It seems as if every weekend I feel encouraged that we are finally on the downward slope of deaths from covid, with only a few hundred per day nationwide, but every Tuesday the reporting numbers catch up and we are at 1500/day again. We all hold out hope that the Omicron* variant is the magic, killing very few but providing widespread immunity because its contagion seems to be sneaking past both vaccine and natural immunity at higher rates than the previous variants. The early information is encouraging on this, but old-timers didn't come up with the saying about counting your chickens for nothing. Things don't happen just because we want them to and they fit our narrative.
The prediction that the rates of infection would head north in the cold, because Northerners would now be indoors while Southerners can go outdoors has sorta held up. Because states have different rules for what is a covid death, the death rate per million is not an unassailable number, but the counts aren't that far off. It's not as if one state is reducing or adding to its count by a factor of two, or even 50%. We are talking about 10-20% reductions or increases at the extremes. What you see printed is a rough estimate. Also, the statistics-keeping portion of the CDC seems to be more reliable than its labs or its attitude. Agencies don't act as a unit, as I know from having worked for one. The left hand seldom knows what the right hand is doing.
But Northern New England and the Pacific Northwest, which have had the lowest rates, along with Alaska and Hawaii, have been seeing terrible numbers for a month, perhaps now abating...we'll see. Pennsylvania continues to do poorly, and North Central has been uneven but generally worse. I think Florida made an enormous mistake opening too early by a few weeks, but the strategy of targeting the oldest and other vulnerable populations for getting the vaccine and enforcing distancing and limited contact seems to have been good, as they have done well through the fall, despite having an elderly population. I don't get why Arizona is passing everyone in death rate. The Mississippi River and Gulf Coast states have had terrible numbers which are only somewhat better.
To remember when reading the news, because people are trying to sell you bridges out there: when you see reports that the vaccinated are dying at higher rates it is important to correct for age (which those reports never do) - the older and more vulnerable have considerably higher rates of vaccination, so those vaccinated people doing all that dying, to convince you the vaccine is worthless, are older with more compromising factors. When you compare 30-year-olds to 30-year olds and 70 year-olds to 70-year-olds the effect not only disappears, it hugely reverses. Secondly, when sites try and tell you that even people "following the rules" are getting the virus, so that means the rules aren't any good, they are misrepresenting what has been claimed from the beginning. Distancing, vaccination, and even masking (somewhat) reduce your risk. No one ever promised you otherwise, and to claim they did is to be, um, dishonest Glenn. One of the reasons we wanted to strangle covid in its cradle was to reduce the risk of new variants. Now that we have new variants, the claim is that "We were never told about this." Yes you were. I said it here.
But, as I noted, we may have hope if Omicron is less deadly and spreads widely enough to force the others out - in time. But chickens...hatching.
*I never knew until this week about those names for letters in the Greek alphabet. Big O and Little O - O-mega and O-micron. Right in front of me, unseen.