So it turns out

that your immune system is like much else in the human body.

If you don’t use it you lose it.

NZ children and immunity debt

RSV running worse than usual through kids returning to normal

Plus multiple reports across FB and Twitter from people returning to work and promptly getting sick.

This isn’t new. Exposure to a new environment results in exposure to new bugs. This is a good thing that keeps your immune system nimble and working, and mild exposure in the normal course of things is easier for your immune system to cope with than when you suddenly dump everything on it at once. Studies have known for a while that kids who’re allowed to be exposed to a wider variety of bacteria and the like tend to have sturdier immune systems than those who’re kept away from everything.

Except that we, as a country and a world, just spent the last year hiding away from the rest of humanity, dousing ourselves and our worlds with sanitizers and bleach, and generally trying to avoid anything that might make us sniffle.

We did this to our children, are STILL doing this to our children in many states, at a point in their development where they need that exposure the most to help their immune systems develop properly. And at a point in their lives where they need exposure to faces and learning emotions the most, we instead forced them and the adults around them to wear masks. Forced them to avoid many of the adult encounters that normally enrich their lives. Forced them to avoid Grandma, and Auntie, who normally are huge parts of their lives and how they learn to talk and interact. Forced them to avoid their friends. At a time when they most need those interactions to learn how to do and act and emote correctly. Never mind all the special needs kids who lost out on all sorts of assistances and services that they need just to LIVE rather than SURVIVE. Never mind the toll on Grandma, and Auntie, when they lost all in person contact with family, something that no zoom call can make up for.

And on top of that, and on top of the “discovery” that healthy, fit people who exercised regularly were far less likely to suffer from severe covid (at a time when many states and cities were forcing people to avoid going out to parks and beaches and even casual walking). It turns out that previous exposure to similar viruses (like, you know, the common cold), actually made it more likely you’d end up with mild to no covid symptoms. But nope, god forbid you get the sniffles.

Of course, there’s folks who are now so freaked out by the idea of getting sick, with ANYTHING, that they want the world to keep masking and huddling away from the rest of humanity.

Never mind that doing so is almost the ultimate expression of bias against the blue collar middle and lower class workers of all races and backgrounds.

The plain and simple fact is that the economy doesn’t run itself.

You need food to survive. Someone has to run the grocery store. Someone has to drive the trucks to get it to the store. Run the processor to processes the food from raw to ready to buy form. Run the farm to grow the food. None of these people have a choice in going out to work because THEY want to food to survive. And to top it off, if you’re going to huddle at home, terrified to go to the grocery store, an additional someone has to go to the store for you, pick out your groceries and deliver them to you.

Someone has to keep the water plants running. The gas stations. The mail (never mind the mess if the water stopped running, can you picture the uproar if the USPS stopped delivering mail because they were scared of the virus?). The doctors offices need not only doctors, but nurses, janitors, receptionists.

Your fridge stopped working? Guess what, the guy who comes out to repair it is suddenly pretty essential huh? What if he can’t fix it and you have to buy a new one, gosh, all those people involved in the manufacture of new appliances, the delivery of the various parts and of the finished appliance, the guys who bring it into your house and install it for you. All pretty essential after all.

Even if the .GOV could afford to pay everyone to stay home and hibernate away from those evil viruses (which, as I just discussed, turns out to be not actually a good idea), it’s just not actually possible for everyone to do so and keep society running. Infact there’s a fairly large percentage of workers who NEED to go to work if society is going to keep running. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not actually understand how things actually work.

The mental, emotional, and physical health toll from this shut down is going to reverberate in the world for a long time. Possibly for generations, as the kids whose ability to learn how to interact with people was stunted by this then go on to raise equally stunted children of their own.

We screwed over our immune systems at a time when we needed them working at their best.

We just set back all sorts of medical treatments for major things, like oh, tuberculosis (they’re predicting an ADDITIONAL MILLION PLUS cases just because of the 3 month lockdown). Or African Malaria.

We forced people to do without “non-essential” medical tests and treatments without regard to what those treatments were actually for, and terrified many many more people into avoiding doctors offices and hospitals until it was to late for them, and even if they could and did try to see a doctor wait times to see your regular doctor went through the roof thanks to covid.

Think I’m exaggerating based on a few news reports?

