Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated | AP News

“Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.

An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.

And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.”

Breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated is 1.1%       =  .011

Of those who die to covid, the fully vaccinated  are .8% = .001

.011 * .001 = .00009   which is 9/100,000  which rounds to 1/10,000

If I have done the math right, your chances of dying of covid if fully vaccinated in the US, are 1 in 10,000.

Source: Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated | AP News

12 Signs You Have a Fake N95, KN95, or KF94 Mask | Wirecutter

“The highly contagious Omicron variant has sent us on a mad dash for more-protective masks, such as N95s, KN95s, and KF94s. And along with that comes the nagging concern over being duped by counterfeiters. At best, fake respirator masks are just a waste of money. At worst, they give those who need protection most a potentially dangerous false sense of security.

 

Whether it’s an imposter mask claiming to be from an established brand or a newcomer purporting to be highly protective, the problem is a matter of consistency. In September 2020, ECRI (a nonprofit that advises hospitals and health-care agencies on product safety) reported that 60% to 70% of KN95s it tested did not filter the 95% of particles that they promised to. Federal agencies seized a total of 21.2 million fake N95s that year, and the problem carried over well into 2021. Last May, investigators confiscated 2 million fake masks purchased and used by unsuspecting hospitals in Portland, Maine.”

The Soldiers Came Home Sick. The Government Denied It Was Responsible. – The New York Times

“The soldiers with inexplicable breathing complaints started appearing in Dr. Robert F. Miller’s pulmonology clinic in 2004, the year after Baghdad fell to invading United States forces. These new patients were active-duty troops from nearby Fort Campbell, men and women who came home from war with mysterious respiratory ailments. The base asked Miller, an unassuming and soft-spoken lung specialist at Vanderbilt University, to take a look.

Miller was baffled to see formerly healthy soldiers gasping for air after mild exertion. Some of them had been close to the fire at the Mishraq sulfur mine outside Mosul, thought to be the largest release of sulfur dioxide ever caused by humans. But others had never gone anywhere near the burning mine. Some of them could no longer run or climb stairs, and yet their X-rays and pulmonary-function tests looked normal.

Confounded, Miller decided to try something radical: He began ordering lung biopsies under general anesthesia to look for more subtle damage known as small-airways disease. Sure enough, the tissue revealed toxic lung injury, which Miller diagnosed as constrictive bronchiolitis. To the doctor, this meant two things: First, the soldiers were not exaggerating their symptoms. And more important, noninvasive screenings couldn’t be trusted to detect these new post-deployment ailments.

Eager to share his discovery, Miller contacted doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This led, at first, to what Miller recalls as an enthusiastic collaboration. Army doctors flew to Tennessee to review Miller’s biopsies, and together they went to Fort Campbell to develop a protocol for evaluating patients.”

DL: Excellent article. The end is surprising. Jon Stewart takes up the cause, and the congress and military decide finally to help these people. It took a star with the power of gigantic publicity coverage.

Paul Krugman | The Viral Lies About Covid That Keep Killing Us – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“A year ago it seemed reasonable to hope that by early 2022 we’d mainly be talking about Covid — or at least Covid as a major health and quality-of-life issue — in the past tense. Effective vaccines had been developed with miraculous speed; surely a sophisticated nation like the United States would find a way to get those vaccines quickly and widely distributed.

So why didn’t we get past the pandemic? Part of the problem has been the creativity of viral evolution. The Delta variant shocked us with its lethality; now Omicron is shocking us with its transmissibility. Still, we could and should have done far better. And the main reason we didn’t was the power of politically motivated lies.

Before I get to the specifics of those lies and the damage they’ve done, let’s be clear: Yes, this is about politics.

I know I’m not the only commentator who has faced a lot of pushback against emphasizing the partisan nature of vaccine resistance. We’re constantly reminded that many unvaccinated Americans aren’t Republican loyalists, that there are multiple reasons people won’t get or at least haven’t gotten their shots. All this is true; but politics has nonetheless played a crucial — and growing — role.

