Biblical and Constitutional Politics

Coronavirus News Articles Commentaries

January 2021

By Gary F. Zeolla

These Commentaries are continued from Coronavirus News Articles Commentaries: October 2021.

Hospital Situation in Michigan Same as in PA

Trib Live/ Detroit News. Michigan sets record for covid hospitalizations amid 4th surge of virus.


      Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, Michigan’s Health and Hospital Association found that 88% of covid patients are unvaccinated and 85% of covid deaths are in unvaccinated individuals.

      Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest hospital system, warned Thursday [1/6/22] that it had reached a “breaking point” amid the surge, and a federal medical team is extending its 30-day commitment to its Dearborn location an additional 30 days.

      The number of the eight-hospital system’s covid-19 patients increased by about 40% over the past week to 750 patients. About 65% of those hospitalized in the 3,375-bed system are unvaccinated while about 8% have received a booster, according to hospital officials.


      Doing the math on the last paragraph, 27% of those hospitalized would be vaccinated but not boosted. But the pattern is clear—the unvaccinated are most at risk of being hospitalized, the fully vaccinated are at far less risk, and the fully vaccinated and booted are at the least risk. That is the same as the situation here in southwestern Pennsylvania:


WTAE. COVID-19 hospital admissions growing in Southwestern Pa., AHN and UPMC confirm


      UPMC Health System told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 it’s seeing its second-highest peak of COVID-19 inpatients since last winter. At its hospitals across southwestern Pennsylvania, it has 430 COVID-19 inpatients, 70 of whom are in ICUs. UPMC has fewer inpatients on ventilators than this time last year.

      It says over 75% of its inpatients needing care for COVID-19 are people who have not been vaccinated. It says most of the rest are people over 65 or who have severe conditions that limit their immunity.

      In AHN facilities, “75 to 80 percent of our hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. So we’re seeing a significant unvaccinated number of the population, who get admitted and actually have severe disease,” Qadeer said.

      UPMC says its facilities are operating at or near capacity and remain open for patients in all communities it serves.

      “Unvaccinated people who become infected with COVID-19 are seven to 10 times more likely to need intensive care and end up in ICU than vaccinated people,” UPMC said in a statement to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 (WTAE. COVID-19 hospital admissions growing in Southwestern Pa., AHN and UPMC confirm….

      Klinepeter said, “We are anticipating that peak (in hospitalizations) will happen roughly sometime in early February, maybe a little bit later, depending on when the peak in cases happens. Because we know there’s a lag, a two-week lag, between cases and hospitalizations.”


       That last paragraph verifies a statement and a prediction that I made in Part Two of my two-part article Needless Covid Deaths and Hospitalizations and Other Updates. The statement was that hospitalizations always lag behind cases, and deaths always lag behind hospitalizations. The prediction was that the current surge would end soon, then we would enter the endemic phase of Covid-19. In addition, on the WTAE (ABC affiliate) noon newscast, on January 11, 2021, Elena LaQuatra interviewed Dr. Venkat. He said the trends he has been seeing in his ER are three groups:


1.       The unvaccinated. They are critical ill and require the highest level of hospital care.

2.       The fully vaccinated with significant comorbidities. They need to be hospitalized, but not in the ICU.

3.       The fully vaccinated without significant comorbidities. They only have mild symptoms and can go home.

4.       We are not seeing those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.


      He then talked about his hospital and hospital workers being overwhelmed, and he said the only way out is for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted when eligible (Ask Dr. Venkat).


      Meanwhile, a local SWS PA doctor laments about himself and his colleagues:

    Although we are all vaccinated and boosted, and although we all made it through the first, second and third waves of this unrelenting disease, we are finally falling, exhausted and exposed like never before....

    What we did not sign up for was an endless pandemic perpetuated, ceaselessly, by the stubbornly ignorant. We did not sign up for repeated exposure to an illness that could have been eradicated, and we certainly did not sign up for this level of fear. We knew, from countless medical school modules on “empathetic patient-centered care” and “shared decision making,” that every individual has a right to bodily and personal autonomy and that many patients might not take our medical advice. But where was the lesson on the purposefully infectious? (Trib Live. Dr. Alessandra Hirsch: Omicron and the last straw).


      This all shows the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted. It also shows that Omicron is not mild for those who are not vaccinated.

Two Articles Refuting Covid Death Misinformation


CNN. Fact check: Right-wing figures falsely describe CDC director's comments about Covid-19 deaths.

 Trib Live/ AP. How covid death counts become the stuff of conspiracy theories.


      The first article above is about CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s appearance on Good Morning American (GMA) last Friday (1/7/22). GMA deceptively edited the interview in such a manner so as to make it sound like Walensky was saying something completely different from what she was saying.

      She was talking about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines and saying that a study found that among those who are fully vaccinated only 0.015% experienced severe illness from Covid and only 0.003% had died from Covid. She then said that out of that very tiny percentage of fully vaccinated people who had died, 78% had four or more comorbidities. That was to indicate that among those who are fully vaccinated is is primarily those who are already at death’s door are dying from Covid.

      However, GMA deceptively omitted the whole part about the vaccines and only aired her saying that among those who died from Covid, 78% had four or more comorbidities. The right-wing media then further edited her comments and made it should like she was saying that out of all Covid deaths, 78% had four or more comorbidities, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. They then spun that as saying Covid is only dangerous for people who are already at death’s door, so there’s no need for most people to get vaccinated.

      But if such they had done their research and first looked up the full interview, which GMA has since released, they would have known that percentage was only true for those who are fully vaccinated. But they rushed ahead and once again spread misinformation about Covid.

      Some right-wingers even used this occasion to repeat the lie that if someone dies in say a car accident but then tests positive for Covid, they are listed as a Covid death. That idea is refuted in the second article above. A coroner who would commit such an act of fraud would open himself up to prosecution and forfeiture of licensure.

      The same goes for claims that hospitals are listing people in the hospital as being Covid patients even if they were admitted for a different condition but incidentally tested positive for Covid. The claim is, they are doing so as insurance companies and Medicare give greater reimbursements for Covid patients than for other patients. However, that claim of higher reimbursements is not true. And even if it were, again, any person or hospital that so fraudulently filled out an insurance or Medicare form would be open to prosecution and forfeiture of licensure.

      Thus, to anyone making such claims, I would challenge you that if you have actual proof of such fraud occurring, contact your local DA with that proof. But if you do not have proof that would hold up in a court of law, then you are just spreading rumors and Covid misinformation.

      As for myself, I have been saying since the start of the pandemic that certain risk factors make it more likely that someone will suffer serious consequences from a Coronavirus infection. By severe consequences I mean symptoms that are such that they would cause someone to end up in the hospital or morgue. Age is the number one risk factor, while obesity is number two. You cannot do anything about your age, but you can do something about being overweight.

      I want to clarify and say my point has never been that Covid is not deadly but that you can reduce your risk of death if you lose weight. Thus, the overweight should use that as another incentive to lose weight. However, “reduce risk of” is not the same as “eliminate risk of.” Take heart attacks, for instance. If you are out of shape and overweight, you are more likely to have a heart attack than someone who is of normal bodyweight and in shape. But that does not mean the latter can never have a heart attack. Sadly, sometimes people who appear perfectly healthy die of heart attacks, and some people who are obese never have a heart attack. It is just the risk for the overweight and out of shape is far greater than for the normal weight and in shape. And the same goes for your risk of death from Covid.

      Moreover, if someone who is obese contracts Covid and dies, the death certificate will rightly list Covid as the cause of death, just as if someone who is obese has a heart attack and dies, the death certificate will rightly list a heart attack as the case of death. However, in both causes, the person’s obesity should be listed as contributing factor.

      The point is, in both cases, the person would not have died if he or she did not contract Covid or suffer offer a heart attack. But also in both cases, most likely the person would not have died if he or she were not obese. But again, “most likely” is not the same as “would not have” since again, people who are not overweight can contract Covid or have heart attacks and die. It is just far less likely.

      In addition, I have never repeated the lie that someone who dies of a car accident would be listed as a Covid death if the person tests positive for Covid. That is just nonsense.


Covid Death Rate: Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated

      After I posted the above commentary, I thought it would be good to compare that 0.003% infection and death rate for those who are fully vaccinated to the infection and death rate for those who are unvaccinated. That is because Covid antivaxxers will say that number would be just as tiny.

      At the end of Part Two of my article Needless Covid Deaths and Hospitalizations and Other Updates (The End of the Pandemic?), I estimate that 341,200 of my predicated 1,000,000 total American Covid deaths will be needless deaths among those who could have gotten vaccinated but did not.

      To calculate the death rate for those who are unvaccinated requires knowing the number of the unvaccinated. But that number is of course ever decreasing. But it was at about 88 million at the start of the Delta wave at the end of June 2021. As I write this commentary, the number of unvaccinated Americans stands at about 45 million the last I heard. It will drop some over the coming months, but probably not much, given how entrenched the unvaccinated are at this point about not getting vaccinated. But let’s say it drops to 30 million by the time we reach my estimated death count.

      Thus, let me estimate the number of unvaccinated by averaging 88 and 30 million for an overall average of the number of unvaccinated over the time they are dying from Covid. That average is 59 million. Do the math, and you end up with 0.58% of those unvaccinated who could have been vaccinated dying needlessly from Covid. This percentage is less than my calculated 1.6% case fatality rate at the beginning of Statistical Refutations of Covid Deniers and Antivaxxers. That is because that number is the risk of dying after a Covid infection combining the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, while this 0.59% for the unvaccinated and 0.003% for the vaccinated is the risk of both getting infected and then dying from Covid.

      That said, it is a tiny percentage even for the unvaccinated. But it is 193 times greater than the death rate among the vaccinated. Thus, you are almost 200 times more likely to contract and die from Covid if you are unvaccinated than if you are vaccinated.


These commentaries are continued at: Coronavirus News Articles Commentaries: February 2022.

January 2021 Coronavirus Commentaries. Copyright 2022 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above commentaries were posted in January 2022.

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