Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Illusion of Control

A magician uses misdirection to create illusions.

They get the audience to focus on the misdirection in order to hide the reality.




I can't help but think of a magician when I consider much of what the CDC and the political class is doing with regard to Covid.

Why were masks so heavily promoted and mandated after they were initially disparaged? The science before Covid clearly showed that cloth and surgical masks were of almost no value against a virus that is aerosolized.

Additional studies since Covid  appeared have reached the same conclusion. One high profile study was done in Denmark. 

The reason that masks were promoted so heavily is they provided the illusion of control.

It made it appear that something was being done to protect the population.

It made each of us believe that we were also controlling our destiny. After all, don't we all think it is better to do something rather than do nothing?

In fact, it was an illusion. It was nothing more than a masquerade if you look at the science and the subsequent data.

Bear in mind that at one time the CDC Director actually stated that masks would be more effective than the vaccines in combating Covid.


Source: https://twitter.com/i/status/1306257291726016514


We were also told that if everyone wore a mask for 1-2 months that Covid would be controlled.



That statement was made over one year ago.

Almost every state established some form of mask mandate last year between May and August. At the beginning of October, 2020, 88% of Americans stated they typically wore a mask when away from home.



Mask adherence nationally was over 80% until May of this year.

This chart compares mask usage with the number of confirmed positive cases for the one year period March, 2020 through March, 2021.


Source: https://twitter.com/wesbury/status/1367881664739819521

It is difficult to see any correlation between mask usage and the transmission of Covid in this data.

In fact, a study by the CDC actually found that an overwhelming number of people getting Covid wore a mask "always" or "often".

Keep the magician analogy in mind as we see what the CDC, Joe Biden and the political class have up their sleeves next regarding Covid.

There are rumors that we will see additional calls for mask mandates and lockdowns to combat the rise in Covid cases sometime within the next two weeks.

They want to portray that they are in control.

However, it could very well be that the current surge in cases might be in the early stages of turning down in the Sunbelt states that are currently driving it. I believe that the increase in cases is being driven principally by seasonality factors much like was the case last year.

Let's look at the UK and India which were both ahead of the United States in dealing with the Delta variant which is being blamed for the current increase in cases in the U.S.

There seems to be a pattern with Covid in which cases surge for 45 days when a major outbreak begins until it turns down.

You can observe this pattern in the UK in the wave last Winter as well as the recent so-called Delta variant wave.



You can see the same pattern in India where the Delta variant is reported to have originated.



The UK had a high vaccination rate before the surge. Cases are now dropping quickly but it seems that has nothing to do with vaccine rates. In fact, most cases in the UK have been in vaccinated people.

India has less than 10% vaccinated but cases dropped quickly with no apparent reason. 

Experts have no real answers on what happened in either instance.

Let's look at Florida which is having the highest number of cases reported in the United States right now.

Cases were running at the lowest levels since the pandemic began in the week of June 15-June 22 when cases started an upsurge.

This would suggest Florida is very close to the peak if the UK and India patterns hold. We should start to see decreasing cases in Florida soon irrespective of government interventions if the prior pattern repeats itself.



In fact, Covidestim.org calculates that the Effective Reproduction Number (Rt) is already showing signs of flattening in Florida. It increased above 1.0 on June 21 (41 days ago).

This is an indicator that typically signals whether cases will soon be increasing (above 1.0) or declining (below 1.0) in the near future.


Source: https://covidestim.org/us/FL


Is it possible that the CDC is aware of this and by implementing new mandate recommendations ( vaccinations, masks or lockdowns) they can then argue that "it worked" to maintain control and credibility when cases inevitably come down?

Is the illusion of control more important than actual results?

If this is their strategy they cannot allow Governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas to go their own way. It represents too big a threat to that strategy.

What if Florida and Texas do nothing and cases plummet on their own?

This is why I expect major attacks and unrelenting pressure on red state governors to keep them from going their separate ways. It is too big a risk to the narrative.

If everyone is together in the herd you don't risk being called out and criticized later. Outside the herd the individual decision you make will make you a hero or a goat. There is no hiding outside the herd. You are exposed and accountable.

DeSantis became a hero to many because he was able to withstand the heat and take Florida in a different direction last year on Covid policy. He now faces a new challenge as do other red state governors.

Can they hold up to the pressure? If they can, we may find out who is right and wrong in all of this. It is impossible to do that if everyone is in the herd.

