If you read between the lines, the latest NY Times daily tracking report seems to make the case for Ron DeSantis' theory of how to deal with the pandemic-- let it burn through the population, let cases rise unchecked, let it kill and maim who it's going to kill and maim... and then it will just peter out-- the ultimate death panel. "Cases," the Times reported, "have started to decline in Florida." But the downside is that "more than 15,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized, the highest rate in the country." DeSantis apparently feels that's something Floridians will just have to deal with. What a perfect GOP presidential nominee for 2024!
Overall, largely because of school reopenings, the situation looks bleak across the country, which "is averaging more than 1,500 deaths a day for the first time since March. Daily death totals have more than quintupled since the start of August, though they remain well below the peak levels from last winter. Growing outbreaks in the Midwest, Northeast and mid-Atlantic have largely offset declining case numbers in parts of the Deep South. Through Friday, Maine, South Dakota and Ohio had the country’s fastest rates of case growth. South Carolina is averaging more than 5,400 new cases a day and has the country’s highest rate of recent cases. Hospitalizations in that state are near peak levels from last winter."
53% of Americans are fully vaccinated. These are the states where over 60% are vaccinated-- along with their percentage of 2020 Trump voters, followed by the states where fewer than 45% are fully vaccinated-- along with their 2020 Trump percentages:
Vermont- 68% fully vaccinated (Trump- 30.7%)
Massachusetts- 66% fully vaccinated (Trump- 32.1%)
Connecticut- 66% fully vaccinated (Trump- 39.2%)
Maine- 66% fully vaccinated (Trump- 44.0%)
Rhode Island- 66% fully vaccinated (Trump- 38.6%)
New Jersey- 62% fully vaccinated (Trump- 41.4%)
Maryland- 62% fully vaccinated (Trump- 32.1%)
New York- 61% fully vaccinated (Trump- 37.7%)
Washington- 61% fully vaccinated (Trump- 38.8%)
And now the nightmare states:
Alabama- 39% fully vaccinated (Trump- 62.0%)
Mississippi- 39% fully vaccinated (Trump- 57.6%)
Wyoming- 39% fully vaccinated (Trump- 69.9%)
Idaho- 39% fully vaccinated (Trump- 63.8%)
West Virginia- 40 % fully vaccinated (Trump- 68.6%)
North Dakota- 42% fully vaccinated (Trump- 65.1%)
Louisiana- 42% fully vaccinated (Trump- 58.5%)
Tennessee- 42% fully vaccinated (Trump- 60.7%)
Georgia- 42% fully vaccinated (Trump- 49.2%)
Arkansas- 42% fully vaccinated (Trump- 62.4%)
Oklahoma- 44% fully vaccinated (Trump- 65.4%)
South Carolina- 44% fully vaccinated (Trump- 55.1%)
Do you notice the correlation between low Trump votes and high vaccine rates? The state that gave the lowest share of its vote to Trump-- Vermont-- is also the state with the highest vaccination rate. The correlation across the country is both undeniable and tragic.
One more set of stats-- daily average deaths in the last 2 weeks per 100,000 residents... These are the half dozen states with the worst rates of COVID morbidity, all Trump states:
Florida- 1.56 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 51.2%)
Mississippi- 1.25 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 57.6%)
Louisiana- 1.07 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 58.5%)
South Carolina- 0.91 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 55.1%)
Arkansas- 0.87 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 62.4%)
Texas- 0.83 deaths per 100,000 (Trump- 52.1%)
This from Houston Public Media: Texas schools have amassed more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in students in just a couple of weeks. More than a dozen school districts have closed temporarily as a result of the disease, and Texas is a leader in child deaths from COVID-19 with 59 as of Sept. 3. But state leaders have spent weeks of the surge pushing through controversial bills around abortion, voting restrictions and bail reform while Gov. Abbott has been fighting local governments over their efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Hospitals across the state are running low on pediatric intensive care unit beds. Texas' Department of State Health Services says only 81 of them remain-- and just a couple hundred more regular ICU beds are available in the state of 29 million people. 'Governor Abbott has failed us. A Republican state legislature has failed us,' said Dr. David Portugal a cardiologist in Sugarland, Texas. 'These leaders should be held accountable and be asked to explain how they can justify taking actions that are killing their fellow Texans.'"
This morning's Wall Street Journal came to another ghastly conclusion: Child Covid-19 Cases Rise in States Where Schools Opened Earliest. Some school's that opened early are already back to virtual learning, something no one wanted to see. Yoree Koh reported that "Since the school year kicked off in late July, at least 1,000 schools across 31 states have closed because of Covid-19... The shutdowns are hitting classrooms especially hard in the Deep South, where most schools were among the first to open, a possible warning of what’s to come as the rest of the nation’s students start school this month."
