Seems Like Californians Prefer Governors Who Don't Promote Deadly Viruses

Good morning, Wonkeroonies, hope you are enjoying your California recall results! We're mentioning that in this here coronavirus news roundup because, duh, clickbait, and also because Gov. Gavin Newsom made responding to the pandemic a central theme of his campaign against the recall, noting that frontrunner Larry Elder (and most Republicans) would roll back the public health measures Newsom has taken to control the spread of the virus. That was certainly top of Newsom's mind in his remarks last night:

We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. [...] We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people's right to vote without fear. We said yes to women's constitutional right to decide.

As it turns out, worries about a sudden change in how California approaches the pandemic does seem to have been a factor in the vote; Newsom leaned into that message in the final stretch of the campaign, and NBC News exit polling showed a solid plurality of voters, 45 percent, said Newsom's COVID-19 policies are "about right," while 32 percent though they were too strict, and another 18 percent thought they needed to be more strict. Also too,

The NBC News exit poll results of early and Election Day voters found 70 percent support Newsom's mandate requiring students to wear masks in schools and 63 percent said getting vaccinated against the coronavirus is more a "public health responsibility" than a "personal choice."

And among people who voted to keep Newsom in office, the pandemic was also the top reason given for supporting him (42 percent of supporters) with homelessness, wildfires, and the economy farther down on the list. That may well turn out to be pretty important in next year's midterms, especially if Republican pro-virus politics keeps the pandemic dragging on another year. [NBC News]

Poll: Americans Support Biden's Vaccine Policy, Suck It GOP

Less than a week after Joe Biden announced that businesses with more than 100 employees will have to require vaccines or weekly testing, a Politico-Morning Consult poll released Monday shows a majority of those polled support the policy (58 percent support, 36 percent oppose), and that nearly the same percentage (57 percent to 36 percent) support Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers and contractors. Support was even higher for Biden's requirement for all US healthcare workers (in facilities getting federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid) to be vaccinated, with 60 percent supporting and 34 percent opposed.

That said, Politico notes that

A quarter of the country seems committed to the anti-vax and anti-mandate cause. A quarter are unvaccinated, and roughly a quarter "strongly oppose" all four of the Biden policies we tested.

America's ability to break the back of the pandemic will be determined by how long the 25 percenters hold out.

When the questions were framed as whether people would support their local government adopting various measures to control the virus, the numbers were actually a little higher, with definite majorities somewhat or strongly in favor of local vaccine mandates, masking requirements, and requirements to show proof of vaccination to go to restaurants, entertainment venues, and the like.

And here's a somewhat weird result, given the generally strong support for public health measures in the poll: Asked a generic question about mask mandates by government, 41 percent of respondents said they "violate the rights of Americans," and 46 percent said they "protect the rights of Americans."

We bet the results might vary a lot depending on how the question is worded, or maybe it just reflects that anti-vax/anti-mask rhetoric has made it into people's heads, even if they think we need the public health measures. [Politico / Politico-Morning Consult poll]

Unvaccinated Brooklynite Demands Pizzeria Give EVERYBODY Eat

Good gravy, look at this coglione who thinks he doesn't need to comply with New York's vaccination passport regulations because he has a "religious" objection to public health, and also a personal right to scream obscenities at the restaurateur and other customers. Mostly I feel bad for the little girl.

Despite the man's insistence that the pizza shop give EVERYBODY eat, we're pretty sure he is not Major _____ de Coverley, because he does not have a leonine mane of hair and his bearing is more assholish than aristocratic. Could challenge him to play horseshoes if you wanted to be sure.

Good Going Guys: Maker of Rapid Tests Destroyed Stocks Because COVID Was Like Over Wasn't It?

Just an infuriating New York Times story from late August that we missed, reporting that as the pandemic seemed to be on the wane earlier this summer, Abbott Laboratories told workers at its factory in Maine to disassemble and throw away millions of rapid COVID test kits, because with errebody getting vaccinated, who needs testing?

Soon afterward, Andy Wilkinson, a site manager for Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturer, stood before rows of employees to announce layoffs. The company canceled contracts with suppliers and shuttered the only other plant making the test, in Illinois, dismissing a work force of 2,000. "The numbers are going down," he told the workers of the demand for testing, saying it wasn't their fault. "This is all about money."

And wouldn't you know it, the Delta variant brought the pandemic roaring back, but the US can't keep up with all the testing that's needed because Abbott Labs decided it would be cheaper to get out of the rapid testing game than to pay to keep all those test kits in inventory.

Demand for the 15-minute antigen test, BinaxNOW, is soaring again as people return to schools and offices. Yet Abbott has reportedly told thousands of newly interested companies that it cannot equip their testing programs in the near future. CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens locations have been selling out of the at-home version, and Amazon shows shipping delays of up to three weeks. Abbott is scrambling to hire back hundreds of workers.

Yeesh, you'd think they'd at least have looked into selling them at dollar stores.

It may help some that as part of his new COVID plan last week, Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of rapid test kits again, and that he got manufacturers to sell them at cost to the public.

Please add your own comment about the wisdom of leaving healthcare during a pandemic up to the wisdom of the goddamn free market, won't you? [NYT]

Idaho: It Just Keeps Getting Worse

A week after hospitals in northern Idaho started using "crisis standards of care" — in other words, rationing healthcare resources so the available beds, staff, and equipment like ventilators will do the most good to save the most lives, even if it means some people may not get as much help — the state is now looking at expanding the rationing to health districts that cover the Boise and Twin Falls areas.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said yesterday the expansion could come any day, because coronavirus hospitalizations "continue to set new records each week. [...] We do not see a peak in sight."

"Nearly all the metrics we track are trending in the wrong direction," when it comes to coronavirus, deputy state epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner said.

On Sept. 11, the state had more than 600 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, far beyond last winter's peak when 466 people were hospitalized. Coronavirus patients in intensive care units and on ventilators are also setting record highs in the state. The vast majority of them — more than 91% — are not vaccinated against coronavirus.

The AP also reports that in the middle of all this, vaccination rates in Idaho are fucking dropping.

About 40,000 vaccine doses were administered during the week of Sept. 5, according to numbers from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, compared to 57,000 and 67,000 doses each of the two prior weeks.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has never ordered statewide masking, and in fact faces multiple primary challenges from the right for the brief shutdown he ordered last year. Not surprisingly, Little said that he's asked Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to look into suing Joe Biden over the vaccination mandate Biden ordered last week, which seems like an excellent use of state funds when the hospitals are overflowing.

But don't worry, Little continues to urge Idahoans to get vaccinated, and that's all he can possibly do, good luck. [AP]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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