2:00PM Water Cooler 12/6/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I was not able to pull off my yellow waders in time, so this is a skeletal Water Cooler, with only the standing elements. Otherwise, talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

I’m really having fun with these finches; there are so many! No doubt Darwin had the same feeling, a thousand times more intensely!

* * *


Vaccination by region:

Big rebound. Still chugging along. (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

59.6% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, as of December 2. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Estonia, and just above Taiwan in the Financial Times league tables as of this Monday). No change from last week, but I assume that’s a holiday data issue.

Case count by United States regions:

Back to normal and heading toward a new peak, just like last year. I have added a black anti-trumphalist “Fauci Line.”

At a minimum, the official narrative that “Covid is behind us,” or that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), or “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) is clearly problematic. (This chart is a seven-day average, so changes in direction only show up when a train is really rolling.)

* * *

One of the sources of the idea that Covid is on the way out, I would speculate, is the CDC’s modeling hub (whose projections also seem to have been used to justify school re-opening). Here is the current version of the chart from the CDC modeling hub, which aggregates the results of eight models in four scenarios, with the last run (“Round 9”) having taken place on 2021-08-30, and plots current case data (black dotted line) against the aggregated model predictions (grey area), including the average of the aggregated model predictions (black line). I have helpfully highlighted the case data discussed above:

Now the Thanksgiving drop shows up. (Note that the highlighted case data is running behind the Johns Hopkins data presented first.) Now, it’s fair to say that the upward trend in case data (black dotted line) is still within the tolerance of the models; it does not conform to the models’ average (black line), but it stays within the grey area (aggregated predictions) It’s also true that where we see an upward trend in the predicted case data (lower right quadrant) it’s much later than where we are now. It’s too early to say “Dammit, CDC, your models were broken”; but it’s not too soon to consider the possibility that they might be. The case data still looks like it’s trying to break out of the grey area. We shall see.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection, now updated after Thanksgiving:

I have marked the previous peak in yellow, and the current peak with a black “Fauci Line.” Both 2020 and 2021 saw big jumps when the students returned after Thanksgiving vacation. 2021’s jump begins from a higher baseline. Now we’ll see how much higher it goes. It’s hard to know how pessimistic to be, but this tapewatcher’s guess is that this years peak will surpass 2020’s.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties. Updated December 3:

This is more normal, and more in line with the rest of the data; I think the previous releases were all artifacts of CDC’s algorithm.

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile), also December 2:

I have helpfully highlighted the states where the “trend” arrow points up in yellow, and where it is vertical, in orange. Google says it’s 51.8°F in Texas at 9:35AM EST, so the rising hospitalization there, and I assume the South generally, is not due to wintry conditions.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 808,763 806,409. Back to normal. I have added a black “Fauci Line.” At this rate, I don’t think we’ll hit the million mark by New Year’s.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid), now updated::

Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so. (CDC explains there are data lags).

(Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment’s duty to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions. Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital.)

Covid cases in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

South Africa’s rise looks linear. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *

Contact information: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (IM):

IM writes: “I took this during the first atmospheric river of the fall, on Cypress Mountain, north of Vancouver. The stream pictured is not normally a stream. Is the blurry branch on the left a flaw, or does it add movement? I had no tripod and the forest was so dark. All notions of depth of field went out the window while I kept still for a long exposure with the aperture wide open.” Pretty impressive for hand-held, I think!

* * *

Readers, I could still use more plants, so if you could send some photos to the address below, that would be great! I’d really like to see photos of harvests or completed projects, to inspire people to plan for spring over the winter. Also fall foliage? Thank you!

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. cocomaan

    Big spike in vaccinations. Is that representing boosters? Or just a big group of people getting to fully vaccinated?

      1. Basil Pesto

        a bit hard to say that after 2 weeks, when one of if not the primary disease burden of Covid infection is long term morbidity caused by the initial infection. Long Covid occurs in people whose experience of the initial infection is mild.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Exactly. Until we know if this new version virus leaves behind just as many damaged people or not, it is too early to call what the effects of it are.

      1. Maggie

        Here’s a suggestion, from some of the same people, maybe a continuation of the same process? Make sure and see the Sesame Street Version!


