Category Archives: coronavirus

Puzzle Pieces


Scientists and other experts keep warning us about the coronavirus. But new cases are in decline, and the longer this decline continues, the more puzzling the warnings become.

Maybe this is why there’s been a run on jigsaw puzzles. I think people are in a puzzle-solving mood these days, the more they try to make sense of what the experts keep telling us.

In fact I want to solve a puzzle right now. I’m going to present the pieces of our Covid-19 puzzle, and then fit the pieces together, the best I can figure out. I’m no genius, as I’m sure many reading this will come to realize. And I’ll admit I’m not above using a hammer to make interlocking pieces of puzzles fit together.

Piece #1:
Experts continue to stress that there is no evidence that antibodies protect from future infections. Why do they keep stressing this, when new infections are declining, even as social distancing restrictions are being relaxed?

Piece #2:
Experts say that the more contagious a disease, the more people must possess antibodies to that disease, for us to achieve full herd immunity. Experts further claim the coronavirus is highly contagious, and that because of this, 50% to 67% of the population must have antibodies (if antibodies are even effective) before full herd immunity is possible. However, current estimates of those with coronavirus antibodies seem to range from about 5% to 10% of the population. With so few people having antibodies, why are new cases in decline in most states, at a time when social distancing restrictions are being relaxed in all states?

Piece #3:
I’ve heard some experts claim that new infections are declining because the virus doesn’t do well in warm weather. But if that’s the case then why are hot climate places such as Brazil, India, and Saudi Arabia, currently experiencing a large increase in new infections?

Piece #4:
I’ve heard some experts claim that the coronavirus will return this winter with a second wave that will be deadlier than the first. But experts also say that if antibodies give us immunity, they don’t know how long that immunity will last. If they don’t know, why do they stress a second wave in the winter? Why not in the fall, or next spring? Or one year from now? Or two years? What’s this obsession with next winter?

Piece #5:
The experts I’ve seen in the media claim to know very little about this virus. And yet, they only predict gloom and doom from it. None of them seem willing to speculate that this virus MAY be going away for good, and that there will be no significant second wave. Why aren’t they willing to balance their negative speculations with positive speculations? Why are they so intent upon fearmongering?

I’m no expert. But when I hear experts say they don’t know much about something, and then make awful, horrible predictions about it without offering flip-side possibilities, their credibility suffers with me. And so, rather than relying upon the experts, I’ve decided to think for myself and unriddle the coronavirus mystery the best I can, with my own untrained, dipshit brain. I’ll just utilize that thing that experts seem to hate the most. Which is common sense.

Here’s how I would solve the puzzle:

Piece #1:
Antibodies DO protect from future infection. This seems obvious, because new infections are in decline, even as social distancing restrictions are being relaxed, and even as testing for new infections has increased.

Piece #2:
The coronovirus is NOT as contagious as experts have warned. New infections in the U.S. are in an overall decline, even though only 5% to 10% of the population has antibodies. Social distancing restrictions are being relaxed in all states. Testing is on the increase everywhere. But rather than going up, as one might expect, new cases are in decline in most states. Apparently, herd immunity is achievable with far less than 50% to 67% of the population possessing antibodies. Therefore, this virus is probably not a highly contagious microbe.

Sure, areas of dense population, such as New York City, have been hard hit. But not sparsely populated areas. Dense populations is what this virus apparently needs, to spread quickly and pervasively, due to its lesser virility.

Piece #3:
The coronavirus is not greatly affected by weather. Warm weather will not make it go away, and cold weather will not cause it to return.

Piece #4:
The coronavirus could return in a second wave. That’s because we don’t know how long antibodies afford immunity. But if it returns, we don’t know when that return will be. It could be a month or so from now. Or it could be six months from now. Or a year or two. Or maybe 10 years from now. Or who knows, maybe never. It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

Piece #5:
Those who run the media love fearmongering. It has a track record of driving up viewership and readership. So they’re much more inclined to highlight experts that predict doom and gloom from this virus, than those who are willing to speculate that the virus MAY be going away for good.

Also, there seems to be an element of political correctness involved. It seems that a sure way to be beat up by the press, or be character-assassinated by one’s peers, is to come out and contradict anything the CDC says. Scientists who harbor doubts may also harbor a survival instinct, and thus may be keeping their mouths shut.

