Keeping the faith, coronapanic edition

“They’re Vaccinated and Keeping Their Masks On, Maybe Forever” (NYT):

Whenever Joe Glickman heads out for groceries, he places an N95 mask over his face and tugs a cloth mask on top of it. He then pulls on a pair of goggles.

He has used this safety protocol for the past 14 months. It did not change after he contracted the coronavirus last November. It didn’t budge when, earlier this month, he became fully vaccinated. And even though President Biden said on Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask, Mr. Glickman said he planned to stay the course.

In fact, he said, he plans to do his grocery run double-masked and goggled for at least the next five years.

He has direct personal evidence that his “safety protocol” does not deliver “safety” (since he actually got COVID-19 while wearing two masks and goggles).

The article reminds us that if you’re seeking financial safety, get a state or local government job:

Leni Cohen, 51, a retired kindergarten teacher from New York City who has a compromised immune system, said she planned to continue wearing a mask when she helped out as a substitute teacher. But what she would like more is for her students to stay masked.

“Kindergartners, while adorable, are quick to share their secretions,” Ms. Cohen wrote in an email listing the illnesses, including colds, strep throat, pneumonia, influenza and parvovirus, that she has caught from her students over the years.

“This year is so different!” she continued. “The kids are not sucking on their hair or putting classroom objects or thumbs in their mouths. Their mouths and noses are covered, so I’m (mostly) protected from their sneezes and coughs. I can see keeping up with masks. It is the safest I’ve ever felt in a classroom full of 5- and 6-year-olds.”

51 years old and retired; she was born after 1960 so if she’d chosen to work in the private sector she would reach standard Social Security retirement age at 67, or 16 years from now.

Is this more evidence that reactions to coronavirus are essentially religious in nature?

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Joe Biden’s mask order meets Florida

The Florida Free State ends at the border with federally-owned land, e.g., Everglades National Park. See “Biden’s first executive order will require masks on federal property” (CNN). The order isn’t quite as stringent as what we have in Maskachusetts. It is legal to be in the middle of federally-owned woods without a mask on, for example, but you’re supposed to wear one if you can’t maintain a 6′ social distance.

How much difference in individual behavior occurs when there is effective leadership in Washington, D.C.? Last month both Floridians and out-of-towners mingled on the Anhinga Trail boardwalk, politely sharing information regarding alligator and bird sightings. Although a few folks sported chin diapers, nobody actually wore a mask, despite this being the most crowded part of the park, even when coming close to another person (every few minutes).

The #Science-informed Federales want you to stay healthy by drinking nothing but Coke. At the trailhead:

(#Science says protect yourself against an airborne virus by washing your soda can, a behavior that would previously have earned you a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. See also Does disinfectant theater contribute to coronaplague?)

Government experts remind us that immigrants from Africa, Central America, and South America are “unwelcome” and “crowd out their native neighbors”:

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Can our golden retriever get a COVID-19 vaccine before elderly humans in poor countries?

From our government-funded media, “CDC Says Kids As Young As 12 Should Get The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine” (NPR):

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given to adolescents ages 12-15.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued a statement saying, “The CDC now recommends the vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.”

An independent federal advisory committee on Wednesday had voted — 14 in favor with one recusal — to recommend that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine be quickly approved for those as young as 12.

Here in Massachusetts, prior to deaths-by-age data being withdrawn from public view, nobody under 18 had ever been killed by COVID-19 (see Maskachusetts: When people aren’t scared enough, change the Covid-19 dashboard). Due to the minimal impact of COVID-19 on the young and the non-FDA-approved status of the vaccines, the physicians whom I’ve talked to say that it would be against the Hippocratic Oath to inject vaccines into young adults, much less children. See Is it ethical for a physician to vaccinate a healthy 20-year-old against COVID-19? and We love our children so much we will give them an investigational vaccine

Even if we believe that a 12-year-old will somehow benefit from getting an “investigational” pharmaceutical, do we think that he/she/ze/they will benefit as much as a 65-year-old in a vaccine-poor country? If we believe our lawn signs (“Black Lives Matter”) and our statements (#StopAsianHate and Brown Lives Matter), why wouldn’t we ship Pfizer doses to India or Colombia to be injected into old (vulnerable) people we refer to as “brown” rather than into white American 12-year-olds?

