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2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Summary:
By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Patient readers, I’m still playing catch-up from my power failure, and I have a good deal both in Politics and Health to come. There’s plenty under Health to take about more, and there is more to come. –lambert Bird Song of the Day * * * #COVID19 At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching…. We already start to an instant rebound from Labor Day, I assume because reporting is returning to normal. Nevertheless, Labor Day, as the end of summer, also signals life changes for Americans, so those changes will affect the numbers too. We shall see! Vaccination by region: Down again. 54.1% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I’m still playing catch-up from my power failure, and I have a good deal both in Politics and Health to come. There’s plenty under Health to take about more, and there is more to come. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

* * *

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….

We already start to an instant rebound from Labor Day, I assume because reporting is returning to normal. Nevertheless, Labor Day, as the end of summer, also signals life changes for Americans, so those changes will affect the numbers too. We shall see!

Vaccination by region:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Down again.

54.1% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by world standards, being just below Ecuador, and just above Switzerland and Malaysia). We are back to the 0.1% stately rise per day. This is the number that should change if Biden’s mandates “work.” However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus… (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well.)

Case count by United States regions:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Big drop, supporting Monday reporting catch-up theory. I’m almost inclined to call the last peak and, as in December and January of last year, worry about the next peak from school re-opening. I dunno. Maybe, again, somebody caught up on the backlog Monday. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January. The populations are different, though. This one is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Speculating freely: If the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible.

“Here’s What the Next Six Months of the Pandemic Will Bring” [Bloomberg]. “For anyone hoping to see light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel over the next three to six months, scientists have some bad news: Brace for more of what we’ve already been through. Outbreaks will close schools and cancel classes. Vaccinated nursing home residents will face renewed fears of infection. Workers will weigh the danger of returning to the office as hospitals are overwhelmed, once again. Almost everyone will be either infected or vaccinated before the pandemic ends, experts agree. Maybe both. An unlucky few will contract the virus more than once. The race between the waves of transmission that lead to new variants and the battle to get the globe inoculated won’t be over until the coronavirus has touched all of us.” • Even China. Oh, wait…

“Majority of Americans believe worst COVID-19 outbreak is yet to come: report” [The Hill]. “The American public has lived with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year now, and new national data suggests that a majority of 54 percent still think the worst of the virus is still yet to come. New data from the Pew Research Center highlights a bleak outlook surrounding the pandemic among most Americans, despite more known about the virus and vaccines that are readily available. This pessimistic sentiment has fallen from higher levels seen in November of 2020, when 71 percent believed that the worst of COVID-19 had yet to hit the U.S. This was during the record-breaking winter outbreaks of the virus, and prior to the resurgence seen this past summer with the onset of the delta variant. Like other topics, the sentiment expressed about the state of COVID-19 in America is largely partisan; more Republicans feel that the country has a better handle on the virus, with 53 percent feeling another major outbreak looms around the corner. In contrast, 59 percent of Democrats believe the U.S. is destined for yet another surge. The same trends exist among people based on their vaccination status. Fifty-six percent of unvaccinated adults feel the worst is still yet to come as opposed to 53 percent of vaccinated individuals who feel the same.”

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report September 13, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Ohio Valley less red. Upper Midwest and the Rockies more red; Fascinating to see the Sturgis cluster heal, though. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers, so the case chart still has momentum. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. Previous release:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

Test positivity:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

The South, the leader, steadily dropping.

Hospitalization (CDC):

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Dropping.

Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the source above:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

Alabama is heading downward at last, but things are picking up in the West.

“Idaho declares statewide hospital resource crisis amid Covid surge” [NBC]. “Idaho hospitals are so overwhelmed with the surge in coronavirus cases that doctors and nurses have to contact dozens of regional hospitals across the West in hopes of finding places to transfer individual critical patients. The situation has grown so bad that the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness announced Thursday that the entire state is in a hospital resource crisis, permitting medical facilities to ration health care and triage patients. Kootenai Health, a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has already converted a conference room into an overflow Covid unit, started paying traveling nurses $250 an hour and brought in a military medical unit. The hospital received permission from the state to begin rationing care last week. That’s all in response to the Covid surge that in recent weeks has taken over much of Idaho — a state with one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates.” • If only the pencil-necked MBAs in charge of our hospitals hadn’t optimized for profit, and left no spare capacity to handle a surge!

Deaths (Our World in Data):

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

We are approaching the same level as our first peak last year; I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line to show this. Which I am finding more than a little disturbing. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions.)

