It’s Vaccines v. The Republican Variant
Unfortunately for the country, and especially the unvaccinated, the pandemic continues to rage. It’s largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated. In Nebraska since January 1st, 2021, 94% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations and 95% of all COVID-19 deaths were among not fully-vaccinated people.
Despite the raging pandemic, the data indicates that the vaccines continue to be extremely effective. Notwithstanding some sensational media coverage, breakthrough cases remain rare and the vaccinated still enjoy strong protection from hospitalization and death.
One of the interesting aspects of the pandemic is that the vaccinated are probably overly cautious and the unvaccinated are overly reckless. There is nothing wrong with a little caution — I confess I sometimes can be a little spooked when I read the news. On the other hand, the unvaccinated still appear to believe that Covid is no big deal or even a hoax.
A couple of good articles I’ve read recently should reassure the vaccinated and hopefully encourage the unvaccinated who are on the fence to take the jab.
One of the best reporters who has covered the pandemic is David Leonhardt of the NY Times. His columns have proven to be highly accurate and informative. Here is an important excerpt from his September 7 article:
“In recent weeks, however, more data has become available, and it suggests that the true picture is less alarming. Yes, Delta has increased the chances of getting Covid for almost everyone. But if you’re vaccinated, a Covid infection is still uncommon, and those high viral loads are not as worrisome as they initially sounded.
How small are the chances of the average vaccinated American contracting Covid? Probably about one in 5,000 per day, and even lower for people who take precautions or live in a highly vaccinated community.”
The coverage from The Atlantic has also been excellent and should be in the must read category. This is from Craig Spencer of The Atlantic on September 23, 2021:
“(A) common refrain I’ve heard to justify their (the vaccinated) renewed vigilance is that “vaccinated people are just as likely to spread the coronavirus.
So let me make one thing clear: Vaccinated people are not as likely to spread the coronavirus as the unvaccinated. Even in the United States, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, the unvaccinated are responsible for the overwhelming majority of transmission.
Recently my cousin contacted me when her daughter tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter fell ill just weeks before her 12th birthday, when she would’ve been eligible for a vaccine. My fully vaccinated cousin spent nearly every moment at her side — always indoors and usually unmasked — yet never fell ill herself.
“The vaccine seems to be working. It’s magic!” she texted me. Before getting her shots, she would have almost certainly been infected, and likely passed it on to others. But the vaccine broke the chain of transmission. My cousin never spread her daughter’s COVID-19 to anyone because she never caught it.”
On the other hand, the coverage from the right wing media has been inexecrable and literally deadly effective. As your faithful correspondent and blogger, I have followed the right wing media for years on a regular basis as “opposition research.”
The national talk show hosts on AM radio regularly spout disinformation about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. I listen to the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show for a few minutes everyday. These guys are now occupying Rush Limbaugh’s time slot. Just about every time I tune in, they are discouraging their listeners from getting vaccinated by falsely casting doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Tucker Carlson of Fox News is probably worse than Clay and Buck. Carlson even encouraged his followers to forge and buy fake vaccination cards! He is just the tip of the iceberg of Fox’s nightly anti-vaxxer infomercial on its most popular primetime shows.
Interestingly enough, Fox has a vaccine passport system for its employees. For whatever reason, none of the anti-vaxxers have stopped to ask themselves why every single one of the right wing media entertainers who are pledging to fight against the so-called vaccine mandate are themselves vaccinated.
The numbers indicate that the right wing anti-vaccination campaign has been disturbingly effective. The aim of this propaganda campaign is to sabotage President Biden and the country in a cynical attempt to regain power. The radical right wants the pandemic to never end.
Numbers from an August 4 Kaiser Foundation poll:
86% of Democrats are vaxxed
65% of black adults are vaxxed
61% of Hispanic adults are vaxxed
54% of Republicans are vaxxed.
According to an August 24 NBC poll, 91 percent of Biden voters have been vaccinated but only 50 percent of Trump voters.
A September 13 Kaiser Foundation analysis on vaccination rates:
Biden counties: 52.8% fully vaccinated
Trump counties: 39.9% fully vaccinated
Of the Top 100 counties in deaths per capita, 95 of them now are from states that voted for Trump in 2016.
According to a September 23 Pew Poll, 83% of Americans who have relied on national news outlets for their information on the pandemic since April 2020 are vaccinated. In contrast, 59% of those who relied the most on Trump say they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 38% say they have not received a vaccine.
CNN recently used data from Johns Hopkins University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the following analysis.
The average rate of Covid-19 deaths in the 10 least vaccinated states was more than four times higher over the past week than the rate in the 10 most vaccinated states. Less vaccinated states tend to have higher hospitalization rates, as well.
Trump carried 9 out of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates. On the other hand, President Biden carried all 10 of the states with the highest vaccination rates.
The numbers don’t lie — the Republicans are the problem. It shouldn’t be called the Delta Variant — it should be called the Republican Variant. I don’t take any pleasure in this outcome. It’s really kind of sad to see so many of my fellow Americans being misled to their detriment by the grifters and quick buck artists in the right wing media.
We Democrats need to message aggressively that the right wing media and some elected officials are responsible for the resurgence of the pandemic. This Republican wave of vaccine resistance wasn’t an accident or bad luck. Instead, it was created by the right wing media to undermine President Biden.
“Had the US continued to vaccinate in the summer at the same rate as in the spring, the US would be near herd immunity by now. It took a lot of work by powerful people and institutions to prevent that outcome. It didn’t just *happen.* It was *done.*” David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush.
We need to make GOP sabotage and extremism the centerpiece of the 2022 campaign. There will be a lot of fired up Democrats and vaccinated people at the polls next year. They know that the Republican Party is completely unfit to govern. “Don’t agonize; organize. No whining; just winning.” Nancy Pelosi.