Skidding Through COVID 19

Dear Family,

“There’s a visceral thing that happens when you are driving on ice and you go into a skid. The guy in the passenger seat is often going to have some words of wisdom to share with you. That’s nice. But what determines your performance, and survival, has a lot more to do with much earlier choices. What kind of car are you in? How fast were you going? What’s the curvature of the road like? Did you shell out for the good snow tires? Are you wearing your seat belt? Are you an experienced driver? Do you tend to remember what to do in a crisis? Is the back seat full of unsecured throwing knives? That stuff is what matters: the guy shouting in the passenger seat, even if he’s shouting very good advice, is pretty immaterial.

“I feel like, for people who have the luxury of choosing the moment and context in which they become a parent, there are a lot of ways to deliberately improve the odds of doing a good job. But once you are a parent, at least for several years you’re skidding on ice, and the entire genre of parenting advice is just like the dude shouting ‘steer into the skid!’”

—Ethan Mitchell

——

Yoo hoo! Yeah, you: USA Politicians, “Public Health” Officials, and Powerful Ruling Corporate Entities. We’re here! That’s right: we, the people of this ginormous and resource-rich country, we’re out here, getting dictated-at, and scaremongered-to, and used to demonstrate one or the other side of a statistical equation that somehow _always_ seems to have two sides (and only two). Some of us are feeling distinctly ignored, since you’re steadily phasing out voting rights anyway, and we don’t appreciate being treated like inevitable casualties in your wars.

While I get that we don’t actually matter to most of you, and your jobs are many and varied and Very, Very Busy…I’m here again - this time to continue to report that some of us aren’t quieted by the “We’re all in this together” patriotic BS. It would be a lot more honest if you just called yourselves the Upper Classes, The Elite, or The Best Ones. Then we could organize a Peasants Uprising. Or not, since we’re actually the weakest and most Not-Together that we’ve ever been, seeing as how COVID has become the ultimate terrorist, with “Stay Away From Thy Neighbor” quickly becoming your rallying cry. You couldn’t have created a more efficient scenario if you’d advertised: “Seeking a strategy to create a weakened, fearful, easy-to-control populace who will stay out of trouble while we jockey for power and money.” Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist or anything. (And really, I’m not - how could humans engineer such insanity?)

Yup, just keep right on arguing and backstabbing, you guys. We’ll deal with the disappearing jobs and rising food prices and ecological disasters and our collective poor health + no health insurance, all on our own…

——

Some of We the People have been locked-down for going on two months now. During all this time, you’ve been dispensing non-stop virtual fear-driven “advice” that is sometimes made up, often contains exaggerated or minimized facts, and is occasionally so common-sensical that it’s kinda silly that you said it at all - and despite round-the-clock media coverage of Both Sides of this almost limitlessly complex, decidedly non-binary situation, almost none of your advice has been useful in any way. You’ve been telling us how terrible this virus is, despite nobody knowing a true case fatality rate; you’ve been saying we all should do the exact same things, even though the virus is affecting different populations in entirely different ways. You’ve been paying lip service to the powerful danger of “co-morbidities” but have made zero policy changes to improve the actual health of American people, and instead promoted policies that are poised to make things way worse. You’ve been inside the echo chamber of The American Experience without pausing much to examine what’s happening in other countries that are handling this disease (+ their economies + their politics + their healthcare) differently.

You told us to Flatten the Curve, and when we did, it turned out that nobody knew how flat we were supposed to go, and after you started arguing, the rest of us did, too. It’s handy, isn’t it, to have us so occupied with policing the quality of our Social Distancing? Definitely keeps us from organizing that revolution!

We don’t have to be binary!! It’s not like the ONLY two options in the world are: stay locked down until a vaccine is developed, or re-open everything and go back to “normal” and wait for a vaccine to be developed. We could be having such nuanced conversations right now…

We’ve reached the point when, despite dire warnings of the dangerous-ness of the virus, which we should now continue to avoid indefinitely, wealthy people, people who work remotely, and retired folks are some of the few demographics who can stay home anymore.

A lot - a real lot, like incredible millions of lots - of PEOPLE in this country are now more desperate than they were before the pandemic began. So while you bicker about your politics like an exceedingly immature gathering of narcissists, and whine about Who cares about the Economy Most, and argue about Who Understands Safety Best, let’s maybe look at some of the elephants in the room.

——

M. sent along this article: https://off-guardian.org/2020/05/06/authoritarianism-in-the-age-of-pseud...

“…The lockdown would not be merited if we were to genuinely adopt a knowledge-based approach. If we look at early projections by Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in the UK, he had grossly overstated the number of possible deaths resulting from the coronavirus and has now backtracked substantially.

“Ferguson has a chequered track record, which led UK newspaper The Telegraph to run a piece entitled ‘How accurate was the science that led to lockdown?’ The article outlines Ferguson’s previous flawed predictions about infectious diseases and a number of experts raise serious questions about the modelling that led to lockdown in the UK.