Covid cases worldwide:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

* * *

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

“Biden vows to “deal everyone in” as Nobel laureates back economic plan” [Axios]. “In East Room remarks Thursday afternoon on leveling the economic playing field, President Biden will argue that his Build Back Better plan will ‘deal everyone in.’… A White House official tells me that Biden will argue that the nation has reached an inflection point — whether or not to perpetuate an economy where the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations play by a set of rules they’ve written for themselves….

UPDATE “How a key Biden tax idea got crushed” [Full Stack Economics]. “President Joe Biden came into office planning to tax intergenerational wealth more heavily. He had several policy ideas to do this, and the most intellectually defensible of these was to change a capital gains tax provision called ‘step-up basis. ‘Under current law, when you sell an asset, you pay capital gains tax on the amount the asset appreciated. The appreciation is calculated by subtracting the acquisition price—known as the basis—from the sale price. However, there is an exception when you inherit an asset: the basis is the value of the asset at the time you inherited it, not the value at the time it was originally acquired. The capital gains between acquisition and inheritance are lost to the income tax system, as the Treasury Department explained in a recent report supporting Biden’s plan. Biden had hoped to address this issue in upcoming legislation. But that plan is now in shambles after a public revolt and a decisive push from lobbyists like former senator Heidi Heitkamp. Step-up repeal has been entirely removed from the latest plans released by House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal. ‘Frankly this is a humiliating climbdown from the administration’s posture,’ Capital Alpha Partners’ James Lucier told the Financial Times.” • Man oh man, the Massachusetts Democrats really did Biden a solid by smearing Alex Morse so Richie Neal would keep his seat, good job.

Democrats en Deshabille

“Gates Foundation Was Major Donor to Pro-Biden ‘Dark Money’ Network” [ReadSludge]. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave nearly $70 million last year to a major liberal charity that acts as the ‘parent’ organization of one of the largest pro-Democrat dark money groups, a recent update to the group’s online grant database reveals. It was the largest one-year commitment the foundation has made since 2014, and its second largest ever. The donations were given to Arabella Advisors’ New Venture Fund (NVF), a major player in the political nonprofit sphere that is the payroll reporting agent for Sixteen Thirty Fund, a dark money group that funneled tens of millions to super PACs during that 2020 election cycle that backed Democratic candidates including President Joe Biden. The most recent tax returns available (2019) show that New Venture Fund, which raised $450 million from anonymous sources that year, transferred $33 million to Sixteen Thirty—the largest single donation given by the former and received by the latter.” •

2020 Post Mortem

“Trump’s 2020 gains in rural America offset by Biden’s urban dominance” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee in more than three decades to earn more than 1.1 million votes in Los Angeles County last year, when his campaign attracted more than 375,000 new voters in what is otherwise a solidly Democratic fortress. But Trump’s success in finding new votes in the nation’s largest county was overshadowed by an even more opportunistic campaign — Joe Biden’s. The 46th president gained 500,000 more votes in Los Angeles County than the previous Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had in 2016….Former President Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee in more than three decades to earn more than 1.1 million votes in Los Angeles County last year, when his campaign attracted more than 375,000 new voters in what is otherwise a solidly Democratic fortress. But Trump’s success in finding new votes in the nation’s largest county was overshadowed by an even more opportunistic campaign — Joe Biden’s. The 46th president gained 500,000 more votes in Los Angeles County than the previous Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had in 2016. That pattern repeated itself in counties large and small last year, as both Biden and Trump drove turnout to a zenith not seen since before American women got the right to vote in 1920. Trump made substantial gains, improving on his 2016 performance to become the most-voted-for Republican presidential candidate in history — but lagging Biden, who earned more votes than any candidate to ever run for president regardless of party…. Biden won 91 of America’s 100 largest counties, while Trump carried 95 of the 100 counties with the smallest populations…. Many of those counties where Biden outperformed Clinton by huge margins made the difference in the Electoral College: He scored 337,000 more votes in Maricopa County, in Arizona, a state he carried by about 11,000 votes. He won 83,000 more votes in Atlanta’s Fulton County, on his way to carrying Georgia by just under 12,000 votes. And he won the four counties that surround Philadelphia with a combined 170,000 more votes than did Clinton, more than twice his overall margin of victory in Pennsylvania.” • “”For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” —Sen. Charles Schumer. Or in Fulton and Maricopa Counties? It would be bitterly ironic if Schumer’s prediction came true on the back of public health performance during a pandemic, particular since the Democrat performance is so miserably inadequate.

