Politics Open Thread, Jan 24 – 30

All topics welcome. WCE provided this starter.

Great essay from Andrew Sullivan on the potential triumphs and excesses of the Biden administration for the Politics Page.

“If Biden’s team meaningfully accelerates the pace of vaccination, he will be rewarded handily, as he should be. (He’s already lowering expectations, to maximize any political pay-off.) If he’s capable of passing an economic stimulus that can mitigate some of the extreme social and economic inequality this teetering republic labors under, rescue and grow the economy and help innovate and expand non-carbon energy sources, ditto. These are clear, measurable tasks that most non-ideologues can heartily support. So too would be a fuller extension of universal access to healthcare, via an Obamacare public option, if they can squeak that through the evenly divided Senate.

These are sane, sensible, center-left policies with majority support. He should make his explanations of these policies simple and clear. If he wins some of these battles this year, he would move the country lastingly leftward. Stick to them, and the politics takes care of itself. 

But Joe Biden has also shown this week that his other ambitions are much more radical. On immigration, he is way to Obama’s left, proposing a mass amnesty of millions of illegal immigrants, a complete moratorium on deportations, and immediate revocation of the bogus emergency order that allowed Trump to bypass Congress and spend money building his wall. Fine, I guess. But without very significant addition of border controls as a deterrent, this sends a signal to tens of millions in Central to South America to get here as soon as possible. Biden could find, very quickly, that the “unity” he preaches will not survive such an effectively open-borders policy, or another huge crisis at the border. He is doubling down on the very policies that made a Trump presidency possible. In every major democracy, mass immigration has empowered the far right. Instead of easing white panic about changing demographics, Biden just intensified it.”

https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/bidens-culture-war-aggression-fc4

124 thoughts on “Politics Open Thread, Jan 24 – 30

  1. The majority of illegal immigrants to the US are people who have overstayed their visas. We still don’t have a good way to track if someone overstayed their visa. In theory we could biometricly scan visa applicants and have a system of biometric/facial recognition scanners on highways, Walmarts, side roads, etc. But that proposal is a nonstarter because folks on the left and right will scream about big brother and it’s just like China.

    If you really wanted to clamp down you could biometricly scan everyone here legally (citizens included) and if the scanners found someone not in the system they would get deported. With due process checks etc.

  2. “The majority of illegal immigrants to the US are people who have overstayed their visas. ”

    I wonder how other countries handle this. I agree that it’s a big problem

  3. Conservatives want better enforcement of immigration laws,which to be effective really means being able to find everyone who is undocumented, whether visa overstays (which is really the bulk of undocumented people) or illegal border crossers. They also want stricter controls on voting via photo ids. Hmmm, maybe it is time for a national id, like most European countries have. It would enable photo ids to vote without disadvantaging people who don’t drive, and it would help with keeping track of people who shouldn’t be here. It would give employers a way to check, so that we could then enforce rules against hiring people who aren’t authorized to work. But conservatives don’t like national ids, and they don’t like enforcing laws that would target employers, like Trump, who hire illegal immigrants.

  4. “I wonder how other countries handle this. I agree that it’s a big problem”

    Most European and Asian countries have national ids. Although visa overstays can be a problem in those countries too. China has a real problem with visa overstays, which is suprising given the ability to track people that their government has.

  5. I wonder how other countries handle this.

    In Japan they electronically fingerprint you coming and then scan your prints on the way out to confirm you’re gone. From some British and Canadian youtubers I watch that live in Japan, if you do overstay, the authorities come looking for you.

    From what I’ve read tracking these people down was never a priority under previous administrations and that continued under Trump. The only major change was, in the wake of 9/11, to look for potential terrorists that overstayed their visas. Some of the hijackers had IIRC overstayed their student visas. So that’s was the impetus for that change.

  6. China has a real problem with visa overstays, which is suprising given the ability to track people that their government has.

    One would assume it’s the same wink and nod immigration policy we have. They could do something about it but the benefits of cheap labor cause them to look the other way.

  7. I think at least some conservatives support national ID’s. The issue is whether you’re required to carry it all the time, i.e. when you’re out for a jog.

    I think police should be required to escort you to obtain your ID if you don’t have it on your person when they request it (with no negative consequence for not carrying it) and there would need to be some kind of allowance for people with dementia/disabled people/etc.

    I think robust Everification of employment eligibility is a key issue, because right now, employment document forgery is common and employers who try to follow the law have to compete against competitors who don’t try to follow the law in areas where employing illegal immigrants in common.

  8. SM if you’re reading, it would be interesting to hear how Germany manages things. You’ve mentioned bits and pieces of the process (or you’ve explained it all and I’ve only read sporadically), but from what you’ve said it sounds much more effective than what the US has.

