"Okay, Dr. Fine", I imagine some of you are saying. "January 7th came and went. You said we’d see 12,000 new cases in Rhode Island in a single day by then. And here we are, with no more than 6,000!"


My first response is, "whew! I love to be wrong when being wrong suggests that we have fewer people ill than I thought we would have, and fewer hospitalizations and deaths, which follow new cases by about two and three weeks, respectively."

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Ok. More than 3000 tested positive cases on December 30, 2021. I just saw that the positivity rate of testing at one New York Hospital is fifty percent. Which is no surprise. With a doubling rate of three days, we will likely have 6000 test positive cases today, January 2, 2022, if we test 25,000

people. And 12,000 by January 5, 2022, which is about 50 percent

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Take-home points:

  • Our polarization has allowed Covid-19 to spread. Covid-19 made our polarization worse. Others may have taken advantage of Covid-19 to make that polarization more intense.

  • Government is stuck on familiar tropes and is following its constituencies, not leading.

  • Our institutions – CDC and FDA failed to act effectively, clearly and decisively, which opened the space for our polarization to get worse.

  • Government prioritized commerce over protecting the lives of Americans. That new priority puts us on a slippery slope towards political violence. What each of us says and does matters.

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Take-home points:

  • The Omicron Variant has become the dominant form of Covid-19 in the US.

  • We don’t know how dangerous Omicron is yet, but it’s more contagious than Delta, and more resistant to vaccines.

  • It is very likely to infect lots of people in a very short time.

  • It may or may not cause more hospitalizations and deaths. We won’t know for another three or four weeks.

  • But it will cause lots of people to get sick at once, and that will disrupt life for four to six weeks. Be prepared.

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Take-home points

  • The Covid-19 vaccine does not protect people from getting or spreading Covid-19.

  • We can expect 70 to 100 preventable deaths in December and between 100 and 600 or more deaths in January, mostly among people over 60.

  • 18 to 25 of those deaths in December will be among people under 60

  • 25 to 150 of those deaths in January will be among people under 60

  • About half of those deaths will be in people who were vaccinated.

  • Masks help prevent Covid-19 from spreading but they only reduce spread by 53 percent.

  • Government has failed to protect Rhode Islanders. We can protect one

  • another by avoiding parties, stores, bars and restaurants. Starting now.

  • Omicron is going to upend our lives in January, whether we are tired of all this or not. More on omicron tomorrow.

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