RussiaGate

UPDATE “Durham Is Said to Seek Indictment of Lawyer at Firm With Democratic Ties” [New York Times]. You guessed it: Perkins Coie. “John H. Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation, has told the Justice Department that he will ask a grand jury to indict a prominent cybersecurity lawyer on a charge of making a false statement to the F.B.I., people familiar with the matter said. Any indictment of the lawyer — Michael Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, and who represented the Democratic National Committee on issues related to Russia’s 2016 hacking of its servers — is likely to attract significant political attention. Donald J. Trump and his supporters have long accused Democrats and Perkins Coie — whose political law group, a division separate from Mr. Sussmann’s, represented the party and the Hillary Clinton campaign — of seeking to stoke unfair suspicions about Mr. Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016. Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies. An indictment is not a certainty: On rare occasions, grand juries decline prosecutors’ requests.” • Glenn Greenwald explains:

Yep. And Biden owes both Barr and Durham big time for slow-walking this.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“State Election Officials on Rich Donors’ Radar, Thanks to Trump” [Bloomberg]. “The once-obscure state-level job of overseeing elections has emerged as a prime target for wealthy donors and national organizers from both parties seeking an edge in the 2022 midterms that could shift control of Congress away from Democrats. Republicans are backing secretary of state contenders who echo Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through voter fraud, with donors including Richard Uihlen. Democrats have also seen an exponential increase in the amount of money they’re raising for the role, which is often sought as a stepping stone to higher statewide office….. [The] amounts pale in comparison to what is spent on national campaigns, but it is a lot for second-tier state offices.”

“U.S. Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over revised election reform plan” [Reuters]. “U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a new version of an election reform bill that is a top priority of President Joe Biden, as a wave of Republican state legislatures impose restrictions on voting. Senator Amy Klobuchar and seven fellow Democrats, including moderates such as Senator Joe Manchin, introduced the bill, which would set national standards for states to follow as they administer elections. The Democratic senators said their bill, dubbed the Freedom to Vote Act, would ensure that all qualified voters can request mail-in ballots and have at least 15 days of early voting. The legislation also would allow people to register to vote as late as Election Day, which would become a public holiday.” Election Day as a national holiday is quite sensible. But: “The pared-down bill abandons the previous version’s requirement for commissions to oversee the once-in-a-decade drawing of congressional districts with the goal of preventing oddly shaped, or gerrymandered, boundaries that favor one political party over another.” • This has never been a Democrat priority (presumably they feel they can gerrymander California, Illinois, and New York — especially with Cuomo gone — to offset Republican gains)?

UPDATE “New York Gerrymandering: When the Puzzle Pieces Don’t Fit” [Gotham Gazette]. “The New York State Senate’s lines were drawn by Republicans as part of a power-sharing agreement with Democrats, who were allowed to draw their own Assembly districts. One reason both parties maintained such strong grips on their respective chambers for so long is gerrymandering. Since the Democrats now have a supermajority in both houses, the power-sharing agreement no longer exists. That means that this year’s redistricting, occurring under several new parameters for the first time, is an opportunity to win lines that are more representative of actual communities.” • Hard to imagine things could be worse, but redistricting is not without its issues….

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to 332 thousand in the week ending September 11th from a pandemic low of 312 thousand reported last week due to a combination of unfavorable seasonals and a surge in applications delayed by Hurricane Ida. It is the first reading after the September 6th expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits including a $300 weekly supplement to regular state benefits from government pandemic aid.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US rose to 30.7 in September of 2021 from 19.4 in August, above forecasts of 18.8, suggesting general activity expanded faster.”

Inventories: “United States Business Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Manufacturers’ and trade inventories in the US increased 0.5% mom in July of 2021, following an upwardly revised 0.9% rise in June and in line with market expectations. It was the 13th consecutive month of gains in business inventories.”