  9. “I think police should be required to escort you to obtain your ID if you don’t have it on your person when they request it (with no negative consequence for not carrying it) and there would need to be some kind of allowance for people with dementia/disabled people/etc.”

    Wow. “Your papers, please.” Fascism to the bitter end.

    It’s not just conservatives who don’t want the government demanding your papers, or the police “escorting” you Any. Fucking. Where. if you haven’t committed a crime, and no, they don’t get to decide if you look foreign.

  10. RMS, in many “liberal” western European nations, people are required to carry their id and be able to produce it to police. In Germany and France, you can be fined for not having it. It is also common to be required to register with the town within a certain number of days after moving to that town.
    https://www.german-way.com/for-expats/living-in-germany/the-identity-card-der-ausweis/

    Interestingly, it looks like the Scandinavian countries do not require you to carry your id.

  11. The issue is whether you’re required to carry it all the time, i.e. when you’re out for a jog.

    Why would you even need to have an ID card? They could just scan your face or like Japan have you put your thumb on the fingerprint scanner. Why complicate things with a card you have to carry with you?

  12. Rhett, most/much of the country (geographic land area) has no internet. How would police access a fingerprint database on-the-spot without internet?

  13. How would police access a fingerprint database on-the-spot without internet?

    Why would they need the internet?

  14. I know people who overstayed their visas. It is life in the shadows and you cannot leave the country till you somehow get legalized if at all. These are educated people who have relatives and therefore it is not out of place to come to the U.S. to visit on a tourist visa. They most likely have made more than one trip, go back and wind up things as much as they can and then come back here and have no intention of going back. People also do degrees to keep their student visas, if they can’t convert to a work visa.
    I tell people to get citizenship as soon as they are eligible. There are reasons you can be deported even if you are a permanent resident. Some people just don’t get round to doing the paperwork but a naturalization certificate is a very important piece of paper no matter how American you feel.

  15. WCE,

    I also checked satellite internet speeds and they are more than sufficient to send an image.

  16. I tune out when a writer describes being against open borders as “white panic.” Many recent legal immigrants are against open borders. Here in Florida it’s been demonstrated that the massive influx of immigrants over decades has economically disadvantaged the black community and the black community is also not keen on open borders.

  17. RMS,

    Would you object to using facial recognition to find and deport folks who have overstayed their visas? Would you object to using it to deport those who are here illegally for other reasons?

  18. “The issue is whether you’re required to carry it all the time, i.e. when you’re out for a jog. “

    They’d need to be physically robust, e.g., able to survive activities like scuba diving and surfing.

  19. “I know people who overstayed their visas. It is life in the shadows and you cannot leave the country till you somehow get legalized if at all. “

    Do you mean you cannot leave the country if you want to return? Or is it like you won’t be allowed to board an international flight, even if you still have a valid passport from your home country?

  20. “I tell people to get citizenship as soon as they are eligible. There are reasons you can be deported even if you are a permanent resident. “

    That’s one reason I don’t favor full citizenship for those here illegally. If we’re going to provide a path to legal residence for those, IMO it should stop short of full citizenship. Perhaps permanent residence status, but not full citizenship.

  21. Do you mean you cannot leave the country if you want to return? Or is it like you won’t be allowed to board an international flight, even if you still have a valid passport from your home country?

    I meant you can leave but you can’t reenter legally as you did the previous time since you over stayed your visa knowingly.
    This is why during the pandemic, people who were here on work visas that were not renewed wanted to go back to the home country immediately, and didn’t want to over stay their visas because that would be a red flag should they want to come to the U.S. again in the future. The home country had shut down international flights and it was very difficult for people to go back. To add to it kids who were born here were American citizens and the home country required them to get a visa unlike their parents. Total chaos.
    I told my friend who is a student not to travel to the home country on holiday till things settle down because she needs her new student visa stamped at the American embassy in the home country before she is admitted back to the U.S. Till she is certain that the embassy there is open for regular appointments she shouldn’t take a risk.

  22. MA just rejiggered the Phase 2 priorities. FeB 1. 2A. Over 75. Mid Feb 2B. Over 65 and 2 comorbidities. TBD 2C. Essential workers. 2D one comorbidity. I hate that my gain is essential workers like Mr NoBs and NoB sons added wait, but the idea of me and the other fairly healthy elderly spouses and caregivers being 2 mos behind the very old household members under our care (we were 2D before) was hard to accept.

  23. Vaccine update from the heartland – 93 and 97yo in laws have an appointment tomorrow!!

    Also, go Chiefs!

