Archive for March, 2021

Even the MSM is debunking Biden’s claim of “no vaccine plan”…

March 31, 2021

Of course, we’ve been all over this topic for months (links at he end of this post), so it’s delightful to see the Biden-friendly press to  concede the point:

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In the words of ABC News

Biden and his top aides have repeatedly accused the Trump administration of having “no plan.”

Despite calls for national unity and bipartisanship, President Joe Biden and his top aides have declined to give the Trump administration credit on the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout while relying heavily on a system established by their predecessors.

Many of Biden’s public “wins” on the vaccine, including expanding supply and distributing doses to local pharmacies, are tied directly to efforts initiated by policy aides working under Trump before he left office.

While Biden has purchased additional vaccine supply, it was always expected that Pfizer and Moderna would ramp up their supply throughout the year.

Under Trump, the U.S. agreed to buy enough doses for 200 million adults from vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna with “options” to buy more if necessary.

It also had purchased enough J&J vaccine to buy supply for 100 million adults once authorized — enough supply to cover every U.S. adult by summer.

Also, Biden’s playbook for vaccine distribution has relied heavily on a system created by the Trump administration, including federal partnerships with state officials and agreements with local pharmacies.

In fact, the federal pharmacy program created by Trump aides is what Biden relied on  to expand eligibility to teachers.

And when Biden called for “100 million shots in 100 days” — a pace of about 1 million shots per day — former health officials noted that the U.S. had already hit that pace the week of Biden’s inauguration in mid January.

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What is new under Biden are more than a dozen mass vaccination sites managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with special attention paid to hard-hit and vulnerable communities.

Glad the media is catching on to what we’ve been saying all along:

Biden: “Trump blundered, I’m saving the day”

So, how much vaccine did the Trump administration order?

VAX: Viva mass vaccination sites

March 31: COVID Dashboard

March 31, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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VAX: Viva mass vaccination sites…

March 30, 2021

Anybody notice that Biden put “equity” and “essentiality” on the back burner.
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Let’s connect a couple of dots …

Maryland — which had been lagging on ‘shots in arms’ —  has been in a full out sprint the past couple of weeks.

The magic sauce: state-run mass vaccination sites.

In the past couple of days , a couple of friends got shots at Maryland’s up & running mass vaccination sites … one at Six Flags and another at M&T Stadium (where the Ravens play).

Both raved about how organized and efficient the process was. No complaints.

That’s really encouraging news since max-vax has emerged as the primary vaccine distribution channel in Maryland.

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And, Maryland’s not alone.

Coincidentally, I spotted an article headlining that Texas and Georgia — which together account for 10% of the U.S. population — will be opening vaccine distribution “to all comers” in the next week or so.

That means anybody 18 or older (kids aren’t legit yet), no “employment “essentiality”, no jurisdictional boundaries.

Just “come & get it”.

How can they do it? What’s the downside?

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March 30: COVID Dashboard

March 30, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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Is “buyer’s remorse” setting in?

March 29, 2021

Biden’s “net approval” cut in half since inauguration day.
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Frankly, I wasn’t paying attention to Biden’s approval numbers until he said in his press conference that “a majority of Republican voters approve of the job I’m doing”.

As we previously fact-checked, that claim is patently false.

According to Gallup, only 10% of Republican voters approve of the job he’s doing … 88% disapprove.

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Digging deeper, the numbers get even more interesting.

According to RCP, Biden’s net job approval is still above water at +10.3, but…

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Biden’s net job approval has been cut in half … it was over 20% on inauguration day, now, it’s just over 10%.

His job approval has slipped 8.2 percentage points … 2.5 points were previously approvers, now disapprovers … 5.7 points were previously “undecideds” who have decided and disapprove.

Bottom line: It’s starting to appear that the honeymoon is ending and some buyer’s remorse is setting in.

The thrill of trading out the boisterous orange man for a zombie may be wearing off.

And, it’s now crystal clear that Biden’s campaign promises to unite the country, reach across the aisle and, oh yeah, govern as a moderate … were all malarkey.

Expect more slippage since, according to RCP, a majority of Americans (52%) think that the country is moving in the wrong direction … and, that number is likely to worsen as the sugar high from the  $1,400 “thanks for voting for me” checks wears off … and the border crisis becomes more apparent.

Hmm.

March 29: COVID Dashboard

March 29, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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VAX: Why are there more than 40 million doses stockpiled?

March 28, 2021

Early on, Team Trump (and the states) were widely criticized for having about 20 million “unused” vaccine doses sitting in inventory.

