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Massachusetts Covid-19 rates going vertical again

Jon Levy at the BU School of Public Health has the dire news: Not only are cases spiking, which we've been seeing for the last few weeks, but now rates of hospitalization are growing at hockey-stick rates again - as are viral-particle counts at Deer Island, which tend to be a predictor of cases in ten days to two weeks.

The state reported 957 people in the hospital with Covid-19, the highest number of cases since late February. Of those, 355 are people who had been fully vaccinated. The state reported 25 deaths from the virus, which remains lower than the numbers we were seeing in February, but which does represent an increase over the daily numbers in recent weeks.

" We need immediate and aggressive action - vax, booster, indoor mask mandates, etc." Levy writes.

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Comments

This data, as Levy points out, indicates that Massachusetts needs immediate, decisive, and aggressive action. That means we can expect Charlie Baker to make moves sometime between New Year's and MLK Day.

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Yes, I do blame Trump.

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which spends hours every day casting doubt on vaccines, masks, science, medical expertise, etc. Facebook and its ilk also continue to profit from lethal covid misinformation. Collectively, they have turned nearly half of Americans into dangerous idiots.

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They were already dangerous idiots.

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to utterly bonkers in the space of a year or two, with the decline starting the moment they began watching Fox News. And the right-wing propaganda bloc has been joined by even more insane, more science-averse fake news purveyors like Newsmax and OAN. They have made several of my friends and family members unbearable when they were decent, rational human beings before.

Right-wing propaganda media literally makes people stupid and crazy.

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It happened to my parents. Once they retired I think they just had Fox News on in the background all the time, pumping shit into their brains. They went from thoughtful, normal people to being fine with putting children in cages in just a few years. Now everything is the Democrats’ fault and they just parrot the same talking points every other Fox brainwashed zombie does. It’s tragic.

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Wow, I'm sorry. I can't imagine how awful that must be.

I have a friend who is a Catholic priest, who told me that recently he has a lot of people telling him of their anger while in confession. Like, A LOT. He counsels them to turn off the TV and get off social media, and I think that helps. But the ones he's reaching are the ones who realize there's something wrong with this anger that they're nurturing.

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Expressing it through violence is wrong. Channeling it into constructive action is not wrong.

All in what you do with it.

The anger is natural, it is real, and it needs to be dealt with, not suppressed. A huge part of the problems of modern society are due to the belief that anger isn't allowable. Thus people are not taught how to constructively deal with it. Anger is a natural and VALID emotion. To treat it otherwise is to get to the place where we are now.

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However, when it comes to the right wing propaganda machine creating and building anger is all part of the plan. There’s a boatload of research that shows that people become much more conservative when their amygdala is hijacked and overrides frontal lobe function, where rational thought occurs. Fox and the right wing media have been capitalizing on this for decades, essentially rewiring people’s brains to be in constant fight or flight.

BE AFRIAD! BE ANGRY! LAZY IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING WITH DRUGS AND GUNS TO TAKE YOUR JOBS AND HEALTHCARE AND LIVE OFF WELFARE! AL QAEDA IS HIDING IN YOUR BACK YARD! SOCIALISM INVASION! YOU ARE BEING REPLACED! WAR ON CHRISTMAS!

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The anger is natural, it is real...

The anger being discussed here is real, but it is not 'natural,' it's cultivated by a toxic right-wing propaganda machine. If that machine were somehow stopped from disseminating the horseshit that is its only product, the anger would diminish or disappear. This anger is not healthy, and will not be channeled to productive ends. We have to deal with the anger because of the horrific effect it's having on our society, but the best way to deal with it would be to somehow shut off the torrent of falsehoods.

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The increase in anger does not only affect right-wing people, and is not only being created by political propaganda. Saying it does and is just feeds left-wing anger. In the long run, it doesn't matter whose anger it is, as long as it's profitable and useless.

