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Patient readers, I had to get up and walk around after I read that Biden quote. More shortly. –lambert
By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Bird Song of the Day
House Sparrow, Stewart Park, Tompkins, New York, United States. “Calls from a group going to roost in a cedar next to the boathouse.”
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick
“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap
“President Joe Biden: The 2022 60 Minutes Interview” [CBS News]. I expressed my amazement a few times that all Biden had to un on was Ukraine and Covid. It looks like that’s what he’ll do:
Scott Pelley: Mr. President, first Detroit Auto Show in three years. Is the pandemic over?
President Joe Biden: . We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s– but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.
The pandemic is not over. Case numbers are at a plateau and wildly understated. Deaths, though not as understated, are also at at a plateau. Community transmission is high in 83.33% of the country. And if one variant has good immune escape, we’re in for a bad winter. Biden is flat out lying, openly. Biden is lying worse than Bush did with “Mission Accomplished“:
For all his buffoonery, “The Former Guy” at least gave as Operation Warp Speed. What has Biden given us but 500,000 more deaths, the destruction of public health, the destruction of non-pharmaceutical measures like masking, and a complete lack of prepartion for the next respiratory pandemic, which will surely come? [pounds head on desk].
And, oh yeah, people aren’t wearing masks because propaganda works and the Biden Administration worked vigorously to discredit them. And as for “Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape,” I guess that makes the 4 million people out of work from Long Covid nobodies. Come to think of it, that’s pretty accurate. All I can say is it would be a damn shame if Queen Elizabeth’s funeral was a superspreading even for all the world’s leaders. OK, I’m stopping here before I stroke out. Commentary:
This is going to get a lot of people sick, a lot more people disabled, and a lot more people killed. Now no one will get boosted or get kids vaccinated.
— Violet Blue® (@violetblue) September 19, 2022
Or wear masks, or fight for ventilation, etc. (Blue is, well, very much from San Francisco. But she writes an excellent weekly wrap-up on Covid.) Unless there’s, well, resistance:
There's a protest TODAY at the White House demanding Long Covid & ME/CFS action.
— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 19, 2022
What staffer let this happen?
bleak shit right here https://t.co/MUFIkLt908
— ignacio martinez (@NacioMartinez) September 14, 2022
“Team Biden’s Mysterious U.N. ‘Reform’ Push” [National Review]. “When world leaders converge on Manhattan next week for the U.N. General Assembly’s annual high-level week — filled with speeches from heads of state and a circus of diplomatic side events — one of the Biden administration’s top priorities will be to fundamentally reshape the way in which key U.N. institutions work. Top officials say that their aim is to modernize U.N. institutions so that Russia and like-minded dictatorships cannot shield themselves from accountability.” • Idea: Let’s ask China and India (and Indonesia) what they think.
* * *
“NBC News poll shows where the midterm ‘persuadables’ live: These voters could decide the midterms” [NBC]. “There are persuadable voters everywhere, but the NBC News poll has consistently shown they are most heavily based in outer suburb counties. Those 1,100 counties hold a plurality of the nation’s up-for-grabs electorate…. This year the NBC News poll finds that 43% of all persuadable voters live in those outer suburbs, far more than other areas. Together the nation’s big city urban core counties and the near-in urban ring counties hold about the same number of persuadable voters. Rural counties only hold about 12% of the nation’s persuadables. And that outer suburb base for persuadable voters is not new. Going back to 2010, those outer ring suburb counties have held 42% or 43% of the persuadable vote. In short, the cities belong to the Democrats and rural America belongs to the Republicans, but the space between is where you are most likely to find voters who are weighing their alternatives.” • AZ-01 (Phoenix), CO-08 (Denver), MI-07 (Lansing), NC-13 (Raleigh), MN-02 (Minneapolis-St Paul).