A couple months ago I ended up sitting in the local ER, listening to a guy a few seats over gripe about how his doctor was only doing video appts for 90% of his appts and how this guy has neither computer nor smartphone and therefor hadn’t been able to get in to see his doctor for damn near a year and how now his blood pressure was through the roof. I happened to be sitting in the back waiting on bloodwork when they did his triage, and the nurse came running out of the door to the triage room to get a dose of meds because she had a guy who’s BP was 294/something I forget. Sure I don’t know his situation personally, so maybe he was lying. But from the discussion the nurses and techs had, he wasn’t their first such case of the day.

Oh, and that ER? So backed up that the ambulances bringing in car accident patients were having to drop them in the waiting room unless they were in cardiac arrest right now.

When I called MY doctors office the next morning, to arrange an appt for the ER followup, the next available in person appt was over a month out. (I’m fine, and if they hadn’t closed half the urgent cares in town, cause COVID!!!! I’d have just gone to one of those instead of the ER. Did I mention how covid fucked over everyone’s ability to get health care?)

To top it off we fucked over the supply chain but good. Don’t let those full shelves at the stores deceive you. The stores are all having trouble getting in products. Home Depot has been paying extra to have products air-freighted into the country, and even just contracted their own container ship, in an attempt to get around some of the problems. But that only gets around the final item shipping problems. Just about every manufacturer out there is having problems getting the components and raw materials they need. Shipping, trucking, mining, manufacturing, building, assembly, around the world is fucked. Another lockdown for just about any reason is only going to break things further.

Did you know that the forced remote learning has resulted in many many school systems “losing” 10,000’s of kids? Kids who just aren’t logging into classes, either because they can’t (due to lack of computer, or internet, or the like) or because they just disappeared off the map. Kids who are logging into classes are still falling behind. Multiple states are reporting significant increases in mental health problems in teens and younger. Significant increases in hospitalizations for attempts at self harm, discussions of self harm, and other similar behaviors. (oh, but don’t worry, FB’s fact checkers will point out that the actual suicide rates are down! You know why? They only count successful suicides, and about the only good point of the shut downs is that with people home more suicide attempts were stopped.)

Crushing toll of lockdowns on children

Teen Mental Health Emergency in Colorado

Pandemic’s Cost To Teenagers

Schools that did have in person lessons this past school year frequently reported noticeable lacking and falling behind of children’s social behaviors. Like, potty training, vocabulary, ability to feed themselves.

I’m not saying that some extra cleaning of public places isn’t a good thing, the general public is a dirty nasty mass and some extra cleaning is by far worth it.

I’m not saying that the sudden proliferation of delivery services, and curbside services isn’t a good thing. The way it opens up both additional jobs, AND additional services and options to those who are sick, or frail, or otherwise home-bound is a good thing.

And the widening of work from home options opens up so many doors for so many people. That is also a good thing.

And I’d LOVE if people came out of this with a better recognition that maybe going into work sick (because I’m not THAT sick) isn’t a good thing.

But the insane panic, that I might get SICK!!!!! that has come out of this has got to stop. We have done SO MUCH harm.

Additional links for consideration:

Consequences of the shutdown on the human microbiome

Type 2 Diabetes doubles in children in the last year

Youth Mental Health Crisis from Covid

Household covid risk with in person schooling

Covid Death Toll 25% lower than reported in Alameda

Covid Hospitalizations of Children Over Reported by 40% in some CA hospitals

CO reduced Covid death numbers by 24%

I could go on, and on. But I think this makes my case well enough.

Edited to add one more link, cause I can’t resist.

The kids were safe the whole time.


Its all connected

The COVID-19 vaccine will require billions of glass vials—but lockdowns are cratering the supply of recycled glass

When the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S., recycling rates started to drop. Some cities suspended curbside recycling; in other areas, the recycling centers that sort through waste had to close because workers couldn’t safely stay 6 feet apart. Several states suspended the bottle bills that pay consumers to bring containers back to stores. Some haulers started taking recyclables to landfills.

……

“We’ve designed our manufacturing process to use significant quantities of recycled glass, and so have all their other glass manufacturers in the country,” says Randy Burns, vice president of governmental affairs at O-I Glass, a major producer. “It takes less energy and heat to use recycled glass. So if you’ve designed your equipment to run on a high percentage of that, you have a choice to make if there’s no recycled content available. You can use more virgin raw materials, yes. But the equipment may not produce the same quantity of those products because it has to run at higher temperatures. And the configuration isn’t optimized for that input.”