Add to this that it’s safer to err on the side of caution when many lives are at stake. If an expert were to concede that this virus may be going away, and that it may be safe to relax social distancing restrictions, and then a huge second wave hits, that expert would look very bad, and could lose their job. People love to blame, shame, and punish, and this can discourage professionals with high-paying jobs from sticking their necks out to predict anything but danger.

And so, when I put the pieces of this puzzle together, I see a pattern. And that pattern is a big clusterfuck of groupthink, that has led to an explosion of panic and unemployment, while keeping the jobs of experts safe. The sky is falling because we’ve brought it down upon ourselves, with the help and encouragement of experts.

It is not the coronavirus’s fault that the economy has been destroyed. It is the fault of our own fears, and our extreme reaction to our fears.

It reminds me of owls and mice. Owls are assumed to be wise, but they’re not. Like experts, they just look that way, while only possessing a narrow set of skills.

The “wise” owl catches the mouse by hooting. The mouse runs in fear, exposing itself in the open, only to be swooped down upon and snatched. Likewise, the “wise” experts have hooted, and we have run in fear and in deference to their supposed wisdom. We’ve run into our houses and allowed ourselves to be caged like lab mice, at the mercy of experts. This has resulted in an economy in shambles, with us mice left to pick up the pieces.

Including pieces of a puzzle that the experts could have kept together, with a little bit of common sense.

Our Sophie’s Choice


The term “food insecurity” is cropping up more and more these days, as unemployment levels rise and food lines grow longer. For me, food insecurity occurs when I can’t find anything to eat in the cupboards or fridge, except things I have to cook.

But for many others these days, food insecurity is when there’s nothing in the cupboards or fridge, and they don’t know when they’ll eat their next meal. It’s when kids tell their parents there’s nothing to eat, and they’re not exaggerating.

A recent study indicates that nearly one in five children in the U.S. are now going hungry, as a result of lockdowns and high unemployment. That’s about 13 million young Americans. Their out-of-work parents simply don’t have enough food to feed them. Food banks are strained, and with schools closed, many kids don’t have school lunch programs to help fill their bellies.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, our current unemployment level is probably around 25%, or nearly double the official figure. And it’s still rising. So it makes sense that food insecurity is becoming an issue. When people can’t work, they find it difficult to eat.

So let’s face it, our economy has gone to hell in a handbasket. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a depression. I know I feel depressed. And I still have enough to eat.

But not everyone is feeling depressed, according to some conservatives. They claim that our self-destructing economy is great news for liberals. They accuse liberals of cheering on and facilitating this depression, because liberals believe a bad economy will keep Trump from being reelected.

It’s as if liberals have become kamikazes in their effort to sink the big, bloated battleship, U.S.S. Trump.

I find this a fascinating theory. It’s highly partisan, of course, and designed to inflame conservative passion against liberals. But I wonder if there’s any truth to it? I also wonder if it’s not such a bad idea.

I’ve noticed what seems to be glee in the tone of some liberal pundits, when discussing our plummeting economy. And it seems to me that it’s liberals who are most resistant to opening up the economy, with the rallying cry, “Choose lives over the economy!”

And yet, ironically, some lives are in danger of starvation as a result of choosing lives over the economy. Incredibly, here in America, this is actually happening. Right now at this moment, millions of children in our country are suffering from malnutrition because of lockdowns and business closures. So are we really choosing lives over the economy, or are we choosing something else?

Are American children going hungry due to our fear of the coronavirus, or our hatred of Trump? Are we trying to keep from getting sick? Are we worried about old people dying in rest homes? Or do we want so badly for Trump to lose reelection that we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of children, our economy, our livelihoods, and our civil liberties, to convince voters to oust him this November?

And even if we are trying to keep from getting sick, and prevent old people from dying, is that worth starving millions of children?

What if ending the coronavirus restrictions resulted in a rebounding economy and four more years of Trump, along with a second wave of infections? Would that be better than continuing the restrictions, where children continue to starve, but Trump is defeated, and a second wave is prevented?

