The pandemic has changed course again. The Biden administration urgently needs to do the same.
Compared with two weeks ago, daily coronavirus infections in the United States have climbed 145 percent. The most contagious form of SARS-CoV-2 yet, the delta variant, accounts for the majority of new infections. Vaccinated people are still well-protected from becoming severely ill, but reports abound of breakthrough infections. Because the CDC has inexplicably stopped tracking mild infections among the vaccinated, however, we don’t know how frequently these occur. In addition, because those infected with the delta variant appear to have a viral load that’s 1,000 times higher than that of those infected with the original strains, it’s an open question as to whether vaccinated people who contract the variant can infect their unvaccinated close contacts.
It’s time for the CDC to issue new guidance that takes into account these emerging concerns. It can reiterate that vaccination is safe and effective by stating that the vaccinated are safe around others who are also fully vaccinated. In settings where everyone is known to have immunity, no additional restrictions are needed.
However, if vaccinated individuals are around those who remain unvaccinated, the unvaccinated could pose a risk to the vaccinated, particularly those who live at home with young children or immunocompromised family members. So the CDC needs to state, as it should have in May, that unless there is a way to distinguish between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, indoor mask requirements should be reinstated. Los Angeles County has issued such a mandate. The federal government should urge other jurisdictions to follow suit.
They Waited, They Worried, They Stalled. This Week, They Got the Shot.
The U.S. vaccine rollout has plateaued and the course of the coronavirus pandemic in this country may depend on how many people are ultimately swayed to get vaccinated.
On a single day this past week, more than half a million people across the United States trickled into high school gymnasiums, pharmacies and buses converted into mobile clinics. Then they pushed up their sleeves and got their coronavirus vaccines.
These are the Americans who are being vaccinated at this moment in the pandemic: the reluctant, the anxious, the procrastinating.
In dozens of interviews on Thursday in eight states, at vaccination clinics, drugstores and pop-up mobile sites, Americans who had finally arrived for their shots offered a snapshot of a nation at a crossroads — confronting a new surge of the virus but only slowly embracing the vaccines that could stop it.
In Alabama and Louisiana, partisan opposition to vaccine surges alongside Delta variant.
Many people here and elsewhere in the Southeast are turning down Covid-19 vaccines because they are angry that President Donald Trump lost the election and sick of Democrats in Washington thinking they know what’s best. State and local public health officials have struggled to combat that deep-rooted obstinance. But they don’t want more on-the-ground help from the White House, fearful it would prolong the current surge — even as the Biden administration has begun approaching southern states with offers to send federal “surge teams” on door-knocking campaigns.
The two numbers that could get people to take the vaccine
Even Republicans in Congress are beginning to think we should try to combat this lethal and stupid propaganda. The question is how. …
I propose a running tally in bold type: covid deaths among unvaccinated vs. vaccinated citizens. Two numbers, side by side. Every newspaper’s front page, every state and federal website, the crawl at the bottom of every cable television news broadcast.
Google can design something cute for its search bar. Facebook owes it to us.
Every day, all day. Two numbers.
Michael Wolff/NY Times:
Why I’m Sure Trump Will Run for President in 2024
It is an existential predicament: He can’t be Donald Trump without a claim on the presidency. He can’t hold the attention and devotion of the Republican Party if he is not both once and future king — and why would he ever give that up? Indeed, it seemed to be that I was strategically seated in the lobby of Mar-a-Lago when I arrived precisely so I could overhear the efforts by a Republican delegation to court and grovel before Mr. Trump and to observe his dismissive dominance over them.
More than a bit of his subsequent conversation with me was about his contempt for any Republican who might be less than absolute in his or her devotion to him — after all, he had the power to make or break the people who have since disappointed him (like Senator Mitch McConnell and Justice Brett Kavanaugh). He seemed not so much paranoid about challenges to him but warlike, savoring his future retributions.