United Kingdom vs United States Vaccine Fight

I would normally do my monthly COVID assessment at this point of the month, but I’m waiting a week because I’ve recently added vaccine distribution and administration to my data set and I’d really like to kick 2021 off right by adding vaccine administration to my monthly review. At the moment, I have barely enough data to be useful, but it will be a bit more filled out at this time next week.

  • We’re Doing Fine on Vaccines, But the UK is Better

  • Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck

We’re Doing Fine on Vaccines, But The UK is Better

I was speaking to a friend this last weekend and he asked how vaccine rollout was going in the United States and I said “pretty good” and he almost fell out of his seat in surprise, noting that he had not hear that from any other source.

Given that he’s subscribed here and is generally fairly well informed of the goings-on of things COVID, I wanted to take a moment to make this as explicit as possible: Things are going pretty well.

My biggest frustration at this point is reporting. The CDC can fall behind on state-by-state reporting and they don’t update anything over the weekend or on federal holidays which is why I’m tapping out these words on a Tuesday while I wait for the CDC data to update. Which it never did.

So the latest data we have from the CDC is 4 days old and the United States is still has the 5th highest rate of COVID vaccination in the world.

The United States has vaccinated more individuals by far than any other country in the world. One in four of all COVID vaccinations in the world have taken place in the United States. The three countries that are doing the best per-capita (Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain) are all incredibly small and dense.

The United Kingdom is the only country with a population over 10 million that is currently is running ahead of the United States on vaccinations. While they are only 20% as big as the US, let’s take a moment and look at the UK vaccine rollout plan. The UK has implemented the strategy that I thought sounded promising in which they are delaying second doses in order get more people a first dose. I described the reasoning behind that strategy here and it seems like it is successful inasmuch as it reduces friction and gets more people vaccinated.

Additionally, the vaccination stages in the UK are fairly simple. They start with the residents and staff of elderly care homes and then just start ticking down age groups to younger and younger people.

There is no concept of “essential worker” that can manipulated by politically influential groups. The simplicity allows them to move quickly and they have.

But the United States, for all our convoluted weirdo strategies, is still moving forward with a fairly solid determination. We are on track to meet the Biden administration’s May target, which is 100 million doses. Let’s assume 10% of the adult population is never going to get the vaccine and children will not end up needing (it currently is not authorized for children under 16). That means if we hit that May target, we’re 40-50% of the way through to full vaccination.

Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck (1953)

I adored this short as a child. There was something about its 4th wall breaking absurdist style that appealed to a 10 year old Math who would grow up to become fascinated with meta-narratives and absurdist cinema.

Daffy finds himself caught in purgatory with his indecisive animator. First, he is in a swashbuckling epic, then a folksy comic farm piece, then a piece at the north pole. He comes to realize his animator isn’t playing him straight and spends the rest of the short trying to make his case to get the short grounded into some kind of established style.

This short is just a dictionary of cinema. They play with self-image, the arbitrary nature of sound effects, they make jokes about camera framing, celebrity contracts and responsibilities, even the way that shorts are typically ended. The music is a joyful participant in Daffy’s torture. Everything about this short is self-aware and it’s non-stop hilarity.