It’s one hell of a dilemma. It’s kind of a Sophie’s Choice, in my view. After all, Trump’s belligerence and incompetency could easily plunge us into nuclear war if he’s reelected. And that would be far worse than a great depression. But to prevent his victory in November, and prevent a second wave, we must continue our descent into poverty and immiseration, while allowing millions more children to starve.

I believe this is the most crucial question we face in this crisis:

Which poison is the least toxic?

What would be our best Sophie’s Choice?

Stolen Quotes: Expert Failures

Experts once recommended cocaine toothache drops for kids.

There’s been a lot of talk about experts these days, and how we should listen to them when they give dire warnings about a certain virus that shall remain unnamed. But are experts always right? Not so, say some experts. In fact they claim experts tend to be wrong more often than right.

David H. Freedman, author of the book, Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us—and How to Know When Not to Trust Them, wrote this article for the New York Post in 2010 entitled, Why Experts Are Usually Wrong: https://nypost.com/2010/06/13/why-experts-are-usually-wrong/

In 2015, Wired Magazine published this article, entitled, Scientists Are Wrong All the Time, and That’s Fantastic: https://www.wired.com/2015/02/scientists-wrong-time-thats-fantastic/

And in 2017, this interesting article appeared in the online magazine, Pacific Standard, entitled, Modern Scientists Are Wrong Far More Than You Think: https://psmag.com/education/scientists-are-wrong-a-lot

These articles got me wondering about what experts have been wrong about in the past. So I jumped in my time machine and went hunting for quotes to steal from the experts our ancestors blindly believed. I found a mother lode. I hope the following will help cheer you up if you’ve been listening to experts and feeling anxious lately:

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” ~ Albert Einstein, 1934.

“We have reached the limits of what is possible with computers.” ~ John Von Neumann, physicist and computer scientist, 1949.

“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” ~ Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under President Eisenhower, 1959.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” ~ Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist, 1911.

“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” ~ Thomas Edison, 1889.

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.” ~ Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.

“Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” ~ Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1962.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” ~ H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” ~ Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.

“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”
&
“11,105 doctors say Lucky Strikes prevent throat irritation.”
~ Cigarette ads from the 1940s.

“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.” ~ Peter Ustinov, English actor and comedian.

The Fuck You CDC Mask

My wife has designed something she calls the Fuck You CDC mask. She’s very much against lockdowns, and believes the government is communistic, dictatorial, and overreaching when it tells us to stay home and orders businesses to shut down. So she has an attitude that’s willing to rebel against any CDC requirement.

However, she partially agrees with the CDC on the issue of facemasks. But only for wearing while indoors at businesses, and not outdoors where few people are around. Wearing them outdoors is just plain unnecessary and stupid, according to her. Fortunately, our county no longer requires them outdoors, so she’s no longer in danger of being cited.

She also doesn’t like CDC’s design for a mask. It’s painful, hot, and suffocating, and she wonders if the CDC might be trying to kill us with this mask.

Here’s the design, in case you disagree with her and want to go with the CDC recommendation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

She’s a handy seamstress, and made her first masks using the CDC design. She even made a bunch for some nurses at a local hospital. But after wearing them for awhile, herself, she decided these masks are bullshit, and are not suitable for human use.

A supermodel showing off the Fuck You CDC mask. This particular mask is a little on the long side. Most of the masks my wife has made only hang about six inches below the nose.

So she redesigned the Bullshit CDC mask into the Fuck You CDC mask. This mask is much less uncomfortable to wear, and is her way of saying “fuck you” to the CDC. It’s still uncomfortable, as any mask will be if you wear it long enough. But it is not nearly as painful, hot, and suffocating as CDC’s bullshit mask.

She eliminated the elastic bands that go around the ear. These damned torture restraints pull painfully on the ears when you wear them for long periods of time. She replaced the bands with bias tape cloth ties that wrap around the head and tie in the back. After you tie them once, you never have to tie them again. You simply slip the mask over your head, to put it on or take off.

Also, there’s only one set of ties. The mask ties at the top, and that’s it. There are no bottom ties. Yes, technically bottom ties seem necessary, to comply with the CDC requirement that masks fit snugly against the side of the face. But fuck you, CDC! Bottom ties make masks suffocatingly tight, and impossible to comply with the CDC’s other requirement, that masks allow for breathing without restriction.

