Look at Mississippi go!


Impressive statistics.

Remember how that slow rise in frequency back in March 2020 convinced all the universities to shut down and go entirely to online instruction? Good times.

Then how we went through that shocking peak in the summer of 2020, but that it started to show signs of a decline, so the universities all said, “Great! Back to school with masks and social distancing!”, despite the fact that it didn’t drop below the levels that shut everyone down in the spring? There’s something interesting going on in human psychology going on there.

We got an even greater surge in the winter of 2021, but then we got the vaccine, and cases started to plummet, and we all got cocky and figured we got this licked, so the universities start planning to remove all the preventive measures they’d put in place, didn’t even consider requiring vaccination, but a significant proportion of the citizenry have somehow decided vaccines are bad, and then along came Delta.

And that’s how we get Mississippi in August of 2021.

Look at that graph: oscillations, with the peak getting higher each time. Every time numbers start to decline, we slack off so they come roaring back, worse and worse. You’d think someone at some point would realize that this says we’re losing, that the occasional breathers are just setting us up for a rebound. It’s like we have only a three month window of collective memory, only remembering the improvement in spring of 2021, while completely forgetting the peak in January.

Comments

  1. kathleenzielinski says

    This is not my area of expertise, so someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but doesn’t having so many unvaccinated people help the virus build up resistance to both the vaccine and medication, which means it then becomes increasingly difficult to eradicate? The virus is basically being kept alive, and able to mutate, by having so many unvaccinated hosts available to it. Plus isn’t there then a snowball effect in which the next variant is even more virulent and difficult to treat than the last one?

  2. raven says

    It’s not just Mississippi.
    The hospital and ICU numbers are setting records in many places.

    COVID patient died in Roseburg ER waiting for ICU bed: ‘We didn’t have enough’
    by News Staff Thursday, August 19th 2021 kval.com edited for length

    ROSEBURG, Ore. — Douglas County government officials released a statement Thursday asking citizens for their “help, patience and kindness” as the community and Mercy Medical Center “continue to reel from the extraordinary onslaught of new cases and hospitalizations this devastating virus has caused.”

    The staff at the hospital shared the story of a COVID patient who died in the ER waiting for an ICU bed.

    A COVID positive patient was in our Emergency Department, within our four walls, waiting for an open Intensive Care Unit bed to receive life-saving care.
    It had been several hours because other COVID positive patients had filled those beds.
    Even after expanding ICU care onto other floors, there weren’t any beds available for this patient.
    We didn’t have enough.
    This patient died in the Emergency Department waiting for an Intensive Care Unit bed.

    In many places the hospitals are now out of necessity rationing care. They are beyond full with unvaccinated Covid-19 virus patients.

  3. raven says

    medical newstoday August 16, 2021

    Has the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 made herd immunity impossible?

    An Oxford University researcher claims that the Delta variant has made herd immunity “not a possibility.” Scientists hoped that, following vaccination, populations would develop herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2, reducing the risk of infection, even for people without antibodies against the virus.

    However, the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Prof. Andrew Pollard, says herd immunity is “not a possibility” given how transmissible the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is.

    Other health experts remain optimistic despite the challenges this rapidly spreading variant poses.
    Prof. Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, says that herd immunity is “not a possibility” in light of the spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.

    It is a good thing we didn’t just let the Covid-19 virus run through our population like Brazil and India did.
    It is starting to look like with even high rates of vaccination, we will never reach herd immunity with the Delta virus.
    Iceland is 90% vaccinated and they are seeing outbreaks where the majority of the cases are in the vaccinated. It’s not all bad. Most cases are asymptomatic or mild.
    It’s still transmission chains though.

  4. raven says

    We’ve all heard about the new plans to offer booster doses of vaccine to everyone in the USA.
    That is because we are seeing more and more breakthrough cases and a raging pandemic in the unvaccinated, filling up the hospitals.

    If you think about it, we are grasping at straws here.
    Plan A was to vaccinate everyone and hopefully end the pandemic. It did a huge amount but what it didn’t do is end the pandemic.
    NIH and CDC have no idea what to do next and are trying to come up with a Plan B.
    You’ll notice they’ve been quiet lately. I’m sure internally, there is a lot of hard thinking going on.

    It’s been 1 1/2 years and I’m not seeing any end to this pandemic.
    Maybe there isn’t one.
    Or maybe it is 5 or 10 years away.
    Or maybe we have to wait for the Covid-19 virus to reach the limits of its evolutionary potential, whatever that may be.

  5. kathleenzielinski says

    Something else I find worrisome is how many bad things are happening all at the same time. In addition to the pandemic we have all the climate stuff that’s now kicked into high gear, the rise of fascism in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, an increasing number of right wing Americans willing to use violence and intimidation to keep the GOP in power (a civil war is not off the table). It just goes on and on.