About half of the “distributed but not administered” doses was an oversupply to long term care facilities … and, about half was being held in inventory to ensure 2nd doses were available folks who had received their 1st doses.

Team Biden is way more efficient in vaccine distribution.

That must be so, because Biden says so (repeatedly) and the mainstream media confirms it.

But, the data seems to contradict…

Over the past month, the the stockpile of unused doses has about doubled … to over 40 million doses.

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States continue to clamor for more vaccine and have substantially boosted their vaccination rates, especially at mass vaccination sites.

So, what’s going on?

Best that I can tell, the excess doses originally shipped to Walgreens & CVS for long term care facilities has been redistributed to “public” vaccination sites — mostly retail pharmacies.

But, as a matter of policy, doses are still being held in reserve, earmarked for 2nd shots.

That was understandable at the beginning of the year when the vax companies were fine-tuning their processes and ramping-up their production.

But, now the vaccine manufacturers are producing at higher rates that are steadier and more predictable.

So, why not release the stockpile for 1st shots … and, handle 2nd shots “on the come.”

That would get us closer to herd immunity faster!

C’mon man…

March 28: COVID Dashboard

March 28, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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March 27: COVID Dashboard

March 27, 2021

Daily New Covid Deaths Drop Below 1,000

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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March 26: COVID Dashboard

March 26, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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Biden: “Majority of Republican voters approve of the job I’m doing”

March 25, 2021

In Thursday’s press conference, President Biden laid pipe for killing the filibuster.

Among his  rationale points:

While the Republicans in the Senate may not approve of what I’m doing, the majority of Republican voters do.

Say what?

Hate to burden him with facts, but…

According to Gallup, only 10% of Republican voters approve of the job he’s doing … 88% disapprove.

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Gallup

So much for truth-telling, data-following and bringing the country together.

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P.S. What was up with the binder of written answers that he kept referencing?

Bloomberg: Biden is just following Trump’s plan…

March 25, 2021

Hard to accuse Bloomberg of being a right-wing, pro-Trump rag.
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Biden has oft claimed that Trump didn’t have a plan to acquire enough vaccine and that he (Biden) quickly remedied that shortcoming to ensure that all of America got vaccinated fast.

We previously debunked that claim, See Biden: “Trump blundered, I’m saving the day”

Now, a Bloomberg assessment blows holes in Biden’s claim.

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The Bloomberg article concludes:

“The U.S. government, first under Donald Trump and then continuing under President Joe Biden, had already arranged to buy all of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s known U.S. production, assuring hundreds of millions of doses for American arms.”

More specifically, Bloomberg says…

> Both Biden and Trump have been unapologetic that they’ve aimed to vaccinate Americans first.

> The Trump administration wrote clauses into contracts with manufacturers and also used the Defense Production Act, … to prioritize U.S. orders, explicitly requiring domestic U.S. production, exclusivity and continuing “rights of first refusal.”

> The same tools the Trump administration used to keep domestically produced vaccines within the nation’s borders have been employed by Biden’s team.

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As one pundit put it:

Biden deserves credit for recognizing the wisdom of Trump’s plan, and for bolstering it by getting Merck licensed to produce Johnson& Johnson’s vaccine.

But the idea that Biden didn’t get a plan or a reliable supply of COVID-19 vaccines is a shabby lie, one that Bloomberg punctures.

Perhaps Biden will concede the point at today’s press conference.

But, I’m betting the under…

March 25: COVID Dashboard

March 25, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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Gimme a break ! Now there’s a hero book for kids…

March 24, 2021

How many times can a media-proclaimed “leading expert” miss the mark and legitimately hold the title “America’s Doctor”?
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Loyal readers know that I’m not a Fauci fan … and haven’t been for a long time … ever since he morphed from “scientist” to “political-scientist” … and hit the cable news circuit, spreading oft-erroneous, constantly “evolving” psuedo-science.

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Now that a children’s book is being launched to enshrine Fauci, I think it’s appropriate to flashback on the good doctor’s most significant mis-steps:

  • He originally said that the COVID risk to Americans was miniscule
  • He opposed the Chinese travel ban as unnecessary or, at least, premature
  • He illogically told people not to wear masks since they won’t help and would deplete PPE stockpiles.  Only the latter was true.
  • He grossly misled Congress regarding the COVID death rate (by an order of magnitude!), conflating the conflation of the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) and Case Fatality Rate (CFR).  The CFR (of which Fauci was likely referring) is about 10 times the IFR. Source
  • He championed the “15 days to stop the spread” … using the widely discredited projection of  2 million “do nothing” deaths to seal the deal with Trump. (Note: the 15 day program has had an anniversary and still has a head of steam).
  • He lauded Cuomo’s “Gold Standard” response to COVID … despite highest death count (over 35,000), 2nd highest fatality rate (NJ is #1), wasted resources (think: a hospital ship, field hospitals and ventilators), an economic disaster in NYC and, oh yeah, a crushing 2nd wave of COVIID.
  • He admitted to boosting his estimate of the herd immunity threshold “partly based on new science and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” Source
  • He led the charge to close the schools (but now concedes to closing the bars, but opening the schools)
  • And, back in March, 2020 he proclaimed that “it will take a year or more to develop a Coronavirus vaccine.”