Besides, even without bottom ties, I’ve found that the Fuck You CDC mask does a good job at holding against the sides of the face. But it does so without pressing the mask against the mouth and restricting breathing. And it stays against the side of the face even when coughing or sneezing.

She makes the ties 18 inches long, and this length allows for an option in wearing, besides tying behind the head. Rather, you can drape the ties over your ears, and the weight of the dangling bias tape material will be sufficient to hold the mask in place.

Also, if some store manager tells you that your mask must have bottom ties, there’s enough slack to allow you to drape the ties over your ears, then wrap them under, and tie them in place below your chin.

But that suffocates, because it pulls the mask against your mouth. So you only want to wear the mask this way in the unlikely event that you’re required to wear it this way. Allowing the bottom of the mask to hang loose like an apron makes breathing much easier, and complies with the CDC requirement of having unrestricted breathing.

To further aid in breathing, she sews a vertical pleat down the middle of the mask. This creates an air pocket below the nose and around the mouth. In addition to easier breathing, the air pocket makes the mask cooler to wear.

She cuts the cloth layers of the mask to two 10-inch wide by 7-inch long rectangles. But the 10-inch width narrows to 7 inches at the top, and 9 inches at the bottom, after she creates the pleat, and connects the two layers using a half-inch seam.

The Fuck You CDC mask hangs loosely from the nose, down to around the chin. Since there’s no bottom tie, it’s open from below and allows the convenience of drinking through a straw, slurping poisonous coffee, or picking your teeth with a toothpick.

My wife believes this mask will protect OTHERS from the wearer, if the wearer fails to sneeze or cough into their arm. But she says it will NOT protect the wearer FROM others if they’re not wearing a mask, and they sneeze or cough into the open air.

Personally, I feel skeptical about the Fuck You CDC mask protecting anybody. But then again, I feel skeptical about all cloth facemasks, as I doubt their effectiveness at blocking airborne particles as fine as a virus. According to an article in USA Today, cloth surgical masks won’t block fine particles, and the only mask that will keep you from inhaling the coronavirus is the N95.

Even the CDC was against most people wearing cloth facemasks, until they changed their mind in mid-April. Now they claim that cloth facemasks will slow virus particles down, so that when someone coughs or sneezes, the virus won’t travel as far from the mouth. Perhaps, but it will still get into the circulating air of a building, and in more concentrated form.

Seems to me like it’s safer for people to cough or sneeze into their arms. But I suspect people are less inclined to do this when they believe the mask they’re wearing is protecting the air around them.

In fact, coughing or sneezing into the arm seems to have been dropped from public education campaigns, since the mask requirement came into being. I sure haven’t noticed it. So even the CDC seems to have fallen into the false sense of security of mask wearing.

If it’s true that a cloth facemask slows the velocity of a virus (and it may well be), then the mask must be able to stay in place when sneezing or coughing, and not flop around like an 18-wheeler’s mudflap. I’ve found that the Fuck You CDC mask does stay in place when coughing or sneezing. So if cloth really can slow the velocity of a virus down, this redesign will do it, in my view. For what that’s worth.

The redesign also succeeds at another thing. Admission. When I wear my Fuck You CDC mask, I’m allowed admission into supermarkets, drug stores, and doctors’ offices. Nobody has yet challenged my Fuck You CDC mask.

It’s a little uncomfortable, but not too bad. It’s bearable. And it’s much less uncomfortable than that damned, Bullshit CDC mask.

Spreading Coronavirus News


I’ve been gathering coronavirus news, and now I’m taking this stifling mask off and spreading it around:

Mount Baldy, California: The Mount Baldy Mountain Resort got hit with a shitload of snow in April, but alas it was in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. But they said, “Fuck this shit, we’re opening anyway.” Golf courses have been allowed to reopen, so in late April they took a cue from the golf courses, implemented social distancing measures, and opened up to skiers. They did not wait for permission from the government. Hell, by the time they might get that, all the snow would be melted away. So far the government seems to be leaving them alone.

My source: https://abc7.com/weather/mount-baldy-opens-despite-being-deemed-non-essential-business/6125570/


Boing: The Boeing Company is bouncing back by implementing safety measures and returning thousands of its employees to work. Isn’t it nice to know they can resume building airplanes nobody wants to fly in?

