The anti-vax lunacy continues

After declining for some. time, there has been an ominous uptick in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the US. It appears that 99.7% of all the new Covid case involve unvaccinated people.

In Mississippi, a state with a low-vaccination rate, health officials urged people to avoid crowds. And in other vaccine-hesitant communities, there are new efforts to push back the Delta variant by encouraging more people to get the shot, Michael George reports for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”

The NAACP put boots on the ground in Louisville neighborhoods where only 30% of residents have been vaccinated, hoping flyers and conversations get more people to get shots.

The effort comes as cases are rising in 26 states. Hospitalization rates are up in 17 states — 27% in Florida, almost exclusively among the unvaccinated.

The far corners of Utah are hit hard, too.

“We’re seeing people that are extremely sick with it,” said Dr. Greg Gardner, chief of emergency medicine at Mountain West Hospital in Tooele, Utah. “A lot sicker than what they were the majority of the time in the winter time.”

But has that stopped Republicans and conservatives from waging their senseless war on the vaccines? Of course not. These people have sunk so deep into the quicksand of covid and vaccine denial that there is no way they are coming out.

The Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Dallas this weekend has been full of the usual moments from the Republican Party’s most outrageous figures trying to be the most performatively provocative. Notable, however, has been the drumbeat of anti-vaccine rhetoric that has pervaded CPAC’s annual gathering—even as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to build steam across unvaccinated parts of the country.

COVID-19 skepticism—and then vaccine skepticism—has been a regular part of conservative populism since the pandemic started, but the rhetoric on display at CPAC has underscored a growing dissonance.

Others carrying the anti-vaccine torch at CPAC included Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who mocked Biden’s efforts to get more people vaccinated and provide economic relief to states where the economy is still struggling to restart after pandemic-related shutdowns. “We’re here to tell the government we don’t want your benefits, we don’t want your welfare,” Boebert declared, strutting across a stage as she spoke. “Don’t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ‘ouchy’—you leave us the hell alone.”

Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina went further in an interview onstage Friday night, pushing the idea that Biden’s goal to vaccinate more Americans, going house-to-house if necessary, was terrifying government overreach. He suggested that if the federal government cultivated the ability to go door-to-door for vaccinations that would create the kind of infrastructure that could “take your Bibles” (apparently overlooking that the U.S. Postal Service, the Census Bureau and other federal agencies already have the ability to go door-to-door but don’t confiscate Bibles.)

The childishness of the language used by vaccine opponents is something to behold. The ‘Fauci ouchy’? Really? I’d be really curious to see how many of those people who are loudly anti-vaccine have quietly got it themselves. I would not put it past them to act so hypocritically.

Seth Meyers poked fun at the absurd moments during the CPAC conference in Dallas this past weekend

Stephen Colbert also took his turn.

And now come reports that there have been outbreaks of Covid among people who attended summer camps. Many of these were Christian camps. And to no one’s surprise, these are in areas with low vaccination rates.

The U.S. has seen a string of COVID-19 outbreaks tied to summer camps in recent weeks in places such as Texas, Illinois, Florida, Missouri and Kansas, in what some fear could be a preview of the upcoming school year.

In some cases the outbreaks have spread from the camp to the broader community.

The clusters have come as the number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to around 19,500, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

JoAnn Martin, administrator of the public health agency in surrounding Pettis County [Missouri], lamented the difficulty in getting people to take the virus seriously and get vaccinated.

“It has been a challenge since the first case,” she said. “You have people who still say it is not real. You have people who say it is a cold. You have people who say what is the big deal. You have people who say it is all a government plot.”

In Illinois, health officials said 85 teens and adults at a Christian youth camp in mid-June tested positive, including an unvaccinated young adult who was hospitalized, and some people from the camp attended a nearby conference, leading to 11 additional cases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said all the campers were eligible for the vaccine, but only “a handful” of campers and staff had received it. The camp didn’t check people’s vaccination status or require masks indoors, according to the department.

And in Kansas, about 50 people have been infected in an outbreak linked to a church summer camp held last month not far from Wichita.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for overcoming stupid decision making. But these people would not take those either.


  1. blf says

    Here in France, yesterday President Macron announced several new measures. France has a “health pass” (part of its track-and-trace app, also available as a paper certificate) showing either you are fully-vaccinated, or recently tested negative (or have recently recovered). To-date, it’s not mandatory except in a few circumstances, such as large gatherings (e.g., 1000 or more people). However, starting in early August (precise date to be determined, as the necessary law(?) hasn’t been passed yet), a valid health pass will be necessary for going to a restaurant, bar, shopping centre, on long-distance trains, etc. That got people’s attention, and about one million people signed up for their first jab after Macron’s speech. (The rate had been something like 150000 people per day and decreasing.) As far as I am currently aware, only teh nazis and hardcore anti-vaxxers (groups which overlap but are not identical) have objected, albeit there are legitimate concerns and issues to be worked-out.

    Currently in Paris, all the Covid-19 ICU patients are unvaccinated. (The bad numbers are still relatively low, but all(?) heading in the wrong direction.)

    Another announced measure is mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers. Apparently, whilst most doctors are vaccinated, there’s a problem with nursing and other staff: I’ve read that particular problem summarised as (paraphrasing from memory): “Knowledgeable enough to be taken-in by scare stories, but not knowledgeable enough to see through them.”

