War in Europe

Living with Coronavirus
Sunday February 27th, 2022
8:00 AM

Russia, under Vladimir Putin, invaded Ukraine.  For several weeks Russia had claimed they were conducting “military training” as they amassed nearly 200,000 troops and weapons systems on the border of Ukraine.  In these exercises Putin’s Russia surrounded Ukraine on three sides poised to strike while claiming there was no reason for concern.

Then they invaded.  The last time there was a major invasion of this sort in Europe was under Hitler’s Germany.  We had conflicts like Bosnia, but no invasion of this ilk since WW2.  Street signs all over Germany include old photos of what the street looked like after the wars end along with the promise “Never Again”.  Germans took to the streets insisting they keep that mandate, as it was happening again.

Trump came out in celebration of Putin, claiming his invasion was “genius”.  A segment of the GOP stood with him, as other conservatives denounced the invasion, but refuse to denounce Trump for his comments.  A pundit on Bill Maher made a stark observation; that the people supporting Trump’s praise of Putin are the same folks who also support white nationalism and/or Christo-fascism.  If you look at the demographics of Russia, you’ll find it is overwhelmingly white and Christian, and Russia’s actions are supported by people avowing white supremacy.  An odd coincidence, don’t you think?

Old school conservatives stand with America and against our long-standing enemy, Russia / (Soviet Union).  Putin has made public statements that he wants to constitute the Soviet Union, to re-create the Russian “empire”.  Meanwhile Fox news pundits are championing the Russians and attacking the sitting president, seeking to blame him for Putin’s actions.  Trump even declare this would never happen under his watch, while seemingly failing to grasp Putin had no need to invade as Trump was attacking Ukraine for him in Trump’s endless quest for dirt on Biden.

Recall it was Trump’s Ukraine phone call which caused his second impeachment.  You know the call Trump called perfect, as he was holding weapons promised to Ukraine, hostage for his demands of nonexistent dirt. It was Russia who aided his 2016 campaign.  It was Russia he appealed to, to get Clinton’s E-mails in a public campaign speech, and it was Russia who hacked into Clinton’s teams e-mails and who leaked John Podesta’s e-mails mere days after Trump’s request.  Trump insisted on a two-hour private meeting with Putin, which he never disclosed the contents of and afterwards took Putin’s word over his own intelligence reports.

At this juncture, if you support Trump, you are also supporting Russia by default.  The two are so interwoven they are not possible to separate.  In old KGB speech the term “kompromat” refers to the tactics of getting dirt on your opponent and using it to blackmail them, to control them, to manipulate them into getting what the KGB wanted.  Trump complains about the Dems “Russia, Russia, Russia” even as he backs Putin’s invasion.

The news on Covid is much better.  Infection rates all over the globe have dropped, and continue to drop.  We have given out over 10 billion vaccines; that combined with the survivors earned resistance to lower infection levels.  I expect the CDC to lower mask requirements and begin to shift to covid as an endemic disease.  However, despite lower levels of infection, we are still at epidemic/pandemic levels of infection.  Thusly I do not expect the WHO to declare the Pandemic at an end, it is not.

Currently we are watching the “stealth” variant, which is more contagious than omicron, and apparently more asymptomatic as well.  Further, this virus has multiple animal reservoirs to hide in, and re-emerge from, possibly as a new variant.  The virus has been found in bats, rats, mice, deer, dogs, housecats, big cats and more.  This makes the virus re-emerging as a mutated variant more probable than not.

I expect the “New normal” to be life as usual for most, but life for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the infirm to be much more viral centered.  For instance, it could not surprise me to find that all nursing home workers be masked at work, to prevent asymptomatic Covid from infecting the home which is full of the “at risk” category.  For most people I think they will move into a reality where Covid is background noise, like Cancer or Aids, a danger but not one they fear or have great concern about.  For those in that at risk bubble, like myself, this won’t ever end.  I will have to mask in public for life in order to protect myself from someone giving me Covid asymptomatically, unaware they even have Covid.

