That absurd NY Times scare piece this morning ("Omicron Threatens Red America")

Several of you have written me about it, since it was written by David Leonhardt, whom as I mention in PANDEMIA I know.

I emailed David about it this morning.

DL:

That piece was... well, problematic.

As I'm guessing you know, the Trump county data [NOTE: these are figures David has repeatedly published showing more Covid deaths in counties that voted for Trump, which also tend to have lower vaccination rates] is completely confounded by age - Trump voters are older - and obesity - the Southern states that have the most Trump voters are more obese (and in the Southern counties that went hard for Trump, the DEMOCRATIC voters are more obese too, as they are likely African-Americans, and African-Americans unfortunately have notably higher rates of severe obesity).

Meanwhile, in South Africa, which is all of 26% vaccinated, not only has there been no surge in Covid deaths, they are the lowest they've been in 18 months. And we are now more than three weeks into Omicron in SA - if a surge was coming, it would have started by now. Not to mention the fact that the SA doctors say the Omicron cases are far less severe. Not "30 percent less" (talk about a made-up number that is intended to sound scientific), but far less.

Not to mention the fact that the UK as of now has reported 1 (1!) Omicron death, and it was "with" the virus. Have any other Omicron deaths been reported anywhere? I haven't seen any.

Not to mention the fact that the Danish data and tons of anecdotal evidence (all those vaccinated and boosted outbreaks) suggests the vaccines have essentially NO protective effect against Omicron.

Meanwhile, non-Covid all-cause mortality continues to increase all over Western Europe (and probably in the United States too, though our data are too lousy to tell for a month-plus). That's the most basic marker of population health, and no one has offered any coherent explanation why this is happening NOW when it wasn't nine months ago.

I will gladly debate/discuss in an open forum anytime.

So far I haven’t heard back from David. I‘ll let you know if I do.

THE PIECE: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/17/briefing/omicron-spread-red-america.html