Well, Dr. Leading Expert, the Pfizer vaccine was approved on December 11, 2020 and the 100 millionth dose was administered on March 12, 2021 … and the country will be vaccinated way before Fauci told Americans that the 1st vaccine would be available … thanks to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed!

Perhaps some day, Fauci will rush to CNN to say “Trump was right, I was wrong.”

I won’t hold my breath …

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P.S. Because of Fauci’s pessimism re: the speed of vaccine development, many (most? all but West Virginia?) procrastinated readying their vaccination distribution networks … control of which they (the states) demanded.

That caused the the initial launch to sputter.

That not withstanding, again, the country will be vaccinated way before Fauci told Americans that the 1st vaccine would be available.

That’s a gigantic miss by “America’s doctor”.

 

 

March 24: COVID Dashboard

March 24, 2021

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Herd Immunity Projection details…

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Notice anything odd about this vaccine shots’ chart?

March 23, 2021

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Note how short the J&J bar is … only 2.5 million doses have been administered since the vaccine was approved.

That’s only about 60% of the 4.25 million doses that have already been distributed to the states.

What’s going on?

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According to Politico

J&J’s single-shot Covid vaccine was supposed to be the catalyst for the country’s return to normal.

Instead, it’s sparking confusion and finger-pointing between the states and the Biden administration over why millions of doses are sitting unused.

Almost three weeks after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots, no one appears to be able to explain why immunizations are lagging.

Some states are thought to be intentionally holding back shots, while others say it takes time to inoculate harder-to-reach underserved communities and specific groups.

Politico’s central conclusion: The bumpy J&J rollout highlights the challenges the White House still faces ensuring a timely and steady administration of Covid-19 vaccines.

The initial J&J experience may be a proverbial “canary in the coal mine” … simply a precursor of what’s to come.

To that point…

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March 23: COVID Dashboard

March 23, 2021

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Herd date estimate below ….

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Biden: “We’re bringing back science.”

March 22, 2021

But, Fauci has said:  “Trump was saying what we were telling him.”

So, why isn’t Biden listening to his chief political-scientist’s affirmation that Trump, too, was listening to the scientists?

Sounds like Biden isn’t listening to his chief political-scientist.

Hmmm…

Good time for a flashback… 

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Originally posted on Sept. 13, 2020 with a timeline of who said what, when they said it … and how Trump responded at the time

Last fall, Bob Woodward set the media’s collective hair on fire with his “bombshell” that Trump “knew” that the coronavirus was more serious than he was telling the American people.

Biden: “Clear evidence of incompetence and dereliction of duty”.

Trump: “Listening to the scientists, and didn’t want to prematurely cause a panic”.

How to settle the question?

Let’s start with what Dr. Anthony Fauci had to truth-tell on the matter:

click to view 4-minute video
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By Fauci’s own admission, Trump was “following the science” … contemporaneously channeling what Fauci and other “scientists” were telling him at the time. 

Let’s dig a little deeper on that and look hard at the timeline…

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March 22: Herd Immunity Tracker

March 22, 2021

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Herd date calculation details  below…

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Studies: Fauci’s endorsement hardens net vaccine hesitancy…

March 19, 2021

Time to put him out to pasture?
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Loyal readers know that I’m not a big fan of Dr. Anthony Fauci —  Biden’s chief political-scientist — who is always certain (but often wrong), occasionally evidence-based (except when the data goes against him), straight-shooting (depending on the political winds).

For full chapter, verse and sources re: Fauci’s many mis-steps, see

Yesterday, I got a couple of more logs to throw on my Fauci fire.

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First, in the morning, I was doing a deep dive into vaccine hesitancy — why some people are reluctant to take the Covid vaccines — and how the resistance might be softened.

Note: For the moment, I’ll skip over the thornier question: Should the resistance be softened? I’ll have more on that subject in future posts.

I came across the COVID States Project Report #36: Evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine communication strategies.

Note: The 50-state COVID-19 project is “a multi-university group of researchers with expertise in computational social science, network science, public opinion polling, epidemiology, public health, communication, and political science.”