    France is now 40% fully-vaccinated. This means the famous poll result of late last year, where only 40% said they would get vaccinated, has (fortunately!) not held true.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    I’d be really curious to see how many of those people who are loudly anti-vaccine have quietly got it themselves.

    If you see any member of Congress on the floor of their respective chamber and not wearing a mask, you can figure with high confidence that member has provided proof of vaccination to the Capitol Police.

  3. Jörg says

    I guess the states with the lowest vaccination rates are so solidly politically red that it does not matter that Republican politicians are trying to kill off their hard-core voters. Very strange.

  4. garnetstar says

    @1, I am so eager to get a vaccine pass, but my state (in America) won’t give them! Damn stupid.

    I hope that, for the poorer communities and communities of primarily BIPOC, the door-to-door campaign will help many of them. But for those who are just anti-vax lunatics, there isn’t any hope. Delta is just so contagious, it’s going to burn right through them, since they never masked or distanced anyway.

    That means thousands, at least, more deaths. And all the medical personnel on such intense duty that they end up with PTSD. And, the unvaxxed hordes are going to infect a lot of vaxxed people (5%) in their communities, too.

    Delta’s so contagious, perhaps after its burn, we’ll get a bit of respite. Almost everyone will be vaxxed, temporarily immune from having gotten Delta, or dead.

  5. johnson catman says

    Even if 90% of the people in red states died, each of those states would still have two senators who would do everything possible to block sensible legislation on anything. And they would still, at least for the next ten years, have enough electoral votes to put the presidency in danger of another shit-show like we had for four years. Education doesn’t work because they reject science and prefer conspiracy idiocy to guide them. The great experiment of democracy in the US is doomed.

  6. Bruce says

    I am tempted to say that if Christians want to have suicide camps for their kids, it is none of my business.
    But actually, I think that any parent of an unvaccinated kid 12-18 should have to go to a parental custody fitness hearing. During this hearing, their kids should be legally considered to be wards of the state, which should immediately vaccinate them. For the parents to keep custody, they need to go to a follow up hearing 3 weeks later, when their kids will all get their second shot. Any parent who doesn’t cooperate should lose custody of all kids, permanently. Any other policy is unfair to innocent kids.
    Sending kids to a suicide camp is NOT an American value.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    Bruce @ # 7 -- Uh, the FDA has not approved any vaccine for any person under the age of 12.

  8. prl says

    I am so eager to get a vaccine pass, but my state (in America) won’t give them! Damn stupid.

    In Australia it’s a federal government document, issued through the national health insurance system.

    I should be getting mine next month after my second AstraZeneca shot.

    However, it’s still unclear what, if anything, it will be used for in Australia. It currently doesn’t offer any advantages even for internal travel into or out of declared hot-spots.

  9. prl says

    Blockquote fail 🙁 Only the first sentence should be quoted.

    [I corrected it-Mano]

  10. blf says

    @10, Here in the EU there’s an EU-wide pass (in addition to, e.g., the French pass). As I understand it, EEA and Switzerland also recognise(? use?) the EU pass.

    As far as I am aware, there’s two main differences between the EU and French pass: (1) The French one is (presumably) France(-mostly (it might be recognised in places like Malta, etc.?)), not all of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland; and (2) The French one is valid immediately after the 2nd jab, whilst there is a (safer) two-week delay with the EU one (four weeks, I think, for Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)). For some time now, the certificate France has been issuing contains both the French and EU passes (with the recommendation to scan the EU pass into the trace-and-track app).

    France (not sure about the EU) is negotiating with teh “U”K for mutual recognition of each other’s passes. I have no idea how that is proceeding. To-date, as far as I know, people elsewhere don’t have any(?) options (at least w.r.t. France), an understandable albeit unfortunate problem compounded by France’s(? EU’s?) insistence that only EU-approved vaccines “count” (i.e., Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen). Further confusing the situation is travel into an EU country from outside the EU / EEA /Switzerland is typically handled mostly by the EU-country, not the EU; and returning to the original non-EU country also (usually?) needs to meet that country’s own regulations.

  11. mnb0 says

    “Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for overcoming stupid decision making.”
    There is a mechanism though; it’s called natural selection.
    Which means sending the vaccins meant for anti-vaxers to for instance Suriname, where only 8.5 % of the population is vaccinated twice. Many African countries score lower. This policy will end the pandemy sooner.
    The only thing that stands in its way is

    In this case America First Vaccinated. That’s eg the underlying assumption of @7 Bruce’s suggestion. People living in poor countries are not important for him to even think about.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    Just to make things yet more complicated: The EU now refuses to accept as safe persons who’ve received the Astra-Zeneca vaccine manufactured in India.

    The factory which makes the same, though approved by the World Health Organization, lacks paperwork required by the Europeans. Millions of people have received injections of this product through the COVAX program, particularly in Africa.

    Several EU countries, including Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, allow people to enter if they have had non-EU-endorsed vaccines; several others, including France and Italy, don’t. … “People who were already suspicious of vaccines will become even more suspicious,” [British professor Ivo] Vlaev said. “They could also lose trust in public health messages from governments and be less willing to comply with COVID rules.”

  13. Jazzlet says

    The UK is taking the normal-under-Johnson crazy route at the moment, and insisting that only people vaccinated in the UK can avoid quarrantine on entering the country. They are going further than the EU, even if someone had the vaccines available in the UK if they weren’t administered in the UK you’re not properly vaccinated. Completely barmy.

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