Delta Means Change

The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it.

It was nice while it lasted. By “it” I mean that fleeting but delicious sense of normal I experienced this summer. Even as it happened—dining indoors, increased masklessness—it still felt like a temporary reprieve. I wondered if Hot Vax Summer might be just a lull between waves of infections and restrictions. 

I thought of that period as a window: Even if we know a window will only be open briefly, we enjoy the fresh air while we can.

But now we’re back in a state that most of the world never left; a state of confusion and fear, as Dr. Michael Osterholm describes in his latest, must-listen, podcast episode. The Delta variant has arrived in full force to remind us the pandemic isn’t over just because we’re over it. 

Delta is more transmissible than any other variant, and it’s breaking through some of the vaccine defense. But here is where a false narrative needs to be corrected. The vaccines never promised to end or stop Covid-19 fully. They were always 90 or 95 percent effective, not 100 percent. So we should have expected some vaccinated people would get infected. 

What vaccines remain great at is preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The vast majority of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, so those who have easy access to this magic science should avail themselves of it.

But there’s another reason to get vaccinated beyond short-term personal protection. (Hmm, that phrase makes me wonder if we told the Second Amendment crowd that vaccines were teeny tiny firearms, would that help increase the vaccination rate in the U.S? But I digress.) The more unvaccinated people we have, the more opportunities we offer Covid to evolve and become worse. If you can get the vaccine and choose not to, you’re choosing instead to incubate the next variant, which may be far worse. 

I don’t want to see what Delta’s children have in store for us. Where we are in the pandemic right now is like a scene out of Alien. We’ve come across a nest filled with alien eggs. When we get vaccinated, we kill off those eggs. When we don’t, we encourage those eggs to grow and come back to destroy us. 

I guess what I’m saying is GET VACCINATED. And wear masks in places with lots of people, especially indoors.

And for those who think they know better than the consensus of the world’s top scientists about the effectiveness of vaccination, here’s a fun tweet.

  • By now, you should have received an email from me about Puck, a new venture I’m part of. It’s a media company made up of writers I admire, like Julia Ioffe and Matt Belloni. I’ll be contributing pieces regularly, and I’d love you to sign up for my column during the preview period. It’s called The Easy Stuff.  

  • I’m doing a new short-run podcast series with Salesforce.org called Force Multiplier, and it launches August 12.

  • I’m guest co-hosting Pivot podcast later this week with Kara Swisher while Scott Galloway is on vacation doing drugs.

Delta variant shattered Provincetown’s moment of normalcy (Los Angeles Times)

L.Z. Granderson shares what went wrong with a mass vaccine breakthrough event in Provincetown. 

A Doomsday COVID Variant Worse Than Delta and Lambda May Be Coming, Scientists Say (Newsweek

This is a linkbait headline I don’t appreciate, but read through the entire article for quotes like this:

“Thanks to Delta’s infectiousness, and the huge number of people whose refusal or inability to get vaccinated leaves them primed to become living Covid-19 mutation labs, the conditions are ripe to produce yet more, potentially more dangerous, variants in the coming months.”

In other words, get vaxxed if you can. Don’t let your body become a Covid-19 mutation lab. (Here’s a good Vox piece I read about breakthrough cases.)

‘Stabbing People Is Just How I’ve Always Greeted Them,’ by Jack the Ripper (Washington Post)

This is the best analysis by far of what’s going on with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Thanks, Alexandra Petri

The “degrowth” movement to fight climate change, explained (Vox) 

This piece made me think—hard. I believe unfettered economic growth has acted as a malignant cancer on many cultures of the world and the ecological stability of the world itself. That said, the idea of “degrowth” has a lot of holes in it. Man, I really hate when articles make me think!

DaBaby, Lil Nas X, and the Future of Homophobia in Hip-Hop  (Vulture)

“There is a quadrant of straight men who take it personally when you don’t behave in a manner consistent with how they were socialized, how they feel men are meant to carry themselves.” Facts.

Video Time!

Thank you, Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg. I want this every day for all the Olympic sports and all sports and C-SPAN and everything on television.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe, and help us stay collectively safe.

-Baratunde