Magicians only seem magical when you see the illusion but not the reality.

What happens in New York, Illinois and other deep blue states if they implement more mandates and restrictions but seasonality starts to drive cases up as the weather cools despite all of the measures and mandate?

Here is the Rt for Illinois. It is already higher than Florida and still climbing right now.



Here it is for California which has always had stricter mitigation measures in place than Florida. The Rt in California is also higher than Florida.


Source: https://covidestim.org/us/CA


Vermont has the highest percentage of residents vaccinated of any state.

It also has a higher Rt than Florida right now but it also appears that the reproduction number is starting to roll over.


Source: https://covidestim.org/us/VT

Mississippi has the the fewest number of residents vaccinated of any state.

Its current Rt is 1.89 and rising.



However, Connecticut has the third highest vaccination rate in the country.

There is almost no difference in its Rt (1.87) and that of Mississippi (1.89) right now.



The narrative is clear. We need more vaccinations, more mask mandates and more restrictions. It is the only way.

Is it really? Perhaps it is.

However, what does the data and almost 18 months or experience with Covid tell us? Shouldn't we be in a better place if the narrative is true.?  It tells me we don't have all the answers. It tells me that the people in control of the narrative are mainly interested in providing us the illusion of control.

We could be moving into one of the most interesting times we have yet seen with Covid.

We may end up with two herds moving in different directions.

It may reveal who got it right and who got it wrong. 

It may reveal a real path to control Covid or we may find that much of what we have been told was a mere illusion designed to control the narrative and control us.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nothing Is Under Control Except You

Exactly one year ago Joe Biden criticized Donald Trump as being "late in the game" in his response to Covid.  He said that Covid was not under control and that a federal plan was necessary with better guidelines to get the virus under control. He stated he was in favor of mask mandates as part of his plan.

Since that time 343 million doses of Covid vaccines have been delivered in the United States.

67% of the age 12+ population (those eligible for the vaccine) have received at least one dose of the vaccines.

58% are fully vaccinated.

90% of the age 65+ population have received at least one dose.


Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

The vaccines are free to the public.

The federal government is paying Pfizer $19.50 per dose and Moderna $15 for each shot.

Health providers who administer the shot also receive $17-$28 per jab.

Therefore, the total cost to the federal government is about $40 per dose.

That would mean that almost $14 billion has been spent on the Covid vaccine program by the federal government thus far. In addition, several billion dollars more have been spent promoting the vaccines through advertising and incentive payments to get people vaccinated.

How many new cases of Covid did we have last year (3-day moving average) when Joe Biden was criticizing Donald Trump?

The number of new daily confirmed cases was 60,623 on July 28, 2020.


Credit: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/


What is the number on July 28, 2021 after the United States has spent that enormous sum of money  "vaccinating" the majority of the population?

71,469!


Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/


Don't you think this fact is reason enough to question whether the vaccines are effective at their intended purpose?

You may have noticed that the political class is now shifting the narrative to something like this.

"We never said the vaccines were going to stop infections, but they will keep you out of the hospital." 

However, the fact is that the emergency use authorizations were given to the Covid vaccines based entirely on preventing infection, not hospitalization.

Below is an excerpt from the review memorandum from the FDA when the EUA was granted for the Pfizer vaccine. Note the intended use for the "unapproved product".


Source: https://www.fda.gov/media/144416/download

It says nothing about preventing severe disease or hospitalizations. It was authorized because the PHARMA companies stated in their EUA applications that it would PREVENT disease.

Here is the same document for the Moderna vaccine.


Source: https://www.fda.gov/media/144673/download

Let's restate the facts.

2/3 of the entire population of the United States age 12+ has received at least one dose of the vaccines.

Cases are higher today than one year ago when there were no vaccines.

How can it be said that the vaccines are preventing Covid-19?

It defies all reason and logic. Every vaccinated person and every prior infection should reduce the odds of transmission of the virus. The virus is spreading faster today than it did one year ago. Something is amiss.

It also makes no sense to argue that 1/3 of the population of the United States is driving the increase in cases and the answer is to vaccinate more people.

Similarly, it is difficult to understand what reimposing mask mandates is going to do.

Most of the mask mandates across the country were put in place in July of last year. A few states put mandates in place earlier but by the end of July most states had mask mandates.

You can see that once in place mask adherence was almost 100% very quickly.


Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7561164/


What I find interesting in looking back at the data is that the mask mandates were instituted at almost the same time that cases were heading down last year.

