CoVid Update - Omicron Variant, Vax Updates, Vax Boosters, Vax Kids & Manipulative NYC Based Disinformation Sources
December 6, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Social Issues Health News / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The first Omicron virus case was first detected on November 8, 2021 in South Africa. The first case detected in the U.S. was in San Francisco on November 22, 2021. Four days later, on November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization [WHO] designated Omicron a CoVid variant [B1.1.529]. As of December 5, 2021 there were eight Omicron cases in NYS, most of which were found in NYC.
Early Precautions in the Face of Omicron’s Rapid Spread
On November 26, 2021, President Biden instituted a temporary travel ban on South Africa and neighboring countries including, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. He also shortened the CoVid testing time from three to one days, for those traveling internationally. The passenger must test negative for CoVid. And he extended the mask mandate for those using public transit domestically to March 15, 2021.
The reason for taking these early immediate precautions is that the Omicron variant appears to be spreading at twice the rate of the Delta variant, which overwhelmed this nation within about 3 - 4 months [May - August 2021].
The Omicron variant was also detected in Belgium, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and Israel at the time the news broke regarding the rapid spread of the new variant at the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday. As of this writing the Omicron variant has been found in 15 states including, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally on December 5, 2021.
Vaccine Efficacy vis a vis Omicron Variant
The Omicron variant is known to be more transmissible, but it’s health impact is still being studied. Most of those who contracted the Omicron variant had been vaccinated, and hence it is believed that most suffered fairly mild symptoms because they had CoVid antibodies in their systems. By the end of this week [12/10/21] or sometime the following week, early test results on vaccine efficacy vis a vis Omicron are expected.
One health official noted that efficacy isn’t measured as a simple yes or no, but rather in degrees. The strongest efficacy prevents one from catching the virus, the medium measure of efficacy is how troublesome the symptoms - ranging from mild to hospitalization, and the weakest efficacy - meaning no efficacy is death.
CoVid prognosticators believe that the current vaccines will continue to offer some measure of protection / efficacy, but they caution that at some point it may be necessary to create a separate vaccine for new CoVid variants.
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CoVid Update - Omicron Variant, Vax Updates, Vax Boosters, Vax Kids & Manipulative NYC Based Disinformation Sources
December 6, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Social Issues Health News / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.
The Omicron Variant Science & Prevention
The danger of the new variant is the number of mutations found, which number between 50 and 60 versus the original strain of the Corona Virus. It is the potential embedded in these mutations, that may one day render the current vaccines ineffective.
Based on early studies, the CoVid mitigation efforts used to combat the original CoVid strain and the Delta variant, will also help slow or stop the rate of transmission of the Omicron variant. These mitigation efforts include social distancing, mask wearing, hands washing, getting tested if you don’t feel well and staying home if you’re sick. Abbott Laboratories have said that their PCR tests will detect the Omicron variant.
As of this writing, 71% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And about 60% of Americans have been fully vaccinated - meaning two shots of Pfizer or Moderna or one shot of the J&J.
The image at right was published by a Chinese government run, English speaking media outlet called Global Times.
CoVid Booster Shot Progress
On September 22nd, the FDA approved CoVid booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine for innoculated folks six months after they had completed the first two shot regimen. But this approval came with restrictions, as it encompassed only: 1) people aged 65+, 2) people with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to severe CoVid health effects [like diabetes], and 3) those in occupations with frequent institutional or occupational CoVid exposure. On October 10th, the FDA approved the same for the Moderna booster shot and for the J&J vaccine, the booster may be taken two months after completing the one-shot regimen.
Only 14% of Americans have received the booster as of this writing. The booster is believed to offer the best protection against the Omicron variant. Thus, on November 19, 2021 the FDA and CDC changed guidance on boosters. The change loosened the restrictions, which limited boosters to those aged 65+ and / or those with special underlying health conditions. As things now stand, ALL adults are eligible to receive the booster shot six months after completing the two-shot regimen (Pfizer & Moderna), or two months after receiving the one shot regimen (J&J).
As with the original vaccine regimen, allow two weeks for the full antibody protection, although the protections begins taking effect within 10 days.
By the way, getting the booster is as easy as going down to most local pharmacies, with the proper identification and your CDC vaccination card. It takes about 15 minutes to register and get the shot and another 15 or so minutes to wait there, in order to ensure no unattended, unexpected reaction.
