Another valuable NYT The Morning essay by David Leonhardt, this time discussing the relative risks of Covid in the vaccinated elderly virus unvaccinated children. Fortunately, children seem to be at very low risk themselves – probably the highest attributable risk that can be ascribed to them is inadvertent spread to those adults who are susceptible and at risk for severe disease.
A nice video tribute to Steve Jobs posted by Apple: Celebrating Steve. It includes some heartfelt words from his family, including this wonderful paragraph:
One of our greatest sources of consolation has been our association
of Steve with beauty. The sight of something beautiful — a wooded hillside,
a well‑made object — recalls his spirit to us. Even in his years of suffering,
he never lost his faith in the beauty of existence.
A report from researchers at HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation found that vaccinations of Medicare beneficiaries were linked to a reduction in about 265,000 new Covid-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths in the U.S. between January and May of this year alone among Medicare beneficiaries (so this likely underestimates benefits to the entire vaccine-eligible population).
• Farah Stockman, writing in her NYT opinion piece “How Much Can You Trust That Generic Drug You’re Taking?” takes a hard look at how our national drug manufacturing capability has dramatically eroded, and how dependent we now are on offshore manufacturers with sometimes dubious quality controls. This is an important topic, and definitely worth a read. An excerpt that should concern you:
“A recent study based on data from Clarivate, an analytics firm cited in the White House report, was even more alarming. It found that, of the top 100 generic medicines that Americans consume, 83 had no U.S. source of active pharmaceutical ingredients. No American source existed for 97 percent of the most commonly prescribed antivirals and 92 percent of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.”
Research correspondence e-published on September 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looking at rates of COVID infections in 194,362 household members of 144,525 health care workers, pre and post vaccination of the workers:
“We provide empirical evidence suggesting that vaccination may reduce transmission by showing that vaccination of health care workers is associated with a decrease in documented cases of Covid-19 among members of their households”
“Relative to the period before each health care worker was vaccinated, the hazard ratio for a household member to become infected was 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 0.78) for the period beginning 14 days after the first dose and 0.46 (95% CI, 0.30 to 0.70) for the period beginning 14 days after the second dose”
Shah A, Gribben, C, Bishop J et al. Effect of Vaccination on Transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Vaccination – it’s NOT just to protect you, but to protect others – including your family.
An epidemiologist and data computer scientist model how many lives might have been saved in the US since July if all states vaccinated their populations as well as our best state (Vermont). Emma Pierson, Jaline Gerardin and The Lives Lost to Undervaccination, in Charts.” They estimate that number is at least 16,000.
Someone needs to let Republican governors know that stemming the Delta spike would be a lot better for the economy than their specious railing against vaccine and mask mandates.
• I always find anything done by Linda Greenhouse, who writes in the NYT on the Supreme Court and the law, worthwhile reading. Her latest opinion piece, “God Has No Place in Supreme Court Opinions“, is especially worth reading (unsurprisingly, it reflects my own sentiments on the matter). An excerpt:
“Religion is American society’s last taboo. We can talk about sexual identity, gender nonconformity, all manner of topics once considered too intimate for open discussion. But we have yet to find deft and effective ways to question the role of religion in a public official’s political or judicial agenda without opening ourselves to accusations of being anti-religious.”
• Just an excellent column by Ezra Klein, writing on the perils of our collective national hubris in his NYT column “Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem“; an excerpt:
“It is callous to suggest that the only suffering we bear responsibility for is the suffering inflicted by our withdrawal. Our wars and drone strikes and tactical raids and the resulting geopolitical chaos directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis.
This is the deep lacuna in America’s foreign policy conversation: The American foreign policy establishment obsesses over the harms caused by our absence or withdrawal. But there’s no similar culpability for the harms we commit or that our presence creates. We are much quicker to blame ourselves for what we don’t do than what we do.”
Food for thought.