Quick Hits: Covid Edition

Studies estimate long Covid may affect between 10 percent and 30 percent of adults infected with the coronavirus. Estimates from the handful of studies of children so far range widely. At an April congressional hearing, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cited one study suggesting that between 11 percent and 15 percent of infected youths might “end up with this long-term consequence, which can be pretty devastating in terms of things like school performance.”

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health, Tab Clearing, US Politics
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

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    A friend of mine is a nurse in Houston. She’s exhausted and angry.

    Another friend has a daughter who is a recently graduated RN. She’s (the daughter/RN) refusing to be vaccinated.

    3
  2. Scott says:

    Our school district opens for students next week. Staff is already working. Wife has been at the elementary school for last three weeks. The city/county got TRO against Governor’s anti-mask mandate and then ordered a mask mandate. School district promptly puts it’s mandate in place.

    Teachers and staff joined in a large convocation at a high school after which a staff member tested positive. Identity unknown.

    Apparently, some teachers are resisting the mask mandate..

    Big mess all around.

    Also in San Antonio, the rumor is that Joint Base – San Antonio is about to go to HealthCon C, a more restrictive measure.

    What really sucks (my gut instinct) is that this variant will burn itself out by end of Sep, especially if everyone behaves themselves and cooperates. But no… we can’t have that.

    2
  3. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Do you know why this nurse is refusing the vaccine?

  4. Jen says:

    @CSK: Not directly, but she’s young (in her 20s) and her mother suggested that “there are still a lot of questions about the vaccines.” To me, this reads as the future fertility angle, which we all know has nothing behind it but there are a lot of young women who don’t want to chance it.

    It’s frustrating.

    2
  5. KM says:

    @Jen:
    Nurses are held up to some mysterious mystique in which they are somehow wiser and more down to earth because they can administer a shot or assist in a code. Truth is, they can be just as nutty as you and me. I know plenty of nurses who believe in all kinds of woo, from crystal healing in place of drugs right up to denial of germ theory. One of my favorite aunts growing up is one -she believes in blood-based diets, all kinds of homeopathy and that Big Pharma (who she used to work for) is lying to you about disease so you’ll buy their products. When she babysat us, we got willowbark and feverfew instead of aspirin and refused to give my O Neg self any chocolate as it was contra-indicative by my blood type. She went to nursing school late in life and now rants that COVID’s not as big a deal as you’d think. She refuses to admit if she’s been vaxxed or not and will not mask unless made to….. and she works in a hospital that gets COVID patients all the time. Needless to say – I haven’t seen her in ages because she’s a walking disease vector that thinks if you buy $50 food powder your biome will magically prevent infection.

    Every damn year we fight the flu shot fight with non-compliant nurses not getting vaxxed and then refusing to obey the alternative masking protocol. Nurses are the front line workers and do so much for us…. but never forget they’re people too and can fall prey to insanity and idiocies like the rest of us. Bad apples spoil the bunch everywhere…..

    10
  6. MarkedMan says:

    This just reinforces my wife and my resolve not to retire to a red county, never mind a red state. Setting politics aside, they are just not competent. Public health has been a foremost governmental responsibility for many millennia, but these red state pansies just completed wilted at the first real challenge they faced.

    7
  7. Teve says:

    @KM: a degree is not a certificate of sanity.

    6
  8. flat earth luddite says:

    Yeah, I’m getting pushback from family-in-law members about my mask-wearing habits. I remind everyone that (a) I work at an office supply megamart, and I have to deal with people breathing on me ALL freaking evening, (b) I’m a cancer survivor, with a compromised immune system, and (c) STFU!

    People… sometimes I really miss living in my cave, donchaknow?

    18
  9. Jen says:

    @KM: Oh, I know. In PR, nurses are kind of a gold standard if you want to get medical messaging out. I’m not sure exactly why, but suspect that it’s some combination of “they have medical knowledge, but aren’t snooty like doctors” along with the fact that a lot of people seem to know at least one personally or have at least one nurse in the family. Basically, they are an ideal combination of having information but still being considered “relatable.” And yes, some are completely nutty, just like the general public.