  24. “I hate that my gain is essential workers like Mr NoBs and NoB sons added wait,”

    No worries, Meme. They’ve waited this long, they can wait a few more weeks. :) I think prioritizing the 65+ population over the younger essential workers like those in my family makes sense.

  25. One day in to the next phase for their states- FIL is the only of 4 of four parents have managed to get a vaccine appointment – for next week no less! MIL was sitting next to him doing the same things & hasn’t gotten through as of last night. My mom will likely have to go through her doctors as she is going through some medical procedures right now. My dad hasn’t had any luck. Crossing my fingers.

  26. MN just moved to a lottery for 65+. Starting today, you have 24 hours to go online or call to get your name in the lottery. You also pick your location – personally if it was me, I’d take the one way up north in the Iron Range for better odds. Then tomorrow evening they’ll contact the lottery winners with their weekend date and time. Then they’ll do it all over again next Tuesday. This seems better than last week when everyone was trying to login in and crash the system, getting half way through a sign-up and getting kicked out. So much frustration. I had a friend that was trying to get her parents, her in-laws, and her grandparents scheduled and it basically was a lost day with lots of stress and no appointments.

    I think my MIL in Florida has given up trying. She doesn’t want to discuss it with us anymore.

  27. Two arms vaccinated. Set up in a large fieldhouse where my boys used to play futsal. Our county prioritized over 80 as a sub tier in this phase. The only complaint I have is that there was very long line outside, after a night of light snow and ice, and it was pretty cold, about 18 degrees. I ended up going along to assist, and it worked well because I was their line holder and called my DH to bring them around in the car when I got close to the door. By the time we left, the line outside was probably 250 foot long, and I saw a handful of wheelchairs and several walkers waiting in the line. It was really too cold for the elderly to navigate an outside line.

  28. Lemon Tree, my Dad is in Florida. After the first place he tried to sign up had no more appointments, the automated rejection message said they would contact him when more appointments opened up. He was skeptical, but a day or so later, they notified him that appointments would be opening up at another place nearby, he logged on at the scheduled time that they would start taking appointments, and he got one.

    He heard about the first opportunity via trailer park scuttlebutt so I’m sharing because there appears to be a functional system for those who sign up and initially get rejected in Florida,

  29. I’m amused at the “remorse” of one of the Capital insurgents. All that Donald Trump Fun was so much fun until it resulted in federal charges!

    As reported by Huff Post:

    “A Texas man facing federal charges linked to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is apologizing for taking part in the storming of the Capitol and for threatening Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a Capitol Police officer.

    Garret Miller released a statement on Monday through his attorney claiming that he stormed the Capitol after becoming convinced by Donald Trump’s election fraud lies. The 34-year-old Miller had previously tweeted “Assassinate AOC” and threatened a Capitol Police officer who fatally shot a fellow rioter.

    “I am ashamed of my comments,” Miller’s statement read. “I was in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, because I believed I was following the instructions of former President Trump and he was my president and the commander-in-chief. His statements also had me believing the election was stolen from him.”

    “Nevertheless, I fully recognize Joe Biden is now the President of the United States and that the election is over. Donald Trump is no longer president and I would not have any reason to continue to follow his lead.”

    As for his threats against the officer and the New York lawmaker, Miller said: “While I never intended to harm Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez nor harm any members of the Capitol police force, I recognize that my social media posts were completely inappropriate.”

    “I want to publicly apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and the Capitol police officers. I have always supported law enforcement and I am ashamed by my comments,” he added.

  30. Thanks for the tip WCE! I have reason to believe that she is hearing the reports of long lines, hold times, crashed websites and just not attempting to make an effort. As she has gotten older she has changed from the feisty Matriarch that will do everything to get her way, to a more passive midwesterner who doesn’t want to bother anyone and will often give up because it “was too much trouble.” I’ll work on getting her to sign up…even it means me doing it.

  31. Lemon Tree, my Dad said if the website had been complicated, he was going to contact one of us to sign him up, but it wasn’t bad. He is getting radiation this spring and so wanted COVID shots done before radiation.

    He noted that they schedule you for both shot appointments at the same time.

  32. Lemon Tree – my dad and his wife signed up online and were told they would hear back in 48 hours and didn’t hear back for over a week. Definitely have her sign up.

    Fingers crossed for everyone on getting their vaccines.

  33. WCE, that article makes a couple of assertions that are open to question.

    “Such orders overlook the benefits from that pipeline, which include its ability to ship up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Alberta sands to American refineries along the Gulf Coast.”

    They provide nothing to back this assertion that shipping that much crude oil is a benefit, and if it is, who benefits.