Here’s what caught my eye in the report

The researchers queried study participants on whether public endorsements (i.e. televised vaccinations or public service messaging) by an array of personalities would make the subjects more or less likely to get vaccinated.

For example, predictably, an endorsement by Trump made Democrats less likely to get vaccinated and an endorsement by Obama (or Biden) made Republicans less likely.

Less predictably, a vaccine endorsement by Dr. Fauci resulted in only small reductions in vaccine resistance among Democrats, but increased and  strengthened vaccine resistance among Republicans.

According to the researchers, the Fauci finding “contrasts with unspecified scientists and respondents’ personal physicians, whose endorsement reduce vaccine resistance across the board.”

So, the researchers conclude that Fauci has taken on a partisan association that has substantially reduced his credibility and effectiveness as a messenger.

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Later in the day, I caught an interview with Frank Luntz who presented some focus group video footage re: vaccine hesitancy among Republicans.

Disclosure: The interview was on Fox; Luntz leans right but usually exhibits anti-Trump tendencies.

The headline from the focus group:

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Click to view a worthwhile 1-minute video clip that brings the comments to life:

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Luntz’s conclusion: Fauci — “who keeps changing his mind and moving the goalposts” — has no credibility whatsoever among Republicans … if you want reluctant people to get vaccinated, the message must be delivered by their personal physicians.

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Bottom line:

Both the impartial 50 States Project and the Luntz focus group reach the same fundamental conclusions:

>  If you want to overcome vaccine hesitancy

>  And, if Republicans are, in fact, the problem (i.e. more reluctant to get vaccinated than Democrats)

> Then one of the last people you want pitching the merits of getting vaccinated is Fauci

> Especially if he’s dishing inflammatory, condescending messages like “Getting vaccinated is a no-brainer”.

To summarize more bluntly: Yes – it’s time to put Fauci out to pasture.

Amen.

It’s official: Fauci whiffs, again!

March 19, 2021

How many times can a media-proclaimed “leading expert” miss the mark and still hold the title?
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My running tally of Fauci’s mis-steps:

  • He originally said that the COVID risk to Americans was miniscule
  • He opposed the Chinese travel ban as unnecessary or, at least, premature
  • He illogically told people not to wear masks since they won’t help and would deplete PPE stockpiles.  Only the latter was true.
  • He grossly misled Congress regarding the COVID death rate (by an order of magnitude!), conflating the conflation of the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) and Case Fatality Rate (CFR).  The CFR (of which Fauci was likely referring) is about 10 times the IFR. Source
  • He championed the “15 days to stop the spread” … using the widely discredited projection of  2 million “do nothing” deaths to seal the deal with Trump. (Note: the 15 day program is approaching day #300).
  • He lauded Cuomo’s “Gold Standard” response to COVID … despite highest death count (over 35,000), 2nd highest fatality rate (NJ is #1), wasted resources (think: a hospital ship, field hospitals and ventilators), an economic disaster in NYC and, oh yeah, a crushing 2nd wave of COVIID.
  • He admitted to boosting his estimate of the herd immunity threshold “partly based on new science and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” Source
  • He led the charge to close the schools (but now concedes to closing the bars, but opening the schools)
  • And, back in March, 2020 he proclaimed that “it will take a year or more to develop a Coronavirus vaccine.”

Well, Dr. Leading Expert, the Pfizer vaccine was approved on December 11, 2020 and the 100 millionth dose was administered on March 12, 2021 … thanks to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed!

Perhaps, Fauci will rush to CNN today to say “Trump was right, I was wrong.”

I won’t hold my breath …

 

More: Fauci confirms “Trump was saying what we were telling him”

March 19, 2021

MUST READ: Originally posted on Sept. 13, 2020 with a timeline of who said what, when they said it … and how Trump responded at the time.

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Woodward certainly set the media’s collective hair on fire with his “bombshell” that Trump “knew” that the coronavirus was more serious than he was telling the American people.

Biden: “Clear evidence of incompetence and dereliction of duty”.

Trump: “Listening to the scientists, and didn’t want to prematurely cause a panic”.

How to settle the question?

Let’s start with what Dr. Anthony Fauci had to truth-tell on the matter:

click to view 4-minute video
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By Fauci’s own admission, Trump was “following the science” … contemporaneously channeling what Fauci and other “scientists” were telling him at the time. 

Let’s dig a little deeper on that and look hard at the timeline…

(more…)

March 19: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 19, 2021

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Why vax hunters are pulling their hair out…

March 18, 2021

And, how at least one retail pharmacy has “broken the code” for doing it right.
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Yesterday, we showcased a vaccine scheduling invitation that I received from the Maryland Department of Health.

