Everyone Needs To Work Together To Defeat The COVID Pandemic

9-11-2021
   I’m fed up!
   We are still in the COVID Pandemic folks! This is a fact! The Delta Variant is much more contagious than earlier variants and is spreading very quickly. This is also a fact. Many hospitals around the country are filling up again with COVID patients. We are at the point now where people who need ICU beds aren’t always able to get them, and as a result, some of these individuals have died when they likely could have been saved if they had gotten into ICU. Now consider that of the COVID patients who are in ICUs, the significant majority are unvaccinated individuals.
   Think about that. We have safe vaccines available that we know are very effective in decreasing the chances of getting severe disease from COVID, yet millions of Americans are still refusing to get vaccinated even when they could. Hospitals are getting overwhelmed and people are dying who could have been saved otherwise because so many people are refusing to get vaccinated. This is a cold, hard fact!
   On top of this is how so many people in the United States refuse to wear masks when they should. Masks work! They decrease the chances of people spreading and catching the virus.
   Masks are most effective when everyone is wearing them, particularly inside spaces with less ventilation. Consider this: you have a room full of people. If one of those individuals has COVID, that person is shedding the virus as they breathe and talk. The virus then spreads on small water droplets (>5 microns) and probably also in the form of much smaller aerosolized particles. The droplets fall into the ground quicker, whereas aerosols can linger in the air for hours. There is evidence that COVID can be spread via both methods. If someone with COVID is in such an environment without a mask on, then everyone right around that individual will be at risk of breathing in virus laden droplets that the person is breathing out. The longer these people are in close quarters to the COVID individual, the greater the chance they will become infected, especially if they’re not wearing masks. Individuals who are inside the room but a little farther away may also be at risk via breathing in virus containing aerosols. This risk obviously goes up if they are in the room for extended periods of time and aren’t wearing masks. But if everyone, including the individual with COVID, is wearing a mask, then the risk of other people getting infected significantly goes down. This is because masks help decrease the amount of virus that is breathed out into the atmosphere of the room by the COVID individual while also decreasing the amount of virus the uninfected people might breathe in.
   Now imagine this room is full of your kids and their teacher at school.
   This is why mandatory mask wearing in schools is so vitally important right now. We are seeing a significant rise in the number of minors catching COVID (and going to the hospital) right now. These kids who are getting infected can then in turn spread the virus to others in their household, some of whom might be at greater risk of getting severe disease.
   In order to get a better handle on this pandemic and defeat it, everyone needs to work together like happened during World War II. During that conflict, people worked together to achieve victory. Everyone from civilians to soldiers. But this is not happening during the current COVID Pandemic, even though we are at war with a virus. According to Johns Hopkins University, as of September 11, 2021, 659,018 human beings have died in the United States alone from this virus (418,500 Americans died in WW2). Too many people are not wearing masks / social distancing when they should and too many are still refusing to get vaccinated even though they could. These individuals are being extremely irresponsible and selfish. They are the major reason why hospitals are getting overwhelmed with COVID patients.
   It’s time for everyone to do their part for the greater good, like occurred during WW2. People who are able, need to get vaccinated immediately, and everyone should wear masks (and social distance as much as possible) when inside public places or in concentrated outdoor crowds. If enough people would do this, we would get a much better handle on the COVID Pandemic, which in turn would save lives.