    “Most environmental harm from the construction of the partially complete pipeline has already occurred”

    I find that questionable, because there is potentially ongoing environmental harm from higher consumption of fossil fuels that might happen if the pipeline were not operational. The facilitation of all that crude added to markets pushes down the price of oil and makes implementation of energy conservation measures and alternative energy sources less attractive financially, which also contributes to the environmental harm of the pipeline.

  34. Finn, presumably people who drive vehicles or receive groceries and other goods from vehicles using internal combustion engines benefit from the transportation of crude oil as do those who heat their homes with oil.

  35. I got an email from my health system, took their questionnaire and was placed in Group 4. By the time Group 4 ie the general population rolls around I am hopeful my grocery store pharmacy is giving the vaccine. Many people like our grocery store pharmacist and would definitely take the vaccine from her.

  36. Well, MIL has an appointment this weekend for the vaccine! She has to drive to the other side of state, but that is not an issue. It sounds like my SIL talked some sense into her.

    Back to the topic of citizenship, someone I know is married to a Canadian. He has never become a US citizen. He lost his job back at the beginning of the pandemic. I don’t know much about him, so maybe his resume comes across as a terrible candidate, but he sounds basically unemployable right now. She suspects his lack of citizenship is part of the problem.

  37. Canadians get special work visas as part of NAFTA which makes it very easy to work in this country. Employers don’t have to jump through the usual hoops. So I am not sure his Canadian citizenship is much of an obstacle.

  38. MM – interesting. She is a bit of basketcase and went on a rant about paying taxes to this country and not getting fair treatment, but for many industries, it isn’t a hot job market.

  39. but he sounds basically unemployable right now. She suspects his lack of citizenship is part of the problem.

    If he’s married to a US citizen then he presumably has a Green Card. How would an employer know he wasn’t a citizen? It never comes up in the interview and it’s not on his resume. HR sends him a link to upload his I9 info and he submits his Green Card rather than a passport and he’s done. Some HR drone signs off and he’s good to go.

  40. If they rescinded the offer after he submitted the I9 info then that could be something. But if he’s not getting offers then it’s not because of his citizenship status.

    And if they were to rescind the offer after getting his I9 that would make for a sweet lawsuit:

    The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) is a federal law that protects individuals from employment discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status.

  41. I think she may be trying to justify the situation they are in. But, it got me thinking about Louise’s comment about those that have visas and then lose their job during a panademic.

  42. I have been told and have faced screening questions on whether you will require sponsorship. If it’s not company policy to sponsor for certain fields you don’t go any further with the interview process. I don’t know the law but practically that’s what I faced. Usually the people that are sponsored are in specialized fields.

  43. The U.S. is different than other countries. Other countries admit immigrants based on certain criteria and then the immigrants are required to find jobs. In the U.S. you usually gain entry only if you have an employer ready to sponsor you or if you have graduated as a foreign in a field that employers are ready to sponsor.

  44. Louise,

    Right but if your husband was a US citizen you’d have a Green Card. So to the question, “Do you require sponsorship?” Would be, “No.” That said, stories often get confused in the telling. It could be he was sponsored and got married and never applied for a Green Card. And the teller means Green Card rather than citizenship.

  45. And HR is a brutal field right now, and that is probably the main reason he can’t get a job. I would think HR skills could transfer to other fields though.

  46. Rhett – right. I had mentioned earlier in the thread how people don’t change their legal status and then they get stuck because certain things require citizenship for example. I discovered that my SIL hasn’t taken citizenship here because BIL/SIL bought property in the home country and it’s easier to do all transactions there if she remains a home country citizen.

  47. I can certainly imagine the wife being livid if she’d been after him for years to get his Green Card/citizenship and he was all, “Yeh yeh, I’ll try to get to it next week.”

  48. @MM – Exactly. Let the AGs/DOJ prosecute him if there are other crimes like fraud or tax evasion. (I believe there probably are). Politically – let him twiddle his thumbs in Florida.

  49. I see both sides of this. I agree that the impeachment is just feeding Trump’s ego and keeping him in the spotlight. On the other hand, he promoted an armed assault on the Capitol and an attempted coup, and what message does that send if we let it go “in the name of unity” or whatever?

  50. “Winning” the first impeachment emboldened him to the point where he felt he could question the entire election. What will “winning” the second election embolden him to do?

  51. And quite frankly, while I think calling people to attack the Capitol is beyond disgusting, I think the original disgusting and dangerous act is that of trying to overturn the electoral choice of the voters. And in that, many congresscritters were as guilty as Trump. The whole lot of ’em should be impeached, but it won’t happen.

