Kevin Carhart

    Are they in part seeing the vaccine mandate as a preliminary step before business can require butts in chairs? Are they hellbent on the cessation of remote work?

    It seems potentially like a sequence.
    – end of the federal covid UI
    – vaccine mandates allows them to tell a story that the office is safe
    – strong-arming, cajoling or threats to return to the office

    This is different than what will happen on the ground, however. Are we just spiraling around “diminishing returns” if you want to call it that, outside of nasal vaccines or (if correct – I see the advocates’ point but have reservations also) ivermectin. If increasing wearoff means increasing breakthrough severity, while boosters give successively shorter boosts (and that’s why Israel is already talking about a 4th), while GM said on Links on the 1st, “we know from many studies that stuffing patients with monoclonals is a great way of generating immune escape variants,” (and extremely expensive, Ignacio said) then we are dancing around a place on the venn diagram called nothing. There are five dazzling pinwheels, all of which are an arrow pointing down a drain.

    So suppose they get their enforced return to offices, or cubicles in large central buildings, given the above. There could be a lot of covid. Assuming it doesn’t just attenuate on its own for no reason we understand (which, if that happened, wouldn’t stop lots of people from unfalsifiably stamping any post hoc story they want on it.) The pieces of the story do not seem to me to add up. If you can tell someone the outcomes are mild after vaccination, then you can strong-arm them into commuting in crowded trains and sitting around sick co-workers. But if the baseline becomes more dangerous, silent and unannounced, events will out in the form of disruptive cases and the overall landscape of work environments won’t be stable in its own right. An adult version of the schools disaster with reclosures and high turnover, if not at first then as diminishing protection and shorter boosts proceed?

    Second thing I was wondering.. if the liberals’ behavior seems perverse, have they got something riding on failure?
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/08/is-the-soil-an-ecosystem-service-that-can-be-priced.html#comment-3582880

    In the context of market solutions for endangered species, Geneviève Azam suggests, “if a better return is possible by speculating on, say, the disappearance of a species, then why not?”

    I hope nobody would be that perverse, but as an example Sarah Quinn, via Mirowski, covers the “viatical settlements” market in which someone with a terminal disease is offered a lump sum for their life insurance policy. The new purchaser now has an interest in that person’s death. Quinn quotes a lawyer who said “It’s a receivable, just like credit card receivables and movie royalties. Whatever. I really see it from a capital market perspective. It’s an income-producing asset that just doesn’t mature until there’s a death…”

    If someone thinks wildly inappropriate domains like habitat conservation are good and appropriate domains for a tradeable security to solve a problem (raising the possibility of betting on the other side and becoming Team Extinction), they may turn their crosshairs to covid. Including the possibility of a Team Virus.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>If someone thinks wildly inappropriate domains like habitat conservation are good and appropriate domains for a tradeable security to solve a problem (raising the possibility of betting on the other side and becoming Team Extinction), they may turn their crosshairs to covid. Including the possibility of a Team Virus.

      If some think that betting on Team Virus is not betting on Team Extinction, or at least Team Collapse, which might mean long pork futures for everybody, they are either are crazy or have a seriously short view of the horizon. This is both funny in a Catch-22 short of way, but the reason for this comment is to agree that they having an existence is probably true.

      Kill the world, I need to win. Or profit.

      Nice epitaph.

  18. voteforno6

    Are there any public opinion polls on vaccine mandates? Including some of those might be helpful for context.

    Also, the vaccine mandate also gives an option for regular testing, doesn’t it? I think they’re taking a harder line with the federal workforce and the military, though, but that shouldn’t be too much of a shock, particularly with the military.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They are polling as more popular over time, but I have not had time to look carefully at the wording, since the phrasing and ordering of the questions can easily change results by 10 percentage points.

      The most recent polls (forgive me for doing this from memory, but I saw a story in the last week and I really do need to turn in) have shown approval in the 54% to a bit above 60% range. I am not sure that can be seen to mean much, since the number of adults who are fully vaxxed is now at 55%. Even 60% of those horrible Republicans have had at least one shot.

      In other words, I have not tracked the polls over time to see if the rise in acceptance is largely/fully the result in more people being vaccinated and thus not having a personal objection

    2. ambrit

      The problem with testing that we are seing “on the ground” is that the entire system has shown itself to be incompetent to manage a serious testing regime. First, if the actual tests were available for the entire population, the reporting and collation of the test results is lacking. Without adequate data, no effective actions are plannable. As seems to be the case now, the “authorities” look to be “making it up as they go along.”

