The Biden Administration had better come up with a ‘Plan B’

Coronavirus dashboard for December 7: since further mass vaccination could only happen at gunpoint, the Biden Administration had better come up with a ‘Plan B, New Deal democrat

No significant economic news today, so let’s catch up a little bit with Covid.

There are still distortions in the 7 day average data, as States did data dumps of deaths and new cases throughout last week, after not reporting over the long Thanksgiving holiday. That should finally disappear over the next few days.

But since the same sort of Thanksgiving distortions occurred one year ago, it’s useful to take a YoY look at the data, which the below graph shows by US Census Region plus nationwide:

The South and West regions have less than half as many cases as they did one year ago right after the Thanksgiving weekend, while the Northeast and Midwest have between 80% to 90% of the case they did one year ago.  This is particularly interesting since the South, of all the regions, has the lowest vaccination rate. It partially suggests the importance of weather, and partially recent outbreaks rushing through the susceptible part of the population.

A close-up of the last 8 weeks shows that the waves in the Northeast and Midwest started building near the end of October. Since the Delta wave from trough to peak in the South and West took about 2 months (similar to what happened in India, the UK, and now in the EU), this may mean that, except for the effect of Christmas gatherings, the peak in the colder regions is only a few weeks away:

Additionally, if we average the most recent 7 day average, with the 7 day average one week ago, and compare that with the 7 day average 14 days ago, we probably get closer to a true picture of the pandemic. And there, the news is better. In the South, West, and even the Midwest, the average of the past 2 weeks is about the same as the 7 day average 2 weeks ago. Only in the Northeast has there been an unambiguous increase.

But now, some pessimistic news.

Vaccinations among adults have slowed to a crawl. Here is the graph of full vaccinations per capita for the entire US population:

40% of the entire US population was fully vaccinated on May 16. 50% was fully vaccinated on July 22.60% was fully vaccinated on December 4.

It took 67 days to go from 40% to 50%.

Even worse, some of those new vaccinations were for teens and a few for children under age 12.

When we confine the data to only US adults, here’s what we get (note: no graph; data is from my “Weekly Indicators” compilations from the last 6 months):

50% of all US adults were fully vaccinated by May 30. 60% were fully vaccinated by July 30. Two more months later, by October 1, only 66.6% were fully vaccinated. 70% of all US adults were finally fully vaccinated by December 3.

In other words, the pace of vaccinations fell by 50% between late spring and the onset of winter – despite the Delta wave occurring in late summer.

Needless to say, this takes the prospect of beating Covid via vaccination alone in the US completely off the table.

And, as far as I can tell, the Biden Administration has no other plan. It has refused to enact mandatory vaccination requirements for air and train travel. Yesterday Jen Psaki actually sneered at the idea of mailing test kits to everybody (which has in fact been done both in the UK and Singapore). Rapid testing at pharmacies for free – available in many other Western countries – is a figment of the imagination here. Seroprevalence studies appear to have been largely suspended. Even the publication of infection statistics by vaccination vs. non-vaccination status by the CDC has never been implemented.

Since mass vaccination of the remaining US population could only happen essentially at gunpoint, the Biden Administration had better come up with a decent “Plan B” and fast.