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!
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.
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):
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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