Friday, August 13, 2021

Delta makes herd immunity impossible

London: The Delta variant of COVID-19 has wrecked any chance of herd immunity, according to the Oxford scientist who led the AstraZeneca vaccine team, as he called for an end to mass testing so Britain could start to live with the virus.

Scientists who addressed Britain’s all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said it was time to accept that there is no way of stopping the virus spreading through the entire population, and monitoring people with mild symptoms was no longer helpful.

Professor Andrew Pollard, who led the Oxford vaccine team, said it was clear that the Delta variant can still infect people who have been vaccinated, which made herd immunity impossible to reach, even with Britain’s high uptake.

The Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday that more than three quarters of adults in Britain have received both jabs and calculated that 60,000 deaths and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.

Speaking to the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, Sir Andrew said: “Anyone who is still unvaccinated will, at some point, meet the virus.

“We don’t have anything that will stop transmission, so I think we are in a situation where herd immunity is not a possibility, and I suspect the virus will throw up a new variant that is even better at infecting vaccinated individuals.”

Analysis by Public Health England has shown that when vaccinated people catch the virus, they have a similar viral load to unvaccinated individuals, and may be as infectious.

Paul Hunter, a professor at the University of East Anglia and an expert in infectious diseases, told the committee: “The concept of herd immunity is unachievable because we know the infection will spread in unvaccinated populations and the latest data is suggesting that two doses is probably only 50 per cent protective against infection.

“We need to move away from reporting infections to actually reporting the number of people who are ill. Otherwise we are going to be frightening ourselves with very high numbers that don’t translate into disease burden.”

On Tuesday, Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, confirmed that third dose booster shots would be given from next month. However, Pollard argued that Britain could be continually vaccinating the population for no real health benefit if mass testing continued.

“I think as we look at the adult population going forward, if we continue to chase community testing and are worried about those results, we’re going to end up in a situation where we’re constantly boosting to try and deal with something which is not manageable,” he said.

“It needs to be moving to clinically driven testing in which people are willing to get tested and treated and managed, rather than lots of community testing. If someone is unwell, they should be tested, but for their contacts, if they’re not unwell, then it makes sense for them to be in school and being educated.”

Dr Ruchi Sinha, consultant paediatrician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, told MPs and peers that choosing not to vaccinate children would be unlikely to cause problems in the health service.

“What matters is the burden of patient hospitalisation and critical care and actually there hasn’t been as much with this Delta variant,” she said. “They tend to be the children who have got their comorbidities, obesity, or severe neurological problems and those children are already considered for vaccination. COVID-19 on its own in paediatrics is not the problem.”


Liberalism Drops Its Mask

The past year’s devastation reveals elite special interest groups as liberalism’s master

Since the turn of the 20th century, progressivism and liberalism have been pushed for an increasingly massive state and burdensome government restrictions on personal conduct (outside the bedroom, at least) on a simple premise: It’s for the good of the people. Listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) today, one hears the same claims, with the socialist Left arguing that government should run health care to serve those who cannot afford it, or that the Postal Service should provide banking to serve those whom commercial banks do not.

But the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the truth behind this mask: modern liberalism, progressivism, democratic socialism, whatever else one wishes to call it, does not serve the people. Instead, It serves a set of defined special interest groups that often bear little resemblance to “the people” Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and their allies invoke.

Since March 2020, Americans have seen liberals shutter schools and run the ones they allow to open as prison camps to placate teachers’ unions; they’ve seen their right to travel held hostage to the comfortable idleness of federal civil servants; they’ve seen well-heeled champagne socialists push the election of prosecutors who explicitly fail to do their jobs, unleashing a crime wave unseen since the 1990s.

The level of suffering government school systems have inflicted on children since March 2020 was unwarranted by the danger. Across most of the northeast and Pacific coast, teachers’ union industrial action (or the threat of it) led to school closures that lasted for most of the 2020-2021 period as “Apple ballot”-endorsed school board members did the bidding of the teachers’ unions who funded their campaigns and let “educators” pretend to work from home. The consequences to students were devastating; the year of “remote learning” put students at a massive disadvantage to those whose schools were open.

As the political winds shifted, even Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, conceded that perhaps schools needed to reopen. But the teachers’ unions’ ideal of “open” is not the liberal ideal of a school operated at public expense to teach classrooms of students in reading, writing, and arithmetic that many parents remember from their youths. Instead, classrooms have three-foot isolation, drinks of water taken facing a wall in the schoolroom corner, mandatory muzzles, and “critical race theory” indoctrination. Meanwhile, in the largely conservative states that have resisted teachers’ unions’ demands, schoolrooms have been open five days a week since fall.