PA: “In private memo, Fetterman confronts a new obstacle: Getting outspent” [Politico]. “John Fetterman continues to lead Mehmet Oz in the polls, but the Pennsylvania Democrat’s Senate campaign is privately sounding the alarm that things could change if he continues getting outspent on TV. In an internal memo on Tuesday to big-dollar donors, Fetterman campaign manager Brendan McPhillips warned that Oz and his Republican allies are together investing more in television ads than Fetterman and Democratic super PACs that support him. ‘I am writing with a wake-up call,’ said McPhillips in the message, which was obtained first by POLITICO. ‘In the last three weeks alone, Republicans have spent nearly $12 million dollars — significantly outspending us and out-communicating on the airwaves. We cannot allow this to continue unabated.'” • Commentary:
PSA: Please know that your elderly folks in PA who watch daytime TV are being utterly wall-to-walled with absolutely cuckoo anti-@JohnFetterman ads that make him out to be a terrorist who smokes crack with people he just broke out of jails
— Philebrity (@philebrity) September 14, 2022
“Biden says he’s running. Democrats still have their doubts” [The Hill]. President Biden is telling everyone he plans to run for a second term, but with about 50 days to the midterms, most Democrats aren’t sure he will follow through on that plan. Cedric Richmond, the former Democratic lawmaker and Biden White House official, said definitively this week that it’s on when it comes to Biden and 2024. ‘He’s running and we’re building an infrastructure for him to run and win,’ Richmond told NBC. ‘Right now, it’s all an early investment in 2024 while we’re helping 2022.'” • Ukraine and Covid. It’s a mortal lock.
“Is Ron DeSantis the Future of the Republican Party?” [New York Times]. “Early in the Tallahassee transition, DeSantis burrowed into some essential reading material: a binder enumerating the powers of the office. ‘He was soaking that up,’ Scott Parkinson, the transition’s deputy executive director, told me. DeSantis’s aim, he has said, was to understand all the ‘pressure points’ within the system: what required legislative cooperation, what he could do unilaterally, which appointments needed which approvals.” • I wonder if Trump did that; I doubt it. If he had, he would have been “The Smart Trump.”
“Scoop: Team Trump sees special master as deep FBI skeptic” [Axios]. “Raymond Dearie’s appointment as special master to review records the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago was a positive development for former President Trump, whose lawyers recommended him. But their call for the low-profile New York judge was befuddling given Dearie has no apparent connection or loyalty to Trump. Two sources with direct knowledge of the closely held deliberations now tell Axios what Trump’s legal team was thinking: Lawyers and advisers to the former president believe Dearie’s role on the secretive court that approved controversial warrants used to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2016 and 2017 made Dearie a deep skeptic of the FBI.”
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
The Pied Piper strategy is a two-flavored self-licking ice cream cone:
Dem Party elites learned a big lesson from 2016 that's now a formula: help fascists win GOP primaries, because either that helps unpopular Dems win in the general; or if the fascist pulls a November upset, the DNC gets rewarded with truckloads of frightened donor cash. Win-win. pic.twitter.com/JoWdkJZakz
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) September 14, 2022
And defeat can taste just as sweet as victory, ka-ching!
“How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step” [New York Times]. • The endless spectacle of PMC liberals, especially in the NGOs, never taking responsibility for anything. My only question is “Why now?” Turns out that codifying Roe, and then putting Obergefell in reconciliation, but not Roe, isn’t making the Dems internal polling among women pop the way they thought it would?
“The story of the praying Bremerton coach keeps getting more surreal” [Seattle Times]. “When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Bremerton assistant football coach Joseph Kennedy had the right to pray on the field, it wasn’t widely understood then that the court had also ordered the school district to give him his job back.” But Coach Kennedy has been too busy cashing in: “Instead, as the Bremerton Knights were prepping for the season in August, Kennedy was up in Alaska, meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence and evangelist Franklin Graham. On the eve of the first game, which the Knights won, Kennedy was in Milwaukee being presented with an engraved .22-caliber rifle at an American Legion convention. The weekend of the second game, which the Knights also won, Kennedy appeared with former President Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. He saw Trump get a religious award from a group called the American Cornerstone Institute. Coming up this month, Kennedy’s scheduled to give a talk as part of a lectureship series at a Christian university in Arkansas. ‘Place a PR/Publicity Request,’ invites his personal website, where he’s known as Coach Joe. It’s an increasingly surreal situation for the Bremerton schools. They were ordered to ‘reinstate Coach Kennedy to a football coaching position,’ according to court documents. But the now-famous coach is out on the conservative celebrity circuit, continuing to tell a story about ‘the prayer that got me fired’ — even though Bremerton never actually fired him.'” • Which is what they should have done.
