I hope I’m overreacting. I’m far from a statistical expert but looking at the a few days of the 14 day rolling average of new COVID infections and coupling that with some anecdotal evidence along with a bit of knowledge and a strong suspicion makes me fearful of trouble ahead.
Americans don’t like to be told what to do. Americans love to gather and celebrate holidays. Because it fell on a Monday this year, Independence Day was an even larger than normal opportunity to gather. Many of us are suffering from a form of cabin fever having been kept from gatherings for over a year now. Coming into the holiday the COVID news looked promising which led to the “relaxation” of rules in most localities.
I have the word relaxation in quotes because in many cases it came with restrictions; mainly for the not fully vaccinated. My fear, which seems to be manifesting itself, was that the fully vaccinated part would be widely and “conveniently” ignored. If you look at the stats for fully vaccinated people in an area and then go into a store in that area the number of people sans masks simply are too high for a representative sample.
The latest detected (and that is a key word) mutation is the Delta Variant which to this point has proven to be more contagious and more severe. To date, there is strong real world evidence that the American vaccines are almost completely effective against it. (No vaccine is 100% effective.) However the unvaccinated are in more jeopardy than ever.
Here are the numbers for the last four non-Holiday weekdays: Tuesday July 6th 12,914 new cases for an increase of 14%; Wednesday July 7th 15,259 new cases for an increase of 35%; Thursday July 8th 16,208 new cases for an increase of 39% and Friday July 9th18,272 new cases for an increase of 52%. To put this in perspective remember that from April 21 to July 1 we were constantly showing percentage decreases.
If we go further into the available data we see that the increase is almost exclusively concentrated in regions where the vaccination rate is low. I feel that is much more positive correlation than coincidence. There is also a political correlation that is difficult to ignore. The 17 states with the lowest vaccination rates all voted for Trump in 2020.
You might wonder why am I concerned about what appears to be a red state problem? There are several reasons a few of which I’ll cover below. We literally all breathe the same air and this is an airborne disease. You would probably counter that argument with a statement that the vaccine has me covered. Although I am not a Christian I lead my life by the Christian principle of all God’s children which to me means that at our core we are all equal. (Note: a belief in God is not necessary to live by that principle.) From a “selfish” prospective the non-vaccinated are giving the virus a chance to mutate into a variation that the current vaccines are ineffective against which renders the already vaccinated vulnerable.
We were somewhat lucky coming up with such highly effective vaccines in such a relatively short period of time. To put it in baseball terms: back to back home runs do occur but they are rare. Can we get that lucky again and even if so how many will die in the process?
I began this article with the sentence, “I hope I’m overreacting.” That was a sincere statement; the problem is I don’t think I am. I don’t mind if history proves me to be wrong; I just don’t want to be dead right or worse yet have any of my loved ones suffer that fate!
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