Another Covid Victim

Closing Thought–27Nov20

So far the pandemic has 12.9 million cases and claimed the lives of 260,000+

And yet it rages on and on…..and news has come out that there is yet another victim of the pandemic…..and it is a BIG victim….Mardi Gras….at least in the city of New Orleans…..

Though COVID-19 may be complicating celebrations and gatherings for this upcoming holiday season, the City of New Orleans is taking safety precautions into 2021.

Beau Tidwell, Communications director for New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, stated during a press conference on Tuesday that while Mardi Gras celebrations aren’t necessarily cancelled, the traditional practices are sure to look different next year. The city can’t exactly cancel all celebrations of Mardi Gras, given that it is a religious holiday, but those looking to don their beads for the large crowds may have to modify their plans for the February event.

ccording to the official New Orleans website, Mardi Gras celebrations in 2021 will not feature the typical crowded parades.

“Parades of any kind will not be permitted this year because large gatherings have proven to be super spreader events of the COVID-19 virus,” the city’s FAQ reads.

In addition to modifying their Mardi Gras plans, NOLA officials urge celebrators to abide by all local and state COVID-19 guidelines such as maintaining social distance and correctly wearing face masks.

“While we certainly want to move forward and find ways that we can celebrate, and we can mark this occasion, we have to do it safely,” Tidwell continued during the press conference.

Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans have not only become a staple in Louisiana culture but have also attracted visitors from all over the world. As of Tuesday, New Orleans is experiencing an outbreak or is at extreme risk, officials shared.

(deadline.com)

This will cost the city many many millions in revenues….

There are parades for Mardi Gras all along the Gulf Coast and it will be interesting to see how other cities handle this killer…..

No word yet from the cities along the Mississippi Coast that hold these Mardi Gras parades……

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Closing Thought–25Nov20

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and with the pandemic there are a few things that need doing to be sure that the day is for fun and food and not the virus……

I live in Mississippi and our health department has issued some guidelines for a healthy day…..

Mississippi’s top health official delivered dire news last week about the state’s COVID-19 status, noting the “severe surge” that’s been stressing its health care system, with very few beds left in ICUs around the state. “Our fall surge is going in very much the wrong direction over the last week or so,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said during a virtual Mississippi State Medical Association meeting on Thursday, per the Clarion-Ledger. In the wake of that news, Dobbs and other health officials are also looking with a wary eye toward Thanksgiving weekend, pleading with the public to keep their gatherings tiny—read: nuclear family members only—and warning that Christmas may not be so merry if they don’t. “We know this is the perfect milieu, having young folks and old folks and folks with chronic illness around the table—and then death,” he said on the video call, per the Mississippi Free Press.

MA President Dr. Mark Horne concurred, noting that “you’re going to say hi [to Mamaw] at Thanksgiving, it’s so nice to see you, and you’re either going to be visiting her by Facetime in the ICU or planning a small funeral by Christmas.” Mississippi State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers also warned people to stay away from in-person Black Friday events, noting they would be a “disaster for potential transmission.” For those who choose to have even small Thanksgiving get-togethers, Dobbs implores them to adhere to social distancing and gather outdoors, if possible. If anyone does get sick, “our resources are tapped out,” he said Friday, per WLBT. As for the fatality numbers? “We’ve become a little bit numb to the deaths,” he noted in the Zoom call. “And it’s coming for a lot of people.”

Please enjoy your days of fun, family and food.

Be Well…..Be Safe….

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“lego ergo scribo”

Walking The Dog!

Nope not that hit from the 1960s by Rufus Thomas…..I am talking about my daily exercise when MoMo and I go for our stroll in the early morning hours.

A Spanish study has shown that dog walks and home deliveries are high in the chances of infection…..

The study, published in the Environmental Research journal, by the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health looked at the main risk factors of coronavirus transmission during the first national lockdown in Spain.

Dog walking was said to have increased the risk of getting Covid-19 by 78% during the period studied, March to May.

Supermarket home deliveries increased the risk by 94%, according to the research.

And the risk if someone else in a person’s household tested positive for the coronavirus was 60 times higher, the study found.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dog-walking-list-everyday-activities-23035842

Screw that!

My buddy needs her walk….and we go really early and seldom see anyone……and that is why we do it so we do not have to deal with others.

I can see why this could be a dangerous time…..and then there is home deliveries…..I do not use…..for I know how to cook and do not like the idea of too many handling my food.

But that is just me.

Any thoughts?

Finally a stroll down memory lane…..

A final thought about pets……this time it is the perfect Christmas Card…..not just any pet but those pets of the Presidents…

Image

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Another Pandemic Side Effect

Closing Thought–20Nov20

There are many side effects of the pandemic that is ravaging the planet. All things you can imagine but the one the most got my attention was something that the nation had been trying to stamp out for decades….smoking.