    Any single one of these would be worrisome, but all of them together?

  6. consciousness razor says

    It’s like we have only a three month window of collective memory, only remembering the improvement in spring of 2021, while completely forgetting the peak in January.

    And all too often we don’t treat it as the pandemic (all over the world) that it is. In the worldwide stats, you can clearly see a nice big hump of new cases and deaths during the spring, not an improvement. A fairly steady three-month period has been apparent too, whatever may be causing it.

    I think it (i.e., the rest of the world) is not totally forgotten so much as ignored. If it isn’t happening (right at this moment) within this or that arbitrary border that we’ve drawn on a map, it may end up in an article somewhere but many just don’t care. Of course, viruses don’t seem to be particularly interested in studying our maps.

    We don’t even really have to go as far as other nations to see that…. If it’s not in the specific city/county where you happen to live, or if it’s not people like your next-door neighbors (or friends, family, coworkers, etc.), then for some it may as well be happening on the Moon.

  7. says

    With special thanks to the social media companies for providing a soapbox to the antivaxxers, covidiots et al.

    And not to forget Trump, Johnson (and several others) for their general incompetence in government.

  8. says

    It’s like we have only a three month window of collective memory, only remembering the improvement in spring of 2021, while completely forgetting the peak in January.

    We’ve been training ourselves to forget bad decisions as quickly as possible for a long time now. If anybody tries to remind us of them so that we can avoid repeating them, even among those who claim to want to avoid them, that person gets attacked for demanding “purity tests”. The only possible conclusion is that we like bad decisions, because we reward the people who make them, and nominate them for higher and higher office and greater and greater rewards, and never under any circumstances hold them responsible, no matter how many people get killed or broken as a result. Then we act surprised when our democracy consistently makes more bad decisions. There was a poem I saw online years and years ago and failed to save; most of it I have forgotten, but the final line was “we’re the batshit insane human race” and that’s about the size of it.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Mississippi health care in a nutshell:

    Back in June, at the lowest point in the trough of the above chart, a friend of mine had to go to the Emergency Room of the leading medical center of the whole state. She waited there, lying on the floor, vomiting blood, for six hours before they examined her.

    She chose to go there to avoid treatment at her regional hospital, and still feels that was the safer option.

    Before you ask: yes, she’s white. (Also, she’s recuperating fairly well, under the circumstances.)

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    kathleenzielinski @ # 2: … isn’t there then a snowball effect in which the next variant is even more virulent and difficult to treat than the last one?

    Yes and no. Routine evolutionary processes create a range of new variations, but we don’t have to worry or do much about the less dangerous ones.

    Natural selection also favors the emergence of more vaccine-resistant strains, but so far (knock wood!) that effect has only reduced their effectiveness by about 10% at most (according to my limited reading of very preliminary reports on the delta variant).

  11. bortedwards says

    If you want another textbook example of complacency in the face of howling evidence, look to my home country, Australia. Reminds me of “man” in the Hitchhikers Guide who disproved god, then got cocky and proved black was white and was hit by a car at the next pedestrian crossing.

    @#5 Raven: If I was the CDC/NIH my hard thinking would be about how to amalgamate with NASA and quietly set off on a colonization mission to some other planet, any planet.

  12. DanDare says

    kathleenzielinski @6 its the thinking culture we have set up over a long time.
    We created an idea of how to see the world and behave as communities that has become easy to game by sociopaths.
    Treating corporations as people was a bad start.
    Unfettered free speach and the market place of ideas is alluring but too open to abuse.
    A big overhaul of our principles and ways of conceiving things is needed.
    If this were in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation universe I’d say we are going through a Seldon Crisis.

  13. steve1 says

    I think we should go on lockdown. It won’t matter to me I work from home now. My boss gave my office away.

  14. numerobis says

    Pierce R. Butler: delta is all over the map with respect to how effective vaccines are; there’s clearly additional factors to consider. Vaccines protect against serious outcomes pretty well still, but against infection it could be mediocre to bad.

    More worrisome on escape is lambda.

  15. Owlmirror says

    @PZ:

    We got an even greater surge in the winter of 2021

    I think you meant “winter of 2020”, there.

  16. says

    Mississippi is so desperate for warm bodies that they’re certifying EMTs to work as nurses. Now who will bring people to the overcrowded hospitals? Uber?

    https://www.meridianstar.com/news/state/nursing-shortage-leads-msdh-to-authorize-paramedics-emts-to-care-for-patients-at-hospitals/article_0f2a496e-ca39-5c27-b4ed-cc568351cb0f.html

    It’s like we have only a three month window of collective memory,

    You can thank George Bu##sh## for that, back when he said “we’ve moved on” to avoid addressing war crimes in Iraq. Now it’s the national mantra for anything three months old.

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