Much more proof that COVID-19 is on its solution to changing into a predominantly Republican illness
Yes. The vaccines work – but only for the people who actually get them. The Post was able to determine that in counties with at least 40% of the vaccinated residents, the COVID-19 infection rates were "low" and "falling". In counties in which less than 20 percent of the population are vaccinated, "there are not only higher numbers of cases, but the number of cases is also increasing".
In the second story we see the predictable effects of the first. From NBC, we learn that people who come to local hospitals with severe COVID-19 symptoms are almost all Americans who have not been vaccinated, from unvaccinated adults to children who are too young to get any of the current vaccines to be eligible. So-called "breakthrough" cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals are both rare and rarely require hospital treatment – except in immunocompromised patients, in whom vaccines may not produce adequate or long-lasting immune responses.
We can deduce several things from this. If you are vaccinated, you have a very small chance of contracting COVID-19 and a very small chance that it will become severe enough to require emergency medical care. If you aren't vaccinated, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are as likely or more likely as they were during most of the rest of the pandemic.
And when you get it, you will be the vector that makes other Americans sick and potentially die. The virus is spreading among children because children cannot yet get the vaccine. The virus kills immunocompromised patients because people who have not been vaccinated can pass it on to them.
So we are once again seeing the predicted real results of a goofy and incompetent Dear Leader character trying to break free from a world health crisis while fueling paranoia about actual health professions and safety measures. We've previously learned that masks have actually done quite well in stopping the spread of a pandemic, turning Donald Trump's anti-mask fetishes into another way for his party to kill its own voters.
The COVID-19 pandemic is getting closer to a mainly Republican disease in this country. It can never be a fully Republican disease as the virus doesn't check electoral status as it travels from one person's cough to the next person's lungs. But in places with high vaccination rates, herd immunity could soon be close to eradicating the virus, as there are few places for viable spread.
In pockets of vaccine resistance, be it Q-style conspirators, ardent Trump supporters who still believe the pandemic is a hoax, or deplorable people whose main objection to vaccination is that this apparently is what if liberals and book learners want to do it, Americans will continue to die.
But there is still good news in those bags too. The good news is that every percentage of adults vaccinated results in fewer hospital services in an area, even in deep red communities, so local hospitals will be far less prone to congestion this fall than they were in the first year of the pandemic. There will be lots of ventilators and oxygen, and if they don't, there will always be more resources to help get patients out of Republican dominated places and into places where the pandemic is better under control.
However, that assumes a lot. The virus variant "Delta", the virus mutation that first caught on in India and now threatens to become the dominant strain elsewhere, is likely to make things more difficult. It appears that 10% of all COVID cases in the US are now the Delta variant and are expected to become the majority strains "at some point". Delta appears to be both more contagious and deadly than other strains, making herd immunity a tougher benchmark.
It is these mutations that continue to threaten a complete disentanglement of all pandemic advances made to date. The longer the virus is allowed to stew in unvaccinated populations, the more genetic variants are naturally produced; the more that is produced, the more likely it is that one of them will be able to bypass the current vaccines and even re-infect those who have been vaccinated. The virus could be reduced to a predominantly Republican disease this summer, but it's not certain that it will stay that way.
So we know the vaccines are working. We know masks work. We know social distancing works. We know that even if the vaccines leak infection, hospital surgery is almost never required. And we know that it is unvaccinated people who will spread the virus anyway.
What's next? It's unclear. I still say that if we can convince republican communities that the "Antifa" are trying to keep the vaccine away from them, flag-waving patriots will demand to be stuck ten, twenty or thirty times with needles. You will have Greg Abbott followers hoarding a replacement vaccine in their cheeks like squirrels.
It's either that plan or shooting people out of helicopters, and … uff. You might say this is a stupid idea, but it still beats nine tenths of what the Trump team made up.