Assessing the risk of the Delta variant…
By: Hayden Cunningham
Before this article continues, it must be prefaced with the fact that it is a reflection of the current state of the country. If there is a genuine change in the future regarding COVID-19, this does not discredit the criticisms of the CDC and our government today. There is also no definite way of knowing what will happen next, and those that claim they can predict the future are not basing their claims in science.
False Claims, Hypocrisy, and Lying with Statistics
Joe Biden stated in his candidacy, “I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country.” As President, he still recommended that every citizen wears a mask regardless of vaccination.
Then, realizing their policy discourages vaccination, the White House issued a statement saying “vaxxed or masked.”
Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi once said that vaccines would not be mandated. But now, Democrats are calling for vaccine passports.
The flip-flop of COVID policy is justified by “changing science.” The problem is that the left lacks evidence that their stances are based in science.
The government is claiming that COVID cases are rising because of the delta variant. This is where lying with statistics can be used. Here’s an example of how this works: if a city’s total case count increases from two to four, leaders can state “cases have doubled!” and they would be correct. Cases are rising, but there is an overdramatic response to the numbers.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky cited a recent COVID outbreak In Cape Cod, Massachusetts during partying for the 4th of July. 882 people from the city tested positive for COVID. 74% of the individuals living in Massachusetts were fully-vaccinated. This outbreak was a major citation from the CDC director for reinstituting mask mandates. How many of these individuals were hospitalized? Seven.
Of the current patients across the country hospitalized by COVID, 94% of them are unvaccinated.
Walensky also stated on CNN that the delta variant has a 1-in-10 or 1-in-20 chance of getting a breakthrough infection. This is a blatant lie from the CDC director.
Using the CDC’s own data, the percentage of vaccinated individuals, 0.098% have had symptomatic breakthrough cases. This is nowhere near 1-in-10 (10%).
Major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are heeding the words of the CDC Director. Both cities (and many others), have reinstituted forms of mask mandates. What are their COVID numbers? On August 2, Los Angeles county saw a COVID case spike of 2,361. Their last spike (in January) was 16,000. The 7-day average of COVID deaths is 8 (and how many are unvaccinated?). San Francisco’s 7-day average for COVID deaths is 0. With these statistics, citizens of those cities are forced to re-mask. Even children are required to wear masks in school again.
Those are democratically-ran cities. What about Republican states? The narrative throughout COVID is that red states such as Texas and Florida are facing higher rates of deaths because of their reluctance to lockdown. The media ignores horrific policies like Andrew Cuomo putting COVID patients in nursing home. Instead, they blame Ron Desantis for all the deaths in Florida (presumably because he is the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination.)
Florida has done surprisingly well for a state with such a high elderly population (second highest in the country to Maine). The states suffering the most are in New England, the region with the strictest protocols.
A continuation of intense COVID restrictions will not incentivize more people to get vaccinated. Currently, those unvaccinated vary in demographic. The narrative has always been that Republicans are anti-vaccine, but there are a significant number of people in inner-cities that are not getting vaccinated. Obviously, a person in rural America has less of a need for the vaccine than someone in a highly populated city. 33% of New York City is still unvaccinated. 40% of New York city’s healthcare workers are unvaccinated. You can’t blame that on Republicans and Donald Trump when it is one of the most liberal cities in the country. Maybe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should not have been so anti-vaccine when Trump was still in office.
Vaccine Effectiveness, Breakthrough Cases, and the Delta variant
The risk of COVID substantially decreases the younger a person is. If you are 30 years old, your risk of dying from COVID goes from 0.001% unvaccinated to 0.0001% vaccinated. But what about children? The risk of dying from COVID for those under the age of 18 is 0.0001%. This means unvaccinated people are at an extremely low risk of COVID even compared to vaccinated older people.
As of August 1, 165,000,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the United States. That’s just over 50% of the country. Of these, approximately 6,000 people have gotten breakthrough cases requiring hospitalization. 1,700 breakthrough cases have resulted in death.
Looking at these rates, there is a very low chance that you get COVID (or the delta variant of COVID) if you are already vaccinated. Even if you do test positive post-vaccination, odds of hospitalization and death are extremely low. Chances of symptomatic breakthrough are very low.
If the vaccine is still effective at fighting the virus and reduces hospitalization rates and death rates, then it doesn’t really matter if cases are increasing. Asymptomatic or minor symptomatic cases are not worth shutting down the country or mandating masks.
Even if you are capable of transmitting the virus, everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated. If the concern is that a vaccinated person will have a mild case of COVID but can transmit to unvaccinated person, then that is the risk the unvaccinated person made. If the concerns are that a vaccinated person can still get sick, people need to understand how rare that is and how mild the sickness would be. It would be impossible for our goal against COVID to be that no one is sick again.
It’s important to understand the weight of the COVID death count. As of August 2nd, there were 388 COVID deaths for the 7-day average. Presumably, most of these people were not vaccinated. But the chart below shows other diseases and what their 7-day average is for death:
COVID deaths are now a fraction of other diseases, but it is talked about much more. The number of individuals that died from heart disease in one week is 30 times more than COVID.
For deaths under the age of 18, the cases are extremely small. A John Hopkins study analyzed 48,000 children diagnosed with COVID from April – August in 2020. John Hopkins concluded that the “report found a mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition.”
