As I noted yesterday, there has been a rising tide of ‘we need to live with COVID’ articles, which are full of vague statements, such as what is an acceptable level of it (often incorrectly referred to as endemism). As some asshole with a blog noted a few weeks before Omicron blew up*:
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been several articles discussing COVID ‘off ramps’, that is, when and how will we decide to (start to) return to ‘normal.’ What I find depressing about most of these articles is that most seem to have not learned a damn thing over the last twenty months. We need an approach grounded, not in some pundit’s instincts–because that worked really well when too many of them were acting as if the pandemic was over in March and April 2021–but in what is an acceptable level of disease. And we need good metrics for that acceptable level so we can have clear guidelines.
For me, there are two metrics we should be using: the percentage of the total population that is vaccinated, and the prevalence of infections (i.e., how many people are infected).
…we shouldn’t really consider lowering our guard until 85% of the entire population is fully vaccinated.
So if we were to set a prevalence level of 1-2 new cases per 100,000 people per day, that would be good.
I described in that post how I reached those estimates. Importantly, I described what I thought would be an acceptable disease burden–and that included long COVID (which, if published reports are believed to true, the Biden White House isn’t even factoring into its analyses**). But Thinky Thought Leaders, Substack Bois et alia need to stop talking in generalities–something they would never do, for example, regarding economic issues–and start owning their own propaganda.
What is the acceptable amount of illness? What is an acceptable number of long COVID cases? What is an acceptable number of deaths? Regarding the latter, in D.C., over the last month, 21% of deaths were among the vaccinated. That doesn’t mean vaccination is bad, but there are vulnerable people and what is the acceptable price in their lives?
Admittedly, most Thinky Thought Leaders and Substack Bois are numerically illiterate in so many ways and would have a hard time doing this, but they really need to own their shit, and start talking about how much American Carnage is acceptable.
Though they should probably wait a few weeks.
*Though we were already starting to lose control of Delta.
**I would argue the primary concern for those who can afford to miss work is long COVID, which as best as I can tell, occurs in around one percent of vaccinated people. Again, if off-the-record reporting is correct, many in the White House think we’re ninnies to worry about this (and for the love of God, why are they listening to David Fucking Leonhardt?).