Should you worry about the delta variant? Recent headlines have been filled with alarming warnings that existing vaccines may be no match for the rapidly spreading COVID-19 variant. Meanwhile, some authorities have been using the delta variant to suggest an end to the easing of public health restrictions like business closures and mask mandates or instituting such restrictions once again.
But while the delta variant definitely poses a risk for unvaccinated populations, its danger to vaccinated people may be overstated.
Yes, "new data from Israel suggest the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech's mRNA vaccine declines sharply when it's pitted against the hyperinfectious delta variant," Megan McArdle noted at The Washington Post yesterday. "Last week, more than half of all covid-19 cases in Israel reportedly occurred in people who were vaccinated; the vaccine appears to prevent only about two-thirds of symptomatic cases, compared with preventing almost 100 percent among older variants."
While the Pfizer vaccine might not be as effective at totally thwarting the delta variant as it is with older strains of COVID-19, however, it still seems to protect recipients from the more severe effects of the virus.
"The vaccine protected 64% of inoculated people from infection during an outbreak of the Delta variant, down from 94% before," points out the Wall Street Journal. "It was 94% effective at preventing severe illness in the same period, compared with 97% before, the [Israeli Health] ministry said."
And some health experts are skeptical of the Israeli data, suggesting that it understates the value of the Pfizer vaccine against the delta variant.
"Speaking to colleagues in Israel, real skepticism about 64% number," tweeted Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, on July 5. "Best data still suggest mRNA vaccines offer high degree of protection against infection" and "superb protection against severe illness."
As of now, "if you're vaccinated, I wouldn't worry," Jha commented.
To be clear, not saying 64% is definitely wrong
But UK data says close to 90% against infections, >90% against severe illness
So we'll see occasional data points that don't fit
May turn out to be right
But right now, bulk of evidence says vaccines work very well against Delta
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) July 5, 2021
Porn site XTube announces plans to shut down amid targeting from values groups. "XTube, one of the first adult site (sic) to allow users to upload and share pornographic videos, is shutting down on September 5, thirteen years after it was founded," reports Techspot. "While no reason for the closure has been given, it's speculated that the legal problems faced by parent MindGeek influenced the decision."
Mindgeek—which is also behind Pornhub—has been a major target of religious activists at Exodus Cry and the famous 1980s values group Morality in Media (now called the National Center on Sexual Exploitation), which have been leading a campaign against the company in Congress, the media, and the courts.
EU: privacy is a fundamental human right
Also EU: we're going to encourage tech companies to automatically & indiscriminately scan all your private messages, chats, and emails for suspicious content pic.twitter.com/8tSWCf8ibg
— Alec Stapp (@AlecStapp) July 7, 2021
• We still don't know if masks work.
• "Keeping American boots on the ground means keeping them in harm's way," writes Fiona Harrigan.
• Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, is drawing criticism for his plan to fund airline tickets for people who travel to Tennessee.
• "Chime, a 'neobank' serving millions, is racking up complaints from users who can't access their cash," reports ProPublica. "The company says it's cracking down on an 'extraordinary surge' in fraudulent deposits. That's little consolation to customers caught in the fray."
• How antitrust can hurt U.S. competitiveness.
• Another tale of out-of-control child protective services.
• Protecting and serving:
Cops committing sex crimes is common
This one was an Officer of the Year last year
— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) July 7, 2021