Covid-19 A real time history two years on

Living with Coronavirus
(SARS-CoV-2)
Sunday April 3rd, 2022
09:03 AM

I started this real time history two years ago now, on April 1, 2020.  I had just spent several days in the cardiac ward after I caught RS virus, a virus commonly epidemic in winter and oft seen as a cold by those infected.  RS kicked my ass.  Nowhere near as badly as H1N1 Swine Flu which resulted in two weeks of ICU due to a follow up bacterial pneumonia which exploited the weakness created by H1N1.  That was a very miserable couple of weeks more than a decade ago now.  H1N1 also kicked my ass when I was 18 for two solid weeks of hell in 79-80.

So, I fully expected that with my underlying conditions, Covid would end me.  Surprise!  It did not.  Instead, we jumped through our asses making a brand-new type of vaccine, MRNA, which outshines the old vaccines in many ways.  These vaccines have made the western and developed areas of the world largely successful at bringing down the infection rates and deaths.  They are so effective that in the developed world, among those willing to take them, that they have curbed the pandemic.  Curbed it enough that many people are acting as if it is over.

It is not over.

How will we know it is over?  I suspect we won’t ever, that is I do not expect any health agency, WHO, CDC, and so on; to announce the pandemic is over.  Can you imagine how vilified anyone would be if they announced it was over only to have some new strain spawn which is worse than Delta was?  This notion made me go back and look at history, and guess what?  You do not find people saying it is over, instead they go back to their lives as if nothing happened, and many do not even talk about it, ever.  As if to speak about it would jinx us as a species, dooming us all to another outbreak.

The CDC and WHO have some standard by which an outbreak is labeled a pandemic, and infection rate plus a number of locales.  By that standard a pandemic would end at some point, but I expect no notice declaring Covid over. Covid has not lost its infection rate, it is still spreading, and for the vaccinated, is often asymptomatic or very mild.  This is true as well for the young and healthy. 

Covid exploits underlying health conditions which always increase with age.  Covid, now endemic, hiding in multiple types of animal populations while still spreading, will become another grindstone of death grinding out those who are the least healthy and who have little or non-existent health care.  While rates here seem to have plateaued here in the states, they are exploding elsewhere, especially in China.

To date 10,979,667,478; that is just short of 11 billion vaccines given. 5.5 billion if you include the two shot minimum for lasting (1 year) protection, even less when you add in folks like me who have had three already.  So almost half the planet is still utterly vulnerable to Covid 19, either by choice (Wealthy nations) or by circumstance (Poorer Nations).  Plenty of room for the virus to spread and mutate further, not even considering the harsh reality that we know it is in many different types of animals, across both Genus and Species.

No, it is not over even though it may seem like it here in the western world.  America has, for the last two weeks now, finally yielded its place as most infectious country.  We held that ignominious title for two years straight but dropped off the top last week.  As it stands today, we are 13th most infectious nation.  Number one no longer.

Global Infected      480,167,539                                   490,795,860
Increase             10,628,321
7-day average        1,518,331 infections diagnosed daily –Up

Global Dead          6,121,547                                          6,151,762
Increase             30,215
7-day average        4,316 deaths daily –Down

USA Infected         79,946,099                                       80,150,811
Increase             204,712
7-day average        29,244 infections diagnosed daily –Down slightly

USA C-19 deaths      976,652                                         982,533
Increase             5,881
7-day average        840 deaths daily –Up

Maine Infected       234,839                                           236,258
Increase             1,419
7-day average         202 infections diagnosed daily –Up

Maine deaths         2,195                                                2,202    
Increase             7
7-day average        1 death daily –Down

In the USA we lost just under a million people over two years.  These are inconclusive numbers because we won’t ever know how many deaths were covid related, but covid was never tested for. For the sake of the point, I will round up to a million and split that in half.  Say we lose 500,000 Americans to covid, every year, year after year as it is now an endemic disease, we all have to cope with.  Let’s hope vaccinations and awareness of this new threat modify human behaviors so that number is lower, but for this thought experiment I will stick with 500,000.