* * *

Shipping: “‘Just Get Me a Box’: Inside the Brutal Realities of Supply Chain Hell” [Bloomberg]. “The system underpinning globalization—production on one side of the planet, connected to consumers on the other by trucks, ships, planes, cranes, and forklifts—is too rigid to absorb today’s rolling tremors from Covid-19, or to recover quickly from the jolts to consumer demand or the labor force. It’s avoided a complete collapse only through a combination of human ingenuity, painfully long hours, and, as [logistics manager RoxAnne Thomas] describes a recent success, strategy, mixed with a stroke of luck…. [S]upply uncertainties, disruptions, and inflationary forces are here for the foreseeable future, perhaps into 2023. But how things play out this month, one of two peak seasons each year for goods, will be crucial in determining how long these shortages last and which companies are able to adapt…. With summer winding down, the big test of the global trading system’s resilience might still be ahead. Every October a weeklong national holiday in China marks the unofficial deadline to get shipments out of the world’s second-largest economy in time to reach the U.S. and Europe for the holiday shopping season. With lines of ships outside ports at their longest since the pandemic began, the pressure to meet that cutoff is stronger than ever.” • Well worth a read.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 37 Fear (previous close: 36 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 16 at 1:03pm.

The Biosphere

“Why investing in libraries is a climate justice issue” [High Country News]. “hen a heat wave hit the Pacific Northwest in late June, many cities and residents found themselves facing shockingly high — and lethal — temperatures: up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Oregon, for example. Hundreds of people across the region died. For many, the safest and most accessible place to escape the heat was also free — the library. Public libraries are increasingly opening their doors as cooling centers as officials develop emergency plans for heat and other extreme weather conditions. In Clackamas County, Oregon, authorities designated 21 local cooling centers; over half of them were libraries. Just north in Multnomah County, where Portland is located, around 7,600 people sought shelter in public libraries over four scorching days.” • That’s great, but it would be even more great if we were supporting libraries as libraries, and not because they’re improvised air conditioning solutions.

Health Care

“[UPDATED] Deyalsingh: No evidence worldwide that covid19 vaccines cause testicular swelling” [Trinidad and Tobago Newsday]. “Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has said there have been no reports of testicular swelling as a result of the covid19 vaccine, either in TT or the world. Speaking at the Health Ministry’s covid19 media conference on Wednesday, Deyalsingh said the Health Ministry spent a lot of time researching the issue following a tweet by rapper Nicki Minaj on Monday. ‘We didn’t respond on Tuesday in real time to Ms Minaj because we had to check and make sure that what she was claiming was false, and unfortunately we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim….as far as we know at this point in time, there has been no such reported either side effect or adverse effect. What was sad about this is that it wasted our time yesterday trying to track down, because we take all these claims seriously, whether on social or mainstream media. As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad or anywhere else in the world.'” • In any case, one would have thought we would have heard about this. (As an old codger, however, I am not certain how Minaj’s fans would have taken this information.)

* * *

Debacle in the hopelessly-behind-the-times-yet-entrenched infection control community, at the International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control:

Anybody remember Tufte on NASA’s Challenger disaster PowerPoints? Exactly the same discrepancy between headline and low-level bullet points.

Infection control needs a blast of fresh air:

Hygiene theatre:

UPDATE And speaking of theatre (1):

CDC guidance for schools has been a debacle from the beginning. New York’s million-pupil system opened Monday. The New York statistics in two weeks should be interesting (and at least we’ll have some sort of baseline, no matter what happens. New York readers, thoughts?)

UPDATE Speaking of theatre (2):

What’s really shocking to me is that this is from the SEIU. Where’s the solidarity in hygiene theatre? Does the leadership not know better?

This is why, if you have children in school, you should get a CO2 meter and test their rooms. But the story has a happy ending! Thread:

* * *

“The Booster-Shot Debate Is Getting Hotter” [New York Magazine]. “This weekend, two key U.S. vaccine-advisory groups are going to meet and hash out one of the most contentious debates of this phase of the pandemic: whether to authorize booster shots for all…. On one side of the debate, experts argue booster shots should be available only for those who are immunocompromised; on the other, some argue they’re needed now for all in order to stay ahead of the virus. The White House has proposed making additional COVID-vaccine doses available to everyone eight months after their initial vaccinations…. At the same time, some Americans who are not yet eligible for a booster dose are already taking matters into their own hands. An internal CDC briefing that came out early last month estimated that 1.1 million Americans had already received an unauthorized booster shot. Amid all the confusing messaging, the number of people seeking underground booster doses will undoubtedly continue to rise.” • Oddly, there’s no moral panic about underground booster doses.