      Secondly, the present “official narrative” looks very much like economic boosterism. Any logical, truly scientific opposition to the “official narrative” would need hard data with which to build and support a counter narrative. The cynic in me says that the lack of hard data is being used to forestall any counter argument to the economic boosterism. The lack of hard data could be the result of pure neo-liberal dysfunction. No sinister plot needed.

      As many here have noted over the last year or so, public trust in an institution takes years to build, and months to tear down. “On the street” around here I am seeing a public that has lost its faith in the public medical establishment. People want to trust their individual doctors, but now see those doctors as either fully co-opted members of a “captured professional class” or as “valiant fighters against the decay.” Neither status engenders trust in the public pronouncements of the politico-medical elites.

      The fantasist cynic in me imagines Chtulhu to be the mascot of the Neo-liberal Dispensation. Not only does the Dread Lord have the tentacles to grasp and rend us with, but shows a propensity to suck the life force out of us, all. There is where I see the Neo-liberal Elite’s great weakness. They seem not to realize that the chaos that they promote will eat them as well as us.
      Stay safe! Hull down.

      1. Joe Well

        I tried to make a same-day appointment for a Covid test here in Boston earlier this month.

        All appointments taken at the 10 closest pharmacies that offer tests, only one appointment available in the next 10 closest.

        No way is everyone who needs testing getting tested.

      2. tegnost

        Without adequate data, no effective actions are plannable

        It seems to me the only actions deemed effective must first pass a litmus test that they fulfill some long term goal….biometric ID, all your data to the cloud, mrna vaccines and the money they’ve already made toted up with the money they intend to make, unpatented treatments scorned…

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        After the experience of the “ladies of the view,” I don’t see how “testing” is the answer to anything.

        Two “fully vaxxed” and unmasked women “test positive” and are presumed toxic, so they’re hauled off the set because they’re about to meet the vp, did I mention unmasked, for an interview. They they then take another test, which comes up negative and decide to accept those results instead of the positive ones.

        I guess that’s why they sell the “cheap” drugstore self-tests in sets of two–if you don’t get the result you want, do it again until you do.

        It’s a shitshow any way you slice it. “We” can’t even tell who’s “got it” and who doesn’t.

        As for “public opinion” polls on “vaccine” mandates, I’d say they’d follow the old adage about people who buy an expensive Mercedes. They never complain about the shortcomings of the car because they don’t want to feel stupid about having paid big bucks for a pig in a poke.

  19. GramSci

    Yves,
    I don’t see where the Moderna study you link to shows a “40% reduction” in neutralizing titers. Instead in the abstract I read

    “Two weeks after the booster vaccinations, titers against the wild-type original strain, B.1.351, and P.1 variants increased to levels similar to or higher than peak titers after the primary series vaccinations.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      See the comment above from GM inserted in the James comment, never to rely on the narrative, only the data:

      Figure 3 in that same preprint shows that NAbs against the WT are higher than they were before. But that is irrelevant — the WT is extinct. Against the variants, they are at 40% of those against the WT [wild type], even when the booster is against the variant.

  20. Nikkikat

    Since when has opinion polling mattered. I certainly wouldn’t want to be vaccinated or take a medication because it polled well. I would want to base my position on my own risk assessment.

  21. Chuckles

    In addition to hospitals, schiools in NYC are set to take a major staffing hit. Not as much administrative staff, but teachers, cafeteria workers, school safety, janitors, day care, paraprofessional staff, etc. This is a direct challenge to the anti-bubba sentiment, since a majority are people of color. Sure there are concentrations of opposition in Staten Island among white GOP base, but that could be a minority. It is serving to divide union memberships — righteous smarties are questioning why their unions are lifting a finger to protect the jobs of these ignoramuses, at the same time that the passionate opposition who don’t want to be told what to do are furious that the UFT etc hasn’t done more to stop this. One could easily predict that the charters are poised to capitalize on this big time, since they have focused their disruption of public schools on poor and minority populations. Yet today we read that Success Academy’s Eva Moskowitz is mandating that high school students must be vaccinated.