Global Infected      423,459,186                                                   434,462,082                                                       
Increase             11,002,896
7-day average        1,571,842 infections diagnosed daily –Down

Global Dead          5,883,361                                                          5,945,535
Increase             62,174
7-day average        8,882 deaths daily –Down

USA Infected         78,460,091                                                       78,931,739 
Increase             471,648
7-day average        67,378 infections diagnosed daily –Down

USA C-19 deaths      935,057                                                                         948,215
Increase             13,158
7-day average        1,879 deaths daily –Down

Maine Infected       218,367                                                                           226,120
Increase             7,753
7-day average         1,107 infections diagnosed daily –Down, still high

Maine deaths         1,960                                                                                2,064
Increase             104
7-day average        14.8571 deaths daily –Down, still high

Even though numbers are falling, they remain high.  More than a Titanic a day here in the states, but many have grown used to this level of death and downplay it, seeking “freedoms”.  A virus does not care about our human desires for freedom, it will exploit your freedoms to breed and kill.

CNN—”Plummeting Covid-19 case counts across the United States are leading to lifted mask mandates and more conversations about steps toward normalcy — but more people are dying of the coronavirus now than during most points of the pandemic. More than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths have been reported in the United States each day for the past month. Average daily deaths are falling, but from a very high point. They dipped just below that mark in recent days, to about 1,900 on Monday; the federal holiday may have delayed reporting.

Before Omicron became the dominant coronavirus strain in the US, there were only about 100 other days when there were more than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The only other time that deaths have been this high for this long was during the first winter surge, before vaccines were available. The Omicron wave has also been deadlier for longer than the Delta surge: In September, when Delta was dominant, average daily deaths topped 2,000 for half as long.

More than 120,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19 since Omicron became the dominant variant in December, and Covid-19 has accounted for more than 1 in 5 deaths reported in 2022.  A common refrain early in the pandemic was that Covid-19 was most deadly for the elderly and people with certain health conditions. The people dying from Covid-19 now tend to be younger than before, and they’re overwhelmingly unvaccinated, experts say.

“I’ve long since lost track of the number of people I’ve seen die of the disease, but the reality is that almost everybody who is critically ill, in the ICU or dying now remains unvaccinated. That has been true since the beginning. But in the beginning, people didn’t have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, medical director of the infectious diseases program at Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis.

“None of us taking care of Covid patients need CDC statistics or anyone else to tell us that, because we simply see that reality play out every day and have for quite some time.””

USA Today- “The conundrum over COVID”

“Most Americans think COVID-19 is going to be around for a while, and they are split on what to do about that.

About half, 48%, say the priority now should be resuming normal lives, even if it means not taking some COVID protections. Nearly as many, 44%, say the priority should be controlling COVID, even if that delays a return to normal life.  The particulars of that debate, including vaccine requirements and mask mandates, are now being waged at the White House, statehouses, city halls and schools.

Only about a third of those polled, 31%, predicted the pandemic would be over in the United States by the end of this year. Another 25% said it would end “in a few years.”

Those are the optimists. A third, 32%, said it would “never” end.

Salon- “The Republican-fascists and other “conservatives” have convinced themselves and their followers that freedom is the same thing as license.  Real freedom involves a sense of responsibility to others, obligation to the common good and respect for reason and the truth. Moreover, as historian Timothy Snyder presciently warned in 2017, “to abandon facts is to abandon freedom” and “post-truth is pre-fascism.” 

License is a belief that one can act without consequences — and that any attempts to limit that dangerous behavior and its negative impact on others is some type of “tyranny” or “dictatorship” or “oppression.” This crude and debased version of “freedom” as embraced by fascists and other members of today’s right wing and “conservative” movement also emphasizes the importance of force and the ability of the powerful to force their will on the less powerful with impunity.

Here social dominance behavior is taken as ultimate proof of the merits of one’s freedom claims instead of as evidence of how anti-social and other anti-human behavior undermines and ultimately destroys the types of bonds, relationships and mutual respect for human rights and human dignity that are foundational for real freedom in a healthy polity.

Liberals, progressives, Democrats, “traditional” conservatives and others who believe in the liberal democratic tradition are committed to abstract principles and ideals. The Republican-fascists and other members of the global neofascist movement are goal-oriented nihilists and pragmatists who live in the realm of the here and now and where might ultimately makes everything right.

This is the focal point where the battle for the future of American and Western democracy is being fought. To this point, the Republican-fascists and the global right are winning. Their opponents are crying about “principles” and “the rules” and “the norms” while being bowled over.

In all, the Republican-fascists and other elements of the global right are involved in a revolutionary program of destruction where the language and rhetoric of “freedom” is being used to undermine and eventually destroy and then replace pluralistic multiracial democracy with white minority apartheid rule.”

If deer can carry Covid, most likely so can moose.

As I worked on this another 62,174 of my fellow humans died of Covid, of those 13,158 were my fellow Americans, and of those 104 were my fellow Mainers.

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