Of course, despite the mask mandates and high rates of mask adherence, cases started rising in the Fall and peaked in January four times higher than they were when the mask mandates were instituted.

Did the masks do anything? It certainly is not apparent looking at the data.

How can anyone look at this data and state that the answer is more vaccines in people's arms and more mask mandates?

It is counter factual looking at well over a year of data on Covid.

You might even say at this point that it is not consistent with the SCIENCE.

The good news in all of this is that deaths have not increased in conjunction with the increased number of daily cases thus far.



This may be due to the vaccines.

Then again, it may be due to the fact that the current Covid variants are less virulent that what we were seeing last year. It may also be due to the fact that we have gotten better at treating Covid with therapeutics such as Regeneron and other treatments. Unfortunately, it may be that more deaths are yet to come from the increasing cases and hospitalizations. 

Hospitalizations from Covid are also moving higher recently. The narrative is that these are almost all unvaccinated but this does not pass the smell test. The CDC is not making this data available to compare vaccinated vs. unvaccinated hospitalizations.

Let't look at the numbers we do have from the CDC.

New hospitalizations are also higher today than they were a year ago.



The rate of hospitalizations for Covid on August 1 last year was 1.55/100,000 when no one was vaccinated.

It was 1.56/100,000 on July 26, 2021 with 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.

How is anyone making the case that the vaccines are the answer? The reality of the data is they actually might be a part of the problem.

For example, look at the rate of hospitalizations for Covid for those in the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups.

On August 1, 2020 the hospitalization rate for those 30-39 was .68/100,000 with no vaccinations.

On July 26, 2021 it was 1.35/100,000 with about 50% of all those in this age group fully vaccinated.

In other words, hospitalizations have doubled even though half of this age group has been vaccinated since last year.


New Hospital Admissions for Covid-19
Ages 30-39
Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions



For those ages 40-49 the hospital admission rate was 1.09 at this time last year and it was 1.92 on July 26, 2021. 58% of this age group is fully vaccinated today compared to 0% last year.


New Hospital Admissions for Covid-19
Ages 40-49
Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions


Even those between the ages 60-69, of which almost 90% have received the vaccine, are seeing an increase in hospitalizations from Covid.

The most current rate of hospitalization is 2.57/100,000. Last year it was 2.12 when no one was vaccinated.


New Hospitalizations for Covid-19
Ages 60-69
Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions


Can someone explain this?

Are we sure that somehow the vaccines are not creating Antibody Dependent Enhancement where those who are vaccinated are actually getting sicker when exposed to the virus after getting the jab than they would otherwise? Those who warned about this potential problem when the mass vaccine roll-out began stated that it would most likely affect those younger than those older due to more robust immune systems. Is that occurring?

I don't know but I do know that something does not add up right now when looking at the data.

If the vaccines are working why are there so many more cases and why are so many more young people being admitted to the hospital now with vaccines available compared to last year when they were not?

There are just too many moving parts with Covid for anyone to be making declarative statements as to what is true and what is not.

I look at the data and asks questions based on what I see in the numbers.

Why then does the political class persist in making those definitive statements even when the data is practically shouting at them to not do so?

It seems to me that they should be honestly seeking answers to these questions rather than declaring they have absolute answers to everything while suppressing all debate. 

In the meantime, it is becoming increasingly clear that Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci and the CDC do not have anything under control with Covid right now. The data shows that Covid is under less control today than it was a year ago when Trump was their target.

Unfortunately, their only answer to everything involving Covid is to try to enforce more control over your life and everyone else.

Nothing is under control right now except you.

Don't let them control you with false narratives unsupported by hard facts and data.

Be smart. Be aware of the data. Understand that the political class and public health officials are deeply invested in the narrative. At this point, would they ever be willing to admit they were wrong about anything?

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Sinking Fast?

Whoever is pulling the strings for Joe Biden must be getting a little nervous.


Credit: Greg Groesch, Washington Times


The American people are becoming increasingly uneasy and that usually portends trouble for the person in charge.

The biggest indicator is an ABC/IPSOS poll that was recently released that showed that only 45% of Americans are optimistic about where the country is headed over the next year. 55% are pessimistic.

In April, 64% were optimistic. That is a 19 point drop in three months.

Furthermore, a Rasmussen poll this week found that only 37% of likely U.S. voters think the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

The underlying numbers in the ABC/IPSOS poll reveal the dimensions of the problems mounting for Biden.

