Closing Thought–23Feb21

As the pandemic rages we hear horror stories from every angle…..the cases, the deaths, the job losses, etc……but there is one aspect of life now here in the US that gets very little airtime or ink…..the situation of homelessness.

AS more and more people are losing a job….they are resulting into extreme living conditions….

For months, Nicholas Atencio and his girlfriend, Heather Surovik, spent nearly every minute of their lives together in a 2000 Cadillac Escalade.

After Atencio, 33, lost his job as a plumber in May, he and Surovik, 36, delivered for Grubhub by day and at night curled up with their puppy on an air bed in the back of their car parked in a lot in Longmont, Colorado, dreaming of being reunited under one roof with Surovik’s teenage son who was living with his grandmother.

“I’m a mom, so I want to fix everything and make it better,” Surovik said. “It’s hard when you don’t have the means to do that when you can’t do anything because you don’t have anything.”

Americans are being driven into their vehicles by COVID-19 pandemic-fueled woes. And their ranks are likely to grow as the government safety net frays and evictions and foreclosures rise.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/02/12/covid-unemployment-layoffs-foreclosure-eviction-homeless-car-rv/6713901002/

It is time that the government address homelessness in all phases…..ignoring the problem has not solved it.

Americans do not want to know about this situation…..for it flies in the face of all the propaganda that they are bombarded with every day.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Remember “Herd Immunity”?

There is so much news around the pandemic raging across the planet….I try to keep my readers up-to-date on the doings around the pandemic.

That silly notion is just let the virus run its course and we will eventually become immune.

A moronic statement by our then president Donald Trump supported this silliness.

But what is this?

Herd immunity occurs when enough people become immune to a disease to make its spread unlikely. As a result, the entire community is protected, even those who are not themselves immune. Herd immunity is usually achieved through vaccination, but it can also occur through natural infection.

But will it, the Covid-19, become less harmful as it progresses?

This article may answer all your questions on this matter….it appeared on theconversation.com….

A recent modelling study painted a reassuring picture of a post-pandemic future in which SARS-CoV-2 transitions, over “a few years to a few decades”, from dangerous pathogen to just another common-cold coronavirus. This predicted loss of virulence, the authors stress, is based on a specific idiosyncrasy of the virus, namely that it rarely causes serious disease in children.

Still, many experts agreed that we should not be in the least surprised by the authors’ conclusion, as all viruses “become more transmissible and less pathogenic over time”. After all, the seductive logic goes, from an evolutionary perspective it makes no sense for a pathogen to harm the host on which it depends for its survival. According to this reasoning, virulence is little more than a temporary evolutionary imbalance.

This comfortable chain of reasoning was rudely broken by the announcement of “a realistic possibility” that the new highly transmissible B117 variant “is associated with an increased risk of death”.

https://theconversation.com/will-coronavirus-really-evolve-to-become-less-deadly-153817

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Those Damn “Variants”

The news is always about the Covid beast that is ravaging the planet….and now there are variants to the virus…..

The pandemic news is good and bad……

Good in the sense that the numbers of infections and deaths is falling…..

Bad in the sense that variants of the Covid virus is making its presence known…..

But what does that mean?

Vaccine rollout in the United States has been undeniably slow. And while we wait, worrisome new coronavirus variants are emerging, heightening the urgency to control the pandemic. Some variants, including ones first identified in Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom, have mutations that help the coronavirus evade parts of the immune system, raising the specter that some people might face a second round of COVID-19.

All of this can make it feel like the pandemic has come full circle and that we are back where we started. But even in the face of potential reinfections, the world has a tool at its disposal that didn’t exist a year ago: effective vaccines.

Shots from Pfizer and Moderna have been authorized in the United States since December 2020. Vaccines developed by Novavax and Johnson & Johnson recently announced promising results (SN: 1/28/21; SN: 1/29/21). On February 4, Johnson & Johnson became the third company to apply for emergency use authorization in the United States for its COVID-19 vaccine.

How coronavirus variants may drive reinfection and shape vaccination efforts

This is not very encouraging at this time.

 

 

Biden’s Covid Plan

Just a short observation……now that Trump has been de-throned people seem to be uninterested in what we have to replace Donald the Orange.  Just because he is gone does not mean that everything is now just duckey.

Why?

On to the Biden Covid Plan.

As the pandemic continues to rage the nation….Pres. Biden offers his plan to help control the pace of the virus.

Trump’s Operation Warp Speed was a dismal failure…..hopefully Biden has better luck.

President Joe Biden already announced a $400 billion Covid-19 plan as part of his $1.9 trillion economic relief proposal. But while he waits for Congress to act on those proposals, Biden is taking a dozen executive actions to tackle the US’s most pressing public health crisis.