“Ferguson’s previous modelling for the spread of epidemics was so off the mark that it may beggar believe that anyone could have faith in anything he says, yet he remains part of the UK government’s scientific advisory group. Officials are now talking of ‘easing’ lockdowns, but Ferguson warns that lockdown in the UK will only be lifted once a vaccine for COVID-19 has been found…”

The article concludes with this note:

“…As this article was going to press, it was announced that Neil Ferguson is resigning from his role as science advisor to Boris Johnson’s government, in the wake of the allegations he has broken the lockdown rules he himself recommended in order to meet his girlfriend – ed.”

—-

Gossip included, we PEOPLE are capable of a much higher level of intellect than you give us credit for. And, many of us are stressed to the max by our ridiculous free market social order, and most of us have been sickened, sedated, and taught by our modern culture that our health is a resource bestowed remotely by the Gods of Genetics who are ethereal, fickle beings, and therefore we cannot really DO much about our own health, and therefore our chances of getting COVID can only be limited by mechanistic technologies or radical avoidance. Since most of you politicians have been taught to accept this WALL-E scenario as a normal result of normal human experience, rather than the degeneration of a species, it’s no wonder that your current public policy is so simplistic and irrational.

Because truly, this is insane! We are one of the sickest nations in the world, with some of the most expensive and least effective healthcare of any industrialized country (and definitely some of the worst, most processed, and also contaminated food available anywhere), and it does not give me pleasure to note that Americans are dying at a higher rate than many countries without lockdowns. (Also interesting concerning the complexity of all-cause mortality in the era of COVID, article sent by M.: https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-death-rate-sinking-data-reveals-a-complex... ).

What could push money-driven political figureheads toward finally prioritizing human health and nutrition rather than Big Pharma and Symptom Management? What will it take for Powerful, Driven Persons to recognize that we are equally members of an intricate ecological web that is facing dire scenarios of the exact same sort that humans are facing now? Does it have to be a terrible crisis, like, I don’t know, a world-girdling pandemic?! Oh wait, that’s not nearly dire enough…

We could use at least one more political party willing to consider this Elephant in the living room (and libertarians don’t count unless they come up with some ideas), since both democrats and republicans are completely unwilling to take it on…

——

G. forwarded a sad/funny meme:

A man is drinking his morning coffee, and reads: “The Coronavirus vaccine is going to eliminate coronavirus.”

The next frame notes: “Just like the flu vaccine eliminated the flu!”

——

See, we are ALL facing that same question I mentioned a month ago, despite the fear mongering the US population is enduring, and the political pressures facing all the politicians, and the denial that makes many people think they are immune from such existential thoughts, especially at a time like this: How will we coexist with this virus? This is a personal, public, local, and national question.

——

R. recently wrote:

“As the race for a vaccine proceeds I am forcing myself to read more about them. Whenever I talk about vaccines, someone brings up polio - a scary reminder of when I was a child and we lined up at the local municipal building one night for our shots.  I personally know several people who suffered life long injury. 

“There is interesting evidence that the treatment at the time was counter productive. A nurse in Australia - Sister Elizabeth Kenny - followed her instincts and treated the legs as though they were muscle spasms instead of muscle weakness. She didn't use braces, and had a huge success rate - but it was hard to convince the medical mavens to follow her protocol. And not all of her patients recuperated from paralysis, so eliminating paralysis is not simply a matter of different treatment.

“Richard Moskowitz is a Boston-area homeopathic physician who graduated from Harvard (BA) and NYU (medical school).  (Full disclosure: he was our doctor when we lived in Boston.) In his book, ‘Vaccines: A Reappraisal’ he mentions that ‘when the polio vaccine was introduced, the CDC redefined the disease to apply solely to ongoing cases of paralysis lasting 60 days or more, excluding the far more numerous cases of temporary paralysis that corrected themselves within a few days  or so, which had always been counted in the past. This strategy might have been entirely legitimate and sensible had it not been devised to mislead the public by claiming that the vaccine was responsible for the decline, rather than admitting that the threat was much less serious than previously thought and the chances of any given individual acquiring it were almost  vanishingly small.’

“Dr. Moskowitz references the work of Sir Macfarlane Burnet, a Nobel prize winner, when he says, ‘Well over 90% of the people exposed to the poliovirus don't manifest symptoms at all, even under epidemic conditions, while of the few percent who do get sick, the vast majority develop nothing more sinister than a nondescript flu-like illness with both upper respiratory tract symptoms and a gastroenteritis that is clinically indistinguishable from a host of other typical summer diarrheas in children. Of these symptomatic cases, at most 1 or 2% will progress to the full blown picture of paralytic disease, with its typical lesions in the motor neurons of the spinal cord and brain stem and of these the majority will resolve spontaneously in a few days, a natural history that undoubtedly helped persuade the CDC to restrict the diagnosis of paralytic polio to the tiny fraction of cases who did not.