Kids CoVid Update - CoVid Incidence, Vaccines & School Progress
On October 29th the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5 - 11 years old. The CDC approved it on November 2nd. There are about 28 million children in that age group in the U.S. and about 1.5 million in NYS. Moderna and J&J have NOT received approval for their vaccines in this age group. The Moderna vaccine was paused in order to probe a rare side effect in teens related to myocarditis.
According to a November 2, 2021 NPR report, kids have been hospitalized and died because of exposure to CoVid. The nationwide statistics on kids catching CoVid are as follows: a) 2 million infected, b) 2400 seriously ill and c) 94 deaths. Because of the relatively low CoVid incidence in children and the fairly low incidence of severe health risks, only 27% of parents had planned to get their kids vaccinated right away. Another 33% were taking a ‘wait and see’ position. And some of the remainder [I think 22%] took a hard line saying they would not vaccinate their kids, and the remaining 18% were unsure [I think].
In a November 4, 2021 NBC News report, Lester Holt said kids had falled behind in math / reading at end of 2021 school year by about 3 - 5 months because of the pandemic disruption.
Vaccination Efforts in NYC by the Municipal Government
Nobody can blame Mayor de Blasio for not trying to make NYC safe and move the city beyond the pandemic, including getting the economy back on track. He’s been a strong advocate of vaccines, masking, social distancing, outdoor dining and testing. And he and his Administration have aggressively pursued these efforts, making some good progress, but not without some conflict and criticism.
On August 23, 2021 the Mayor announced a vaccine mandate for the NYC Department of Education with a deadline of September 27th. On October 20, 2021 the Mayor mandated that all city employees must be vaccinated and incentivized them by promising a $500 bonus for those city employees who got vaccinated by October 29th deadline. The start of the work week beginning November 1, 2021 was the ultimate deadline for all city employees except the corrections officers, who were given until December 7, 2021.
According to an October 20, 2021 Politico report at the time of the Mayor’s October 20, 2021 announcement, the NYPD had about a 70% vaccination rate and the FDNY had about a 60% vaccination rate. In that same report Politico noted that Corrections Officers in late August had a vaccination rate of about 40%. Meanwhile Politico notes that at the time of the Mayor’s announcement, the entire city employee staff had a vaccination rate of 70%, but they also noted that 84% had already taken at least one shot. At the time of the Mayor’s announcement, 46,000 NYC employees had not yet been vaccinated.
Is the Union Leadership of the FDNY & NYPD out of Touch with Science, History & Reality?
The two unions putting up the biggest fight against the vaccine mandate, represent the employees who work for the FDNY and the NYPD. The unions claim it infringes on their freedom to make personal choices, but the union leaders must be unaware of the numerous precedents for mandating vaccinations in this country, starting with George Washington’s small pox vaccination mandate for all soldiers in the Continental Army, and that every state in the union has vaccine mandates to combat numerous viruses. It's a health and safety issue for the community - NOT the individual.
I compare this to a drunk who says he should be free to drive home after getting intoxicated. It's not just his life that's at stake. That's why there are laws ruling against that. Or to a cigarette smoker who says he should be able to smoke whereever the hell he wants. Again, it's not just his lungs that are at stake, as it's been proven that second hand smoke can cause cancer in non-smokers. So while the non-vaxers argue for their freedom, they fail to talk about or address the responsibility that comes with that freedom ... which is what we're talking about here.
Nonetheless, the FDNY exercised their right to free speech and protested outside of Gracie Mansion the day before the mandate took effect [10/28/21]. On the first day the mandate took effect about 2,000 firefighters called in sick versus about 1,000 calling in sick on a normal day. It is believed this was a protest, but as the FDNY union is by law, not allowed to walk out on their jobs, we can only assert this as speculation ; ).
The good news is that within the past couple of weeks Americans have started getting vaccinated at rates not seen since July [7 million in a week] and this past week at a rate not seen since May [12 million vaccinations in a week]. So we're slowly inching toward getting the nation back on track, not just healthwise, but vaccinations / control also has implications for the economy.
PERCEPTION - Fake News Fear Mongering by Murdoch’s NY Post & Fox ‘News’
The fear-mongering manipulative mass media controlled by Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch is shown below. Now contemplate for a minute - if you will - whether these two headlines by Murdoch's NY Post and Fox News - in any fashion resemble reality? Or were they ratings and profit driven headlines, intended to jack up reader / viewer interest by hyping fiction? Not unlike how Murdoch's mass media seemed to do following the election of 2020, where they appeared to help incite conflict by repeatedly airing / printing false narratives for which they are now being sued for billions.