Behind the executive actions is Biden’s “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” announced Thursday. The plan aims to restore public trust, scale up vaccination, expand testing and masking, reopen schools and businesses safely, and more — all with an eye on equity in terms of race, ethnicity, and urban-rural divides.

Here are some of the major points of Biden’s executive actions:

  • More vaccines: The Biden administration is taking a series of actions to boost the distribution of vaccines: FEMA will build vaccination centers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will launch a new federal pharmacy program, and states will have new “Covid Response Liaisons to foster more cooperation, similar to those used during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
  • Leverage the Defense Production Act: Whether it’s for testing or vaccines, supply chains have repeatedly broken down during America’s response to Covid-19. Biden has promised to fix that, leveraging a federal law known as the Defense Production Act to prioritize and boost the production and distribution of supplies that are necessary to combat the virus.
  • Reimburse states for some personnel and supplies: With the economy still weak, states and local governments have seen revenues drop throughout the pandemic, leaving them unable to pay for all they need to combat Covid-19. The Biden administration has promised a bit of relief by offering to reimburse states through FEMA for the use of the National Guard and some supplies.
  • Set up a pandemic test board: A year after the coronavirus was discovered, America still doesn’t have the testing infrastructure that experts argue is needed to properly contain the disease. Biden will set up a board that will attempt to track down what the hold-ups are here and recommend how to fix them.
  • Improve data collection and sharing: Local and state officials have complained they often don’t know how many vaccine doses they’re getting from the federal government and when. Biden will try to ameliorate that through an executive order and other actions trying to improve data collection and sharing with all levels of government and the broader public.
  • More support to schools and workers: Through various federal agencies, Biden will move to provide more guidance and regulations to help schools and businesses reopen safely.
  • New federal roles for pandemic response: Biden created a new position of Covid-19 response coordinator, who “will report directly to the President and be responsible for coordinating all elements of the COVID-19 response across government.” And he reestablished the National Security Council’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which will oversee, in part, pandemic response for the White House.
  • Rejoining the World Health Organization: Biden also rescinded Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, promising to rejoin and help reform the group. Anthony Fauci will attend the organization’s January 21 meeting while acting as head of the delegation.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22241060/biden-covid-19-coronavirus-executive-actions-orders-mask-mandate

Good plan but do not get too excited yet….Biden will need the Congress to come through with the plan…..and we know how fickle the Congress can be.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More Covid News

If you are like me then you are weary of all the negative news around the pandemic that is raging the planet.

I wish I could be the bearer of good news about the virus but so far there is not much positivity.

Now the numbers so far…..25,00,000 cases and 420,000 deaths nation wide….My state of Mississippi….263,000 cases and 5,750 deaths.

All tragic numbers…..tragic because some of it is unnecessary…..

The positive news is that the vaccine is becoming more and more available…..and the shots are starting to make it into the public domain.

Sorry to be a downer…..but the new strains are starting to appear and the effect on the known vaccine is not good.

Scientists are reporting troubling signs that some recent mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19 may modestly curb the effectiveness of two current vaccines, although they stress that the shots still protect against the disease, the AP reports. Researchers expressed concern Wednesday about the preliminary findings, in large part because they suggest that future mutations could undermine vaccines. The research tested coronaviruses from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, and was led by Rockefeller University in New York with scientists from the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere

One way vaccines work is to prompt the immune system to make antibodies that block the virus from infecting cells. The Rockefeller researchers got blood samples from 20 people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and tested their antibodies against various virus mutations in the lab. With some, the antibodies didn’t work as well against the virus—activity was one-to-threefold less, depending on the mutation, said the study leader, Rockefeller’s Dr. Michel Nussenzweig. “It’s a small difference but it is definitely a difference,” he said. The antibody response is “not as good” at blocking the virus. Earlier research established that the two vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness. The latest findings were posted Tuesday on a website for researchers and have not yet been published in a journal or reviewed by other scientists.

We need some good news…..good news that remains good news around this pandemic.

Remember Operation Warp Speed?

That was the Trump plan to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible…..what it did was create chaos…..

Hospitals and clinics across the country are canceling vaccine appointments because the Trump administration tells states how many doses they’ll receive only one week at a time, making it all but impossible to plan a comprehensive vaccination campaign.

The decision to go week by week was made by Operation Warp Speed’s chief operating officer, Gen. Gustave Perna, because he didn’t want to count on supplies before they were ready. Overly optimistic production forecasts turned out to be a major disappointment in the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine more than a decade ago, also leading to canceled appointments and widespread frustrations with the government’s messaging.

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-operation-warp-speed-created-vaccination-chaos

Let’s hope that Biden’s plan is a better fit for us.  (More on this plan next week)

Then there are the criminals that look for favoritism…..like the doctor that stole the vaccine…

A Houston doctor is out of work this morning after reports that he was allegedly fired after being charged with stealing several doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to give to his friends and family.

Dr. Hasan Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, is accused of stealing a vial of about 9 doses of the Moderna vaccine while working at a vaccination site in Houston.

Prosecutors say Gokal gave the vaccines to several people, including his wife.

Gokal was fired after an investigation by the health department. He’s facing a charge of theft by a public servant and if convicted, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

A statement put out Thursday from Harris County DA Kim Ogg says Gokal “abused his position,” and will be held accountable.

(radio.com)

I say burn his ass!

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Pandemic And Privacy

It has been a helluva month and year so far.

While the sedition runs wild in this country there is still a pandemic killing Americans.

We all have been effected by the raging pandemic that just seems to get bigger and bolder as it rips through the nation. Some have been inconvenienced by social distancing or masking or food shortages, prices or TP shortages……but as this year, 2020, ends a thought popped into my head…..how has our privacy been compromised by all this pandemic stuff?

Fortunately for me someone else had the same thought and it saved me lots of endless reading….

I try to avoid sites and services that invade my privacy, collect my data, and track my actions. Then the pandemic came, and I threw most of that out the window. You probably did, too.

I gave away tons of personal data to get the things I needed. Food came from grocery and restaurant delivery services. Everything else — clothes, kitchen tools, a vanity ring light for Zoom calls, office furniture — came from online shopping platforms. I took an Uber instead of public transportation. Zoom became my primary means of communication with most of my coworkers, friends, and family. I attended virtual birthdays and funerals. Therapy was conducted over FaceTime. I downloaded my state’s digital contact tracing tool as soon as it was offered. I put a camera inside my apartment to keep an eye on things when I fled the city for several weeks.

Millions of Americans have had a similar pandemic experience. School went remote, work was done from home, happy hours went virtual. In just a few short months, people shifted their entire lives online, accelerating a trend that would have otherwise taken years and will endure after the pandemic ends — all while exposing more and more personal information to the barely regulated internet ecosystem. At the same time, attempts to enact federal legislation to protect digital privacy were derailed, first by the pandemic and then by increasing politicization over how the internet should be regulated.

https://www.vox.com/recode/22189727/2020-pandemic-ruined-digital-privacy

Please be careful when using the internet….these days it is a more dangerous place.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Are You A Zombie Movie Fan?

Do you enjoy watching the Walking Dead or any of the wide array of zombie movies?

My daughter was for a couple of years and even prepared for the impending doom…she since come to her senses.

But there is a study around the pandemic threatening the world that says that zombie movies helped to prepare for the pandemic.

Let’s be honest – we all watch tales of hardened heroes tackling post-apocalyptic worlds filled with zombie hordes, and some part of us thinks “I could be like that”. Sure, you may have no survival skills whatsoever, but should zombies come knocking on the gates you would rise to the occasion and win the day, based on your knowledge taken only from World War Z and The Walking Dead.  

Whilst that may not be strictly true, new research from Penn State University suggests that indulging in zombie movies, as well as horror and Sci-Fi, may have helped some people be more prepared for the harsh realities of 2020 and the ongoing pandemic. 

The study found that people who enjoy horror movies showed less distress during the COVID-19 lockdowns, whilst those that watch survival (or ‘prepper’) movies were more prepared to face the pandemic. The findings were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences and may help us to understand how the entertainment we enjoy translates into real-world applications. 

https://www.iflscience.com/brain/zombie-movies-may-have-prepared-people-for-a-pandemic-suggests-study/amp.html

I am not a fan of zombie stuff….but I do live in zone that sees frequent hurricanes so I am always prepared for the worse.

As far as social distancing goes….since I retired I have been a functioning hermit….so the social distancing that is required during this pandemic has not really effected my adversely.

Be Well….Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Should I Double Mask?

With the pandemic raging again and the whispers of a second virus the big question that is circling around the internet…..is would I be safer if I double mask?

The good news: “Americans will not need to be wearing masks forever,” infectious disease physician Monica Gandhi tells the New York Times. But until maskless days come again, some experts are recommending double-masking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. “If you combine layers, you start achieving pretty high efficiencies,” virus transmission expert Linsey Marr tells the Times. Studies have shown a correlation between wearing masks and lowering COVID-19 transmission rates because they impede virus-laden spittle.

“The air has to follow this tortuous path. The big things it’s carrying are not going to be able to follow those twists and turns” of the fabric, Marr says. Layering two masks, such as a cloth mask over a surgical mask, can provide protection on par with that from a N95 mask, she adds. There are some drawbacks to wearing multiple masks, per NPR. For one, adding too many layers can make it hard to breathe. And, you may be tempted to adjust your masks more often, increasing the chances of introducing viral particles to your mask.