Opposing School Mask Wearing Mandates During This Surge Is Grossly Irresponsible

8-26-21
   What is wrong with people? Hmm? I’d really like to know!
   We are still in the COVID Pandemic and are experiencing a serious surge. The Delta Variant, which is now the predominant form of the disease, is multiple times more contagious than earlier variants.  We know this. We also know how mask wearing and social distancing help significantly decrease spread of the virus. It’s also clear that to gain the maximum effect, everyone inside a public space should be wearing a mask. This is because masks decrease the amount of virus that is exhaled into the air by someone (who may have COVID and not realize it) while also providing protection for other people in the room who would be exposed to what virus is able to escape into the room’s atmosphere. Think about it. It makes perfect sense.
   Now consider how schools are trying to return to in-person learning in the middle of a rising surge. It should be abundantly obvious that everyone inside a school should be wearing a mask. Everyone. Kids and staff are going to be inside rooms in close proximity to each other for hours. We’re also seeing how in this current surge, a growing number of young people are getting infected with some going to the hospital due to having severe cases that are potentially life threatening. This is that much more reason why everyone should be wearing a mask inside schools.
   It’s not rocket science folks.
   Yet many people are fighting against mask wearing mandates in schools claiming that not wearing a mask should be their individual right. The problem with their argument is that we are dealing with a pandemic and with public health. This means that wearing a mask inside a school is not just about protecting the well-being of the wearer. It’s also about protecting everyone else in that school.
   It’s about doing what’s right for the greater good.
   This is why when people are vehemently opposing mask wearing mandates in schools, they are being grossly irresponsible and are endangering the lives of not just their own children, but those of other people as well. This sort of selfishness is sickening and abhorrent on so many levels.
   In times of crisis, everyone needs to pull together and do their part for the greater good and let go of some of their selfish desires and demands. This is what happened during World War II when everyone did their part to defeat Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan. The problem is that right now millions of Americans are refusing to do their part in that they’re not wearing masks and social distancing when they should and many are refusing to get vaccinated despite the fact they are medically able to do so.
   So I ask again: what’s wrong with people? Why are so many being ruthlessly selfish to the point of endangering the lives of not just themselves and their own children, but those of other innocent people as well?
   What happened to doing what’s right?
   What happened to fighting for the greater good?
   I’d really like to know.

This Pandemic Is Not Over Folks!

8-13-21
   Ok, I know: people are sick and tired of the COVID Pandemic.
   I get it. I am too. We want are lives back. Dream about things being normal. Doing things we used to do. I hear you.
   But folks, this thing is not over.
   The Delta Variant of COVID is much more contagious than earlier variants and is now the dominant form in the United States and much of the world. Case numbers are quickly rising so that almost the entire country is now rated by the CDC as having substantial or high rates of transmission. We are seeing increased numbers of younger people getting severe COVID cases that are sending them to the hospital.
   Thing is: there have been too many people refusing to get vaccinated and not wearing masks when they should. Earlier in the summer, too much of the population started acting like the Pandemic was over. They stopped wearing masks and quit social distancing. This allowed the virus to spread faster. The more a virus spreads, the more mutations occur. These mutations lead to new variants. Add in the fact that many people had not been vaccinated, and you have a recipe for disaster.
   Well, the disaster is here.
   So, everyone needs to buckle down and do their part in battling COVID-19. Practice social distancing and wear masks when inside public places or in large crowds. And unless your doctor has legitimate medical reasons not to, get vaccinated! If everyone would do their part, we could get through this much faster, and that would help people get back to more normal lives quicker and safer. But more importantly, it would save lives.
   So please do your part.
   Practice social distancing!
   Wear masks inside public places and in large crowds!
   And unless your doctor has legitimate medical reasons not to, get vaccinated!

