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The data for the “fourth wave” looks so, so bad


Fueled by the delta variant, a surge in Houston COVID-19 hospitalizations is growing as fast as at any time during the pandemic so far, and is projected to pass previous records by mid-August — even though roughly half of all eligible Houstonians are fully vaccinated.

“We’re heading into dark times,” said Texas Medical Center CEO Bill McKeon. Already, he said, “our ICUs are filled with unvaccinated people.”

On Tuesday, Texas Medical Center hospitals listed 1,372 people in intensive care — more than the number of regular ICU beds. The hospitals are now in Phase II of the medical center’s surge plan, opening unused wards to accommodate the gravely ill patients expected to need them.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 7,305 people were hospitalized statewide for COVID-19 as of Tuesday — more than four times as many as on July 1, and a 38 percent increase over last Tuesday’s figure.

Estimates by the UT-Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium suggest that all regions across Texas will face surges larger than anything seen so far.

In the Houston area, the previous record for COVID hospitalizations was 2,927 people on Jan. 8. The consortium’s latest model predicts that record will be broken Aug. 8. The previous record for ICU patients — 947, set July 18, 2020 — is predicted to be broken Aug. 15.

Even more alarmingly, the surge isn’t predicted to level off there, but to keep climbing sharply. By the end of August, the consortium forecasts that roughly 2,000 people will be in Houston ICUs — double the previous high.

“It’s really scary,” said Spencer Fox, associate director of the modeling project. “I’m worried about the next few weeks. It’s so clear in the data: We’re in the midst of a very severe surge.”

Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom described “a perfect storm”: the combination of Texas’ large number of unvaccinated people, the rampaging delta variant, and the recent relaxation of preventive measures such as masking and social distancing.

I’m at a loss for words and have wrung out just about all of my outrage. So I’m just going to leave this here:

If only Greg Abbott would listen to his own Department of State Health Services. I wonder what it’s like to live in a state that has a Governor that isn’t actively trying to harm its residents.

One more thing:

White Linen Night is back — well, sort of.

In lieu of official festivities, a group of Heights business owners have gotten together to host “Late Night on 19th Street” this Saturday. The good news is there will still be plenty of live music, pop-up vendors, artisans and white linen. The bad news is there will not be street closures, so plan accordingly.

Celebrations — geared toward supporting small, local businesses — are slated to run Aug. 7 from 5-7 p.m. between the 200-300 on Heights’ historic 19th Street.

Manready Mercantile owner Travis Weaver suggests bringing water, sunscreen, a bandana, portable cooler and potentially an umbrella.

“It never hurts to be prepared,” he said via statement. “If you don’t have any white linen, anything white will do. Don’t forget comfy shoes!”

How about “And don’t forget a mask! And for Christ’s sake don’t bother to show up if you and your entire party aren’t fully vaccinated!” I’m just saying.

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  1. J says:

    Here is the Daily Beast story about the Dickinson city councilman and GOP bigwig who has died of the virus. He was a rabid anti-vaxxer.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Here is the Huffpost story about AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka touting the vaccines. Trumka just died. He was a rabid pro-vaxxer.

  3. Kibitzer says:


    Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, died Thursday at the age of 72.

    Mr. Trumka had led the federation of 56 unions, with 12.5 million members, since 2009 and was a prominent supporter of Democrats and an influential voice on labor issues in Washington.

    The cause of death was believed to be a heart attack.

    SOURCE: Amara Omeokwe, Richard Trumka, Longtime AFL-CIO Leader, Dies. President of nation’s largest union organization was vocal supporter of Democrats and helped shape labor policy. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (August 5, 2021) (Updated Aug. 5, 2021 6:36 pm ET)

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    “Trumka expressed displeasure with the pipeline project cancellation but also praised Biden as possibly “the best union president we ever had” during an “Axios on HBO” interview that aired on Sunday.
    Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), speaks during the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photographer: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), speaks during the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photographer: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    “I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day because the Laborers International [Union] is right,” Trumka told Axios. “It did and will cost us jobs in the process. I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs.'”