Jamie Hickey, a 41-year-old personal trainer based in Pennsylvania, hadn’t smoked in eight years, but he caved when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “The boredom was the biggest part of it — just wanting something to do,” he said. “It broke up the monotony of the day, and if we weren’t in quarantine, I don’t think I would’ve ever gone back.”

The pandemic has encouraged us to pick up some pretty bad habits: bingeing (of television, food, and alcohol varieties), ghosting, doomscrolling, impulse shopping — but one that seems particularly counterintuitive is smoking. The choice to smoke feels strange right now for so many reasons: It’s an unnecessary expense in a time that has made our wallets tight, nicotine withdrawals can make users jittery, and it puts our lung health at risk.

We still are in the dark about some aspects of the coronavirus, but we know that it has taken the lives of more than 240,000 Americans and that it generally affects the ability of an infected person to breathe comfortably. At the beginning of the pandemic, being put on a ventilator was the death knell for thousands of people who were struggling with virus-related respiratory issues. A World Health Organization study found a “statistically significant association between smoking status and primary endpoints of admission to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), ventilator use or death” in Covid-19 patients.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/21561419/smoking-cigarettes-covid-19-pandemic-juul-health-boredom

Now I await the next round of anti-smoking propaganda….but it will have to wait until the anti-vaping ads run their course.

Whatever happened to “this is your brain on drugs”?

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“lego ergo scribo”

Will ACA Survive?

The program fondly titles as Obamacare has proven to be popular and yet the GOP seems Hell bent on its destruction…..as it comes before SCOTUS yet again.

Once again the ACA (Obamacare) comes before the Supreme Court….and once again it looks like the GOP will be beaten into submission…at least until next session…..

The Supreme Court heard its third challenge to ObamaCare on Tuesday, and a decision won’t be out until next spring. But the early assessments after oral arguments wrapped up should give backers of the Affordable Care Act some comfort—it looks like the law will survive again. Coverage:

  • “Most of the Affordable Care Act appeared likely to survive,” writes Sam Baker at Axios. He notes that Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh “suggested they’re unlikely to throw out the entire health care law, as Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration have urged. Their votes would be enough to save it.”
  • That assessment is a common one. “The bulk of the Affordable Care Act … appeared likely to survive,” writes Adam Liptak in the New York Times. He, too, concluded that Roberts and Kavanaugh would join the court’s three liberal justices in saving the bulk of the law, even though Republicans scrapped a key component of it, the individual mandate. “In legal terms, they said the mandate was severable from the rest of the law,” writes Liptak.
  • At the AP, Mark Sherman agrees with all of the above. It’s possible the court will determine that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but it doesn’t appear that Roberts and Kavanaugh would be willing to kill the entire law if that’s the case. He quotes Roberts: “Would Congress want the rest of the law to survive if the unconstitutional provision were severed? Here, Congress left the rest of the law intact. That seems to be a compelling answer to the question.”
  • John Kruzel of the Hill agrees, too, and he quotes Kavanaugh to make the point: “Looking at our severability precedents, it does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the act in place, the provisions regarding preexisting conditions and the rest.”
  • Ditto at the Washington Post, whose story is written by multiple reporters. They note that Roberts wrote the 2012 opinion keeping the law intact and say he (and Kavanaugh) seem inclined to do that again. Another Roberts quote, in regard to the individual mandate: “I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act,” Roberts told Texas solicitor Kyle Hawkins. He suggested lawmakers wanted the court to do that for them, “but that’s not our job.”

How long before the next challenge comes?

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Biden And The Pandemic

Biden promised that he would attack the Covid-19 on “day one” (I have always hated that statement)…..and he has been president-elect for a couple of days and he has already announced his Pandemic team…..

As coronavirus records are smashed across the US, Joe Biden isn’t wasting any time in starting to address “one of the most important battles our administration will face.” On Monday morning, the president-elect announced a 13-member Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board to “help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations,” per an emailed statement from Biden cited by Axios. Three co-chairs will helm the panel: Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general; ex-FDA Commissioner David Kessler; and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. “I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in his release.

Axios notes the “wealth of experience” on the panel, which will inform Biden’s team on how to tackle the COVID-19 problem once he takes office. Other members on the board include vaccine expert Dr. Rick Bright, the whistleblower who said he was forced to resign in October from a high-ranking Health and Human Services position because he refused to flood the New York area with hydroxychloroquine; infectious diseases expert Eric Goosby, who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations; and Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. ABC News reports Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive a briefing from the board Monday. Biden’s plan to go after COVID-19 includes increased testing and contact tracing, more investment in vaccines and treatment, possible mask mandates, more PPE, and rejoining the World Health Organization, per CNN. Check out who else is on the panel

He has taken the bull by the horns but that does not make the pandemic go away because we now have competent leadership in this time of need…..it does make the new prez look decisive…..let’s hope that is enough to beat this damn disease.