A thread on “waning” in the UK, well worth a read:

* * *

“Rapid Increase in Ivermectin Prescriptions and Reports of Severe Illness Associated with Use of Products Containing Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19” {CDC]. The headline is deceptive; “Products Containing Ivermectin” makes no distinction between prescribed, off-label use, and the use of animal formulations. In fact, the section on “Recommendations for Clinicians and Public Health Practitioners” is conspicuously silent on whether prescribed, off-label use is OK, saying: “Educate patients about the risks of using ivermectin without a prescription, or ingesting ivermectin formulations that are meant for external use or ivermectin-containing products formulated for veterinary use,” and reinforcing the layered defense: “Educate patients and the public to use COVID-19 prevention measures including wearing masks in indoor public places, physical distancing by staying at least six feet from other people who don’t live in the same household, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.” • Hand sanitizers, sigh. In any case, it doesn’t appear that the morally panicked have actually read beneath the headline; they do not mention that CDC, like FDA, does not proscribe off-label use, nor do they mention layered defenses [pounds head on desk].

“CDC: Do not prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID-19” [Anerican Academy of Pediatrics]. The headline is wrong; see above. They then quote the CDC: “Educate patients about the risks of using ivermectin without a prescription or misusing ivermectin formulations meant for external use or ivermectin-containing products formulated for veterinary use.” Do you see “do not prescribe” there? No? Good. On the other hand–

UPDATE “Ivermectin for the Treatment of Covid-19” (PDF) [European Network for Health Technology Assessment]. Metastudy. Lengthy. From Level of Evidence: “25 RCTs and two observational prospective studies have documented the effectiveness and safety of ivermectin. Except for one study, all included RCTs were conducted in non-European countries. Among these, 9 were designed as multicenter and 14 were double-blinded. Study population size ranged from 24 to 501 patients. The population included in the studies was heterogeneous in terms of disease severity. Mild patients were included in ten studies, mild to moderate patients in nine studies, mild to severe patients in two studies, severe in one study, mild to critical patients in one study and severe to critical in one study. Furthermore, there was a wide variation in standards of care across trials. Ivermectin dosing and duration of treatment was also heterogeneous.” From the Conclusion: ” The current evidence is not sufficient to support the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 and requires validation in larger, high quality RCTs evaluating fixed dosing schedules. At the moment, conclusions on the efficacy of ivermectin are of high uncertainty.” • There’s a ton of detailed information in the Tables. Maybe somebody with more skills than I have can dig into them.

* * *

“Alabama Doctors Concerned About Biden Admin Limiting Monoclonal Antibody Treatments” [Newsweek]. (See Biden’s vaccine mandate speech on monocolonal antibodies at paragraphg (85), as well as their “not-well characterized” and EUA status at (85)[2]-[3]. “labama doctors are concerned about the impact on health care systems after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to temporarily limit monoclonal antibody orders. The summer’s surge in coronavirus cases prompted spikes in orders for monoclonal antibodies, and 70 percent of orders were being sent to just seven states. With a limited supply of doses, the HHS announced it was temporarily limiting the number of doses that could be ordered at any given time in an effort to ensure the treatment remains available for future patients. Dr. Aruna Arora, president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, said in a statement that the announcement came at a time when Alabama’s hospitals are ‘full and under tremendous stress.’ Given the level of hospitalizations the state is experiencing, physicians are ‘very concerned’ about the move to limit supply and access, she said.”

The Democrat Outer Party shares its views:

In Jong-Fast’s world, Bubba treatment is a “dewormer”. But her preferred treatment, monoclonal antibodies, is being taken away from Bubba too!

“Biden administration moves to avoid shortages of Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatments” [CNN]. “The US government is buying more doses of monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19, and the Biden administration is taking over distribution in order to avoid shortages of the key therapeutics.” • Imagine the pearl-clutching if Trump had done this! More “The moves come as demand for monoclonal antibodies has increased as cases surged due to spread of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates in some areas of the country…. The US Department of Health and Human Services says that as of September 10, 2.17 million doses of monoclonal antibodies have been shipped to all sites, and 938,000 doses have been used since December. About 43% of the distributed doses have been used as of September 3. An HHS spokesperson said seven states have accounted for 70% of orders for the therapy. Those seven states are Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. ‘Given this reality, we must work to ensure our supply of these life-saving therapies remains available for all states and territories, not just some,’ the HHS spokesperson said.” • Could it be that decision makers in the Blue States were high on their own supply, bought into the “Vax! Vax! Vax!” propaganda, and thereby missed the opportunity of a life-saving treatment?* If so, this move by the Biden administration isn’t exactly the “come together as a country” Biden was pushing in his speech. The same story–

