David Leonhardt/NY Times:
Is Omicron Peaking?
In parts of the Northeast, it seems to be.
Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the The Associated Press that he believed the true number of U.S. cases — including those not included in any official tally — has already peaked, probably last week. “It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” he predicted.
To be clear, the current emergency is not on the verge of ending. Cases appear to be peaking only in places where Omicron arrived early, mostly in the Northeast. In much of the country, cases are still soaring.
Already, some hospitals are swamped, and hospitalization trends often trail caseload trends by about a week. Deaths trends tend to lag by another couple of weeks. “It’s going to be a tough two or three weeks,” Mokdad said. The U.S. seems on course for a horrific amount of severe illness in coming weeks, overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated.
I bolded the important part, if you are not NYC-centric.
‘Back Alley’ Advice Is Making The Pandemic Worse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exists as a source of official, seal-of-approval safety information. But not only has it become mired in political influence — it’s also failed to address many of the most relevant questions for day-to-day decision-making. Or it’s gotten to them late, long after we all started taking the matter into our own hands.
In this lawless world, we’ve all become public-health vigilantes. And that’s stupid. I’m really not sure how else to say it.
The trouble is, so is premium front row advice. For example, WPXI (Pittsburgh):
CDC’s guidance on face masks will not change, director says
Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan 12: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the agency’s guidance on face masks would not change for now.
“CDC continues to recommend that any mask is better than no mask and we do encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19. And, the recommendation is not going to change,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing.
My basic advice to public health is: Be transparent, and, also, try not to kill us.
Incidental Cases and Staff Shortages Make Covid’s Next Act Tough for Hospitals
The challenge is finding room to safely treat all the covid patients while keeping staffers and the rest of patients safe, said Dr. Scott Ross, chief medical officer.
“It’s not a PPE issue,” he said, referring to personal protective equipment like masks, “nor an oxygen issue, nor a ventilator issue. It’s a volume issue and making sure we have enough beds and caregivers for patients.”
Nationally, covid cases and hospitalizations are at their highest levels since the pandemic began. Yet, unlike previous covid surges, large portions of the patients with covid are coming to the hospital for other reasons. The infections are exacerbating some medical conditions and making it harder to reduce covid’s spread within hospital walls, especially as patients show up at earlier, more infectious stages of the disease.
Although the omicron variant generally produces milder cases, adding the sheer number of these “incidental” hospitalizations to covid-caused hospitalizations could be a tipping point for a health care system that is reeling as the battle against the pandemic continues. Rising rates of covid in the community also translate to rising rates among hospital staffers, causing them to call out sick in record numbers and further stress an overwhelmed system.
John Stoehr/Editorial Board has an interview with political scientist Shana Gadarian:
We suspected that rightwing politics caused mass injury and death. A new book proves it
When partisanship subsumes everything, people die. Period.
As journalist Heidi N. Moore put it this morning: “I really think we need to talk about how being OK with people dying is a mark of sociopaths.”
Don’t take my word for it.
Shana Kushner Gadarian is political scientist at Syracuse University and coauthor of the forthcoming Pandemic Politics: How COVID-19 Exposed the Depth of American Polarization (Princeton). Their book looks at how the former president put his needs above ours, creating polarized conditions around public health that are still with us. It’s accurate, she said during our chat, to say partisanship equals death.
What Biden should say to Manchin and Sinema on filibuster reforms
President Biden will meet with Senate Democrats on Thursday to make a private pitch for adjusting filibuster rules to get to an up-or-down vote on the party’s two voting reform bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
What could he possibly say that he has not said in public or in separate conversations with Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the two holdouts on filibuster reform? In truth, there may be nothing. But he should nevertheless keep the pressure on the holdouts without giving them an excuse for a hissy fit.
Farid Jalali, MD/Twitter:
1. COVID is airborne
2. Wear N95s whenever you can outside home
3. Vaccines work, but …
4. Need a booster to keep you out of hospital
5. Kids can and do get sick from Omicron
6. Long-term effects of COVID are serious
7. Hospitals are overwhelmed
9. Surgical masks are not enough when indoors
10. No therapeutic is a replacement for vaccines
11. Therapeutics are, however, needed
12. Don’t trust politicians
13. MDs coordinating with government need to disclose such affiliation
Dan Froomkin/Press Watch:
By their acts, top newsrooms reject calls to be ‘pro-democracy’
Any hope that our country’s elite political journalists might heed the increasingly clamorous calls from former colleagues and media critics to adopt a pro-democracy approach to their coverage pretty much died this week.
Actual pro-democracy reporting doesn’t simply entail writing movingly about its death. A genuine pro-democracy reporter would also write – obsessively — about what would help it survive. But the reporters covering the White House and Congress today express no real curiosity about that topic.
The current push to pass ambitious voting-rights and election-protection legislation may be the last chance our republic has to bolster our democracy before it takes some serious damage.
But top news outlets have been covering it like any other partisan dogfight — without any sense of urgency, without crucial context, and without even explaining what’s in the bills in question. They have, consequently, failed to explain why those provisions are there, why they are essential, how commonsensical they are for the most part, and how opposition to them is based solely in the Republican Party’s preparations to rule as a permanent, authoritarian minority government.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.