A pattern has been emerging in July, during what is becoming the fifth wave of the covid pandemic in the U.S., in which some states with relatively low vaccination rates have seen a take-off in their numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The correlation between a state’s cases per 100,000 and the % not fully vaccinated is now up to 0.56 (linear regression — the trend line above is exponential), which is getting up there.
It’s not a perfect correlation — if we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that its trends display a sizable degree of randomness — but I suspect the correlation is stronger than it was a month ago.
As would be expected for an emerging problem, the correlations are lower for the lagging indicators: r = 0.49 for hospitalizations, and 0.38 for deaths. But that’s not good news.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get Google Sheets to display the states’ names on the graph, so here is the data:
|% Not Fully Vaccinated|
Some of the current pattern is seasonal: the highest case count rates are in sweaty states where it’s appealing to go inside and run the air conditioner while cases are low in Moynihan Law states near the Canadian border where it’s pleasant to be outside.
But it’s also increasingly obvious that anti-vaxx knuckleheadedness is putting people in the emergency room and the cemetery.
The good news is that during the short-lived fourth wave back in late March-early April, we saw a similar rise in case counts, but we knocked it down and kept it confined to Michigan via a high rate at the time of vaccinations, peaking at 4.6 million doses on April 10.
Similarly, we can keep the fifth wave from putting a lot of people in the hospital and the grave if the people who need vaccinations who have not gotten them yet go get them. But doses have been running at only a little more than a half million over the last week.
Keep in mind that it takes two weeks before a first vaccination starts to work, and the chance of infection with this highly contagious Indian variant is likely to increase, so for my readers of average age and weight and who haven’t tested positive with covid before, a good time to go get vaccinated is, well, now.
Granted, I realize that several of my most strident commenters are 22-year-old Nietzschean ubermensches with 56″ chests and 31″ waists who are utterly invulnerable to covid due to their being all-around immortal in general (except that they are apparently oddly likely to drop dead from vaccines, which terrify them no end, as do needles).
But not all of us are so superhuman.
Moreover, some of us have, shameful as it is to admit, friends and relatives who aren’t as impervious as we are. And because the mRNA vaccines make you much less likely to pass on the germ to some weakling to whom it could be a major problem, it is a disinterestedly noble and chivalrous gesture on your part to get vaccinated to protect the weak.
So let’s get this stupid, tiresome pandemic over and done in ’21.