In spite of ominous warnings by Murdoch’s Fear-mongering Fake News Machine, none of the 250 NYC firehouses were closed on Monday, November 1, 2021 when the city mandate on the FDNY took effect.
I’m pretty sure the Goebbels-like manipulator in chief [Rupert Murdoch] must have been disappointed that there weren’t any out-of-the ordinary tragedies the next day that Murdoch’s manipulative media could hype horrifically to attack the Mayor for implementing the mandates and then repeat daily - like they did with the Biden Afghanistan evacuation in Murdoch's Wall Street Journal [see November 24, 2021 story about Thanksgiving].
Nonetheless, Murdoch's mass media never seem to let the facts get in the way of what they present to the public, so the NY Post frightened and angered its readers with fear-mongering hype that seemed embedded with Murdoch's trademark disinformation as he's done so, so, so many times before.
The NYPD union seemed to be less massively manipulated by the billionaire’s propaganda press, as only 90 NYPD staff members / officers called out on unpaid leave, out of staff of 35,000.
Unfortunately, Murdoch’s seemingly Goebbels-like propaganda handiwork appears to have disproportionately disinformed White People regarding CoVid vaccinations. This can be seen in the lagging vaccination rates among white people in NYC. According to the NYC.gov website, Whites are the second slowest vaccination group in NYC, currently ahead of African Americans only, in vaccination rates.
REALITY - All States Mandate Numerous Vaccinations & George Washington did too
It’s worth noting that according to an October 8, 2021 report by Pew Research,
“... Of the 16 immunizations the CDC recommends for children and teens, all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) mandate diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, rubella and chickenpox. In addition, every state except Iowa mandates immunization against mumps...”
So vaccine mandates have been around a long time, including (as mentioned) by George Washington during the American Revolutionary War for small pox. Washington was losing more soldiers to the disease, than to the enemy.
Perhaps these two unions’ leaders are relying too much Australian born, Murdoch’s media, like Fox News and the NY Post, for their CoVid (dis)information and thus are making poor choices based on information that is somewhere misleading to downright false.
Click here to read our report on Fox News - America’s Disinformation Newsroom.
NYC & U.S. Vaccine Mandates Working - Just Like the the Vaccine Mandate at Fox News
A few things worth noting, is that in mid October only about 60% of the FDNY, 70% of the NYPD and - as noted previously - in late August about 40% of the Corrections Officers were vaccinated. Fast forward a month, following the Mayor’s mandate, to November 11, 2021. According to AMNY about 85% of the FDNY, 86% of the NYPD, about 87% of the Sanitation Workers (DSNY) and 63% of Corrections Officers received at least one dose. [Editor’s Note - these may not be strict apples to apples numbers as the difference between fully vaccinated and one dose continues to be muddied in the reporting waters - BUT the trend is clear regardless].
By early December 95% of all NYC employees had been vaccinated [not sure if this is one shot or full dosage]. This compares with 80% for MTA employees, who work on city transit, but are employed by New York State. The Mayor is pushing for the MTA to be included in the vaccination mandate since mass transit workers interact with and are responsible for millions of New Yorkers’ safety.
At the national level, the Biden vaccine mandates also appear to be working. On September 9, 2021 President Biden mandated that all federal government employees must get the CoVid vaccine by November 22, 2021 or face the possibility of losing their jobs.
As of November 24, 2021 about 92% of all federal government employees had been vaccinated. This included about 99% of the FBI, 98% of ICE and 93% of TSA. And as of November 4, 2021 there were 97% active duty military who had already received at least one CoVid shot. It’s worth noting, is that in mid September the TSA was only about 60% vaccinated.
Australian born billionaire, elitest Rupert Murdoch, was one of the first to be vaccinated in a clinic near London, which is in (the once Great) Britain, which is a nation he essentially controls by virtue of his overwhelming share of mass media which he appears to elect and un-elect their government officials. He controls Fox News, America's CoVid Disinformation Newroom, as in tandem with other Murdoch mass media, it is likely the greatest source of disinformation and distorted perspectives in America, which in this case is about CoVid.
The Healthcare System is Burned Out - A Half Million Healthcare Workers Quit Their Jobs
It’s worth noting that since the pandemic began, an estimated 550,000 people quit their healthcare jobs in the USA. Who can blame them? Why should they risk their lives for people who refuse to take the vaccine? At present the unvaccinated comprise the overwhelming number of hospitalized CoVid patients and deaths.