A side note–A thought on health care……Every Dem that supported Medicare For All won re-election…..As Common Dreams reported Friday, while corporate-friendly Democrats have continued to go to bat for the for-profit healthcare system that lavishes billions of dollars each year on insurance companies, for-profit hospitals, and pharmaceutical giants, a new poll this week—put out by Fox News no less—shows that 72% of all U.S. voters would prefer a “government-run healthcare plan.” And the poll is far from an outlier, with numerous surveys in recent years showing this trend.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/07/every-single-one-ocasio-cortez-notes-every-democrat-who-backed-medicare-all-won

Just a thought for this pandemic thing…..72% want M4A….and yet the Dems will work to axe that idea in favor of for profit health care……now you tell me just who these slugs truly represent.

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Remember The “Havana Syndrome”?

GOD I am bored with the lack of news…..I gotta move on to something more realistic…..A diversion while you wait for the elusive tally of votes counted……and the incessant BS from pundits on how pleased they are with the vote.

Of course the original outbreak was at the embassy in Havana….so the Cubans were to blame and it fit nicely with the Trumpian horse manure of trying to demonize Cuba…..

But what is it?

The first theory that was publicly handled, which gained rapid media relevance without having been proven by science, was that of alleged sonic attacks. The hearing conditions reported weighed more on the balance than other symptoms, to the point that today, many months later, these health incidents continue to be called that way by some people and the media, even though the researchers have already rejected that first hypothesis.

After the original attacks it same sort of thing began popping up all over…..

Remember “Havana syndrome”? That’s the term often used to describe the weird, inexplicable ailments that began affecting US diplomats in Cuba in recent years. Now two investigative pieces, one by the New York Times and the other at GQ, seek to shed more light on what’s happening. Both make clear that these incidents haven’t been confined to Cuba, but have been happening around the world. Some takeaways:

  • All over: The apparent attacks have taken place all over, including in China, Russia, Poland, Georgia, Australia, Taiwan, and even inside the US, per the GQ story. It focuses on the case of now-retired CIA official Marc Polymeropoulos, who fell ill with what he initially thought was severe food poisoning in his Moscow hotel room in late 2017. Ailments including debilitating headaches, which continue to this day, forced his early retirement.
  • The culprit? Evidence points to Russia, with GQ noting that CIA investigators were able to conclude (using location-tracking data) that Russian agents were in the vicinity when CIA officers were afflicted in some of these cases. The Times story: “Some senior Russia analysts in the CIA, officials at the State Department, and outside scientists, as well as several of the victims, see Russia as the most likely culprit given its history with weapons that cause brain injuries and its interest in fracturing Washington’s relations with Beijing and Havana.”
  • The weapon? GQ suggests that consensus is settling on some kind of “directed energy weapon,” possibly using microwaves. Russia has a history with such weapons, both stories note. Forbes spins off the Times story with an explainer on these. “A minuscule but rapid rise in tissue temperature, resulting from the absorption of pulsed microwave energy, creates a thermoelastic expansion of brain matter,” an expert tells Forbes, which likens the result to an “acoustic shock wave in the brain.”
  • Different treatment: The Times story points out that the Trump administration referred to what happened in Cuba as “targeted attacks” and evacuated personnel. But it took a much “softer” approach when cases surfaced in China, eventually labeling them as “health incidents.” For those affected, it meant they had to burn through their sick days and use unpaid leave while they recovered. No formal investigation was opened into the China cases
  • Why: “Critics say disparities in how the officers were treated stemmed from diplomatic and political considerations, including the president’s desire to strengthen relations with Russia and win a trade deal with China,” per the Times. The GQ story reports that CIA chief Gina Haspel rebuffed intel reports suggesting Russia was to blame and didn’t bring them to the White House, given President Trump’s reluctance to go after Vladimir Putin. Haspel may have found the evidence lacking, or she may have feared retribution in the form of cutbacks and wanted to protect the agency, according to the story.

Is this fact?  Or is it just another “blame Russia” moment?

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More Covid News

Closing Thought–19Oct20

If it is not about the dance for votes between Biden and Trump then it will be the horrible news around this pandemic…..

You guessed it….Pandemic.

8.2 million cases and 220,000 dead

But with those horrible numbers there is a bit of good news….

