I thought I was about done with these endless “updates”, and then the Delta variant of the coronavirus came along. I was doing my best to ignore it, but it looks pretty savage, and I thought I would alleviate my angst by sharing some of it with you. There, I feel better already.
The Delta covid-19 variant (B. 1.617. 2) is a beast. Data from the United Kingdom, where the Delta variant now makes up 90% of all cases of Covid, show that it is sixty percent more contagious than the original virus that emerged from Wuhan last winter. It infects younger people and makes them sick, including children, but probably not sick enough to warrant funeral arrangements.
The current vaccines are effective against it but …. if you have not had both doses of one of the mRNA vaccines, it can still get you. One dose conferred only about 33% immunity. A British study shows that people who have had only one dose, waiting for the second have been hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms. Currently, the Delta Virus makes up 6-10% of all Covid cases in the US but its prevalence is doubling every two weeks. So, by the end of the summer, it will be the dominant virus in the US.
The progression of Covid from the UK variant (B117) in the late winter and spring of 2021, in the US, closely followed the progression in England two months before. We should expect the same of the Delta Variant. England’s population is about 60% vaccinated, but despite this, they are experiencing yet another wave of infection. This is likely to occur here too, specifically in areas of the country that are not vaccinated.
If all of us had been astute enough to get the vaccine, I would not be wasting my time writing this and would be doing something more constructive, like playing blackjack in the newly liberated casinos. But because I know this email will reach some of the unvaccinated, directly, or indirectly, I am sounding the alarm to get the vaccine.
The Delta is so contagious, and the country is now so opened up, that it will likely find every last one of you who decided not to get vaccinated. It will likely make you sick, with much higher probability than the original version of the virus from last summer. If you don’t die from it, you will likely be hacking like Joe Camel for months, trying to get the glop out of your lungs. Your nightly Big Mac will taste like cardboard. To top it off, this version of the virus is associated with cases of severe hearing loss, duration unknown. A new paper released on June 15th, compares brain MRIs of patients in the UK biobank, (a longitudinal health study in Britain) in 394 patients before and after severe Covid infections. It shows damage to multiple areas of the brain involved with memory, taste, and smell, and resembles some of the changes that occur with Alzheimer’s dementia. You can read this here:
This country will turn into more of a hellscape than it already is. The people in states with high vaccination rates will still think Delta is an airline and will return to life as normal. But in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Wyoming, where only one third of the population has been vaccinated, this sucker will spread like wildfire causing unnecessary suffering and death. Modeling predicts no surge in cases in the fall and winter months in well vaccinated states but another peak of cases in poorly vaccinated states which will be about 20% of last year’s numbers.
The current vaccines protect against all known variants. Before the emergence of the Delta variant, protection was pretty good even after a single dose of the two dose vaccines. But the fact that one dose of the vaccine is completely inadequate to control this virus, means that we are likely seeing the beginning of mutations that could overwhelm the current vaccines. Those among us who choose not to get vaccinated are not just making an incredibly irresponsible decision for their own health but threaten the well-being of all of us. Rampantly spreading virus churning through the unvaccinated population will undoubtedly encourage the formation of mutant strains that will be resistant to any of the available vaccines.
We will then find ourselves in a time machine with the dials set for March 2020. Groundhog Day all over again. Get out your sweatpants and get reacquainted with your kids – because they won’t be going back to school. Watch your stock portfolio become worthless. Relish the thought of your friends huddled in your backyard in January, fighting over the brandy in hopes of staying warm.
There is not enough Prozac in this world to cope with the above scenario all over again. So, if you have friends or family that are not yet vaccinated, they must get it and now. If you have children 12 and up who have not been vaccinated, make sure they get it too. They need to get two doses in them before Delta rules the Earth, which will likely be sometime in August. We need to limit the possible places where this virus can hide. A week ago, I was thinking we were pretty much done with this thing, and if you are fully vaccinated, you probably are. But case spikes among the unvaccinated will likely unleash a new round of restrictions and hardship which is now occurring in Britain. This would not have happened if the virus had not mutated. We are dealing with a new threat. The easy way out is for everyone to get the needle, and soon.