Happy Halloween

Living with Coronavirus
Sunday October 31th, 2021
7:02 AM

The other day Bill Maher stuffed his foot in his mouth and was corrected by Sen. Coons, but I fear too many people think just like him.

“HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher ranted against the heavy-handed COVID mandates and essentially declared that the pandemic is “over” on his show Friday, telling his audience, “We have to get back to life.  Just resume living,” he advised his audience. “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over. There’s always going to be a variant. You shouldn’t have to wear masks. I should be to … I haven’t had a meeting with my staff since March of 2020. Why?  Also, vaccine, mask, pick one! You’ve got to pick. You can’t make me mask if I’ve had the vaccine,” Maher asserted.  “I travel in every state now, back on the road, and the red states are a joy and the blue states are a pain in the a**. For no reason,” Maher remarked. —BizPac Review

Senator Coons pointed out that a Pandemic is global and it won’t be over until the globe has some immunity.  Maher goes on to claim that masks for the vaccinated are just like amulets, a charm, not an actual preventive measure against spread.  I find it disturbing that Maher does not understand his own words; “There’s always going to be a variant”; which is correct as long as the endemic pandemic continues. 

All the things Maher complains about, having to mask or distance, all the things he calls a pain in the ass, that is our new reality.  Months ago, I switched my title to “living with Coronavirus” because that is our reality now.  As I write this, viral blooms are all over the globe, In China, Russia, the UK and most of the Balkans.  Masking and distancing help curb the spread, and that helps with reducing new variants.  Just last night Bon Jovi tested positive only minutes before going to the stage, he had to cancel the show.

That is the new reality.  A reality with a deadly strain of covid, more infectious than its cousin, the common cold, loose on our planet where everything is interconnected.  Therefore, the virus will remain a problem just like polio was, until the entire world is vaccinated. 

In order to include those who survived as vaccinated we would have to test for antibodies, all the time.  We are not sure how long the antibodies will last, so just having had Covid is not enough, we need to know if you are still resistant to the bug, and even those with antibodies are able to spread the disease to others, who may not have any antibodies. So masks are the new norm until Covid is extinguished globally.  Would Mr. Maher find it more or less of a pain in the ass to require blood antibody tests before every performance or the use of masks/distancing in crowded conditions?

““I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over.”—Bill Maher

No Bill, it’s not.  It is not likely to be “over” for years to come.  Here in America and much of the western world vaccinations have brought down viral levels, because they reduce spread, but do not eliminate it.

“You can’t make me mask if I’ve had the vaccine.”-Bill Maher

No one should have to “make” anyone wear a mask.  Common sense ought to tell you to do so yourself. Having had the vaccine does not mean you cannot catch and spread Covid: you can and we have evidence of that.  Maher’s Libertarian views come off as selfish to me.  A mask is not a serious inconvenience, it is inconvenient.  If you rate your own inconvenience as of more import than others very lives, I have to conclude your understanding of ethics and morals, or virology, is weak, or you are a self centered or selfish person.

Now his soundbites from that program are fodder for the vaccine denial folks, and that is where I found them transcribed this morning, on the political right at BizPac Review.  I think Bill does a disservice to our fight against the virus with his commentary.  The war against Covid -19 is raging as we speak. We lost 1410 Americans per day last week and America’s new infections increased by over 75 thousand cases as well.  Last week we added 432,077 new infections on our planet, that does not seem like it is “over” to me.

Rather it sounds to me like Mr. Maher has pandemic fatigue.  John’s Hopkins has a piece on it, and how it endangers all the work we all put in since Covid reared its ugly head.  Pandemic fatigue causes people to say and act just like Mr. Maher last night.  Seeing all the proscriptions against virus as a “pain in the ass” first and foremost, rather than as a necessary requirement to get a novel virus under control.

Every number this week is up.  In my state we are in a spike, it is not over here, only in Bill’s mind.  I fear far too many are thinking and feeling like this.  The result of that type of thinking is a relaxation of personal viral posture, thinking “I am protected by the vaccination, or I have survived infection and therefore these proscriptions should not apply to me.  I can relax.”

That is the worst thing we can do now.  It is like putting your gloves down in round three because you think the other boxer is tired.  The match is not over and we have not won, it is round three and you might want to defend yourself.  In the case of virus, we defend each other via testing, masking, distance, and vaccinations.  How much of a pain in the ass viral protocols are is not relevant.

