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JFKA Forum Journals of the Plague Year?


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3 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

Agree. Same here.

Joe and "W", I am in agreement also.  I watch very little TV also, and when I do, many times I will DVR the program and watch it later while flipping past all the commercials (which by the way average out to more than 3 minutes per interruption).  I am very thankful I can still afford a satellite TV service in order to do that.  When I watch any TV it is usually news related so that I can watch in "real time", such as the electoral vote recording in the House of Representatives which then became the Capitol riot.  At least there were no "commercial" breaks in coverage on CNN which I was watching along with C-Span.  I'm not sure if Fox went ahead with their commercials and talking heads during this time or not as I only occasionally checked in with them.

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Yeah.  I'm eligible.  Anyone over 50 now.  My wife had already signed me up for when this happened.  She got her first poke in the arm Tuesday.  Maybe in a few weeks I won't be so paranoid and cautious in public.  The ocean is calling.

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My prediction, some can read it and weep. History will show Sleepy Joe Biden will have been successful at using the Federal Government to largely mitigate the corona virus in the U.S. in 2021.

I fully expect that covid vaccination success would be met with the same utter astonishment, by the anti vaxxers,  with maybe even the same anger and rage that many of them had when Trump lost. Let's just hope they don't storm the Capitol this time, for their own sake. I know their pre existing excuse already.  It's a worldwide covid hoax to deny Trump re election, so of course now everybody says they're  cured!

This coupled with a relief plan that the majority of Americans approve. Of course since when do people object to be given money? Nonetheless the Republican resistance to be involved doesn't work for their party's standing. The massive influx of Capital under normal circumstances should  boost the economy for the great majority of Biden's term.

The  Republicans are using their advantage in state legislatures to massively restrict voter registration.  The only recourse the Democrats have is through Federal legislation where they currently need a 60 person vote in the Senate. This would be overcome by the Democrats ending the filibuster. The biggest problem up to now facing the Democrats ending the filibuster was that if the Republicans  win back control of Congress in 2022, and the Presidency in 2024, they can just reverse all the work the Democrats did. But with the wind at their backs with a largely successful covid relief program, and an economic relief package that also amounts to a stimulus, and the suffering future demographics of the largely, religious white male Republican party. It would seem like the perfect time to seize the moment, try to accomplish some longer term goals and force the Republican party to reform itself.

Nothing is for sure in politics. But it's quite obvious divided government was never as unproductive  as it is now. The Democrats have to try to get a little more testosterone and run the table again in 2022 and 2024.

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Apropos of the Paxton controversy in Texas...

(I'm re-printing this for WaPo non-subscribers.)

Abandoning masks now is a terrible idea. The 1918 pandemic shows why
www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/keep-your-mask-on-were-not-out-of-this-yet/2021/03/11/a4dae20e-827f-11eb-9ca6-54e187ee4939_story.html

by John M. Barry

John M. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” and distinguished scholar at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.


March 12, 2021

Abandoning masks and social distancing now would be the worst possible move for Americans and their political leaders. The 1918 pandemic teaches us why.

That pandemic came in waves that were much more distinct than what we have experienced. The first wave was extraordinarily mild. The French Army suffered 40,000 hospitalizations but only about 100 deaths. The British Grand Fleet had 10,313 sailors fall ill — but only four deaths. Troops called it “three-day fever.” It was equally mild among civilians and was not nearly as transmissible as influenza normally is.

Like SARS-CoV-2, the 1918 influenza virus jumped species from an animal to humans. As it infected more humans, it mutated. It became much more transmissible, sweeping across continents and oceans and penetrating everywhere. And as it became more transmissible, it caused a much, much more lethal second wave. It became the worst version of itself.

In that second wave, the 1918 virus had an overall case mortality in the West of 2.0 to 2.5 percent, but that average is meaningless because it primarily killed select age groups: children under 10 and adults 20 to 50. Metropolitan Life found that, of those aged 25 to 45, it killed 3.26 percent of all factory workers and 6.21 percent of all miners; and yet it barely touched the elderly.

U.S. Army training camps routinely recorded case mortality over 10 percent; at Camp Sherman in Ohio, case mortality exceeded 21 percent. In 13 studies of hospitalized pregnant women, the death rate ranged from 23 to 71 percent. In a few isolated small settlements in Alaska and Africa, it killed everyone.

Virologists expected SARS-CoV-2 to mutate more slowly than influenza, and between its emergence and November 2020, the virus did seem remarkably stable.

That’s why last year, when I was repeatedly asked whether I worried that SARS-CoV-2 would, like the 1918 virus, become more lethal, I always replied that, even during 1918’s mild first wave, that virus had on rare, isolated occasions demonstrated its potential to kill in, according to an Army report, “from 24 to 48 hours.” Since the SARS CoV-2 virus had not shown any indication — none — of increased lethality, I was not concerned.