Heart disease nets about 650,00 people in America every year.
Cancer, of all types, about 600,000.
Covid would be third with 500,000 per year estimated going forward.
Accidents follow with about 170,000 deaths per year.

Thus, as a new endemic disease, Covid 19 may well become our third leading cause of death going forward.  That is not accounting for unknown, new variants which might be more lethal.

USA Today–“Daily coronavirus infections plateaued across the United States last week—and are on the rise in several states—following weeks of steadily declining case counts, even as Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop nationwide, as U.S. health officials voice concern that the virus’ BA.2 omicron subvariant could fuel another uptick in infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an average of 27,594 new cases per day in the seven-day period ending Friday, nearly identical to March 18’s average of 27,262 cases—one of the first national plateaus since cases began to drop in mid-January following the winter’s record-breaking omicron surge.

Average cases have risen over the last two weeks in nine states, along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and American Samoa, while cases have declined in the other 41 states, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

Kentucky is facing the fastest rise in Covid-19 cases, with a 106% uptick in two weeks according to the Times, followed by New York (up 56%), Colorado (30%), Massachusetts (27%), Texas (18%), Connecticut (17%), Vermont (17%), Rhode Island (9%) and Delaware (8%).

Covid-19-related hospitalizations continue to decline nationally, with 1,712 new hospital admissions per day in the weeklong period ending Thursday compared to 2,152 the week prior, according to the CDC—every state has reported a 14-day decline in hospital patients, according to the Times.

Deaths from Covid-19 also continue to drop: Some 705 people died per day on average as of Friday compared to 978 the week before, according to CDC data.

The CDC is monitoring the prevalence of the BA.2 subvariant of omicron, which represents an estimated 35% of U.S. coronavirus cases and has been blamed for spikes in other parts of the world, agency Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing Wednesday. BA.2 appears to be more transmissible than the initial omicron strain, though it is no better at evading immunity, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Last week, the World Health Organization published sequencing data showing the BA.2 subvariant has become the predominant variant globally, as 99.8% of samples sequenced were omicron and 86% of those samples were BA.2.

7%. That’s the rate at which weekly Covid-19 cases have risen globally, according to the WHO—the second consecutive week in which cases have risen following months of declines. Cases are on the rise in some European countries, with infections rising 57% in Hungary and 42% in France in the last week, the WHO said.

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC last week the U.S. “likely will see an uptick in cases as we’ve seen in the European countries” due to BA.2 and an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, but he does not expect a surge.

The U.S. is running low on funding for essential Covid-19 medical supplies, such as vaccines, tests and treatment, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday during the briefing. Zients said “Congress has failed to act” by not providing additional funding, and the U.S. has already been forced to reduce its distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments by 35%.

Jessi Hanson-DeFusco-Salon—”Nearly two years ago to the day, our doctor called urging that I be induced immediately because a sudden nationwide lockdown was to be announced in a matter of days. I nervously ran a hand over my nine-months-pregnant belly as he talked. “If you want your husband in the delivery room, you need to be admitted tomorrow. They are halting delivery room visitations,” he issued. It was all happening too fast.

Now, after 460 million COVID-19 cases and 6 million fatalities worldwide, we are quietly transitioning to living with a virus that upended so many lives. Yet this transition from pandemic to endemic is unpunctuated. Seemingly we have little to celebrate.

Months before my due date, my gut foretold that the corona epidemic would eventually catch fire. Fifteen years working in the international development sector trained me to know the warning signs of health crises.

I had worked as a frontline Ebola responder in Liberia during 2014-15, visiting Ebola treatment units, helping manage various programs supporting women and children affected by the disease, including Ebola survivors. I learned to identify people who were outbreaking. In fact, I had been quarantined for possible Ebola infections twice. I knew the intimate face of a deadly pandemic. So, when media channels started chattering about this new virus spreading around Asia and parts of Europe, my PTSD kicked in.

Earlier in February, I had preventively warned loved ones to buy masks, gloves, and antibacterial products. My warnings were laughed off, dismissed as pregnancy hormones. Even my physician said it wasn’t something to worry about yet.