    1. GERMO

      It is serving to divide union memberships — righteous smarties are questioning why their unions are lifting a finger to protect the jobs of these ignoramuses

      Union member here, mass transit —- lots of fierce rank and file opposition to the earlier mask mandate and vaccination rates low even with a couple deaths in our local. I predict grudging compliance of vaccination as it has been with masks, more threats of quitting but mostly empty (we’re paid union level $ after all).

      I have the sense that Company leadership is trying everything to delay the awful moment when the jab is law. It’s going to be horrible but we can hope to use a sudden spurt in hatred of the bosses to a union advantage in the long term. It’s cynical opportunism but at this point in the labor movement anything must be taken advantage of. If you really have no respect for the vaccine-resistant (and I pretty much don’t, myself) and are clear about the saving-capitalism motive of all of this (a cogent comment to this effect is above), this prospect of orienting workers to a common point, as wrongheaded as it might be, is the only thing we unions have going on.

      The rank and file workers have themselves foreclosed on issues like hazard pay, ventilating spaces, changing the work environment, etc, by refusing to believe the pandemic was real for over a year and a half. The union-observing left intelligentsia are going to have to come to grips with this. I suspect that the more socialist among them will be having the least trouble doing so

  22. Deuce Traveler

    Your hated Libertarian Lurker here,

    Some personal anecdotes.

    I am not anti-vax, but I am hesitant on taking the COVID vaccines currently in the United States. I’ve had a handful of friends and family that have taken mRNA vaccine and had negative reactions to them. I’ll probably end up taking the J&J vaccine since it’s based on an older technology, but as a Catholic I heard that the J&J vaccine may be based upon fetal tissue. I know I’ll feel guilty about it and it will be a lasting guilt, but I have children to raise and can’t afford to find out that the mRNA vaccine has a negative effect on my body somewhere down the line. I wish I could wait for Novavax to be approved. If I could take any vaccine from anywhere in the world and be considered fully vaccinated by the United States government / corporations, I would choose Sinovac, since the technology of that one seems to be based on the ones we use for normal flu vaccines. I doubt Sinovac will ever be approved here by our government / corporate oligarchy. Anyway, my choices are take an mRNA vaccine that has had side-effects for people that I know, take a J&J vaccine despite my Catholic upbringing, or be forced into unemployment so that myself and my children starve.

    The people that I work with here in Virginia are constantly mocking the unvaccinated as a bunch of idiotic rednecks and rubes. I stay quiet and have indicated that I am vaccinated so I can avoid the ridicule and discussions. However, I’m from Brooklyn New York and am hispanic, so I think their own biases help with the subterfuge. Those that have admitted to be vaccine hesitant in my workspace have mostly been young women who worry about the affects of the vaccine on their reproductive system. I believe all will take the vaccine (at least one is a single mom with a child to raise), but I wonder how many women with bright professional futures will decide to become stay-at-home moms dependent on their husbands for at least a few years.

    Several of those that mock the unvaccinated at my work have gotten their shot and act as if COVID is over. They do not wear masks, do not take care of their health, and go to social events in enclosed rooms. Instead of getting vaccinated, I made it a point to wear a mask anytime I’m inside a building, take daily supplements of vitamins from my local GNC in order to boost my immune system, keep purchasing alcohol-based hand sanitizer, jog two to three times a week to strengthen my lungs, and have avoided social gatherings inside. I really miss going to do karaoke, hitting my favorite bars, and was seriosuly considering rejoining church but all that stopped for me in March of 2020. Now I have a stack of science fiction and history books to burn through why I hermit it up with the kids. I have the kids jog with me, make them wear masks everywhere, and tell them to listen to their teachers about taking COVID seriously.

    It seems bizarre that I’m an object of ridicule because I’m unvaccinated. I took COVID seriously when it popped up in China. I stocked up on supplies and was looking at masks before the media caught on. I’ve changed my entire lifestyle due to the pandemic. Yet I’m a target of accusations of ignorance because I have concerns about the three US-approved vaccines.

    1. Louis Fyne

      i am disheartened that a libertarian has to feel coy about their thoughts. many on the left and right share the same wariness against the concentration of economic and political power–even if one’s ideas of solutions vary.

      alas some other wedge issue will come along and break any potential for some discrete cooperation. divide and conquer works.

