July 20, 2021 Editor

How to worry about the Delta variant

image above: wrex.com

WN: I have a close relative who “won’t let anybody shoot that stuff into my body!” And like the best–or worst–of religious fundamentalists, he always knows best–always only knows–from past discussions with me. Whether it is ACD (Anthropogenic Climate Disruption–ain’t happening!); people of colour (no historic wrongs to redress–“They just need to pull themselves up by their socks”); immigration (no to all but Caucasians, and absolutely NO to Muslims!); the Canadian Liberals (bunch of crooks and liars–he might have a point or two there!); the American Democrats (never to be trusted–still more politicians who lie too much); the American Republicans (virtually saints!–they only want what’s best for all (white) Americans); Trump (one of the greatest men in human history–who never lies!–never has been one in the entire history of the world who is so saintly!) . . .


‘YEARS TO COME’ How bad is it out there? The CDC said today that Delta now accounts for 83 percent of new Covid cases in the U.S. Less than half of the country is fully protected against the highly transmissible variant.

These alarming trends led House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) to get his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine over the weekend, calling the shots “safe and effective.” Fox News host Sean Hannity, who’s been openly skeptical of the severity of the virus, changed his tone Monday night. “We don’t need any more death,” he told his viewers. “Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor. … I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”

Several fully vaccinated individuals on the Hill have tested positive for the virus — including the first known member of Congress since January — spurring a heightened sense of unease for the thousands of people who traverse the Capitol complex each day, Sarah Ferris and Katherine Tully-McManus write. Nearly half of House members are masked on the floor again, as dozens of House Republicans say they won’t get vaccinated. GOP leaders have postponed a planned August trip to Israel because of the variant.

It’s unclear if these developments will do anything to change the minds of unvaccinated Americans, the group that is both most vulnerable and least concerned about the variant.

[We] talked with University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm about how he envisions Delta playing out in the U.S, and around the globe.

But isn’t the United States in a much better place to deal with a surge this summer than it was last year?

We still have 100 million people in the United States who are not yet vaccinated or have not yet had Covid, so they don’t have natural immunity. That’s more than an adequate amount to fuel a major upsurge. My biggest fear is that this virus is going to find them before they have a chance to get vaccinated, if they’re going to at all.

We track this stuff by every 12-hour period. Of the 51 states, which includes the District of Columbia, right now, 41 states including D.C. have seen increases of over 100 percent in the last 14 days. That’s the most we’ve seen since the pandemic began.

If you look at the other surges, they were much more regional: the southern Sun Belt states, the Northeast, the Midwest. Here we’ve got 41 states with increases of over 100 percent. We have 42 states with increased hospitalizations and 26 states are now seeing increases over 20 percent in the last 14 days.

It fits with under-vaccination in the U.S. A state like Minnesota, for example, overall we have 67.8 percent of our population vaccinated with one dose, 16 years of age and older. That number looks pretty good overall.

But when you look inside though, we’ve got five counties here in the central part of the state where the vaccination rates range from 43 to 47 percent. Even in a blue state like Minnesota, we’ve got these pockets of really under-vaccinated populations. We just don’t know how that’s going to unfold.

How do you expect Delta to play out on a global scale?

If you take the world’s top 10 to 12 countries of highest case rates: Three are located in Asia, or the Middle East. Three are located in Africa. Three are located in Latin America. And three are located in Europe. This is occurring globally at the same time. Delta is doing it.

We’ve got a long way to go globally, where we’ve got 6.4 billion people living in low- and middle-income countries where less than 2 percent of the population has had any access to vaccines.

I keep hearing people worried about variants spinning out of the cases in the U.S., which is surely a concern, but that pales in comparison to what the risk is of variants spinning out of the 6.4 billion people.

This is going to burn around and through the world for years to come yet.

Please click on: The Delta Variant

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.