Social media algorithms induce us to more contact / advertising target hours by stoking our emotions. Cute puppies are only as effective as outrage in keeping us clicking.

The Singularity is here; super-human intelligence has been created. And all it does is make us stupider and angrier so that we'll keep clicking.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/12/ai-ad-technology-si...

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With notable exceptions, the media as a whole has dithered and equivocated throughout covid. There's a lot of daylight between that and being active proponents of dangerous misinformation, but still...we're going on two years now, and most of the media still has this alarming tendency to waffle.

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Because, compared to Facebook, YouTube and the right wing nut job media complex, the mainstream media has done far more good and far less harm. That’s why.

Could the mainstream media do better? Always. Is the mainstream media the source of the misinformation and active discouraging of lifesaving vaccines and preventative measures that have lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the US alone? No.

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I would posit that many COVID deniers and anti-vaxxers want to die (and who can blame them with how terrible American life has become?)...but they can't and won't say that so explicitly in polite society, so they shroud it with this rhetoric.

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This is good sarcasm

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If it were an attempt at sarcasm at all.

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Could the mainstream media do better? Always. Is the mainstream media the source of the misinformation and active discouraging of lifesaving vaccines and preventative measures that have lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the US alone? No.

But, arguably, not being actively destructive isn't enough in this time. We need the mainstream media to be less passive, less equivocating, and more assertive defenders of facts and the truth.

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Charlie has decided "screw it all, I'm not running for reelection" and does nothing.

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That means we can expect Charlie Baker to make moves sometime between New Year's and MLK Day.

Let's see, delta started showing up when? And Baker started doing something about it when? Oh, never?

I'd say expecting Baker to "make moves" in as little as a month (or, y'know, ever, given that he's now a lame duck) is charmingly optimistic, unless by "moves" we mean standing at a podium droning on in that oatmeal-textured voice and saying nothing at all.

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It all depends on whether Charlie choses "running the state properly" because he's not running for reelection over "sucking up to the Republican establishment for trinkets" like Scotty "glued to Rove's boob" Barncoat did.

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To be sure, lame duck status has helped people find their courage. But I think that even if the fear factor were removed, Charlie wouldn't act. He's just not that kind of person.

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Massachusetts has the fourth-highest vaccination rate (71.3%) in the country (behind the rest of New England, except New Hampshire, which is a laggard).

So the 29% of people who haven't been vaccinated make up 63% of hospitalizations. So, if everyone was vaccinated, we'd expect 355 / 0.713 = 498 people to be hospitalized. And if no one were vaccinated, we'd expect 602 / 0.287 = 2098 people to be hospitalized. So the vaccine as it stands right now is ~ 1 - (498 / 2098) = 76% effective (but my math may be very wrong). If nothing else, the vaccine is keeping the hospitals from being overrun.

I would be very interested to start seeing the numbers on how many people who have received a full three-dose vaccine course have made it into the hospital. We should have enough boosted people to start seeing those numbers.

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Basically, as a thrice-vaxxed person, is my risk of serious Covid more or less than my risk of being hit by a car? Like, obviously not zero, but enough to live in...well, how much fear exactly?

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Your math ignores that a vaccinated person who gets sick anyway is less likely to transmit the virus to other people. The more people who are vaccinated, the lower your chance of getting the virus--and if you don't get the virus, it won't make you sick, and you can't pass it on to other people.

You can't catch a virus from someone who doesn't have it, and if you don't have it, you won't get sick. If you're vaccinated, you're less likely to pass it on. And if you don't pass it on, the people you're in contact with can't get it, and don't get sick.

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A week ago, my adult son went to visit my daughter in college near Chicago. Both subsequently tested positive for covid, even though both are 2-shot vaccinated.* Both have very mild symptoms. Daughter's school has her in isolation, and has required all of the many students she was in contact with to be tested repeatedly. So far, none of them have tested positive.

* They think they were exposed when they ate in a crowded shop in the city.