Not Having Mandatory Mask Wearing In Schools Will Cost Lives

8-10-21
   What has this country come to? Hmm? So many people are refusing to get vaccinated or wear masks even though it’s been proven that both are extremely important in fighting the COVID Pandemic. And it sure seems like a significant chunk of the Republican Party keeps sinking to greater and greater depths of irresponsibility which is endangering people’s lives as well as our democratic values.
   It’s bad enough how so many Republicans are trying to change the narrative of what really happened on January 6th and who was responsible. Too many continue to spread Trump’s lies about the election, and Republicans around the country are even trying to pass voting laws that a lot of experts feel would make it more difficult for many Americans to practice their constitutional right to vote. These actions are clearly undermining and threatening our democracy.
   But what is also sickening is how such a great number of people, many of whom are Republicans, are so willfully ignoring and mishandling the COVID Pandemic. They seem to be denying or avoiding scientific evidence and advice about how to fight COVID-19. A great number of individuals are not wearing masks when they clearly should and far too many are still refusing to get vaccinated despite the fact that vaccinations are vitally important in battling this deadly virus. Even before the current surge which is enveloping this country exploded, the CDC was recommending unvaccinated people wear masks when inside public places or in big crowds, yet many were totally disregarding this advice. A variety of people from different walks of life have been doing this sort of thing unfortunately, and it’s been a significant problem among Republicans. Polls and studies have shown that as a whole, Democrats and Independents have been more likely to take this Pandemic seriously when compared to Republicans. A higher percentage of Republicans say they will not get vaccinated as compared to Democrats. It’s been Republican states which have been having much lower vaccination rates and thus faster spread of the Delta Variant. Now we are in another surge as the Delta Variant, which is much more contagious than earlier forms of COVID, spreads rapidly around the country and the world. The CDC is recommending that in areas with substantial or high rates of transmission (which is most of the United States), everyone should wear a mask when inside public spaces. This includes those who have been vaccinated. Yet many people are ignoring this. And what makes matters even worse is the fact that there are Republican leaders such as the governors of Texas and Florida who are refusing to institute mandatory mask wearing for schools. Governor DeSantis of Florida is even going to the extreme of threatening the salaries of education officials who enforce mandatory mask wearing in their local school districts. This is beyond sickening!
   Mask wearing absolutely saves lives in that it decreases the chances of the virus spreading from person to person. The scientific evidence for this is beyond overwhelming. A significant majority of kids are not vaccinated, especially those under 12 because they’re not allowed to get one of the vaccines at this point. And we know kids can catch and transmit COVID. We’re also seeing in the current surge a greater percentage of young people ending up in the hospital because of COVID infections. So it’s blatantly obvious that everyone in schools should be wearing masks and that doing so would help limit the amount of spread that occurs. Yet Republican Governors DeSantis and Abbott are completely ignoring the scientific evidence and are opposing mandatory mask wearing in schools. This will absolutely cause lives to be lost needlessly and unnecessarily.
   What is wrong with such members of the Republican Party? How low are they going to sink, and how many innocent people have to die because of the irresponsible behavior of leaders such as DeSantis and Abbott (as well as that of everyday individuals who refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated)?
   When history looks back on this time, it’s going to treat a great many people, especially a significant number of Republicans, very harshly, and they’re absolutely going to deserve it!

Earth Is In Serious Trouble If We Don’t Make Major Changes. Period.

   Earth is amazing when you think about it. The Universe is such a vast place with countless stars, planets, solar systems, and galaxies. It’s incredible to think about how so many things had to come together just right in order for life as we know it to form and evolve on this world. If Earth had been a little closer to the Sun or a little farther out, it wouldn’t have happened.
   So it’s really unfathomable how human beings, who are supposed to be the most intelligent species on the planet, are in the process of destroying the only home we have.
   Why are we doing this? Why are human beings devastating this beautiful world?
   Humans get so caught up in their daily lives that they often become thoughtless and short-sighted. They seem to only think about what will improve their own personal lives, families, careers, friends, and so on. People often lose sight of the bigger picture. Many don’t think about how their actions impact the world around them and as a whole. Plus, there are also humans who knowingly damage the environment out of pure greed. They don’t care. Companies and individuals that have willfully and illegally dumped toxic waste into lakes and rivers are classic examples.
   Most of the time I would say it’s a combination of these various factors. There are plenty of people who don’t necessarily want to be hurtful and greedy, yet to varying degrees become so as they pursue what they want and what they feel they need.
   The thing is: there is overwhelming evidence that human activity is causing serious damage to the only home we have, Earth. Ecosystems are being lost and too many species of animals and plants are on the verge of extinction because of human activity. CO2 levels continue to rise which is leading to dangerous increases in global temperatures and changes in the Earth’s climate. This in turn leads to more frequent extreme weather events, droughts, wildfires, water shortages, and more. Many scientists are genuinely concerned that if things don’t change very soon, there will be mass extinctions of many species of animals and plants.
   We can’t keep doing this to the only home we have.
   We all need to make changes in our lives, big and small, in order to take better care of Earth. People need to start educating themselves and seeing the bigger picture of what is going on and what we need to do.
   If we start making better choices and working to make this a better world, in a hundred years, Earth could be a beautiful place where humans and nature have found a balance and live in harmony.
   But if we continue down the destructive path that we are headed, in a 100 years, Earth will be a place that is grossly overpopulated, badly polluted, and where countless species of plants and animals have gone extinct.
   It’s time for all of us to make changes so that in a hundred years, the former will hopefully be true and not the latter.
  