  10. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I suspected as much. That’s really unfortunate.
    @KM:
    I’ve heard that a lot of the trust that’s reposed in nurses stems from the fact that they see the patients in a hospital more often than do the patients’ actual doctors, and can make judgments on the basis of frequent observation.

  11. Scott says:

    More and more corporations are requiring their employees to get vaccinated. I haven’t read this anywhere (and I briefly looked) but from an economic self-interested business perspective it makes sense. A lot of large corporations and organizations provide self-funded employer healthcare with the insurance companies provided administrative services. Seems to be a COVID hospitalization is expensive (I’ve read average costs of COVID hospitalization around $22-73K).

    I wonder if this need for cost avoidance is driving a lot of employee vaccine mandates.

    2
  12. Joe says:

    @Scott:
    As small business owner, the attraction does not start at insurance savings. It’s starts at office operations. Having someone out with COVID is bad enough, but having to have others sit out for quarantine can be a logistics nightmare.

    14
  13. Michael Cain says:

    @Scott: Sounds similar to what I’ve heard at a couple of large health care providers here: masking cut paid sick days so far that they’re thinking about making it permanent as a cost-savings move.

    2
  14. Scott says:

    Another COVID article:

    I have two grandchildren in Houston: ages 2 1/2 and 2 months. This stuff scares the crap out of me.

    Texas children and children’s hospitals are under siege from two viruses: RSV and COVID-19

    More children are being treated in Texas hospitals for COVID-19 than ever before. But there’s a second factor that is putting pediatric hospitals on the path to being overwhelmed: an unseasonable outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, a highly contagious virus that can require hospitalization mostly among children five years and younger and especially infants.

    During the last year, RSV was largely dormant, which experts believe was due to people masking up during the pandemic. Now, in just the last several weeks, thousands of Texas children have tested positive for the virus.

    2
  15. David S. says:

    Aw, I was somewhat hoping for a deeper take on the consequences of Texas counties openly defying Abbott’s executive orders, w.r.t. mask mandates.

  16. Scott says:

    @David S.: Not sure what you mean by “deeper take” but you can read this:

    “The rebellion is spreading”: After local Texas officials defy his ban on mask mandates, Gov. Greg Abbott begins to clamp down

    As Texas students too young to get vaccinated head back to school while the highly contagious delta variant threatens to overflow hospitals, a growing cadre of local government officials have mandated mask-wearing in bids to slow the spread of COVID-19 — defying Gov. Greg Abbott.

    This week, officials in Dallas and Bexar counties successfully sued for the right to again require masks in public schools and many government buildings — at least temporarily. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins went a step further Wednesday and mandated that child care centers and businesses must also require employees and customers to wear masks.

    “We are all team public health and the enemy is the virus,” Jenkins said. “Right now, the enemy is winning.”

    1
  17. JohnSF says:

    Interesting comparison: UK cases are trending up a bit after the easing of restrictions; currently around the 20 to 25,000 per day = Rate per 100,000 people: 285.1
    US rate per 100,000: 11,000

    UK hospitalisations up somewhat, but deaths still low, and there has been plenty of time for the infection spike/death spike lag to be over.

    Conclusion: vaccination WORKS.
    UK rate currently adult population: 75.7% two doses; 89.2% single dose.
    Looks like once over around two thirds to three quarters of pop. double jabbed really helps.
    (Still worries about breeding vaccine escape variants, though…)

    Also, latest ONS published opinion survey re. vaccination:
    96% responded confident in COVID vaccination; only 2% “hesitant”.

    Looks like cause to be thankful that our nutty Conservatives may be nutty, but still relatively rational compared to the US Right, and that the “working class right” voters are still reachable by rational leadership.