In early March, I defended my PhD dissertation to a crowd of professors, and, days later, we hosted a baby shower in our cramped duplex apartment. We felt safe enough to do in-person events, but we asked people who had any symptoms, like a cough or fever, not to come; you know, pre-Covid standard social protocol for any expecting parents. Looking back on it, I could laugh.

I gave birth to our daughter on the first day of the national lockdown. The maternity hospital was turned upside down by the shutdown. Professionals were anxious, asking me for outbreak policy advice after learning about my Ebola response experience. I was trying to explain sanitation stations and proper PPE gear while getting an epidural. It was like giving birth through the looking glass.

Our daughter has only known a world turned upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. She grew up thinking masks are for peek-a-boo and dress up. Going out in public is a treat. Crowds are dangerous. During her short life, the world has undeniably changed.

Working as an assistant professor of global health policy at the University of Texas–Dallas, my colleagues and I know recorded Covid rates are inaccurate and at best only capture just a small proportion of the true numbers — with reported active cases estimated to be up to ten times higher.

The toll of Covid is particularly shocking in low-income regions that still face untold losses from the pandemic, often linked to unequitable gaps in COVID-19 vaccination rates. Despite international efforts, only one in ten Africans are vaccinated. For me, these numbers have faces and names.

In February 2022, Daniel, a Liberian colleague, called me sobbing. Weeks earlier he drove hospital to hospital trying to find a bed for his father suffering from Covid. It was hopeless. Daniel and his father both survived tragic civil wars, economic crises, and Ebola. Yet, his father suffocated to death in the backseat of a car as his son desperately tried to find medical help.

The human costs are great. More Americans have died in the last two years from Covid than the total number of military fatalities from WWI (1917-18), WWII (1941-45), Vietnam (1965-73), Korea (1950-53), the Gulf War (1990-91), and the War on Terror (2001-2021), all combined. This is the legacy of my daughter’s generation, being born during the worst moment in American if not global history.

Now, here we are, the pandemic drawing to a close, the CDC and WHO more-or-less officially transitioning SARS-CoV-2 to an endemic virus like influenza. After Covid was labeled a pandemic, in the first weeks of spring 2020, the world stayed home, citizens banged on pots to celebrate the medical professionals and responders bravely walking to work, and most people didn’t question the importance of social distancing and mask mandates (at least for a time). We collectively anticipated getting control of the virus, and made tentative summer plans to mark the end of the emergency together. Yet, it was an unrealized fantasy.

I am frustrated at the lack of public acknowledgement of what we have suffered. I am saddened that President Biden’s State of the Union did not adequately mark this transition. After the speech, the President meandered and laughed with unmasked politicians in a crowded state room, and I wanted to break the TV. Our leaders have given us no closure. I worry this social trauma will only continue to fester.

This crisis robbed us of loved ones, made images of dying patients on ventilators and mass graves common, spread social terror, and ruined entire economies. How are we just letting this singular harrowing event die off silently? It is the unremarkable and unceremonious end of this pandemic that should frighten us the most. We must ask how much we have been changed that we stopped raging against the dying of the light.

Living through Ebola and giving birth during the shutdown have sadly taught me that life will never be what it was before 2020. Our normal is forever changed, no matter how much we don’t want to acknowledge it.

I urge us to not go on as if nothing happened. Instead, we should remember together what we have been through as a people. We must weep at our losses, present awards to our medical heroes, and erect monuments so that future generations will never forget our struggle. We should also count the ironic blessings that the Covid pandemic gave us. These include lessons that reminded us not taking for granted what we have, to focus more on our family and friends, and to find parts of ourself often obscured by our busy pre-pandemic commitments, before working at home in our pajamas became normalized.

There may be a new variant or spike in Covid rates in the near future, but the world will likely never respond as it once did, not unless it is a completely new virus never before experienced at pandemic level. And so, in its second year, we bury the memories of our collective struggles. It is a funeral that no one wanted to attend.”

Forbes—”The highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron variant comprised more than half of COVID-19 infections last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday, as experts say they believe a new wave of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is unlikely.  BA.2 cases made up almost 55 percent of infections for the week ending on March 26, according to new weekly data released by the CDC on Tuesday.  That’s up from the 39 percent of cases the BA.2 variant accounted for during the week ending in March 19.

