Everyone Needs To Work Together To Defeat The COVID Pandemic

9-25-2021
   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 25, 2021, 687,572 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 frankly 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!

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.

The United States Badly Needs The COVID Relief Bill Passed

3-1-21
   People all around the country are hurting badly during this pandemic between health concerns, tragic deaths, and economic impacts.
   A great number of businesses are seriously hurting, and as a result, many people have found their hours being cut or their jobs lost completely. Even places that have been around for decades with devoted customers have had to shutter their doors permanently. Many people are on the precipice of potentially being kicked out of their apartments and homes. Millions of Americans are barely hanging on.
   But the thing is: this pandemic is still raging. People are still getting sick and too many are dying, so various restrictions are still needed to try to control spread of the disease and save lives.
   It’s a terrible dilemma. We have to balance fighting the virus while trying not to devastate the economy at the same time.
   This is why we really need Congress and the White House to pass the COVID relief bill as soon as possible. Everyone’s not going to get everything they want in the bill. This is a democracy in a time where partisan divides are often extreme and bitter. But we have to find ways to work together and get something passed to help people and businesses who are struggling economically as well as provide strategy and coordination in the effort to battle the devastating virus.
   Come on DC. Please get it done.

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/

2021 Is Here

1-1-21
   It’s a new year!  The twisted, tortuous, brutal year of 2020 has finally drawn to a close which is a huge relief to people around the world.
   While we all hope that 2021 will be better than 2020, the reality is that it will take time.
   In the United States, COVID case numbers are scarily high with death tolls often reaching over 3000 in a 24 hour period. Many experts expect January to get particularly bad with a surge upon a surge occurring as the effects of people, who disregarded medical experts’ pleas to avoid big holiday gatherings, are felt.
   In addition to the COVID situation, Trump and his people are undermining American democracy with outrageously false claims about the election. While Trump’s attempts to steal the election away from the American people will fail, it appears he is going to try to hold as much power over the Republican Party, after he leaves office, as he can get away with. This is disturbing to say the least. Even though he will no longer be an elected official, he will likely try to control what Republicans (who are in elected positions) do by threatening to turn his followers against them. This is a form of authoritarianism that is dangerous and damaging to democracy.
   Thus, 2021 will not be a walk in the park. But hopefully, it’ll get better. Perhaps with time, some of the Republicans who have been going along with Trump’s outrageousness (even when they know he’s in the wrong) will finally grow a spine and turn away from him, but time will tell if that actually happens. Hopefully, the COVID vaccination program will pick up steam so that the majority of the population can get vaccinated as soon as possible, that way we can start reaching herd immunity. With herd immunity, we can begin getting life back to a more reasonable, enjoyable state.
   So, hang in there. People need to listen to medical experts and work together in combating COVID-19. We must stand up for our democratic values. People need to stop enabling Trump’s abhorrent, unAmerican behavior and recognize that the election was fair and that Trump legitimately lost. It’s time to put the toxic divisions and hate of the Trump years behind us and strive to help one another and work together in creating a better future.

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/

12-7-20: 282,436 People Have Died In The US From COVID 19

12-7-20
   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 every 30 seconds.
   Think about that: every 30 seconds, a human being dies of COVID-19 in the United States, and it will get worse.
   As of December 7, 2020: 282,436 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 its 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. There will undoubtedly be a worsened surge of COVID cases and deaths because of this.
   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 of the people who survive it.
   People can also get COVID without symptoms but unknowingly spread it to others.
   Hospitals around the country are nearing (or have reached capacity), and ER personnel are beyond exhausted with too many getting sick themselves. When hospital systems get overwhelmed like this, 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 vacation travel, big indoor gatherings, and such.
   We are at war with COVID, and everyone should make adjustments in their lives to do their part in combating the virus and thus save lives.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/