“The end of the debate? Republicans draw the curtain on political theater” [MSN]. “he vast collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington contain two brown wooden chairs. Their backs have labels explaining that they were used by John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon in “the first face-to-face discussion between presidential candidates” at the CBS television studio in Chicago in 1960…. In short, the first televised presidential debate. And where America led, the rest of the world followed, copying the model of gladiatorial political combat as the ultimate format to help voters make up their minds…. But heading into the US midterm elections, the debate appears to be in decline, a casualty of fragmented digital media, a deeply polarised political culture and a democracy losing its sense of cohesion…. It is a sorry state of affairs for a time-honored tradition.” • The idea that today’s debates have anything to do with tradition is ludicrous. They’re scripted spectacles where the questions are often known in advance. They give the impression that the press somehow represents the people, when in fact the press is there to display its hegemonic power. The sets look like game shows for a reason. If the current debate format is destroyed, I will be happy. Give the entire concept back to the League of Women Voters, and let’s have some sobriety.
Realignment and Legitimacy
“COVID is still killing hundreds a day, even as society begins to move on” [Los Angeles Times]. What does “society” “begins to move on” even mean? More: “After a death, doctors usually hash out whether it was avoidable. Now it’s happening hundreds of times a day, ‘and there’s no interest in doing a postmortem of the problem,’ said [Eric] Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla. Instead, the impulse is often to wave it away. When someone loses a loved one to COVID, ‘often the first thing that’s asked of you is either, ‘Were they vaccinated?’ or ‘Did they have a preexisting condition?” said Urquiza of Marked by COVID. ‘I think people are asking that because they want to reaffirm their own sense of safety. ‘Oh, Kristin’s dad died because he had x, y or z — I don’t.” Morales said that people tend to assume that cancer alone took his mother. When he told a friend that she ultimately died after getting COVID, the friend was surprised. ‘Really? COVID? How did that happen?’’ the friend asked Morales. ‘People aren’t dying of COVID anymore.” • Yes, they are. Story after story after story.
If you report on cult-like rallies and post photos of Trump's audience in a stage-managed production, while the back 1/3 of a small arena (capacity <10K) is empty, you should mention that, too. Otherwise, you further the illusion of massive support. https://t.co/gTWaOQo7PF
— Andrea Pitzer (@andreapitzer) September 18, 2022
Exactly as with protests; wide angle shots, or shots from a height, are best. Never trust a close-up shot! They’re for dramatic effect, not reporting.
“Blaming the Deep State” [Democracy]. Readers know I oppose the “Deep State,” taking the Madisonian view that the State as a flexnet or ensemble of competing factions (“working toward” capital, but competing nonetheless). Nevertheless, I’m going to skip right to the end, where we find the author bio: “TAMARA COFMAN WITTES is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.” Dudes, come on. It’s not funny anymore.
What would it take for a single government official, or even non-governmental public health leader, to say the US is in crisis, has lost a quarter century of gains in life expectancy, and is not on track to recover.
— Justin Feldman (@jfeldman_epi) September 19, 2022
I don’t know. I wish I did. Across the political spectrum, this is a non-issue. (Of course, if you view the elites as eugenicist, everything falls into place: It’s not an issue for either party because both parties approve of the policy outcome.)