See How would you respond to this vaccination invitation?

We called it well-intended, but another  “not-so-great moment in direct marketing” because…

It was an anonymous email (sender was “your vaccination provider”) with a cryptic “no reply” email address. The vaccination site address googles to a gambling casino … and the recipient is instructed to click a link.

Our conclusion:

If that doesn’t set off safe computing alarm bells in your head, you should immediately close your browser and never open it again.

All of the critical warning signs for a scam email are there!

That’s too bad, because it is a legit “invitation” via Maryland’s brand new state-central vaccine scheduling system.

Unfortunately, this auto-generated email is representative of well intentioned but shoddy work that has plagued the vaccine roll-out … causing much consumer confusion.

OK, that was yesterday.

Last night, since I hadn’t scheduled an appointment, “the system” auto-generated a follow-up email reminder.

Satisfied from yesterday’s experience, that the email was probably legit, I clicked through as directed.

Here’s what I got:

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The good news: it was well-identified as coming from the Maryland Department of Health’s new PrepMod system.

The bad news: After teasing me with the “schedule now” email, I got a message informing me that “Clinic does not have any appointment slots available”.

The obvious question: Why doesn’t the system check for availability before hitting the send button on the “get off your duff” email.

That’s simple system design logic.

Note: I checked the link as soon as the email arrived, so it wasn’t likely a matter of the appointments filling between the time of the email and my check-in.

My intention isn’t to pile on the state’s well intentioned effort to centralize vaccine scheduling.

It’s just a handy example of how and why people who are frantically trying to get vaccinated are frustrated.

My advice: Inject a modicum of quality control before going “live” with a high visibility system.

Stop treating an anxious public as beta test subjects.

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P.S. This example isn’t the worst case that I’ve encountered.

One retail pharmacy’s scheduling system has previously kept me waiting for up to an hour “in queue” …  watching an animated  stickman walk slowly across the screen …  before giving me the “no vaccine available within 30 miles of your zip code” message.

The best: CVS (where I ended up getting vaccinated).

The first CVS screen just instructed: “Click on your state” … the second screen displayed all Maryland store locations, indicating “available” or “fully booked” … third screen asked for a zip code … enter the zip for a store that had availability and BINGO … I was in the scheduling sequence with a slot held for 10 minutes while I entered insurance and consent information.

From that point, the process was a cake walk … immediate confirmation by text & email … reminder message a couple of days before the appointment (which reassured me that CVS still had me in their system)… a text message on the morning of the appointment with a link to “check in online when you get to the store” … which then pulled up all my info for the admission checker and vaccinator – saving mucho in-store processing time.

My question: Why didn’t Maryland just jack CVS’s system?

March 18: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 18, 2021

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March 18: COVID Snapshot

March 18, 2021

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Note:  At the index starting date: deaths were ~1,000 per day. hospitalizations were ~55K, cases were ~ 100K and tests were ~1.4 MM per day

VAX: How would you respond to this vaccination invitation?

March 17, 2021

Another not-so-great moment in direct marketing…
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Fortunately, I don’t have to decide the headlined question since I got my 2nd shot yesterday (with no after effects, thanks). Whew.

Yesterday, I received an email.

Read it carefully … what jumps out at you?

COVID-19 Registration Invitation


From: Vaccination Clinics
<no-reply@multistatep4p.com>
Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 2:19 PM

You are invited to register for an appointment at 7002 Arundel Mills Blvd #7777 on Thursday March 18, 2021.

To schedule your appointment using a one-time use link, click Schedule Appointment.

Please do not share this appointment link.

The link is intended for you only, and it can only be used one time. If you share the link before using it to schedule your own appointment, you will lose the ability to use it yourself.

Thank you,

Your Vaccination Provider

Please DO NOT REPLY TO OR SEND email to this address. Your message will not be returned.

Please contact your vaccination provider directly if you have questions.

OK, what’s your take?

Here’s mine…

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March 17: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 17, 2021

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March 17: COVID Snapshot

March 17, 2021

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Note:  At the index starting date: deaths were ~1,000 per day. hospitalizations were ~55K, cases were ~ 100K and tests were ~1.4 MM per day

So, how much vaccine did the Trump administration order?

March 16, 2021

Simple answer: over 800 million doses
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Biden continues to denigrate or dismiss Operation Warp Speed and  claim (or least blatantly insinuate) that he and his administration should get credit for the hugely successful vaccination program.

Malarkey!

