In January 2020 it was clear something was coming. China was shutting down cities, Chinese citizens I knew were buying all the n95’s they could find and sending them home. Today, in June 2021 we all know about COVID-19. What’s interesting now is that there is the COVID-19 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) quickly spreading and the vaccines appear less effective than other variants.
COVID-19 Vaccination Rate
Beyond the vaccination rate, at least 10% of the population has had COVID-19
It’s likely a considerably larger number of people have actually had COVID-19. In April 2020 it was estimated between 3x – 20x more people had COVID-19 than was tested. With that in mind, it’s safe to say 70+% of the population has an immune response of some kind.
COVID-19 Delta Variant Growth Rate
Although there’s now a high level of trained immune responses, it appears the Delta variant is still growing fairly quickly in the UK.
The same also appears true in the United States, recall the Delta variant is also the B.1.6917.2 Lineage
What’s more interesting is if you pull out the regions of the United States with increasing rates of COVID-19 cases. Below are the 7-day case rates per 100,000 in the United States.
More interesting than the rate of cases are the CDC’s “Community Transmission of COVID-19 by state map.
From that map, it appears region 8 – Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming appears to have some of the highest rates of transmissions. This also matches with the largest increases in the Delta variant.
In contrast, Region 5 – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin are having a lower level of community spread and also have a lower rate of the Delta variant within the community.
This trend continues through all the regions, effectively the lower the community transmission rate the lower the rate of the COVID-19 Delta variant within the community.
COVID-19 Delta Variant Lockdowns
Putting aside whether or not lock-downs are effective or a good idea (I’d argue neither are true), there does appear to be a trend —
- Israel says the Delta variant is infecting vaccinated people, representing as many as 50% of new cases. But they’re less severe. (June 24, 2021)
- Dangerous Delta COVID-19 Variant Infecting Vaccinated Adults In Israel (June 25, 2021)
- Israel restores indoor mask requirement after rise in Covid cases (June 25, 2021)
- Australia finds Indian variant in latest COVID-19 outbreak (June 5, 2021)
- Sydney, Australia, begins two-week COVID lockdown (June 26, 2021)
- Boris Johnson extends current lockdown rules in England due to concerns over delta Covid variant (June 14, 2021)
- England’s current Covid lockdown rules extended [July 19] – everything you need to know about the roadmap (June 25, 2021)
- Open for business.
Are Lockdowns a Good Idea?
Are lockdowns a good idea? Almost certainly not, the economy cannot take it.
Further, it appears the number of doctor visits from COVID-19 Delta variant (in the UK) is significantly lower for the vaccinated (~50%). While it doesn’t appear to provide perfect protection, it does reduce the overall burden on the system.
Perhaps more importantly, the case fatality rates are fairly low:
- > 14 days, dose 2 – 0.64%
- > 21 days, dose 1 – 0.11%
- < 21 days, dose 1 – 0.02%
- No vaccine at all – 0.09%
For reference, below are case fatality rates for other known illnesses:
- Seasonal Influenza – 0.1%
- Malaria – 0.3%
- Spanish Flu – 2.5%
I cover this data more in-depth in a prior article, if you’re interested. Yes, it does appear those who are vaccinated have a higher case fatality rate. That being said, we don’t know the age ranges for those who died or were hospitalized and without that information it’s unclear exactly how effective the vaccine is at reducing the mortality rate.
COVID-19 Delta Variant Implications
Today, it appears the following is likely true:
- The COVID-19 Delta variant will become the dominate variant
- The vaccine appears less effective against the COVID-19 Delta variant than other variants
- Lock-downs appear likely in the United States, given global trends
- The COVID-19 Delta variant is less dangerous than the flu (aka lockdowns are not reasonable)
Plan accordingly. I predict another round of lockdowns in the United States within the next 4-8 weeks (even if I disagree with how reasonable they are).