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The MAGA Variant

A few days ago, the AP sent out a widely republished piece, ‘Soul-crushing’: US COVID-19 deaths are topping 1,900 a day. It's soul-crushing because there is, after all, a vaccine that could prevent 90% of those deaths, as "the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans. The increasingly lethal turn has filled hospitals, complicated the start of the school year, delayed the return to offices and demoralized health care workers... For health workers, the deaths, combined with misinformation and disbelief about the virus, have been 'heart-wrenching, soul-crushing.' Twenty-two people died in one week alone at CoxHealth hospitals in the Springfield-Branson area, a level almost as high as that of all of Chicago. West Virginia has had more deaths in the first three weeks of September-- 340-- than in the previous three months combined. Georgia is averaging 125 dead per day, more than California or other more populous states. 'I’ve got to tell you, a guy has got to wonder if we are ever going to see the end of it or not,' said Collin Follis, who is the coroner in Missouri’s Madison County and works at a funeral home."

Missouri is just 47% vaccinated and Madison County just 31%. Other counties are even worse off-- 25% and under: Douglas (21%), Reynolds (21%), Newton (22%), Scotland (23%), Ripley (24%), Ralls (25%), McDonald (25%), DeKalb (25%), Schuyler (25%). You know what all these counties have in common? 2020 Trump landslides:

  • Ripley Co.- 84.0%

  • Douglas Co.- 83.2%

  • Reynolds Co.- 82.0%

  • McDonald Co.- 81.1%

  • Madison Co.- 79.7%

  • Schuyler Co.- 79.2%

  • DeKalb Co.- 77.7%

  • Scotland Co.- 77.2%

  • Ralls Co.- 76.8%

  • Newton Co.- 76.6%

People stupid enough to vote for Trump, AP never said, are stupid enough to not get vaccinated. "Health experts," reported Heather Hollingsworth, "say the vast majority of the hospitalized and dead have been unvaccinated. While some vaccinated people have suffered breakthrough infections, those tend to be mild... Many low-vaccination communities also have high rates of conditions like obesity and diabetes, said Dr. William Moss of Johns Hopkins. And that combination-- along with the more contagious delta variant-- has proved lethal."

Worst of all is Florida, under the governance of Ron DeathSantis and a Republican-controlled state legislature. Yesterday, only Texas had more new cases reported, though each state reported over 10,000 new cases. Here were yesterday's 3 worst new COVID-death reports:

  • Florida +371, bringing the total to 63,262 (2,182 deaths per million residents)

  • Alabama +205, bringing the total to 13,665 (2,787 deaths per million residents)

  • Georgia +182, bringing the total to 25,133 (2,367 deaths per million residents)

This morning, Brett Wilkins reported for Common Dreams that DeathSantis named an anti-science kook, Joey Ladapo, an opponent of mask and vaccine mandates, as Florida's surgeon general. "Known for advocating individual liberty over community-based precautions in the fight against Covid-19, Ladapo's views on masks and vaccines closely align with those of DeSantis, whose July executive order banning school mask mandates was ruled unconstitutional by a state judge the following month.

"Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies," Ladapo said during a Tuesday press conference in Tallahassee.
"Vaccines are up to the person. There's nothing special about them compared to any other preventive measure," he added. "The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn't the only path to that. It's been treated almost like a religion. It's just senseless."
According to the New York Times, Florida currently has the United States' highest number of daily Covid-19 deaths, the nation's second-highest per-capita mortality rate, and a death rate nearly three times the national average.
...Ladapo also raised alarm among public health experts after signing the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement by a trio of public health experts calling on governments to lift lockdown restrictions on young and healthy people in order to spread the coronavirus to enough people to achieve herd immunity.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the herd immunity theory proposed in the declaration "scientifically and ethically problematic," while National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci blasted the document as "nonsense and very dangerous."
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)-- who served as Florida's Republican governor from 2007 to 2011 and is running for the office again as a Democrat-- tweeted Tuesday that Ladapo's selection as surgeon general "is a complete slap in the face to the families of the more than 50,000 Floridians who have died from Covid."
In a statement, Florida state Sen. Janet Cruz (D-18) said that "the governor has chosen someone who has questioned the safety of the Covid vaccines, has advocated against masks as a way to stop the spread of the virus, and who believes herd immunity through natural infection is the best possible way to end this pandemic."

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