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JFKA Forum Journals of the Plague Year?


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21 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

I guess by November I'll be able to get on a list, after I turn 65.

I just got an appointment for the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, March 5th.  I got lucky, because it's the very first day that I became eligible here in Denver.

Meanwhile, it's worrisome to hear about Governor Abbot terminating COVID precautions in Texas.

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1 hour ago, W. Niederhut said:

I just got an appointment for the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, March 5th.  I got lucky, because it's the very first day that I became eligible here in Denver.

Meanwhile, it's worrisome to hear about Governor Abbot terminating COVID precautions in Texas.

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Right before spring break, screw masks, open the bars and restaurants fully.  Party hearty.  Wait on vaccinations?  Ha ha ha.  I fully expect a significant resurgence in cases and deaths in a month, climbing from that point.

He's running for governor again.  Trying to distract the base from his leadership failure in the great freeze out.

My only long term hope is enough voters remember the freeze out.  And the fact O'Rourke now has name recognition and a base.  Maybe false hope.  But a year ago I doubted any of the Democrats running would beat the chump.

Beto O'Rourke Calls Gov. Greg Abbott's Reopening Order a 'Death Warrant for Texans' (msn.com)

Texas disaster puts Beto O’Rourke back in business - POLITICO

 

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13 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

Right before spring break, screw masks, open the bars and restaurants fully.  Party hearty.  Wait on vaccinations?  Ha ha ha.  I fully expect a significant resurgence in cases and deaths in a month, climbing from that point.

He's running for governor again.  Trying to distract the base from his leadership failure in the great freeze out.

My only long term hope is enough voters remember the freeze out.  And the fact O'Rourke now has name recognition and a base.  Maybe false hope.  But a year ago I doubted any of the Democrats running would beat the chump.

Beto O'Rourke Calls Gov. Greg Abbott's Reopening Order a 'Death Warrant for Texans' (msn.com)

Texas disaster puts Beto O’Rourke back in business - POLITICO

 

Beto O'Rourke: Gov. Abbott’s mask mandate reversal ‘sure looks politically convenient’ (msn.com)

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       I got my first Pfizer COVID vaccine shot today at a local Safeway pharmacy-- one year after the first reported cases of COVID appeared here in Colorado.  Not too crowded.  The lady in line in front of me was a grocery store worker, and I was surprised to hear that she and her colleagues had to wait so long to get vaccinated.

       Feels like a brand new day!  I haven't been to the hair salon for a haircut since March 19, 2020, and my hair hasn't been this long since the days when we wore bell bottoms and wondered if John Lennon buried Paul.

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4 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

       I got my first Pfizer COVID vaccine shot today at a local Safeway pharmacy-- one year after the first reported cases of COVID appeared here in Colorado.  Not too crowded.  The lady in line in front of me was a grocery store worker, and I was surprised to hear that she and her colleagues had to wait so long to get vaccinated.

       Feels like a brand new day!  I haven't been to the hair salon for a haircut since March 19, 2020, and my hair hasn't been this long since the days when we wore bell bottoms and wondered if John Lennon buried Paul.

Congratulations W.  My wife's scheduled for next week.  Guess I'll try to hunker down even harder given Abbott's 100% open/no masks declaration.  Though slipping away to Port Aransas for a couple of day's before spring break starts is mighty tempting after our freeze out.

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1 hour ago, Douglas Caddy said:

This is a real Pandora's Box-- the effect of digital technology on cognitive and perceptual development.

One issue is sensory overload, over-stimulation.  For example, my daughters (in their mid-20s) have difficulty listening to a symphony or opera, or even watching most old movies from the 1950s and 60s, because the pace and editing of scenes is less frenetic than that of most modern films, television shows, and, especially, ads.  

On the flip side, I have difficulty watching modern television ads, (e.g., during the Super Bowl) because of the ultra-rapid barrage of images and sounds.  It's like a video game--too much for me to process in the manner to which I'm accustomed.  So, I rarely watch anything on television.

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2 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

This is a real Pandora's Box-- the effect of digital technology on cognitive and perceptual development.

One issue is sensory overload, over-stimulation.  For example, my daughters (in their mid-20s) have difficulty listening to a symphony or opera, or even watching most old movies from the 1950s and 60s, because the pace and editing of scenes is less frenetic than that of most modern films, television shows, and, especially, ads.  

On the flip side, I have difficulty watching modern television ads, (e.g., during the Super Bowl) because of the ultra-rapid barrage of images and sounds.  It's like a video game--too much for me to process in the manner to which I'm accustomed.  So, I rarely watch anything on television.

Agree. Same here. 

I remember back in the 1950's and 60's when a commercial break on a television show advertised "1" product!

Now, they can actually run through 10 to 12 (or even more!)  products during a commercial break.

To me it's dizzying.

I almost always just press the mute button and get up and do something else until my show comes back on.

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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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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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