  52. Lauren,

    Do you remember the collapse of Long Term Capital Management? This seems similar in that highly leveraged bets were made and the market moved in a way no one thought possible. In the case it was Reddit. In the LTCM case it was Russia defaulting on its domestic ruble denominated bonds.

  53. My parents got vaccination appointments for next week! What a horrible system. We had and lost multiple appointments, as they would disappear in the time it took to type the capcha letters. All appointments for the week at the main vaccination location for the county were gone in 10 minutes. Their appointments are on two different days, but at least they’ll both get in.

  54. New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths
    Marisa Fernandez
    Marisa Fernandez
    Andrew cuomo
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

    Data from New York’s public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

    The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration did not include nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. Data provided to the attorney general’s office from 62 nursing homes “shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected” in the official count.

    The topic of nursing homes was already a sensitive one for Cuomo, whose office has been previously criticized for not doing enough to protect this vulnerable population.
    New York was the first major COVID-19 hotspot when the pandemic arrived in the U.S. last spring, and has a higher death toll (over 42,800) than any other state in the country.
    The state of play: In addition to undercounting deaths, the investigation also revealed that some nursing homes failed to comply with infection control protocols.

    Facilities with lower staffing ratings had higher COVID-19 fatality rates.
    Insufficient PPE and testing for nursing home staff put residents and staff at increased risk.
    Owners of for-profit nursing homes had a financial incentive to increase their own profits instead of investing in more staff, PPE and other safety measures.
    What they’re saying: “As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” James said in a statement.

    “While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents,” she added.
    Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

    https://www.axios.com/new-york-undercounted-nursing-home-deaths-4758b7b9-d9ed-4aa0-9596-5445efcc6bcb.html

  55. WCE – read that article this morning. Great story. There was a story the other day about a team of women delivering vaccines to far off regions of Alaska via tiny planes and snowmobiles. I love good stories like these.

  56. My state has changed its priority groups and has essential workers ahead of adults with underlying conditions. There are rumblings of starting with the essential workers while the first two groups are still getting their shots. So, now all the grocery store pharmacies say they stand ready to give all their employees the shot. Once that starts to happen, I am sure the stores will roll it out very quickly to the general public very quickly.

  57. I called my sister in law to wish her happy birthday. She and my ex are in charge of 96 yr old grandpa. The elders moved back to Brookline 13 years ago at age 83 after many years as expats. I don’t think she had planned on quite so many years of caregiving. She is a saint.

    Sainthood aside, as we discussed vaccination, she mentioned she made appts for herself and ex when she made Grandpa’s. Neither of them are currently eligible. I said, how? She said. the website didn’t ask. Anyway by the time the appt comes up in 3 wks, they’ll be on to our cohort. And they won’t turn us away anyway. Every website I looked at said that when you click to the sign up page it says, by continuing you certify you are in an eligible group.

    I just wish this whole process didn’t feel like trying to buy prime concert tickets.

  58. Meme, my county asked for DOB and contact information on sign up. They wouldn’t let you proceed to make an appointment without that. So, first I set up the accounts for my parents and then logged in to find open dates. I found that appointment slots popped up early in the morning, for random days. Probably cancellations of previously booked appointments. Nextdoor was very helpful as well with people sharing information and links on how they got appointments.
    My health system in their “find out which group you are” asked a series of questions on age and occupation.

  59. Meme, I’m having the same experience as my sister mentioned considering applying to be a substitute teacher (would never do it as she has a FT job) so she could say she was a teacher and get in an earlier phase. Other friends mention signing up as a retail worker because their company has retail outlets – even though they are a HQ employee. It’s not a game to me because teachers and retail workers are in phases ahead of immunocompromised DH. It frustrates me because I know it just pushes him back further. They all seen surprised I’m not willing to game the system with them.

  60. Sunshine – I am really surprised that my state moved the immune compromised people behind the essential workers. They should have had concurrent scheduling like they do with healthcare plus seniors. There are so many essential worker categories and some of those employees are not public facing.

  61. So, apparently the J&J vaccine has a 66% effectiveness rate worldwide. Is this going to be an issue? As in, people insisting on sitting out getting vaccinated until they can get the Pfizer or Moderna shot? (Personally, I would be happy to get any one of the approved vaccines, but I wonder if this would be the majority view.)

  62. 66% is not good. It did better here mainly because we have less of the variant that is causing problems for the vaccine. I doubt that will hold true for long. We may need to wait for “more effective”

  63. I wondered about that too, NoB. I’d get it if they offered it to me, but I’d rather have one of the more effective ones. It concerns me that I’d still potentially be contagious to more vulnerable populations.

