Commentary

Delta variant alarmism discounts significant pandemic progress, ignores important data

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The media has been sounding the alarm lately on the Delta variant of COVID-19 that is now heavily circulating across the United States.

While cases are rising, as shown below with data from the New York Times (NYT), the media has failed to tell the complete story of the current COVID-19 situation in the country.

Headlines in recent days have said the virus is surging and mask guidelines have grown confusing and contradictory, as the CDC backpedalled to say vaccinated individuals should continue to mask up indoors in hotspot areas.

A lot of this, including the frenzied reporting by the media, can be a great cause of concern and confusion, but there are some important data being glossed over that provide a fuller picture of where we stand amid the pandemic.

First, 99 percent of recent COVID-19 deaths have been among unvaccinated individuals. The fact remains that the vaccines work and significantly reduce risk of death. They have also been shown to be effective against the Delta variant.

Second, while case numbers have seen an uptick in recent weeks, there has not been a similar uptick in deaths. The graph below from the NYT shows this to be so.

Clearly, deaths are nowhere near the peak they hit this past winter. They are still below the mid-summer lull we saw last year, where the lowest 7-day average of deaths that entire period was 547 on July 7, 2020. We now stand at roughly half that total.

With the media increasingly sounding the alarm on COVID-19 again, individuals hesitant about the vaccine will likely only continue to harbor their reservations, especially considering the CDC’s new mask guidance.

The goal should be getting people vaccinated to minimize the effects of the disease. Why must vaccinated people return to wearing masks if the vaccines work? What good is the vaccine if we can’t undo public health protocols after vaccination?

Here in Maine, the situation is even more underwhelming than what we are seeing at the national level.

As shown above in the NYT’s COVID-19 tracker, cases in Maine remain at nearly a tenth of where they were when they peaked last winter. Again, they are ticking up, but they still remain relatively low by comparison.

Meanwhile, deaths in the Pine Tree State remain very low as well, with a seven-day average of 2.1 as of Jul. 26, pictured above.

Though the disease is still with us, it is now killing fewer people per day nationally than at any other time during the pandemic. While it is a preventable disease, to act like the coronavirus is surging back to where it was before the vaccines hit is blatant alarmism.

The COVID-19 vaccines work, and every individual should carefully consider their decision on that front.

As the data stand now, deaths are not on pace with new infections across the country. We are still in a much better position in the pandemic than we were just a few months ago. Let’s act like it.

About Nick Linder

Nicholas Linder, of Cincinnati, is a communications Intern for Maine Policy Institute. He is going into his second year of studying finance and public policy analysis at The Ohio State University. On campus, he is involved with Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and Business for Good.

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