      1. Deuce Traveler

        I used to blare Rage Against the Machine out of my car. Now I’m old, have bills, and mostly want to be left alone to raise my kids. A song of choice in my car now is “I Don’t Wanna Fight No More” by Alabama Shakes. Maybe when the little ones are comfortably out of the house I’ll be willing to be vocal like I was in my youth. For right now I just want to do good work, not cause a stir, get the occasional raise, and make sure the kids are ok.

        1. jr

          “I’ll be willing to be vocal like I was in my youth.”

          I don’t know if it will do any good. I’m assuming when you say “vocal” you are indicating a desire to vocalize your best effort at reason and reflection, all that anyone of good intent could be asked to do. Sadly, your audience probably won’t be interested outside of your circle of friends. And if that circle happens to be in Texas, one of them may turn you in for bad-think because they owe a lot to Visa.

          The picture that I’m seeing is that this country has been and is being whipped into a variety of howling mobs. From college professors or “activists” firing up student protests to promote their credentials in “movement X” to politicians angling to increase their votes by pandering to voters to preachers solidifying their mind-lock on their flocks to media outlets cashing in on rage to just plain old-fashioned humans hating humans, no one is talking anymore. Except here, and that’s not just a compliment to the site, in my experience of the last five to seven years it is the actual fu(k!ng truth. That’s what I was referring to the other day when I commented about the devaluation of the word “conversation”, even the notion of talking reasonably is a weapon now.

          The pandemic is a big leak in the dam holding back the insanity but what happens when crops start failing en masse due to climate catastrophe, when the heat gets so bad that mid-day becomes unbearable in heavily populated regions, when the next pandemic hits that makes COVID look like a mild case of allergies, when someone lobs a few nukes at someone, or when a real insurrection headed by Eric Prince and his Christo-fascist private army comes to D.C.? Or his corollary in Russia or Germany or China? What happens when all that happens at once?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s “interesting” that you chose to open your comment with a statement of your political leanings, which couldn’t be less germane.

      No amount of mockery, insults or societal pressure changes the fact that these “vaccines” are inadequately tested by historical standards, and too many corners to count have been cut in the rush to represent them as “approved.”

      If adverse health consequences result, somewhere down the road, the “everybody was doing it” justification will be cold, useless comfort.

      I’m old enough to remember when keeping… “your head when those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” was considered courageous, and not an occasion for a beat-down. As far as I’m concerned, it still is.

  23. THEWILLMAN

    I think it bears emphasizing that the two clips from CNBC and Michigan’s House testimony are the exceptions that prove the rule. This kind of discussion results in a lifetime ban on subreddits with millions of readers – bans, deletes and algo manipulation across facebook and twitter as well for us regular folks.

    Meanwhile the broadcasting class with newspapers and TV shows have – at a minimum – entirely self censored themselves to point of becoming our own version of Pravda.

    …and the blame bubba, all-in vaccination strategy you’re talking about here would be impossible without a total lockdown of social media and acquiescence of commentators to restrict conversation into the narrowest of domains as a service to the government (and enforced by demonetizing YouTube videos or bans or deprioritization on social media and restriction of government access to anyone who goes too far).

  24. Carolinian

    Thank you for this. I have no qualifications on the medical side but on the mind reading side I think a lot of people (I’m one of them) have a deep distrust of “the elites” and with good reason. Meanwhile the elites with their vast self love find this hard to accept.

    And that’s the real problem. The people in charge don’t know what they are doing (the above post nails this exactly) and would much rather stick with the gratifying fantasy version of the situation than the reality.

    There may be no solution other than to get different elites.

  25. Pat

    Just an observation, most people do not have the access to or the time to get into the granular data that is discussed on an almost daily basis here. And even intelligent generally logical people are susceptible to both their emotional biases and continued propaganda.

    Someone I know mentioned that a significant portion of those who been unvaccinated in their workplace got vaccinated in the last few days. They followed that with I guess we know who the Trump voters were. They probably didn’t believe my assertion that they didn’t, but I do give them credit for realizing that not even in our supposedly deep blue part of the world lots of people rejected the preferred Democratic scenario.

