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☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Thursday, December 2, 2021 ☙ NOT BLUE 🦠
The CDC re-defines Florida right out of the "blue;" Fauci babbles incoherently; the court orders the FDA to cough up docs; the FDA EUA approves Merck's oral treatment for Covid; and more...
Good Thursday morning to you, C&Cers. I hope your coffee is warm and just strong enough for you this morning. I am traveling early on an out-and-back mission so the update today is a smidge abbreviated. Let’s hit the high points. In the roundup: The FSBA joins a bunch of other state associations pulling the ripcord on the National School Board Association; the FDA approves molnupiravir; a court orders the FDA to start coughing up Pfizer documents; Fauci babbles incoherently at a Covid press conference; the EU signals continent-wide mandates; and Florida newest numbers are STILL dropping — even as we pass last year’s point of winter-wave uptick.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Sources report that the Florida School Board Association voted unanimously yesterday to leave the National School Board Association over the whole Merrick Garland letter thing. That makes … a LOT of state associations that have left the NSBA now. I wonder if they’ll form a new national?
💊 The FDA’s advisory panel voted Tuesday to approve Merck’s new experimental Covid-19 therapeutic. The Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee voted 13-10 to recommend emergency use authorization for Merck’s molnupiravir oral capsules. Not exactly unanimous.
You’ll recall that Merck made history last week when it suddenly announced that its drug was LESS EFFECTIVE than it had originally claimed, reducing its claimed efficacy for preventing 50% of Covid deaths down to only 30%. So now it makes sense. Somebody must have caught Merck fudging the numbers, but let them fix it by making the announcement. That’s my guess, anyway.
📜 In the lawsuit against the FDA where the agency said that even though it only took six months to approve the injection for public use, it would take 55 years to produce all of the same Pfizer approval documents that the FDA supposedly reviewed to approve the drug.
As expected, the court didn’t buy it, and has ordered the FDA to produce 500 DOCUMENTS per month. That will go a lot faster.
In the first batch of release documents is a post-approval report of adverse events identified between December 20 and February 2021. The report is labeled strictly confidential on the front: “The information contained in this document is proprietary and confidential. Any disclosure, reproduction, distribution, or other dissemination of this information outside of Pfizer, its Affiliates, its Licensees, or Regulatory Agencies is strictly prohibited.”
It goes on to identify over 44,000 adverse event reports during those first two months. Of those, 1,221 resulted in deaths. It seems like this information might have been useful to some people earlier this year. I wonder why the FDA didn’t release it sooner? Oh well.
🪳 The Narrative isn’t just dead; it’s totally incoherent at this point. It’s babbling like a lunatic. Fauci held a big press conference yesterday. It was supposed to be about Omicron. It didn’t go very well.
At one point, a reporter from Africa challenged Fauci over the travel ban. Here’s how it went:
REPORTER: In Zimbabwe, in Namibia, in Mozambique, what justified imposing a travel ban on countries that have zero cases of the Omicron variant?
FAUCI (🪳): You know, that’s a very good question. And an important question. And, we did struggle with that. But, we wanted to see if we could buy time temporarily, so I do hope that this gets sorted out and lifted before it has any significant effect on your country.
Hahahahaha! What a liar! If they struggled with it, they struggled for about ten minutes. And, they “wanted to see” if they “could buy time?” Was it an experiment? An experiment on African countries? Again, Fauci?
He hopes it all gets sorted out. Before it creates “any significant effect.” Like totally disrupting their economy, which it already has. Why hasn’t the ban already been lifted then?
You know why. It starts with an “R”.
It got ever funnier. Another reporter asked about the definition of “fully vaccinated”:
REPORTER: Again, with respect to the determination that Covid-vaccinated…
FAUCI (🪳): (talking over reporter) Yeah, I mean, again, there’s the official determination of what something is for a variety of reasons, for example, employment, and getting vaccinated, what is the definition? That will stay that way. For optimal protection, I’m talking about your personal effort to be optimally protected, that’s why I’m saying we should all get boosted.
REPORTER: How about in terms of the mandate? You have a vaccine mandate. At what time does the booster become part of the mandate?
FAUCI (🪳): I can’t answer that right now. But I know that for the time being, the official definition of fully vaccinated is two.
REPORTER: You see that changing? I mean, we keep having all these variants? We’re concerned about them?
FAUCI (🪳): It could change. It could change. It could change. Yes.
He said it three times. It could change, yes.
Thanks for playing, suckers!
Fauci also said that injected people don’t have to wear masks — the opposite of the CDC’s guidance. So. Totally incoherent.
💉 Meanwhile, leaping to respond to the deadly Omicron variant, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday that it’s time to “think about mandatory vaccination” across the entire European Union!
I bet the British are kissing their Brexit icons right about now.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
🥅 Hahahaha! Florida is no longer blue on the CDC’s heat map. All across the state, every single blue county slipped back into the yellow on the CDC’s map. In one day. At first, I was like, what the heck? Where are these cases coming from, ‘cause I’m just not seeing it. So I dug into the fine print and guess what? The CDC has re-defined its own blue category!
While the transmission rate threshold for blue status remained the same — 5% — a county now ALSO has to have fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 for a week to get to blue now. It used to be 50 per 100,000. And Florida — with the lowest numbers in the country — is at 44 per 100,000. So I guess the CDC doesn’t want anybody to get to blue for a while.
It definitely wasn’t politics. It turns out that Science is a lot like Calvin Ball.
So. Goalposts, shifted. I guess the CDC got tired of people bragging on Florida. Take that, Florida!
📉 It looks like we’re still at the bottom of the Covid trough in Florida’s new weekly numbers. Back at the bottom of the summer cycle in early June, Florida cases ran around 10,000 to 11,000 per week for most of the month. We’ve now had about a month dancing around 10,000. And, the lowest reported cases since early 2020 came in this week along with a couple other interesting figures.
First, cases fell from 10,828 last week to 9,663 this week, breaking through the 10K floor.
The statewide positivity rate fell slightly, from 2.5% to 2.4%.
Even though the Gold Star Agency* pushed Florida back into the yellow, our cases per 100,000 fell — again — from 49.3 to 44.0.
(*results may vary.)
However, the most interesting data point was our R-naught (R0). We fell from 0.58 to 0.40 — the lowest R0 on record. That means cases are STILL FALLING.
I think two things are significant. In the last two reports, I’ve been expecting the numbers to start ticking up for the winter wave. That hasn’t happened yet. Curiously, the numbers are still heading down. Last time, in June, right before the numbers began picking up again the R0 figure rose over 1.0, as you would expect.
So what does it mean that our R0 figure is so low and still headed down? I can’t bring myself to hope for a blunted winter wave, or maybe even an absent one, but I have to admit that is looking like a possibility. And if Florida beats the winter wave, we really will be the Sweden of the U.S..
Have a terrific Thursday, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!
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