Well, so much for the heat putting an end to the Covid virus. It’s surging again in Mississippi during the hottest part of the year.
That’s just one of many surprises about this virus. Maybe it is so unpredictable because it was man made.
The CDC says the latest Delta variant has an RO of nine. That means for every one person who gets it, nine more will be infected. Wow! That makes it one of the most contagious diseases in all of history, ranking right up there with chickenpox but just below measles, which has an RO of 15. The flu has an RO of three.
So let’s run some numbers. By the last week of June, Mississippi was logging a thousand cases a day. Assuming an infectious period of seven days, that’s 7,000 infectious people during the last week of June. Each of those persons, hypothetically, will infect nine others.
So the math is 7,000 x 9 x 9 x 9 = 5,103,000. That’s more than Mississippi’s population of three million. Each “9” represents a week. So that’s just about everybody who can get infected getting infected in about a month.
Of course, the real world plays out differently. Those in the hospital or quarantining are less likely to infect others. Nevertheless, the contagiousness of the Delta variant indicates that this latest wave should be peaking soon.
England is probably the best comparison, since they just finished their fourth wave with Delta. From the start to the peak, it was about a month.
Mississippi’s Delta wave started gaining momentum about the middle of July, so our peak should come in the middle or late August, about now. Both the hypothetical and the real world numbers seem to support this, but who knows?
It’s amazing to think that 18 months ago, with a fraction of the Covid cases now, we were huddled in our homes too afraid to go out. Yet today, with record high cases, nobody is batting an eye. The only change is a small percent of the population is back to wearing masks.
How can this be? For one thing, Covid was an unknown 18 months ago. Now it is known. We fear the unknown. We learn to live with the known.
Another factor is that we are just plain tired of being in panic mode. Humans are creatures of habit. We have our ways because that’s how we like to live. We can only change our lifestyle for so long before we revert to the norm. It’s just human nature.
In addition, the Delta variant is less deadly. In the first wave, we had 15 deaths a day out of 240 cases a day. That’s a case fatality rate of six percent. That scared the bejeebers out of us.
The case fatality rate dropped to 3 percent in the second wave and 1.5 percent in the third wave. Today, the fourth wave is displaying a case fatality rate of .5 percent (although this could go up over the coming weeks.)
This means the latest Delta strain is displaying a case fatality rate that is not far from the flu, which we’ve lived with for a hundred years.
Strangely, the flu has disappeared all over the world and no one understands why. It’s as though Covid has displaced the flu’s spot in the human ecosystem, like Asian carp are displacing the native Buffalo. How this works is a mystery, but remember, like the universe, there is far more we don’t know than we do know about the microscopic world.
Another reason we are so blaise is the vaccine. The vaccine is a big soft security blanket for those terrified by Covid. For those not terrified, they never wanted to lock down in the first place and they’re sure not now.
I remember the first time I got the flu. I was sick as a dog. When I learned about the flu shot, I was first in line. I’ve been taking one every year. For me, it works.
When Covid came along, I got a second measles, mumps and rubella shot because there was, and is, evidence that it lessens the severity of Covid. When I got Covid, I had a mild case.
When the Covid vaccines came along, I got them as soon as I was eligible. The first one wreaked havoc on my left arm and shoulder, but nothing is risk free. Delta is now raging. I feel fine.
I know several people who didn’t get the vaccine. They got extremely ill and very much rue their decision. They encourage everyone to get the vaccine.
So what do we make of the majority of Mississippians who aren’t vaccinated?
I, for one, am not going to call them fools. Jesus said we risk the fires of hell when we call someone a fool. That person is God’s creation and calling someone a fool is like calling God a fool. Don’t go there. It’s real bad juju.
I have many intelligent friends and acquaintances who are not vaccinated. When I inquire further about their decision, they give me sane, rational, reasonable reasons for not getting vaccinated.
The first main reason is prior infection. The second main reason is the experimental nature of the vaccine. Indeed, history is full of botched vaccines and medicines that wreaked much havoc and mayhem. They are waiting for a longer test period.
As our health commissar Thomas Dobbs says, you’re going to get vaccinated one way or the other, either with a man-made vaccine or the real Delta deal. Your choice.
Forced vaccination is an interesting social and political dilemma. Our country has a long history of requiring children to be vaccinated to attend public schools. There’s a huge group that blames the rise of autism on that program, despite little or no scientific evidence.
For the record, I implore every Mississippian to get vaccinated. It is, by far the lesser of the two evils. It is no exaggeration to say the vaccine could save your life and/or the life of others. It is a public duty.
Any reader of the Sun knows this paper is pro-vaccine. Yet I have gotten a huge amount of heat for running a few anti-vax opinion pieces.
We may be old-school, but we believe in J. S. Mill’s the “marketplace of ideas.” Anti-vax opinions are real and substantial and an objective, impartial newspaper should present all sides of an argument. We believe the vast majority of our readers appreciate that.
Recall that the idea that Covid was created in a lab was banned by Facebook and Twitter as “fake news” and repressed. Come to find out, it probably was lab made. This is why a real newspaper should present all sides of a debate and not ban opinions with which it disagrees.