Only 39% approve of the way Biden is handling the crime problem.

Only 37% approve of the way immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is being handled.

Only 37% approve of how Biden is addressing gun violence.

Biden does maintain majority support from Democrats on these issues. However, he only has the support of about one-third of Independents on these issues. His support from Republicans---about 10%.

If I were a Biden advisor I would be more concerned about the issues that Biden is receiving positive marks right now. 

Why? 

Storm clouds are already gathering on the horizon that could result in Biden's approval rating sinking fast.

Biden has a 63% approval for his handling of the Covid response. Cases are rising and there is increasing talk of reimposed mandates, booster shots and other measures. What happens to that approval number if cases numbers continue to rise?

55% approve of his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal. The Taliban is already capturing large swaths of the country. What if Afghanistan is overtaken by turmoil and terrorists?

53% feel positive about the economic recovery. However, inflation risk seems to be everywhere. Biden and his advisors are saying this is temporary. What if it is not?

What I find interesting is that on all of the issues that Biden scores highest he inherited positive momentum from Trump.

Covid cases reached their peak on January 8, 2021 two weeks before Biden took office. Cases dropped 80% over the next two months. They leveled off for two months and then dropped further until bottoming out in mid-June. Cases have now rebounded to levels last seen in April.


Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/


The prevailing narrative is that cases decreased due to vaccine distribution. However, the vaccines and the distribution began during the Trump administration.

Biden took over with the wind at this back.

Biden may soon be facing headwinds on Covid. Are the vaccines as effective as has been advertised? Does public opinion turn on Biden on Covid if there is bad news ahead on the virus?

The situation with Afghanistan is similar. Trump spent most of his four year pressuring the military to develop plans for a measured withdrawal from that country. Biden merely is following the plans that were established during the Trump administration.

The economy was also recovering nicely in the last months of the Trump administration. Most of the GDP lost in the second quarter of 2020 due to the Covid lockdowns was regained in the third quarter, 2020. Building on that were solid 4.3% gains in the fourth quarter, 2020 and the first quarter, 2021 that, in part, was on Trump's watch.


Source: https://www.bea.gov/data/gdp/gross-domestic-product


At the same time, inflation has been increasing every month since Biden took office.


Monthly Chained Inflation Rate in the USA (June 2020-June 2021)
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/191121/monthly-chained-inflation-rate-in-the-us/

The Biden administration claims that the inflation pressures are transitory and will only be temporary.

That might be true for lumber prices and used car prices. 

However, any wage inflation is not going to be reversed. Once a new pay scale is established it is rarely undone.

We will see what Biden's approval is on the economy if price inflation continues on the current trend. 

You put all of this together and Joe Biden is not in a place that anyone should envy.

Once the weight of these issues starts to accumulate, it is easy to start sinking fast.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Monday Meanderings

Monday seems like a good day to clear out my inventory of charts and graphs that I found interesting over the last few weeks in my meandering research.

India

Encouraging news from India which was the world's Covid hotspot two months ago.

Cases have plummeted over 90% since the peak.


Credit: https://twitter.com/tlowdon/status/1417551379241922562

Latest Covid Seroprevalence data shows that 70% of population now have antibodies from previous infection. It was less than 1% a year ago. It was 25% at the beginning of the year.


Source: https://twitter.com/Humble_Analysis/status/1417588323434983427/photo/1

Vaccines seem to have had little effect in drop in cases in India. Only 2% fully vaccinated at peak in May---6% now. 




Hospitalizations for Covid

This is a great chart to provide perspective on the serious cases of Covid that require hospitalizations.

It compares hospitalizations for Covid of those age 65+ with those for children in 2020 and for 2021 until early July.



Note that hospitalizations among those age 65+ dropped dramatically between Week 1 of 2021 and Week 9 (first week of March). It then leveled out for about two months before dropping further from early May until early July when the data set ends.

Note that the curve is also similar to last year but at a lower level.

The working assumption is that the decrease is due to the vaccines. However, seasonality may also be in play as it was last year. The fact is that very few of those age 65+ had received both doses of the vaccine by March 1. About 41% had received at least one dose by that time.

It will be interesting to see what the next two months reveals. Will the hospitalization curve for age 65+ increase again?

The real test will be in the Fall when the United States must fight the seasonality trend in the northern states. That is when we will really know how effective the vaccines are.