COVID-19 case numbers hit new daily highs in 10 states on Friday, but things aren’t looking great in the majority of US states on the coronavirus front. As for where things are moving in the right direction, the list is a short one. CNN reports there are just two states that logged a 10%-plus drop in the average number of cases reported over the last 7 days: Vermont and Missouri. That’s per Johns Hopkins University data, which shows Connecticut and Florida saw a 50%-plus increase over the same period. They’re at the top of a slew of states where things aren’t so hot. Per the New York Times, “Epidemiologists warn that nearly half of the states in the US are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic.” CNN reports that in 27 states, the increase over the last 7 days was between 10% and 50%. Those on that list (states not previously named or listed below saw their case counts hold steady):

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Yes that is a bit of good news but please do not fall prey to laziness.  The stats are falling because are doing the right things…not by anything the Orange dictator is doing to help this nation out of this pandemic funk.

Be Well…..Be Safe…..

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“lego ergo scribo”

That Covid Treatment For The President

Our dear Orange man in the White House spent 4 days being treated for Covid-19….and his treatment has been praised by him as exceptional and that he is now immune to the virus forever.

What is this miracle treatment that only the president has received?

To treat Trump, doctors gave him supplemental oxygen and treatments including a steroid typically used in severe COVID-19 cases and an experimental antibody cocktail created by the US biotech company Regeneron.

To test the antibody cocktail’s effectiveness, Regeneron used an “immortalized epithelial cell line,” or cells that were altered in a lab so they could last forever when they otherwise would not. These cells, now called HEK 293T cells, were derived from the kidneys of a fetus that was aborted in 1972 in the Netherlands.

(Business Insider)

Texas Alliance for Life, the Heritage Foundation, and Pro-Life Action League, plus others that didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for comment, have opposed the use of human, embryonic stem cells, including those derived from aborted fetuses, to test vaccines including a potential COVID-19 shot.

On April 17, antiabortion advocates wrote a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn asking the agency to find “ethical” ways to test a COVID-19 vaccine that would not involve cells from abortions.

How interesting…..but how does this type of research look to religions around the world?

Catholicism

In accordance with their anti-abortion stance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports adult stem cell research but opposes embryonic stem cell research since it creates or destroys human embryos.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not issued a statement on the issue of stem cell research.

Episcopal Church

In 2004, the church’s governing body, the General Convention, declared itself in favor of stem cell research as long as the embryos used would have been destroyed otherwise, the embryos were not created solely for research purposes and the embryos were not bought or sold.

(Check what your religion has to say on this research)

Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Stem Cell Research

Apparently if it is used to treat the Donald of Orange then matters not where the cells come from….hypocrites of every stripe of religion.

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8 Million And Counting

Sorry to be a downer but the US has hit a milestone…..the first nation to come to 8 million cases of Covid-19.

Not something to be proud of and definitely nothing something that should be lied about….and yet our leaders seem to do just that.

The count keeps rising and rising….and some keep ignoring and lying…..we have past the 8 million cases….and are approaching 219,000 dead…..

Less than a month after the total number of coronvirus cases reached 7 million, the US has hit the next major milestone. The nation is now the only one in the world to have 8 million reported cases, USA Today reports. That’s out of 38.9 million world cases, per Johns Hopkins‘ count. The global death toll is almost 1.1 million, while the US has counted 217,000 deaths. Researchers have said actual US total surely is higher than 8 million, per CNN, because testing capacity was low early in the pandemic.

Especially worrisome to experts is the recent jump in US daily infections, which are up 55% in a bit over a month. The one-week average of new daily cases now tops 53,000, per Johns Hopkins. Seven states had a record number of hospitalizations Thursday for COVID-19: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. And 14 set records for seven-day averages of new daily cases. The Covid Tracking Project lists the nation’s average test-positivity rate over a week at higher than 5%. “The virus is now winning,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

There are few words to describe this nation’s response to a pandemic….

Plus the toll will not stop anywhere near the current level….

As the Trump administration ignores the pleas of its own health experts and embraces a “herd immunity” strategy that scientists have condemned as fringe and dangerous, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine are predicting an 80% spike in U.S. coronavirus deaths by February as cases continue to rise across the nation.

A model designed by experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that the U.S. coronavirus death toll will soar from around 217,000 at present to 389,087 fatalities by February 1.

Under the model’s best-case scenario—in which all Americans adhere to mask guidelines—the U.S. death toll is predicted to rise to 314,000 by the beginning of February. If mask-wearing requirements are eased, the model predicts total U.S. deaths from the pandemic could rise to 477,000.

( CommonDreams)

One final thought on Donald the Orange’s embracing of the “herd immunity”….

“Instead of selling false hope that will predictably backfire, we must focus on how to manage this pandemic in a safe, responsible, and equitable way,” it reads.

https://futurism.com/neoscope/experts-herd-immunity-terrible-idea

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Be Well…..Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”