• ”St. Louis research fuels COVID-19 nasal vaccine rollout in India” [St Louis Post-Dispatch]. Not, you will notice, in the United States. “The science behind India’s new nasal vaccine for COVID-19 has its roots in St. Louis. India-based drug company Bharat Biotech announced Tuesday that its nasal vaccine had received emergency approval. The vaccine technology was licensed from Washington University. Dr. Michael Diamond, a Washington University professor and viral immunologist, said he began working on the vaccine in the spring of 2020 with fellow Washington University professor Dr. David Curiel. The world’s scientific community was just mobilizing on its massive, urgent search for methods to treat and prevent the new coronavirus. Diamond and Curiel knew many other researchers were racing to develop vaccines, but they didn’t see anyone else pursuing oral or nasal vaccines…. The nasal vaccine’s approval comes as the U.S. rolls out doses of the updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which have been modified to specifically target the most recent variants of the virus. And a similar update for the nasal vaccines may already be on the way. ‘We’ve already done it,’ Diamond said. ‘We’re testing them now.'” • Good for Bharat, which has not, however, released its data.
• ”COVID-19 Booster Nasal Vaccine Study for Adults Who Have NOT Had COVID-19 Infection” [Cincinnati Childrens]. “Cincinnati Children’s is conducting a research study, sometimes known as a clinical trial or clinical study, to learn about vaccine that may offer protection from COVID-19…. [Participants Have not had a COVID-19 infection and have had 2 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.” • Two years in….
• Maskstravaganza: Gerson stans:
Hooray for the boost but mostly for the Gerson 3230! It’s my favorite N95 by far and my everyday wear. It’s crazy breathable.
I ever see a Gerson 3230 being worn in the wild, a selfie will happen. Fair warning to the rest of the Gerson fam.
— Rebecca Gustafson (@DARTgirl) September 16, 2022
A duckbill. Anybody ou there use Gersons? I love my 3M Aura, but any increase in breathability would be a plus. I can just hear the slogans: “Breathable, but not gappy!” (leaving the visuals to your imagination). Why has this never been done? We used to be able to do advertising in this country:
I feel like I’m living in this era, but for COVID instead of smoking pic.twitter.com/4w7n1UUFf8
— Leta McCollough Seletzky, JD (@LaSeletzky) September 19, 2022
• Maskstravaganza: Good idea, like Amtrak’s Quiet Cars:
New York Theatres may introduce mask only performances for the many who don't want to get Covid from paying hard earned money to see a performance:https://t.co/eTfkyV9yoY
— Chris Turnbull (@EnemyInAState) September 17, 2022
I take this as a sign that the antimask
death cult ridiculousness has reached some sort of limit. At least in New York (which, granted, had a terrible early experience and adopted collective discipline in response), there is actually a market for spaces where lack of infectiousness is a priority. Now put CO2 meters everywhere, like the Japanese do. So people can “make their own choices.”
166 people died of COVID in Australia on Thursday. Today someone loudly proclaimed official policy in this health district is that Emergency staff can downgrade to surgical masks, which was met w/cheers.
It's a good thing we don't assert that medicine is evidence based cause
— Feral Lady Doctor Says | ☭ | تقول الطبيبة | 🇮🇶 (@LadyDoctorSays) September 17, 2022
Me leading a retreat in October: "we'll be using air purifiers and masks are asked to be worn in all public areas. Everyone will have a single room so you have a mask free space indoors."
Immediate response: "I won't come if masks are required."
My sister in Christ, I don't care
— Josephine Robertson (@revjorobertson) September 15, 2022
• I hate to think like this, but somebody else besides me sees the demand for smiles as a power trip:
Jokes aside this entire healthcare unmasking thing isn't about patients at all, it's about how narcissists no longer get that feeling of power/validation when they crack a big bullshit smile and the patient smiles back and becomes putty in their hands. They miss that feeling
— mex1pepsi (@james1chas3) September 18, 2022
• “To boost or not to boost” [Eric Topol, Ground Truths]. “The reluctance for Americans to get a booster shot has been striking. The United States currently ranks 73rd among countries for its uptake of boosters at 33% of its population. All peer, rich countries around the world are at least double that rate. Countries ranking above the US now include Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Iran, Honduras, and Azerbaijan. Seemingly, you’d have to work very hard to show up this poorly as the country that first validated the vaccines, manufactures them, and has had such a surfeit supply that it has >50 million shots it can’t get anyone to take. Nonetheless, it has maintained optimism and purchased 171 million new Omicron BA.5 variant bivalent shots. There are many reasons for this abject failure—a veritable booster botch—stemming back to the beginning of the US booster campaign plan in August 2021, with mass public confusion induced by a different plan announced every few days and infighting between the different governmental agencies (CDC, FDA, NIH, WH) as to the appropriate strategy. This was compounded by the very late endorsement that boosters are necessary for all adults that did not come until the end of November, even though the data from Israel and other countries were clearcut many months prior to that juncture. Delays, confusion, and poor messaging got boosters off on the wrong footing. All the anti-science, anti-vax, mis- and disinformation hasn’t helped at all, and has never been effectively countered.”