Unionized teachers aren’t the only “public servants” denying rights to citizens by their pandemic-excused idleness. Applying for or renewing a U.S. passport has become a Kafkaesque nightmare because passport agencies and processing centers have not reopened at full capacity despite employees being prioritized for vaccination. Citibank, the contractor that operates document lockboxes that prepare applications for processing, is also operating below capacity, ostensibly due to COVID reasons.

Does “for the people” liberalism care that its inability to operate a bureaucracy denies Americans’ right to travel? Nah, not really. A Biden administration State Department official told the press: “U.S. citizens who wish to travel overseas this summer and do not currently have a passport may need to make alternate travel plans.” The liberal State Department, like the liberalism in school systems, operates not for the benefit of the people, but for its own elite class.

But at least the passport fiasco is one of mere idleness, not deliberate intention. In big-city prosecutors’ offices from San Francisco to Philadelphia, abdicating the responsibilities of government is not idleness, but a party platform. A class of “progressive prosecutors” were backed for election by the scions of Big Philanthropy, including George Soros and his family, Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskowitz, and Cari Tuna. Their platforms? Don’t prosecute and don’t jail.

The results are entirely predictable. In San Francisco, progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin presides over a surge in violent crimes against Asian Americans and shoplifters stealing with impunity. Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor Larry Krasner presides over a 33 percent year-on-year surge in homicide that drew attention from the city’s liberal mayor. Other cities have similar Big Philanthropy-chosen prosecutors and similar spikes in crime.

The path of decadent-phase Great Society liberalism is clear. Unless “the people” have a checkbook or thousands of votes to give to the left-wing political leadership, the people don’t matter. The mask has fallen.

With Handouts Running Out, People Suddenly Find Jobs

Democrat giveaways are still exacerbating unemployment, but the tide is finally turning.

The U.S. economy created a robust 943,000 jobs in July, the best total since last August. In completely unrelated news, enhanced unemployment benefits ended in many states and will for all states in September, and until the last minute most tenants were operating under the presumption that they’d actually have to start paying rent or face eviction. We kid about this being unrelated, of course. These are the reasons people are finally going back to work. They have to.

President Joe Biden was happy to claim credit for the jobs report. “More than 4 million jobs created since we took office,” he posted on social media. “It’s historic — and proof our economic plan is working.”

What’s Biden’s plan? To spend the nation into oblivion, exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to enact much of the radical Left’s agenda items.

Want a $15 an hour minimum wage but can’t get Congress to pass it? “Enhance” unemployment benefits to equal or exceed $15 an hour, and then extend those benefits for months after lockdowns were lifted. People won’t go back to work for a long time, and when they finally do they won’t accept less than $15 an hour. Boom. Policy achieved.

Just don’t mind the rampant inflation caused by supply chain issues resulting from a lack of workers, followed by the higher costs businesses face (and pass on to customers) just to employ the workers they can actually find. (There are a record 10.1 million job openings.) Oh, and that inflation is chewing up real wage gains.

Want to create a new entitlement? Illegally extend an eviction moratorium and pay people to not pay their rent. It’s equivalent to expanding public housing.

Want to create universal basic income by default? Send “emergency” Biden bucks to most Americans nearly a year after the emergency. And then send parents with dependents default monthly checks that advance the child tax credit (which will reduce refunds or result in tax bills come filing time, but don’t mind that just yet). For those who don’t want this money now, opting out is a huge pain. And the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill makes this “temporary” program permanent.

Want to forgive student loans? Soften the beaches by extending forbearance through January. Congress did this in March 2020 to alleviate the burden for borrowers losing jobs to government-imposed lockdowns. Is this still justifiable? Not according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which notes, “The unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree recipients was 3.1% in July.”

Never mind that. Biden just made it so that forbearance will drag on for nearly two years. Next up: Total loan forgiveness, just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wanted. Who won the Democrat presidential primary again?

We’ll close with another important point. President Donald Trump’s policies resulted in soaring jobs numbers for minorities, especially blacks. Under Joe “You Ain’t Black” Biden? Not so much. Among all demographic groups, blacks were the only ones who saw a decline in labor force participation in July. Is this the “equity” he keeps talking about? Or is this what “systemic racism” looks like?




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