My source: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/boeing-implements-safety-measures-to-get-employees-back-to-work/


Orange County, California: Beaches in Orange County, California opened up the last weekend of April. But Governor Gavin Newsom was unhappy about this, and deployed his iron fist to close them down the next weekend. But after intense pressure, and being called a party pooper, he’s now allowing them to reopen. However, anyone using the beach must stay physically active. Laying about on the sand will not be allowed. You must constantly stay on the move, whether by walking, swimming, surfing, doing cartwheels, practicing yoga, juggling beach balls, or otherwise looking like you’re doing something. I wonder if standing still is allowed as long as you’re picking your nose?

My source: https://news.yahoo.com/california-allows-more-orange-county-192436329.html


New York City: A slew of calls poured into New York City’s Poison Control Center, from people who drank Lysol, bleach, and other household cleaners, the day after President Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to fight Covid-19. The Center says they received twice the amount of calls they normally receive for such poisonings. But the good news is that none of the callers died, either from poisoning or from Covid-19.

My source: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/nyc-poison-control-calls-for-bleach-lysol-double-after-trump-disinfectant-comment/2389593/


Bakersfield, California: Two doctors held a news conference that went viral on YouTube, claiming that the death rate of Covid-19 isn’t nearly as high as officials are leading the public to believe. They called for stay-at-home orders to end. They also criticized Dr. Fauci of the CDC, stating, “We’re actually seeing the patients. Dr. Fauci hasn’t seen a patient in 20 years.” YouTube has removed the video of the press conference, explaining that YouTube prohibits content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing. I understand that this censorship of opposing viewpoints to CDC guidelines also occurs on Facebook and Twitter. Whew! It’s a good thing that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have recognized just how stupid we are, and are here to help us make the right decisions about how to deal with this virus.

My source: https://abc7.com/health/doctors-use-disputed-data-to-suggest-stay-home-orders-be-lifted/6138585/


Albany, New York: Governor Cuomo has expressed shock that 84% of new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who are mostly staying home, and not going outside much. Does this mean the CDC has completely fucked up, and given us the opposite recommendation of what we must do to stay alive? And what happens next? Will the CDC change it’s policy and recommend we get the hell out of our homes? Will our governors issue “stay-away-from-home” orders, and force us to be locked out, rather than locked down? They reversed their policy on wearing masks, so who knows what’s coming next from the CDC.

My source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ny-gov-cuomo-says-its-shocking-most-new-coronavirus-hospitalizations-are-people-staying-home/ar-BB13Hcqt?OCID=ansmsnnews11


Los Alamos, New Mexico: Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have reported on May 5, that the coronavirus has mutated into a new, more contagious strain that is spreading across the U.S. This is very depressing, fucked up news. We’re DOOMED!

My source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/05/the-coronavirus-mutated-and-appears-to-be-more-contagious-now-new-study-finds.html


Reactions of Experts to the Experts at Los Alamos: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, of CNBC reacted to the news of May 5, about the new, more contagious strain of coronavirus, by urging caution. He stated that the study by Los Alamos has not been peer-reviewed and “doesn’t prove anything.” He also divulged a well-known fact within scientific circles, that is apparently not well known to the general public. And that is, viruses generally mutate into weaker strains, not stronger. This is all about evolution. Viruses cannot survive long if they kill off their hosts, so they tend to become weaker over time, because they want to keep their hosts alive. Other doctors seem to concur, with one claiming that this is “Virology 101.” Okay, so maybe we’re not doomed. Perhaps it’s best to stop reading the news.

My sources: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/06/dr-scott-gottlieb-cautions-on-coronavirus-mutation-study-new-strain.html

https://www.foxnews.com/media/new-study-revealing-covid-19-mutations-weakening

What the Heck is Herd Immunity?

Have you herd of herd immunity? Sorry, but that’s one of Jason Frels’ favorite puns, and I had to beat him to the punch.

Herd immunity is not some cutesy wootsy term invented by anti-lockdown activists. No, it’s been around since the 1930s, when epidemiologists recognized that after a bunch of kids in a community caught the measles, there were fewer new cases for awhile. That’s because enough people in that community had acquired antibodies to the measles virus, through infection, to slow the spread of the virus.