Now what about the delta variant? Yes, there is a spike of cases from Delta. But an increase in cases is not important compared to hospitalization rates and mortality rates. These rates show that the vaccine is still effective in fighting the variant. Remember that effectiveness matters more regarding hospitalization and death. Still having symptoms is not a large concern. If a vaccinated person eventually gets COVID and suffers mild cold-like symptoms, that is better than dying. The vaccine’s priority is not to prevent infection, it is to prevent fatality. Case counts don’t matter as much as death counts.
Other countries have already experienced their spike from the variant, and data shows that their spike has dropped. The United States should not be assumed to be any different.
If the delta variant is more transmissible from the regular COVID strain, it is not a huge concern to people already vaccinated. If you have the vaccine, you should not be supremely worried about transmitting the virus to another vaccinated person. Here, the concern is now on those who are unvaccinated.
Mask Mandates, Lockdown 2.0, and Vaccine Requirements
Joe Biden and the CDC are now recommending every person wears a mask regardless of vaccination status. If this is an effort to protect the unvaccinated, the burden should not be on those who got the vaccine. It is not the government’s job to step in and require everyone to wear a mask because some people do not want to get vaccinated. Those people have accepted the risk, and will pay the consequences.
Regardless of this obvious point, there is not sufficient evidence that masks are as effective as people think for stopping the spread of the delta variant. Cloth masks, for example, do little to stop the spread of COVID. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained that a mask mandate of the vaccine will be unlikely to stop the spread of the delta variant. Gottlieb cited the U.K.’s data, saying, “If the U.K. is turning the corner, it’s a pretty good indication that maybe we’re further into this than we think and maybe we’re two or three weeks away from starting to see our own plateau here in the United States.”
No data is provided to show that reinstituting a mask mandate is necessary. Looking at the United Kingdom’s rates after the delta variant impacted them, case totals hit a spike and are now quickly falling. No mask mandate was ever imposed during the spike. Breakthrough cases are extremely rare, so there is just no point for the vaccinated to wear a mask.
The data about mask effectiveness has always been conflicting. At the beginning of the pandemic, mask requirements were understandable and justifiable. But as studies have been conducted, it is unclear what benefits they have had. Masks can certainly work, but mask mandates are different. A person reusing a cloth mask for a month while touching it and dropping it repeatedly is not the same as a person using an N95 and replacing it daily.
As of now, studies have shown that the mask mandates did not work. There is no conclusive correlation between mask mandates and death rates. While masks themselves may be beneficial, the government imposing mask mandates did not significantly help fight against COVID. When Texas removed mask mandates, cases continued to fall despite the criticism of our governmental leaders. In California, a mask mandate was imposed and COVID cases continued to surge. There is not enough evidence of a strong correlation between mask mandates and total cases. That is why moving forward, mask mandates are not a justifiable policy. If a person is high risk or unvaccinated, they should continue to wear N95’s and dispose/replace them properly. The government imposing another policy on mask wearing will do little to solve the problem and will disincentivize vaccination. It is also absurd to force children, the least vulnerable against COVID, to continue masking. No study has shown cloth masks on children are necessary.
The risk of transmission is no longer a major concern if the population is vaccinated. With the vaccine, you have a very low chance of testing positive for COVID, a lower chance of having symptoms, an even lower chance of being hospitalization, and a microscopic chance of dying. This makes cases less of a concern than more serious situations like hospitalization. It also proves that there is not sufficient evidence for the vaccinated to still be masking. What is the end goal of our leaders? Zero cases of COVID is an impossible goal. At some point, the masks and restrictions have to stop.
New York City has become the first city to require vaccines for commerce in certain businesses. This is a very dangerous policy. Not only does it restrict the liberty of Americans, it creates a caste system where one group of citizens cannot participate in the economy. Also worth noting, the day-on-day average of COVID deaths in New York is 5.
And what about natural immunity? Natural antibodies of COVID could potentially be more durable and longer-lasting than the vaccine. Nothing is conclusive, but this theory is ignored.
If the delta variant continues to spread, or new variants emerge, we may have to accept the fact that everyone will have a positive case of COVID at one point. Variants are inevitable. Even if an overwhelming percentage of Americans are vaccinated, variants will still emerge other places in the World. This provides each citizen with two options: get vaccinated and most likely have mild or no symptoms, or don’t get vaccinated and run the risk of sickness and death. Every person should have the liberty to make medical decisions for themselves.
The Pandemic Power Grab
When the people give up their liberty to the government, rarely does the government give it back. COVID taught us that people are extremely willing to give up freedom for security. It turns out that the security was a lie. This has been known for all of American history. Ben Franklin even stated that those who trade liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.
The government’s response to COVID is a massive power grab. It is a way for our leaders to push their inevitable goal of a government-regulated economy that includes universal income, universal healthcare, more welfare, free college, and rampant spending.
When politicians lie, we know it. When scientists lie, they say “the science has changed.” This makes them dangerous. Our so-called scientific experts do not want to give up the power that was awarded to them throughout COVID. That is why they are stretching the pandemic out as long as possible. Our leaders want power and control. They also ignore the biggest criticism against them: if you want to advise independent adults to act a certain way, you need to give them credible evidence as a reason why.
We do not know for sure what is going to happen next. This does not mean we stay locked down and masked forever. The time to return to normal life is overdue, and Americans need to do whatever is necessary to reobtain that freedom. Whether that be noncompliance against mask mandates for the vaccinated, protests, or new politicians voted into office for the 2022 Midterms, Americans need to make their voices heard.