        “Good evening. I’m Tom Ridge. Nearly six months ago, President Bush asked me to organize and lead a new federal agency, the Office of Homeland Security. Since that time, many of you have probably wondered just what this agency has been up to and what, if anything, we are doing to prevent terrorist attacks within our borders. Tonight, I’m proud to unveil my agency’s new weapon in the War on Terror: the Homeland Security advisory system. It’s a simple five level system, which uses color codes to indicate varying levels of terrorist threat.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good times. Bush used to notoriously raise the colour level before an election or some other political event to muster support. If they used a colour advisory system for the present pandemic, you would find that Biden would be lowering the colour level before an election to make people think that hings are getting better.

          1. Tim

            Patriot Act,
            National Defense Authorization Act,
            Covid passports.

            Which one doesn’t belong?

            Answer: None

            1. lance ringquist

              trump is a tyrant: actually bill clinton helped to create the patriot act, proposed building a wall against mexico, used the pre patriot act to attack muslims: The harm that Obama has done to devastate some of the poorest, war-torn countries on earth: Libya was the richest in Africa, and relatively stable until Hillary Clinton decided otherwise.

              Clinton was Secretary of State during Obama’s first term in office. In 2011, she craved for war. A ‘New York Times’ report citing 50 top US officials, left no doubt that Clinton was the ‘catalyst’ in the decision to go to war.


    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Taiwan’s vaccination will soon overtake the United States’ if not already. According to Taiwan’s CDC https://www.cdc.gov.tw/File/Get/nltDcuWmqNZGtcRhIgxJBw (use Google Translate), 60.52% of the population are now fully vaccinated. Also remember, Taiwan had to beg around for vaccines, unlike Uncle Sam, although to give credit where it’s due, Uncle Sam, Japan, the private sector all pitched in to get Taiwan vaccinated. Also the private sector has now jumped in to encourage people to vaccinate.

      Get your shot at a supermarket!! https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202112040015. “People who arrive to receive their COVID-19 jabs at the Carrefour Yilan store will each receive a free NT$100 voucher and a lunchbox containing bread and a drink, the supermarket chain said.” NT$100 is not a lot to be honest. 3.xx USD, but hei it’s free money.

      One guy on the following thread https://tw.forumosa.com/t/coronavirus-vaccine-in-taiwan-november-december-2021/213574/260, also reported receiving 2 free months of gym membership for his 2 jabs.

  2. jsn

    IM, great picture!

    The durability of the forrest floor under that torrent is impressive: no erosion evident.

    1. TMR

      You’d be surprised how much of that forest floor consists of the partially-buried trunks of previously-fallen trees.

      1. Irrational

        Great picture! Shocking, though. The branch on the left definitely adds to the composition IMHO. Thanks for sharing.

  3. voislav

    I was visiting with friends in my old uni lab for Thanksgiving and they got these antibody tests from a collaborator that differentiate between RBD and nucleocapsid antibodies to try out. So 5 of us took the test and the results were very interesting.

    4 of my friends got vaccinated by Pfizer, they all showed RBD (receptor binding domain) antibodies, with no nucleocapsid antibodies. I was vaccinated by Moderna and my test showed the reverse, nucleaocapsid antibodies, no RBD antibodies.

    These tests are not very quantitative, they are kind of like at-home pregnancy tests. But, it was interesting that Moderna and Pfizer develop different dominant antibodies. Now, omicron variant has a lot of mutations in the RBD domain, but not so much in nucleocapsid.

    So we have seen previously that Moderna retained good efficiency against delta variant, unlike Pfizer. I wonder if this will be the case with omicron as well, because the dominant antibody is targeting less mutated binding site. It may also make sense for people who got Pfizer to take Moderna boosters to give them broader coverage.

    1. Dean

      Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines consist of versions of the spike protein only. Neither would induce antibodies against the separate nucleocapsid protein.

      Perhaps the lab was looking at antibodies against the N-terminal domain of spike?

      1. voislav

        All communication clearly stated nucleocapsid, so unless someone made a big mistake, it was nucleocapsid. I found that weird as well, when we were doing covid antibody isolation last year, RBD was by far the best bait protein, indicating this was the target for most naturally developed antibodies. Other parts of the spike protein (S1, S2) and nucleocapsid gave us much poorer results. So we expected vaccines to target RBD as well, more so for mRNA vaccines.

    2. Carla

      “It may also make sense for people who got Pfizer to take Moderna boosters to give them broader coverage.”

      We did this, partly because of information presented on John Campbell’s youtube channel.