It’s an unflattering term. Personally, I prefer the term “community immunity”. It rhymes and it’s catchy, just like viruses. I hope epidemiologists didn’t come up with “herd immunity” because they regard us as cattle. Lately, with their draconian rules, I’ve been wondering about that.

If I have a virus, but others have the antibodies, they can’t catch the virus from me, even if I get in everyone’s faces and make mooing sounds. That’s herd immunity.

Herd immunity only occurs with contagious diseases. So, since tetanus is not contagious, herd immunity cannot stop this disease.

But on the other hand, the more contagious a disease, the harder it is to attain full herd immunity. That’s because more people have to have the antibodies in order to prevent the spread of the disease. For instance, measles is so contagious, 95% of the population must have the antibodies, either through having been infected or vaccinated, in order to stop its spread.

The coronavirus is probably not as contagious as measles, but it’s still highly contagious. Experts vary widely in their estimates of how much herd immunity is needed, from 50% to 80%, or more. That’s because the experts don’t know jackshit about the coronavirus, and need more time to study it. My guess is they’ll figure it out about the same time we non-experts do.

There are two kinds of herd immunity: natural and vaccination. Vaccination is always healthiest, but first we have to have a vaccine. This may take a year or two, with the coronavirus, if it happens at all. So for now, we’re stuck with the method of natural herd immunity.

Natural herd immunity fights the virus the hard way. It’s sort of like a fait accompli, because you must catch the virus and suffer from it, in order to become immune to it. It’s like falling on a grenade to save yourself. Or like getting rid of bedbugs by burning your bed. Or like telling your spouse you cheated on him or her, in order to get the repercussions over with, from being caught.

And even with all this pain and suffering, if we do acquire herd immunity, that damned virus might mutate on us and we’ll have to start all over again.

Some scoff at the logic of natural herd immunity. They argue that you cannot logically claim it prevents the spread of the virus, since it requires the virus to spread in order to attain widespread immunity. There’s sort of a Catch-22 with Covid-19.

These are powerful arguments against natural herd immunity, in my view. However there are counterarguments which I believe are also powerful. Let me confuse you, by throwing those in the mix.

If the virus is allowed to spread among younger, healthier people, who are just itching to get out and have fun with their friends anyway, far less suffering and death would be caused by it. Especially if wiser, older people stayed away from these idiot younger people during this time. Younger people seem nearly bulletproof from this virus, and have often caught it without ever knowing they had it. So let them risk catching it all they want.

Eventually, the herd immunity younger people would acquire would prevent the virus from spreading to older people, who are far more likely to suffer or die from this disease. Thus, although this approach to natural herd immunity wouldn’t prevent the spread of the virus, it would prevent much suffering and death from the virus.

Also, the more young people with immunity, the slower the virus would spread, and the less likely our hospitals would be overwhelmed. This would help prevent many deaths, not just from the coronavirus, but also from all the other ailments that send people to hospitals.

Another argument for natural herd immunity is that if it’s allowed to occur quickly enough, it might eradicate the virus before it has time to mutate into something even more dangerous. That’s a gamble, but it could be another form of prevention.

So in my opinion, natural herd immunity, as a form of prevention, does make some logical sense.

Natural herd immunity is a hot topic these days, with lots of biased opinions both for and against it. But I won’t be buffaloed. I’ve tried to learn about it from unbiased sources on the internet. It’s been a challenge, but I managed some success from the following websites:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity

https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-is-herd-immunity#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/herd-immunity

Number Six

When he awoke, his head hurt. The drizzly fog of sleep thinned and parted. Rays of reality sliced through the departing clouds of his mind, and he gradually regained the ability to think clearly. But his head still hurt. Felt like a fever.

A realization stung him like a slap in the face. This could be number six! He shuddered. But he knew it would come one day. How could anyone escape number six?

He tried to think positive. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t it. Perhaps it was only a head cold. He stumbled into the bathroom and examined his eyes in the mirror of the medicine cabinet. They were bloodshot. Not a good sign.

Below the quartz countertop of the vanity was a drawer, which he slid open with his left hand, while steadying himself with his right, next to the sink. Shaky fingers extracted a thermometer that had been in his wife’s mouth and his own mouth many times before. “May God rest her soul,” his lips murmured.