Teachers have told me that all the precautions that school districts promised teachers unions turned out to be blatant lies. The hand cleaning fluid doesn't exist. The custodial staff is not cleaning the rooms. There are no isolation rooms for students that become sick; they are sent right back into the classes. There is no testing; there is no serious concern whatsoever. It was all smoke and mirrors-- and with no accountability. Just 100% feel-good bullshit to get parents to send their kids back to school and colure teachers back into the classrooms.
In Mississippi, 13,715 students have tested positive for Covid-19 since most schools inaugurated the new academic year in early August, sending more than 20,000 students into quarantine for each of the past three weeks, as of Aug. 31, according to the state health department. In New Mexico, nearly 10% of the state’s 317,000 students have spent time in quarantine, state data show. And in Georgia, more than half of the state’s outbreaks for the week ended Aug. 27 were linked to schools, according to the state health department.
Many school systems are reluctant to release contingency plans and are instead forging ahead with solutions that, when possible, keep classrooms open amid outbreaks, mass quarantines and acute staff shortages. School administrators are responding to the sporadic and unpredictable outbreaks with measures like new masking mandates, frequent testing and vaccine mandates for employees. Some say they hope a vaccine for children under 12 happens soon.
“We’re not scared of the future necessarily,” said Cristen Maddux, the spokeswoman for Indian River County School District in Florida, which has temporarily shut two elementary schools. “The closures have gone very smoothly, and we’re just going to take it one day at a time.”
...Average daily new cases among school-age children grew at faster rates last month in all 20 states where schools opened in late July and early August, as compared with the states where schools opened later. Half of those states, which include Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Louisiana, have seen record rates of new daily infections among children and teens since school started, according to data from the COVKID Project, a program of the Women’s Institute for Independent Social inquiry that has been tracking and compiling U.S. Covid-19 infection data in children and teens from state public health departments.
A study released by the CDC last week illustrates how easily the Delta variant can rip through a school when safety protocols like masking aren’t followed: At a California elementary school, an unvaccinated, unmasked and infected teacher spread the virus to more than half of the students in the teacher’s immediate classroom in late May. The teacher also infected six students in a separate grade, and another four parents and four siblings of students. In all, contact with one infected teacher led to 26 more cases in the school community.
...In Florida, which is experiencing its third surge since the pandemic began and where some schools have been battling Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ban on mask mandates, the average daily rate at which people age 19 and younger tested positive was the highest in the country for the week ended Aug. 27, according to the COVKID Project. Tennessee, where schools opened in early August and mask mandates are banned in schools, recorded the second-highest rate of average daily kid cases nationwide for the same week.
The increase in cases among younger people is keeping thousands of Florida students and staff at home. Hillsborough County Public Schools, which encompasses Tampa, has logged over 7,300 positive cases since Aug. 2, forcing almost 4% of students and staff to either isolate or quarantine due to exposure as of Friday, according to the district’s dashboard. The county school board voted Aug. 18 to implement a 30-day mask mandate with more limited opt-out options for students in response to the growing number of cases.
Indian River County School District, located about two hours north of Boca Raton and which serves 15,500 public school students, suffered significant blows since reopening last month. Two teachers who had Covid-19 died within about a week of one another. Around the same time, a shortage of teachers due to high staff-infection rates temporarily closed two elementary schools, a district spokeswoman said. On Aug. 24, the board voted to require masks for a two-week trial period.
Rising infections have led at least two-dozen districts in Texas to temporarily close some or all schools, according to Burbio. The number of positive student cases reported on campuses statewide totaled 27,353 for the week ended Aug. 29, up 51% from the previous week, according to the state department of health services.
Iowa, Tennessee, South Carolina and Utah have banned or curtailed school mask requirements. Five other states-- Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Arkansas and Arizona-- had prohibited school-masking requirements as well but they have since been overturned by the courts or aren’t being enforced.
...The Delta variant has inundated some schools even in states and districts that have had strict masking policies in place. In New Mexico, where masks are required in school buildings, school transportation and school-sponsored events, 1,908 students tested positive in August-- more than all the positive student cases combined in 2021 so far.
One way to minimize mass closures and quarantines is the “test and stay” protocol deployed in Massachusetts in which asymptomatic people exposed to a confirmed case take rapid tests daily to monitor for infection rather than be automatically confined to their homes, said Elizabeth Stuart, the associate dean for education at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“I think that’s the kind of creative and technological solution that we’re going to need,” said Dr. Stuart, “because that balances the Covid risk with the desire to keep kids in in-person learning.”
Another grim correlation-- states with anti-mask mandate policies and Trump voters-- states that have decided to let students and teachers die... for no reason at all other than to show that Republicans can do whatever the hell they want and no one can stop them:
Iowa- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 53.1% Trump
Tennessee- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 60.7% Trump
South Carolina- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 55.1% Trump
Utah- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 58.1% Trump
Oklahoma- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 65.4% Trump
Florida- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 51.2% Trump
Texas- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 52.1% Trump
Arkansas- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 62.4% Trump
Arizona- Republican governor, Republican controlled legislature, 49.1% Trump