  4. griffen

    Sports desk commentary. The suffering of professional football fans ended yesterday in Detroit. The hapless Lions conquered the Minnesota Vikings, scoring the winning touchdown as time expired.

    Notably, the Lions head coach was quick to dedicate the W to the local community of Oxford. The head coach for the Vikings might be in contact with his realtor in a few weeks.

    In other sports news, the delayed and controversial ending to the F1 race in Saudi Arabia delayed my plan to watch the men’s college basketball game, as the Tar Heels played at Georgia Tech.

    1. savedbyirony

      Also from the sports desk- Medina Spirit, the 3 yr old colt and (under review) winner of last spring’s Kentucky Derby who failed a race day test for a banned steroid, died earlier today during a workout from a heart attack. Beautiful animals specifically breed for an often cruel sport.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Let’s not be so quick to judge. It’s possible that Medina Spirit was feeling a little down after all the bad publicity. Therapy didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The thoughts of being “THAT HORSE” could have been overwhelming. Maybe, just maybe, he decided to end it all. It’s as believable as Jeffrey Epstein hanging himself in a jail cell with TV monitors blaring.

        1. John Beech

          The sports desk in the Beech household is delirious with joy after our underdog Tide cleaned the Bulldog’s clock, both Georgia and Gonzaga!

          Roll Tide, Roll!

  5. Hepativore

    Alright, well…here is a follow up we were having about cooking a few weeks ago. My maternal grandparents were European immigrants from Serbia, and so I got this recipe from them…you can also use it for turkey if you double it.

    Serbian roast chicken

    1 4-6 lb. roasting-size chicken
    1 bell pepper
    1 tomato
    1 pinch chilli powder
    1 cup rice
    handful black olives
    about 18 fl oz (½ l) chicken broth
    few slings thymes and oregano
    olive, lemon juice, salt, herbs – to make the meat marinate

    Make the marinate: mix olive, lemon juice, garlic (or other favourite spices), coat the chicken with the marinate, leave in a bowl in a fridge (for a night). Preheat the oven to 360 F/ 180 oC. Rinsed rice put inside the baking dish, add chopped bell pepper and tomato, mix all ingredients. Season with chilli powder, oregano leaves and small pinch of salt. Put the chicken on top of the rice mixture, cover them with thyme. Pour the broth over the meat (it should cover the rice with vegetables, not meat). Decorate with olives. During baking time add some bullion, if the rice seems to be dry add more fluids. Bake about 2 hours (the time depends on the chicken size) until golden brown.

    1. Robert Hahl

      New England Fish Chowder

      2 tablespoons oil
      4 medium onions, one finely diced, the others thinly sliced
      2 or 3 large potatoes, pealed and diced large (russet potatoes are very good in this)
      2 small bottles of clam juice
      1 or 2 cans of chopped clams
      4 tablespoons butter
      4 cups of milk or half-and-half
      2 or 3 pounds of haddock, fresh or frozen
      2 cups parsley, stemed and chopped
      lots of ground black pepper
      salt to taste

      Saute the diced onions in oil for 10 minutes. Add all the clam juice from the bottles and cans, the sliced onions, potatoes, black pepper, and the minimum amount of water (or dry white wine) to boil vigorously for about 45 minutes, until the potatoes begin to break down. Lower the heat, add butter, half-and-half or milk, frozen fish, drained clams, and parsley. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, no bubbles.

      Even better than bottled clam juice is pot liquor from steamed mussels or clams, but the bottled stuff is fine. A good way to get intense flavor in any soup or sauce is to start with sauteed onions, then at the end keep adding salt and black pepper until it pops.

      1. chuck roast

        The famed Muriel won the local/regional chowder cook-off championship for decades. She was kinda like the Habs used to be to the Stanley Cup. She added chopped fresh dill. How much? You can never use enough!

      2. Joe Renter

        Nice Fish chowder recipe. When I was young man, I worked in a fish market/restaurant in Northern CA where we made both Manhattan and New England Clam chowder from scratch. Really enjoyed helping make and consuming it. We had a daily delivery of sourdough bread (sometimes it was still warm from the oven). That preceded when I worked at Pike Place Market at one of the fish markets, where we made Cioppino from scratch.
        If you ever get to Pike Place Market checkout Jack’s Fish Spot. Jack has been there now for about 40 years.

    2. NotThePilot

      Not only does that sound really good, but it’s interesting that’s the Serbian recipe.

