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comment by ButterflyEffect
ButterflyEffect  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Delta Variant

So, uh, what happens after Delta...? Or, what happens after...October? Live it up now before the next shutdowns and mass deaths? :(

kleinbl00  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    If your location values the freedom of its people to make the wrong decisions (as long as they don’t impact others), then you might consider opening up the economy. Delta will tear through those unvaccinated, but that’s their prerogative. Maybe the reality will hit better then.

Walk with me.

The CDC says smoking kills 480,000 Americans a year. Alcohol? 95,000. Guns? 38,000 (23,000 suicides).

Last month, COVID-19 was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, between Alzheimer's and diabetes. Now Alzheimer's isn't a choice. Diabetes often is.

A couple months ago, when the CDC straight-up dropped the mask mandate on a Friday, I opined that the Biden administration was letting the anti-vaxers to their fate because you know what? No amount of coercion was gonna do a thing and there was no reason to continue to punish the people who got vaccinated. The US can compel vaccination but we aren't. Los Angeles just had its fifth straight day of a thousand cases - and its fifth straight day of zero vaccinated cases admitted to the hospital. At this point it truly is a choice.

Sure, but what about Epsilon, Gamma, Zeta, Murgatroyd, Spumoni and Plaid? I mean yeah, I'm not about to pooh-pooh some hypothetical fuckyou variant of COVID that won't totally lay everyone flat. But we know the drill now - you put on your mask, go to ground, and wait for HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE HOW SCIENTISTS CAME UP WITH THREE DIFFERENT 95% EFFECTIVE VACCINES IN LESS THAN A YEAR?

Andy Weir thinks this is the last pandemic in human history. Granted, he's no more an epidemiologist than I am but he has a point - this was a microbiological moon shot.

And still, 1% of the developing world has been vaccinated. That's likely to be the situation for the next couple of years unless something changes. "Maybe we should slow the rate of mutation through a massive international public health program" would change that situation. That's $50-70b. Foreign aid in 2020 was an all-time high of $161b, also 1/10th what the US spent on the military alone in 2020, also between four and six Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers (who the fuck names an aircraft carrier after Gerry Ford). Also, we're now talking about boosters for Delta, which means we'll be talking about boosters for everything, which means we're now integrating public health into our daily lives.

Anyone else get a letter from Biden this week? "Hey guess what I'm dropping $300 in your bank account every month and yeah actually it's what you got off your taxes but hey wouldn't you rather I just give you the money instead of you know, not taking it in April?" Also I don't know if you've noticed but if you collected unemployment once this year your health insurance is like, a dollar a month. I mean, fer real. I wanna give my employees health insurance but to beat what half of them can get for A DOLLAR I gotta spend $60k a year.

The CARES act was a unilateral surrender by the Republicans. It was a Democratic grab bag of all the goodies in the world. PPP Mk. II was basically the CARES act with better accounting. Meanwhile the Republicans are screaming about Critical Race Theory as if they didn't just read about it on Facebook a week ago and the Biden administration has confirmed more judges at this point in his term than any administration in history. Michael Lewis wrote an entire goddamn book about the hollowing out of the government under Trump and it sure seems like for the most part, the Biden administration is spackling the holes over with frickin' bleeding heart liberals. Like, fer real, nobody read this but you should:

Matt Stoller is halfway to Tankie and he was all

    The executive order does a lot, but to put it simply, if there were a way to write an executive order just for readers of this newsletter, that’s what this order would be.


So look. COVID will continue to kill people. Far, far more of them will be brown, black and yellow than wearing red baseball caps. That fucking sucks. They don't have a choice. They need a voice. I hope we do something about them soon. Because when we do, it will be vintage USA. Pre-Operation Condor USA, pre-Mission Accomplished USA. That'll be Marshall Plan USA. Universal Declaration of Human Rights USA.

I've been watching China with interest. I'm not convinced, but my working theory is they have accepted their ostracism for a COVID lab leak as inevitable and are repositioning themselves as an adversarial state.

This country has been absent student loan payments for a year. When those kick back in (October, theoretically) it's gonna hurt. And it's gonna make selling student loan forgiveness easy.

Obamacare is real close to socialized medicine. Closer than most people realize. If I, bleeding-heart small business owner, can't afford to compete with the government for insurance, then the failures are in the complexity and the roll-out. We've just done a whole lotta roll-out.

The Biden administration has figured out that they can claim the high ground - the economy, the healthcare, the foreign policy - while the Republicans are busy fighting their war of succession. They're fucking dangerous, don't get me wrong. But maaan, the more boring the administration can make this year, the more Democrats are gonna get elected. If you want more Lauren Boebert you can for sure get some. But if you're on the fence? She sure don't compete with the government "sending you" $300 per month per kid.

