• Pandemic on course to overwhelm U.S. health system

    Excising some political wanking and cutting to the salient bits:

    The country’s health care system is already buckling under the load of the resurgent outbreak that’s approaching 10 million cases nationwide. The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 has spiked to 56,000, up from 33,000 one month ago. In many areas of the country, shortages of ICU beds and staff are leaving patients piled up in emergency rooms. And nearly 1,100 people died on Saturday alone, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

    “That’s three jetliners full of people crashing and dying,” said David Eisenman, director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters. “And we will do that every day and then it will get more and more.”

    Several top academic models paint similar pictures of gloom and doom thru the holidays:

    An “ensemble” forecast used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — based on the output of several independent models — projects that the country could see as many as 11,000 deaths and 960,000 cases per week by the end of the month. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory suggest that the U.S. will record another 6 million infections and 45,000 deaths over the next six weeks, while a team at Cal Tech predicts roughly 1,000 people will die of Covid-19 every day this month — with more than 260,000 dead by Thanksgiving. The University of Washington model forecasts 259,000 Americans dead by Thanksgiving and 313,000 dead by Christmas.

    “Going into Thanksgiving people are going to start to see family and get together indoors,” he said. “Then the cases will spread from that and then five weeks later we have another set of holidays and people will gather then and by January, we will be exploding with cases.”

    I have been trying to talk my wife out of Turkey Day but one of the nieces is heading off to college next year, apparently never coming back, and really pressuring auntie. Rock and a hard place. This pandemic has been hard on young people. We just hear less about it cuz fewer of them are dying.

  • Happily! Utah's Republican Governor declared a mask mandate yesterday, along with a prohibition against any gatherings, other than immediate family. And there are some fines for violations.

    Even Twin Falls Idaho, may have passed a mask mandate tonight, since it's hospital is overflowing with Covid-19 sufferers.

    I feel bad for those who still choose not wear a facemask, due to their politics, or ignorance.

  • Mooaarrr Data, Igor!!!

    Some nicely presented really bad news with per state breakdowns of just how screwed. blued and tattooed we are on the Covid-19 front:

    Tracking Our COVID-19 Response

    For those who've not been paying attention: Welcome to your nightmare.


    IN an international study in Science, 10 percent of nearly 1,000 Covid-19 patients who developed life-threatening pneumonia had antibodies that disable key immune system proteins called interferons. These antibodies — known as autoantibodies, because they attack the body itself — weren't found at all in 663 people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections. Only four of 1,227 healthy patients had the autoantibodies. The study was led by the Covid Human Genetic Effort, which includes 200 research centers in 40 countries.

    "This is one of the most important things we've learned about the immune system since the start of the pandemic," said Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president for research at Scripps Research in San Diego, who wasn't involved in the new study. "This is a breakthrough finding."

  • The problem extends beyond the plague. Yes, the plague has amplified problems already there, but...

    So, yeah, if you don't subscribe to The Economist, you should. But here is a quote from their Friday email about the state of things in the US...

    "Half of Americans say they would not take a covid-19 vaccine. Eighty-six per cent of Republicans do not think that Joe Biden’s election victory was legitimate. A fifth of Democrats and Republicans think that political violence can be justified if the other side wins a presidential election. These numbers, which we have used ourselves in our US coverage this year, are hard to reconcile with the America that most of us think we know—the country of neighbourliness and “have a nice day” courtesy..."

    Not an unreasonable summary of what you are living with.

  • @David-Harris awful, and very sad, and worse-- scary... 😞

  • Smoking weed at a family gathering.jpg

  • Still Think the U.S. "Flattened the Curve"?

    Coronavirus wave pushes California to brink of 2 million cases

    It took almost 10 months for California to record its millionth confirmed coronavirus case.

    Now, just six weeks after crossing that milestone, the state is on the cusp of surpassing 2 million.