A minute later he pulled it out and read 99. Not too bad. Probably just a head cold. He returned it to its home and slowly slid the drawer closed.

He walked to work, a grocery store, a mere two blocks from his home. Before this all started he’d been a waiter. But after all the restaurants were shut down, he’d spent two years unemployed, on government assistance.

His restaurant never reopened, but a job did, at the grocery store, and he was next in line. Employment was practically mandatory, because the offer of a job always meant the end of one’s assistance check, whether the job was accepted or not. He needed money, so he accepted the job.

That was a year ago. Covid-19 had been ravaging his world for three full years now. It was stumping science. After three years, the experts were still scratching their heads. What few experts remained. They knew a lot more about it now than they did when the pandemic began, but they weren’t anywhere close to a cure or effective vaccine.

He rubbed his forehead as a maskless pedestrian passed closely by, brushing his shoulder. Masks had been proven unhelpful at preventing transmission, and most people had stopped using them. Social distancing rules were still in effect, but more and more people ignored them these days, with a fatalistic “what’s the use?” attitude.

The morning sky was so blue it stunned him, and managed to stimulate his mood to a slightly lighter side from the persistent heavy sadness of his heart. He noticed more birds flying around than he’d ever seen before in the city. And the overgrown yards of the homes where nobody lived anymore, hinted of a revivifying forest.

He passed through the parting doors of the supermarket, headed for the back, and within minutes was assigned his first task of the day. Canned beans were running low, and someone had to restock them.

“Hey Terrance!” a man tapped his shoulder as he was settling three cans onto a shelf. He turned and faced Lamont, a former co-worker at the restaurant. “Finally got beans in, huh? I’ll take a few.” Lamont leaned over Terrance’s kneeling figure and pulled the same three cans off, and dropped them in his cart.

“How you been, Lamont?”

“Fine, fine, how about you?”

“Oh, alright.” He didn’t want to admit to his headache and 99 degree fever. That sort of news sometimes freaked people out.

Lamont held up four fingers. “Four times, man, four times I’ve had it. How about you?”

“Five, I think.”

“Five?! Oh shit man, watch out. Hey, if you get it a sixth time, I hope you break a record,” Lamont said with both pity and hope.

One of the few things scientists had discovered about the coronavirus was that nobody survived more than five known infections. The sixth time, for those who managed to make it to a sixth time, was always fatal.

“Thanks. See ya around, Lamont.” He turned back to his box of beans and resumed restocking, not wanting his eyes to betray the fear of death.

Returning home that evening, Terrance thought he heard a wolf howl far off in the darkling twilight, and quickened his step. There’d been rumors of wolf sightings, but it seemed unbelievable to have such large, wild predators prowling the city. Mother Nature couldn’t be recovering that quickly, he reasoned. Impossible.

He shut the door behind him. Safe now, from wolves or whatever was out there. Safe. Safe from all but the invisible enemy. He rubbed the palms of his hands on his burning forehead. He felt tired. His body ached all over. More so than it should.

Into the bathroom he trudged, to the drawer that held the thermometer that had portended his wife’s death. And she after only three times! Why had he lasted through five? Who knew? No one knew.

What scientists did know, was that each infection was followed by antibodies. But those antibodies only protected people for about four to twelve months. And each reinfection weakened the body more and more, like a cannonade cracking the ramparts of a castle. Infections left survivors with permanently damaged lungs, hearts, kidneys, and other organs, creating within them underlying conditions.

Those who already had underlying conditions often died from their first infection. For healthier victims, it usually took two, three, four, five, and rarely six. Nobody had ever been known to survive six infections. Number six always broke the castle walls down.

He shook the mercury to the bottom with a few flicks of his wrist, then stuck the thermometer under his tongue. He studied his ridiculous reflection in the mirror, with the glass stick jutting out from between his lips. He pulled it out and examined the result.

101 degrees.

Terrance didn’t bother putting the glass stick away. He just left it sitting in a puddle of his saliva, on the quartz countertop.

His body was warm, but he felt cold. In fact, he felt like he was freezing. And he was so tired. He wanted nothing more than to snuggle into his bed, under some deep, warm covers, and rest his aching muscles.