“’In short, developing paralytic poliomyelitis requires a degree of anatomical susceptibility that very few people possess, one that allows the virus to migrate from the intestinal tract to the motor neurons of the spinal cord and brain stem.

“’. . .a more sensible strategy than vaccinating everybody against a disease that only a tiny fraction will ever come down with would be to elucidate the mechanism of its migration from the intestine to the spinal cord, and develop a test for identifying susceptible individuals beforehand, since even if the vaccine were completely successful in blocking polioviruses from reaching their spinal cord and brain stem, [susceptible people] could still be vulnerable to other viruses with the same affinity, and perhaps to complications from the vaccines themselves.

 ‘…As the incidence of these strains of paralytic polio has declined, other enteroviruses and possibly even some polioviruses not covered by the vaccine have arisen to occupy the niche thus vacated; and the resulting illness, euphemistically named non-polio acute flaccid paralysis or NPAFP, has not only become increasingly prevalent in a number of countries, but also clinically more virulent on average than polio itself. 

‘[The incidence of NPAFP in India has been associated with the live virus oral vaccine, but] a remarkably similar illness has recently broken out in the US and been traced to enterovirus D68, suggesting that even the killed IPV can stimulate the same kind of strain and species replacement as the live OPV. The CDC has identified 120 children in 34 states who came down with a polio-like illness from August 2014 through July 2015, consisting of limb weakness or paralysis and MRI evidence of inflammation of the spinal cord.  Designating it as "Acute Flaccid Myelitis," they found the following additional characteristics:

1.  The median age of the children was seven years
2.  Almost all were hospitalized and put on ventilators
3.  Most had fever and respiratory symptoms before CNS [central nervous system] involvement
4.  70% had white cells and protein in their spinal fluid
5.  By day 19, 80 had improved, 40 had not, and only two had fully recovered.
6.  Still, no specific virus was identified as responsible.’”

—-

I think it is very informative to find out what life is like on the ground in other counties for regular humans during this pandemic. This from G., in Japan, concerning mask-wearing, lockdowns (or lack thereof), and COVID deaths:

“…Kids have to [wear masks] for certain extracurricular activities. [We adults don’t!]

“…But the Japanese tradition already was to wear face masks when you’re sick with a cold - and I think people occasionally wear them to cover up cold sores or acne, bad hair days, etc..

“It’s not unusual for Japan to close school during a bad flu season, except they do it class by class/grade by grade when x% of the class is calling in sick with the flu. They don’t normally shut down whole school buildings nationwide, but they did so for COVID out of an abundance of caution.

“However, Japan never locked down, and they reopened the schools for a day or two - but then Japan’s daimyo (military overlord - that’s the USA) twisted their arm to make them print some spin-able headlines for Western consumption.

“Actually, until America forced Japan to go through the superficial motions of drinking the Kool-Aid, Japanese workers were still packed like sardines by the millions on trains & buses for weeks & weeks, while most of America was locked down and the NYC death toll climbed to 50,000 - more than the world’s next ten biggest cities combined.

“Ummm, somebody’s lying [and there are a lot of other factors to investigate apart from the nature of the virus itself, including: the nature of those who it infects!]. Who could it be? Is it Big Pharma-owned New York state? Or is Tokyo lying about only 200 dead? 

“Big Pharma does NOT own Japan, where my five little kids enjoy freedom from vaccine mandates, and that’s one of the main reasons that [we stay] in the Tokyo metro area.

“My kids had chicken pox last year: no big deal. The year before that they all had Whooping Cough, except for the oldest, who was immunized back before we parents did more research. My kids kept on going to school every day with Whooping Cough (pertussis), and #2 missed only two days of soccer practice because of it. 

“Did my kids give everybody at school Whooping Cough? No. (Or did the immunized kids, asymptomatic carriers, give Whooping Cough to my kids in the first place??)

“And anyway, WHERE is the fall out from all those weeks & weeks of Japanese commuters packed like sardines??? Where’s the ‘un-flattening’ of the curve? Where’s the Round Two of COVID 19?

“Scientifically illiterate people are easy to propagandize, including MDs. The Soviets wouldn’t allow news from the outside world in. In contrast, the US government know that its citizens won’t even consider looking at information that comes from the outside world...

“… Americans are so brainwashed: the media didn’t let Americans see the REAL data coming out of northern Italy when COVID was really getting started in the West. The real data indicated that a lockdown would be self-defeating, but Big Pharma owns the US mainstream media. The viewers are not informed, and it’s easy to propagandize.

“By the way, science actually says that masks are ineffective at reducing the spread of COVID… I believe the US surgeon general has been saying the same thing…”

——

And there you go…past bedtime. The weather has turned glorious, thank goodness - I wasn’t looking forward to a third week of near-hundred-degree temps. Thanks for all your e-mails!

Goodnight,
xoxo
Sarabeth