1. The contrast between Idaho and Vermont is incredible testament to the value of vaccination. They're both northern, rural states that have been dealing with a seasonal Covid wave. But Idaho has 686 people in the hospital with Covid. Vermont has 40.
2. Idaho also has 21 people dying a day from Covid. Vermont has 1.

Idaho's population is 3x Vermont's. So per capita, its Covid hospitalization rate is 5.5x Vermont's. Its Covid death rate is 7x Vermont's.
3. This isn't because of differences in seasonality, or demographics. Both states are overwhelmingly white, Vermont's population is actually significantly older than Idaho's.

There is one big difference between them: Idaho is 49th in the country in vax rate. Vermont is 1st.
4. Idaho has a lieutenant governor whose office sends out antivax propaganda under the state's official seal (below). Only 41% of its population is fully vaxxed. The result is that its hospitals are swamped - for no reason - with Covid patients. (In)action has consequences.
5. The Idaho hospitalization data in my first tweet is already out of date. As of Monday (most recent date available), the number of hospitalized Covid patients was up to 760. Vermont, meanwhile, is still at 40.

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More from @JamesSurowiecki

24 Sep
Antivaxxers love to cite rising case numbers that include cases in unvaxxed kids as evidence vaccines don't work. Then they insist kids should be excluded when you calculate vaccination rates in the population. I can never tell if they're being willfully deceptive or just stupid.
For instance, antivaxxers love to claim that Israel and Scotland are highly vaxxed, because they've vaxxed a high pct of adults, and to then point to the number of cases in those countries as evidence vaxxes don't work.
But what they never mention is that 40%+ of Israel's cases since its summer surge started have been in kids, most of whom are unvaxxed. And Scotland's recent surge has been propelled by cases in unvaxxed kids.
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
1. This quote, from a woman whose unvaxxed husband nearly died of Covid perfectly captures the looking-glass world of vax skepticism: "We weren’t educated enough to know the science behind the vaccine so of course we were skeptical on our end."
2. If you aren't educated enough to know the science behind the vaccines, why would you be skeptical of them, given that they've been approved by regulatory agencies across the developed world, and given that 96% of doctors, according to an AMA survey, have been vaxxed?
3. You probably don't know anything about the science behind ibuprofen, but I bet you take Advil. You probably don't know how planes can possibly stay in the air, but you still fly when you travel.
Read 6 tweets
23 Sep
It is utterly absurd that every nursing home in the country is not being required to vaccinate all its staff members.
The one protective measure that everyone, even Covid skeptics, agreed on was protecting the elderly who were in assisted-care facilities. But state after state across the country allows unvaccinated nursing-home workers to interact with frail elderly patients every day.
As for the "People will quit! Nursing homes can't afford it!," that's the same nonsense we've been hearing from industry lobbying groups from the start. CT put in place a nursing-home vax mandate last month. We've yet to see a nursing home go out of business.
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
This is a good, and hopeful, piece about how we'll be able to live with Covid once everyone's vaccinated, has been infected, or both. But, for this to happen, the CDC will have to change the metrics it uses to decide when to recommend the implementation of things like masking.
Right now, if cases in a county cross a very low weekly threshold - 7.2 cases a day/100,000 - the CDC defines that place as having "substantial transmission," which in turn means it recommends universal indoor masking.
It doesn't matter what a county's vaccination rate is, or if it has a very low hospitalization rate (which is the most obvious consequence of having a high vax rate): if it crosses that case threshold, the CDC says masks should go on.
Read 7 tweets
22 Sep
We had 200,000 new cases and 2200 new deaths today. Only 55% of the US population is vaccinated. Once we get the pandemic under control we can talk about the danger of Covid policies being kept in place "into perpetuity."
I understand the impulse to ask "What's the end game?" - I've asked it myself here many times. But given the current state of the US, it's odd that every argument over Covid restrictions in colleges goes immediately to "So you're saying it's fine for it to be this way forever!"
To put it more simply, let's get everyone vaccinated (or immune because of previous infection), get 65+ boosters, get the daily death rate into double digits. Then you can freak out over whether Brown's rules are too tough.
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
I'm ambivalent about campus restrictions, but this piece, like all of Michael Tracey's pieces, is written as if the only people whose health universities have to worry about are students. That's obviously not true: they have to worry about faculty and staff, who are often older.
Soave writes: "Few people are safer from COVID-19 than vaccinated 18- to 22-year-olds." That's true. But college campuses are full of older teachers and staff members, who are in regular close contact with students for extended periods of time.
And yes, everyone (at least on some campuses) is vaccinated, but we know breakthrough cases happen, and that they're more likely to happen to older people. So colleges are trying to protect in-person learning while also protecting the health of everyone in their community.
Read 6 tweets

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