News: COVID-19 Pandemic, continued

The COVID-19 pandemic continues apace, and remains out of control in the United States.

If there is any good news (beyond the low rates of infection and death in my own region and social circle, for which I am grateful!), it is that while infections continue to rise, a smaller percentage of confirmed infections are serious. There was some earlier, sparse data suggesting that people who wear masks may be receiving low enough exposure to the virus to fight it off successfully; now, data about viral load specifically is being examined, and is trending in a more convincing way.

I don’t want to post ALL the news on this topic (every news organization in is already doing that, it would be duplicative), but this viral load issue is interesting.

Covid-19 death rates are lower worldwide, but no one is sure whether that’s a blip or a trend

After working for three months straight at Detroit Medical Center, Said El Zein noticed that the coronavirus patients who began arriving in May appeared less sick than those who came before. More than 4,000 miles away in northern Italy, researcher Chiara Piubelli was struck by the same thing.

I’m describing this as good news, but even if this trend holds, it would still mean that more than 2 million people just in my country could potentially die. Which isn’t great, especially if you are one of them! It also remains ominous that children can have such high viral loads, as that may bode ill in those families/situations where they are looked after by grandparents and other senior caregivers. But fewer people getting the life-threatening version of the infection is good.

I’ll take any potentially positive trend, at this point.

~me, right now

I’ve completed 31 weeks of local/regional sheltering-in-place and minimizing in-person interactions with others to help prevent the spread of this illness. I am lucky and privileged to be able to do so.

While the wildfire smoke has compounded my lack of physical fitness (and added variety to my pre-wildfire allergic (?) cough), and the quarantine has kept me from seeing my parents (2-4 hours away), none of what I’m experiencing from the pandemic is important: essential workers are having a very different, more demanding experience, as are the many people whose livelihoods are risky, unsafe, or just otherwise disrupted due to safety concerns during this time.

I’m glad my locality continues to ban evictions (and won a challenge from landlords in court!), and that the schools are offering meal support along with other food charities. But it pains me that we aren’t one of the countries that is just paying everyone 80% of their salary to be sure they (and the businesses that employ them) make it through this.

While someone at my local pharmacy said they feel bad that kids won’t get to enjoy trick-or-treating for Halloween, I feel sad for EVERYONE. *

*Except the anti-maskers and the authoritarians, for whom I have no sympathy.

I miss my relationship with my hometown, and all that comes with that. I miss my relationship with the bayshore, with the people who run restaurants and shops I frequent, with my friends, with the library, with the museums, with the cafes, and just walking through the neighborhoods of this city, which are each so distinct in character… I’m eager to resume these interactions when it is safe. I’m hoping very strongly that safety will be possible.

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