      If you cut out the tomato, bell pepper, and chili, you pretty much have my family’s Greek roast chicken, even down to the smothered bed of rice. Usually we have olives on the side.

      The other ingredients strike me as more common in Hungarian food (not that I’ve had a lot), so it’s interesting the Serbian recipe is almost like a mix of the two.

      1. Mantid

        Rainy and cool here in the Pac. N.W. so, a great, simple onion soup to warm your bones.

        Any broth, veggie, meat, chicken.
        Fry up chopped onions ’till clear adding garlic at the last (don’t let garlic cook too long, it gets bitter)

        Combine the onions, garlic and any other spices to the broth and let it “become”, even just cooking on low for 10 minutes (the longer the better).

        Here’s the fun part:
        Cut thick slices (1 – 2″) of baguette that you have either left out all day to get hard or use fresh, then toast them crispy.
        While the bread is warm, place in a shallow bowl, sprinkle Gruyere or Parmigiano on the top of bread.
        Then slowly pour the onion broth around the bass of the bread, don’t over top the baguette – it will soak in from the sides but leave the top of the bread crunchy.

        Eat – Mangiamo, tutti et bonne appetite

        1. marcyincny

          Here in the Northeast, with rain (soon to be snow) driven by high winds, it’s Portuguese kale soup!

  6. Hepativore

    There is a lot of crossover between Hungarian and Serbian food as they share a border and many Balkan countries are influenced by the Mediterranean and the Middle East because of the reach of the Ottoman Empire and Central Europe in their cooking traditions as well.

    1. ambrit

      I’m not lost for words here.
      That the monetary cost of a public health necessity is the primary consideration is the tell that one is living in a Predatory State. The reporter’s question from the floor was direct and unambiguous; why cannot America acomplish what other countries can, and have accomplished? The Flak’s evasions did not blunt the point of the question. Those evasions highlight the Failed State nature of the American Public Health Establishment.
      Poor Psaki; condemned to reside in the Eighth Bolgia of the Eighth Circle of the Inferno, as told by Dante.

    2. Juanholio

      I’m surprised they haven’t made a few billion fixed tests, that always read as negative, and then sent them to everyone for free.

      After all, “The Economy™” would love it if everyone thought they just had a cold, instead of COVID, and carried on going to work.

      1. John

        Speaking of stacking the deck, I’m surprised we haven’t addressed the population imbalance with fake birth control pills, every 10th one is a blank. That, and condoms with laser drilled microscopic holes.

    3. curlydan

      Psaki: “Should we just send one to every American?” —uh, YEAH!!! That’s what _public_ health agencies do! If you can send me a $1,400 check, you can send me a $25 test kit that probably costs $3 to produce and $2 to mail.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Even in the middle of a world-wide pandemic you can’t have public health measures but things like testing kits have to do done in a way so that some corporations gets a slice of the pie and there is an extra layer of corporate/governmental bureaucracy. Looks like Calvin Coolidge nailed it a century ago when he said that ‘The Business of America is Business!’

      1. Objective Ace

        I don’t even think any corporations are getting a slice of the pie. The government rather then insurance companies could simply pay test makers the “market” price (which I believe is what we are doing for vaccines).

        Its strictly an extra layer of bureaucracy.. I guess it saves the government money so there’s more they can give to the 1 percent

    5. Nikkikat

      Thanks for the clip. Holy Cow these people are dense! Hence the obvious defensive attitude.
      Tells me she is aware of how stupid she sounds. Tip of the hat to that reporter. Didn’t think any of these dolts could actually use critical thinking skills. I have been buying and using these test since July. I have spent $360.00 dollars. I would hate to deal with my insurance company. Not a chance I would bother. Too much stress. These people refuse to pay for my flu shot every year. I have to have Walgreens resubmit and then they pay. Every year they hope I will pay it myself. I avoid my insurance and usually tell doctors office that I do not have insurance. I just pay it myself. The $8000.00 deductible is such a joke.

    6. The Rev Kev

      Just for a bit of context-

      ‘Push the Senate Parliamentarian left!
      If distributing rapid tests to every household in America would cost $3 billion, that’s the equivalent of 10 days of us in Afghanistan’


      So if the US had been able to get out of Afghanistan 10 days earlier, there would have been money to pay for these testing kits. I’ll drop this other tweet-

      ‘John Arnold
      “When COVID hit, lawmakers worried people might avoid testing for fear of the cost. So they passed bills that required insurers to pay for COVID tests without copays or cost sharing for the patient.”
      Predictable outcome: $56,000 ER bill for 2 covid tests.’