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Being fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus itself does work at keeping people out of the hospital, and from dying as a result.

One of my nephews, who's an emergency room physician at St. Luke's Hospital down in New Bedford, MA, which is the 2nd largest hospital in that city, That emergency room is very crowded, and over 95% of the people who end up in the hospital have not been vaccinated...at all! Many of them are either not sorry, or are sorry too late, about not being vaccinated.

The anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, although not in the majority, are acting dangerously and putting themselves, as well as other people at risk, because that could eventually result in the mutation of Covid-19 variants that are resistant to the vaccines. To all you anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists out there: Thanks for getting the rest of us screwed...big time!

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I don't know If you math is wrong or whatsnot but consider that we had exactly the same case/hospitalization numbers exactly a year ago with no vaccines.

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Please cite your sources. Please include the numbers for vaccinated versus non vaccinated people hospitalized or killed.

Note that last year was also before Delta hit.

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I'm honestly very curious about the % of people currently hospitalized who were fully vaccinated before contracting the virus. Also what percentage of fully vaxxed die of C19.

I've heard anywhere from 10% to 40% but have not seen any reliably, current data.

To me, that percentage is most important metric to the topic of what, if any, restrictions or changes should be made now or in the future.

Edit: I didn't see Mass is now including this info on their dashboard. Thanks for pointing that out.

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The link is below, but on December 1, 2020, the 7 day average for new cases/hospitalizations/deaths were 3255.3/1100.3/36.6. The averages as of the latest data (yesterday) is 1972.1/826/4/9.4. The 7 day averages are the best metric as it shows what happened in the past week, smoothing out variations in reporting. That said, there were 957 people in hospital with COVID at last report, versus over 1,100 a year ago.

In short, the data does not support your assertion.

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My bad. I should have written "exactly one year, one week and one day ago."

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My bad. I should have written "exactly one year, one week and one day ago."

So you cherrypicked a date last year during the Thanksgiving holiday where reporting was incomplete?

Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

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For showing you are a dishonest person willing to lie or obfuscate to suit your deadly political agenda. Now go find some right wing echo chamber where everyone will buy the lies you're selling.

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Want to revise your obfuscating response?

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from the state dashboard, hospitalization page, that I linked to just below.

On November 30, 2021 there were 957 patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Of those 957 patients, 355 were reported to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when they contracted COVID-19.

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Reversal of proof is not allowed. You made the assertion - you prove the assertion.

Not doing your homework for you.

Five yard penalty. First down.

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Also mass dph dashboard.

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What a moronic claim to make, in any context.

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting

As for "no vaccines" a year ago, about 1/3 of the hospitalizations right now are people who were fully vaccinated when they became infected. So two thirds of the people in the hospital right now have very little difference between themselves and everyone who was in the hospital a year ago.

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Yeah, numbers a year apart cannot be exactly the same but now they are roughly the same as last year, if not worse.

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Let's not panic, and wait at least after the inauguration dinner.

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...it's 2021.

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People who want boosters or kids' vaccinations are having trouble scheduling them at local pharmacies. Perhaps the state should reopen some mass vaccination sites such as Fenway Park, Hynes, Gillette Stadium, etc?

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It’s amazing how pathetic CVS’s website is for scheduling. It forces you to click on 100’s of stores that “have availability” only to get a “none available, try a different store or date”. I gave up and went to Walgreens, at least theirs takes you to stores that have slots. They are weeks out but at least you’ve got an appointment.

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WR Centre St. CVS has Moderna availability the week of 12/13. I went there a few weeks ago, friendly and efficient. Hope you’re able to book an appointment.

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I had to cancel my booster and reschedule due to a non-Covid illness. It had been easy to schedule any date I wanted 3 weeks ago. Since boosters were opened up to everyone plus news of the new variant hit, it's become much more difficult. This week I had a day where the CVS website kept crashing on me or offering sites that didn't have any open dates, Walgreens only offered sites an hour drive from me, and the closest date I could get from any site was Jan. 4.