The map from Our World in Data (“Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people”):

Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, India, Costa Rica, et al. all have higher case rates than the U.S. and presumably plenty of people we would regard as worthy vaccine charity cases. Here’s the map of vaccination rate (percent of people who’ve had at least one dose):

India is at only 10 percent. Why does a white American 12-year-old get a vaccine before a 60-year-old in India? At the rate we’re going, is it fair to predict that Mindy the Crippler (our golden retriever) will be eligible for a vaccine before a 50-year-old in India can get one?

Separately, comparing the above two charts shows high vaccination rates in Chile, Uruguay, and Canada, for example, and also fairly high coronaplague “cases”. Considering deaths, the statistics for which are less dependent on testing zealotry, Chile and Uruguay have both a high vaccination rate and a high death rate:

If they’ve vaccinated the old/vulnerable, how is it that these countries are experiencing a significant wave of coronadeath? Are these old/vulnerable folks who got infected months ago and have been in the hospital for a long period of time?

To close on a cheerful note, the plague in India does seem to be subsiding in accordance with Farr’s laws. From the NYT:

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How does shutting down water fountains prevent COVID-19?

One thing that I have noticed in the Shutdown States is that public drinking fountains are nearly always turned off or blocked off, e.g., in hotels, in government buildings, outdoors near playgrounds, etc. To the extent that this is explained, it is #BecauseScience and #StopTheSpread. But what is the science of COVID-19 spread via water fountains?

From June 5, 2020 (includes an actual “Rationale”!):

So the CDC said the risk was low as of June 2020. Has #Science changed? “CDC: Risk for catching coronavirus from surfaces is low” (April 12, 2021):

The risk for catching the new coronavirus from surfaces is low, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week in what some experts say is a long overdue announcement.

“People can be affected with the virus that causes COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., said at a White House briefing on Monday. “However, evidence has demonstrated that the risk by this route of infection of transmission is actually low.”

“Finally,” Linsey Marr, Ph.D., an airborne virus expert at Virginia Tech, told The Times. “We’ve known this for a long time, and yet people are still focusing so much on surface cleaning.” Marr added that there is “really no evidence that anyone has ever gotten COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface.”

If #Science v2020 and #Science v2021 both say that coronavirus is not spread via surface contamination, how does shutting down water fountains help Americans achieve superior health?

At Temple Karen (reform) in Washington, D.C.:

At the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (“due to current state health and safety mandates”), April 26, 2021:

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Why aren’t vaccines available at highway rest stops?

We visited a friend’s 12,000 square foot house the other day in an all-white suburb of Boston (what I learned: don’t buy a 12,000 square foot house unless you want to pay about $75,000 every time it needs paint). After passing all of the Black Lives Matter signs put out by his rich white neighbors (they adore low-income BIPOC but will keep their one-acre zoning minimum, thank you very much!), we got on the state-run highway. During the 40-minute drive, every 5 minutes we passed a state-run sign urging us to get vaccinated. The person reading the sign, quite possibly a driver all by him/her/zir/their self, is told to visit a web site and begin a cumbersome appointment process, We also passed a couple of state-owned state-run rest stops in which health-promoting food, such as donuts, are available.

Wouldn’t it make more sense if the signs said “Get vaccinated right now at the next rest stop”? If the government wants people to do something unpleasant and, in the case of younger folks, quite possibly against their personal interest (since the median age of a COVID-19 death in Massachusetts was 82), why not make it easy? Add an incentive too: “free coffee, donut, and vaccine, next right”.

Given that the government itself owns these highway rest stops, why isn’t there a vaccine tent at every one?

(The Florida Department of Transportation runs similar signs, but the messages that we saw in April were all related to driving, e.g., “check your tire pressure” or “road work scheduled”, rather than coronapanic.)

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University of Maskachusetts casts out three heretics

“‘It’s Been Devastating’: UMass Amherst Students Suspended For Not Wearing Masks Off-Campus” (CBS):

Andover parents Kristin and Scott are speaking out on behalf of their daughter. She along with two of her friends are freshmen at UMass Amherst. A picture posted on social media of the three friends not wearing masks outside was handed over to the university and that has landed them in serious trouble.

“There was a photo sent to the administration of these girls outside off campus on a Saturday. This is why they lost a whole semester of their schooling,” Kristin said.

Since their suspension, the students have been studying remotely at their homes. However, last week they were cut off from virtual learning. They were not allowed to take their finals, so parents say their kids’ semester was a total loss, both financially and academically.

“That negates this whole semester $16,000 of money and they have to reapply for next semester. But they missed housing registration,” Scott said.

UMass Amherst released a statement saying: “Students received a number of public health messages this semester that emphasized the importance of following public health protocols and the consequences for not complying, and those messages were also shared on UMass social media channels.”

The Instagram post that betrayed their refusal to observe all of the rituals of the Church of Shutdown all of the time:

(Maybe they can be replaced with masked BIPOC?)

Given the depicted weather it seems that these three might well have been vaccinated at the time the photo was taken.

Stockholm Syndrome among the other invulnerable-to-covid 20-year-olds:

Students on campus say the rules have been tight this year but for good reason. “Maybe a little harsh but like I understand it because you’re not supposed to be doing that,” one student told WBZ Friday night.

The spirited hippies of the 1960s who said “Don’t trust anyone over 30” have been succeeded by college students happy to do whatever Dr. Fauci (age 80, i.e., pretty close to the median age for a COVID-19 death in Maskachusetts) tells them to.

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Coronaplague in the Seychelles proves Dr. Jeff Goldblum’s theories?

From Coronaplague in India proves Dr. Jeff Goldblum’s theories?:

I wonder if this proves what Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.’s colleague Dr. Jeff Goldblum said: “Life Finds a Way.” The non-Chinese Wuhan-edition coronavirus was perhaps not a good fit for hosts in India, which is why, adjusted for population size, not much happened during Coronawave #1 (TIME: “health experts had predicted that India, with a population more than four times the size of the U.S., would quickly become the world’s worst-hit country”). But now the virus, with approximately 30,000 base pairs, has evolved.

From Wednesday, “Island paradise with highest vaccination rate reports world’s biggest COVID surge” (Yahoo News UK):

The Seychelles has suffered the world’s biggest surge in coronavirus cases – despite nearly 70% of its population having received a vaccine.

On Monday, the latest date for which figures are available, the archipelago’s seven-day case rate per one million people was 1,480, the highest in the world. It compares to the Maldives, the second highest, with 827 cases per million.

This comes despite 69.19% of people on Seychelles having at least one dose of a vaccine.

Health minister Peggy Vidot said: “Despite all the exceptional efforts we are making, the COVID-19 situation in our country is critical right now with many daily cases reported last week.”

Seychelles, with a population of about 98,000, currently has 1,068 active cases.

The BBC has reported the country’s news agency as saying a third of those active cases are among people who have received two vaccines.

Why is this interesting to those of us who aren’t planning to visit the Seychelles? I think it is a good window into what life in the Shutdown States (e.g., Maskachusetts, New York, California) will be like this coming winter. Everyone will be vaccinated and therefore the successful strain of SARS-CoV-2 will be whichever one can work its way around a vaccine-stimulated immune system.

Speaking of India, it does look as though the trend is following Farr’s laws (bell curve) and that the curve is flattening (either through heroic government and human efforts, if you think humans are smarter than viruses, or because this is how viral infections have worked for the past 3.5 billion years):

My latest thinking about coronaplague is that the Vietnam Wars, viewed from the American perspective, continues to be the best analogy. Technocrats in public health bureaucracies and state governors (except in FL and SD!) assure us with facts, figures, and charts that victory is within reach. We can be a few months away from victory for 10-15 years.