      And the linked article says that you could have purchased a Tesla for the same money.


    7. outside observer

      Psaki saying “How much does that cost, and what happens after that?”
      Apparently for dems public health is a social welfare program, deserving of the same ‘How you gonna pay for that’ treatment. Nevermind the billions thrown at Merck and Pfizer – that’s different of course.
      Of course you should send free rapid tests to everyone – ideally enough supply to test a couple times a week if you’re in contact with other people. And while you’re at it direct some funds to the wonderful USPS that you’re trying to drown in the bathtub to help with that endeavor. Could we please fly in some expert consultants from Japan, Bangladesh, India, China (just to pick out a few based on their worldometer graphs) to help out our ‘public health’ officials, as they seem to be in need of some practical know-how?

  7. Soredemos

    Anyone else been keeping up with Jimmy Dore? He’d already partially lost the plot on covid (he kept doing things like having Max Blumenthal on to repeat the “95% of people had comorbidites, so covid didn’t really kill them” lie), but now he’s completely lost the plot. He staked out early his position that Omicron wasn’t a big deal and that the media was overhyping it. Just yesterday he was ranting against lockdowns. He’s backing himself into a corner, and I’m not sure he’ll ever admit he was wrong.

    1. Nikkikat

      I have listened to him for years. Lately I have also puzzled at what is happening there. Not sure why he is going on about this. I think it may have started with the mandate. I agree with him there. I am vaccinated and I have appt. for booster. The mandate is outrageous. This is a non sterilizing vaccine. Mandating people get this vaccine is ridiculous. Mandate mask! I am fine with mask mandates. No one should be forced to get this vaccine for a whole lot of reasons and I think people should make that personal choice on their own. While I don’t agree with jimmy on this issue or on some of his Rittenhouse statements. He is still one of the best podcast. I do think that his take isn’t entirely wrong. This country has people with a lot of health problems because we have extremely poor health system. Big Pharma is insidious and evil. I decided to weigh the risk and believe I made the right choice for me. Clearly we would not have lost the number of people we lost if this were a healthier country.

    2. YankeeFrank

      I saw that segment. I didn’t hear any ranting, just much elucidation on the issues surrounding lockdowns: they have done little to nothing to stop the spread of the virus wherever they’ve been implemented and more importantly, they have had a broad set of devastating effects on humanity, both in the poorer and “richer” nations. Blumenthal has a huge piece documenting lots of the damage lockdowns have done including increasing poverty significantly as well as hunger, starvation and death, intense isolation and mental health issues, a huge spike in drug overdoses and many deaths due to delayed routine and acute medical care, as well as many of the supply chain and inflation issues we are experiencing. And that’s just what I can recall at the moment. None of this is being reported in the MSM while many nations are imposing lockdowns again and others are considering them.

      For my part, on top of the issues mentioned above, I don’t think the precedent of government or anyone dictating whether we leave our houses, work, etc. is healthy for democracy and civil rights. The authoritarian nature of that asserted power is draconian and disrespectful of human autonomy and dignity and led directly to govt mandating that we all take experimental vaccines that are not safe for many, causing deaths as well as vascular and neurological diseases.

      None of the above is opinion. John Campbell has even interviewed a young healthy man who was diagnosed with pericarditis shortly after taking the jab. Hospitals around the country are seeing young people, even children under the age of 10, presenting with pericarditis and myocarditis which is something they never see.

      And in a new development, the pfizer trial results they tried to hide for 55 years were forced to be released by a judge and even the preliminary data we’ve gotten so far shows there were over 1200 deaths during the trial out of 42,000 adverse events. Any other vaccine would’ve been pulled immediately. Our public health system is authoritarian, corrupt and deadly. Giving more power over our lives to those who are clearly corrupt and incompetent is not something we should permit.

        1. Gareth

          The source would be Pfizer’s Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Records Reports. Table 1 on page 7 contains the total number of reported fatalities among trial participants, 1223. The tables that follow contain the types of adverse events and fatalities for each type are listed in those tables. It is easier to use Ctrl-F and search for “fatal.” The usual suspects like anaphylaxis are present in smaller numbers. Heart troubles and vaccine enhanced disease are present in larger numbers. Curiously, the number of doses distributed was redacted as a trade secret, which makes it difficult to make determinations about risk. I don’t see why Pfizer and the FDA felt they had to redact that figure.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I saw that segment. I didn’t hear any ranting, just much elucidation on the issues surrounding lockdowns: they have done little to nothing to stop the spread of the virus wherever they’ve been implemented

        Incorrect, as I have explained repeatedly in the past year.