Turns out that “non-essential” just means “some politician has decided we don’t need it”. But I knew that back in March 2020.


Unpopular opinion time

Over the last year I have slowly come to the realization that the phrase “if it saves just one life” might just be one of the most selfish sayings ever.

We’ll likely never know if the forced shutdowns and closures actually saved people’s lives (from dying of covid19) or not. They may well have.

The problem is that at the same time that the closures may have prevented deaths from covid19, they caused deaths from other things.

Suicide rates are up across the country, especially in the child populations. And the mental health of the remainder has taken a hell of a hit.

The elderly and people living in community housing are suddenly dying of loneliness and depression as their contact with family and the outside world was cut off.

Reports of drug overdoses and deaths have also continued to rise, reports of domestic abuse and rape as well.

And we’ll likely never know what the long term medical side effects of the forced lack of “non-essential” medical care for an extended period did to the world-wide population.

Unemployment continues to climb, small businesses continue to fail at astronomical rates. The tolls of high unemployment on a population are well known, all by itself it means an increase in suicide rates, drug overdose, and domestic abuse. How many small businesses that had been around for generations have to close due to the shut downs for it to count? What do you think that has done to the mental health of those people, to watch their businesses fail?

Every business that fails, every now unemployed person, is that many fewer to pay taxes. And all those stimulus checks and payments have to come from somewhere. What happens when there’s fewer people paying taxes? I can guarantee that the various politicians won’t be taking pay cuts to make up the difference.

The food supply chain still isn’t back to normal. We’re damn close to a year out from the original forced shutdown here in the USA, but the grocery store shelves STILL aren’t back to where they were prior. Never mind the supply chains for so many other things.

And that’s all without getting into the political climate. Something close to half the country now believes that the corrupt run the country and nothing they can say or do (legally) is going to make a difference. Something close to the other half of the country is happily calling for the blood, forced unemployment and re-education, and even death, of the first half. Oh sure, it’s more involved than that, but as someone who’s had a front row seat to how both sides think, I think that pretty well sums it up.

All those people who suicided due to the shutdown. All those people who died from lack of medical care, or who will die due to lack of medical care, during the shutdown. All those people who’s lives are now in a downward spiral because of the shutdown. They all had as much a right to live as the folks the shutdown was supposed to protect. “If it saves one life” is fucking useless if it kills 2. Its selfish as hell is what it is.

All of this has been running through my brain for a while. It’s part of why I’ve stuck to memes so much. I’m not prone to depression, but god it’s depressing to look at the bigger picture.


Really??

Look, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I firmly believe that human stupidity and greed is capable of making up for any such, and that the average human couldn’t keep a secret that long anyway.

But when they do stupid shit like this:

Its enough to make even me wonder.

I’d love to see the various politicians get their asses handed to them, but I’m starting to think that the ones we really need to go after is the media…..


Vaccine numbers, reality

If one more person tells me “omg, we have a vaccine, we can get back to normal!!!!”…..

Ok, numbers.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses. Pfizer says it plans to produce 1,300,000,000 doses by the end of 2021. That’s 650,000,000 vaccinated people if everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected problems.

According to the US Census bureau there’s over 330,000,000 people in the USA. So IN THEORY Pfizer can vaccinate everyone in the USA by the end of 2021 no problem.

Of course, Pfizer is also sending some of that vaccine outside of the USA, (which makes sense, because if we don’t vaccinate the entire god-dammed world the virus is just going to spread and mutate to the point where who knows if the vaccine will work,) but hey, there’s other vaccines about to be on the market. Let’s assume (and as of right now that’s a hell of an assumption, but hey, we’ll run with it) Moderna can also produce enough vaccines to vaccinate 650,000,000 people by the end of 2021.

The same Census bureau link above says estimated world population is over 7,730,000,000. Assuming vaccine production as stated above, thats approx 1/7 of the world’s population vaccinated. But hey, Australia is also working on a vaccine, so another 650,000,000 people vaccinated (maybe, if we’re lucky). And while I’ve not been following TO closely I’m sure other countries are also trying to develop vaccines.

But 7.7 billion people is ALOT of doses of vaccine, even if all the other vaccines are single shots not doubles like Pfizer’s.

Assuming that nothing goes wrong with production or distribution. Hint, things are already trying to go wrong.

That assumes that all vaccines are equally good at preventing people from getting sick, not all countries medical establishments are up to USA standards.