Look, for example, at a KFF survey from October, which found that 60 percent of the unvaccinated identified as Republicans, compared with only 17 percent who identified as Democrats. Or look at the invaluable Charles Gaba’s analysis of county-level data, which finds that on average a one percentage point higher Trump share of the 2020 vote corresponds to about a half-point reduction in a county’s current vaccination rate.”

“. . . . .  So none of this makes any sense — not, that is, unless you realize that Republican vaccine obstructionism isn’t about serving a coherent ideology, it was and is about the pursuit of power. A successful vaccination campaign would have been a win for the Biden administration, so it had to be undermined using any and every argument available.

Sure enough, the anti-vaccine strategy has worked politically. The persistence of Covid has helped keep the nation’s mood dark, which inevitably hurts the party that holds the White House — so Republicans who have done all they can to prevent an effective response to Covid have not hesitated, even for a moment, in blaming Biden for failing to end the pandemic.

And the success of destructive vaccine politics is itself deeply horrifying. It seems that utter cynicism, pursued even at the cost of your supporters’ lives, pays.”  -30-

Diets Make You Feel Bad. Try Training Your Brain for Healthy Eating Instead. – The New York Times

“Here’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep: Stop dieting and start savoring your food instead.

That may seem like surprising advice, but there’s mounting scientific evidence to suggest that diets don’t work. Research shows that food restriction just makes you want to eat more. And over the long term, dieting can backfire, triggering your body’s survival defenses, slowing your metabolism and making it even harder to lose weight in the future.

A resolution to quit dieting doesn’t mean giving up on having a healthier body. But to successfully conquer a dieting habit, you’ll need to let go of old ideas about counting calories, banning your favorite foods and measuring success by a number on a scale.

So what’s the alternative? Many weight researchers are encouraging a new approach to healthy eating based on brain science. A variety of techniques that encourage mindful awareness of how we eat, acceptance related to the foods we want to eat and intuitive eating exercises can be used to quell cravings and reshape our eating habits.

“The paradigms around willpower don’t work,” said Dr. Judson Brewer, an associate professor in behavioral and social sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health who has studied mindful eating practices. “You have to start by knowing how your mind works.” “

Aaron Carroll | Here’s What the CDC Got Wrong With its New Covid-19 Guidelines – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/28/opinion/covid-isolation-guidelines.html

“. . . The recommendations also changed for quarantine, which is what uninfected people do if they are exposed. If they are boostered appropriately, they need only be careful for the next 10 days (i.e., wear a mask when around others). If they are unvaccinated, or in need of a booster, they now need only quarantine for five days if they never become symptomatic, and then be careful the next five. The recommendations also say that if for such people — even if unvaccinated — a quarantine “is not feasible,” they can just mask for 10 days. (The C.D.C. also recommends if possible getting tested five days after the exposure, whether or not you are vaccinated and boostered.)

These numbers are mostly averages — sometimes best guesses — as to how people respond when exposed or infected. They’re also pretty much equally applied to the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, as if those two populations are the same.

This is puzzling. Covid itself hasn’t changed that much for those who are unvaccinated. If they get infected, there’s no reason to believe they shouldn’t still follow the original guidelines and isolate for 10 days. This is a very infectious disease, and they are at risk not only to themselves, but also to those around them. Hospitals are still full of unvaccinated people, and nothing had led us to believe that the danger is gone for them.

On the other hand, vaccinated people, especially boostered people, are at very low risk for bad outcomes, less likely to get infected if exposed and less likely to be infectious for longer periods of time.

It seems as if even at this late date, the C.D.C. is trying to appease everyone, and therefore pleasing no one.”  . . .

