Post #1297: COVID-19 update to 10/14/2021, no change

Posted on October 15, 2021


New COVID-19 cases continue to fall slowly.  Alaska still has by far the highest new-case rate in the U.S.  We’re seeing high-but-steady rates in the upper Midwest and northern Mountain states.

In short, no change.  Still waiting for the first clear sign of a winter wave of COVID-19.

Data source for this and other graphs of new case counts:  Calculated from The New York Times. (2021). Coronavirus (Covid-19) Data in the United States. Retrieved 10/15/2021, from”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at

A footnote on vaccination data, or, we ain’t seeing nothin’ yet.

Source:  CDC COVID data tracker, accessed 10/15/2021.

As of today, about one-eighth of the elderly have gotten a vaccine booster shot, along with a much smaller fraction of the under-65 adult population.  As I laid out in Post #1273, it seemed to me that the incremental benefit of a booster was worthwhile.  But reasonable vaccinated people may differ on that.

(FWIW, side effects from my booster shot exactly matched those from my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine.  That’s the most common scenario.)

This section isn’t about the benefits of a booster shot.  It’s about the impact those shots have on the reported vaccination data. And, by inference, about being able to track any real impact that the various vaccine mandates might have.

Which, to cut to the chase, is nil.  So far.  The unvaccinated aren’t flocking to their local clinics to come into compliance with the coming mandates.  Instead, they are dragging their feet all the way.

Is anyone surprised?

To recap:  The Federal government is in the process of imposing COVID-19 vaccination mandates for various segments of the workforce.  It is doing this using its existing legal authorities as employer (civilian and military employees), as a purchaser (government contractors), and a payer for health care services (Medicare/Medicaid conditions of participation), and as a regulator of workplace safety (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).  In most cases, the mandate requires that employees either be vaccinated, or be tested weekly for COVID-19.  In all cases, I believe there are religious and health-related exemptions (e.g., history of anaphylactic reaction to vaccine).

All told, my best guess is that these mandates would cover about 45 million U.S. adults who are currently unvaccinated (Post #1274).  That would account for a large fraction of the currently unvaccinated population.  When those vaccinations occur, they should be clearly visible as an uptick in the existing rate of new COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S.

Of these mandates, by far the largest is the OSHA mandate on firms with 100 or more employees.  As discussed in Post #1274, any actual deadline for being vaccinated is months away.

So there are two questions:  Are these booster shots mucking up the vaccination data over time?  And are we seeing individuals pro-actively get vaccinated in response to the impending deadline?

I’ll give the answer in three graphs.  All of these are straight off the CDC COVID data tracker:

The number of new vaccine doses per day is up.  The number of persons newly vaccinated is down.  The gap between those two is, presumably, the impact of the booster shots.

And the short answer is that, no, people who refused to get vaccinated voluntarily have not seen the light.

To me, there’s a bigger lesson here.  As all norms of acceptable social behavior break down, egged on by the withering effects of the internet and social media, the idea that we can just keep on living as we did in the past is a fantasy.  Given the trend, America is either going to become a more coercive society, or it’s going to fail.

“Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law”.  I get the feeling that most Americans today don’t even recognize the tune, let alone the words.