Roughly 2.87 9/11’s Last Week from Covid

As James Joyner noted this morning, the pandemic continues and it is having health care consequences well beyond those who are infected with Covid-19. The latest figure that I can find from my state of residence, Alabama, demonstrates the difficulty via Alabama has 181 more ICU patients than staffed beds; 52% of ICU patients have COVID.

The Alabama Hospital Association reports the state has 1,712 ICU patients for 1,531 staffed ICU beds, for a deficit of 181. Hospitals are being forced to treat those patients – 52% of whom have COVID – in other areas of the hospital.

The following underscores the ongoing fact that this health care emergency is being fueled by people who are unvaccinated:

Alabama currently has 2,777 patients hospitalized with COVID, 2,724 adults and 53 pediatric patients. Of all the adult inpatients, 84% are unvaccinated, 4% are partially vaccinated and 12% are fully vaccinated.

Let me note, a vaccine is not a cure, but a preventative (many anti-vaxxers seem to think that the shots are supposed to be a cure and therefore any infections amongst the vaccinated demonstrate failure of the vaccine). But it is clear by the numbers that if more people were vaccinated, there would be fewer people in ICUs in Alabama and elsewhere.

Since neither James nor I have posted any updates about the death toll of the pandemic in quite a while, let me note that we surpassed 675,000 deaths at the end of last week and that we will likely be at over 680,000 by mid-week (and over 700,000 by early October).

Source: Worlometers

Yes, the vast majority of people recover from the disease. Most people have mild cases. But a lot of people are going to the hospital and others are suffering from long-term symptoms. That anyone still dismisses this as just a kind of flu (or, worse, a hoax) is simply not paying attention to the right information sources. Indeed, it astounds me that this is still the case, as the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

All of the discussion of the 9/11 attacks last week and into the weekend kept reminding me that we are losing a 9/11’s worth of Americans every few days due to Covid. A quick calculation based on the same data source of the above graphic suggests we lost rough 2.87 9/11’s last week due to Covid (over 8500 deaths). Given that vaccination substantially decreases a person’s death from Covid, these were almost all preventable deaths (and, I hasten to add, most Covid deaths are not quick and painless, so this was also preventable suffering and expense). As the AP noted back in June: Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated.

See, also the CDC:

This figure shows fully vaccinated people had less risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death.

On 9/11 we lost 2,977 lives and consequently invaded two countries (one of which we only left within the last couple of weeks) and paid the cost in lives and dollars.

Surely, we could just all get the darn shots after losing 677,000 plus (and counting)? Not to mention that getting the shot is an act of self-preservation.

Alas, we are where we are.

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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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Cannon fodder.

  2. Kathy says:

    If you look at the weekly case number graph at the Hopkins COVID tracker site, you notice the two lowest infection periods were during the widespread lockdown last year, and the month before Delta hit and vaccinations were growing quickly.

    An amazing coincidence, isn’t it, that they coincide with measures the Republicans say don’t work.

  3. Mikey says:

    That anyone still dismisses this as just a kind of flu (or, worse, a hoax) is simply not paying attention to the right information sources. Indeed, it astounds me that this is still the case, as the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

    From the very beginning, Trump made distrust of the science, doctors, and federal agencies’ guidance on COVID a test of political loyalty and identity. The rest of the GOP followed suit, and now it is far too late to hope for anything except that the vaccination mandates will lead enough of them to get the vaccine. They are utterly unreachable by the right information sources.

  4. KM says:

    On 9/11 there was fire and destruction, mass chaos and daylight horror. It left a scar on the landscape and inspired bloodlust & vengeance in the national psyche.

    In short, drama in a neatly packed, televisable fashion.

    COVID kills more daily but they’re spread out. They’re not all dying in one place at once we can gawk at. Like cancer, car crashes or heart attacks they kill across the nation piecemeal and so we can ignore it. Almost everyone knows someone who’s died from the above but it’s not a pressing worry for many. Odds are good you might be one of the tens of thousands who will die this year from them but you still get into your car thoughtlessly and live life.

    Covidiots will keep on doing what they do because COVID isn’t fire and mass destruction but a car crash in the night. Spectacle matters to them in terms of threat assessment

  5. MarkedMan says:


    From the very beginning, Trump made distrust of the science, doctors, and federal agencies’ guidance on COVID a test of political loyalty and identity.

    I think you have this backwards. Since the 70’s Republicans have moved away from reality. By the 80’s it had become a runaway feedback loop, where 1) people who are reality based left the party, making it 2) more attractive to loons of all types, leading back to 1) again. Finally, in the 2000’s the Tea Party demonstrated that the old guard in the party, who believed they could feed the base nonsense but govern seriously behind the scenes, had completely lost control. They were primaried out or ran away before it happened. By the time Trump came on the scene the Republican Party had assumed its current shape. Trump didn’t change the party, he merely exposed it for what it is.

  6. de stijl says:


    Trump accelerated the process. Codified it. Sat atop the rotting corpse and thought it was a throne.

    Back in the summer 2015 I flagged Trump as the likely R nominee. Everybody pooh-poohed the idea. (Reynolds backed me up tbf.) Told me I was naive and unschooled. It’s gonna be Jeb just you watch.

    My argument was that Trump ticked all of the resentment boxes and presented as “alpha”. This is where the party and R voters are going was my hunch / feel. It wanted a bombastic champion.

    Everybody told me it was gonna be JEB! Possibly Rubio. Also, maybe Cruz. But def not Trump who is a dead man walking – an unelectable braggart buffoon no one serious takes seriously. It cannot happen. It will not happen.

