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First came a spike in cases, then hospitals overflowed, and now Florida has ‘a backlog of bodies’

An NBC poll out on Tuesday tells you what Civiqs has been saying for months: Trump voters are five times less likely to get vaccinated than Biden voters. In fact, with the exception of children under 12 who have no choice, the terms “;unvaccinated”; and “;Trump supporter”; might as well be synonyms. In the latest Civiqs data, 40% of Republicans still say no to vaccine in spite of the delta variant wave, and in spite of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The numbers from NBC”;s new poll match those from Civiqs almost exactly, with 91% of Biden voters saying they”;ve already been vaccinated but just 50% of Trump voters saying the same.

Just as the unreasoning vaccine hostility of Trump supporters shouldn”;t be a surprise at this point, neither should this: According to WFLA in Tampa Bay, the bodies of COVID-19 victims are “;stacked to the ceiling”; at area funeral homes and crematories. Even though the overall fatality rate from this wave of COVID-19 has been much lower so far than in previous disease surges, Florida is something of a special case. The large population and relatively low rate of vaccination when compared to states like California or New York has left Florida once again dealing with not just a spike in cases, but a staggering amount of death. Funeral directors are having to delay burials to accommodate an overloaded schedule, and stunned families who are losing ever-younger members are finding it impossible to get assistance or secure arrangements.

As the station reports, Florida is seeing a “;death care industry struggling to meet demands at a level they”;ve never seen before, and families struggling to cope with grief at a level a community has ever seen before.”;

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still working to punish schools and fighting against federal efforts to protect students. And, as CNN notes, he”;s doing it because imperiling children “;helps him with a narrow but politically powerful segment of the Republican Party, boosting his national prominence ahead of a 2022 reelection campaign and a widely expected 2024 presidential bid.”;

DeSantis is far from the only Republican courting the kill-kids-for-votes caucus. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose state came in second to Florida for new cases of COVID-19 again on Tuesday, is certainly in the race for the people who Hillary Clinton very accurately named “;deplorables.”; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has to be relieved that the unmasked, unvaxxed, unhinged Sturgis motorcycle rally has given her state a massive boost–;after all, it”;s hard to participate in the extremist Olympics if you don”;t have some children to dangle over the flames.

Reported Covid cases in South Dakota have quadrupled in the last two weeks. https://t.co/s03mkL70Oj pic.twitter.com/zxsdDzY78L

–; NBC News Graphics (@NBCNewsGraphics) August 24, 2021

Johnson & Johnson has their own booster on the way

The full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine is likely to be followed by a similar nod for Moderna in about a month. However, Johnson & Johnson has yet to turn in their application for full approval and doesn”;t expect to do so until around the end of the year, so it seems likely that full approval for Johnson & Johnson”;s single-shot vaccine won”;t come before 2022.

However, something else may come sooner: a second shot.

While boosters for the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being scheduled over concerns that the efficiency of the jabs decreases over time, Johnson & Johnson insists that their vaccine continues to provide “;robust protection”; after eight months. As CNN reports, this booster is more about boosting the strength of the response rather than simply prolonging the time. Results from a phase 2 trial saw those who received a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a nine-fold jump in antibodies against COVID-19.

With concerns over the way in which the delta variant can more easily infect someone who has been vaccinated, and indications that efficiency of existing vaccines can be cut nearly in half when it comes to protecting against infection, this booster could offer the kind of protection that all the vaccines seemed to promise when they first became available. However, that can”;t be certain; while the booster studies looked at the markers for disease protection, they didn”;t check actual real-world efficacy.

When a second shot of Johnson & Johnson”;s vaccine will become available is unclear.

In the U.K., tests done with a mixture of vaccines–;such as giving those who had taken AstraZeneca”;s vaccine a booster of Pfizer–;seemed to promise both a broader response and a higher level of initial protection. It”;s unclear if people in the U.S. will have any options on their boosters, or whether the only option will be a second or third stick with the same vaccine.

Intelligence report on virus”; origin handed to Biden

Two weeks ago, leaks (of the intelligence variety, not the viral sort) indicated that the intelligence report President Biden had ordered on the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus had come to an inconclusive end. Despite weeks of analysis and a good deal of suspicion, the evidence simply isn”;t there to say definitively that the virus either made the leap from animals to human somewhere in the wild, or made that transition in a Hunan lab.

On Tuesday, that report was finally handed over to Biden. The New York Times reports that nothing has changed in the final days of the report”;s preparation. The conclusion is still that there is no conclusion.

It was never likely that the intelligence agencies had the information necessary to point a definitive finger. Finding the origin of viruses is no easy task. It took a decade to find the original SARS-CoV virus harbored by bats hundreds of miles away from the site where the first known human outbreaks occurred. That mystery was eventually cracked by the Hunan Institute of Virology.

Don”;t be surprised if it takes just as long to pin down SARS-CoV-2.

Read more: feeds.dailykosmedia.com

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