  64. Could you mix and match vaccines? Say, get whatever shot is available to you in the nearest timeframe, then later on, when/if vaccine production gets ramped up to the point where there is enough for anyone who wants one, get a different one? I’m no epidemiologist, but it seems to me that society-wide, you’d want to get some vaccine into as many people as possible as quickly as possible, rather than having a lot of people sitting around completely unvaccinated while waiting for the “perfect” vaccine to come out.

  65. With that level of effectiveness, I would still not feel comfortable going out to eat or travelling so it seems kind of pointless.

  66. I have the same question, NoB.

    Mooshi, I would disagree that at 66% effectiveness getting vaccinated is pointless. By being vaccinated, you reduce the chance of contracting severe disease for yourself, and theoretically reduce the chance that you will pass on the disease – those two benefits outweigh being able to eat at a restaurant or travel for me.

  67. An acquaintance of my mom’s was bragging that her daughter in Texas was able to get vaccinated despite being in her 40s and good health because she checked the box saying she has cancer since she had an actinic keratosis removed in 2020. I admit to being contemptuous.

  68. @ NoB – the media is doing a terrible job of reporting J&J’s results, but they are really fantastic. I would get that vaccination in a heartbeat. I would really encourage anyone who is interested to read J&J’s full press release describing the results.

  69. I’m sorry, that comment was meant for Mooshi.

    @ NoB – yes, the assumption is that you could get a different vaccine down the road.

  70. DH received his first Moderna dose with no issues, his second is scheduled for next week. His workplace has staggered their vaccinations, and several of his co-workers had reactions after their 2nd dose severe enough to keep them out of work for a day.

    I now personally know about a dozen people (other than DH’s staff) who have received their second dose and every day that I hear another I become more hopeful. The number of people who have been able to get their parents/grandparents vaccinated here quickly and easily (both are important for seniors) has been surprisingly high. It’s so refreshing to have some good news on that front.

  71. Becky — grrr.

    There’s a signup here for people who live within 15 minutes of the vaccine sites to get on the list for leftover vaccine at the end of the day, but I don’t live within 15 minutes of any of the sites. Oh well. They’re going to do a huge drive-thru vax event this weekend, hoping to vaccinate 10K over-70 folks.

  72. Lark — I will do so — thanks for the suggestion. I just very quickly scanned an article about the J&J vaccine at lunch today. I think the article said that of trial participants who ended up being hospitalized, 85% were in the non-vaccine group and only 15% in the vaccine group; and of participants who ended up dying, 100% were in the non-vaccine group. (I might have the numbers wrong, but I came away with the sense that this vaccine would very likely reduce the severity of your infection, even if you got infected).

  73. “An acquaintance of my mom’s was bragging that her daughter in Texas was able to get vaccinated despite being in her 40s and good health because she checked the box saying she has cancer since she had an actinic keratosis removed in 2020. I admit to being contemptuous.”

    I almost wish that after vaccinating health-care workers, they would just go to a totally random system. So, a computer would randomly assign me a number, and then I would get a message based on that number saying, “North of Boston, please report to the North Shore Medical Center at 10:00 a.m. on April 27 for your Covid-19 vaccine.” (I’m sure there are good reasons for not doing this, but it’s not like the current system seems all that much better, at least right now.)

  74. “ There’s a signup here for people who live within 15 minutes of the vaccine sites to get on the list for leftover vaccine at the end of the day”

    We are doing this as we live 2 minutes from a mass vaccination site. We’ll see.

    I had someone yesterday ask me why I didn’t just lie about being an essential worker to get into a site where the checking is lax, and I was appalled. I suspect many are doing this.

  75. We qualify as essential workers in the county with the farm and were told to get the vaccine at oue healthcare provider. Our healthcare provider is in a county with a different priority system. Also they say since we don’t live in that county, we aren’t on any priority list for them. My son’s specialist is in yet another county. We may never get vaccines.

    Also, can’t type because broken hand.

  76. I got my second dose of Pfizer on Wednesday. Felt pretty awful yesterday (aches and chills) but am fine today. This has been common among my coworkers. My parents and great aunt got their first shot (Moderna) on Tuesday.

  77. Where we get vaccinated at work, they have little signs that people can fill out and hang on the wall that say, “I’m getting vaccinated for:” and then you write in whatever you want (someone’s name/my patients/my elderly relatives/etc.).

    There’s one up that totally cracks me up every time I walk by that says, “I’m getting vaccinated for: better 5G reception!’

