Another Covid Panic – WSJ

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The latest variety of Covid fear-mongering is tied to the so-called Delta variant strain of the virus, and now some investors are wondering if the new health threat could dent global economic growth. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, tries to add some useful context in the Washington Post:

As something resembling normal life resumes in the United States, many Americans are wondering how concerned they should be about the delta variant of the coronavirus. Reports from Britain and Israel suggest that this mutation is more contagious than previous versions of the virus, and it is already on the rise in this country. But there is good news: The vaccines work against this frightening new variant, and they remain our best, most powerful tool to extinguish the pandemic here and worldwide…

The reason it has so quickly dominated is that it is more “fit” than other variants — outcompeting them when it comes to reaching and infecting unvaccinated people. Although this means delta is more easily transmitted than the other variants, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness. It has not resulted in higher rates of hospitalization among the infected, and it is not resistant to a full course of vaccines.

Meanwhile in the U.K. there’s a timely reminder that Covid is not the only threat to human health. The country’s socialized National Health Service is now beginning to reckon with the large volume of ignored cancer cases since the start of the pandemic. Laura Donnelly and Henry Bodkin report in the Telegraph:

The NHS is planning a £10 billion cancer blitz amid warnings from the Chief Medical Officer that the “indirect effects” of the Covid pandemic are “as major” as the crisis itself…

NHS backlogs are at a record high, with more than five million people waiting and estimates of an extra seven million “hidden” people who have yet to join the lists.

Health officials are particularly concerned about “missing” cancer cases, with the latest NHS figures showing 37,000 fewer patients receiving treatment since the start of the pandemic…

Charities have warned that Britain is at risk of “replacing the Covid crisis with a cancer crisis”, with 300,000 fewer urgent checks since the start of the pandemic…

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Speaking of Panics

This week brings yet another entry in the voluminous catalog of overwritten and inaccurate media reports on the subject of climate. A headline from the Associated Press proclaims:

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