    The staggering rate of growth demonstrates how widely the coronavirus is circulating statewide and underscores the reality that activities and behaviors thought to be relatively safe just weeks ago now carry a higher risk of infection than ever before.

    “Without sustained efforts to stop the surge, we can expect that this tragic trajectory will continue,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said this week.

    Courtesy L.A. Times. Emphasis added.

    Ah, welcome to the real world of science, consequences of irresponsible behaviors and exponential growth.

    Happy Holidays! 🎅

  • First U.S. case of infectious Covid variant reported in Colorado

    Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted on Tuesday that the Colorado State Laboratory confirmed the case in a man in his 20s, who has no known travel history. State officials notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the individual was placed in isolation.

    The news comes as hospitals across the country have been overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases with further spikes expected, likely due to holiday travel.

    With the lamest, most embarrassing pandemic response the world over, you knew it was only a matter of time. Just in time for the upcoming New Year's Eve super spreader Covidiot surge. Sigh....

  • Not to be outdone by Colorado....

    More Contagious Strain of COVID-19 Detected in San Diego County

    For those who may be unaware, Colorado and California share a long rivalry over claims of producing "best cannabis" strains in the world. So, yeah, that was a pretty lame effort at levity... but what else ya' gonna do with this mess, eh?

    Which also brings us to.....

    As much as we're all eager for a return to some semblance of normalcy in 2021....

    Fauci predicts normal life won’t return in U.S. before fall 2021

    That timeline, he warned, will be contingent upon the U.S. “efficiently, quickly and effectively” implementing vaccination programs that have thus far lagged behind schedule, as well as “a rather strict adherence” to personal mitigation measures such as hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing.

    “It’s going to take several months. ... It’s not going to happen in the first few months,” Fauci said in an interview on MSNBC. “If we do it correctly, hopefully, as we get into the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall of 2021, we can start to approach some degree of normality.”

    At the earliest, depending on how much we continue to tolerate Covidiots endangering and killing the rest of us. Cheery stuff!!


    Best wishes for a Happy 2022?? 🎉 🎆 😏

  • Not to be outdone by California and Colorado:

    Cuomo confirms first case of Covid-19 variant in New York (emphasis added):

    The Wadsworth Lab in Albany identified the strain, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, in a Covid-19 sample submitted by Saratoga Hospital.


    The strain has also been identified in California, Colorado, Florida and 33 other countries.


    So much for that "rather strict adherence" to protocols Fauci was urging. Not to mention thirty-three other countries!

    State health officials are urging anyone who was at N. Fox Jewelers from Dec. 18 through Dec. 24, when it closed, to get tested for Covid-19.

    Freakin' covidiots just had to get in that last minute holiday shopping.

    Holy, holy, guacamole!! As the old addage goes: stupid is as stupid does: "One's actions indicate one's level of stupidity (or intelligence).".

    But when, oh when, did we start celebrating it so?

  • Several Canadian politicians have recently been caught vacationing in far-off lands after exhorting the people they represent to stay home except for absolutely necessary (i.e. grocery shopping) trips in order to avoid spreading the plague.

    One of them, a cabinet minister from the province of Ontario, was even forced to resign when it was shown that he had pre-recorded some Christmas messages in front of his home fireplace, then posted them from his holiday resort in the Caribbean to make it appear he was still home.

    Which is just the first half (the Coronavirus half) of this post. The second half is about the weather. The connection? The guy who is admin on the local FB Covid-19 Awareness group put up a really good post about the above behavior, encouraging people to do their best for themselves and for others by not doing what those politicians did. He ended it by saying that, while he was tempted to escape the local weather, he would stay home.

    What weather? Well, here's how he described the storm we're in the middle of today. Maybe the best weather metaphor I've ever heard or read...

    "And yeah, the rain comes in waves and the ferries stop running and the weather most resembles a soaking wet quilt in a giant blender. But that’s ok: storms don’t last, and I kind of like it. This is my home. I can stick around."