  78. I am glad my parents got their first shots of the Pfizer vaccine specifically. I would hear no end of subtle hints from my mother if they had got another (to her an “inferior” vaccine). I told my mother that they had to take whatever the county had (beggars can’t be choosers). It’s like middle school, instead of the brand of sneakers or clothes, the comparison among their friends is did you got the vaccine and which brand you got !

  79. My mom was vaccinated today and my neighbor earlier this week. So happy for them – and a bit relieved. Two of my mom’s friends just learned they have COVID. They’re in very poor health and my mom is devastated.

  80. My dad got his second dose yesterday through the VA. He only has mild arm pain so seems to be lucking out there. I got mom an appt for next week at Stop and Shop.

    Meme, keep trying the Mass sites. First time everything was crashed, lost an appt for one site because I didn’t type fast enough and then lucked out by being on the site when someone must’ve cancelled.

  81. My 91 year old MIL received her first dose last Wednesday. Both she and my parents have appointments for their second does in February.

    I just listened to our PHD weekly press release and they said that our county has approximately 26,000 HCW and 36,000 >75 residents, but we have only received a total of 51,375 single doses to date. Twice they have requested additional doses from the state, and both times they’ve been denied.

  82. NoB, I actually read a pretty compelling argument in an opinion piece by Dr. Ashish Jha (frequent GMA contributor and from Harvard) about going to a lottery system. Imperfect but simplifies from the current confusion/inconsistency. He likened it to even/odd day system of getting gas in the 70s based on the last digit of your license plate.

  83. The latest round of vaccine related FB and texts on the senior and caregiver circuit are beginning to resemble those from parents of school children and college applicants. If you haven’t got an spot yet for yourself or your elder you aren’t attentive enough or really trying. Even DHs Kaiser type plan. “We have a plan and are awaiting our delivery of vaccine, but we have 40000 over 75s in our practice, so keep trying other sites. “

  84. The latest round of vaccine related FB and texts on the senior and caregiver circuit are beginning to resemble those from parents of school children and college applicants.

    If you don’t have at least a 1400 on your SAT, you’ll have to wait til March for your vaccine.

  85. My parents both have had dose #1 with dose #2 scheduled in a couple weeks, so I am relaxing a bit. The J&J (and Novavax) news is great. The media really botched the delivery. Had we gotten J&J news before Pfizer or Moderna, there would have been dancing in the streets.

  86. Meme – my parents healthcare practice told its senior patients to go to the county site. They didn’t receive vaccines. The distribution to healthcare practices is uneven. One healthcare practice in our area is receiving so much vaccine that they can do mass events while the other is doing a trickle through its offices and smaller community sites.

  87. “He likened it to even/odd day system of getting gas in the 70s based on the last digit of your license plate.”

    Sunshine — I think a better analogy for a lottery system is the draft. Like the lottery-based draft system, a lottery-based vaccination system would be awesome for some people (i.e. the ones who get early-vaccination numbers), and really lousy for others (i.e. the ones who get very late numbers, and thus are left vulnerable to illness and death for a lot longer), but at least it would avoid the issues of (1) seeming to prioritize the health and well-being of certain categories of people over others, and (2) allowing people to game the system (as described by some posters above). And even for people with the lousy numbers, getting the early-number people vaccinated efficiently should help, since presumably that would slow the spread of the disease, making things safer for those who have to wait.

  88. The problem isn’t the order of service, though. The problem is the shortage of vaccines. I think all the blame should be squarely placed on the Trump administration for screwing it all up.

  89. The E.U. is also short of vaccines. We discussed the supply chain issues of scaling up new technology multiple times in the past few weeks/months.

    My sister was telling me about the cryogenic installation at the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo. It’s complex and was designed and built in record time. Having Biden as president won’t change the complex vaccine manufacturing bottlenecks.

  90. We have a shortage of vaccines because vaccines are not easy to produce on short notice, and a year is short notice in vaccine-time. Does everyone remember all of the naysayers who said we wouldn’t get vaccines, we have never developed a vaccine in a time of less than many years, we certainly won’t be able to manufacture it, etc? Certainly mistakes have been made and we should be focused on increasing manufacturing (especially because of the new variants), but the fact that we are one year out and some many of our parents and grandparents have already been vaccinated is a huge achievement. Probably the biggest achievement of our lifetimes.

  91. Does everyone remember all of the naysayers who said we wouldn’t get vaccines, we have never developed a vaccine in a time of less than many years, we certainly won’t be able to manufacture it, etc?

    Why yes, yes I do. I believe I read that here multiple times, in fact.

  92. I pointed out that vaccines had never been developed and rolled out in under a year when people were claiming the shutdown would last for weeks, last March. A year later, with Seattle not planning to open schools full-time next fall, I think my months-to-years comment was correct. I’m thrilled that vaccines exist and won’t take multiple years to roll out, but I still think our governor was foolish to make a commitment that could have entailed decades of lockdown. (She’s redone her system at least three times.)