    Labor groups have said Biden’s Day One decision to nix the Keystone pipeline quickly eliminated 1,000 union jobs and could kill 10 times more in construction jobs that were expected to be created by the project.”

    So he wishes Biden didn’t put them all out of work on the first day? Gee, which day would it have been preferable to put them all out of work? Day 2? Day 5? The AFL-CIO is to workers what the blm is to black people…..related in name only. Trumka didn’t give a crap about the thousands of Americans Biden put out of work. Why should he? Screw the people who ACTUALLY build the country.

  5. Ross says:

    So Bill, I take it you are in favor of my plan to build a coal fired power plant in your neighborhood with no pollution controls. It will take many workers to build, and I will make a huge profit without having to pay for those pesky scrubbers.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    I want reliable, inexpensive electricity, something required for our modern, first world lifestyle, so yes, I want that coal plant. Heck, build a tap line right to my neighborhood so I can get market fresh electricity! And having a big source of property tax in my local taxing district is nice, too. Look how well Deer Park, Baytown, and Pasadena do with all that plant tax money. Sweet!

  7. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    What does a union head dying of a heart attack have to do with the spread of COVID? Why does anyone engage with Bill Daniels? He’s an out and proud bigot who never discusses things in good faith.

  8. C.L. says:

    If y’all would just ignore the troll, it’d deprive him/her of the energy needed to survive.

  9. Kibitzer says:


    Re: “What does a union head dying of a heart attack have to do with the spread of COVID?”

    Exactly. That was the point. I copied and pasted the WSJ version of the news for greater reliability.

    As for Scott Apley, a GOP anti-vaxxer and Dickinson city councilman, the news of his death is anecdotal, too, but it nevertheless supports the point being made. And very drastically.

    Don’t be a moron about the virus. Do what you can to beat it.

    Apley was only 45 years old and left behind a baby son, who is now sadly a half-orphan.

    At least the innoncent child will hopefully be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits (a “Socialist” program whose benefits are not limited to racial minorities or Democrats) for parental-income replacement, so he won’t be punished even more for what was a very premature death and likely a preventable one. (Based on a long trail of prior utterances, Bill Daniels would likely visit the curse upon the child. That’s where the difference between social and asocial/anti-social comes into play.)

    Trumka, by contrast, was 72 and had lived a rich life, with no information in the reporting that he had even died of COVID.

    If you missed the as-dumb-as-they-come story: “Republican official who mocked COVID in final Facebook post dies of virus in Texas.” FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM (Aug. 6, 2021)


    “In 6 months, we’ve gone from the vax ending the pandemic—to you can still get covid even if vaxxed—to you can pass covid onto others even if vaxxed—to you can still die of covid even if vaxxed—to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed.”

    So there.


    Galveston County Republican Party: “God remains in control although this is yet another tough one to swallow.”

    Blaming God, huh …

    What happened to the personal responsibility talk? Protecting your family? 

    As for engaging with the likes of Bill Daniels … reprehensible speech should be countered with something better. Lies, if told, should be exposed. Lousy logic countered.

    The alternative is to suppress disagreeable speech. Are you ready to flush the First Amendment down the toilet along with the virus-infested poop?

    Not everything Bill Daniels says lacks a valid basis. Same for Hochman. Sadly, some here are unable (or merely unwilling) to evaluate contentions and arguments on their merits, or lack thereof, as the case might be.

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Regarding the Dickinson official, we don’t know that he would not have died even if he had been injected. We’re just assuming that, because it supports our narrative. Not only is the story anecdotal, just like the Trumka story, it doesn’t prove anything. “Fully vaccinated” people die of Wu flu, just like our man did, even though it’s a rare occurance.