Let’s do a deep dive, starting with the basics …

Dr. Fauci — Biden’s go-to political-scientist (and highest paid Federal employee) — told the nation repeatedly in 2020 that no vaccines would be available until mid-2021 at the earliest, more likely in 2022 … and possibly later than that.

For the record, the Pfizer vaccine got its Emergency Use Authorization on December 11, 2020 … and, we’re on a track to have the country vaccinated before Fauci — who is always certain, but often wrong —  said the first shot would be available.

In subsequent posts, I’ll be referring back to Fauci’s gross misjudgment.

Spoiler alert: I’ll be arguing that his pessimism gave states legitimacy for procrastinating their preparations for the vaccine rollout … which left many states unprepared (or underprepared) when the vaccines were approved.

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Biden even said in a CNN townhall that there was were no vaccines available when he took office. Source

Apparently, he forget that he got his first dose on December 21, 2020 … and his 2nd dose on January 11, 2021.

Senior moment or intentional fib?

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Biden has backtracked on that remark but…

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Biden keeps claiming, to this day,  that Trump’s Operation Warp Speed was negligent for not ordering enough vaccine.

C’mon, man.

For openers, the Operation Warp Speed team made pre-approval vaccine commitments in mid-2020…

That is, they placed non-cancellable vaccine orders before any of the vaccines were proven effective in clinical trials and approved for use.

Note: These pre-approval commitments mitigated drugmakers’ risks … allowing them to put manufacturing capacity in place “on spec”, instead of waiting to start after FDA approval.

Fact: As part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration entered into contracts with multiple drugmakers … while their potential vaccines were still in clinical trials … and, with no certainty that the respective vaccines would ever be approved.

Specifically, pre-approval commitments were made to 6 vaccine manufacturers:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Moderna: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • J&J: 100 million doses (one-dose regimen)
  • AstraZeneca: 300 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Novavax: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Sanofi-GSK: 100 million doses (one- or two-dose regimen)

If all 6 vaccines were to make it through clinical trials and the FDA approval process, the amounts agreed to under these pre-commitment contracts would total about 800 million vaccine doses, or enough to fully vaccinate more than 450 million people. Source

Of course, not all of the vaccines have been approved (yet) … and, some may never get approved.

So, let’s focus on the vaccines that have been approved…

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March 16: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 16, 2021

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March 16: COVID Snapshot

March 16, 2021

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Note:  At the index starting date: deaths were ~1,000 per day. hospitalizations were ~55K, cases were ~ 100K and tests were ~1.4 MM per day

Update: Herd immunity forecast

March 15, 2021

We’ll reach the promised land by early June … maybe earlier!
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That’s later than Dr. Makary (“We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April”.) … but way sooner than Dr. Fauci, who’s still pitching Christmas (or just before the 2022 elections).

In prior posts, we’ve worked through the logic of our simple forecasting model.

See Herd Immunity: By the Numbers

Our foundational premise: People develop immunity to COVID in 2 main ways: (1) by surviving a COVID infection and developing “natural immunity, or (2) by getting vaccinated.

So, if those 2 groups add up to 200 million (80% of the 225 million adults 18 & over), we’ve reached the promised land: herd immunity.

Statistical note: There is some overlap between the 2 groups, namely people who get vaccinated even though they have survived Covid infections and likely have natural immunity.  Our forecast adjusts for the overlap.

Based on our assumptions (which are delineated below, after the table) and our calculations, we’ll most likely get to herd immunity before summer.

Specifically, in May in our likely scenario (think: 80% likely) … early June in our highly likely scenario (think: near certainty)

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Below are our key assumptions & calculations

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March 15: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 15, 2021

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March 15: COVID Snapshot

March 15, 2021

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Biden: “Trump blundered, I’m saving the day”

March 12, 2021

In fact, Operation Warp Speed was much more than fast vaccine R&D. Biden’s claims are, at best, disingenuous.
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Biden frequently makes 2 related Covid-specific claims:

1. “There were no vaccines available when I took office and not enough to vaccinate America.”

2. “The Trump administration didn’t have a plan for getting people vaccinated.  We had to start from completely from scratch.”

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The first claim —  not enough vaccine ordered — is indisputably false

Let’s start with the pre-approval vaccine commitments made mid-2020.

As part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration entered into contracts with multiple drugmakers … while their potential vaccines were still in clinical trials.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Moderna: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • J&J: 100 million doses (one-dose regimen)
  • AstraZeneca: 300 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Novavax: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Sanofi-GSK: 100 million doses (one- or two-dose regimen)

In all, the amounts agreed to under these pre-commitment contracts totaled about 800 million vaccine doses, or enough for more than 450 million people. Source

The Pfizer vaccine was approved on December 11, 2020.