http://ocean.si.edu/through-time/ancient-seas/sea-level-rise

https://climate.nasa.gov/

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772

We Must Fight COVID Aggressively Right Now And Avoid Getting Too Lax Too Soon

3-6-21
   The COVID pandemic has been raging for over a year now. People are getting tired of wearing masks, social distancing, not seeing friends and family in person, not attending gatherings, and so on and so on. A great number of people are hurting financially due to jobs being lost or hours being severely curtailed because of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many businesses are suffering and quite a few sadly have closed permanently.
   So I understand why people are so eager to try to get life back to a more normal level.
   But, the pandemic is still raging. While in a number of areas, cases have slowed down to some degree compared to during the holidays, the numbers of new cases are still dangerously high. And in many states and cities, the rate of new cases right now is higher as compared to the spring of 2020 when states went into total lockdown.
   I’m not saying we should to go into a total lockdown again. But we must continue to fight the pandemic.
   Texas has rescinded its mask wearing mandate and is allowing businesses to open to full capacity. This is dangerously premature and in my opinion will absolutely cost lives to be lost unnecessarily and tragically. It’s way too soon to open businesses at 100% capacity, and rescinding mask wearing mandates is grossly irresponsible.
   The COVID virus has mutated as viruses due. Currently, there are multiple variants spreading around the country and the world. Several have shown to be more contagious than the original strain. We also can’t say how efficacious the current vaccines will be against all these new variants. This is why mask wearing, social distancing, and restrictions on how many people are allowed inside businesses are still vitally important in fighting this virus.
   What we need is for everyone around the country and the world to continue wearing masks and social distancing in public. Businesses will have to find ways to function as best they can with restrictions such as limiting the number of customers allowed inside. We also need as many people as possible to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. If we do this, we will get control over the COVID virus much sooner, which in the long run will save lives and help businesses get back to more normal levels sooner than otherwise.
   But fully reopening and relaxing mask wearing/social distancing rules too soon will prolong the pandemic and cost more lives to be lost, lives which could have been saved otherwise. The other thing that would prolong the pandemic is if too many people refuse to get vaccinated. In order to reach herd immunity, we need as much of the population to get vaccinated as possible.
   So please, continue taking precautions. Wear masks and social distance in public. And when your turn comes, unless your doctor has a genuine legitimate reason not to, get vaccinated against the COVID virus.
   By working together we can get through this and get through it sooner. But it’s up to all of us.

Everyone Needs To Do Their Part In Battling The COVID Pandemic

3-1-21
   I know people are sick and tired of the pandemic. They want to get out and do things. They miss restaurants, family gatherings, bars, movie theaters, the list goes on and on.
   People are getting impatient. They want their lives back to the way they were before.
   But folks, the COVID Pandemic is still raging.
   People are still dying. As a matter of fact, people are dying at a daily rate that is higher than was seen back in early 2020 when strict shut down measures were first instituted.
   We must all do our part to fight this deadly disease, and that means keep wearing masks and social distancing in public. It also means that when your turn comes to get a vaccine, get it! Unless your doctor has genuine legitimate reasons not to, get a COVID vaccine when your turn comes because it’s not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone. In order to gain herd immunity in the population, we need as many people as possible to get vaccinated. That’s how it works. If a bunch of people refuse to get vaccinated, the pandemic will continue and people will keep dying needlessly, tragically, and before their time.
   So please, please, please: do your part.
   Practice social distancing and mask wearing in public. Avoid large gatherings especially when indoors. And when your turn comes, get vaccinated!
   Together, we will get through this.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

NASA’s Perseverance Spacecraft Is Due To Land On Mars Thursday, February 18th.