    Where they may be right is that if the mandates are the breaking point they very well could be the fighting will be between us unwashed enlightened and unenlightened masses NOT between the masses and the political class and those that own them. I still have hope that Bloomberg’s neighborhood will burn before the Bronx, that we will find out the Hamptons…and Martha’s Vineyard are not defensible positions. They think even the breaking point will be a win for them as we kill each other, if as it seems the death of the excess population is being directed to be from the essential workers of the world. Orange man or the supposed adults being in charge, the government response is ineffectual and feckless…and dangerous.

    Saddest for me is that no matter how it goes the result is unlikely to be what in any universe could be considered “good” or “for the best”. The mandates if followed will still fail, if they don’t the numbers will still be bad, and the divided nature of our society will be split even more by either failure.

  26. Just An Analog Girl

    Response to Deuce Traveler. This comment resonated strongly for me. I have been a long time lurker here at NC (10 years), and a daily reader. I am not vaxed. I have been on basically self-imposed lockdown since 03/08/20. I am retired. I just started receiving Medicare. I live alone (except of course for the cats!) No one comes into my house. I leave the house for no more than 30 mins., masked, distance myself from others, gargle with Povidone solution when I get home, take the FLCCC recommended supplements. Like so many others, I no longer trust government, CDC, NIH, medical personnel, MSM, etc.

    I recently had a conversation with one of my brothers, who lives in Dallas. I admitted I was not vaxed. He went crazy, why was I not vaxed, was I needle phobic (no), if he had known this earlier her would have been all over me, etc. He then called me for two days, home & cell. I finally asked him to stop as I thought that this would damage our relationship. He took this well, stopped badgering, and we now seem to be fine.

    I no longer answer the phone as it’s always Medicare Advantage sales people, or sales people wanting to buy my house (paid for.) I even had a couple of Advantage folks ring my doorbell. I told them to “get off my front porch”.

    I am just so disillusioned. We are descending into apocalypse.

    1. VietnamVet

      The best thing about NC is the realization that you are not alone even if you are isolated in suburbia.

    2. divadab

      And yet the sun still rises and the trees grow…….please don’t make yourself sick over things you cannot control…my unasked for advice? Go outside more. Walk in the woods. Breathe deeply.

      Your comment resonated with me as those are the phone calls I keep getting – up to 5 a day! All with spoofed numbers. I used to report them but with spoofed numbers it does no good. And as for medicare, please study Lambert’s excellent piece om the subject particularly medigap.

      Good luck to us all.

  27. Louis Fyne

    at the rate we are going, Covid is going to destroy! public school funding as we know it—with pressures coming both from the right and the left.

    I was surprised that the 2020 election didn’t revolve around school vouchers in some way. I bet that 2024 will.

  28. Roger Blakely

    I am working from home with COVID-19 today. I picked up my eighth infection in the office on Friday. I have had five infections before being fully vaccinated in May and three infections since being vaccinated.

    It is my opinion that the basic ensemble of personal protective equipment for a worker in an office building with a central HVAC (air conditioning) system is a particulate respirator, N95 or half-face cartridge respirator. Add to that chemical splash goggles for entering the restroom. The HVAC system effectively distributes Delta throughout the building. The highest concentration of Delta is in the restroom where those with COVID-19 diarrhea release virus into the air.

    I had been feeling healthy over the past three weeks since I had started wearing my respirator full time in the office and putting on my goggles for the restroom. What happened? I forgot to wear my goggles once on Friday afternoon. Sure enough, over the weekend I had signs of infection.

    I notified my employer. I took a nose swab. I am sure that it will come back negative. I will feel better tomorrow, though I have been suffering from post-acute COVID19 since the pandemic started.

    We can learn to live with the virus. But officer workers need to be wearing respirators and goggles.

      1. Roger Blakely

        Immunity is not a magic shield. Every time the body comes into contact with SARS-CoV-2, the body has to fight off the infection. If an individual gets hit with a large enough dose, the individual will go through a full ten-day infection process.

        So, yes. People are going to get COVID-19 over and over again. When the individual comes into contact with a sufficient dose of a variant of SARS-CoV-2, then the infection is more severe.

        1. Cuibono

          well Sir then you should be written up in the medical literature since even one reinfection is not yet common.

          1. Raymond Sim

            We do not have good enough data on overall prevalence to be able to accurately assess the frequency of reinfection.

            However, reinfection is not rare, that’s a simple pigeonhole principle deduction. And why would it be? The variants evade naturally acquired immunity just as they do that from vaccines.

