Deep-foggy here in California’s Central Valley, and feels like it’s foggy all over the world…
Except it’s fog and not rain, and I’m in Californa, not Georgia, but due to the pandemic and all its terrible vistas, you get the point. And the mark is getting deeper and deeper — as of today the world has 77,688,116 reported COVID-19 cases with 1,708,249 deaths; the US has 18,457,503 cases with 326,684 deaths. Raining hardcore fog all over the world.
Ugliest COVID news, though, is a new ‘variant,’ or mutation found in the UK, which reportedly allows a ‘substantial increase’ in spreading:
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said this particular variant “contains 23 different changes,” which he described as an unusually large number.
Whitty said the variant was responsible for 60-percent of new infections in London, which have nearly doubled in the last week alone.
The Brits are having a surge as France, Germany and Canada have shutdown travel to and from the island. This new development has disease experts worried.
And the big focus is the quick-spreading: ‘“It is right to take it seriously,” said Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London. Shaun Fitzgerald, a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge, said the situation was “extremely concerning.”‘
An informative read on the situation can be found at Science Magazine yesterday — apparently “too many unknows” right now to establish anything concrete.
Just another worry added to a massive set of worry beads.
One way to offset this shit is to take a minute to think about tomorrow. An offbeat view of our future, immediate and down-the-road a bit, is in an interview at the Guardian this afternoon with Yale professor and social epidemiologist Dr Nicholas Christakis, author of “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live,” especially thoughts on how life will be ‘after‘ control of COVID-19 is obtained and shit gets back half-way normal.
Christakis believes as be the case of pandemics and plagues of the past — most-historical recent the 1918 flu pandemic — people will cut loose following months/years of misery and death, creating a “roaring 20s” type scenario. However, he counts on vaccines really working, and people not acting like assholes:
“We’re the first generation of humans alive who has ever faced this threat that allows them to respond in real-time with efficacious medicines,” said Christakis.
“During epidemics you get increases in religiosity, people become more abstentious, they save money, they get risk averse and we’re seeing all of that now just as we have for hundreds of years during epidemics,” said Christakis.
As well, economies of ancient civilizations collapsed in times of disease.
“Many people seem to think it’s the actions of our government that are causing the economy to slow — that’s false,” he said.
“It’s the virus that’s causing the economy to slow, because economies collapsed even in ancient times when plagues happened, even when there was no government saying close the schools and close the restaurants.”
“In 2024, all of those [pandemic trends] will be reversed,” he said.
“People will relentlessly seek out social interactions.” That could include “sexual licentiousness”, liberal spending, and a “reverse of religiosity.”
Bigly problem, though, the hated-nasty, socially-acute weirdness of 2020, which could make us buck the historic come-back:
Christakis warns we have already proved to be vulnerable to the poor leadership, lack of coordination and misinformation widespread during a pandemic.
“As a society we have been very immature,” said Christakis.
“Immature, and typical as well, we could have done better.”
Succumbing to misinformation, divisiveness and denial are also features so typical of a pandemic, they might be “required”, said Christakis.
But, reservoirs of expertise continue to exist, he says, and it is possible we may come together to meet a challenging year ahead.
“Our world has changed, there’s a new deadly pathogen that is circulating, we’re not the first people that have had to face this threat, and a lot will be asked of us,” said Christakis.
“And we’re just going to have to be grown up about it.”
What will it take for people to act ‘grown-up.’ that’s the shitty question of the day.
Regrettably, maybe here’s one shitty response in a numbness toward the virus — from The Washington Post this morning:
When Todd Klindt buried his dad, he was stunned.
Some of the mourners arrived not wearing masks — for the funeral of a man killed by the coronavirus.
Just days earlier, Klindt had held his father’s hand in a hospital intensive care unit.
Now, watching people at the funeral — acting as if the world was not on fire, as if people were not dying by the dozen every hour of every day — he wanted to shout, “He’s right here!”
“I’m like, ‘Are you paying attention at all? Is any of this sinking in?’ ” said Klindt, who lives in Ames, Iowa.
Misery and death, out of noticeable sight:
“Sometimes I think, if only others could see what we see every day,” said Joan Schaum, a hospice nurse who has spent the past year caring for the dying in Lancaster, Pa.
“Other times,” she said, “I think, no one should have to see the amount of death and suffering going on right now. It changes you. It stays with you.”
I don’t know much about no ‘roaring 20s’ right now.
However, it still feels good to see a huge piece of shit have to shit-out some real shit:
Looks like the threats of the slander suits from the voting machine companies is having an impact across the right-wing board. Suddenly, lying to gin up money from the easily fooled is seen as having a potential huge cost to their own wallets, and not just to democracy. https://t.co/U66tMIqyNc
— Kurt "Masks Save Lives" Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 21, 2020
Skin crawl, but makes the fog somewhat warmer…
(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion,’ found here)