• Seatbelts, too:
I hate explanations that are like, 'People won't accept new behavioral norms in the name of public health because of centuries-old psychocultural commitments'. Bro, these same people stopped smoking in restaurants in the 90s.
— Justin Feldman (@jfeldman_epi) September 18, 2022
Of course, in the 90s we weren’t a failed state.
• “Natural immunity”:
An immune system is like a crumple zone on a car, it can stop you dying, but you don’t smash randomly into every car you see. It’s a last line of defence, after speed limits, driver training, road rules etc. ‘Natural’ healthers think it makes the car stronger with every crash. pic.twitter.com/5BdA0wWlGY
— Henry Madison. 50,814 cases. 327 dead. (@RageSheen) September 17, 2022
Speed limits take away your freedom.
Case count for the United States:
Cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the nominal case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~69,000. Today, it’s 62,400 and 62,400 * 6 = a Biden line at 374,400. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.
Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.
• “Covid testing providers scale back despite worries of another winter surge” [NBC]. “Covid testing labs and at-home test manufacturers have been downsizing after government funding cuts and waning demand, despite concerns from health officials that the country could face another winter surge in infections…. Just how severe that wave will be will depend on whether the virus mutates to evade immunity from previous infections. But should the U.S. see a surge similar to last winter’s, Americans could find themselves in a similar testing bind, with at-home tests quickly selling out and people encountering long waits for laboratory PCR test results, public health officials said….. The number of reported Covid cases is currently a quarter of what it was at its peak last winter. But Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, estimates that , because so many are uncovered through at-home tests and aren’t reported to public health departments, or they aren’t being detected at all. He expects to see infections start to increase next month and continue to rise through the winter.” • 4% to 5%? I’m gonna need a bigger chart. On the bright side, it looks like Johns Hopkins is cutting down on reporting at exactly the right time!
Regional case count for four weeks:
What’s going on out there?
Wastewater data (CDC), September 13:
Lambert here: I added all the dots back in. The number of grey dots really concerns me. How can all the sites for international air travel center New York be grey (“no recent data”). And California’s pretty gappy, too.
For grins, September 11:
From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 10:
-2.4%. Good news.
NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.
NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 16:
I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.
Previous Rapid Riser data:
NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 16:
Sea of green!
NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.
Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 1:
Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), August 27 (Nowcast off):
Two highlights: BA.4.6 has assumed a slightly greater proportion (more in the NowCast model, which I refuse to use). Also, first appearance of BA.2.75. So where is it, you ask?
The above chart shows variants nationally. I have gone through the CDC regions and made a table. As you can see, BA.2.75 is prominent in Region 2 (New York and New Jersey), followed by Region 5 (Midwest), and Region 1 (Northeast). Hmm.
Table 1: CDC Regional BA.2.75 Data, Sorted by % Total
|CDC Region||% Total||States in Region|
|Region 2:||0.8%||New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands|
|Region 5:||0.7%||Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin|
|Region 1:||0.7%||Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont|
|Region 3:||0.4%||Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia|
|Region 4:||0.4%||Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee|
|Region 7:||0.3%||lowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska|
|Region 6:||0.0%||Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas|
|Region 8:||0.0%||Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming|
|Region 9:||0.0%||Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands….|
|Region 10:||0.0%||Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington|
Let’s see if BA.2.75 starts doubling.
