Life: November 2020: COVID-19 Pandemic

So, in addition to dealing with the record-breaking and dramatic U.S. elections, we still have the pandemic to cope with.

COVID-19

This month, the U.S. surpassed 2 million confirmed cases and 250,000 deaths.

It’s bad. We have something like 4% of the world’s population but more than 20% of the COVID-19 cases.

Americans are even now traveling and visiting each other for Thanksgiving, so there are very grim projections for December. Extremely grim. Something like 40% of Americans surveyed planned interstate travel for the holiday.

I mean, we’re already at 2,000 deaths per day. Reuters reported in this article that there is a U.S. COVID-19 death every 40 seconds. But that isn’t enough to make some people change their plans.

From https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/, as always.

Some of the spread is persistent political toxicity – people recall that Republicans insisted that this GLOBAL PANDEMIC was just a hoax to make the U.S. President look bad. [eye roll] The heartbreaking story last week was of people in North Dakota denying on their literal deathbeds that COVID-19 is real, and abusing their hardworking nurses and other caregivers. (We really need to stop both-sides-ing partisanship folks. One particular side is dying of it.)

{My own circle’s COVID infection numbers are climbing VERY slowly, thankfully, and feel like they are tapering off from earlier seasons. I still have just one first degree friend who was infected (and was denied a test), but seven second degree contacts had it, and more than 8 third degree contacts… And that’s without having checked social media for a year to find out who in my wider circle has been infected.}

Vaccine Testing Progress

The good news is that the vaccine trials are going well. While the data is still being compiled, theoretically nearly all of the advanced trials are showing something over 90% efficacy, though the math seems to work differently for each of them.

I could just share the data, but why do that when I can also share an Oxford comma joke?

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Pfizer vaccine: effective, protective and safeModena vaccine: effective, protective and safeOxford vaccine: effective, protective, and safe

So, there is hope that we can get treatments next year, but they won’t be 100% protective, and we don’t know how long their protective effects will last. And some asshats still think the virus is a hoax, even as they are spreading it or dying from it, so getting people to use the vaccine or any other protective measure will be a challenge.

COVID Treatment and Prevention Risks (beyond the obvious nationalist ones here)

Plus, there are new variants of COVID-19, including a strain that leapt from domestic mink to humans, which is not a thing we need right now – it’s just another front to manage when we aren’t even managing the human infections. (See this article in Scientific American about the infection that has spread to more than 200 people in Denmark.) . This is yet another time when I gripe and say that everyone who eats or wears animals is endangering all of society with their lifestyle. Yes, there is the massive environmental damage and greenhouse gases, and water consumption, and land consumption, and related pollution – all of that – BUT ALSO these animal diseases jump to humans and spread around the world, and we really wish you would stop. Swine flu global pandemics, bird flu global pandemics, COVID-19 from an animal market as a global pandemic… I’m not even going to discuss Ebola.

HUMANS – learn from these pandemics – for all of us – PLEASE.

To me, a non-expert who reads lots of news, this feels like it means:
-ongoing major losses of life;
-ongoing need for funding and expansion of health support needs for people who have long term side effects (and a big expansion of health services worldwide);
-six months to another year of major precautions, perhaps followed by many years of less serious precautions IF we can manage long term immunity, with changes in design, ventilation, and occupancy of indoor spaces, and
-lots of hard work to recover in all the ways that matter to society.

This really is a world-changing event, and managing the changes will be a big challenge for us.

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