    Why is the Trumka story anecdotally related? Heart problems are a known, but very rare side effect of the injections. If the “Dickinson dude would have lived if he had been vaccinated” argument is meaningful, then my counter argument, Trumka would have lived had he not gotten injected and then subsequently died of a heart attack, a known but very rare side effect, is just as meaningful. We’re both just making assumptions that we don’t know are true, which is why anecdotal stories are poor debate fodder….my point.


    Still waiting for you to defend your assertions about Hidalgo’s video. Why is transparency bad for democracy? Sunlight disinfects, right? Blocking live streams, and poll watchers from getting close enough to actually see and hear what’s going on is bad for democracy? Democracy dies in darkness….that’s one of your side’s slogans, which, coincidentally, coincides with why middle of the night drive through voting is bad… one can see what happens then.

    And Hidalgo was being disingenuous. “Gee, Trump supporters protested at the Capitol. What will vetted poll watchers, presumably R poll watchers, do to you?”

    [Insert fear of boogieman here]

    The number of poll watchers at a voting location is both finite, and small. No need to fear thousands of poll watchers inside a polling place, but then, Hidalgo knows that, she’s lying to try and make her case. She’s using the old Alinsky tactic of accusing her opposition of what she herself has done. Fail.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    As to the now (in)famous last digital words:

    “In 6 months, we’ve gone from the vax ending the pandemic—to you can still get covid even if vaxxed—to you can pass covid onto others even if vaxxed—to you can still die of covid even if vaxxed—to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed.”

    What part is untrue?

    Other questions we should be asking are, did Apley have a medical issue that would make injections contraindicated? Did Apley have a religious objection? Did Apley encourage others to decline the injections, vs. encouraging everyone to make an informed decision based on their own personal circumstances? If Apley was an un-injected black Democrat, would we have even posted notice of his death from the Covid?

  12. robert says:

    [Insert fear of boogieman here]

    Bill, That’s your party’s job…. btw, are you a lonely person do you have friends?

    Why don’t you run for office, I’ll bet you’d make everything good….

  13. Kibitzer says:



    Not sure if you playing dumb or truly incapable of statistical reasoning. Apley was only 45 years old while Richard Trumka was 72.

    27 years make a difference in the respective chances of death as an actuarial matter. And as to the cause of death in the specific case, we have it from credible sources that he was hospitalized due to COVID-19 and hooked up to a ventilator, so we don’t have to wait for the death certificate for even greater certainty. We don’t know if he infected his wife, or his wife him, or if they were both infected from the same source or from different sources. That would be speculation at this point, as is the remote possibility that the union man’s heart attack (if that’s what did him in) was in any way related to COVID or a COVID vaccine.

    This Kibitzer is not the coroner, nor are you. When discussing stuff like this we have to go by the information available from credible sources, and we obviously can’t investigate the accuracy and veracity of all reported facts. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t employ our sound critical faculties and common sense.

    The common-sense conclusion here is that it is a tragedy that a guy 45 years with an infant to raise and support, and many years of productive life ahead of him (statistically speaking), would die from an infectious disease, and that this could likely have been prevented.

    The media doesn’t always get it right, and the appropriate remedy when that happens is a follow-up correction. Nor is all relevant information typically available when a story first breaks. If it turns out that Apley was fully vaccinated and died of COVID anyhow, it will likely be reported, in part because such a finding would make Republicans very happy. There would be an eager market for such news; bigger than just Bill Daniels and Jason Hochman.

    Additionally, Apley’s family apparently disclosed the diagnosis and cause of death (inference based on HIPAA restrictions on what the professional care providers may say), while the Texas GOP press release omitted – some might say, suppressed – the cause of death in its press release.

    See here: Chairman Rinaldi on Passing of SREC Member Scott Apley posted
    Posted 8.04.2021 – by James Wesolek

    The story was widely reported, including in the national quality press.

    Click2Houson had this:

    “According to a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend, the 45-year-old was admitted into the hospital on Sunday for pneumonia-like symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, and was placed on a ventilator. On Wednesday around 3 a.m., Apley died from complications with the virus, according to the GoFundME page.” 