The other revealing fact in this slide is that it graphically shows that an unvaccinated child is many times more protected from the virus than a vaccinated adult.

To add more context to this point, the CDC estimated back in March that 42% of school age children had already been infected with Covid with very little serious effect. This was a greater incidence of infection than any other age group.



Credit: https://twitter.com/kerpen/status/1417948092603772935/photo/1


Why then is there such a motivation to vaccinate this group?


Heat and Fire

We are in that season when the popular narrative is that the planet is burning up with unprecedented heat.

This year that also includes a narrative that we have NEVER seen such devastating wildfires in the Western United States.

The fact is that in the United States it was much, much WARMER in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's than it is today in terms of severe heat (95+ degrees F).

This chart graphs temperatures above 95F at all historical climatology stations since 1895.


Source: https://twitter.com/Tony__Heller/status/1418537246441951236/photo/1

What about those UNPRECEDENTED wildfires?

Here are the year-to-date statistics for the last ten years taken directly from the National Interagency Fire Center website.


Source: https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/nfn

Acres burned year-to-date in 2021 are actually only 76% of the 10-year AVERAGE. 


Hitting the Links

The pandemic has been very good for the golf industry.




Uncharted Territory

A great chart to end on.

Would you say we are in uncharted territory?

How long will lenders be willing to lend money and lose 4% on the deal?

How does this end? 

This clearly cannot continue without an adjustment on one end or the other.



 Credit: https://twitter.com/awealthofcs/status/1415659237276098562/photo/1


Do not fear.

Joe Biden says the answer is to borrow and spend another $4.1 trillion for "human infrastructure" (and a little thrown in for bridges, roads and the like) which is going to "reduce inflation"

"If we pass the other two things I'm trying to get done, we will reduce inflation. Reduce inflation. Reduce inflation. Because, we're going to be providing good opportunities and jobs for people who in fact are going to be reinvesting that money back into all the things we're talking about. Driving down prices, not raising prices. "


I guess we can count on it.




Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Fog of the Covid War

BeeLine is driven by data.

The information I share, the judgments I make and the opinions I have are formed by data.

I also take into account that while data is objective, all data can be manipulated.

That is why I typically go to additional lengths to take a step back and attempt to discern if the data passes the smell test. Does it conform with common sense? Is it consistent with data from other sources? Does the person who compiled the data have an agenda?

The biggest reason I became interested in writing about Covid was that it was a data-rich subject.

As you recall, early in the pandemic all of the decisions being made were based on models of what experts told us what was going to occur.

We had to lockdown because hospitals were going to be overwhelmed.

If we did not do so a couple million people would die in the United States in a matter of months.

In the first couple of weeks I took these claims seriously. After all, we were dealing with the unknown. The "experts" should know, shouldn't they? They should have the best data.

Two weeks into the lockdown I started to see that what we were being told did not match the reality of the data that was coming in.

What drove me over the edge were projections that Ohio's Governor and Public Health Director were using to justify the extension of the severe lockdown and school closures at that time. Mind you, at that time they weren't even telling people to wear face masks. They were telling people to not wear masks. A mask mandate would not be imposed in Ohio until mid-July.

Here is a graph of one of the models that these officials were relying on at that time. I published this originally in my blog post "Models and Reality" on March 29, 2020.




It was projecting that 100,000 Ohioans would be in the hospital by the middle of May if we used a shelter in place policy for the next 3 months.

The state's public health director, Dr. Amy Acton, stated that she was expecting 10,000 new cases each day at the peak in May and this was with the current Covid policies in place until then.

The same model that projected 100,000 hospitalizations by mid-May forecast 174,000 deaths from the Covid pandemic of Ohio's nearly 12 million people.

I wrote at that time that none of this passed the smell test for me. The data I was seeing thus far simply did not fit the narrative.

The data later proved my instincts were correct.

What were the number of confirmed cases cases in Ohio by mid-May? 600 per day.

What were the number of hospitalizations at that time? Less than 80 per day.

It is true that confirmed cases in Ohio did eventually reach over 10,000 cases per day in November. However, that was six months after a mandatory mask mandate had been in effect in the state. How effective was it?

Total Covid hospitalizations for the last 16+ months are just over 60,000 in Ohio.

The modelers are still at it.

Here is a model that the University of Texas recently published projecting hospitalizations in Texas from Covid over the next month. It projects over 15,000 will be in the hospital in that state by the middle of August.  Currently there are 3,000.


