Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Information Without Action Leads to Devastation

How it feels to watch it all (Judgment Day).

We know all the things we need to know!

From Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding:

"Want to know why even mildly symptomatic sick folks shouldn't attend school/work? Because they can exhale high viral loads for 8 days! (As high as 1,000 virus copies per minute!) Mask up? If you don't stay home or mask--use at least a HEPA." 

It's nothing really new, this study that verifies how many and how much; it's just more specific. Every exhale from an infected person sends the virus all throughout the air in the room. Some people track specific variants and which ones are dominating, but that also doesn't necessarily add to a useful knowledge base for the layperson. The important bit to understand is that there are enough version of the virus in play that we can get it again and again! That reality has been around a while. 

We cling to each next new vaccine like it walks on water, but we've seen literally millions of "breakthrough" cases. Isn't that enough to show that vaccines reduce severity of acute symptoms but not the ability to catch and spread it significantly enough to be the only prevention. In fact, reduced symptoms and unrealistic expectations of the vaccine's effectiveness likely causes more transmission as overconfident people stop masking. Definitely get vaxed, but don't forget the limitations of what Covid vaccines can do.

It doesn't help that people keep referring to it all in the past tense or any reference to "during the pandemic..." which implies that it happened in the past and then ended. New variants keep forming and will keep forming as long as the virus is able to mutate inside host bodies. We're unable to get rid of it as long as we keep allowing it to spread. It didn't end and won't end.

The acute stage of the infection isn't the thing to worry about for most people. It's that Long Covid (aka PASC) can be brutal. Little ones getting Covid have an incredibly high chance of having type 1 diabetes for the rest of their lives. The virus stays in the body, traveling through the blood stream and can affect all organs, which leads to a plethora of illnesses including permanent damage to the immune system, which is now showing up in stats as disabilities and deaths from a variety of other diseases. We call it 'brain fog' when it hits the brain, but it's really brain atrophy. We have lots of pleasant names for horrific illnesses caused by Covid. Fatigued sounds so much nicer than bed-ridden

Click on the image to see it more clearly. 

Too many healthcare workers and educators would still rather see one another's smiles than keep patients and students safe from this. This is the fifth school year we're dealing with Covid, and my old school board never managed to get HEPAs in the all rooms, and now they're removing any that were put in place in typical rooms because they added more mechanical ventilation, their "experts" completely misunderstanding the additive nature of air filtration. To get to 10 or 12 air changes per hour, necessary when there's a virus present (which there will be in all schools this fall), we need mechanical ventilation AND box filters of some kind. And masks, of course, which the school board gently encouraged for a couple months.

Friends are moving their kids to safer private schools or homeschooling, which feeds in perfectly with the privatization scheme that's clearly in the works. I don't blame them one bit.

Masks really work to reduce transmission, but even Biden acts like a rebellious teenager trying to get away with something as he only wears his masks after getting to the podium despite his wife being ill. He said, mask in hand, 

"They keep telling me because it's got to be ten days or something I got to keep wearing it, but don't tell them I didn't have it on when I walked in. Alright?" 

The subtext, of course, is that he's a cool guy willing to flaunt the rules, who hates masks just like us, and he only wears them if he's made to, and even then, just barely. Which means we shouldn't wear them much even if we're asked to because all these darn rules are just so stupid, and why can't we all just do what we want??

What a difference it could have made if he wore it proudly, and made it clear that he was more than happy to protect the public despite the minor inconvenience. But we know we don't have leaders on board to help us mitigate Covid or the climate crisis or do much of anything vital anymore except move money around. 

In BC, they're considering bringing back masks in hospitals after cases tripled. Health Minister Adrian Dix said, 

"We felt it was important during this period, where Covid cases were relatively lower, that we have a period where doctors and nurses and health-care workers and people could see each other's faces, and that has value. But that's an issue Dr. Henry will be looking at."

I don't understand how healthcare workers, who take an oath to refrain from causing harm, and must know that almost 60% of cases are transmitted from people without any symptoms, yet still move patient to patient without a mask on. Even worse, in cancer wards and premie wards, where masks were mandatory prior to Covid because of so many fragile patients, they're completely gone now. We value smiles over lives. 

That's absolutely fascinating to me. How do people spend decades in a job that requires a mask and then suddenly stop wearing one as if they believe no virus is airborne anymore? 

You know all of this, right??

Covid Stages of Grief

Greg Travis amended a stage of grief chart (or maybe just shared it), but it's clearly made for people who are following the lead of our politicians. It's very different for people who have been following the science from the beginning and watching the shitshow unfold as people in all levels of government deny any responsibility for mitigations. I'm generally wavering between depression and acceptance of it all, which don't differ much from my point of view. He has acceptance as, "If we use masks...we can beat this." 

For me, acceptance looks like coming to terms with the reality that we're just going to have more and more disabled people and more deaths of young people despite the fact that it's preventable, and the longer we go just exposed to the lowest viral load possible, the more we'll end up helping take care of the rest and trying to keep society together, which definitely beats the alternative options.

(Click for easier reading.)

My version for science followers (I'm too depressed to make a new graphic right now!)
  • denial -- Soon people will understand that we can pretty easily prevent all this sickness, disability, and death, and we'll bring back protections! We just have to get the word out!!
  • anger -- Nobody in charge is doing bloody anything to prevent the spread and some people are actively preventing precautions! This is absolutely unconscionable!! (I used that word a lot in earlier posts.)
  • bargaining -- Maybe if I write them another letter and really explain it super clearly, then they'll finally realize the error of their ways and add in some kind of preventive measures to hospitals and schools.
  • depression -- There's no point trying anything anymore. Nothing will ever work. It's all a lost cause.
  • acceptance -- This is the way it will be to the end. Today is beautiful. I'm currently healthy and my kids are healthy (because we all mask), and at least we can strive to stay of sound mind and body while we watch others around us get this "yo-yo flu" or develop chronic conditions or die. This is our lot in life. 
I dip back into bargaining from time to time, thinking that I might have some tiny influence over someone in a position of power. 

Or maybe even over a maskless friend who sees her wee grandchild's on-going cough as inconsequential and continues to take her inside public buildings unmasked. 

She told me, "I think she gave both her parents Covid." And I think she did too. And I just smiled and nodded.

When is the right time to show them the studies of what it means to have Covid as a toddler, especially after exposure in utero. At this rate, she'll have it ten times by her tenth birthday. In experiments in rodents, none survived ten infections. The little ones might beat the odds. It's possible, and it feels all the more possible when nothing really horrific has happened in your life to the point that you're in a delusional bubble that nothing truly bad can happen, but the odds are not in their favour. Would it help to consider that, even in Canada, a chronically ill family member can suck away your life savings in no time?

We need masks (N95 or better) on people inside public buildings as well as CR boxes and open windows, dammit!! 

But there I go bargaining again, trying to negotiate change and in denial about the trajectory we're on. Just enjoy every moment with loved ones as we send them down this dark path. It won't all be okay. It'll just be.

ETA: Yesterday, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, said we need to get masks back out. I went to my first class of the term this morning. I asked by email prior, as nicely as possible to 26 burgeoning mental health professionals, if people wouldn't mind wearing masks if it's not too much trouble, and I brought tons of masks to give away. Two people took one, put it on for a minute, looked around, and took them back off. I get it. It's really really hard to be different and look weird, and if nobody else is worried, then it seems like it's all perfectly find. Except it's not. So bloody depressing.

It is what it is.

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