2-15-21
   We’re almost there!
   The Perseverance spacecraft will be arriving at Mars this Thursday, February 18th, after having traveled 292.5 million miles from Earth to the Red Planet. That in itself is an extraordinary feat. But then the real challenge begins.
   The plan is that at approximately 3:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the descent stage of the craft will start the process of entering Martian atmosphere and descending down to the surface of the planet. This is what NASA calls “7 minutes of terror. “
   Why is it so terrifying you might wonder?
   Well consider this. The craft will enter the atmosphere of Mars at approximately 12,000 miles per hour. It must do so at the proper angle, otherwise the mission could fail right then and there. Once it enters the atmosphere, the craft must slow down in 7 minutes so that it can safely land on the surface without being damaged. It will essentially go from 12,000 mph to zero mph in 7 minutes. Also consider this: it takes radio signals approximately 10.5 minutes to travel from Earth to Mars. The result is that once NASA instructs the craft to begin descent, it will be totally out of NASA’s hands. The spacecraft will be entirely on its own as it conducts a complex series of dangerous procedures to land on the Red Planet. And NASA won’t be able to do a single thing to help it out.
   Pretty terrifying when you think about it.
   If all goes well, humanity will have sent a craft and landed it on another world. Impressive when you think about it.
   Once landed, there will be diagnostics and tests conducted to check things out and see if everything is performing properly. One of the Perseverance rover’s missions will be to find a flat surface onto which to place the miniature helicopter, which is called Ingenuity. The plan is that over a 30-day period, there will be a series of short flights to demonstrate the ability of flying a helicopter on another planet. This will be an amazing accomplishment by itself.
   The other primary mission of the Perseverance rover will be to explore its landing site, the Jezero Crater. Billions of years ago, it is believed that an ancient lake and river delta once existed there. Using a variety of instruments, the rover will explore the area learning about its geology and climate as well as searching for potential signs of ancient microbial life. This mission will take years.
   If all goes well, the Perseverance mission is going to be a great achievement that expands our knowledge of another world and further explores the question of whether life evolved on places outside our own planet Earth.
   I recommend checking out the attached links which go into more detail about the exciting Perseverance mission to Mars.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/15/world/mars-landing-nasa-perseverance-guide-scn/index.html

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-invites-public-to-share-thrill-of-mars-perseverance-rover-landing

Restrict Indoor Holiday Celebrations To Only Those Who Already Live In The Home.

12-20-20
   COVID cases are rising at a dangerous rate here in the United States. As a matter of fact, right now, the leading cause of death in the US is COVID with a person dying of the dangerous virus approximately every 30 seconds.
   Think about that: every 30 seconds, a human being dies of COVID-19 in the United States. Putting it in these terms: when you listen to Bing Crosby’s “A White Christmas,” odds are that 5-6 people just died of COVID in the United States.
   Think about that.
   As of 10am EST on December 20, 2020: 316,209 people have died of COVID in the United States, and with the way things are going, by April 1, there is a very real chance that number will be well over 500,000.
   There are a number of reasons for why the US is getting hammered so badly. One factor is that a number of viruses get worse in terms of spread during cold weather. Flu is an example of that.
   Another reason is due to the fact that the United States has mishandled this pandemic so badly. Leadership from the Federal Government has frequently been severely (or at times totally) lacking and when present, has often been uncoordinated and terribly inadequate. The Trump Administration has botched the job with confused, inconsistent responses and messaging which has often been filled with bad information and even flat out lies. In many ways, states have been left on their own in battling the pandemic (to a far greater extent than they should have been) with some states being more effective and responsible than others. The result has been a kind of disorganized ad hoc, patchwork approach instead of a coordinated national strategy.
   On top of this is the fact that many Americans (including Donald Trump) are still not taking this pandemic seriously and frequently disregard social distancing and mask wearing guidelines. Far too many people ignored the pleas of the medical community and went ahead and traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday to have inappropriately large gatherings. This undoubtedly worsened surge of COVID cases and deaths this country is seeing.
   Enough folks!
   The COVID pandemic is real, serious, and deadly. COVID has a significantly higher mortality rate than flu and can lead to debilitating long term effects in some who survive it.
   Another factor in COVID’s rapid spread is how a number of people who get COVID have mild or no symptoms but can still unknowingly spread it to other people, who in turn may be at high risk of serious disease and potentially even death.
   Hospitals around the country are nearing (or have reached capacity), and ER personnel are beyond exhausted with too many getting sick themselves. Southern California is literally running out of ICU beds as I write this. When hospital systems get overwhelmed, more people die who could have been saved otherwise.
   So, damn it, open your minds and do your part.
   Listen to the scientists and medical experts. Practice social distancing and mask wearing in public. Don’t have big holiday gatherings. Holiday celebrations (particularly indoor ones) should be restricted to only those who already live in the household. Stay home as much as you can. This is not the time for unnecessary travel, big indoor gatherings, and such.
   We are at war with COVID, and everyone should make adjustments in their lives in order to do their part in combating the virus to save lives.
   It’s up to all of us!