  93. A co-worker proposed that one of the words for 2020 should be unPresidented as opposed to unprecedented.

  94. . (She’s redone her system at least three times.)

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. Shouldn’t changes be made as new information becomes available?

  95. Rhett, changes SHOULD be made as new information becomes available but you should set out some framework (weeks, months) for when a framework can be expected to change so restaurants, exercise facilities, schools, etc. don’t invest to meet a requirement and then have it change. And requirements should probably have some measurable impact on transmission to be worth enforcing.

    I’ll pick the Oregon requirement that classes have a separate door for entry/exit and my optimism that requirement will soon change.
    1) It was a very expensive requirement for my daughter’s dance studio; not sure if they ended up trying to meet it or not reopening one classroom back when they were allowed to temporarily reopen.
    2) It keeps some schools closed.
    3) At my daughter’s school, it’s fulfilled by using one side of a double door (with divider in the middle) for one grade and the other side for another grade, which doesn’t seem likely to be effective, even though it’s compliant.

    As another example, the governor deemed it illegal to eat berries while u-picking fruit and that requirement, to my knowledge, hasn’t changed. People have been eating berries while picking them for millenia and disease transmission (of COVID or smallpox or other diseases) was unchanged by the practice.

    The CDC estimates that 105 million Americans have had COVID and I’ll guess 150 million people will have had it by the time the vaccine is rolled out on a population basis. If we had kept schools open and implemented only the rules with a measurable effect on transmission, leaving people to make their own decisions and informing them about risks, perhaps 5% more people, based on school transmission information from other countries, or 158 million people, would have been infected. Most disease transmission appears to be from symptomatic people who can’t afford to quarantine, as evidenced by the strong socioeconomic link to the chance of getting the disease in both NYC and L.A.

    Rules have been focused on the wrong things. Lots of costly, ineffective rules were implemented and not changed even after we know they are costly and ineffective.

  96. I wouldn’t blame Trump for the production bottleneck, but his people are to blame for poor tracking and in particular, not being willing to coordinate with the incoming Biden team, who did not get access to the real picture until they had already taken over. Trump’s unwillingness to do a normal transition is a problem here.And evidently the Trump people did not have a good handle on basic tracking of the vaccines.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/30/us-covid-vaccine-doses-biden-trump

  97. The CDC estimates that 105 million Americans have had COVID

    I can’t find that but if info. The closest I can get is:

    Researchers at Columbia University in New York recently estimated that 105 million Americans have been infected.

    The CDC estimate is 1/3 that.

  98. Rhett, it’s possible I’m thinking of the Columbia estimate. The CDC used to say that there were 4-8 actual positives for every positive test, due to lack of testing and asymptomatic cases, which would give a range of 80 to 160 million people who’ve had COVID now.

    If the current CDC estimate is only 35 million with over 20 million positive tests, I suspect either the CDC estimate you’re looking at is out-of-date or someone is cooking the books for political reasons.

  99. The CDC used to say that there were 4-8 actual positives for every positive test, due to lack of testing and asymptomatic cases, which would give a range of 80 to 160 million people who’ve had COVID now.

    Wouldn’t it be 50 to 100 million?

  100. A year later, with Seattle not planning to open schools full-time next fall.

    The goal in many states is to get teachers vaccinated well in time so that schools can resume in the fall or earlier.
    Here, high school sports are resuming after the spike but high schools themselves haven’t yet opened for in person. At this point it is kicking the can down the road till the end of this school year.

  101. “The problem isn’t the order of service, though. The problem is the shortage of vaccines. “

    I don’t think it’s either/or. Both are problems, but as has been pointed out, it’s quite an accomplishment that so many people have been already vaccinated, especially given the storage requirements for the approved vaccines.

  102. “the fact that we are one year out and some many of our parents and grandparents have already been vaccinated is a huge achievement. Probably the biggest achievement of our lifetimes.”

    It still makes me emotional thinking about it. It’s such a great accomplishment for humanity!

    All the seniors (65+) in our family are signed up for times to get the vaccine next week. I am still just a little nervous that something will go wrong & they’ll be turned away. But it is a huge weight off my mind. DH got his mom signed up for the large state-run site near our house, and then had calls from all the aunt & uncles who needed help navigating the site, and then helped his boss & his wife too. I am calling him The Vaccine Whisperer. My parents have the county nurse coming to their 55+ apartment complex, and my mom is cleared to get it from her doctor which is also a relief.

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