Opinion | How to Grieve Everything We Lost to Covid – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The covid pandemic was at least as positive as negative for me, and I suspect, for some others too. I didn’t lose any close relatives or friends to covid yet, but the big changes, cancelling my dance and singing and martial arts groups, made me aware for the first time in years, that I had been way too busy, and the reset was useful, since I was slowing down almost unnoticing, as I turned 68, then 69. Being in a beautiful, new relationship, and being able to play tennis almost daily, made all the difference. If I had just gotten divorced, and was single during this pandemic, it would have been a different story. One of misery and depression, and I would have fit into the narrative of this video, which I must point out, is almost all negative, and misses the positive. As a climate hawk who writes and performs about climate change and the sixth extinction, I worry daily that 7.9 billion humans is endangering life as we know it, and extermination other species by the hundreds. The fact is that the pandemic slowed our economic activity, and it also briefly reduced our carbon footprint. But, from a cerebral, analytical point of view, it didn’t terminate nearly enough humans, to ensure that humans will survive going forward. One way or the other, we need to get the human pupulation way down, to stop the sixth extinction.
David blogs at InconvenietNews.net

Opinion | A Message From Britain on Using Rapid Tests – The New York Times

Dr. McNally is a professor in microbial genomics at the University of Birmingham in Britain, where he set up mass PCR and rapid testing capacity for students. He also helped lead one of the British government’s first coronavirus testing centers.

“Since 2020, Britain has used rapid at-home antigen tests to help combat the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Today, these tests are widely available for anyone who wants them, free of charge (though there have been shortages during the Omicron surge). People in Britain are encouraged to use them regularly and before attending events like games or concerts.

In countries like the United States, where rapid at-home tests can be expensive and hard to come by, the British rapid testing infrastructure has been often cited as a model. The Biden administration recently announced that it planned to make 500 million tests available for free and that Americans could request tests be sent to their homes.”

Opinion | Facts Alone Aren’t Going to Win Over the Unvaccinated. This Might. – The New York Times

Anupam B. Jena and 

Dr. Jena is an economist, a physician and an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Worsham is a critical care physician and public health researcher at Harvard Medical School.

“At this point in the pandemic, many Americans remain unvaccinated because they believe the coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to do them any good. They’re aware of the virus and the damage it can cause, but for any number of reasons, they simply don’t believe they should get a vaccine. We’ve spoken to patients like this in our practice, and we have observed in those conversations that providing more, frightening information intended to change their beliefs is ineffective for many or may even cause further entrenchment against vaccination.’

Bottom line, info fails, negative incentives really work.

Opinion | In Russia, the Pandemic Is Beating Putin – The New York Times

Mr. Kovalev is the investigations editor at Meduza, an independent Russian news outlet.

“A deadly virus can’t be ignored, jailed, exiled or co-opted — nor can it be locked down without great economic cost. That puts President Vladimir Putin of Russia in a bind. The pandemic, perhaps his hardiest foe to date, has starkly revealed the limits of his power.

The past several weeks have been especially painful. Daily infections in the country have hovered around 35,000 — while the official figures, probably undercounted, record over a thousand deaths each day. (And that’s before the Omicron variant, newly found in Russia, circulates widely.) The misery is largely due to the low vaccination rate in the country: After a nearly yearlong campaign, only 41 percent of the country’s people are fully vaccinated, a lower number than in Laos or Cape Verde.

The Kremlin has itself to blame. Given Russia’s intellectual, administrative and technological capacities, a successful vaccine rollout should have been possible. Instead, the authorities fatally eroded the public’s trust with conflicting messaging — oscillating between triumphalism and scaremongering — and haphazardly applied containment measures.

The result is a mistrustful, skeptical public — the latest poll from the Levada Center, an independent polling company, puts vaccine hesitancy at 36 percent — and a growing anti-vaccine movement that, headed by previously regime-friendly figures, is stirring up trouble. It’s not clear that Mr. Putin, usually adept at quashing sentiments not to his liking, can do much about it.

quashing sentiments not to his liking, can do much about it.”