coronavirus

Coronavirus Update Four Zillion

There's good news and less-good news. Weirdly, it's the very same news.

A major new peer-reviewed study of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine published in the medical journal The Lancet yesterday has some really good news, and some other news that may help make the case for booster shots, depending on whose headlines you're reading. The Washington Post emphasizes that six months after the second dose, the vaccine remains 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Well that's pretty good news, and it also includes the vaccine's effectiveness against the Delta variant.

The study included more than 3.4 million people, and its other major finding made for the more dour headline from Reuters, which is that six months after the second dose, the vaccine's ability to prevent infection with the coronavirus dropped from an initial 88 percent to 47 percent, which might be a big factor in federal agencies deciding whether to expand the availability of Pfizer booster shots.

The researchers concluded that the decline in effectiveness was not due to the Delta variant, noting that patients fresh off a new vaccination were equally protected from both the original strain and Delta, and that even as Delta spread in California this year, hospitalization rates remained low. Finally, the rate of breakthrough infections was more closely related to the time elapsed since the second vaccination than with which variant of the virus people were infected.

Earlier this month, the CDC approved booster shots for adults over 65, residents in long-term care, and people aged 50-64 who have underlying health conditions, and said that younger people with underlying health conditions and people who regularly come in contact with people at high risk, like medical workers, may also receive a booster.

So what's the upshot of the study? Breakthrough infections after a vaccination may become somewhat more common, but they're far less likely to put you in the hospital or a coffin, so for fuckssakes we need to keep encouraging and mandating vaccinations. [WaPo / Reuters / LAT]

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Education

Local GOP Proudly Endorses Sweaty Anti-Semite For Post Falls, Idaho School Board

But he says he's for traditional values, so everything's good.

In northern Idaho, one of the school board candidates endorsed by the Kootenai County GOP has a stellar track record as a super conservative. David J. Reilly — no relation to Ignatius J. Reilly, as one of them is fictional — used to be a radio guy in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, but he "resigned" in 2017 after posting video and tweets promoting the big racist "Unite the Right" hootenanny in Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to a local advertiser boycott. Since then, as the anti-racist blog Angry White Men documents, Reilly has freelanced for an anti-Semitic "theologian," pushed the racist "great replacement" conspiracy theory (which posits George Soros and all the Jews are importing brown people to replace decent Godfearing white folks), and left a trail of now-deleted (but archived) tweets saying horrible things about Jews, gays, and women. We're not talking long-forgotten stuff here; much of it was from 2020.

Now Reilly lives in northern Idaho and wants to bring his Christian values to the school board for Post Falls, a suburb of Coeur d'Alene and Idaho's 10th-biggest community. In a statement on the Kootenai County GOP's website, Reilly vows he'll "do all in my power to make sure Kootenai County remains a place where families can raise Godly, conservative, patriotic children."

He notes that while he doesn't have any school-aged children, he's the "new father of a native Idahoan" and that he and his wife have already decided not to send their daughter to a public school, since the schools are full of critical race theory and "transgender child grooming," along with other horrors. Perhaps someday, he pines, Post Falls schools will become "an educational institution that I'd be proud to send my own daughter to."

Oh, for the sake of children in Post Falls, let's hope he doesn't get the chance.

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Right Wing Extremism

Matt Walsh Rents House In Virginia So He Can Attack Local Trans Kids Like Emotionally Healthy Adult

Christ, what a bigoted, ignorant sack of shit.

Matt Walsh doesn't live in Virginia. Remember this for later.

The rightwing troll from the Daily Wire (I suppose I should be more specific) is appalled by the Loudoun County, Virginia, school district's radical policy of treating trans students like human beings. He planned to hold a “Protect Your Kids" rally outside Tuesday's school board meeting. He's obviously not interesting in protecting all kids, as you can tell from his Facebook post promoting the event.

The Loudoun County school board in VA has imposed a radical trans policy allowing males access to girl's restrooms and teams.

This is no longer a “radical" policy, even if Walsh's mind is stuck in 1973. Also, trans girls are girls so what he's describing isn't taking place. He reveals his own issues when he fixates on trans girls rather than trans boys who'd also have access to boys' restrooms and teams.

Teachers are required to use preferred pronouns.

Yes, teachers should not be assholes. That's not a huge ask.

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Abortion

Greg Abbott Does Not Wish To Amend Weird Thing He Said About Eliminating All Future Rapists

It's your very bewildered Sunday show rundown.

Among the MANY INSANE THINGS about the anti-abortion bill Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott signed is that it doesn't even include perfunctory exceptions for rape and incest, which conservatives often add to make it look like they're not complete monsters. Abbott, when asked about this days after law went into effect, said it didn't matter because they would just stop all the future rapes by arresting all the future rapists:

That was then.

On "Fox News Sunday" this weekend, host Chris Wallace, after giving Abbott a platform to spew hatred against immigrants and asylum seekers, in the guise of "border protection," asked about the Texas abortion ban. He specifically asked Abbott about his stated intention to prevent all the future rapes, in what we can only assume was an attempt to give Abbott a chance to make himself look a little bit less insane.

It did not work.

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