Current News January 1st 2022

Coming Down With Omacron

We live in Florida which means we don’t take masks and social distancing too seriously. At the bottom of this I’ll explain some of the whys as I see it. As you’ve probably guessed we’re travelers and over the past two years we’ve had dozens of trips and cruises cancelled or postponed. The way I see it, taking travel away from us is almost as bad as the risk of getting thrown into an ICU. To our thinking the risks we take are justified. In October we managed to get to Europe and caught a cruise home and it almost felt normal – not completely, but almost.

This Christmas morning we drove a couple of hundred miles to spend two days with family. Everything went great, nobody was sick and a couple of people had been recently tested for COVID. Driving back on Monday morning my wife complained about being tired but she had just spent two days with a six year old and he’ll wear anyone out. Later that day she developed a slight intermittent cough but it was very mild and by Tuesday it was gone.

Tuesday evening I developed a cough and by Wednesday it wasn’t a mild cough at all. I also started feeling tired and achy but no fever. I’m guessing COVID. In the past I don’t deal with coughs very well. A bad case of the flu can leave me without sleep for days on end and feeling on deaths door. Thursday morning my wife starts looking for COVID tests with the only option being to go to a county site and wait in line for three plus hours. Just what someone not feeling well wants to do. Both CVS, Walgreens and our clinic say they won’t have tests for over a week – good planning Washington!

By Thursday evening all the family we visited were now sick and everyone has now tested positive for COVID even though they were all vaccinated. It’s now a 99.9% probability that I have it – test or not. At 74 years old maybe I should be worried? Not so much though. I’m beginning to feel less tired and achy already, there’s little to no congestion and all that’s really bothering me is the damned cough.

I didn’t get much sleep on Wednesday night and near none on Thursday so Friday morning I figure I’ll reach out to my doctor. They’ve got this neat web site with messaging so I let them know what’s going on and ask if maybe there’s an anti-viral the doctor can prescribe? A few hours go by with no reply so I call. They’re closed through Sunday.

The clinic has a tele-medicine option so I contact them. I’m informed that they can’t do anything for me until I have a positive test result!!! But I can’t get a test!!! They don’t have tests!!! Is this what we’ve come too? Now I’m pretty sure if COVID was overwhelming me and I couldn’t breath, the ER would do something to keep me from dying but I’m nowhere near that stage so I’ll just carry on.

Now it’s Friday evening – the cough is 80% gone, I’m feeling a lot better and I’m going to bed – Happy New Year.

Observations On COVID And Government Policies

What does our government say about what we should do? It’s confusing and often their orders run against what we’ve learned about this disease. Masks – no masks, mask outdoors, quarantine 10 days – 5 days. Kids need the vaccine even though data suggest that the vaccine could be more dangerous than the disease. Here’s what we have learned;

  • Almost two years ago a number of studies concluded that cloth masks offer virtually no protection from catching or spreading COVID.
  • The idea of six foot distancing has no study to support it. It could be three feet or fifteen feet and the risk would be almost the same.
  • Event after event has demonstrated that outdoor gatherings are highly unlikely to spread COVID – remember all those super-spreader events with no increase in cases.
  • Laboratory tests have also demonstrated that it is actually difficult to pick up COVID on a surface and become contaminated.

COVID is mostly spread through the air in the form of micro-aerosols with the size of SARS-CoV-2 ranging from 0.07 μm to 0.09 μm. To put that in perspective the smell of bacon cooking creates particles that are detected by your olfactory cells of 0.15 μm. Basically if you can smell food cooking through your mask you can catch COVID through your mask.

Studies have also shown that ejected micro-aerosols in a cough or sneeze can easily travel 15 to 25 feet. Maybe six feet isn’t enough and if it’s not why do they keep saying it?

COVID isn’t spread much outdoors because the UV light in sunshine destroys it and while it is difficult to pick the virus up on your hands from touching surfaces it can happen, especially if you are in the habit of touching your face.

Dr. Leana Wen, one of CNN’s public health commentators went on their nightly news the week before New Year and said something shocking: “Cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic. It’s not appropriate for Omicron. It was not appropriate for Delta, Alpha, or any of the previous variants either because we’re dealing with something that’s airborne and extremely small.”

So what should we do to protect ourselves in the world infected with COVID?

  • First, stop being scared. If you catch it and you’re healthy there’s an over 99% chance you’ll survive it and even a higher chance with Omacron.
  • If you do have health issues you should take serious steps to avoid being exposed but that’s your responsibility to protect yourself. It is not the governments job to protect everyone.
  • You probably should get vaccinated as it does show evidence of lessoning the severity of an infection but at the same time showing little ability to keep you from getting infected or even spreading it. Basically vaccinated people are just as dangerous as the unvaccinated in spreading COVID, especially Omicron!
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face, but that’s good advice for more than just COVID.
  • Try and live your life normally. There’s almost no evidence that states with serious COVID mandates did any better than states with relaxed requirements.
  • Now that Omicron is in the mix, there’s a very high likelihood that unless you’ve already had COVID, even with the vaccine, you’re going to get it. I’m not sure if even Chicken Little ran around screaming about the flu and we’re all going to die…

The political master Machiavelli advised. “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis” and it’s been repeated by politicians the world over ever since. “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear”, wrote the 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke.

Give me facts and I will chart my own course doesn’t seem like an unreasonable approach, but who’s providing the facts and can they be trusted? That seems to be the biggest problem.

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