Living with Coronavirus
Sunday August 1st, 2021
SARS-CoV-2 is not Covid 19, rather it is the virus which causes Covid-19, a disease. In the same fashion that HIV is not AIDS, SARS-CoV-2 is not Covid-19, it causes that disease. This is a novel virus causing a novel disease, and best avoided altogether if possible.
This week the GOP has been acting like snowflakes, whiners, and spoilt children. When the CDC spoke out touting the same line of reasoning I already included in this record, namely that the vaccine protects you from the disease, it does not stop transmission of the virus, and the Congressional House doctor reinstituted mask mandates inside, the GOP marched mask less in protest.
It was a hope that the vaccine might lower the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 because if you reduce the symptoms of most diseases, the viral load drops. The viral load is how much virus your body is producing after infection, and thus how much virus an infected person is spreading. This is all part and parcel of vaccines, to me a knowledge I thought common place. Generally the sicker you are, the more virus you spread. Not so with Delta, it sheds like the sickest patients in an ICU, in people with no symptoms.
Here in the states we have one party that politicized the virus and disease. Stands against masks and against vaccines became their standard. They claim both are intrusions of our individual rights, but a Virus does not care about your rights. The GOP’s actions created a space for our viral enemy to hide in, breed in, and mutate in. The GOP gave succor to our viral enemy.
SARS-CoV-2 has already created viable mutations several times over. Mutation is rare, a viable mutation much rarer, and SARS-CoV-2 has multiple viable mutations. We started with the original but within a few weeks we had two strains, Chinese and Italian, then came the UK, The Brazilian, and the Indian strains, all viable in less than a year. During this time, we developed a highly effective vaccine against Covid-19 disease, not SARS-CoV-2. The vaccines are excellent against the worst effects of Covid-19 disease and if we had all gotten vaccinated last spring we might be in a better boat.
Global Infected 193,832,974 197,962,362
7-day average 589,912 infections diagnosed daily –UP
Global Dead 4,154,933 4,220,009
7-day average 9,296 deaths daily –DOWN
USA Infected 34,431,974 34,980,052
7-day average 78,296 infections diagnosed daily –UP
USA C-19 deaths 610,850 613,157
7-day average 329 deaths daily –UP
Maine Infected 69,904 70,463
7-day average 79 infections diagnosed daily –UP
Maine deaths 897 900
7-day average 0.4285 deaths daily –DOWN
We did not all go get vaccinated, and the virus continued to mutate giving us the Delta strain. The vaccines effectiveness at reducing or stopping Covid-19 disease are excellent, at 90%+ for all vaccines. For Delta we are down to about 80% or less, which is still excellent. The problem with Delta is its viral load and ease of transmission.
Delta, unlike the previous strains, is rapidly reproducing itself in our sinus. The viral load of Delta patients is a thousand times that of last years victims. This has two effects, first it makes a newly infected person contagious immediately, long before they have any symptoms. Second it makes vaccinated people into potential carriers of SARS-CoV-2. People who have no symptoms but nonetheless spread the disease.
The other factor about Delta is its stickiness. It has nearly double the receptors of the original making it twice as easy to catch. When you combine these two factors with a large swath of people distrusting of science, distrusting of vaccines, and distrusting of our government, you get what we see. Blooms all through the red states, blooms leading to hospitalizations and deaths for the unvaccinated, and maybe a head cold for the vaccinated.
Please try and understand, the only way to stop an epidemic or pandemic is to break the chain of infection. That’s it. We need to prevent the bug from transmitting to new people where it can breed and spread and mutate yet again. That is why we invented quarantines. Refusing to wear a mask or get vaccinated is giving aid and succor to the enemy, SARS-CoV-2.
So, like I keep repeating, we need to mask in public period. We need to mask to protect our loved ones from us as we may be asymptomatic, our loved ones need to mask to protect us as well, and we both need to mask to protect ourselves. It works both ways.
The GOP keeps resisting these measures, and their supporters keep refusing to mask and refusing to vaccinate. Claiming it infringes on their liberty. I say “Put your big boy pants on, a virus does not give a shit what you think or feel.” It is not Democrats trying to infringe on Republican liberties, it is basic viral protocols, and the Republicans refusal to follow public health measures endangers us all. This latest bloom, the “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated” (a poor term), will sicken and kill people, mostly republican, largely evangelical, unvaccinated people for the next six weeks or so. It takes that long to have full vaccine benefits.
Yesterday I saw five separate accounts of people who did not vaccinate and who now lie in an ICU hoping not to require ventilation because your odds on getting off the ventilator are not good. These people were on their death beds, overflowing with regret for not getting the damn vaccine. I doubt that the GOP base will even see or read such accounts because their media bubbles won’t cover those stories.
So, our CDC had issued a relaxation of mask standards for the vaccinated, until we discovered that the Delta strain has 1000 times the viral load, even in fully vaccinated people. Then they changed the requirements to match the new data. At this juncture we had the GOP once again crying foul, crying it is a Democrat trick, a Democrat imposition on your liberty, when the reality is the virus mutated, and we learned that not masking is a dumb idea with such a viral load. In response to that new knowledge, they changed the standards.
