Last Thursday afternoon, I received my Moderna booster and a flu shot. I experienced a much more severe reaction than I had for either of my original shots, and was laid pretty low for a full 48 hours. Thus I am taking a relatively easy way out this morning and will content myself with an update on COVID data from around the country for the last week, and how it compares to previous weeks.
The news, basically, is good, suggesting that the delta variant surge has definitely passed its peak. On August 20, nationwide new deaths per million for the previous week were at 23. Two weeks later, on September 3, new deaths per million for the past week were up to 35, and on September 17 that figure was 41. It appears to have peaked one week later on September 24 at 44, and on October 8 it was down to 41. The average figure for the next two weeks was 35, and for the week ending last Friday it was just 30. In short, weekly deaths nationwide nearly doubled between August 20 and September 24, and if present trends continue we will be down to the August 20 level within two more weeks.
Meanwhile, however, we remain two completely different countries with respect to the pandemic. 19 of the top 20 most seriously hit states last week were red or purple. The full list includes Montana, West Virginia, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, Kentucky, Delaware (blue), Wyoming, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, Maine, Alaska, and Michigan. They averaged 43 deaths per million people for the week. The best-off 20 states, on the other hand, averaged just 16 deaths per million, and 15 of them are blue. The full list: Colorado, Utah, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, South Dakota, Louisiana, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Nebraska, D.C., Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. There are 216 million people in those 20 worst-hit states, and 5832 people died there last week who would not have if their death rates had matched that of the 20 best off states. These figures also explain why we are losing people more quickly than the major European states now.
The refusal of the political authorities in the red states--who presumably speak for the majority of their populations--illustrates the attack on enlightenment principles coming from the right. Another attack, based on identity as the source of all knowledge, is coming from the left. I do not think there is any alternative to enlightenment principles to hold a modern nation together.