The variant has also become the dominant COVID-19 strain worldwide.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post last week that unless “something changes dramatically,” the U.S. is unlikely to see a “major surge.”

Daily coronavirus infections are on the rise in some states, with overall cases across the U.S. plateauing.”

CNN—”The highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States, causing more than half of all Covid-19 infections last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

The new numbers come from the CDC’s genomic surveillance. Based on its models, the agency says that BA.2 caused between 51% and 59% of all new Covid-19 infections in the US the week ending March 26, up from an estimated 39% of all new infections the week before.

The hardest-hit region was the Northeast, where BA.2 caused more than 70% of all cases. The South and Mountain West saw the fewest cases. BA.2 caused slightly more than one-third of infections in those regions last week.

‘We are not immune to what happens in Europe’

Though BA.2 is still just taking the stage in the US, it has had prominent runs in many other parts of the world, including Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, and is winding down its European tour.

According to the World Health Organization, BA.2 is also the main cause of Covid-19 globally, out-muscling two other Omicron lineages, BA.1 and BA 1.1, to become the dominant strain. Since its takeover, international case counts — which had been declining since the first week of January — have been rising again.

In the UK, which has a more highly vaccinated population than the US, a combination of lifted restrictions, waning immunity and an even more contagious version of the virus have created a new BA.2 wave. Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been trending upward since the end of February, and now, the weekly average of new cases stands about where it was at the end of January.

BA.2 infections have not reached the peaks seen with BA.1, however. Case counts appear to be leveling off in the UK, though hospitalizations and deaths are still rising.  Throughout the pandemic, the US has followed the UK by about three weeks, so when cases began rising there, health officials here took notice.

In America, BA.2 has been gaining steam since the end of January, and case numbers have plateaued. That flattening conceals regional differences, however. In 13 states, weekly average numbers of new cases are rising, and they have stopped falling in 14 others, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s still not clear what this subvariant will do in the US. Even experts don’t exactly know what to expect.

“We’re not immune from what happens in Europe,” said former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, who is now president and CEO of the nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives.  “In Europe, you see BA.2 becoming predominant and driving a resurgence, and the likelihood that will not happen in the US is pretty low, really,” Frieden said. “I do think part of the reason that we’re plateauing is that we’re about to start going up again.”

Frieden doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that the US Food and Drug Administration authorized additional booster shots for Americans who are 50 and older on Tuesday, the same day the CDC estimated that BA.2 was dominant. 

But it’s anyone’s guess how high cases will go, whether lots of people will need hospital care, and whether the nation will continue to see breathtaking numbers of deaths.

Most predictions about BA.2 in the US haven’t been dire.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Covid-19 projections, updated last week, predict that BA.2 will not drive another surge in the US.

But they say we may see something like what happened in South Africa, where BA.2 quietly replaced its cousin BA.1 as the main cause of Covid-19 infections — without a rise in cases or deaths. Instead, it drew out Omicron’s descent, causing a long tail.

Michael Osterholm, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, called the coronavirus waiting game we play every few months “a familiar uncertainty.” He dedicated his latest podcast to “all of us who remain confused about what the immediate or intermediate future looks like with Covid.””

Fortune–“When doctors and scientists scoured for a cure to COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic, initial studies suggested a number of potential cures that turned out to be bogus. But few dubious solutions have had the staying power of ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug used to treat large farmyard animals.

Ivermectin has been promoted as an “alternative” COVID cure by the likes of podcast host Joe Rogan—who has supported the horse deworming drug over COVID vaccines, even using it himself—and doctors have prescribed the treatment to COVID patients. In small doses, ivermectin can be prescribed to treat head lice or other parasites in humans, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the drug as a COVID treatment.

In the U.S., ivermectin prescriptions soared to 88,000 per week last August, from a baseline of 3,600, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a warning against using the drug. The CDC said its poison control center had witnessed a fivefold increase in calls related to ivermectin overdoses and adverse effects.

Maybe that madness is coming to an end as, on Wednesday, a largescale scientific study showed that ivermectin has “no significant effects” in treating COVID.