    Being right too soon sorta sucks.

  7. Christine says:

    I have two family members that refused to get the vaccine. One claimed the efficacy of the vaccine was 0.1%. Of course he is avid consumer of right wing media and a Trump voter (after years of claiming to be a libertarian, haha). At Christmas last year, he promised to quarantine before (rather only went to work where he is never in close contact with others and they wear protective gear due to his line of work so yeah he wears a mask for that, go figure?) or nobody would allow in their home. During a convo, he claimed there were only 20K excess deaths so far in 2020, masks don’t work and we should have just allowed the virus to spread since recovery rate was 99%. That he can’t figure out that 1% of 330,000,00o is 3.3 million DEAD is depressing. Proves to me, people like him are the lemmings and sheep and is too wrapped up in ideology. His son and wife are trying to conceive again after a terrible loss last year (the baby died in vitro at 8 months). He told him if you don’t get vaxxed you will not see us at Christmas and you will never see your grandbaby. He got his 1st shot last week. FINALLY.

  8. Tony W says:

    Was reading an article this morning about embalmers. Apparently, after death, the blood in COVID patients coagulates almost completely within one hour (once the body stops fighting the virus).

    Embalmers are working 36 hours shifts in some areas to keep up with demand, and they are getting burned out as well.

    This is an awfully large price for our country to pay in order to appease the fragile ego of a single man in Mar-a-Lago.

  9. Andy says:

    I saw the quote about 1531 staffed ICU beds in all of Alabama, and thought that seemed like a pretty low for a state with 5 million people.

    After (wrongly) assuming that poor, dumb Alabama neglected its medical infrastructure, I looked up ICU bed capacity by state and found, low-and-behold, that, at least in 2018 data, Alabama has more ICU beds per capita than any other state.

    Then I thought about USNS Comfort and Mercy (the US Navy hospital ships that can have up to 100 ICU beds each) and looked up their locations. They are currently sitting pierside in Norfolk and San Diego respectively. 200 more ICU beds won’t solve the underlying problem but it seems like they’d still be useful assuming they can get underway.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Last year when the hospital ships were dispatched to NY and LA, IIRC there was a restriction that while the navy docs could provide medical care for non covid issues, they couldn’t handle covid patients and the use of the ICU beds was even further restricted.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl:

    Back in the summer 2015 I flagged Trump as the likely R nominee

    I feel like you are reinforcing my point here. You thought Trump would be the nominee because he checked all the boxes for angry, resentful Republican Base voters. Those boxes existed before Trump arrived on the scene.

    So in my view Trump didn’t change anything. He was simply the first person to explicitly give the Republican base exactly what they wanted. If it wasn’t Trump it would have been some other buffoon just like him. Watch, I bet they will forget all about Trump and crown the next Lord of the Flies without missing a beat.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy: Every once in a while I go looking to see what states do best and worst on a variety of metrics. If I remember correctly, there are a few medical categories where Alabama does better than you would expect. Not top ten, but solidly in the middle. Kentucky falls into that category too. Not sure why.

  13. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: Regardless of their political views, both states have (or had) competent Senators who could bring in the federal dollars.

  14. de stijl says:

    Last year I would post every week or so along the lines of:

    “As of today x thousand people have died from Covid. That is the same population as Abilene, Tx. It is as if Abilene were wiped off the map.”

    I wanted to contextualize. I did data presentation / interaction for a living.

    I think I stopped around 300,000. It got too real and too depressing.

    As of today it’s ~ 660k. That’s roughly the number of people who live in Boston, Mass.

  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Does the Republican party have a Thanos fantasy?

  16. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: Honestly, I can’t imagine any other Republican President doing as Trump did. It may well be that the GOP, consumed with crazy for the last 40-plus years, would have gone down this path regardless, but to me it seems Trump has a unique hold on the party. He was President, he is the leader of the GOP, and he set the tone from day one that has led us to nearly 680,000 dead.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: If we are lucky, Trump will be a one off, but only because the Republicans have gone so far down the crazy racist uncle path that they can’t get their nominees actually elected. But I suspect that the candidates they run will be worse than Trump.

    Look at California and Oregon. The Repubs became so extreme they lost all branches of government. But that has simply contributed to their feedback loop, and their leaders continue to get loonier.

  18. Jax says:

    @de stijl: It’s the equivalent of every single person in the State of Wyoming, plus another medium metro area of 100,000 or so. Blows my mind.

  19. CSK says:

    This is so depressing.

  20. de stijl says:


    I happened to be in Cheyenne during rodeo week. Total happenstance. Stumbled upon.

    We were on luck of the draw van roadtrip where every morning we played poker to decide the direction of the day.

    I lost and we went south instead of west. Ended up in Cheyenne in late July. Luck of the draw. We had no idea what the hell was happening. Ended up staying two days before the road beckoned.

    Met a nice young woman out of Western Nebraska.

  21. de stijl says:


    Buck up.

    If you have the time go and take a road trip to Zion or Glacier or wherever. Watch the world unfold in front of you. Listen to music. Bask in emptiness.

    September is a great month to roadtrip. No tourists and everything’s still open. It’s the best time of year.

    I’ve talked myself into it actually. I wanna see Bryce Canyon in the fall.

  22. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Thanks. Good idea about the road trip.

  23. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t see how they close Pandora’s Box at this point. Maybe the few remaining sane Republicans can move the party back toward sanity, but at this point most in the GOP are either willing to ride the tiger or fully invested in the crazy.