Source: https://covid-19.tacc.utexas.edu/dashboards/texas/

We will see where the real data takes us.

However, if this turns out to be true it tells me that the vaccines are a total failure. I don't believe that right now looking at the data. I think the vaccines have had a very positive impact, particularly with those who are older. That seems apparent when looking at the data.

For example, this heat map shows deaths by age in the UK since the beginning of the pandemic. There was a significant decrease in deaths in older ages in the UK in the last few months despite the rise in cases due to the Delta variant. That is very good news that the vaccines are working for those who need the most protection.


Source: https://twitter.com/Covid19Crusher/status/1417592231561768962/photo/1


At the same time, I think the vaccines have been oversold and I think there are substantial questions of whether the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for large portions of the population. This is particularly true to anyone under the age of 50. That opinion is based on DATA.

Look at the heat map again. There has been little mortality in anyone under age 50 throughout the pandemic.

It has been said that the Covid vaccines do not necessarily prevent someone from getting the infection but they are supposed to be highly protective to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death.

60% of the age 12+ population in Texas has received at least one dose of the vaccines.

52% of the age 12+ population has been fully vaccinated in Texas.

83% of the 65+ age population has received at least one dose in Texas. 75% both doses.

Considering these facts, how is it possible to project that Texas could have more hospitalizations over the next month than it has had since the beginning of the pandemic? The only conclusion would be that the vaccines are not working.

You may have also heard recently the "data" that 99% of all deaths from Covid currently are among those who unvaccinated.

A number like that perks up my antenna.

If that is true, why are other countries with high vaccination rates showing much higher levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths among those vaccinated than unvaccinated?

Something about the U.S. data does not add up when viewed against the data in other highly vaccinated countries that are seeing spikes in cases.

We then have Joe Biden saying this last night at a town hall meeting on CNN.




You can view the video clip here.

If you want to view another Biden cringeworthy response from last night watch this clip.

This is the leader of the free world and is totally in control of what is going on?

He clearly seem to be unaware of the six Texas legislators, Nancy Pelosi's press aide and White House staffers who were fully vaccinated but recently were reported to have Covid.


At the White House briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed to reporters that a White House staffer has tested positive for Covid-19 after meeting with the Democrats who fled Texas to prevent a quorum on voting legislation. She also revealed that other staffers have tested positive, something that had previously not been shared with the press.


Biden also must not be aware of what is going on in the rest of the world.

These countries all have vaccinated a significantly higher number of their population compared to the rest of the world.



This is a graph of confirmed cases in these same countries (except Gibraltar for which Our World in Data does not have a data set).

However, this is the data on cases for Gibraltar for the period July1-17.


Source: https://twitter.com/TedPetrou/status/1416526132522930179

That equals about 332 cases/day per million. That would be about 100,000 cases per day in the United States. That is about 3 times what the U.S. is experiencing right now. Gibraltar has essentially vaccinated every person in the country age 12+.

Note that cases have exploded in these countries compared to the World numbers. They have also all gone up together whereas previously each had individual curves that were not related.



Why? What is the data telling us? It is certainly not telling us that if people have the vaccinations they are not going to get Covid as Biden alleged last night.

Where is the support coming for the "99% of deaths from Covid now are among those who are unvaccinated"?

It seems to come from an Associated Press analysis of data from May which concluded that only .8% of deaths from Covid in that month involved fully vaccinated people.

That report also quoted Andy Slavitt, a former Biden advisor on Covid, suggesting that 98%-99% of deaths from Covid were among the unvaccinated.

Interestingly, in doing my research I found that the CDC has not published any numbers breaking Covid deaths down between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The AP report cited this as the reason.

The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.

The key limitation appears to be that not all states and counties are breaking down this information and reporting it.

I have found that it is also difficult to research the background data at the state and local level as few are publicly reporting the breakdown of cases, hospitalizations and deaths split between vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

I did find data from San Diego County, California which I think is illustrative of how the data is being used to provide an inaccurate view of what is really going on.

San Diego reports that just .3% of the deaths from Covid in the county since January 1, 2021 have been in those fully vaccinated. This would be consistent with the narrative we are hearing.


Source: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/COVID-19%20Case%20Summary%20by%20Vaccination%20Status.pdf


However, consider when most of the deaths occurred this year. They were almost all in January and February before ANYONE was fully vaccinated!