The so-called TOGETHER study, conducted in Brazil, is the largest clinical trial into the effects of ivermectin on COVID to date and generally supports the findings of smaller studies, which have also found no significant benefit to ivermectin treatment.

The TOGETHER trial took 3,515 COVID patients and randomly assigned treatment of either ivermectin, a placebo, or a third intervention. The study was double blind, meaning neither the patients nor the doctors knew which of the three options each participant received at the time.

“Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of COVID-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of COVID-19,” the researchers concluded.

The scientists behind the Brazil trial presented initial results from their experiment last August, but the full peer reviewed study was only published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

(Bloomberg) –”China’s Covid-19 situation is on a knife’s edge, with a lockdown of its financial hub intensified amid a surge in new cases and reports of new sub-strains of the omicron variant emerging as clusters flare nationwide.

The country, which managed to live much of the pandemic effectively virus free after quashing its initial outbreak in Wuhan, is experiencing its biggest jump in daily infections since that period.

Shanghai reported 9,006 cases Sunday as the city readies to test all 25 million residents in its latest efforts to weed out infections, amid accounts of un-reported deaths in a nursing home and ongoing food shortages. The entire population is now under some form of movement restrictions.

Thousands of medical staff from around the country arrived in Shanghai on Sunday to help with the city-wide test, Xinhua News Agency reported. The People’s Liberation Army has also mobilized more than 2,000 military medics to support Shanghai’s virus control, according to the PLA Daily.

Businesses and some factories remain shuttered, with Tesla Inc.’s Shanghai plant — its first Gigafactory outside of the U.S. — entering a second week of disrupted operations. 

Adding to concern about the situation is the emergence of what appears to be new sub-types of the highly contagious omicron strain.

A Covid patient in a city some 40 miles from Shanghai was diagnosed with a new iteration of the virus that evolved from the BA.1.1 branch of omicron, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported at the weekend, citing sequencing data from local health authorities. The report said the sub-type doesn’t match other strains in China, nor those submitted to GISAID, the global database for coronavirus sequencing and monitoring mutations.

A case in Dalian city in northern China reported on Friday also didn’t match any coronavirus found domestically, the municipal government said on its WeChat account.

With the situation spiraling, Beijing sent Vice Premier Sun Chunlan to Shanghai to oversee prevention efforts. Sun ordered local officials to curtail the outbreak “as soon as possible,” indicating China remains wedded to its rigid Covid Zero stance despite the escalating crisis. For much of the pandemic the nation has sought to eliminate the virus, something that’s become more challenging as the pathogen mutated to become more transmissible, evading even the toughest border curbs and quarantine regimes.

(Bloomberg) – “The disclosure of new Covid variants emerging in China and the rise of a potentially more transmissible strain in the U.K. has recast the spotlight on the ongoing risk of the virus, even as health experts say there’s no reason to panic.

The World Health Organization said a hybrid of two omicron strains — BA.1 and BA.2 — that was first detected in the U.K. and dubbed XE could be the most transmissible variant yet. It is estimated to spread 10% more easily than BA.2, which itself was more transmissible than the original omicron famous for its ease of penetration.

 Meanwhile in China, which is experiencing its biggest outbreak since Wuhan, authorities have disclosed two novel omicron subvariants that don’t match any existing sequences. It’s unclear if the infections were one-off events of little significance, or if they may be a sign of problems ahead.”

For a long time now, I have written about the effect of information bubbles.  Wherein people are habitual and get used to watching one show or network.  A network which often demonizes the other network.  I advocate for comparative new consumers.  Watching every side and comparing and contrasting is the only way to get close to the truth in a world of mis and dis information spread on the cyber winds of social media.

Turns out I am not the only one, and a few big brains decided to test what happens if you do not view news comparatively, but stick to your favorites alone.  More partisan tribalism is created and people believe false narrative because they never hear the others sides response.  It is either spinning from the left or the right, not many straight shooters around anymore.  There is more profit in riling your “base viewership”.

Raw Story—”A groundbreaking new study paid viewers of the Fox News Network to watch CNN for 30 days. What they found is that the viewers ultimately became more skeptical and less likely to buy into fake news. The early impacts, after just three days, showed that the viewers were already starting to change.