    4
  18. sam says:

    New Mexico braces for 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day by end of August

    In a state the size of New Mexico, this is quite troubling:

    “We have a lot of alarming information today, but we’re pretty much all convinced that we are headed for about 1,000 cases a day by the end of this month,” Dr. David Scrase, the state’s human services secretary and acting secretary of the Department of Health, said during an information-packed news conference Wednesday.

    “All of the tracking and modeling that’s being done around the country and here in New Mexico shows the same result,” he added.

    Southeastern New Mexico, which has the lowest vaccination rates in the state, is facing an even more serious problem, Scrase said.

    Modeling from Los Alamos National Laboratory projects up to 1,250 cases per day just in the southeastern part of the state in early September.

    The southeastern part of the state is Trump country.

    1
  19. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnSF:

    Looks like cause to be thankful that our nutty Conservatives may be nutty, but still relatively rational compared to the US Right, and that the “working class right” voters are still reachable by rational leadership.

    Greg Sargent had a column in yesterday’s WAPO on how well masking and vaccination poll, and that opposition is mostly by Republicans. He says the administration hoped with Trump gone the public would unite around fighting COVID,

    But Trump didn’t fade from the scene. Worse, many Republican officials and influencers actively picked up and ran with Trump’s project of using covid to stoke cultural and social conflict in all kinds of ways.

    There are two takeaways here. One is that vaccine/mask opposition is politically driven and will be very hard to get past unless GOP pols and preachers join the drive for rationality. Won’t happen, they’ve dug in too deep. Wrt/ DeSantis Krugman put it that he’s run a con and he can’t get out.

    The bigger takeaway from Sargent is that this didn’t just happen. Vaccine reluctance didn’t fall out of the sky. There was, of course, some seed, but GOP pols and FOX “News” carefully, deliberately, and with malice aforethought fertilized it with bullshit and grew it from an acorn to a might oak. Apparently there was less of this in the UK. Too often we speak of these issues as something occurring naturally and spontaneously. But they aren’t, they’re created by actors within the political system. There are villains. Does Political Science use the endogenous/exogenous terminology? COVID denial is endogenous to the political system, as are abortion, guns, immigration, election “security”, and what have you. They arise within the system, but they didn’t have to. Republicans worked hard to make these issues into social cleavages they can run on.

    7
  20. EddieInCA says:

    @MarkedMan:

    This just reinforces my wife and my resolve not to retire to a red county, never mind a red state. Setting politics aside, they are just not competent.

    I’m looking at South America for my retirement, if I ever retire. I find oceanfront in Ecuador much better than Alabama, Arkansas or other red states, and Ecuador has a lower cost of living, with better health care, and.. did I mention oceanfront?

    3
  21. EddieInCA says:

    WarnerMedia made it official today:

    https://deadline.com/2021/08/warner-media-covid-vaccine-offices-reopening-1234813660/

    WarnerMedia will require its U.S. employees or anyone entering one of its offices to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the company has announced.

    Along with the vaccine policy, which matches that of several large U.S. companies, the AT&T division will also reopen its offices on September 6. In a memo to employees, CEO Jason Kilar emphasized that there will be “no expectation” for workers to be in offices. (See his full note below, along with one from human resources chief Jim Cummings.)

    “Broadly speaking, there is no expectation that team members return to the office on that date,” Kilar wrote in his brief email, which closed with him urging workers to get vaccinated. “But we want you to be aware that our U.S. offices will be open and available (and regularly cleaned and serviced) for those teams and/or those individuals that are fully vaccinated and would like to use them.”

    2
  22. David S. says:

    @Scott: Mostly that while the moralities at play are starkly obvious to me, the legalities aren’t. Like, the Tribune article mentions that while a judge weighed in for one county (Dallas), another county (Travis) just flat-out ignored the EO. Was Jenkins even legally correct? “Team public health” is great as a moral position, but since it contradicts a legal EO, I’m not sure it’ll hold up.

    And since Biden may be weighing intervention options, it makes me wonder whether or not the “anarchist jurisdiction” designation, for instance, will become relevant again now that it’s on the books.

