People, it’s not over yet

Do I need to announce this every day? The pandemic is not over. If you drop your guard, it can still get you.

New coronavirus cases in the United States continued to rise in the past week, jumping by as much as 12 percent nationwide, as senior officials implored Americans to stick to public health measures to help reverse the trend.

The seven-day average of new cases topped 63,000 for the first time in nearly a month, according to data compiled by The Washington Post, while states such as Michigan, Vermont and North Dakota reported substantial spikes in new infections. The nation appeared poised for a fourth wave of illness even as vaccine eligibility is expanding in many states.

Michigan led the nation in new cases with a 57 percent rise over the past week. The state, which relaxed covid-related restrictions earlier this month, also reported the largest increase in coronavirus hospitalizations, which grew by more than 47 percent.

The virus is still circulating everywhere. You’re swimming in it. The prevalence is still high, so even if you personally have been vaccinated, the virus still has tentacles of infection everywhere. We aren’t really safe until almost everyone is safe. Right now, I’ve got students going into quarantine and dropping out of our ongoing genetics experiment, and it’s not the kind of thing where you can take a few weeks to recover and pick up where you left off — the flies keep doing their thing whether you show up to analyze them or not. So I’m suddenly faced with a need to make all kinds of accommodations, and hope that enough students stay healthy that we can carry through to the end. This does not feel like the pandemic is over. It feels a lot like March of last year, when so many students were getting sick that we had to shut down the lab for the remainder of the term.

Meanwhile, we got people like the Libertarians of Kentucky, who make odious comparisons between more pandemic safety and the Holocaust.

Right. We’ve got a country full of assholes who consider the ability to spread disease to be an essential part of “human liberty”.

Everyone who is not a selfish, entitled git: get vaccinated, get tested, wear a mask, maintain social distancing, don’t start partying in bars just yet.


  1. acroyear says

    one big frustration with the numbers is that 3 southern states (where it is warmer so more activities can be held outside) all have removed their mask requirements and are still seeing the numbers drop. – TX, LA, FL. So people are now able to once again spread the wrong message that masks aren’t necessary because of the correlation, when the likely cause, as I noted, is that more activity can be done outside so there’s less close indoor interaction.

    This runs the counter-risk, that they’ll, like last year, see a spike in June/July when they’re all back indoors in air conditioning as it will be too hot to be outside. Maybe the vaccine can stop that, but, well, we’ll see.

  2. naturalistguy says

    It doesn’t look like those vaccine passports will be coming from the federal government just yet:

    White House Says Private Sector Should Lead on Vaccine Passports

    White House officials said that the push for vaccine passports should come from the private sector and that the federal government won’t take the lead in creating a centralized document proving vaccination.

    The U.S. government “is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens,” Andy Slavitt, a White House Covid-19 adviser, said Monday in a briefing.

    Vaccine passports that provide proof of immunity to the coronavirus are supported by the travel industry and other businesses that have suffered from concerns about the risk of contagion in public places. Airlines are already backing a number of tech solutions they hope would give tourists and travelers more confidence.

    Slavitt said there is a segment of the U.S. population that would be concerned if the government plays “too heavy-handed of a role” in monitoring vaccinations. However, he said federal officials will lead an interagency process to ensure “important criteria” around data privacy and data security are met.

  3. kagy says

    Part of me is wondering if all this anti-tracking, anti-information, anti-historical accuracy stance is really just coming from assholes who don’t want to be held accountable for anti-social behavior while taking advantage of all the great things society has to offer. they want to use roads, public schools, government assistance (it’s muh RIGHT to this money! Why is it late!?Do yer job Post Office!) but not actually contribute anything. If we start tracking these types of behaviors, well, we can say “Hey buddy, you don’t buy in, you don’t get anything back out. I mean, you don’t see me wanting to share your fantasy football winnings without buying in just because I work in the same office as you, right?”

    And the other part of me is sure it is. Self-centered obliviousness is not a majority trait in any functional society.

  4. kome says

    Just who are the libertarians identifying with there? Because, last I checked, the yellow stars sewn onto clothes were worn by the Jews. If the people who’ve been vaccinated are the ones wearing the yellow stars sewn onto clothes, and the libertarians are vehemently against getting the vaccine, then it appears as though they’re the Nazis in this particularly stupid analogy they’ve created.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    First they came for the disease spreaders. I mean, they exactly “come for them” per se. They weren’t putting them into camps or anything, just not letting them board airplanes.

    Anyway, I wanted to continue to be a disease spreader, so I spoke out! Because my right to infect my friends and neighbors trumps all other rights!

  6. Dunc says

    kome, @ #4; Yeah, I was wondering about that too… I think we’re just so deep into reflexive auto-Godwinning here that they’re not even really thinking about what words mean any more, never mind the details of how their analogies are supposed to work. I genuinely would not be surprised to see these types claiming that library cards = Nazis (because “Papiere, bitte!”) at this point.

  7. raven says

    Are the vaccine passports going to be yellow, shaped like a star, and sewn on our clothes?


    This is the stuff of totalitarian dictatorships.

    No it isn’t.
    These are a familiar feature of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.
    Plague rats.
    They’ve helped kill so far 550,000 US residents.
    The Friends of the Covid-19 Virus fan clubs are here.

  8. raven says

    We require vaccinations and proof of vaccination for a lot of things and it has been this way for a century or so.
    In the USA, it is common for school children in all states.