        Victoria, Australia’s lockdown in 2020 was an unambiguous success that took us from the precipice of an uncontrolled outbreak to zero cases, zero covid, and unparalleled freedoms without everyone having to worry about being infected and transmitting to everyone else, and about as close to normal life as any place is going to get for as long as Covid is around. But it was not just the lockdown. By itself, the lockdown would be insufficient for this purpose. A mask mandate was also enacted. Masks remain the only known tools that consistently and effectively stop infection and transmission at population scale. It was only when this mandate was implemented alongside the lockdown (a few weeks after the lockdown began) that case numbers started to dwindle.

        Covid came back to Australia in 2021 through the wilful self-sabotage of the NSW government and arrived in Victoria shortly thereafter. There was a snap lockdown in early June (similar to a couple of other snap lockdowns we had throughout the year – 1-2 weeks each) that worked. Masking guidance was not updated despite the fact that community masking standards were and are desperately inadequate for managing the Delta (and now Omicron) variant. Then cases came back and it became apparent that the plan in the most populous states, NSW and Victoria, was to lockdown not to get rid of the virus but to buy time to get everyone vaccinated without overwhelming the hospital system. Payment support that worked in 2020 was abandoned. – this is vitally important and necessary for any lockdown to be meaningfully effective.

        It may have worked to stop the hospital system from being overwhelmed (although many medics in NSW from what I read seemed to be feeling pretty damn overwhelmed). But a lockdown to stall for time is not the same as a lockdown – enacted with other effective measures – to stop the spread, to bring cases down to zero. Not all lockdowns are created equal. There are degrees of difference and attendant complexities and nuances which you, and presumably Dore and Son of Syd are ignoring, or simply ignorant of.

        I have made the point repeatedly – a strong, successful, planned-to-succeed lockdown – combined with lockouts and mask mandates – has to be a necessary part of any nation’s plan to meaningfully deal with Covid. This has been proven. It is the only set of circumstances which have been proven successful in managing Covid to date. (If there was another, I would strongly take it into consideration. Let’s hear it.) The success of these strategies precludes the needs for masks and lockdowns in jurisdictions where they are successfully applied for the future so long as those same jurisdictions are successful at keeping the pathogen out, which will of course made easier when more places take elimination strategy seriously. But if If it isn’t implemented, then it guarantees spotty water-treading lockdowns all over the world for the foreseeable future of the sort whose “success” can only be extremely narrowly defined.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Covid came back to Australia in 2021 through the wilful self-sabotage of the NSW government and arrived in Victoria shortly thereafter.

          So NSW made the choice for Victoria, Prisoner’s Dilemma-style. Rather like what the US/UK have done for the world.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It also made the choice for New Zealand. Not sure if you heard the news or not but the NSW Premier at the time – Gladys Berejiklian – is being pushed by Scotty from Marketing and his entire government to go into Federal Parliament in the election in a few months time. If she is not in a prison cell for corruption that is-



          2. Basil Pesto

            That is my belief based on the facts of the June-August period this year, but frankly I am not convinced in the long term that Victoria wouldn’t have gone for “Let ‘Er Rip” eventually all by itself. They didn’t really seem serious about reducing R0 below 1, as evinced by their paltry mask/respirator and airborne transmission non-guidance.

          3. bwilli123

            The federal conservative govt. made the quite deliberate choice not to, in any way facilitate dedicated quarantine. In fact to oppose, or at a minimum frustrate it. All this for an island nation.
            Their attitude was “learn to live with it, herd immunity” etc, from the earliest days. All states (except for their political allies in New South Wales) made genuine and (temporarily successful) efforts to overcome this, but they were always pushing shite uphill without proper quarantine.
            In the end it was NSW through their lackadaisical practices that allowed Delta to flourish and then spread to Victoria. The Covid free remainder of the country is now tied to a federal plan to open up to “normality,” so that Australia can go back to the business of importing foreign students and tourists, and 3rd world agricultural labor from the Pacific to keep the economy from collapsing.

            1. The Rev Kev

              And nearly 1200 people have died needlessly in the few months since NSW let coronavirus run free. If you want high-paying tourists & international students plus cheap labour for a 2019 style economy, it is the cost of doing business.