    Stuff like that. Far more incoherent than anything either James or Steven could come up with, though. The correct actions are obvious, and obviously Abbott won’t take them, so I’m more concerned about exactly how the new status quo of the law will shake out.

  23. reid says:

    @sam: At our worst, last November or so, NM was recording over 3,000 cases a day. It was shocking how it shot up so quickly. Scary, too, since there was no vaccine at the time, of course. Before the last few weeks, cases were consistently under 100 a day. Delta has kicked all of our butts.

    Yes, southern NM is bumpkin territory. That’s why one of our three reps is a bit of a nut (but not quite national news-level nut).

  24. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    But Trump didn’t fade from the scene. Worse, many Republican officials and influencers actively picked up and ran with Trump’s project of using covid to stoke cultural and social conflict in all kinds of ways.

    I’ll give you another takeaway — you can’t look forward without also looking back. We need to prosecute Trump to get him out of the scene. That, or air strikes.

    Ok, air strikes might be bad.

    I also think we need laws to prosecute spreading false medical information — with a barrier high enough to catch the “vaccines are making me magnetic” crowd, but not high enough to suppress actual medical debate. The prosecution of the extreme crazy would have a chilling effect on the medium crazy.

    3
  25. Gustopher says:

    @reid:

    Yes, southern NM is bumpkin territory. That’s why one of our three reps is a bit of a nut (but not quite national news-level nut).

    So, all of the problems of nutty Republicans but with none of the entertainment. That’s the worst type of nut.

    Say what you will about MTG — she’s a loon — but she gives her constituents Jewish space lasers

    4
  26. Scott says:

    @David S.: IANAL, clearly, but the gist of the legal argument put forward by Bexar County in getting the TRO against Abbott’s Emergency Order is this (I think):

    The law under which Abbott issued his EO to ban mask mandates was an Emergency Powers Act (in 1975) that allowed the Governor to issue orders in an emergency situation to prevent harm. Kind of a positive act. The argument is that the order to prevent localities from issuing a mask mandate is a negative act and therefore not valid under that act.

    This is my understanding and could be completely wrong.

    6
  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Misery topped 10,000 covid deaths yesterday.

    Jefferson County Reports Massive Increase In Child COVID-19 Cases

    Jefferson County, like many other counties in Missouri, is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. While St. Louis County is at an eleven percent positivity rate, Jefferson County is at fifteen percent. That’s not the only startling statistic out of Jefferson County this past week though.

    Just south of both St. Louis city and county, Jefferson County reported a 352 percent increase in cases of children diagnosed with COVID-19 from June to July.

    Living up to our name.

    2
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Wow! That surprises me. I’ve met all your local in-laws; they didn’t seem like that kind of nutters. They’ve never seemed like telling others what to do types–except as regards “their baby sister” (aka Mrs. luddite).

    1
  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: No, no, no! You don’t get to conclude that simply because disease rates are down that vaccination worked. The Dr. Fauci in my head promised us that as soon as the– vaccine became available the virus would go away. It hasn’t. This makes him nothing more than a lying liar telling lies and means that all the data related to covid is simply the lies of lying liars. And that doesn’t even account for the tracking chips, the dead baby extract, the male and female sterilization issues, and all the other stuff that BIG PHARMA’s corrupt system has allowed into the vaccine. When the Sigma, Tau, and Zeta variants come along, all you vaxxed people are going to be sorry because YOU’LL STILL BE GETTING INFECTED while those variants leave the fortunate people who didn’t listen to BIG PHARMA’s lying and went with disease acquired immunity, as GOD intended, are left alone.

    (I know, but somebody has to add it to the comment thread, and I’m falling out of practice.)

    7
  30. inhumans99 says:

    Earlier in the week I mentioned on this site that my teenage niece might have come down with Covid, but I am so happy and relieved to update that the PCR test(s) came back and my sister’s family is Covid free!! My entire clan is vaxxed (including my sister and brother’s families teenage daughters) but I am well aware breakthroughs can happen even among children/teens.