Total Global Vaccines administered                         6,798,136,087                     6,947,883,074
Gain of 149,746,987                                                       
37,061,256 less than last week, a significant slowdown

Global Infected      243,497,616                   246,522,160                       
Increase             3,024,544
7-day average        432,077 infections diagnosed daily –Up

Global Dead          4,946,552                                          4,997,245
Increase             50,693
7-day average        7,241 deaths daily –Up

USA Infected         45,428,030                                       45,953,780
Increase             525,750
7-day average        75,107 infections diagnosed daily –Up

USA C-19 deaths      735,799                                         745,670
Increase             9,871
7-day average        1,410 deaths daily –Up

Maine Infected       100,967                                           104,259                                                                
Increase             3,292
7day average         470 infections diagnosed daily –Up

Maine deaths         1,112                                                1,167
Increase             55
7-day average        7.8571 deaths daily –Up

Meanwhile the climate keeps on warming.  We had two “bomb Cyclones” in a week.  Bomb cyclones were a rare event where a storm rapidly intensifies.  They are not rare anymore.  The GOP and many conservatives continue to rail about immigration, without grasping the role climate is playing in that. Over the last 15 years we have had an uptick in immigration from central and south America, much of which is climate driven.  Not caused by climate directly, but climate influences combined with political and business interests force people to look elsewhere for better survival conditions.

The fiasco on the border recently was not an increase from the afore mention issues, but a direct cause of climate.  The immigrants are of Haitian decent.  In Haiti you have a complex of climate and political issues..  Hurricanes trashed the island after a major earthquake had knocked it down, and the government failed its people in that environmental crisis.  So much so that tens of thousands sought to flee for their own survival.

Immigration has historically been our bread and butter, with many seeing America as the “land of Milk and Honey”, a new chance to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  However, climate change will cause immigration of a different sort, immigration for survival.  I see recent events as the leading edge of that change and it is bound to get worse.  The climate is going to make a lot of places unlivable in the next 20 years and those folks will move whether we want them to or not.  Their choice will be move or die, as it already is under the cartels.  Neither America or the World is prepared for that.

America is also not prepared for internal immigration.  As sea levels rise people will be forced inland.  As droughts persist, or floods take over, our farms will have to change with it.  That may well require relocating the farms where the water is, and changing what those farms grow because their former crops cannot grow under the new climate conditions.  Our mutual survival will have to be paramount, but I expect a lot of resistance to any of these observations.

In politics the GOP has embraced radicalization and extremism.  Christian Nationalism has taken the center stage of the GOP. Trump is fighting tooth and nail to keeps records from the Jan 6 insurrection attempt from being seen by the panel investigating it.  It is quite obvious he does not want Americans to see those documents, which begs the question “why would you want to hide your own actions during the insurrection unless you are trying to hide either your complicity, instigation of or support of the insurrection itself, or your own failures to deal with the events in real time.

I see no valid reason or rationale to withhold such documents from the American people, or their duly elected representatives.

Addendum: Poll: “Majority of GOP voters say they want the 2020 election overturned”, a headline from Salon which I think creates a false impression

“The poll, released on Wednesday by POLITICO and Morning Consult, found that
22% of American voters feel the election should “definitely” be reversed
13% saying that it should “probably” be.
11% of those polled reported feeling unsure
12% saying it should “probably not”
43% saying it should “definitely not” be overturned.

“The poll also mapped this sentiment along party lines, finding that it was
significantly more popular amongst Republicans, as expected.”-Salon

60% of the GOP thinks the election should “probably” or “definitely” be invalidated.
16% of the Dems agree
27% of Indies agree

This presents an image of a nation state dived more or less equally. That is a false impression.
Americans break down more or less like this, from PEW and other sources.
30% of Americans are Dems
44% of Americans are Independent with no party affiliation
25% of Americans are GOP

as of 2018 there are 233.7 million eligible American voters.
30% are Dems–70,110,000 Dems
44% are Indies–102,828,000
25% are GOP–58,425,000

“Sixty-one percent of Trump’s supporters believe the presidential election results
should be overturned, nearly the same percentage of Republicans who hold that view.”

That is 61% of the GOP, or 35,639,250, with zero evidence of any widespread fraud.
That is 35M out of 233M, or 35/233, about 15% of Americans.
That is a loud 15% trying to tell the other 85% of Americans they won when they lost, with zero evidence to support their claim.
Talk about the party of snowflakes, it sounds like some very loud sour grapes to me.
Is this new GOP, with all it’s ranting, name calling, threats, and weapon brandishing with it’s fascist/Authoritarian leanings, really just the new party of “Karen’s”?

As I worked on this form my home another 50,693 died from Covid-19, of those 9,871 were my fellow Americans, and of those 55 were my fellow Mainers.

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