          4. PlutoniumKun

            The situation is very similar in Ireland. The decision of the UK government to let Delta rip made it impossible in Ireland to keep it out. There is more than one reason why Ireland managed to have one of the highest vax rates in the world along with a strong mask mandate but still had one of the highest infection rates, but a primary one is spillage from Britain via Northern Ireland. It was clear as day for months looking at the geographical spread, with nearly all the hotspots in border areas.

  8. Noone from Nowheresville

    2 new videos from Random Button Pusher. I linked to his videos of Birds in Art last year.

    Exhibits originally presented at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI.

    First One is the 2021 Birds in Art exhibit (12:47) just under 13 minutes


    Second One is Birding by the Book exhibit (3:17) just over 3 minutes

    Drawn from the Woodson Art Museum’s permanent collection, Birding by the Book comprises illustrated bound volumes along with framed, hand-colored engravings by early explorers, artists, and naturalists, including Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, and John and Elizabeth Gould.


    Also here’s the Woodson YouTube channel. They post 1-2 minute videos artists talks re: their Birds in Art pieces.


  9. The Rev Kev

    God, I hate our media in Oz. We have a newspaper called “The Australian” which is neocon/neoliberal in outlook so is equivalent to your New York Times or Washington Post. So they just had a story out called – wait for it – “I caught Covid and it was no big deal.” This intrepid reporter caught it in New York and was pleased to say ‘After eight months in the US, a country supposedly ravaged by the virus according to the mainstream media, it has been shocking to me how few people seem to know someone who has died from or with Covid-19.’


    And his credentials are what you would expect for this Washington correspondent-


    1. Anthony Stegman

      I had a similar conversation with a co-worker earlier this year – neither of us knew anyone who knew anyone who knew anyone who had contracted COVID.

      1. Yves Smith

        When I exclude people I know through the blog, I know three people who got Covid and a probable fourth. And one of the three has a son in law who got it and she did not get it from him.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        In the middle of nowhere here. I can list off 4 people since Thanksgiving – one had to remain in hospital, the others got the IV drugs then sent home. Luckily none of them traveled or gathered anywhere for the holiday. They contracted it the Monday before from relative who was vaccinated and thought they had a tiny cold. They were told there were 30 new cases in the county the same day their results came back.

        Another vaccinated person in early fall 2021 who thinks they might have also had in late February 2020. The doctor didn’t test back then because it was so new and tests weren’t available yet.

        Neighbors down the road early fall 2020. Two people I know from the cities last Christmas season. Another two ruralites in January 2021. One hospitalized and came close to dying, the other one sent home because no beds in the hospital and they had a milder case. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. If I asked around, I’m certain there would be more.

      3. Ed Miller

        Not knowing anyone who contracted COVID?

        Contrary example even though our extended family is very cautious. My brother’s wife caught it just be Christmas 2020, then my brother got it. Wife was hospitalized. Both of them needed months to recover. My niece and her boyfriend got it but since they are young they recovered more quickly. They are all heavy people

        My wife’s sister got COVID. She is a healthy person. Their mother died with COVID from a last minute hospital trip the week before she passed on (she was 94). She got it at the hospital.

      4. PlutoniumKun

        According to the medics in my family, it is largely spreading in distinct ‘knots’ through families and social/work circles. Some areas have been almost entirely untouched, others have had multiple cases, often entire extended families, especially in deprived areas. Quite a few of my doctor nieces colleagues at that time tested positive without symptoms.

        In the first wave, a friend (mid 50’s, very fit and healthy) caught it while nursing his elderly parents. His parents both died, he is still very ill from Long Covid and hasn’t been able to return to work for over a year now. His mother had Epstein-Barr for decades and he says his symptoms are remarkably similar to hers.

        A colleague (late 30’s, very fit triathlete but with a congenital heart issue) caught it and described it as the most terrifying experience of her life. She was very sick for weeks but she is fully recovered now.

        Another colleague had to look after both his wife (who has an autoimmune condition) and his daughter, a nurse. Both were very sick for weeks, but he didn’t catch it.

        A retired couple I know were in California visiting family when it struck – they decided to rent a little house in the boonies rather than risk a flight home. They are both in high risk categories, but they both caught it and described it as like a bad flu, no big deal.