Fortunately, the CVS site was somewhat better yesterday - my guess is they've increased the number of slots - and I was able to find a sites fairly close by that had openings next week.

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If you have a car and can travel, there are more options. Good luck!

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I'm fully vaccinated with all three of my Moderna doses and more than glad of it. I wear a mask everywhere I go, except when I'm in my car and in my house alone. ( I live alone and am glad of it.),

I'm more than glad I am fully vaccinated, because the alternative is just too damned horrible!

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CVS opens up new appointments every day at 5 am for the date exactly 2 weeks out. So if you go online at 5 tomorrow morning, and then select Dec 17 as the desired scheduling date, the pharmacies listed should have availability.

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It’s amazing how pathetic CVS’s website is for scheduling.

The phone system is very annoying (they seem to have offshored it to Mumbai or somewhere), and you have to answer a lot of questions, but you can get an appointment. I got one for my wife less than 2 weeks out. If you're over 65, you don't need an appointment; they do walk-ins.

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You get funneled to the website which is just like "oh sorry we don't actually have appointments, try again later" which seems like the end of the story and not that you can actually just call them and set up an appointment.

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The CVS voice system has an option to schedule with an agent over the phone. Because they try to send you to the crappy website doesn't mean you have to go. Listen to all the options.

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what directed you to the phone number in the first place? Certainly not the state's vaxfinder website, nor the CVS website.

Anyways, I got my booster elsewhere earlier this week. No noticeable side effects this time around, other than a sore arm and feeling tired the next day, which could be entirely unrelated.

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I called the number for my local CVS. One of the options on that menu was for COVID shots.

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There are still state-sponsored sites: not in sports stadiums, but they exist. I got boosted at the one in Springfield, which is in the Springfield Technology Park - very convenient, lots of parking. Probably there should be more such sites, especially now that we have a better idea how to run them efficiently and what makes a good location.

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Or even less, depending on when you check.

https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ is the place to start. It gets you pharmacies (including independent ones you haven't heard of), hospitals, clinics, etc.

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https://www.tuftsmcvaccine.org/

The hours and location may not be the best for everyone but it's an option that doesn't require an appointment and has all 3 vaccines, plus the Pfizer pediatric dose.

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Look at the maps of lowest vaccine uptake. Plenty appointments in those neighborhoods. I bet the walgreens in egleston isn’t booked up.

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Is it becoming seasonal?

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Last year's spike was expected, as this year's spike should be expected.

It starts in October, with Halloween parties, indoors of course because it is getting cooler outside.

Then comes Thanksgiving, which is when people get together and, amongst other things, give each other the bugs they came to dinner with.

It's just like influenza, only more dangerous due to its novel nature.

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I don't mean the beer - I mean the other 4 that we "fondly" lump under "the common cold", along with their rhino friends.

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Honestly, I don't think science has yet solved whether the increase in colds and the flu during cold months is simply a result of more indoor time or if there is some reason that the bugs are "stronger" in the cold weather. I'm convinced it's just the increased indoor human proximity.

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Probably because people are indoors more.

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People also travel more when the weather is favorable, go shopping, go to events. These move inside when the weather cools, but the snow isn't flying just yet.

We were building toward a very nasty flu season in 2014-2015. Then Snowmageddon hit and getting around got to be very tedious. People were indoors, but they pretty much trudged along in snow tunnels between work and home and consolidated their errands and reduced their trips. Viola! No epidemic.

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But what does former Red Sox pitcher Frank Viola have to do with it?

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Seems like someone ought to have already done this, but it should be easy to test whether it's the cold weather or the time spent indoors. Look at places with different climates. In Miami and similar places, people spend more time indoors in the summer because it's to hot and humid and rainy, but winter weather is more comfortable (though the locals will think it's freezing cold outside if it's below 65).

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