Source: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/COVID-19%20Deaths%20by%20Date%20of%20Death.pdf


What is happening in San Diego County more recently? 

64% of all residents age 12+ are fully vaccinated. The number is 86% for age 65+.

What are the numbers for Covid deaths broken down between vaccinated and unvaccinated for the last 30 days?

There were only 3 total deaths in the last 30 days in all of San Diego County which has a population of 3.5 million people. 2 vaccinated and 1 unvaccinated.

3 deaths in 3.5 million people in 30 days in one of the most populous counties in the United States!

That alone puts some of this in better perspective.


Source: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/COVID-19%20Case%20Summary%20by%20Vaccination%20Status.pdf


Admittedly, that is a small sample size of deaths but it is illustrative of how the data can be used to mislead.

It is true that there were a lot more cases in those who were not fully vaccinated and there was a greater chance for hospitalizations. However, it is not true that almost all recent deaths are among the unvaccinated.

I don't know what the real truth is on the percentage of Covid deaths today that are related to those who are vaccinated.

However, I am certain it is not 1%. My suspicion is that this is a manipulated number based on data from early in the year. It does not represent current conditions as it is being portrayed to the public.

What is the real number?

I don't know.

It is most common to find generalized statements that "almost all deaths (or cases or hospitalizations) are among the unvaccinated "but there is no data backing it up to see it for yourself.

For example, here is a headline from Forbes along those lines.


From the Forbes article.

Michael Ricci, communications director for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), wrote in a tweet that 100% of the state’s coronavirus fatalities in June were among the unvaccinated. 

Though Ricci did not specify Maryland’s death toll, data compiled by the New York Times shows 127 of the state’s residents died from Covid-19 in June, a decrease of over 70% from the 458 killed the month prior. 

Ricci also said that data shows 95% of new Covid-19 cases and 93% of hospitalizations were from unvaccinated people.

I could not not find data anywhere on Maryland's Covid site to confirm those numbers or to put them in context. Maryland is not breaking the numbers out. Is there a reason?

It appears that Forbes could not find it either.

Hogan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the data from Forbes.

One of the problems in getting good information is the CDC stopped counting breakthrough Covid cases among vaccinated people beginning May 1. Thus, Covid cases among the unvaccinated are all counted. Covid cases among the vaccinated are only counted if the case results in a hospitalization or death.

From the CDC website:

Source: CDC

How can the CDC really understand the full impact of how effective the vaccines are if they are not even collecting case data on the breakthrough infections of those vaccinated?

Logic says that cases should come down if the vaccine is doing what we are told it can do. Every additional vaccination should have a positive effect on the numbers.

Hospitalizations should come down.

Deaths should also decline.

This appeared to be the case for the last several months.

However, all of these measures are now advancing upwards.

Why?

Are the vaccines not as effective against current variants?

Are the vaccines losing their effectiveness over time?

Were we tricked into believing that the vaccines were more effective than they really are?

After all, remember that the majority of the clinical trials in the United States were conducted in the Spring and Summer last year when seasonality factors were not present in most of the world.

How will the vaccines perform in the Fall season when viruses spread much more easily in the populous northern states?

I am going to be looking closely at the data over the next six weeks. 

How will the Sunbelt perform which is at particular risk right now based on seasonality factors?

Will we see anything close to the projections in the model for Texas? If we do, I predict big problems ahead because it will signal a major failure in the vaccines.

What will we see when school's open?

As I have written previously, I am more concerned with the spread of other viruses in the school setting this Fall since so many children have not had the opportunity to allow their natural immune systems to be primed to combat a range of pathogens.

If you doubt this, take a look at what is going on in New Zealand (Winter season) right now and the epidemic curve for RSV in that country compared to past years.  


Source: https://twitter.com/ID_ethics/status/1417354659568578561/photo/1

 

I will go where the data takes me.

I will not blindly follow "the narrative".

The most troubling aspect of everything we have seen the last 18 months is the unwillingness of our political and public health establishment to do the same.

Why are they afraid of being transparent with the data?

Why do they feel compelled to silence any contrary views?

Why aren't they humble enough to simply admit there are many things they don't know about the virus, its origins and the vaccines?

I don't know the answers to the questions I have posed. There are too many moving parts. We are in the midst of the fog of war when battling this pandemic.

The fog will lift at some point. The data will reveal the truth.

Let us pray that those who are pushing the narrative are on the right side of that truth.