        The Filipino caretaker in my building has lost several relatives back home to covid, he says its been devestating. He says there have been a lot of sudden deaths from heart issues which locals assume are covid related, but are not being counted as covid deaths. He caught it here and had to take a few weeks off.

        With Delta, two friends (early 30’s) fell sick around the time of the second vax in August. One tested positive and was ill for a week – she described it as a bad flu. The second tested negative, but has been sick ever since with many long covid symptoms. Both were very careful, but said quite a few of their colleagues and friends were sick in that period. Interestingly, they both had indirect contact with someone with Covid before they both fell sick. They met that person in the outdoors while walking and hugged and petted that persons dog. Could the dog have been responsible? Impossible to prove.

        A colleague caught it 3 weeks ago – she said it was horrible, but didn’t last too long. She thinks she got it off her teenaged daughters, she said many have had ‘colds’. There was also an outbreak on one floor of my office among the more tightly packed office staff (they are supposed to be working from home, but some prefer the office).

        A friend was hosting three teenagers from a local boarding school over a weekend last month, and her two young daughters were at home. There was an outbreak in the local junior school. The two girls tested positive but had no symptoms, 2 of the 3 teenagers had mild symptoms and tested positive. Nobody else in the house, including my friend, tested positive. My friend has had several close encounters with people with covid without testing postitive and jokes that she is virus proof.

        I was talking this weekend to a friend in her mid 20’s who works for a big nasty social media company – she said lots of her friends at work have had mild symptoms, but few bother getting tested. They are under lots of pressure to go to the office. She had probable covid with mild symptoms in August.

      5. Kurtismayfield

        Great uncle (does of COVID)
        Friend (Long COVID, has breathing issues)
        Cousin (entire family had it, they are ok)
        Brother on Law (He isolated, so nothing)
        Various coworkers.
        Friend who works on health care (nothing long term)

        All of these people except my Great Uncle work in very public jobs.

      6. Robert Hahl

        I know six people who got Covid-19, all vaxxed, never hospitalized but two got very sick. I know one who died in July 2020. He was my oral surgeon, who was already in the hospital when I called for an appointment to have a tooth pulled. Lucky I didn’t call a few weeks earlier.

      7. LilD

        Good for you.
        My wife and I both had it early. She went to a superspreader event March 8, 2020 and developed symptoms on lockdown day.
        I had minimal issues and no noticeable long term effects, probably caught from her and less dosage.
        She, on the other hand, had a difficult time and lots of miscellaneous symptoms still occasionally cropping up.

        Our housekeeper lost two uncles, both poor, no comorbidities.
        We are in a relatively low incident community but stuff happens.

      8. Pat

        Four people in the small community I work in got it. Two battled it for months, one of them hospitalized, one was very ill but it only lasted a few weeks, the final person short illness, hospitalization and death. He was elderly and had been battling other problems though.
        My super had it, only a mild case. Lovely super and his wife in a building where I cat sit both died from it.
        Two former co-workers died from it.

        I believe that a mild but lingering respiratory illness I had just as NC started talking about it but before everything officially hit could have been a mild case of Covid, but no proof.

  10. Morgana

    In our circle of hundreds of friends, and their friends, in Rotary, no one has died from Covid. A couple died with Covid, but they were in nursing home and were over 90 and had other health problems.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sure that it wasn’t Covid that gave them the final push off the edge? Without Covid, it may have been that they might still be around.

  11. juneau

    I had it and I know a few dozen people who had Covid, including my brother in PA. I personally know 2 people who died from Covid (colleagues) I think healthcare workers see a lot more Covid among colleagues and certainly among patients. Hearing that many people who have never seen it, I can now understand why some doubt its existence.

  12. Tom Stone

    Different jobs have different risk factors.
    PMC and work from home, very low risk.
    Work in healthcare, high to very high risk.
    And so on…
    So it’s not surprising that some people have not encountered anyone who has contracted Covid,let alone died from it.

  13. jimmy cc

    that is crazy how many are untouched by the virus.

    i have had 2 clients die from it, both were over 70. Two people my age, early 50s, friends from HS were hospitalized from it.

    my Daughter and i have both had it, both relatively mild.

    pandemics are hit and miss.

  14. lance ringquist

    i had it, just recovering now. got it from a friend. were thought we were careful. spread to his dad and brother. my youngest son had it. its sneaky, even for the masked up and vaccinated.

    it was a tough couple of weeks. today i am very tired and weak, but i lived. so far my wife has been spared.

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