How the Delta variant upends assumptions about the coronavirus
The Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease even as nations loosen restrictions and open their economies, according to virologists and epidemiologists.
Vaccine protection remains very strong against severe infections and hospitalizations caused by any version of the coronavirus, and those most at risk are still the unvaccinated, according to interviews with 10 leading COVID-19 experts.
Evidence is also mounting that it is capable of infecting fully vaccinated people at a greater rate than previous versions, and concerns have been raised that they may even spread the virus, these experts said.
The Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)/BioNTech vaccine, one of the most effective against COVID-19 so far, appeared only 41% effective at halting symptomatic infections in Israel over the past month as the Delta variant spread, according to Israeli government data. Israeli experts said this information requires more analysis before conclusions can be drawn.Reuters
In two words, how I feel: We're fucked.
The U.S. is headed in ‘wrong direction' on coronavirus, Fauci says
WILMINGTON, Del. — The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring Covid-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
“We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, describing himself as “very frustrated.”
He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is “under active consideration” by the government’s leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said.NBC News
Gee, ya think, Dr. Obvious?
I'm not bashing Fauci. I'm just frustrated AF that we didn't kill this virus a year ago.
Northern California wildfires merge, forcing more from their homes
California’s largest wildfire so far this year merged with another, smaller fire overnight, swelling to 190,625 acres by Sunday as it burned through some area neighborhoods.
Authorities on Sunday issued new evacuation orders as the massive Dixie fire in Butte County, north of Sacramento, continued to spread rapidly to the north and east and burned together with the nearby Fly fire, which had previously scorched about 4,300 acres.
“Right now, with the weather getting hotter and drier, the fire is moving faster,” Luis Jimenez, public information officer on the fire, said Sunday afternoon.
The incident meteorologist warned firefighters that unstable atmospheric conditions could help the fire generate a pyrocumulonimbus cloud capable of creating its own lightning, he said.LA Times
I drove through that area (admittedly not really close) on Saturday. The sky is pee yellow, you can smell the smoke pretty badly, and nearly nobody was on the road.
And we were to the west of the fire.
Can't imagine how bad it is to the east, where the wind is blowing.
‘Death by 1,000 cuts’: Dems face mounting crisis over GOP voting laws
ATLANTA — After Georgia Republicans passed a restrictive voting law in March, Democrats here began doing the math.
The state’s new voter I.D. requirement for mail-in ballots could affect the more than 270,000 Georgians lacking identification. The provision cutting the number of ballot drop boxes could affect hundreds of thousands of voters who cast absentee ballots that way in 2020 — and that’s just in the populous Atlanta suburbs alone.
It didn’t take long before the implications became clear to party officials and voting rights activists. In a state that Joe Biden carried by fewer than 12,000 votes last year, the new law stood to wipe out many of the party’s hard-fought gains — and put them at a decisive disadvantage.
Democrats in other states where similarly restrictive voting laws have passed are coming to the same conclusion. Interviews with more than three dozen Democratic elected officials, party operatives and voting rights activists across the country reveal growing concern — bordering on alarm — about the potential impact in 2022 of the raft of new laws passed by Republican legislatures, particularly in some of the nation’s most competitive battleground states.Politico
I'm sensing a “we're fucked” theme today. You?
Growing group of GOP members wants McCarthy to punish Kinzinger and Cheney for joining January 6 committee
A growing group of rank-and-file House Republicans wants House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership to punish Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for accepting a position from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
The push to seek punishment rose to a new level on Sunday, after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger's addition has changed the conversation and has put a new level of pressure on McCarthy.CNN
At least 7 killed in 20-car pileup in Utah during sandstorm
At least seven people were killed in a 20-vehicle pileup during a sandstorm Sunday afternoon, Utah Highway Patrol said.
The crashes happened on Interstate 15 near the town of Kanosh, according to a news release. Several people were reportedly taken to hospitals in critical condition. Ground and air ambulances were used to transport crash victims.
The pileup occurred during a period of high winds that caused a dust or sandstorm which reduced visibility, the highway patrol said.AP
Need I say it again?