Tag Archives: virus

Happy New Year? Marking Time

First, a happy and peaceful New Year to everyone. My primary wish for everyone is to remain safe from the implacable invisible and deadly virus(es) that continue to haunt our every move. New Year is, of course, not always an entirely happy occasion. It marks time in an odd way, just as we mark hours, days, weeks, and months but it reminds some of us of lost friends and family for the multitude of reasons that bring human lives to an end. And those battling illness of one kind or another. Perhaps it’s the inevitability of that end, always uncertain in timing, that leads so many to celebrate the New Year as if something real had occurred other than an artificial change in the calendar. One day it’s 2022 and the next day it’s 2023.

I for one am consciously grateful to still be here to reflect on this ritual and share every right-thinking person’s hopes that the future will be better than the past, especially the recent past. We are still scarred from our year of the pandemic in New York City. Maybe we always will be, but we also can choose to believe that better times do indeed lie in the future.

That’s true despite the war in Ukraine, the threat of climate change, and the fact that violence against people and the country continue largely unaddressed.

But enough of that. As I reflect on the absurdity of our excess enthusiasm for the “new year,” I also see the value of marking the time as a new beginning and not just an ending. And in doing that we do “start over” in some way and, I hope, commit to doing better, doing good, helping those who cannot help themselves, being kind and as generous as circumstances allow, recognizing the value of those who are simply different than us, respecting science, and reflecting always on the reality that each of us is finite and will not live forever. Time moves in one direction only and, once consumed, can never be recaptured or replayed.

So we should, we must, cherish the time we have, share with open hearts and, as the ending of a science fiction book, title lost to memory, that I read many years ago ended, “love one another.” There is no other way.

Trump Subversion of Federal Health Authority Complete

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that Trump’s subversion of the national health service is complete. In apparent obedience to Trump’s expressed desire to “slow the testing down, please,” CDC now says that it “no longer recommends testing for most people without symptoms, even if they’ve been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.” https://cnn.it/32vgQgz

According to the CNN report,

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who was previously Baltimore’s health commissioner, said … that the testing guideline changes make no sense. “These are exactly the people who should be tested,” Wen said, giving the example of a person exposed at work who wants a test so they can protect their family at home.

It almost seems that CDC is trying to confuse the public further.

The CDC guidelines say if someone has symptoms and they’re mild, a health care provider “may advise a COVID-19 test,” and if symptoms are severe, people should contact a health care provider or seek emergency care.

“It is important to realize that you can be infected and spread the virus but feel well and have no symptoms,” the updated CDC site says, noting that local public health officials might request asymptomatic “healthy people” be tested, depending on cases and spread in an area.

In its pandemic planning scenarios, the CDC says its current best estimate is that 40% of infections are asymptomatic and 50% of transmission occur before symptoms occur.

The CDC did not explain the change, and doctors were puzzled by it.

Uh huh. Puzzled. Yes, not only doctors.

Dr. Wen further said,

“This is key to contact tracing, especially given that up to 50% of all transmission is due to people who do not have symptoms. One wonders why these guidelines were changed — is it to justify continued deficit of testing?”

Not unexpectedly, CNN reports that

A spokesperson at the US Department of Health and Human Services denied the change would affect contact tracing efforts, which most public health officials say is key to any eventual control of the virus. “The updated guidance does not undermine contact tracing or any other types of surveillance testing,” the spokesperson said.

HHS said people should consult with their doctors or with local health officials to decide if they need to be tested. “The guidance fully supports public health surveillance testing, done in a proactive way through federal, state, and local public health officials,” the spokesperson said.

If your head is spinning, that is the intended effect. Mission accomplished. You have been gaslighted by your government at the behest of the president. Recall that Trump has repeatedly complained that “we do more testing, we show more cases.” In Trump’s bizarro mind, that means if you do less testing, there will be fewer positive cases to report and we can say “Trump did a great job because the virus is under control – just look at those low positive case counts.”

This is the conduct of a proto-dictator who cares nothing about the welfare of the people he swore an oath to protect. He has finally succeeded in subordinating yet another government function to his Alice-in-Wonderland version of reality. Just to get re-elected, the only thing that really matters to him other than money.

You know what to do.