The findings of the study, written by David E. Brockman and Joshua L. Kalla, explained that the experiment used content analysis comparing the two networks during Sept. 2020.

“During this period, the researchers explained that “CNN provided extensive coverage of COVID-19, which included information about the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and poor aspects of Trump’s performance handling COVID-19. Fox News covered COVID-19 much less,” said the study. The coverage of COVID-19 it did offer provided little of the information CNN did, instead giving viewers information about why the virus was not a serious threat. On the other hand Fox News extensively, but highly selectively covered racial issues, and its coverage of these issues provided extensive information about Biden and other Democrats’ supposed positions on them and about outbreaks of violence at protests for racial justice in American cities. CNN provided little information about either. The networks both covered the issue of voting by mail, but again dramatically different information about it (in addition to offering different frames).”

“It’s far from obvious,” they surmised, that viewing different networks would affect the beliefs and attitudes of the viewer. In fact, it wasn’t so much that viewers were tuning in because they already felt that way, their attitudes were actually being formed from the Fox network.

The Fox viewers were nearly all very conservative and strong Republicans, the study explained. “Of 763 qualifying participants, we then randomized 40 percent to treatment group. To change the slant of their media diet, we offered treatment group participants $15 per hour to watch 7 hours of CNN per week, during Sept. 2020, prioritizing the hours at which participants indicated they typically watched Fox News.”

At the three-day mark, the viewers took a survey. “We found large effects of watching CNN instead of Fox News on participants’ factual perceptions of current events (i.e., beliefs) and knowledge about the 2020 presidential candidates’ positions,” they found. They discovered changes in attitudes about Donald Trump and Republicans as well as a large effect on their opinions about COVID.

The viewers also evolved to believe that if Donald Trump made a mistake, “Fox News would not cover it—i.e., that Fox News engages in partisan coverage filtering.”

The findings might suggest that the most cost-effective way for Democrats to win elections is to start running their own infomercials or commercials on the Fox networks.”

“If there is one image that will symbolize forever this war, it will be a blown-up Russian tank, its treads sagging and its turret tilted, rusting by the side of the road in Ukraine.”-Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV–“Thirty years ago, this country used two armored cavalry regiments, a mechanized infantry division and a 400 helicopter-strong air assault to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces. Huge formations of tanks crossed the border from Saudi Arabia following massive airstrikes on Iraqi positions. During the assault, three epic tank battles were fought in the desert of Kuwait, one of which is thought to have been the largest tank battle in American history. In less than 100 hours of fighting, U.S. forces destroyed 1,350 Iraqi tanks and 1,224 armored personnel carriers (APCs). In all, some 5,000 Iraqi armored combat vehicles were destroyed, damaged or captured. The U.S. military lost a single Bradley fighting vehicle. What is now known as the first Gulf War was the most celebrated and successful use of armored weaponry in modern history. It seemed as Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles rolled to victory in Kuwait City that powerful armored vehicles had proved their worth as weapons of modern war. Putin’s attempt to take that lesson and apply it to Ukraine has failed abjectly

Russian tanks have met their match because of two Western-made rockets, the U.S.  Javelin and the British Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW). Both are lightweight, easily portable, deadly accurate, relatively inexpensive and designed to get around every attempt of modern armor design to defeat them. Lightly armored Russian personnel carriers, constructed mostly of aluminum, can be destroyed using Russia’s own RPG-7 rocket launcher, which was designed and deployed more than 60 years ago.

Ukrainian forces have expertly used the Javelin and the NLAW to destroy Russian tanks as they have moved in convoys and deployed in combat to assault Ukrainian cities and towns. The weapons are carried by infantry soldiers on foot and can be fired from positions of cover and concealment. Both are “fire and forget” weapons, meaning that once they have been aimed at a target and tracked for a short period, they can be fired by the user, who is then able to drop the weapon and move away to safety. The NLAW is disposable.”

As I worked on this in my hilltop retreat another 30,215 of my fellow humans lost their battle with C-19, of those 5,881 were my fellow Americans, and 7 were my fellow Mainers.

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