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April 11th, 2021|

Elizabeth Rosenthal has it right in her Washington Post commentary, I was a teenage gun owner, then an ER doctor. Assault-style weapons make me sick.:

“…the United States has undergone a cultural, definitional, practical shift on guns and what they are for.

Once mostly associated in the public mind with sport, guns in the United States are now widely regarded more as weapons to maim or kill — or to protect from the same. Guns used to be on a continuum with bows and arrows; now they seem better lumped in with grenades, mortars and bombs.”

4/8/21 AMA statement on curbing gun violence

April 11th, 2021|

Embedded in out historical mindset was the toll taken by the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. Estimates of the deaths caused by that pandemic hover around 50 million worldwide, and 675,00 in the US; it’s too early to have really accurate data, but there are currently estimated to be about 3 million confirmed COVID deaths worldwide and some 560,000 in the U.S.  The American population was lower in the 1918 pandemic, and there was a much higher mortality among infants and young adults than that seen with SARS-CoV-2. Fortunately, we have much better medical care today with the widespread availability of supplemental oxygen, therapeutic intubation, ventilators, ECMO, pressors, etc., not to mention the incredibly rapid development and manufacture of highly effective vaccines. One can only speculate what the mortality rate for COVID might be if supportive medical care had remained in its early 20th century state.  Of course, the national approach to public health measures also matters a great deal, and it’s evident that the U.S. could have done better.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths

Cumulative COVID deaths per million

Recommended:

Bill Gates does a good job of explaining how mutations lead to viral variants, and what it means for Covid-19 vaccines in this post to his GatesNotes, “5 things you should know about variants“.

On a positive note, from a letter in the NEJM, with accompanying data, demonstrating the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination of health care workers in California.

• David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez do an excellent job of laying out how much better economic gains have been historically under Democratic administrations, writing “Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?” in the NY Times.  Some excepts:

“Since 1933, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 4.6 percent under Democratic presidents and 2.4 percent under Republicans, according to a Times analysis. In more concrete terms: The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades.”

and:

Annual Growth Rate Under Different Presidents

We should not forget these 6 senators, who on January 6, 2010 chose to act in their own self interest rather than in the interest of the country by continuing to support the lie that there was some serious voting irregularity in the November 2020 elections; this despite evidence of the harm they are causing that could not have been plainer.

Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

And a special negative shout out goes to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who cynically encouraged Republican house members to oppose certification of the election with no basis in law or fact (138 went on to do so), this vote after the insurrectionists’ occupation of the Capitol.