BA.2.75.2 exhibits more extreme antibody escape than any variant we've seen so far. A short 🧵 pic.twitter.com/Fjqagn8At7
— Ben Murrell (@BenjMurrell) September 16, 2022
In 18 random blood donor samples in Stockholm, sampled just a couple of weeks ago, BA.2.75.2 was neutralised, on average, five-fold less potently than BA.5. These are recent samples in a city that has good vaccine coverage and likely relatively high prior infection rates.
— Ben Murrell (@BenjMurrell) September 16, 2022
Here's the latest variant picture for the recently-designated BA.2.75.2 lineage, nickname "Alcyoneus".
It has most commonly been reported from India, rising to ~25% frequency.
It recently showed some solid signs of growth in Singapore (7%) and possibly Australia (1.5%).
— Mike Honey (@Mike_Honey_) September 18, 2022
Death rate (Our World in Data):
Lambert here: It is interesting that the deaths per 100,000 curve — with its curious recent flattening — has more or less the same shape as the case curve, suggesting that a “Biden Curve” would have more or less the same shape as the case count curve, as opposed to the straight line I am drawing for the current level.
Total: 1,078,663 –
1,078,018 = 645 (645 * 365 = 235,425, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, thought they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line.
It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.
• “Hundreds of Americans Will Die From COVID Today” [The Atlantic]. And the deck: “Is this what normal now looks like?” • Yes, if the liberal Democrats have anything to do with it.
• Excess deaths, Asia vs.
the Imperial Heartland US and UK:
The report covers excess deaths from the start of the pandemic until 30 June 2022.
Covid deaths in Singapore and Australia per head of population have been broadly similar. pic.twitter.com/PK4KFVnn62
— Karen Cutter (@KarenCutter4) September 19, 2022
There are no official statistics of note today.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 15 at 1:37 PM EDT. Mr. Market having a sad. –>
Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)
Thanksgiving Pre-Game Festivities
I know it’s early. Nevertheless:
A crude joke about someone’s wife, followed by a slap and harsh words. For media elites, it’s the biggest Oscars scandal ever. But for many in this tightknit Boston area community, it’s just a typical Thanksgiving dinner.
— New York Times Pitchbot (@DougJBalloon) September 18, 2022
We could use more of these:
— Juan Gris (@artist_gris) September 17, 2022
A home away from home:
you gotta be kidding me dog pic.twitter.com/N58xq2pqw5
— todd bonzalez (@doinkpatrol) September 18, 2022
Our Famously Free Press
Love the typewriters:
Reporters working in the press area at Woodstock
— Panh Rithy (@RPanh) September 18, 2022
But today, half of ’em would be spooks… .
“Where Are Family Offices Investing Globally?” [Forbes]. “UBS’ Global Family Office Report 2022 surveyed 221 single-family offices worldwide, with average assets under management of $2.2 billion. Cumulatively, these family enterprises oversee wealth totaling $493 billion. The report showed that in 2021, 57% of an average family office portfolio was funneled into traditional asset classes: equities (32%), fixed income (15%), and cash (10%), while 43% was directed toward alternative asset classes, comprising private equity (21%), real estate (12%), hedge funds (4%), private debt (2%), gold/ precious metals, commodities, arts and antiques (1% each), and less than 1% for infrastructure. What UBS found, however, was a strategic shift in how family offices are channeling their wealth. A growing trend in private market investments is more evident than ever, specifically towards private equity—the only asset class that gained steady allocations year after year. Why? About 74% of the respondents who are likely to allocate more investments in this alternative asset over three to five years believe it will overtake public markets in the future. ”
I suppose a consumer boycott isn’t the best thing for the workers, but sheesh:
Starbucks announced the changes in a memo to store managers.
It will no longer pay workers to self-isolate. Instead they'll be forced to use sick time & vacation.
Starbucks will also roll out improved PTO, including “faster sick time accrual” – but exclude unionized workers. pic.twitter.com/uDKSU3lK8A
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) September 18, 2022
Is this even legal?
News of the Wired
I eat and drink items from the mini bar at hotels, then replace them with the same items bought at a local store so I don't have to pay mini bar prices.
— Fesshole 🧻 (@fesshole) September 18, 2022
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) 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. From Re Silc:
And a close-up:
Re Silc writes: “Mount Lenox, MA.”