Or that they’ll actually stop the spread of the virus. Hint, last time I checked Pfizer’s vaccine stopped you from feeling the symptoms of Covid19, but they didn’t actually know if it stopped you from SPREADING the virus, which is a bit of a loophole since even if everyone in the world WANTED the vaccine there are people who CAN NOT get it.

And hell, they don’t actually know how many people, minimum, they have to vaccinate in order to ensure herd immunity. So while yes, they probably don’t actually have to vaccinate all 7.7 billion people in order to stop the spread, they have no way of knowing when they’ll hit that benchmark.

And that assumes everyone is willing and able to take the vaccine. As noted above there are people who are going to be medically advised NOT to take it. And polls are varying, by ALOT, of what percentage of people are going to be WILLING to take the vaccine, at least here in the USA. I’m seeing numbers saying between 30 to over 50% of people are either planning on refusing the vaccine, or are planning on waiting as long as possible because they worry about the side effects. Right or wrong it’s going to happen that people are going to refuse it, and it’s not going to be just the usual vaccine refusers either.

Covid19 isn’t going to go away any time soon. And if you think all the various businesses that keep being partially or fully shut down are going to last through another year of this mess you’re dreaming. Nor can our government afford to bail out the entire USA for another year, or years.

Nor are you going to get everyone to wear a mask, this is the USA, right or wrong our fight reflex is to strong. It’s not going to happen. Making people criminals for not wearing a mask, while releasing criminals because OMG they might get sick in prison, is counter productive.

Look, if you feel safer wearing a mask, wear it. If you feel safer keeping your kid out of school cause you’re worried about the school spread then do it (hint, more and more studies are showing remarkably little spread via in person schooling) then figure out a way to keep them properly educated and socialized from home. If you feel safer not getting your nails done, hair cut, or eating out, then do what you need to do to make you feel safe.

And I do think that the spread of hands free shopping, and deliveries, and curb-side pick-ups and the like is a good thing. As is the recognition that the general public is a filthy mass and maybe we should all be cleaning a bit more to stop the spread of things like the flu. And I’d definitely like to see a wider recognition that if you’re sick, even if it’s “just a cold”, then stay home.

But this screaming panic over this is doing SO MUCH MORE damage than the virus itself. Even if all the long term side effects of getting it turn out to be truly bad.

No, I don’t want your grandma to die of Covid so that the rest of us can have “normal” lives. But I don’t want your grandma dying of loneliness and despair in a nursing home because she hasn’t seen her family in person in months, or even touched another human being, either.

I don’t want women dying of breast cancer, or ovarian cancer, because they missed their annual checkup which would have found it and so it doesn’t get caught until to late. Or any one of another from a HUGE list of medical problems that preventive and voluntary medical procedures are meant to catch.

And I’m sick to hell already of watching small business after small business fail this year after their owners have struggled to keep them going.

And all that IS happening.

And maybe, just maybe, consider that the USA’s news cycle thrives on the negative, and that maybe, just maybe, you’re being fed deliberately bad news in order to hook you in. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s how they survive. I noticed it all the way back on 9/11/2001, so its not new.

So take a deep breath, step away from the news pages telling you how bad it is, and figure out how to live.

Edit:

shortly after posting the above I found THIS. *sarcasm* But hey, we’re protecting the children, so its all ok. */sarcasm*

And its not just the kids. Winter is a horrible time for depresion anyway, especially after the holidays. This year? Well, the holidays aren’t going to be very holiday-ish. I can guarantee that more and more adults are feeling depressed this year too. Between the fear of the virus, fear of job security, fear of loss of income, and how am I going to feed my family, on top of lack of socializing and interacting. I’ve certainly seen deteriorating interpersonal skills in my customers since this started. I’m sure the depression is right there with it. If you need additional help to get through this make sure you get it.

And yah, stay away from the news. Its not worth it.


No No No No!

Ran across this article yesterday.

Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.

…….

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”

…….

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/11/biden-covid-advisor-says-us-lockdown-of-4-to-6-weeks-could-control-pandemic-and-revive-economy.html

Ok, first of all, where the hell do you plan to GET that much money?? Oh I know, you’ll borrow it. Nice, that’ll TOTALLY solve the economy problem…..And what about those of us who work for big sized companies? I mean, sure, my job is actually pretty secure, but not ALL big sized companies are. And if THEY start failing……that’s a hell of a trigger point there.