    All 50 states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students. Although exemptions vary from state to state, all school immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons.Jan 29, 2021

    States With Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From …

    There are exceptions for medical reasons and religious exemptions that vary from state to state.

    This isn’t totalitarianism. It is public health and safety.

  9. lldayo1 says

    A vaccine passport?! Totally Reichish! What’s next, a license to drive or an id to vote?

  10. rrhain says

    Yes, the vaccine passports are yellow. They always have been. I’ve had one for more than 50 years, recording all of my vaccinations back to when I was only 3 months old and getting my first doses of DPT and Sabin TV. It was provided by the World Health Organization in cooperation with the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It’s how I can prove that I received the smallpox vaccine in 1970, one of the last people to do so because we eradicated that disease through a global vaccination effort. It’s how I know that my last tetanus booster was in 2016 and thus I’m good for the next 5 years. It’s how I know that I only got the single MMR shot in 1977 when we didn’t know you’d need a second shot and thus went to get my booster. It’s worn and so used that I’ve run out of spaces for the miscellaneous vaccines (beyond cholera, yellow fever, and smallpox) such that the docs have had to add extra pages (also yellow).

    Why doesn’t everybody have this as a matter of course? I’m an Air Force brat so it was probably handed out as a matter of course to military kids. You never know when you’re going to get deployed overseas so you keep track of your vaccination records to ensure you can travel.

    You can download the current International Certificates of Vaccination from the WHO’s website:

  11. rrhain says

    @1, acroyear:

    “one big frustration with the numbers is that 3 southern states (where it is warmer so more activities can be held outside) all have removed their mask requirements and are still seeing the numbers drop. – TX, LA, FL.”

    You sure about that? Florida’s numbers are going up. Texas is back up above 4000 per day. Louisiana has plateaued.

    The vaccinations have been a tremendous help, but we aren’t there yet.

  12. unclefrogy says

    from where I set it looks like the conservatives/reactionaries are kind of in a bind here. Since the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the corruption of the Russian state they have no boogeyman except the “libs”. Islam and China (who seems to be doing just fine because we still are trading with them as much as we can)
    they have more and more abandoned all of their old principles and gone for the money and power using all the hot button issues they can to maintain popularity and control of the narrative. they have no real policies any longer so they are making shit up to get the masses up set, forget about it making any sense.
    we are still crashing but maybe a little slower since jan 20
    uncle frogy

  13. acroyear says

    #13 rrhain – I was not looking at the numbers directly. I was going by what was said today on The Today Show, and apologies if they got it wrong or the numbers they were working from were out of date by the time the story ran.

    That said, Texas saw a one-day spike, but their 7-day is still relatively flat compared to January/February. Florida’s current rise is notable, but still very modest compared to other states (esp NY after the ‘correction’ produced 20,000 positives in a single day in NYC) and it could bend back down again. (The larger issue that there is now more evidence that Florida has been tampering with their numbers does need attention, of course).

  14. dorght says

    Got my second injection today. On the 2 1/2 hr drive back I stopped to get gas, pee, and a refreshment. When I walked into the store 2/3 of the people were not wearing masks. Noped right on out of there. Found out that this Missouri county had dropped its mask mandate. I anticipate a lot more med helicopter flights over my house from rural counties to the St. Louis area hospitals in the weeks to come.

  15. chrislawson says


    TX and FL have shown a slight uptick in the last week…

    And this supposedly good baseline is still terrible. Florida is getting about 5000 new cases every day. Texas is getting 4000. And yet they’re easing their restrictions.

    My state of Queensland, Australia, just implemented lockdowns and statewide mandatory public mask-wearing (which the vast majority are complying with) based on two clusters making a total of 15 cases. That is not a typo. For comparison, Qld has a population of about 5M, cf. 29M in Texas and 22M in Florida, which would mean an equivalent daily rate for us would be ~1000 new cases…we’re getting about 3. Not 3000. 3.

    Our health departments are working to protect public health and our politicians, for all their flaws, are working with public health specialists rather than against them. This is why Australia has managed to have huge sporting events safely. Last week we had 51,000 attend an AFL match in Melbourne without any surge in cases (this was 1800 km away from the new Queensland clusters I hasten to add). Basically the Southern US states won’t eat their meat but still want their pudding.

  16. says

    There is a semi-reasonable debate about the state requiring proof of vaccination being a bridge to far but a there is no reasonable argument against private businesses requiring proof of vaccination. It is no different than no shirt, no shoes no service.

    DeSantis is moving towards ban private businesses from requiring vaccination but that is the greatest abridgment of liberty I have seen the entire pandemic.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    While a combinaton of warm weather and humidity correlates with less transmission, it is not binäry. If It is warmer, the risk of transmission is less all other things being the same , but if you start crowding on the beaches and in malls you ruin everything. This should not be rocket science.
    Regarding face masks, they are not perfect but they reduce the disease transmission a bit. The most important part is distancing … but good luck telling the anti- maskers they must stay six feet apart.
    But even if anti-maskers have a too big emotional investment to change their minds, there is a large “gray area” group that may be convinced of the necessity of these troublesome safety rules.
    I lack the psychological and sociological insights to formulate a strategy for this.
    Maybe you can come up with an approach suitable for Americans who watch Fox a lot.