But many media distort this information through sloppiness or ignorance. Sloppiness because they don't define what they mean by 'healthcare workers' or ignorance because it seems that in some of the news accounts, the reporters are mindlessly parroting things they've heard or seen on dufus TV. This would seem not unlike getting your information from the old fashioned caricature of neighborhood women gossiping over the fence. Spicey, salacious, possibly true but possibly pure fiction purveyed by malicious manipulators seeking to gain some advantage.
There are 6 million hospital workers in the U.S. and an estimated 18 - 20 million healthcare workers in the U.S., so the Hill headline of 1 in 5 Healthcare Workers quitting their jobs - when only 550,000 have - doesn't ring true. The 550,000 is less than 10% of all hospital workers and less than 3% of all healthcare workers. One in five is 20%.
CoVid was the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. in 2020 & Currently Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. in 2021
CoVid was the third leading cause of death in 2020 with about 345,000 deaths. CoVid dropped to the eighth leading cause of death in July of 2021, as Americans were innoculated just prior to the Delta variant spread. But, as fate and the Delta variant would have it, as of late October CoVid was again the leading cause of death for 2021 in the U.S. There were 442,000 deaths as of this writing [12.6.21] and the Delta variant continues to remain the major threat in the battle against CoVid, representing over 99% of all cases at this time.
The chart at right shows that CoVid, in less than a year, ratcheted up to third place as the cause of death in America in 2020. As of October 2021 it was the primary cause of death for this year.
Ongoing Efforts to Contain the Spread of CoVid & the Murdoch Disinformation Virus
Both President Biden and Mayor de Blasio continue to press forward in implementing CoVid containment efforts. Both the Mayor and the President have pushed for vaccine mandates within private companies. The latest deadline in NYC for private companies to implement vaccine mandates, is December 27, 2021. The Mayor is also re-implementing a mask mandate in gyms in NYC.
But President Biden and Mayor de Blasio aren't just fighting the Corona Virus. They are also fighting another virus, Rupert Murdoch's deceptive and disinforming mass media. Unfortunately you can't innoculate ignorant people from mass media manipulation, as Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, NY Post, Wall Street Journal [Yes, it’s true. See their misleading / disinforming OpEds on Afghanistan by clicking the Thanksgiving link above] are constantly 'infecting' people with erroneous views of the news. Unfortunately I am watching as ABC News, Kimmel and This Week appear to be corrupted by Murdoch and his financier cronies, who essentially took control of Disney / ABC in March 2019.
Promotion of Propaganda Assets to Legally Steal More Power and More Profit from the People
Murdoch uses his dominant share of daily national news media to influence voters' perceptions by subtley and not-so-subtley distorting and hyping 'news' accounts - not unlike how Goebbels did in Germany in the 1930's. He and his media outlets far too often omit key facts, which totally turn 'news' reports upside down. The purpose is to promote his slate of propaganda political assets into government offices, so he can govern through them from behind the scenes. In addition to providing what is in essence free advertising to his favored pols [infommercials disguised as news reports], he distorts accounts of their opposition and hypes rumors and innuendo in order to discredit their opponents. And then there are key issues, like CoVid vaccinations, which he uses to divide Americans, in order to disrupt / hurt the economy under a President who won't bow to him, so he can get his propaganda asset elected in 2024. At present Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears his current favorite asset since DeSantis gave Murdoch's Disney a $500 million tax break, which means DeSantis will be a very profitable propaganda asset if Murdoch is successful in getting DeSantis elected in 2024.
He's done this is Australia and Britain, where one of his puppets in Australia gave him a nearly $1 billion tax break by not completing a court filing against Murdoch on behalf of its citizens, and Brexit was all Murdoch because he didn't want to lose his near iron tight grip on the British government, by allowing them to stay in the European Union. In both nations, Murdoch controls an overwhelming share of the daily national news media, like he now has here.
In the image at right, taken from a July 11, 2021 New York Times report, is Chairman Murdoch of Fox News, whose deceitful hypocrisy on CoVid. seems unrivaled in the Western World.
The Greatest Danger we Face Isn't CoVid
Even worse than the threat of the Corona Virus is blind ignorance that is preyed upon by self-serving propagandists, who will - like Joseph Goebbels did in Germany in the 1930's - manipulate the views of the frustrated and angry members of the population, and that will eventually lead them to nothing that is good for them ... nor likely anyone else.