              1. Raymond Sim

                Lol, handwaving folderol, somethingof a specialty of the BMJ these days.

                Tell me how, given a 30% rate of non-seroconversion, the authors could possibly have been able to determine that number?

                After that, reconcile your 1% number with the observed behavior of the variants. Or is the new natural immunity party line that all the current infections are first-time?

                1. Cuibono

                  please provide some evidence beyond conjecture for your opinion. I did. there is a lot more if you want to read it.

  29. The Rev Kev

    Thought that I would point out something about the parents refusing to have their kids vaccinated as seen in that example of 112 parents refusing over 2 agreeing to vaccinations as a possibility. Yes, parents love their kids and all the rest of it but I think that there is another factor to consider. If it turns out that vaccinations or multiple-vaccinations can have a bad effect on some kids, you have to ask yourself what happens next for those parents. If those kids need medical treatment, perhaps over the full course of their lifetime, guess who is going to have to pay for it? And if it is something serious and long-term, that could eventually put that whole family in the poor house if not on the streets. You cannot sue the vaccine manufacturers for compensation as they have been given a blank cheque as far as responsibility is concerned.

    The Federal government? Typically they legally fight anything to do with medical issues and a few examples that come to mind are Agent Orange, Gulf War syndrome and more recently the 9/11 responders. People could be waiting decades for this to play out in the courts. Of course if the feds promised treatment for any people or kids adversely effected by vaccines that would solve a lot of problems but we know that that is not going to happen. So maybe a major reason why those 112 parents balked is that if anything went wrong, that they would be on their own. Last year, you had a lot of people coming out from under rocks to say that old people should be let to die of this virus in order to keep the economy going. But somehow the argument that children should be perhaps also sacrificed too is falling a little flat with parents.

    1. CloverBee

      As a parent, I can say a big piece of this is the number of kids people have these days. Look, if I had 12 kids and had to do something that might negatively impact 1 for the good of the country, the equation changes. I have 1 kid. If that kid is long term negatively impacted, my whole world is fried. Probably why parents are so much more risk-adverse these days in general.

      This is before you even get to the costs of a kid that will grow up and live with something debilitating. We worry about getting our kids the right skills and activities to succeed, I will not be risking my kid’s future for a shot that won’t even help stop the spread when their risk is so low to begin with. Let 10s of millions of other kids take it first, and then wait a year or 2 before I am able to adequately assess my only child’s risk. Not 1,100 over 2 months FFS (since the double blind study was ~2,200, half getting a placebo. 2,200 still isn’t enough).

      1. Randall Flagg

        Have 1 kid or 5 or whatever your number and the equation might change? From experience, lose a child and it’s a hell you don’t want to wish on your worst enemy.
        My extremely healthy daughter of childbearing age has for now decided to forgo any Covid shots until more is known. In her mid 20’s, her decision, And I’ll back her to the ends of this world. With the complete understanding on everyone’s part that there are no guarantees in this life with this virus among us.

        1. CloverBee

          Americans obsess over every detail of their 1-2 kids’ lives. Health, safety, activities. Every aspect of every decision is analyzed and discussed. With many kids, you don’t obsess the same way, you don’t have the energy or time. This will be pushed as extremely low/no risk, but parents with 1-2 children will read about and obsess about this decision, and be less likely to obsess the risk.

          Any loss of a child is devastating, and life altering, even before they are born. You assess the risk differently as a parent with 1-2 children, though.

          1. Randall Flagg

            I understand what you are saying about parents obsessing over one or two kids. Seen it to often.
            I did not clearly state that my daughter does her own research and decision making and I support her all the way. Peering over her shoulder or telling her what to do is a big mistake. Independent thinker to the max

    2. Glossolalia

      My son is vaccinated but he has friends whose parents didn’t vaccinate their kids. I don’t care what any expert says, if I had a nagging feeling that I was doing something detrimental for my child then I wouldn’t do it.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > maybe a major reason why those 112 parents balked is that if anything went wrong, that they would be on their own. Last year, you had a lot of people coming out from under rocks to say that old people should be let to die of this virus in order to keep the economy going. But somehow the argument that children should be perhaps also sacrificed too is falling a little flat with parents.

      Well said. It’s amazing to me that we’re barreling toward jabs for 5-year-olds without doing our very best to minimize the need with defense in depth. Of course, the Biden people have painted themselves into a corner now, since those measures should have taken back in January.