Roughly 2 weeks later, on December 23. 2020, HHS signed an agreement with Pfizer for an additional  100 million doses … with options to purchase an additional 400 Million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Source

So, Trump’s Operation Warp Speed delivered to the Biden administration orders and options for 600 million doses of just the Pfizer vaccine — enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans.

Add in just the pre-commitments to Moderna and J&J and the total swells to 800 million doses — enough to vaccinate 450 million people.

By inauguration day, almost 40 million doses had already been distributed to the states and the daily vaccination rate was passing through the 1 million shots per day mark.

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Since inauguration day, an average of about 1.6 million shots have been administered daily — a function of increased supplies (from manufacturers) and improved coverage and efficiency.

The supply flows have continued to increase.

How much of that is attributable to Team Biden’s claimed magic touch and how much of that is simply implementation ramp-up of Trump’s OWS plan?

That’s a question which naturally raises the second claim…

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So, is the second claim “no vaccination plan, starting from scratch” true?

While there may be some dispute about the depth and appropriateness of the Trump administration’s plan, there was one … and, by and large, it’s exactly the plan that Team Biden is implementing.

Let’s get specific…

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March 12: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 12, 2021

25.1% of adults 1st-shot vaxed; 62.4% over 65

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32.9 million doses stockpiled & in pipeline

March 12: COVID Snapshot

March 12, 2021

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When scientists don’t follow “the science and the data”…

March 11, 2021

More studies show that schools can be re-opened safely.
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Interesting editorial in USA Today (i.e. not exactly a right wing rag)…

A team of doctors and epidemiologists conducted research on children attending school in person.

They published their findings and submitted them to the CDC.

But, they write:

The CDC cites our work but, in their guidance, does not take into account our data and analyses.

Ouch.

Specifically, the authors conclude:

The science shows that we can safely open our schools now for full-time (non-hybrid) learning and keep them open without even enforcing 6-feet socially distancing.

Here are their data-driven conclusions…

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Makary: “Get the Vaccine, Wait a Month, Return to Normal”

March 11, 2021

From the doc who argues that herd immunity is right around the corner.
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Hopkins’ Dr. Marty Makary seems to be the only Fauci-contrarian that doesn’t get crushed by the mass and social media for  “spreading misinformation”.

My guess: It’s because he has a JHU credential, he cites real data and his views are very commonsensical.

Recently, he made a splash by declaring “We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April”.

In today’s WSJ, Makary strikes again with some heavy optimism re: the return to normalcy.

His foundational premise:

Throughout the pandemic, authorities have missed the mark on precautions … by focusing myopically on transmission risk and demanding “complete elimination of infection risk”.

As a result, the CDC “has lost a lot of credibility during the Covid-19 pandemic by being late or wrong on testing, masks, vaccine allocation and school reopening.

And now the CDC is being “ridiculously cautious” about the implications of the vaccines “stunning success”.

Specifically, he advises that, a month after their first dose, vaccinated people should keep wearing masks in public but, otherwise, go back to normal.

Besides the well publicized clinical test results (over 90% protection against symptomatic Covid with near-total protection against hospitalization and death), Makary cites “real life” evidence from Israel (whose vaccination program is months ahead of the rest of the world):

A study conducted by the Israeli Health Ministry and Pfizer showed that vaccination reduced transmission by 89% to 94% and almost totally prevented hospitalization and death.

Immunity kicks in fully about four weeks after the first vaccine dose, and then you are essentially bulletproof.

With the added safety of wearing a mask in public places  … there is little a vaccinated person should be discouraged from doing.

Makary concludes:

It’s time to liberate vaccinated people to restore their relationships and rebuild their lives.

In the process, “that would encourage vaccination by giving hesitant people a vivid incentive to have the shots.”

Well said, Dr. Makary.

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DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical professional or scientist — just a curious, self-interested guy.  So, don’t take anything that I say or write as medical advice. Get that from your doctor!

March 11: COVID Snapshot

March 11, 2021

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March 11 COVID VAX Snapshot

March 11, 2021

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32.1 million doses stockpiled &i in pipeline

COVID: Can vaccinated people spread the virus?

March 10, 2021

Logically, the answer is yes, but data is scarce so “the science” is unsettled.
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Yesterday, we posted re: the CDC “guidance” that vaccinated people can hang with other vaccinated people and low risk people (notably children) without masks or social distancing.

See CDC guidance for vaccinated people

That’s good news and very common-sensical and scientifically-based (at least conceptually).

But, what about people who haven’t been vaccinated?

