Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Delta is on a roll (and that's not good)

Capitol on Feb 8.

Jonathan Chait/New York:

Imagine a 9/11 Commission If the Hijackers Had Allies in Congress

Now Republicans see the insurrection as an action by their political allies. Some of them are embarrassed by the insurrection and wish to avoid discussing it, while others see its members as noble martyrs. But almost none of them actually have the stomach to denounce the rioters any more.

That broader context has been obscured by a series of maneuvers over the investigating committee — first by Republicans’ appointing Jims Banks and Jordan, two ardent Trumpists, followed by Democrats rejecting the Republicans’ appointments, followed by Republicans’ boycotting the committee and calling for their own. Two months ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposed a bipartisan commission as “duplicative,” and now he has proposed to counter the committee by creating a literal duplicate.


‘Deadly serious’: Pelosi goes to war with GOP over Jan. 6

The speaker has made overseeing an investigation of the deadliest attack on the Capitol in two centuries into a core mission.

Her GOP opponents are warning that Pelosi’s close involvement in the select committee on Jan. 6 exposes its efforts to politicization and failure. But the California Democrat and her allies insist it’s the best way to prevent a repeat of the deadly day when thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol bent on overturning a democratic election and threatened to kill members of Congress.

“They wanted to kill her. They were hunting her,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said. “I don’t think this is a political calculation at all. You’re talking about the greatest assault on our democracy in over 100 years.”


Houston Chronicle:

Dr. Peter Hotez: Delta variant 'like nothing we've seen before,' expect rise in hospitalizations

Now this delta variant has emerged out of out of India. It really swept across India very quickly, outcompeting everything because it’s so much more transmissible. Then it hit the U.K., and the same thing happened: It totally overran the British Isles.

Now it’s happening here as well. It started a few weeks ago, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it already accounts for 83 percent of the variant isolates in the U.S. So this is now sweeping across the country.

The problem is, it’s twice as transmissible as the original lineage. This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s not quite as transmissible as something like measles, but it’s getting up there in terms of its reproductive number.



The Delta Variant Will Drive A Steep Rise In U.S. COVID Deaths, A New Model Shows

The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.

That's according to new projections released Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the agency track the course of the pandemic.

It's a deflating prospect for parents looking ahead to the coming school year, employers planning to get people back to the workplace, and everyone hoping that the days of big national surges were over.


Heidi Ledford/Nature:

Should children get COVID vaccines? What the science says

With vaccination campaigns under way in some countries while others weigh the options, Nature looks at the evidence for vaccinating younger people.

Data show that children and particularly adolescents can play a significant part in coronavirus transmission, says Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. And concerns about transmission by children and adolescents are growing as new coronavirus variants emerge. It’s possible that more-transmissible variants will develop a way to push through whatever it is in a young person’s immune response that makes them more resistant to infection, says Bennett, making it all the more important that they are vaccinated.

Hopes of achieving herd immunity through immunization have waned, so countries need to do the best that they can to keep transmission low, she adds: “You only need one poorly vaccinated population to generate global variants.”

Is vaccinating children fair?

Chile, another country with one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world, is also rolling out vaccines to those aged 12 and older.

But Miguel O’Ryan, a former member of two advisory committees to the government there who has pushed for aggressive vaccination campaigns, now finds himself wondering whether it’s time to slow down. “Probably countries should not move forward with paediatric vaccinations so fast,” says O’Ryan, who is a paediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Chile in Santiago. “Other countries, even our neighbours, are struggling very hard to get enough vaccines for their high-risk groups.”


Perry Bacon Jr/WaPo:

I live in a Democratic bubble. Here’s why that’s okay.

I’m fine living in a heavily Democratic area — and you should be, too. And I reject the implication that I live in a place where I will never hear a thought I disagree with.

Being “in a bubble” is generally considered a negative in our culture, while diversity is a positive. The Times’s feature leans into those connotations: If you live in a largely Democratic or Republican neighborhood, it highlights neighborhoods nearby with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, where you will be less “politically isolated.” A lot of discourse in the United States has a similar tone, suggesting that people wary of those of the opposite political party are participating in a “prejudice” akin to religious or racial discrimination.


Geoffrey Skelley/FiveThirtyeight:

Biden’s fairly static numbers are at least in part a reflection of the lack of major scandals in his administration as well as its avoidance, for now, of deeply unpopular policies — developments that have tripped up some of his predecessors. For instance, Trump’s approval rating dipped in March and April 2017 as the GOP began its push to pass health care legislation that was very unpopular in the polls. And Clinton’s approval fell all the way into the upper 30s in June 1993 as his economic agenda struggled to get going and his proposal to allow gay people to serve in the military got pushback. [...]

On the flip side, polarization has helped Biden stay above 50 percent because he has nearly unified backing among Democrats. It hasn’t been unusual for a president to have the support of at least 90 percent of his party’s base early on — Obama and Bush also had that level of backing in their first six months — but Biden may be better positioned to hold on to that support going forward. We only have to look at Trump’s standing in the latter half of his presidency for evidence of this, as he regularly polled at around 90 percent among his party base even though fewer than 10 percent of Democrats approved of him.

Football news:

Dybala and Morata have muscle injuries. They will not play with Chelsea and Torino
Neville criticized the players for apologies in social networks in the style of Bruno: Their PR people create fake personalities
Watzke about Sancho at Manchester United: It hurts me that he is not used so often
UEFA has abandoned the case against the founders of the Super League-Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus
Agnelli on the Super League: Its values will ensure the stability of the football industry
Moriba has not yet played for Leipzig after his transfer from Barca. Coach Marsh does not count on him
Simeone about Milan: Playing with such a club in the Champions League is fantastic. The top team that has grown in recent years