Monday, October 30, 2023

Yup, It's Still Airborne

The much publicized 60 Minutes episode on Covid ran last night. Lots of accolades on social media, but I wasn't impressed. We're just happy for scraps at this point.

The segment ran in two parts. The main part, at 13 minutes, was all about cleaning air in buildings. As they walked through a high tech Amazon office, they showed how they were able to keep the CO2 in every room below 800 ppm (I would have aimed for 500, but okay). The whole time I thought: that will never be available to public schools. Never. AND, they very much implied that clean air is all we need. Dr. Sean Mullen commented on social media today:

"Please know that in spaces with a high volume of humans, for long periods of time, you cannot simply rely on your HVAC to clean the air from the people coughing in your meeting. You can't rely on your booster shot either. . . . Respirators should always be Plan A!"

The second part, at 3 minutes, was about masks. (Word on the street is that the segments had to be separated because Joe Allen is anti-mask.) They explained how masks work to stop a tiny virus, and why cloths masks should be avoided.  

They made it very clear that Covid is airborne, and it's frustrating to me that this is something that still needs to be discussed at all. SARS1 was airborne. Why wouldn't SARS-CoV-2 be airborne - and not just in the "military" use of the term, whatever that means! Unfortunately, it does need to be said again and again to counteract the original misinformation.

The tag line for the episode was Joe Allen's words: "The original sin of the pandemic was the failure to recognize airborne transmission." 

This is a bald-faced lie that I really wish the interviewer had pounced on - but it's not that kind of show. 

It was known right from the start that it's airborne - at least since February 2020, and it was willfully kept from the public. We all watched Tedros be advised to walk back the admission that it's airborne. 

The original sin of the pandemic was the refusal to adequately and clearly warn the public of the mode of transmission and how to prevent spread with an N95. 

N95s weren't available to the public at first, during our lockdown, but they became plentiful by the time school started back in person. Yet few people knew to wear one, and students were given floppy pieces of cloth without even a metal nose clip to keep them on their face, and, for absolutely no good reason, teachers weren't allowed to wear N95s. We had to sneak them in! 

The episode talked about that first choir superspreader, in March 2020, where most of the people in the choir got sick and a few died. They all used hand sanitizer and refrained from hugging each other, and they all believed they were doing all the right things necessary to prevent the spread because they had been LIED to.

I'm worried that the hubris of governmental officials is such that they will never admit wrongdoing, and, like a child trying to get away with breaking a vase, they'll double-down on their original story forever. And, because nobody wants to wear an N95 anyway, people will use this to justify continuing to live as they did pre-pandemic, going back to a time that no longer exists and never will exist again. We had a chance to nip it in the bud, and people in power chose to let 'er rip. It's not really their hubris that's the concern here, but their full on fear of reprisal. People should be in prison for this "error." 

In July 2020, an article in the Washington Post on Trump and Biden using the pandemic in different ways to get votes said this tidbit:

"[Trump's] goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus--that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve. White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day. . . . Americans will 'live with the virus being a threat.' . . . 'They're of the belief that people will get over it or, if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day."

The states is averaging about 1,500 deaths/week right now, but it's not politically useful to do anything to stop it. And they were so right that we have just accepted cases, and disabilities, and deaths. It's dulled our mirror neurons, effectively turning us into psychopaths. Is this priming us to accept what comes next: deaths from climate change and wars, but on our home turf? Alberta and B.C. are running dangerously low of water. Water wars will be coming if we don't have the leadership to get on top of all these issues coming to a head.

As Emily Fraser said,

"When I said, 'they want us numb to horror because know more horror is coming. They have no plans to stop it,' I wasn't just talking about Covid. I was talking about the violence of eco collapse, fascism, punishing people for being born poor/vulnerable/in the wrong place. I've been terrified of the next century since for a while, but especially so since the 2018 climate doomsday report which couldn't have laid the stakes out any more clearly, yet the people in power still made no plans to stop the impending horror. Their only plan is to keep us numb as long as possible, as more and more people suffer and die, until it's us being destroyed. 
Let's not follow that plan."

Back in 2020, Biden chastised Trump for refusing to wear a mask in public. Then just last month Biden acted like a rebellious teenager as he refused to mask until getting to his podium despite his wife having Covid: "Don't tell them I didn't have it one when I walked in, alright?"

When did Donald Trump's talking points become everyone's talking points??

Chomsky explained that Republicans and Democrats represent just slight variations of the same political platform in 2008:

"Of course there are differences, but they are not fundamental. Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party. Let us look at the 'differences' more closely, and we recognize how limited and cynical they are. The hawks say, if we continue we can win. The doves say, it is costing us too much. But try to find an American politician who says frankly that this aggression is a crime: the issue is not whether we win or not, whether it is expensive or not. . . .  But this is the kind of debate you would expect in a totalitarian society." 

Then in 2014 he clarified that, in the last 30-35 years, things changed: 

"We're still a one-party state, and we still have two factions, but they're not Democrats and Republicans. The one faction is moderate Republicans who are called democrats. So the Democrats today are pretty much the moderate Republicans of a generation ago. People say moderate Republicans have disappeared. No they haven't; they've just become Democrats. As the two parties drifted to the right, the Republicans just went off the edge. They became the party of the very rich and the corporate sector. Well, you can't get votes that way. So they were compelled to turn to the sectors of the population, which were always there but not mobilized as a political force: the people terrified that somebody's coming after them, the religious extremists, people who hate science because 'what do those guys know,' and so on and so forth. Those are the sectors; that's the base of the Republican Party. If you look at the business pages now, the corporate sector is very concerned that they can't control their base. They can no longer control them, and these guys don't care if they destroy the economy. Who cares? We can win a civil war. God will help us. Whatever it is, they just don't care. It's a very unusual situation. That's the rough political system in the United States. 
It's kind of similar to what happened in Weimar Germany, when the industrialists thought that they could use the Nazis as a battering ram against labour and the left, and they figured then they could control them. Turned out they couldn't. This is not Weimar Germany, but there's a striking similarity. And that's the disfunction. That's what's happening in Washington. That's why the World Bank and the IMF are pleading with the United States to try to act like a civilized society because we may bring down the global economy with these two factions. That's a serious problem." 

So there's that!

(More ways the parties are more similar than different.) 

That being said, we still need to keep those over the edge out of office as much as possible, but recognize we don't have a left-leaning party, and the same is true in Canada and many other countries.

And don't expect any official body with significant power to do anything to stop the virus. If we can't personally convince our friends and loved ones to wear a mask inside public building and transportation, we are doomed to watch them succumb to a very preventable disease. 

But, thanks, 60 Minutes, for the crumbs. 

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