  30. Jason Boxman

    Getting to 85% would be daunting when you factor in not merely vaccine resistance/hesitancy and legitimate economic reasons to avoid vaccination (the risk of miss a day or two or work due to a routine reaction leading to a catastrophic economic downspiral)…

    Somewhat relatedly to this, the NY Times had a story about women in Texas (many in fact) being forced to go leave the state now to seek abortions, and one woman drove to Oklahoma at substantial cost, wasn’t sure how she’d make rent, and her partner asked for time off to drive her and was laid off for asking.

    Having your life meltdown over a missed day or two at work is not an idle concern for millions of people.

  31. CloverBee

    Thank you for the humorous intro, Yves. I appreciate these COVID summary long posts because I often feel crazy interacting with most people, and I just can’t talk to them about these things anymore. These affirm that I am just reading too much, and I can continue as normal and keep my mouth shut.

  32. HH

    There is so much noise in the COVID pandemic that almost every leadership decision can be criticized, but certain stubborn facts remain. Nations with disciplined and orderly populations have had better results on a per-capita basis than nations full of ornery people. This has little to do with vaccine efficacy or government competence. The fault is in the populace. Today’s NYT has a graphic on the front page showing a clear correlation between COVID mortality and Trump support in US counties. People who believe in lies and false rumors are dying of COVID in greater numbers than their more rational fellow citizens, irrespective of public health directives.

    1. tegnost

      When I look at rapid riser counties in water cooler it looks an awful lot like a map of counties that voted for biden. Go ahead and blame bubba, but come up with a more credible source than todays NYT.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Today’s NYT has a graphic on the front page showing a clear correlation between COVID mortality and Trump support in US counties.

      If one wished to slice the data that way and to moralize, as apparently the Times does, one might also point out that it was Biden counties (specifically, in New York City and environs) that brought the virus here in the first place. So, all the words in “more rational fellow citizens” are doing more work than they should have to do.

      1. HH

        Facts are stubborn things. Different regions of the United Stages are experiencing markedly different outcomes in the COVID pandemic (e.g., NY vs. Florida). NC seems preoccupied with the offense of “shaming” the unvaccinated at the moment, but the central issue is one of life and death. Perhaps the government has grossly exaggerated the efficacy of the vaccine, but the death toll is disproportionately heavy for the unvaccinated, and that is irrefutable support for vaccination.

        The fixation on hurt feelings in U.S. public health campaigns is rather like observing that firefighters often damage property when extinguishing a blaze: correct, but irrelevant.

        1. Karen

          The data are biased by different seasonal patterns in south vs north. In the south infection spreads faster in the summer when people are indoors with a/c. And vice versa in the north. This fall/winter will be the true test of whether high vaccination rates in the northeastern states are truly protective

  33. George Phillies

    “…Oh, and threaten to pursue the suspension of licenses of MDs who had clearly fabricated? The AMA is pro-vaccine and they’d be keen to rout out anti-vax MDs…”

    As my late father the physician repeatedly pointed out, the AMA is not like the Bar Association. It does not license physicians to practice. It has no direct say on who is allowed to practice. That is a state function. An AMA group that in the absence of a state mandate tried to keep someone from practicing — I think he had an example — would find itself at the working end of of an antitrust suit. Also, the AMA is in a competitive environment, namely the National Medical Association, of which many Americans who are not physicians are unfamiliar.

  34. Jason Boxman

    The horror here is we actually have the tools to do this right, even if liberal Democrats and the PMC lack the competence or the will. At this point we know of all kinds of in depth defense approaches beyond (but including) masking, such as wastewater detection, rapid testing, quarantines, air filtration, sniffing dogs, vaccination for high risk individuals.

    Sadly, because markets, go die. So here we are. Failure is a choice.

  35. Jeremy Grimm

    The Government’s efforts to handle the Corona pandemic remind me of the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail where the wise Sir Bedevere uses his remarkable logic to guide the villagers in devising a witch test. But there do appear to be two levels of competence in the Government response to Corona. I believe the CARES Act and other acts that followed it — and some that currently wallow through Congress — show a certain Geithner-esque competence at exploiting the pandemic and other concerns, like Climate Chaos, to grandly feather the plushest nests.

  36. Raymond Sim

    I would like to bring particular attention to GM’s remarks about the orthogonal evolution of some of the most aggressive variants. This is as important a development as the initial emergence of immune-evading variants was, and the consequences will likely be shocking even to those of us who have some idea of what’s coming.

    Imagine contracting Delta then B.1.351 back-to-back! That, or the equivalent, will be in prospect for anybody and everybody.

    And, as per GM’s remarks, this is a march towards a change in serotype. If we let that happen, and it appears we will, we’re back at square one, 2020 all over again, but with what will in all liklihood be a much more aggressive and destructive pathogen.

    1. ambrit

      A Jackpot ready Pathogen.
      To para-phrase Marie Antoinette; “Let them eat microwaveable pizza rolls!”
      The Neo-liberal social order is undergoing a stress test.

  37. Alex Cox

    I came to Mexico City on Saturday for a job. Immigration was a scrum like you see in the pictures from Heathrow Airport. Everyone was masked, but there were five hundred of us snaking back and forth in lines. I’m not sure what the ventilation situation was: we were underground. But I had plenty of time to watch the video ads for Huwei phones and the government’s Covid advice — which is the same as the official advice in the US: wear masks, disinfect surfaces, no mention at all of airborne virus.

    In the city, masking seems universal indoors (unless one is eating), and most people on the street are masked, too. Only the police seem indifferent to masks. My employers are taking things seriously, according to the official guidance: they’ve given me a supply of K95 masks and lots of disinfectant. I had one Covid test on Sunday, and another one scheduled for today.

    From talking to my colleagues, I have the impression people know the virus is airborne as well. According to the Johns Hopkins/Our World in Data site, 35 percent of Mexicans are fully vaccinated, compared to 55 percent in the US.

    What impresses me is the seriousness with which everyone is taking this. Several people have remarked that things will not be the same: that Covid will be with us for a long time, that there will be more pandemics, and we all have to adapt and do the best we can. In the capital there doesn’t seem to be an anti-vax or anti-mask movement, at all.

    1. ambrit

      People we know from Mexico have told us that Mexico is like a European country. There is the Capitol and then there is the rest of the country. Two distinct societies.
      Of interest would be the attitude of the Cartels to the Covid Pandemic. In some places I am told, the Cartels are a parallel government.

  38. divadab

    I’m late to this thread but it seems the propaganda apparatus is actively fomenting this disgusting blaming and shaming of the unvaccinated. Here’s a piece of rotting offal from the Seattle Times:

    https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/goodbye-and-good-riddance/

    They also promoted the “horse paste hicks” meme also – I cancelled my subscription over these repulsive, divisive, and as your excellent article clearly shows, unsubstantiated screeds. Just a disgrace. I should add the same efforts are well under way in Canada.

    1. Even keel

      Regarding the “success” of the mandate.

      I am not sure that one can count people who “give in” and get the shot in response to a mandate as unqualified wins. These people, to the extent they have been coerced to act against their better (moral or otherwise) judgment, have suffered an injury.

      Things like that are degrading. They build resentment. A company can only interfere in its employees lives so many times before employee morale suffers greatly as a result.

      This sad experience of coercion will likely leave a lasting scar on the psyches of those coerced.

      ((Not to mention the precedent for future exercises of majoritarian power))

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Has anyone seen Midnight Mass on Netflix? Hochul might as well be Bev from that show.

      “The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”

      – Aldous Huxley

    1. T_Reg

      That’s probably a good thing (if true, which seems unlikely). Domestic animals have historically been loaded up on all kinds of drugs, which is the most likely reason for the quick failure of antibiotics. Maybe blanket use of Ivermectin leads to a similar phenomenon.

      As far as the article is concerned, I find that anti-Ivermectin gaslighting is a good indicator of which sources I should drop from my reading list.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > hick IVM paste gobblers

      Thinking this through, I think the dosage (for all but the most challenged) is a red herring (and it’s not like people don’t take the wrong dosage of non-“paste” medications all the time). One can calculate the dosage by body weight (and there are probably YouTubes showing how, by people who really keep farm animals, as opposed to influencers or personalities).

      To my mind, the stronger argument against is that the inactive ingredients will be different in animal v. human formulations, and they could have ill effects (being optimized for the animal digestive tract). But I have never seen anything on what the active ingredients actually are (and perhaps they’re proprietary).

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