What happens after Delta? I think we end up in a Big Government federal country where our COVID response is national and successful or local and a failure. I think we all get sick, and getting sick without a vaccine kicks your ass and getting sick with a vaccine doesn't. I think missing a week with the flu is a compelling economic reason for a flu shot and missing two weeks with COVID is more compelling. And I think "goddamn it not this again" is,

no matter how you look at it,

no matter what the realities on the ground are,

no matter the particulars,

less scary than

"oh shit what do we do now."


Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a thing. It breaks, all at once, like a fever. Because once you let go of that central tenet, your mind whiplashes to try and find new anchors. We watched this. We watched a friend who was rabidly anti-vax catch COVID, nearly kill her mother, and spend two weeks wandering around the house huffing her supplemental oxygen go "gosh darn it, I caught COVID" and chill the fuck out on ALL OF IT.

Dunno if they're vaccinated now. I hope so? But they sure as shit aren't saying COVID isn't real anymore.

Delta? Delta's fuckin' real. It's REAL real if you aren't vaccinated. And I gotta imagine that if you're in the hospital with Delta and everyone else is in the hospital with Delta and everyone who is attending you doesn't have Delta because they've been vaccinated? I'll bet that feels like being Egyptian in that scene in Ben Hur when God comes through and Passovers the Jews. I'll bet that leaves you questioning some choices. And I'll bet that experience colors your decision process when Theta starts making the news.

And I, personally, think the, erm, anti-vax demographic questioning their choices is a silver lining.

Delta actually makes me hopeful. It's fuckin' bad, but we have prophylactics against it. It's going to totally fuck the third world, but what doesn't, and maybe it's time to channel our inner Sally Struthers again. It's a disease that selects for political affiliation - AIDS was hell on the creative class, so it's not unheard of.

I think we come through this stronger, better, healthier, more ready to take on big challenges. I think a resurgent pandemic in October 2021 is going to be a whole lot more hopeful than a resurgent pandemic on January 6 2020.

I dunno, man. The narrative has shifted from "what are we gonna do, we're fucked" to "this is what we gotta do or we're fucked" and that's a shift from fear to planning. We've at least put down the teacup and are looking for the exit.

usualgerman  ·  337 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm a lot more pessimistic than you.

The GOP is running the political equivalent of prevent defense. Just like in 2008, they have the game plan of standing against anything the democrats want to do. They're going to make very good use of the filibuster that the democrats failed to do anything about. Our courts are packed with John Birch society vetted conservatives, which effectively means that a lot of legislation, provided that it actually gets past the Senate Filibuster, will be dead the minute it hits the courts. As far as democrats getting elected, I'm doubtful of this especially in the senate and the whitehouse. Reading the new voting laws that the GOP are putting in for the states they control, it's easy for them to manipulate the system to win no matter what the general public actually wants. I say this with a heavy heart, but I don't think our pseudo-democratic system is going to let the plebs get anything they want or need. No loan relief, no minimum wage increase, no infrastructure, and definitely no green new deal. To be blunt, anyone who still thinks the government will do anything for the plebs is willfully blind. We are on our own, for the most part.

Preview of coming attractions: the Attorney General of MO is suing to prevent a mask mandate. I don't think lockdowns are remotely on the table here. And again, I m telling you, if you're vulnerable, you need to figure it out yourself because there's no bailouts or lockdowns coming that I can see in the future. And those cities and states that try will be heavily resisted because everyone understands now that they'll lose a year of income and get $1400 with only a moratorium on payments of their rapidly expanding debt. That's if (as happened last summer) local cops don't simply announce that they have no intention of actually enforcing those mandates. If you want a real lockdown, you'll need the National Guard.

kleinbl00  ·  337 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"Motive, means, opportunity", my friend.

We both agree that the GOP's motive is craven, inhuman and unhelpful. Where we differ is means and opportunity. I agree with you as to what the Republicans want to do. Means? They're too busy spooling up about Mr. Potato Head. Tucker Carlson is currently at war with... Fox News. The general Republican response is to try and pin January 6th on the Democrats, which will definitely work with some people but let's be honest - they're unreachable by reason.

Opportunity? The Republican Party has become a party in exile, a force arrayed entirely and completely around a bored demagogue easily baited by Tom Brady.

And really - the economic locus of the country is vaccinated. The productive centers are inconvenienced by a mask mandate. No, there will be no further lockdowns. They're unnecessary for the vaccinated and the vaccines are abundant and free. The Republicans are big on whipping out Nazi imagery without realizing they're painting a picture whereby Anne Frank gets to flee the attic in exchange for two injections. We encountered this just yesterday - a friend who we assumed had been vaccinated is now quarantining for two weeks because lo and behold that cough is COVID. If I could sum up our professional experience of the past three weeks it would be "well shit looks like you can catch COVID after all."