    Yeah, we have howling wind, driving rain, and ten-tenths cloud pretty much right down to the deck. Weather like "a soaking wet quilt in a giant blender". Perfect.

  • I sigh for the politicians, who make the rules, & then break the rules.

    Heidi & I flew off to Maui on Jan. 4th last year, for a 10 day break from winter.


    Unlike politicians, we are sticking close to home & enjoying 40 f. walks on our 5 acre rancette, with Harley (the cat).


  • Please, nooooo!! Mister Bill!!!!

    San Diego Zoo gorillas test positive for coronavirus

    The ape-breaking news punctuated the dire coronavirus situation in California. The average test positivity rate has risen above 13 percent. Hospitals are overloaded: intensive care unit capacity stood at 0 percent in Southern California and the Central Valley and just 0.7 percent in the Bay Area.

  • Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing

    I have an interest in "boats". This bit about the Neptune Declaration caught my eye:

    Covid-19 has impacted the daily lives and wellbeing of seafarers in unprecedented ways, causing a humanitarian crisis at sea. Hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their contracts. As the frontline workers of the maritime industry carrying 90% of global trade, seafarers play a vital role in ensuring the global flow of goods that the world depends on.

    Recognizing that they have a shared responsibility to resolve the crew change crisis, more than 300 companies and organizations have signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change.

    The Neptune Declaration urges the implementation of four main actions to address the crisis:

    • Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
    • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
    • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
    • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers

    Full Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change text.

    Having spent some months at sea this resonated. Covid has horked up our land lubber' lives but imagine if that 10-12 week contract morhped into a year w/o shore leave? Yikes!! Crazy, I'd be!

  • First known cases of Covid variant from South Africa identified in the U.S.

    “The arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 variant in our state is an important reminder to all South Carolinians that the fight against this deadly virus is far from over,” said Brannon Traxler, the interim public health director of the state's health agency. “While more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, supplies are still limited. Every one of us must recommit to the fight by recognizing that we are all on the front lines now. We are all in this together.”

    I mean, we knew it was only a matter of time, no?

    And in yet more Covid news..

    New York undercounted nursing home deaths by as much 50 percent, report finds

    The New York attorney general on Thursday accused the state of drastically undercounting Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, saying in a stinging new rebuke of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration that the official tally of about 8,500 may be off by by as much as 50 percent.

    I have listened to pandemic deniers decry senior citizen deaths stemming from Covid as grossly inflated. Now, as it turns out, the opposite is more likely the case.

    !Aye, caramba!! When will we ever learn. 🤦

  • {"The B.1.351 variant has been identified in more than 30 countries but these are the first cases of this variant identified in the United States. Other states have had cases of another, called B.1.1.7, originally identified in United Kingdom. Both variants originally detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa spread easier and quicker than the majority of SARS-CoV-2 variants."}

    Kinda makes you wonder if these are parallel mutations.

    Rather than derivatives.

    I know one person over 65 who was notified and received first vaccination. Interestingly last name begins with A. I have heard nothing.

    My thought is that someone just created a list of those persons in the providers domain and they are going through the list alphabetically. Of course they ran out of vaccine in very short order.

    I would email and suggest going by first names if I had an address. 🙊🙈🙉

  • Heidi & I got our over-65 shots today. Officially, Idaho does not start shooting-up our age group until Feb. 1, & folks can't even sign up until then.

    However, a neighbor called on Tuesday & shared that a nearby small town pharmacy was taking appointments for this week. By the time I tried to sign us up, they were out of vaccine. However, Heidi then called her sister to network & found she & her boyfriend had appointments the next day at a small town medical clinic 110 miles from us. We called, made an appointment & shot up today. Now they are also out. We got the Moderna vaccine & both had slight arm pain, which is now mostly gone. I suspect a little wine will make any residual pain go away.

    Idaho is currently tied with Missouri for the lowest vaccine rate in the country, with only 4.5% of our population vaccinated. Here's a link to a map that shows the dismal situation nationwide as of yesterday.

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