“Biden administration moves to stave off shortages of monoclonal antibodies” [WaPo]. “The policy change that went into effect Monday is all but certain to result in cuts of the medication to some states, especially seven in the Deep South with high infection rates that have been using about 70 percent of the national supply. Soaring demand for the therapy represents a sharp turn from just two months ago, when monoclonal antibodies were widely available and awareness of them was low. Consumers, doctors and states, amid little government promotion, were obtaining just a fraction of the available supply. Since then, however, word of the highly effective therapy — which is free to patients — has spread, with federal officials and Republicans, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging their use. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will, at least temporarily, set the rules for distribution of monoclonal antibodies instead of allowing states, medical facilities and doctors to order them directly.” • The last paragraph of Biden’s speech: “Look, we’re the United States of America. There’s nothing — not a single thing — we’re unable to do if we do it together. So let’s stay together.” How’s that workin’ out? (This is a separate issue from why the supply is low in the first place; I’d bet “Vax! Vax! Vax!” is the answer there, too. At least horse paste has the advantage that the Biden Administration can’t turn off the tap on supply. What on earth do they expect Bubba to do now?

“Biden’s team tightens grip on state use of Covid antibody treatments” [Politico]. “The Biden administration is imposing new limits on states’ ability to access to Covid-19 antibody treatments amid rising demand from GOP governors who have relied on the drug as a primary weapon against the virus. Federal health officials plan to allocate specific amounts to each state under the new approach, in an effort to more evenly distribute the 150,000 doses that the government makes available each week. The approach is likely to cut into shipments to GOP-led states in the Southeast that have made the pricey antibody drug a central part of their pandemic strategy, while simultaneously spurning mask mandates and other restrictions. That threatens to heighten tensions between the Biden administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who have emerged as vocal opponents of the federal Covid-19 response. President Joe Biden has sharply criticized DeSantis and others for resisting efforts to encourage mask wearing and ramp up vaccinations, vowing in a speech last week that if “governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.'” • If that’s Biden’s tactic here, he’s putting patients at risk (not to mention Florida in 2022). Again, the real issue is that the molasses-brained Biden administration is stepping in to regulate a shortage it created.. They were perfectly happy to buy up boosters in advance of approval; what was to prevent them from, Operation Warp Speed style, making a market to produce monoclonal antibodies months ago? “Vax! Vax! Vax!” would be the kindest explanation.

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UPDATE “Anti-Vaxxers Are Now Gargling Iodine to Prevent Covid-19” [E.J. Dickson, Rolling Stone]. The deck: “One ER doc’s response to the new trend: ‘Fuck me! Of course they are.'” I really must protest here. Both Yves and I are vaccinated and pro-vax (regardless of any views about particular vaccines). We also both use Betadine (a povidone brand). Povidone is low cost, low risk, is anti-viral, and is supported by studies. Anecdotally, Yves has, remarkably, kept her mother free from Covid, despite her mother’s great age, and the constant coming and going of aides. Povidone is part of Yves’ protocol to keep her mother safe. N = 1, and we can’t know povidone works, but if that were my protocol, I’d keep on doing what at least not failed to work, and tell Wikipedia fabricator E.J. Dickson to take a flying [family blog] at the moon. Of course, moral panics = clicks, so you can hardly blame Rolling Stone from runing the story in between Dickson’s effusion on Tik-Tok stars. Nevertheless.

UPDATE Lambert here: Among the dominant factions of the PMC, particularly in the press, there seems to be an inability to comprehend multiple causalities. There must always be one single thing, and a moral panic ensues when not-that-one-thing is encountered. RussiaGate, the one single cause of Trump’s victory in 2016. Trump, the one single cause of all our ills from 2016-2020. Racism, the one single cause of what ails America. And of course, vaccines, the one single solution for Covid. Hence, the moral panics not just about hydroxychloroquine, but about Ivermectin, and now about povidone. We can’t let science do its work, when tribalism is so much more effective, and clickbait is so profitable! This mentality even applies to the concept of treatment generally — not just repurposed drugs; as above, I’d speculate that “Vax! Vax! Vax!” impeded the molasses-brained Biden administration from building up the supply of monoclonal antibodies for treatment.

News of the Wired

“The McMansion Hell Yearbook: 1980” [McMansion Hell]. “A real estate agent uploads a listing to an aggregator, knowing that it will be a difficult sell but thinking not much of it, for, like Tolstoy’s unhappy families, all houses are difficult to sell in their own way. A house is built in 1980 in Staten Island and would have thrived as an anonymous bastion of tastelessness had the internet not been invented. But the internet had been invented. All of these things are brought together here, through truly unlikely circumstances.” • You won’t be able to look away.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (DI):

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

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Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2021

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2021

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