    Did I mention it felt like a heavy load was off my shoulders when I got the news? Nice news is always great as we start to end the work week.

    8
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: If air strikes are the solution to al Qaeda and Afghanistan, it’s certainly the solution to FG. And in his case, we’re only talking about one or two fairly precise strikes, not bombing the country flat.

    3
  32. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: if you cruise-missiled Mar-a-Lago, you wouldn’t just be taking out the leadership of Y’all Qaeda, you’d be harming lots of innocent people who paid 200k to hang out at Mar-a-Lago.

    OK now that I think about it….

    8
  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: A law against spreading medical misinformation sounds good. But the Hawley administration would declare vaccine effectiveness to be false information.

    Social obloquy would be better, but hard to get with FOX and the GOPs reinforcing false information. To me it comes down to leadership, the negative leadership from GOPs. The best path is to vote the bastards out. But with FOX “News” on their side, I don’t know how that happens. Forget cruise missiles on Mar a Lago, target Murdoch and his spawn.

    1
  34. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Oldest BIL is quietly going whack post-retirement, daughter’s fiancée’s siblings kinda cray, but the denialista horde wandering in for school supplies for juniors are the real laugh. Between the rabid anti-gummint types and the ones wearing hazmat suits and asking when we’ve last sterilized the interior of the store, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. “What a week I picked to quit shooting heroin…”

    3
  35. Jen says:

    Speaking of Covid quick hits, The Atlantic published this piece, which after reading it seems more like “guy involved early on wants more credit and attention than he’s getting,” than “inventor of mRNA technology who is now a vaccine skeptic.”

    After reading it, he just sounds sort of jealous that he isn’t getting the attention that Kati Kariko received. What a whiny brat.

  36. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think you just summed the entirety of anti-vax twitter in one comment.
    🙂
    Efficiency for the win!

    I know one person who is still flapping his yap about getting jabbed.
    Meh.
    “For lo! long did the annointed knights quest after the grail of the missing f**k, but verily nowhere was it to be descried.”

    2
  37. reid says:

    @Gustopher: Not to brag, but we also have the clown who created “Cowboys for Trump”. He was arrested for his activities on 1/6. He’s also a county commissioner in said bumpkin territory. Last I heard, they were trying to recall him. If he’s voted out, our Democratic governor would name his replacement. Heh.

    2
  38. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    A missile that can take down one individual is called a bullet.

    3
  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: That’s part of the whole omelets and broken eggs analogy. You gotta take the good with the bad–and all those other platitudes.

    2
  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: And I’m totally stealing “y’all Qaeda.” 😀 😀 😀

    2
  41. JDM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I hear they have a training camp in Al Abama.

    7
  42. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: i’m not clever enough to make that up, I done stole it too.

    2
  43. David S. says:

    @Scott: Thanks. These summaries are genuinely helpful on days where I have too much to deal with.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    daughter’s fiancée’s siblings kinda cray,

    Yeah, but compared to his family, you grew up in the Cleaver family. Not a workable comparison.

    2
  45. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Ooooh, from beyond the blue line…

    Jesus saves… Gretzky gets the puck…he shoots, he scores!

  46. Jax says:

    Just sayin….the OTB meetup someday is gonna be lit. We got a lot of funny people around here. 😛

    1
  47. Ken_L says:

    I’m reliably informed by commenters at non-partisan websites like Hot Air that there is no such thing as ‘long COVID’. Apparently a very few hypochondriacs have imagined they had lasting symptoms that had been caused by COVID, which Fauci and his leftist co-conspirators have whipped up into another effort to terrify the population into permanent submission.

  48. Jen says:

    @Ken_L: I figured some idiocy like that would come along at some point. I have at least two friends with long-covid, and I can guarantee that it’s not hypochondria driving their symptoms. One has a son who also has long-covid. He’s had to give up the sports he played because his heart rate will skyrocket randomly.

    What @ssholes these people all are.

    3