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

Human Caused Climate Change Is Here And Must Be Battled Now

12-15-20
   Human Caused Climate Change is here!
   It’s too late to prevent it.
   It’s here whether we like it or not! And worse yet is that human activity brought this on.
   That’s right, it’s our fault.
   Human activity, particularly the extensive use of fossil fuels for energy, has resulted in rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. In 1850, the CO2 level was 280 ppm (parts per million) while in November, 2020, it was 415 ppm. That is a major increase in atmospheric CO2, which along with other gases, has created a greenhouse effect that is warming the planet.
   What makes this situation even more tragic is that scientists have been warning everyone about this for decades. But most ignored it.
   Well, it can’t be ignored any longer!
   The effects of Climate Change are affecting us now.
   For example, glaciers and the polar ice caps are melting, thus raising ocean levels. Many mountain snowpacks are getting smaller in winter (and often melting sooner), in large part due to the fact that more precipitation is falling as rain (especially at lower elevations) instead of snow for more of the year. This means that water problems will likely worsen for areas that rely heavily on the spring melt for their drinking water and agriculture, places like California and India.
   Weather patterns are changing so that some areas are experiencing greater numbers of intense storms while others are getting significantly drier so that droughts are occurring more frequently and often with increased severity. This is why we are seeing worsening wildfires in various parts of the world such as California and Australia. Both of these places were already prone to wildfires, but as they become hotter and drier, they are experiencing wildfires that are greater in terms of number and intensity.
   Climate Change is also affecting tropical coral reefs around the world. Increasing air temperatures are warming the oceans’ water. When the water gets too warm, coral expels algae that was living in its tissues. This turns the coral white in color (this is also known as coral bleaching). In this state, the coral is under stress and at greater risk of dying.
   Now consider this: as the conditions of the planet are altered (by human actions), there is a greater chance of more animals going extinct.
   Because of us humans.
   These are just some of the effects we are seeing from Human Caused Climate Change.
   Now, it’s up to all of us to work together in battling it to try to minimize the damage.
Each one of us must make changes in our daily lives to be more pro-environment. Examples include using public transportation, carpooling (after COVID), driving vehicles with better fuel efficiency, recycling, decreasing use of plastic (take permanent reusable bags to the grocery store, and if you use plastic bags, take them back to the store for recycling (plastic bags can’t be put in curbside recycling in most places)), and educate yourself. Spread the word. Put pressure on businesses, governments, and organizations to become more pro-environment.
   In addition to these, vote!
   Vote for elected officials who acknowledge Human Caused Climate Change and are taking action to fight it.
   Vote out Climate Change deniers.
   If we all take action, we can slow Climate Change down and minimize the damage.
   But we must act now! 

https://climate.nasa.gov/

http://ocean.si.edu/through-time/ancient-seas/sea-level-rise

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coral_bleach.html#:~:text=When%20water%20is%20too%20warm,and%20are%20subject%20to%20mortality.