Friday, July 09, 2021


Democrats Have 1 Option Left Today’s 6–3 Supreme Court decision is a hinge point for American democracy. ........ Today’s Supreme Court decision further weakening the Voting Rights Act affirmed that the only way Democrats can reverse the wave of restrictive voting laws in GOP-controlled states is to pass new federal voting rights by curtailing the Senate filibuster. ..... today’s ruling from the six GOP-appointed justices eliminated any doubt. ...... Republican legislators will likely interpret Alito’s repeated emphasis in his decision on the importance of stopping “fraud” and his somewhat gratuitous swipes at voting by mail, both of which echo themes from former President Donald Trump, as much more than a wink and a nod of approval for the laws that are proliferating across red states. .........

how thoroughly the determination to restrict voting access in the name of combatting illusory “fraud” has permeated every corner of the GOP.

........ (Even the rare GOP critics of Trump’s discredited fraud claims, such as Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have also defended the restrictive new state laws.) ...... the clarity the decision provides. It makes plain that if Congress doesn’t establish new federal standards, the nation is headed toward a two-tier voting system, with red states imposing ever-tightening restrictions that especially burden Democratic-leaning constituencies—young, minority, and lower-income voters. ......... It’s no coincidence that red states are imposing these restrictions precisely as Millennials and Gen Zers, who represent the most racially diverse generations in American history, are rapidly increasing their share of the total vote .......... The rise of those younger generations especially threatens the GOP hold on Sun Belt states such as Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, which Republicans now control through their dominance of older and non-urban white voters; in that way,

the voting restrictions Republicans are enacting amount to stacking sandbags against a rising tide of demographic change

. ............. “Our elected leaders need to wake up and start acting like the house is on fire—because it is, and this ruling pours more gasoline on the flames,” Nsé Ufot, the CEO of the New Georgia Project, said today in a statement that was echoed widely by other groups. “Black and Brown communities gave Democrats federal power to protect the vote and passing bills like the For the People Act is what we both expect and deserve.”

The 3 Simple Rules That Underscore the Danger of Delta Vaccines are still beating the variants, but the unvaccinated world is being pummeled. ......... Fifteen months after the novel coronavirus shut down much of the world, the pandemic is still raging. Few experts guessed that by this point, the world would have not one vaccine but many, with 3 billion doses already delivered. At the same time,

the coronavirus has evolved into super-transmissible variants that spread more easily

. .......... it is 35 to 60 percent better at spreading than Alpha, which was already 43 to 90 percent more transmissible than the original virus. (It may also be deadlier .......... the coronavirus can cause serious problems without triggering severe infections. Because people can develop long COVID without ending up in the hospital, could Delta still cause long-term symptoms even if vaccines blunt its sting? ......... vaccinated people might have to keep wearing masks indoors to avoid slingshotting the virus into unvaccinated communities, especially during periods of high community transmission. ........... Vaccinated people are safer than ever despite the variants. But unvaccinated people are in more danger than ever because of the variants. Even though they’ll gain some protection from the immunity of others, they also tend to cluster socially and geographically, seeding outbreaks even within highly vaccinated communities........... The U.K., where half the population is fully vaccinated, “can be a cautionary tale,” Hanage told me. Since Delta’s ascendancy, the country’s cases have increased sixfold. Long-COVID cases will likely follow. Hospitalizations have almost doubled. That’s not a sign that the vaccines are failing. It is a sign that even highly vaccinated countries host plenty of vulnerable people. ............. 15 states, most of which are in the South, have yet to fully vaccinate half their adults. “Watch the South in the summer,” Hanage said. “That’ll give us a flavor of what we’re likely to see in the fall and winter.” ........

Of the 3 billion vaccine doses administered worldwide, about 70 percent have gone to just six countries; Delta has already been detected in at least 85.

.......... The coronavirus is now tearing through southern Africa, South America, and Central and Southeast Asia. The year is only half over, but

more people have already been infected and killed by the coronavirus in 2021 than in 2020.

And new variants are still emerging. Lambda, the latest to be recognized by the WHO, is dominant in Peru and spreading rapidly in South America. ............ If even Vietnam, which so steadfastly held the line against COVID-19, is now buckling under the weight of Delta, “it’s a sign that the world may not have that much time” ............

“my great fear is that in not very long, everyone globally will either have been vaccinated or infected”

........ we might eventually face variants that can truly infect even vaccinated people. ........ the odds shorten as the pandemic lengthens. “We have to assume that’s going to happen,” Gupta told me. “The more infections are permitted, the more probable immune escape becomes.” ....... Delta ripped its way through India, “but we only understood it when it started causing infections in the U.K.—a country that had plenty of scientists with sequencers and less to do.” ............

the first sign of a vaccine-beating variant will likely be an uptick in disease

.......... even highly vaccinated nations should continue investing in other measures that can control COVID-19 but have been inadequately used—improved ventilation, widespread rapid tests, smarter contact tracing, better masks, places in which sick people can isolate, and policies like paid sick leave ........... “I find myself the broken record who always emphasizes all the other tools we have ..... It’s not vaccines only. We’re not using what we have at hand.” ..........

The WHO’s decision to name variants after the Greek alphabet means that at some point, we’ll probably be dealing with an Omega variant.

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