Covid Quick-Hits

On the one hand, there are some legitimate issues raised in this piece. On the other, had the FDA approved the test in question I could envision sitting here in an alternative future reading a story about how lax standards led to false negatives and the further spread of the virus. There is a lot of damned it do, damned if you don’t in these kinds of reports.

It just seems that stories that criticize FDA processes usually assume that if the FDA had approved then the efficacy of the product in question would match whatever the producer was promising (i.e, the best case scenario). This tends to stack the deck. (Not that the FDA is above reproach).

Infection with the omicron variant of Covid-19 is far less likely to land patients in the hospital than cases involving the delta strain, according to early study data out of Scotland.  

The study suggests omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization when compared to the earlier variant, though it’s also more contagious. 

If “I got the jab,” I was told I wouldn’t get COVID-19. That was not true. I was told that I would be saving lives if I got the vaccine because I would not spread it to others. Yet, I gave it to my senior citizen mother, who was also vaccinated. I did everything Biden told me to do, yet I infected my mother.

But, of course, the message has not been “vaccination=zero chance of infection.” I am sure someone, somewhere has said that, but the message has been that the vaccine reduces your chance of infection and, more importantly, it radically reduces your chances of hospitalization and death. As such, I am glad to know tht the author and his mother will likely be fine (because their odds of being fine are higher because of their vaccinated status).

On the one hand, I think the following is largely fair (after all, if you want to sit in the Oval, you get the blame).

A common theme is that the Biden administration has been reactive, chasing the latest COVID crises rather than getting ahead of them.

On the other:

If the Biden administration has underestimated the virus, it’s certainly not alone in doing so — in America or globally.

*”It’s hard to blame [the administration] for some things when, in fact, everybody was there,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota who served on Biden’s transition team COVID task force.

*”Omicron is a 210 mile an hour curveball. Basically I think that’s one of the challenges — we should be anticipating 210 mile an hour curveballs with this virus.”

Fundamentally, if more Americans would listen to the administration and get vaccinated and boosted, we would be better off (likewise it would be nice if the states were more cooperative).

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jen says:
  2. Kathy says:

    Back near the start of the trump pandemic, there were many pieces warning that a vaccine was unlikely, as it had proven difficult to make vaccines against coronaviruses. I assume this was based on the lack of vaccines for SARS and MERS.

    That’s why I also assume, at the time, any vaccines made would be of low efficacy. I thought we’d be lucky to get 70% efficacy.

    In a way, I was right. The mRNA vaccines were very effective against the ancestral trump strain, and even against the Alpha variant. Now further variants have rendered the vaccines less effective.

    I’m less certain of this, but I gather vaccines against other diseases do cause B cells to produce antibodies for longer than those against COVID. It could be a function of the virus being similar to common cold variants, or it could be the vaccine method. We can rule out the latter if dead/attenuated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines act differently.

    Add the maskholes, covidiots, and anti-vaxxers, and we’re in for a long, long trump pandemic.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: It would be hilarious if it turned out it was due to natto in the Japanese diet.

  4. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It would be hilarious if it turned out it was due to natto in the Japanese diet.

    Whelp… in that case I’m screwed. Or with my luck it will be a combination of natto and uni (which pretty much has what I imagine the taste and consistency of baby poop to be). Was good knowing all of you.

    @Steven, I think there’s definitely a correlation between your first and last tab. While the Biden administration gets better marks than the previous admin (did anyone see the story about the Brix emails – ?), the topic of their position on at-home tests is a really great example of how flat fotted they have been on key issues.

  5. mattbernius says:

    @Jen & @mattbernius:
    Maybe their government watched something after watching Shin Gojira (Godzilla).

    For those not familiar, Shin Godzilla was the first truly serious Godzilla movie since the OG one. The film is an allegory for the Japanese Government’s failed response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It honestly equally applies to the way most governments, including our own, reacted to C-19. Highly recommended.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    Two stories, right next to each other on Google News: one, from Reuters: “Study shows Omicron no less severe than Delta”. Second, from The Guardian: “Risk of hospital stay 40% lower with Omicron than Delta, UK data suggests.”

    And it looks like these were off the same (UK) data?

    Ain’t nobody knows what’s going on….

  7. Kathy says:

    there’s a pretty good piece on NPR about vaccines and boosters. Read number 4 in particular. Short version:

    The level of these antibodies starts to go down after about a month, and then your body gets to work to “train” these antibodies, Ellebedy says. Special immune cells, called B cells, go into your lymph nodes and start to improve the potency of the antibodies. Eventually, over time, through a process called B cell maturation, these B cells develop new antibodies that not only can recognize and neutralize the original variant of virus (which it saw in the vaccine) but also future variants, such as omicron.

  8. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: I had never heard of natto and wish that my Googling of it hadn’t included images. Eww. That looks like beans with spider webs mixed in.

    @mattbernius: I too would be screwed. It looks awful.

  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Considering that I occasionally ate beondegi guk (silkworm pupa soup), I suspect I would manage this, too.

    (It’s very tasty but I always was hoping that it had stuff in it beyond beondegi and always turned out disappointed. Maybe the flavor is too thin if there are fewer pupa; I dunno.)

  10. Matt Bernius says:

    FWIW I think this thread from Twitter from the chair of UCSD’s school of medicine for a metered and sobering read on the state of Omicron, the good and the bad news:

  11. @mattbernius: That’s totally fair.

  12. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Nice review by UCSD’s chair.
    But one thing that caught me eye was his comment about N95 being easy to find.
    Yesterday (here in Youngstown Ohio) I went looking for some new N95s (in preparation of a very small holiday gathering that might include some who are a wee bit evasive about their health status).
    Anyway I went to Walgreens for N95s – have none.
    Went to Walmart – none there either
    Went to local medical supply store – none
    Finally found a Mom & Pop drug store that had some.

    So while I’m on a soapbox. I wondered about the clinical trial for Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill. The stage 2/3 combined trial was begun October 1 and has about 1200 participants (approximately 800 of which got the real deal Paxlovid). So how they arrive at the efficacy of approx 90% is that 3 (of the 389 participants who were administered Paxlovid) were hospitalized versus 27 (of the 385 recipients of the placebo) were hospitalized.

    Ok, not to be dismissed , but….. for 96% of the covid-stricken participants it made no difference if they got the Pfizer pill.