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Is COVID-19 really over in the west?


Biden recently informed the nation that things would be back to normal by July 4th---as if the virus cares. <a href="" source="WSWS" author="Patrick Martin">Biden peddles national self-delusion on pandemic anniversary</a> <bq>The language of collective loss, suffering and sacrifice, however, ignored the brutal fact that <b>one section of American society, the super-rich, has lost nothing at all from 12 months of the worst pandemic in a century.</b> While 527,000 Americans died, the billionaires increased their wealth by $1.4 trillion. While the economy collapsed, millions lost their jobs and hundreds of thousands of small businesses closed their doors forever, <b>the stock market reached new record highs, a process that continues to this day.</b></bq> <bq>Far from Biden’s rosy picture of happy Fourth of July gatherings, the likely prospect of his campaign to reopen the schools is a new wave of mass infections and mass death that turns the summer into a more terrible version of the winter months when the death toll rose above 3,000 a day.</bq> That's honestly what I'm afraid of, as well. I fervently hope they're right and I'm wrong, but it seems rash, going against the advice of the best scientists---those who've been right every step of the way. <a href="" author="Matt Welch" source="Reason">Report: CDC May Relax Its Disastrously Strict School Distancing Rules"</a> <bq>[...] (CDC) is considering changing its school distancing guidance of just one month ago from six feet between each person inside a classroom to three. That simple adjustment, which would bring the United States in line with most of the rest of the industrialized world, could mean the difference between remote learning and in-person instruction for millions of American K-12 students.</bq> No more distancing? Weird. Switzerland still has it. Must be bunk. It's a bit suspect that Welch is citing FOX News citing an op-ed from the USA Today, though, as if that were gospel. <bq>[...] a damning USA Today op-ed Tuesday accusing the CDC of misinterpreting their own work to maintain a six-foot rule that "no science supports,"</bq> Obviously, it's the CDC that's misinterpreting the science. No science supports distancing? Sure, I guess all of those aerosol studies have been debunked. I suppose you can all sit on top of each other with a respiratory disease and nothing will happen. Can you imagine if it were contagious? And spread through the air? Then we might have to distance. But since it doesn't spread, it never existed. Then we get to the real point: <bq>The most union-friendly president in generations got his $200 billion K-12 wish list. There's no reason left to hold school reopening hostage.</bq> Obviously that money will be put to use over the weekend to make the schools safe and then the kids can start Monday. That's how things work. If only it were harder to get things done, right, Welch? <bq>If sports stadiums are packed and Fourth of July celebrations back to normal [...]</bq> Well, if that's the case, then yes, the additional vector of schools shouldn't be a noticeable problem beyond what a full sports arena will supply for patients. Israel is 40% vaccinated and their numbers are still rising. The U.S. has a way to go before it gets to where Israel is (about 3x further down the line). <bq>Schools are safe, they got the money, vaccines are spreading, hospitalizations and deaths are plummeting, spring is here. It's time not only to open the damn schools full time, but to punish politically anyone standing athwart the schoolhouse doors yelling "Stop!"</bq> He must be pretty sure or he wouldn't be sticking his neck this far out, right? It doesn't sound like he's afraid of another wave at all. COVID-19 disappears in the spring and summer---everyone knows that. We have a single data point without causation to prove it through correlation. That numbers are plummeting is somewhat suspicious, honestly, but if they really are, it's because of the lockdown, no? Or is the lockdown not helping drive the numbers down? They went down by themselves? Because ... COVID got bored with us? Or because it's spring? Also, make sure that anyone who urged caution gets pilloried for expressing a perfectly supportable opinion. What should we do with you, Mr. Welch, if you turn out to be dead wrong? Nothing? Right? Because you're not accountable for anything. On the other hand, real experts like Herr Doktor Christian Drosten are much more sober in their analysis. <media href="" src="" source="YouTube" width="560px" author="NDR Ratgeber" caption="Coronavirus-Update #80: Dritte Welle ohne Impfung nicht beherrschbar"> I didn't do a transcript this time, but I took notes on the general gist of what was discussed. See the YouTube page for a meticulous breakdown. At <b>30:00</b>, Drosten talks about the inevitability of B.117 taking over Germany. There are not enough tests to stop the virus. There were never enough tests, even last year (as incorrectly discussed in many talk shows.) Those were different tests. Germany is not going to get enough tests to really warrant a lockdown stop. And it's also not going to have enough vaccine. At <b>42:00</b>, he recommended that maybe parents should back off on their own travel plans, as long as their kids are in school. E.g. don't go to Mallorca. That would be a way of minimizing contamination. Instead of just taking part in all of the possible ways to expose yourself, you could limit yourself a bit. That is, of course, unlikely to happen. At <b>47:00</b>, he described the situation as "brenzlig". We need to vaccinate. People are going to die. At <b>56:00</b> He noted that we have enough data now and the B.117 mutation is definitely more dangerous. It's not yet clear that it's 60-70% deadlier, but it's looking that way. So it's more contagious <i>and</i> deadlier <i>and</i> the people are done with the lockdown and are going to walk face-first into this thing. At <b>59:00</b>, Drosten noted that the research coming from England is excellent. Germany has a lot to learn from them as far as generating such precise and clean results at such a tempo. At <b>1:38:00</b> He discussed some good news. He thinks that we'll need an update of the vaccine, but almost certainly only one in the near- to mid-term. After that, we should be able to stick with a single vaccine for a good long while (that is his hope, based on the data). At the same time, we'll have to see who should get an annual or biennial booster---but certainly not everyone will need one. <media src="" source="YouTube" author="potholer45" width="560px" href="" caption="Debunking internet myths about PCR testing"> <media src="" source="YouTube" author="potholer45" width="560px" href="" caption="Fact checking claims about lockdown (and Sweden)"> We---humans---are terrible at planning for long-term stuff. We always question whether the long-term plans are worth it. <a href="" author="David Wallace-Wells" source="New York Magazine" date="July 9th, 2017">When Will the Planet Be Too Hot for Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine.</a> <bq>The present tense of climate change — the destruction we’ve already baked into our future — is horrifying enough. <b>Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade.</b> Two degrees of warming used to be considered the threshold of catastrophe: tens of millions of climate refugees unleashed upon an unprepared world. Now two degrees is our goal, per the Paris climate accords, and experts give us only slim odds of hitting it.</bq> This article predates his 2019 book <a href="{app}/view_article.php?id=3796">The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming</a> (my notes). So, what should we do about Miami? If it would take years to evacuate Miami in an orderly fashion, do we have enough evidence to convince people to do it? Would that be possible? We know Miami is gone in 20 years. Do we invest a ton of effort and energy trying to save it anyway? These people are all like children, just yelling in the backseat of the car, whining that "we're not there yet," Just keep yelling at scientists for extrapolating from data and making recommendations that save lives.