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Psychology of Shutdown Karenism

A Facebook friend (she’s around 30 years old) psychoanalyzes those who love COVID shutdowns:

Maybe the reason people born in the 60s-90s are the biggest pro-lockdown people is that it was the “grounded generation,” where parents trying to limit or stop corporally punishing their children instead would keep them indoors, only doing necessary activities, until they’d learned their lesson — longer time periods when the misdeed was larger.

All the “fun spreads the virus” crazytown rules that people have accepted with absolutely no scientific basis for their efficacy, from curfews to live music bans to hair salon closures, align very well to what your parents would stop you from doing when you were grounded.

There’s a lot of free-floating guilt in our society and very little way to dislodge it effectively. Perhaps many of the most devoted lockdowners felt, in their heart of hearts — whether they realized it or not — like humanity needed a good grounding and to not come out until we’d changed our attitude, mister.

Her friend (actually named “Karen”!):

Yes. I think this is absolutely spot on.

From Elizabeth:

And so much of it is about making people change their attitude. People who wear masks that say “I’m only wearing this because I have to” still get treated like shit, as though they weren’t wearing masks at all. Because they dare to disagree with the status quo. It’s not enough to wear the mask… you have to love it too.

Laurel:

Hmm younger generations get banned from specific gadgets ie phone or PlayStation, so they’re being primed to associate entertainment media access with compliance.

The psychology industry has so far provided more literary interest than practical assistance and the above is certainly consistent with that history going back to Freud. (I.e., the above might not be right, but I thought that it was interesting to contemplate.)

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Why do governments have to steal vaccine rights? Why not print more money to buy them?

“Taking ‘Extraordinary Measures,’ Biden Backs Suspending Patents on Vaccines” (NYT):

The Biden administration, siding with some world leaders over the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, came out in favor of waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines.

The United States had been a major holdout at the World Trade Organization over a proposal to suspend some of the world economic body’s intellectual property protections, which could allow drugmakers across the globe access to the closely guarded trade secrets of how the viable vaccines have been made. But President Biden had come under increasing pressure to throw his support behind the proposal, drafted by India and South Africa and backed by many congressional Democrats.

If we’re comfortable with borrowing and spending $trillions (i.e., printing money) every few months during coronapanic, why not print a little more money and buy, rather than steal, the rights to the vaccines that we think should be free and open-source? Surely there is some price at which at least one of the vaccine makers would sell voluntarily. Pick the one that is easiest to manufacture, buy the formula, put it on a web site, and pay the inventors additional $$ to help anyone who wants to make it.

From earlier today, “Federal judge vacates CDC’s eviction moratorium” (The Hill): A federal judge on Wednesday vacated a nationwide freeze on evictions that was put in place by federal health officials to help cash-strapped renters remain in their homes during the pandemic. … “The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not,” Friedrich wrote [full text].

Same question for that one. Why did the government, which can print as much money as it wants to (and where such printing has no cost, according to an MIT economist), need to steal from individual landlords? If the CDC wanted everyone to have a rent holiday, why didn’t the CDC pay the rent with borrowed/printed money?

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New York City High School: two days per week, two hours per day

I was chatting with a friend last night. His son is a high school student in the New York City public school system. What’s the experience, 14 months into coronapanic and four months after teachers became eligible for vaccines? “It’s two days per week, two hours per day,” he explained. “But there is no teaching. It’s like a study hall. We just talk to our friends.” What about the rest of the week? “We are online for two hours per day.”

Separately, though the son may not have learned much academic content since March 2020, he is fully educated on Mask and Shutdown Karenhood. He is a big believer in the efficacy of masks for the general public (#Science proves they work; practical trials in the Czech Republic cannot contradict #Science) and is happy to follow the dictates of Governor Cuomo and Dr. Fauci. What’s his personal experience with COVID? After a year of cowering and being masked any time he was outside of the family apartment-bunker… he got COVID. He, his sister, and his mom all had slight cold symptoms (the father had been vaccinated at this point).

Here are some photos from a May 1, 2021 COVID-safe fly-by, up the Hudson River at 1500′ in a friend’s Cirrus SR22T (with A/C!):

#StaySafe everyone!

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