One thing I find a bit weird is that discussion of how the herd immunity math might play out in the US often brushes past the role that natural immunity (from having had COVID) plays. Experts estimate that ~1/3 of the US population has had COVID at some point.
You can't just add up the ~33% who had COVID and the ~45% who've been vaccinated because there is some overlap between those groups. But survey data etc. suggests less overlap than you'd think since unvaccinated people tend to have been taking fewer precautions against COVID.
And, of course, there will be less and less overlap over time, since unvaccinated people are disproportionately more likely to get COVID going forward.

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More from @NateSilver538

20 Apr
The same poll shows the decision likely increased vaccine hesitancy, which is what really matters here.

If the FDA decision makes people more worried about the vaccines, then of course they'll say it was responsible to pause administration of a vaccine they're now worried about. But it's also going to make it harder to get people to take the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the number of vaccinations has begun to decline and there are widespread reports of open availability all across the country.

Read 5 tweets
18 Apr
What inspired this tweet the other day was an article that said even vaccinated people should double-mask and wear face shields when flying.

Today I'm on my first flight in more than a year. (Thanks, Pfizer!) It's quite full. What's the reality like? How many face shields? 🧵
Zero people wearing face shields or eye protection. One person double-masking (might have missed one or two others). A smattering of N95s.

I'm not judging anyone on their facial coverings... but I think this reveals a disconnect in who is reading these columns.
The people who are so risk-averse as to be reading articles about what precautions they should take *even after vaccination* are probably not getting on flights in the first place. They probably don't need to be told to be more cautious. In many respects they may be too cautious!
Read 5 tweets
13 Apr
I disagree. Say there's a 1 in 100 chance someone acquires COVID because of a delayed vaccine (maybe conservative in the US where spread is still quite high) and a 1 in 150 chance they die from it. That's a 1 in 15,000 chance vs. 1 blood clot death in 7,000,000 doses so far.
Now of course there's a lot of stuff we haven't considered. But it cuts in both directions. The incidence of blood clot deaths may be higher that indicated so far given we're not systematically monitoring for them. OTOH, we also have to consider the base rates in the population.
We also have to consider that the person who gets COVID because of a delayed vaccine will pass her case along to an average of 1 other person given where Rt is in the US right now. So the death rate is actually twice as high as I indicated above.
Read 4 tweets
13 Apr
It's also a high-stakes test for the FDA, and they failed it, because of course lots of people are going to take away the latter message.
There's also data on this based on decreased public confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe following similar pauses there. So the FDA can't even use the excuse of flying blind.…
Also, part of the reason media coverage may be confused is that the FDA's reasoning isn't super logical. It probably isn't rational to pause administration of a vaccine that's already been given out 7 million times for "extremely rare" events in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
Read 5 tweets
9 Apr
This is a long, interesting thread on how much more transmissible B.1.1.7 (aka "the UK variant") really is.
One thing I'd add is that contact-tracing data from the UK found an advantage of ~33% (as compared to the 50-70% that you sometimes see cited elsewhere) and I can imagine contact-tracing is more robust than methods based on statistical extrapolation.…
As a non-expert on this stuff, I don't necessarily trust my judgment to sort out competing expert claims.

However, I do find it interesting when there's a range of expert opinion and only a certain portion of that range tends to make it into popular media coverage about COVID.
Read 5 tweets
8 Apr
There are a lot of ways to lose a midterm—getting crushed among independents, for instance.

But one way is with a low turnout from your base (e.g. Dems in 2010) and I tend to think that won't be a problem for Dems in 2022 because their voters will see the stakes as existential.
By "existential" mean that many Democrats will think that "democracy itself is on the line" between the Big Lie (and the fact that Congressional majorities could make it easier for the GOP to overturn the 2024 election) and the increased attention to voting rights.
Why the minority party tends to gain at the midterms is a complicated question, but much of it is simply that voters want to check the party in power. However, if the minority party could use a good midterm to permanently entrench itself, the calculation is a lot different.
Read 4 tweets

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