As more people luck out and get vaccinated, the question for those who are still waiting in line for a shot is: “Can we unvaccinated people catch COVID from somebody who has been vaccinated?”

Since there isn’t much post-vaccination history, there isn’t much hard data on the question.

So, we have to think logically and infer the answer.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that the clinical trials for the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna), concluded the vaccinations are 90% to 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID. The J&J viral vector (DNA) vaccine scores slightly lower at about 70% effectiveness at preventing symptomatic COVID.

Note: The J&J trials were were conducted in a more hostile Covid environment — during a spike in confirmed cases and the emergence of variant Covid strains. So, most experts claim that all 3 vaccines are roughly equivalent in protecting against symptomatic infections.

Most important: Based on their clinical trials, all 3 vaccines are near 100% effective in preventing Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths.

But, the clinical studies did not determine how effective the vaccines are in preventing asymptomatic COVID infections.

They might or might not.

Note: To determine whether the vaccines were effective against asymptomatic COVID would have required frequent periodic COVID testing … which would have been logistically overwhelming … and subject to statistical contamination from false positive (and false negative) test results.

For details on that last point, see:

NY Times: Positive Covid test results misleading: Up to 90% of people testing positive carry inconsequential amounts of the virus

If I test positive for COVID, am I infected? Bayesian math says 2/3s are false positives

Said differently, it is logically possible that vaccinated people catch the virus, but never develop symptoms.

So what?

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NY Times: Positive Covid test results misleading…

March 10, 2021

Up to 90% of people testing positive carry inconsequential amounts of the virus
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Originally posted 10/16/2020

When COVID case counts surged in July, most “experts” said that — after a time delay — fatalities would surge, too.

They didn’t, causing a lot of head-scratching.

Now the consensus explanation for a statistically significant decline in the infection-to-fatality rate (IFR)  is that (1) more asymptomatic people (i.e. minimally effected) were being tested (2) those testing positive were skewed to to younger age groups with IFR rates, and (3) more effective medical treatment and therapeutic drugs were saving more seriously effected patients.

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The New York Times has served up a scientific explanation…

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If I test positive for COVID, am I infected?

March 10, 2021

The answer may surprise you, and it has big implications for how individuals & organizations respond to positive Covid test results.
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Originally posted 05/27/2020

In a prior post, we reported that “Asymptomatics” are not rushing to get tested and provided some subjective reasons why that might be (e.g. no doctor referral, high hassle factor, privacy concerns).

OK, let’s up our game a notch or two and throw some math & economics at the problem.

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I’m a fan of “Freakonomics” … the popular call sign for a discipline called Behavioral Economics … the study of the rationality that underlies many seemingly irrational decisions that people sometimes make.

And, in my strategic business analytics course, I used to teach something called Bayesian Inference … a way to calculate probabilities by combining contextual information (called “base rates” or “priors”) with case-specific observations (think: testing or witnessing).

Today, we’ll connect Freakonomics and Bayesian Inference and apply them to the COVID testing situation…

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Pascal’s Wager … perhaps, we should be more righteous.

March 10, 2021

A classic framework suggests: Act righteously, just in case God exists
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Originally posted 11/29/2012

One of the few things I remember from Philosophy 101 is Pascal’s Wager.

In a nutshell, it says that God may or may not exist … and we all have the choice to live righteously or sinfully.

Naturally, that creates a 2 X 2 matrix …

If you choose to live on the wild side and God exists … uh oh.

If you choose to live a clean life, you score big if God exists … and don’t have much downside if she doesn’t.

I often find Pascal’s Wager to be a practical decision-making prop.

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March 10: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 10, 2021

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60% adults over 65 have received 1st shots

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29.5 MM doses in inventory

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March 10: COVID Snapshot

March 10, 2021

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CDC guidance for vaccinated people…

March 9, 2021

Good news, common-sensical, scientifically-based … and, of course, politically-motivated.
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Yesterday, all media headlined CDC guidance for the steadily increasing pool of vaccinated Americans.

The political motivation: High risk seniors who are frustrated re: vaccine access and scheduling processes are asking: “Why go through the hassle of getting vaccinated if I still won’t be able to see my grandkids?”.

That vax-hesitancy is not good if the goal is to cut the Covid death rate and reach herd immunity.

Cutting to the chase: Based on the new CDC guidance, grandparents can now — without masks or socially distancing —  visit their grandchildren.

Of course, there’s plenty of fine print in the CDC guidance.

So. here’s what you need to know….

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March 9: COVID VAX Snapshot

March 9, 2021

2.2 MM shots / day (7-Day MA)

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23% adults over 18 received 1st shots

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24.3 MM doses in inventory

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