  14. Bill Daniels says:


    The boogiemen are the leftist shock troops, the blm and antifa. Just this weekend, they attacked a bunch of innocent Christian men, women and children having a PRAYER SERVICE. That’s offensive to your side, so the prayer service was attacked. No intervention from the Portland police, because why would the government prevent their own shock troops from doing what they are supposed to do? The Christians, like lambs to the slaughter didn’t fight back, they were assaulted, had their sound equipment destroyed and were terrorized….because that’s how leftists roll.


    Likewise, I am not sure whether you’re being intentionally obtuse, or you just have reading comprehension problems. Here, let me be clear:

    Our man from Dickinson, had he been injected, could STILL have died from the Covid. Is that not clear enough? Fully injected people still die from the Covid. Our 45 year old man might have died even if he had been injected. You and I don’t know the answer to that hypothetical. We can never know.

    You can’t absolutely say he died BECAUSE he was un-injected. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

  15. mollusk says:

    Fewer than 1% of covid deaths are among fully vaccinated people –

  16. Kibitzer says:


    Bill, to posit “absolute certainty” as the proper standard borders on crazy.

    In civil lawsuits, you have to prove causation too in a specific case (N=1) … with a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal case it’s beyond a reasonable doubt.

    No absolutes in either case.  

    For public policy evaluation and design purposes, we rely on on statistical analysis and — hopefully — high-quality data on many cases on the input side, rather than just one as in court cases. All relationships among variables will merely be probabilistic and even the values on quantitative variables will often only be estimates or approximations. Identifying and estimating the strength of causal relationships is always a problem when you can’t to do controlled experiments or clinical trials. So researchers do the best they can under the given constraints. What’s the alternative? Waiting for divine intervention?

    Or, to use an analogy, would it make sense to forgo weather forecasts because they will never be totally precise down to fractions of degrees of temperature and millimeters of precipitation?   


    But you are in good company with your absolutism for simpletons, and that goes for your line of argumentation in the election “integrity” context. Ex-justice Guzman asked at one of the election law cases last year whether the Court should allow even one illegal vote.

    Respectfully, that’s a crazy standard too.

    Not in a clinical sense, of course, but in the sense of reasonableness and lack of good judgment. If there can be no tolerance for even a single wrongfully cast ballot, and no allowance for human error more generally, you have to get rid of elections altogether. No ballots at all, no possibly irregular/illegal ballots cast.

    Good bye, democracy. Hello absolutism.

  17. Bill Daniels says:


    “In civil lawsuits, you have to prove causation too in a specific case (N=1) … with a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal case it’s beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Great point!

    Which standard should apply to evaluating the actions of the dead Dickinson politician?

    Well, let’s look at what you are accusing him of, demonizing him for:

    According to your side, even though we don’t know whether he was medically contraindicated from being injected, or had a religious objection, he has committed the following actual crimes:


    ~attempted murder of his wife and others

    ~possible mass murder in his community by infecting and killing others, including people who have been injected

    ~fraud against the SSI fund by intentionally suiciding himself to get benefits for his kid

    These are criminal accusations, so don’t you think we should apply the criminal standard, not the civil standard?


    You seem absolutely sure that the injections were NOT contraindicated for this guy. Do you have any proof, or are you just using absolutism for simpletons to ASSUME that there are no valid, medical reasons why someone wouldn’t be injected? Got a link to the guy’s medical history? What do you know that others do not?

    And finally, here’s another real simple question: If this guy was black, and a leftist, a group that is LESS vaccinated than the group the Dickenson politician represents, are we still going to be here discussing this?

  18. Kibitzer says:

    Bill, re-read what I wrote: That it is a tragedy that the kid is now a half-orphan, and that the guy’s death was likely a preventable one.

    No criminal accusation whatsoever. – Utter hogwash.

    Nuff of the mis-attributions, bloody-red herrings, and strawmen-whacking already.

    Go do something more useful. Will you?