The reason why COVID-19 cases are going up again is because a mutation of COVID-19, the “Delta” mutation, spreads more quickly than last year’s COVID-19 virus.
One thing I have been seeing in the news is some people getting really excited about a study in Massachusetts where Delta COVID-19 spread from person to person among fully vaccinated individuals. Some alarmist “the sky is falling” nonsense has resulted because of this study.
Massachusetts has, as I type this, a 71.7% percent vaccination rate (one or more dose). This has resulted in COVID-19 growth (which, these days in the US, is by and large Delta COVID-19 growth) being low there: Only 9.5 new cases per 100,000 population per day. Compare this to, say, Florida, which has a 55.7% vaccination rate and nearly 74 cases/day/100k population (see attached image). Here in California, we’re in the middle: 63.3% vaccination rate, just over 21 cases/day/100k population.
Point being, while I haven’t made one of those graphs fivethirtyeight.com likes to make showing the correlation of COVID-19 new daily cases per capita to vaccination rates (much less calculate the standard deviation and P value, except to note these are numbers for the entire population, so we don’t have to worry about high P value sampling error very much they way we would if only looking at, say, 300 cases) there does seem to be a pretty strong correlation.
Jacob Sollum, writing for Reason, agrees with me: The Massachusetts outbreak does not mean vaccines don’t reduce COVID-19 transmission.
Simply put: The more people are vaccinated, the fewer COVID-19 new cases we have. So, I think it’s safe bet that, while we do have breakthrough infections (fully vaccinated people can still get COVID-19), and while we still have breakthrough spreading of COVID-19 (some fully vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 to others), getting vaccinated does reduce the chance one will get infected with Delta COVID-19, and it does appear to reduce the chance one will spread Delta COVID-19 to others.
I am a bit worried about the Beta COVID-19 variant (which some vaccines appear to be much less effective against), but that particular strain hasn’t spread as widely as the Delta variant dominating new COVID-19 cases.
==Vaccine hesitancy and mutations==
Since one trope I have read multiple times is that the vaccine hesitant may cause a new mutation of COVID-19 in the US, let me address that:
The main COVID-19 mutations of concern right now are happening in other countries where the vaccine is not widely available yet. The Delta variant was first seen in India, the Beta variant was first seen in South Africa, and the Gamma variant was first seen in Brazil.
We need to make sure the entire world is vaccinated to stop these mutations from coming out of the woodwork.
==Vaccine hesitancy and freedom==
I believe, when push comes to shove, vaccine hesitant people should have the freedom to not take the vaccine. I think it’s really dumb to not take the vaccine, but I also think it’s foolish to smoke weed, commit fortification or adultery, or do any of a number of silly things people have the legal freedom to do.
This means a certain percentage of people who refuse to take the vaccine will die. So be it. They are not children. They are adults. They have freedom, and with freedom comes responsibility. When some of them end up in the hospital and die from COVID-19, they will have no one but themselves to blame.
Likewise, I have the freedom to avoid contact with vaccine hesitant individuals or take other mitigation measures until the Delta surge of COVID-19 cases eases. That’s why I have gone back to wearing a mask when I go to indoor public places.
Is it a tragedy that these people needlessly die? Very much so. I have the utmost of empathy and compassion for the families of people who died from COVID-19 because they refused the vaccine. To avoid more needless deaths, I wish for everyone who can get vaccinated but hasn’t yet had the vaccine get vaccinated.
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