Motive, Means, Opportunity. The forces of fascism definitely wanna be fascist. But they took their shot and got bupkis.

usualgerman  ·  337 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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usualgerman  ·  337 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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uhsguy  ·  347 days ago  ·  link  ·  

From a public health perspective Delta might be enough to F-up our stuff and lock down again. It kind of depends on the effect on kids and hospitalization rates for vaccinated. If you have 30% unvax + some amount of break through * 10x infection rate than you are going to have problem pretty quick. Especially if indoor transmission is as bad as it seems to be, even regular pressure from flu+covid break through is going bring the medical system into chaos mode again.

Chronic healthcare under capacity is going to show up with a vengeance again this year even if we had 100% effective vaccines the anti vaxers would be tying up all the normal resources. The health care system struggles on a bad flu year so unless we miss flu season again this year were going to be really f-ed. Mask mandates will have to come back (if nothing else to hold the flu at bay) and free up resources for dealing with break throughs and anti-vaxers. Maybe mask mandates dont snowball into lockdowns, maybe they dont but winter 2021 is going to be rough even in our part of the country (anti vax land is either going to vaccinate or they are going to going to have a really bad time).

Public health officials are going to have some difficult choices to make - i think inevitably they will have to shutdown because dispite the vaccinated folks being safe enough, the unvaxed will eat up so much hospital resources that insufficient capacity to do routine ER stuff will start to kill folks but perhaps not. Maybe we just accept that we do not have a functional/available medical system as that's already the reality for many Americans. Im sure a bunch of public sector employees will want another 6 months paid vacation so there is that too.

weedski  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Live it up now before the next shutdowns and mass deaths?

Maybe we could stay a bit away from each other and not go out frivolously and reduce said mass deaths? Cause this shit never ended and won't be gone for a while yet.

Edit: that came out a bit more heated than intended. I'm annoyed with my local anti-mask jerks today, not your comment.

OftenBen  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Literally not possible.

The population of people that is unvaccinated and socializing does not see the welfare of their fellow man as desirable.

My in laws are the classic example. Unmasked, unvaccinated gatherings continuously as if Covid never happened. Open mockery of those scared of the disease even after its killed about 6-7 members of their congregation.

weedski  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I know this. But I will not stop saying it.

I have called out and cut off more friends and family members than I ever expected. But I feel better for it.

Everyone's situation is different. I know not everyone can stay inside all day or avoid those without empathy.

I know this, but I will not stop saying it.

user-inactivated  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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OftenBen  ·  347 days ago  ·  link  ·  

God is good, all the time.

All the time, God is Good.

ButterflyEffect  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No worries, weedski. I sympathize with your frustration. I am fully vaccinated, socially distanced for a very long time, and still don’t do things like eat or drink inside of a restaurant or cafe (will do so on a patio or outdoor dining area - though with delta that may change). I am uninterested in suffering socially and possibly financially due to those who have access and the health to get a vaccine, but choose not to do so. And that is where I see the future heading regardless of my decisions. So may as well get some enjoyment - that said, I’m not going to Vegas.

am_Unition  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, that's almost exactly where I'm at with things too. Only difference is that I've eaten a meal inside a restaurant perhaps three or four times in the last two months. Those are the only times I'm maskless inside. Ever.

I also agree with your projection of October-ish being about when I expect cases to get high enough that I'll opt to curb my behavior, regardless of whatever restrictions are issued. As always, I'll be watching national, state, and county-level cases per capita.

If I get it, of course I don't expect to fall seriously ill, it's just that I reeeeeeally don't want to be a vector of spread.

OftenBen  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

More mass death, concentrated in the poor and otherwise vulnerable.

We lack the stomach to defeat coronavirus. Our squeamishness and bone headed refusal to take responsibility for vaccinating each and every eligible body will be paid for with lives.

For some reason we prosecute drunk drivers but not those who willfully spread disease and misinformation about vaccines.

am_Unition  ·  348 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm afraid that's exactly correct.

Epsilon happens after delta. Maybe that one won't be so bad, but the next, zeta, really fucks us? Who knows. What do we switch to after "omega"?

We're undoubtedly going to see covid deaths wreak havoc among the anti-vax populations. I wish there was some way to ensure that every unvaccinated person had made a conscious decision to reject the vaccine, and it didn't stem from a lack of access or awareness.

What worries me is how much more difficult it'll be to even back-of-the-envelope trace delta's spread if it's asymptomatic or like a minor headcold to the vaccinated, vs. the pre-vax era, when, if you had covid, pretty much you knew you had covid.

Edit: I'm also worried about an eventual mutation that could evade one of the previously-top-tier shots veryveryvery preferentially. Let us hope that mRNA vaccine evasion is equally unlikely across the board?