Hope this helps.

Be Well….Be Safe

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Can We Out Fox The Covid Blues?

As the weekend begins I would like to turn from the drama in DC…..

Many Americans are having a hard time with the social distancing and such…..sadly their is a mental illness that is brought on by the virus and precautions….

There’s evidence of more harm done by COVID-19: new-onset psychosis. Patients who have had the virus but have no history of mental illness are suffering from serious psychotic symptoms, including frightening and potentially dangerous delusions. The number of affected patients is not high, the New York Times reports, but the problem is being reported around the world. “My guess is any place that is seeing COVID is probably seeing this,” said a doctor at Duke University Medical Center. Scattered cases of psychosis and mania have been linked to other viruses before, including SARS and MERS. “We think that it’s not unique to COVID,” said a psychiatrist who suggested studying those cases might shed light on current ones. A study on a National Institutes of Health site in September said the new coronavirus can increase risk of suicidal behavior.

A 42-year-old patient had visions of her children being murdered, and she said she’d thought up a plan to kill them herself. A 36-year-old tried to pass her children through the pick-up window at a fast-food restaurant to prevent their kidnapping. A 30-year-old man thought his cousin was going to kill him, so he tried to strangle the relative first. The cause of the episodes isn’t known, but it could be linked to the body’s immune response or surges of inflammation after infection. Most of the patients with such episodes didn’t become severely ill with the virus, per the Times. Among the unusual factors is the age of the patients; most are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, while schizophrenia usually begins with younger people and dementia with older. Also, some of the patients realized that something was wrong with them mentally.

 A viral side effect that gets little attention….but there may be a way to brighten the Covid Blues….

First why is the Covid Blues so hard to turn off…..

  • First, our genes make us worrywarts. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors survived by assuming every rustle in the grasses was a lurking hungry lion, not harmless birds hunting for seeds. We’re essentially programmed to be hyperaware of threats, and our brains rapidly launch stress chemicals and negative emotions in response.

  • Second, the chemical cascade of stress hormones in the brain associated with negative emotions impairs cognitive flexibility, goal-directed behavior and self-control.

  • Third, our tendency to avoid dealing with negative emotions puts people in a perpetual cycle of ignoring unpleasant feelings, which amplifies stress and the risk of emotional health problems.

Traditional approaches for coping with stress were based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on modifying patterns of thinking and behavior. It was developed before our modern understanding of stress overload.

Researchers at New York University discovered a paradox: Although cognitive methods were effective in low-stress situations, they were less effective when dealing with the high stress of modern life.

Emotional brain training works with these high-stress emotions in an effort to tame them, releasing negative emotions as the first of two steps in preventing stress overload.

https://theconversation.com/how-to-outsmart-your-covid-19-fears-and-boost-your-mood-in-2021-149139

It is an interesting read if you suffer from some sort of mental breakdown because of the pandemic….try you may like it.

I personally have no problem since my forced retirement I have become functioning hermit……basically because the stupidity that I had encountered in the days before my major injury in 2005.

I do hope if you are having these feelings please at least read this article and try to cope as best you can….or make a visit to a mental health pro.

Be Smart!

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–08Jan21

Have you gotten your stim check?

Some of us we wanting the $2000 and got $600.

The promise was that there may be a further expanding of the stim packages….the possible good news is we may yet get that $2000.

It got a little lost in the shuffle of Wednesday’s chaos in DC, but the pair of Democratic Senate wins in Georgia means that Americans might get $2,000 in COVID relief checks after all. In this case, that would likely mean an additional payment of $1,400 on top of the $600 that started going out late last month. “One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to American families,” Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday, per MarketWatch. Schumer is poised to become the Senate majority leader now that Democrats will have control. When this might happen remains unclear, notes the Washington Post. For one thing, the Georgia races still must be certified, and it’s possible Republican challenges will arise.

In December, Republicans led by Mitch McConnell blocked the additional money in the Senate, recounts Fox News. At the conservative Hot Air, Ed Morrissey suggests it was a blunder that might have cost Republicans control of the Senate. “Had McConnell just allowed HR9051 to get a floor vote, perhaps it might have been enough for David Perdue to win his runoff against Jon Ossoff,” he writes. “Alas, we’ll never know.” Not surprisingly, Nancy Pelosi says the House is on board with the bigger checks, as it was last month. In the first weeks of the Joe Biden administration, “we will pursue a science- and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families,” she says.

It is time to get serious about an economic recovery during this pandemic.

Be Well….Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”