Get vaccinated and mask in indoor public settings, and when the next vaccine, or booster comes out, do that too. The GOP’s unvaccinated and unwillingness to vaccinate or mask shows contempt for human life, including their own, which most do not believe is even at risk. I hope it does not take a worse strain to get folks attention.
Delta is so superior to the original and every previous variant, that anywhere it goes, the other strains are overrun, until only Delta remains. It has 1000 times the viral load, so Delta’s shed more virus. It is at least twice as sticky, so Delta’s twice as easy to catch. A virus which has a much higher viral load and is also more sticky equals more infections, more hospitalizations, and more deaths.
So, what’s next? Will we have to wait for a variant that is as lethal as Ebola, say 70% mortality? SARS-CoV-2 is already more contagious than the common cold, Chicken Pox and Ebola. Will it take a strain so vile it kills 80% instead of 1-3%, to get the attention of the GOP and their red base of unvaccinated, unwilling citizens?
I don’t think we will have to wait long. SARS-CoV-2 is a fast mutagen as I have already explained. Perhaps the next variant will be more lethal and bypass the vaccine entirely, forcing us all back to distancing, masks and waiting for the vaccine, all over again. All of this reminds me of small children complaining they have to tie their shoes, or go to school, or other requirements they need to meet. However, these are adults who should know better. Adults who should understand what the common good is, but do not, or do not care. These adults are risking us all so they won’t be inconvenienced.
The irresponsibility shown here is like a person whose car has no brakes deciding to drive anyway because they do not want to be deprived of going to the movies. If such a person crashes into another they are held in criminal neglect. If such a person killed another by having no brakes and driving anyway, that would be negligent homicide.
At this juncture are not the unvaccinated, those refusing to wear masks in public, and the entire GOP guilty of the same type of crime? Even those GOP who have made statements supporting masks, distancing, and vaccines do not obstruct or confront those in their party screaming conspiracies and misinformation. In my view that makes them just as guilty for allowing their members to spread misinformation and politicizing public health.
In the meantime, the weather is illustrating Global Climate change everywhere at once. Pretty much what we have all been warned about since the 80’s. Ever increasing increases of both intensity and frequency of weather events. So, the American West, Canada, Alaska and the Siberian wilderness are all burning, adding both heat and smoke to the equation. In the center of our nation, we have a heat dome which has not left all summer, it has shifted a little east, or north, or west but remained.
That heat dome is pulling moisture into the southwest monsoon, but too much water too fast. The ground is baked into hard pan and the water runs off, causes flash floods and mudslides. Further east in the south we have the heat plus the humidity from the storms they had over and over in early summer. That bakes the water out into the air, making the heat bulb very high. In the lakes region it is tornado alley, with daily severe weather in spots from thunderheads.
In my reality it is cold, far colder than normal years. The air rotation around that same heat dome pulls down air from the arctic and has kept Northern Maine and Eastern Canada in below normal temps and above normal rainfall. We are getting last winters snow now as rain, often too much too fast for absorption by the soil.
These effects are global, different place to place, but increased in frequency and intensity. In the west ranchers are having to cull the herds over water shortages and extreme heat. In the grow zones of California there is a lack of water, so lack of growth in crops. This extends out into the endless corn and soy of the Midwest. So expect inflated food costs or even shortages of some food types.
The driving principal of evolution is not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most adaptable. It is adaptability which makes an organism “the fittest”.
Will we adapt?
In the news it was revealed that former President Trump was absolutely staging a soft Coup de Ta. Evidence has emerged that he was trying to leverage the DOJ to declare the election corrupt, and “leave the rest to him and Congressional Republicans.” The same GOP has declared that the officers injured in the Jan 6th uprising are all liars, exaggerators or award-winning actors. The videos show otherwise, and the officers testimony shows the same as well.
Aspects of the GOP are openly praising the insurrectionists, and the rest of the GOP is silent on the issue, which makes them complicit. Recall the insurrectionists claimed “next time we will bring 30,000 armed.” The rest of us ought to take that threat seriously, because if we don’t things could get much worse. That is what happened in Germany in the thirties, the rest of German democracy did not take the threat of Hitler seriously, until it was too late.
Almost every defendant being tried for Jan 6th has stated they were invited by Trump. Breaking our laws and trashing the functions of our democratic processes was painted as “patriotic”.
Patriotic: ADJECTIVE having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.
Really try to understand that. Those attempting to overthrow our nation thought they were saving it. They believed all the lies about the election being stolen, and thought they were being good citizens. They were not, they were actually acting in a treasonous fashion, and those responsible for that false notion many held need to be held responsible in order for trust in our government and our democratic processes to resurge.
The GOP are hard at work destroying that trust. Still, they spread lies about Covid, about the election, and squirm and whine about hearings on the matter, because they know the evidence shows some of them were complicit. Some of them may be in legal jeopardy for their actions. Anyone complicit should be held accountable, or if they were complicit after the fact and strove to misinform the public based on their desire for political power. Accountability for one’s actions used to be a hallmark of conservatism, yet only two Congress people of the GOP seem to embrace that idea anymore.
While I sat in my hilltop retreat another 65,076 human beings died of Covid-19, of those 2,307 were my fellow Americans, and of those 3 were my fellow Mainers. In the US 98% or more of these deaths were among unvaccinated people. People who chose not to get vaccinated, not people unable to be vaccinated. The GOP and Red America are now reaping the fruits they have sown.