The news about Covid-19 is now essentially on a few distinct tracks: Vaccine effectiveness and booster shots, vaccination mandates, mandates for NPIs and other Covid-19 related crippling of the living of life, and the actual path of the pandemic. One could argue for splitting those further, or for combining the mandates.
Vaccine effectiveness against the spread of Covid has come into question, with many claiming that immunity fades dramatically with time or that the vaccines were never that effective against Delta. I’ve looked into the claims and go into detail. There’s little question that the vaccinated can spread Covid, which is in contrast to previous attempts to sell the line that they couldn’t at all, and they spread Delta somewhat more than they spread Alpha, the numbers here are disappointing relative to my expectations, but the big claims of hugely waning immunity are almost certainly greatly exaggerated.
Vaccines remain highly effective at stopping the spread of Covid-19, and of stopping symptomatic disease, and especially in preventing death. Still, boosters are more effective than not having boosters, and I think the cost-benefit for most people favors getting a third shot if one is made available to you. Boosters are coming soon, eight months after your second dose. However, until it is highly encouraged and likely eventually mandatory, it is still for the moment mostly forbidden. Get your shot exactly when we tell you to, they insist, not a minute before.
There are continuing debates over mask mandates at various meta levels, which led to some sentences that were fun (and tricky) to write. There’s increasing mainstream and in-group pressure to force people to wear masks regardless of whether it does anything useful in context, and to shame those who disagree and blame them along with the unvaccinated for the entire pandemic.
Oh, and also the pandemic is still growing but at a decreasing rate, and case counts are a favorite to mostly stabilize within a few weeks, which is great news. The death rate lags, so it continues to climb rapidly for now.
Let’s run the numbers.