Then there’s the little fact that the economy is about more than just money. Money is only good for buying things. If you shut everything down again there won’t be anything to buy you moron! All the stimulus paychecks in the world won’t solve THAT.

You DO recall what happened in March when things shut down right? Despite frantic attempts to keep SOMETHING on the store shelves just about every store that was able to remain open ended up with empty shelves. Canned foods? Nope. Milk? Nope. Paper goods? Nope. Peanut butter? Nope. Disinfecting cleaning supplies? Nope. And while some of that was the result of people panicking and buying whatever they could get their hands on, not all of it was. Manufacturers are currently HOPING they’ll be able to be back to normal schedules at some point in 2021. HOPING! They are NOT caught up. Not even Kinda. Another 6 week shutdown, before they’re caught up? No, no, no, no…..

Oh, but the grocery shelves are back to normal! Right? No, no they aren’t. And neither are the cleaning supplies. Or, or, or…..the stores have just become really creative at how they stock the shelves. But if you know what you’re looking for? Yah, its really really obvious. Look, I’ve mentioned before that I have a wholesale foods account. The pricelist from the wholesaler back in March was 30 pages long, single column. Their current price list? 2 pages, double column. There’s SO MUCH stuff they can’t get right now. And what they can get, quantities still aren’t back to normal. And cleaning supplies? Look, I personally sell those at my work. There are entire brand lines of products that I haven’t seen even a single case of since this started.

And don’t get me started on Christmas. I hate to advocate buying your Christmas decor early. But this year? Buy it now. Or it won’t be there when you do go to the store. The ONLY thing we have plenty of stock of is pre-lit trees. We have NO backstock of ornaments. Barely any backstock of yard decor and blowups. No where NEAR enough backstock of lights. And the stock we do have? The selection isn’t near as wide as usual.

And then there’s the fact that the shutdown literally killed people. An awful lot of those “non-essential” medical treatments are only non-essential because the thing they treat was caught early enough to keep it from being an emergency. Or because they’re preventative, to keep things from becoming an emergency. Take away the availability of those treatments and suddenly there’s a lot more things that end up being emergencies, or that aren’t caught at all until it’s to late. And the lack of contact for seniors and the disabled stuck in assisted living and nursing homes? Yah, that killed some of them too, and set others back drastically.

Not to mention that all that assumes that we’ll HAVE a functional, GOOD, vaccine by the end of that 6 weeks. And yes, I know, it looks like we might. But might is not 100%. And no, I won’t be taking a vaccine that was rushed through trials that way. I WILL claim religious exemption if I need to. I’m not anti vaccine, they’re good things. But one that was rushed through like this? That we have NO CLUE what the long term outlook of it is? Fuck no. And I’m not the only one feeling twitchy at the way they’re rushing this vaccine through.

Look I get it. Nasty scary virus we don’t understand completely. But if the “cure” is doing more damage than the bug there’s a hell of a problem in how you’re doing it.


Election

Look, I’m not a Trump fan. He didn’t do as badly in his first 4 years as I’d been afraid, but still, not a fan. But there was no way in hell I was going to help vote in a geriatric dementia case with a California VP. Not that it matters since I live in upstate NY, and New York City dictates how the state’s votes go in national votes. My entire extended inlaw family could write in for the dog and it wouldn’t affect how the state’s results went.

I’m not any more worried by a Biden (or Harris) presidency than I was a Trump presidency. President not dictator or king. Not thrilled, but we’ll get through it just like we got through Trump’s presidency. Well, we’ll get through it if they can not sink the economy further by shutting everything down again cause COVID!!!

The general public’s response to the election has been my concern. I have friends on about every side of the political divide that you can imagine. And the divide between the news sources and media stories that each side sees, reads, and shares is drastic. To the point where its hard to tell that they’re talking about the same specific incident or happening.

And now the media has declared for Biden. But the legal side of it isn’t complete. What happens if the legal side of it changes that result? My entire FB and Twitter feed is nothing but cheering. The riots and hate if things don’t go their way is going to be even worse. And yah, outside of the idiots on each side (cause there are always idiots on every side) the majority of hate is coming from one side in particular. And its the side that seems to delight in eating their own too.

Look, I don’t care how you voted, or your political views of this mess. Take a deep breath. Make sure your home and family is secure. That you can withstand another 3 month shutdown, food, home, money wise. Cause while Biden/Harris don’t especially worry me, the rest of the political backlash has very major potential to go very bad.