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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.30 minutes to read.

Let’s make one thing clear: Covid-19 cases in the United States will likely rise in the fall and early winter. Coronaviruses are seasonal; this virus is no different…

Should the United States experience a surge in the fall, it will be nothing like the deadly surge from last winter, which claimed more than 3,500 lives per day. The vast majority of deaths — 80 percent — occurred in those older than 65. That age group is now 85 percent vaccinated with at least one dose. So even with ongoing spread, death rates will drop…

The No. 1 thing we can do is continue vaccinating like crazy and reaching communities where immunization rates are lowest — especially Black and Hispanic communities, and Republican men.

Joseph G. Allen, associate professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Chan School and assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. (Published in Washington Post – $)

On July 4, President Biden is planning to mark “a summer of freedom,” with a large event at the White House to celebrate the resumption of American life…But a close look at the situation suggests this may project an excess of optimism that could make it harder to beat back another surge…

These lags are especially concerning due to the renewed threat from the delta variant, which has spread quickly through less vaccinated communities in the U.K. and is already responsible for 20% of new U.S. cases. And there’s been significant hospitalization and death from delta variant cases — even among younger patients.

Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease official, has called the delta variant the “greatest threat” to defeating Covid-19 in the U.S. Biden himself has acknowledged that it may cause significant harm in unvaccinated communities.

The long-run consequences of having had even a mild case of Covid-19 are not well-understood. We’re starting to identify more and more “long” Covid cases, although it may take years to get clarity on what causes them. But the evidence is certainly scary — for example, a recent paper based on brain scans showed that even some people who had mild Covid cases suffered a reduction in grey matter, especially in parts of the brain that manage smell, taste and memory.

Scott Duke Kominers, Bloomberg

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.30 minutes to read.

I supported the initial lockdowns, hoping they would buy us time to find other ways to keep the virus at bay. I then continued to support lighter, more-targeted restrictions later in the pandemic.

But now that vaccines are widely available, it’s time to start ending all of that. Outside of very rare scenarios, such as when someone is allergic to the ingredients, vaccines turn vulnerability to COVID into a personal choice…

I am completely done caring about COVID. Face it. It’s over. Get back to normal. Just look at the basic facts here.

These vaccines are awesome. They provide nearly complete protection against the most severe cases. They block transmission, too. And yes, the vaccines are effective even against those dreaded “variants.” Actual scientists need to monitor that last situation and update the vaccines as required, but no one else has anything to be worried about until something changes.

Robert VerBruggen, National Review ($)

Note: This is an older piece but encapsulates an ongoing opinion.

Barring unforeseen developments, we can expect to have the pandemic under control by Memorial Day. That doesn’t mean the virus will be out of our lives. But rising immunity from vaccines and prior exposure should have it cornered, with its impact reduced to something approaching a normal flu season in terms of deaths and hospitalizations.

We already have the virus on the run. We are vaccinating over 15 times more people each day than report having a new infection. Some 40 million or more will have received at least one vaccine shot by the end of February, providing more protection each day. Meanwhile, about 110 million Americans have likely had the virus, which gives most of them immunity that studies show can last 6 months or longer.

Both Fauci and President Biden are warning that many Americans may not be vaccinated even by the end of summer. But there is a difference between vaccinating the vast majority of Americans and reaching a point where the pandemic is clearly headed toward defeat, with each day building confidence that fewer infections, hospitalizations and deaths are not just a breather between peaks. Those days are coming fast.

Geoffrey Joyce, director of health policy at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. (Published in MarketWatch)