But in the past several months, different variants have surfaced almost simultaneously in Britain, South Africa, Brazil, and now in California and New York. Each of these variants has independently developed similar and in some cases identical mutations and achieved greater transmissibility by binding more efficiently to human cells.

A virus that binds more efficiently to cells it infects would, logic suggests, also be more likely to bind to a larger number of cells, which could, in turn, increase disease severity and lethality. On Wednesday, BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal, reported that Britain’s so-called U.K. variant was 64 percent more lethal than the virus it replaced.

There is not enough data to evaluate the variants first identified in South Africa and Brazil, but whether or not they are also more lethal, one thing is certain — more variants will arise. Mutations are random. Most either make the virus so defective it can’t function or have no impact at all. But this virus has already demonstrated that it can become more deadly and evade some immune protection, making vaccines less effective. If we allow the virus additional opportunities to mutate, it will have more opportunities to become the worst version of itself.

There is no reason to expect that this virus will suddenly turn into 1918. There are limits as to how far it can mutate. But the more people who abandon masks and social distancing, the more infections can be expected — and the more variants will emerge.

In gambling terms: If you roll the dice once, yes, there is only a 2.77 percent chance you will hit snake eyes. But if you roll the dice 100,000 times, it is virtually certain snake eyes will come up several thousand times.

Right now, policymakers are making decisions that will limit — or expand — opportunities for the virus to spread and mutate. Most proposals will require weighing costs, benefits and risks, such as when and how much to reopen the economy or delaying second doses of vaccines.

Wearing masks requires none of these calculations.

We know masks decrease transmission. Lifting a masking order not only means more people will get sick and die. It also gives the virus more rolls of the dice. That is a fact.


The variants we have seen so far do not worry me much. The variants we have not yet seen . . . yes, they worry me. To increase our risks is, simply, foolish.

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14 minutes ago, Ron Bulman said:

A month ago today we were isolating even more than usual due to blowing snow and plunging temperatures.

I'd guess maybe W's snowed in today.

Winter storm pounds Denver; Colorado could get up to 4 feet of snow; 2,000 flights canceled; tornadoes, baseball-size hail hit Texas (msn.com)

This Denver blizzard is kicking my a-- today.  I shoveled 8 inches of very heavy, wet snow this morning at 7:00 AM, then went back out at 11:00 AM and shoveled another 8 inches in 20+ mph winds.  The snow has been falling so fast that the sidewalks are covered with 1-2 inches before I can even hike back up to the house.   Trying to rest up before going back out there this afternoon.  I think I'm getting old, because I don't usually feel this beat shoveling snow.

On the positive side-- no power outages yet in our neighborhood.

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I'm happy to say that yesterday afternoon the four employee's and all others seen at Home Depot in south Fort Worth were all still masking.  In spite of the governor's opening of everything.  Maybe it's mandated by management but it seems like some people get it.  About the same number masking in the grocery store this morning as have been the last few month's.

Read of positive reviews of Biden's speech.  While he stumbled, and stuttered a few times I thought he made sense.  Hold on just a little longer until we get everyone (or as many as will) vaccinated.  Go slow, hopefully small gatherings by the 4th of July.  I'm still not going into a crowded restaurant in prime time among other things, until two weeks after my second shot, whenever that may be.  

Today I isolated with my new grill/grill/smoker.  Seasoned 2/3 of it with vegetable oil per instructions, the charcoal/wood grill and attached smoker portion.  With the gas grill it's 6 1/2' long, must weigh 300 pounds.  Took 2 young men and me a second effort to load it.   Best rib's I've  ever cooked, maybe best I've ever eaten.  Beautiful day, 70 ish, sunshine, variable mediocre winds.

Char-Griller Texas Trio 3-Burner Dual Fuel Grill with Smoker in Black-3070 - The Home Depot  

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2 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

Fourth heaviest snow storm in recorded history for Denver.  Almost 46" in 1913, that was over a 4 day period but still.  Worst ever for Cheyenne Wyoming.

Biggest total from record-shattering snowstorm tops 50 inches (msn.com)

     This one wasn't the worst I've seen.

     I survived the Blizzard of '78 in Providence, Rhode Island when I was in college.  I joined a group of guys from my dorm who decided to shovel snow at a local hospital, and we ended up on the television news. 

     The main thing I remember about that Blizzard of '78 were the long rows of abandoned cars and trucks on I-95 in Providence.  It was eerie-- like a scene out of the Twilight Zone.

Gallery: A look back at the Blizzard of 1978 - providencejournal.com -  Providence, RI

 

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I'm amazed.  I get shot tomorrow at 11:00.  Calls yesterday from Tarrant County, regional HQ in Fort Worth, where I'd registered per instructions about them and Baylor Scott and White about if I was still interested.   Called county covid hotline confused about a supposed referral from TC.  We have openings tomorrow.  2 miles away vs 75.

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