Fast and furious--emphasis on furious--thoughts on what's going on as this pandemic starts to rise again, and Arkansas' hospitals begin to fill again. Some of us thought that by now, this kind of news, and editorial, would be over. But these various variants are killing us. Sometimes literally.
Some quick shots on the day's covid news:
• More than 608,000 Americans have died from the covid-19 virus in the last year. The CDC says 99 percent of coronavirus deaths now are among the unvaccinated. Still, less than half of Arkansans have taken the all-too-available vaccine. As the movie said, these are the facts, and they are undisputed.
• The Economist conducted a poll last week, and according to the numbers, 20 percent of Americans believe that microchips might have been planted inside the vaccines. We suppose the better to track you? (As a columnist named John Brummett so aptly pointed out recently, your phone is already doing that.) Despite any evidence of any kind of tracking mechanism, 15 percent of Americans said the conspiracy theory was probably true, and another 5 percent said it was definitely true.
We wonder if anybody believes such conspiracies about polio, flu, or other vaccines. And if not, why not? None of it makes sense, but making sense apparently isn't part of the equation.
• Speaking of misinformation, the president of the United States has backed off his claim that Facebook is actually killing people. He now says the misinformation spread by a handful of people on social media is killing people. Like an old editor once said about corrections on the editorial page, never fear running one. It might be the best read thing on the page that day. We're glad to see the president's clarification. It might actually help.
• It's possible that the Olympics will still be canceled, even as Tokyo preps for the opening ceremonies in the next few days. If covid can cancel the Olympics for the world, it can cancel fall sports in the United States again. All it takes is a surge. Like the one we are seeing now.
• "The politicization of vaccination is an outrage and frankly moronic."--Mitt Romney. But it might would help things a lot more if this statement came from a former president we could name.
• A federal judge has decided that Indiana University can indeed require its students and employees to get vaccinated before they can go back to campus in person this fall. This may be the first immunization mandate upheld in the courts for a college. Don't expect it to be the last. (See Jacobson v. Massachusetts for further reading.)
• A study by the University of California-Davis shows that people have become desensitized to news about the pandemic over the last year. We've come a long way since the hoarding of toilet paper.
• All of the facts above might be making some of our friends and neighbors nervous. The paper reported yesterday that there's been an uptick in the number of people getting shots in Arkansas the last week or so. Especially as this Delta variant spreads. Like a wildfire:
"I think people are recognizing the sense of urgency and realizing they need to start getting vaccinated now because of the accelerated spread of covid-19," says Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, state epidemiologist.
Better late than never. At least for many of us.