Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Vulnerable will Fall by the Wayside

Fauci's line to the BBC, "The vulnerable will fall by the wayside," said while projecting that we're unlikely to have another tsunami of cases of death as happened with Delta or early Omicron, reveals an acceptance of callousness around mortality now that would have been absolutely unnerving four years ago. It's an ableism that effectively dismisses "losses" as inconsequential, and an othering that can further harassment and abuse of people who are perceived as being less valuable. It gives tacit approval to this perception, suggesting it's okay if they die. 

The CDC, which stands for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presented a draft of suggested precautions in June that are less stringent than previously, including claiming that there's no difference between N95s and surgical masks (p. 30), which many are pointing out is simply untrue.

They also claimed Long Covid just lasts weeks or months, and Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding called them on it: 

Why would the agency tasked with protecting the public, lighten precautions and downplay the risks as another wave is beginning? Even though death rates might be lower right this minute, we're still seeing 10-20% of cases lead to Long Covid. 

Some are pointing out that, when tuberculosis was spreading in the 90s, the CDC and top experts realized surgical masks couldn't provide proper protection against TB and advocated for N95s . . . so what happened?

Lazarus Long also noticed that the CDC has a separate Twitter account for TB, but nothing for Covid (except this parody site). 

"The CDC has never tweeted out a simple explanation EXACTLY LIKE THIS on how Covid is spread. Despite it is airborne EXACTLY LIKE TB. I checked. Why? Because the CDC has never taught airborne disesase transmission prevention to the American people. Just handwashing and vaccinations. . . .

Much disease transmission happens in the home. Yet the American people have no information on how to avoid that. Disease transmission also happens in the public. The American people also have no information on how to avoid that. With the exception of vaccinations. A sizable portion of Americans are dubious of masks. Is it any wonder? The CDC, whose mission includes providing effective communication of disease prevention in the population, simply has never actually educated the American public on how to avoid airborne diseases. . . . This is not irreversible. The CDC must embrace clean air."

Some suggest it's a move to save money for hospitals if masks are brought back, since surgical masks are cheaper than N95s, and many voting members are also on board at various hospitals. But surely N95s aren't the thing breaking the budget, are they??  

Rio Slade thinks it's part of a trend to relax workplace regulations in general, part of the neoliberal agenda, along with new laws protecting employers from lawsuits if they expose workers to Covid, more relaxed teaching requirements, allowing substitution of more ingredients in food without declaring it on labels, rolling back child labour laws, loosening on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities, allowing industry to self-monitor pollution levels, and de-regulating food systems

I tend to agree that Covid is a crisis that enabled an opportunity for the owners of the means of production to decimate workers rights. 

Gregory Travis says this shift is driven by real estate: we need people back at work, so we have to convince them it's safe to come back, and that doesn't happen if we keep having them wear masks, so we make them believe in herd immunity. I question the idea that people in charge actually thought they'd end the pandemic through herd immunity, especially considering all they do to keep themselves Davos-safe. But it makes sense that they want us to believe that. And it really helps explain why the CDC is further loosening standards. Travis explains, 

"Commercial real estate is the primary mechanism by which the agricultural surplus is distributed inequitably among the population. To put it in layperson's terms, commercial real estate is the mechanism by which the rich become richer. The owners of commercial real estate are just the tip of a vast iceberg that depends on inflated values. . . . It became apparent, quickly, that under no circumstances could the value of commercial real estate be allowed to crater. The fastest way to do that? End the pandemic. What would end the pandemic? Universal infection. 
But before the nation was ready for universal infection, the concept had to be made safe. 'Herd immunity' made universal infection safe. . . . Giving the population a simple formula for identifying who was immune and who was vulnerable was absolute genius. Understanding that only old people, non-white people and people who were fat were vulnerable made it easy for the majority to self-identify themselves as immune. Not only that, but to identify their children as being particularly immune. Once the majority believed they were at no risk from infection, it became impossible for them to continue to support protective measures against infection. They were ready for focused infection. . . . 

Once young adults had been sold on the idea that they and their children were immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there was no longer any reason for them not to return to work and their children not to go back to school. . . . It would not do to return to work/school/etc. if there were still mitigations in place . . . because you can't tell people it's safe to go to school or the doctor and also tell them to wear a mask."

He used this graph to show definitively that herd immunity is a lie: having 96% of children in the US infected by fall of 2022 didn't do anything to lower the death rate. 

"Three areas on this graph:

  • The Great Infection - May 2021 to March 2022 when 35 million children were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 
  • Pediatric DIE-OFF - September 2021 to May 2022 when the children infected in the Great Infection died from their infections
  • Child death from re-infection - These deaths that continued to accrue in children even though all children had already been infected at least once and should be protected against death by so-called 'herd immunity' from 'natural infection'
The thick dashed line in this graph is the cumulative percentage of children infected. The rate of infection accelerated rapidly during the Great Infection--like a vehicle's accelerator held to the floor by a combination of in-person schooling and relaxed protections. 

The thick red line in the graph is the cumulative number of children who have died. The rate of death also accelerated rapidly during the Pediatric DIE-OFF, a consequence of mandating children into classrooms where the air is contaminated by a BSL-3 vascular superpathogen. More children died during the Pediatric DIE-OFF from Covid in eight months than normally die of influenza in five years (60 months). . . . Deaths from Covid in children did not change at all. They continued unabated at a pace of two children a day. A child is nearly as likely to die of Covid on a re-infection as they were on their first infection. 

If first infections provided meaningful protections against subsequent infection, the very essence of herd immunity theory, deaths should be plummeting. They are not."

Then he asks the important question around the CDC, eroding workers rights, and neoliberalism in general:

"What do we do to hold those accountable for spreading deadly self-serving lies about the resiliency of children? How do we become a nation where any politician who says 'has only killed' in reference to children killed in a national disgrace, becomes the face of evil?" 

Unfortunately, Canada tends to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. And our current strikes and education upheaval is a big distraction from the state of this virus continuing to circulate. A teacher recently told me that, at her school, only a few students still mask ("holdouts") and none of the teachers or admin. 

Notice that after masks were removed, we never got our valleys to be as low as the first two summers of the pandemic. We're no longer sequencing like we were a couple years ago, and some hospitals have shifted reporting practices, so we're basically flying blind at this point. We live in countries dominated by short term thinking without a plan for the future. We appear to be in a nice lull right now, but let's see what the fifth year of school with Covid brings. 

Canadian hospitalizations for Covid from April 2020 to August 2023

ETA: This poem from Plague Poems:
Should you see me
having fallen by the wayside
please just know
it is not that I fell, but that
I was dropped
I was pushed
I was tripped
believe me, I was trying
I was trying not to fall
so should you see me
having fallen by the wayside
please my friend
stop and help me back up
And ETA this tiktok in which it's explained that ONE infection can lead to someone becoming vulnerable and immunocompromised!  

No comments: