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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Vaccine hesitancy and how to reach the subgroups most hesitant

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David Leonhardt/Upshot:

What Do You Do When the Kids Are Still Unvaccinated?

There will be more than one reasonable way to approach the risks of family activities.

What should those families do this summer and next fall, as they consider sending children to day care, seeing relatives, socializing with friends, eating in restaurants or traveling on airplanes?

The answers will not be easy. Families will make different decisions based on their own preferences. There will be more than one reasonable approach.

Zeynep Tufecki/Whitney R. Robinson, PhD, MSPH/Substack:

How One Epidemiologist Decided Whether to Send Her Children to Group Childcare

How to reason when information is incomplete, uncertain and emotionally-fraught

I’ve written on Twitter about my decision in March 2020 to keep my two young children (1 year old and 5 years old) in group childcare.  I feel lucky that I had the option.  But keeping them in daycare was a pretty out-of-step decision in my social circle at the time.  One day my toddler was the only child in his classroom. It was just him and his two teachers.  I’ve talked about my decision publicly over the past year, on Twitter and on my podcast, but I’m not trying to convince anyone else to make the same choices.  If I’d been in different circumstances, such as having older relatives living in my household or in a job where I couldn’t risk a two-week daycare quarantine, I might have made a different decision. I’ve talked about my decisions because I was talking about my research life publicly.  I couldn’t do that in good conscience without acknowledging the support I was getting through paid childcare.  So many families, especially mothers of young children, have dealt with huge levels of gaslighting and burnout over the past year.  I didn’t want to ignore the impossible trade-offs many families with young children faced because of the lack of a social safety net. I also wanted it to be clear what trade-offs I was making to reduce the risk for myself and the other members of the daycare community (e.g., no podding, no indoor activities with anyone outside our immediate family, purely outdoor meetups).

Because this was a tangible decision that I made early in the pandemic, when research was limited, I thought it was a good example for Zeynep’s meta-epistemiology series.  When almost everyone else was keeping their kids home, how did I decide to send mine to daycare?  In the spirit of Zeynep’s previous posts, I will answer that question using 3 principles.

NY Times:

Biden’s Intelligence Director Vows to Put Climate at ‘Center’ of Foreign Policy

A pair of recent intelligence reports have presented a grim picture of climate change. The annual worldwide threat assessment, which looks at short-term challenges, said extreme weather caused by climate change would increase the potential for surges in migration and cause instability around the globe.

The changes will “exacerbate political instability and humanitarian crises,” the annual threat report said.


Sarah Longwell/Bulwark:

Did We Forget Our Democracy Is Still Under Threat?

Complacency is an inherent weakness of democracy.

Old joke: An old fish and a young fish pass each other. The old fish says, “Fine water today, isn’t it?” The young fish replies, “What’s water?”

This, I have learned in hundreds of hours of focus groups, is how many Americans think about democracy—or more accurately, don’t think about it. Democracy is the system we have, and have inherited, but most of our experiences with any of the alternatives are so remote that we view democracy as the default state. As something that just is.

That isn’t to say that Americans don’t think about politics. Oh, do we. Probably more than is helpful. We have, as a people, some pretty out-there opinions and preferences and expectations about politics.



US drop in vaccine demand has some places turning down doses

Barbara Gennaro, a stay-at-home mother of two small children in Yazoo City, Mississippi, said everybody in her homeschooling community is against getting the vaccine. Gennaro said she generally avoids vaccinations for her family in general, and the coronavirus vaccine is no different.

“All of the strong Christians that I associate with are against it,” she said. “Fear is what drives people to get the vaccine — plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want the vaccine or feel that it’s necessary.”

Another challenge for vaccinations in a rural state like Mississippi is that in many cases, doses are being shipped in large packages with one vial containing at least 10 doses.


Robert Draper/NY Times magazine:

The Wyoming congresswoman challenged Republicans to turn away from Trump after Jan. 6. Instead, they turned on her.

Others argued that her announcement a day before the impeachment vote had given the Democrats a talking point to use against the rest of the Republican conference. (“Good for her for honoring her oath of office,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointedly remarked when told of Cheney’s intentions.) Likening the situation to a football game, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania lamented, “You look up into the stands and see your girlfriend on the opposition’s side — that’s one hell of a tough thing to swallow.”

“She’s not your girlfriend!” a female colleague yelled out. Kelly’s remark was immediately disseminated among Republican women in professional Washington, according to Barbara Comstock, who served as a Republican congresswoman from Virginia until 2019. “We emailed that around, just horrified, commenting in real time,” she told me.


William Saletan/Slate:

Republicans Still Sympathize With the Insurrection

They identify with the people who stormed the Capitol.

These sentiments don’t seem to have waned. Since January, the share of Republicans who insist that President Joe Biden did not “legitimately win the election,” nearly 80 percent of the GOP, has hardly budged. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say Trump won the election, and nearly 30 percent say they’ll “never accept” Biden as president. Two weeks ago, by a two-to-one ratio, Republicans reaffirmed their view that the election was “stolen” from Trump. Last week, 70 percent said there had been enough fraud to change the election’s outcome.

This faith in the myth of the stolen election is driving an enduring sense of affinity with the Capitol invaders. In a Harvard-Harris poll taken in late February, two-thirds of Republicans refused to call the clash an “armed insurrection,” insisting it was just a “protest” that had somehow turned violent. In March, when a Monmouth survey asked about the “anger over the presidential election” that had “led to” the attack, 40 percent of Republicans said the anger was at least partially justified. Two weeks ago, in an Ipsos poll, most Republicans said that the people who “gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6” were largely “peaceful, law-abiding Americans.”


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