Hunger had fled his stomach. He only wanted rest. And so, within minutes, Terrance found himself crawling between sheets and sinking into the comfort of his mattress. He’d neglected to draw the curtains of his bedroom window, but felt too tired and achy to care.

Glancing out the window as he adjusted blankets around his shivering body and head, Terrance caught the vestigial red glow of a recently submerged sunset. He finished adjusting and stopped moving, readying himself for sleep. He coughed a few times.

His tussive fit died down, and a silence enswathed him like heavy cloth. Outside, no city sounds seeped through his window. Just an eldritch quiet, that perfused every molecule of the universe.

Except that somewhere, way off in the dark, between starlight and a wilderness of trees and vacant homes, there drifted a faint howling.

Trump’s Agenda

Carolyn, at joyroses13.wordpress.com, has submitted a Unicorn Beam. Thank you Carolyn, I need all the help I can get. Carolyn has sent us the agenda for our president’s daily COVID-19 press conferences.

Although this agenda seems accurate, it may also be outdated. It seems that after Trump’s last press conference, where he suggested that we drink disinfectant, The Orange One has decided to lay low and discontinue his little standups. For how long, who knows? Hopefully forever.

But in case he returns, and you need some guidance to follow along and understand the confusion, here’s the agenda:

The Good & The Bad, as of 4/25/20

Bad news about Covid-19 seems to spread as fast as the virus itself. But there’s also been good news. So I’ve combined the latest good and bad news, to help us keep a balanced perspective:

Good News:
On April 23rd, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the pandemic is fast turning into a human rights crisis, and he warned that any emergency measures must be “legal, proportionate, necessary, and non-discriminatory, have a specific focus and duration, and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health.” At last, we finally have a world leader advocating for human rights!

Bad News:
Everyone seems to have ignored the U.N. Secretary General, in my view, except Sweden and the state of South Dakota. Also, the weather is damned cold in Sweden and South Dakota. If you lived there, you’d want to stay at home anyways.


Bad News:
A test of antibodies in residents of New York City indicates that 21% of the population have had the coronavirus. Apparently, it’s been spreading all over the place.

Good News:
The virus spreading all over the place could very well increase herd immunity, reducing the likelihood of a major second wave of infections.

Also, the population of New York City is over 8 million. If 21% of NYC residents have had the coronavirus, that equates to about 1,680,000 infected residents. As of this writing, NYC’s death toll from the virus is about 10,000. This equates to 1 death for every 168 infections, or a death rate of about 0.6%. This is far lower than many alarming death rates that have been reported, such as 2.1% or 6%.

And given that those age 50 or older are dying at about 27 times the rate of those under 50, it would appear that young, healthy people have little to fear from the coronavirus. Yes, there are news stories of young people dying, but these cases seem to be rare exceptions.


Bad News:
President Trump recently suggested that injecting disinfectant into the body might kill the coronavirus.

Good News:
According to subscribers of the theory of Social Darwinism, this suggestion by Trump could result in the culling of millions of idiots from our country’s population. This will improve the overall intelligence of our nation, and ensure Trump’s defeat in November.

Memento Mori:
I’m not a doctor nor the president, but I have this medical advice for those inclined to regard our president as a doctor: Do NOT ingest or inject yourself with disinfectant! It will kill you! No matter how much you may love the president, please acknowledge that at least occasionally he can be wrong. It will kill you! I repeat, it will kill you! 💀💀💀

Bluetooth Contact Tracing

Imagine your cellphone contacting all the cellphones in your near vicinity, without your knowledge. Actually this happens all the time. The Bluetooth chips in our cellphones constantly send out query signals for other Bluetooth-enabled devices. This is how a cellphone pairs with ear buds, or with a car’s entertainment system, or with another cellphone.

If your phone doesn’t recognize a cellphone that it’s queried, it quickly deletes that phone from its memory. No one is the wiser, and everyone’s privacy is preserved.

But this may soon change. Companies such as Apple, Google, and MIT are developing technology that will cause our cellphones to remember all the nearby phones they’ve queried. This is similar to technology currently being used in Asia.

The purpose is contact tracing. Contact tracing is a tool the CDC wants to use, to combat the coronavirus. When someone tests positive, their cellphone will be examined to determine which cellphones that person has come near, over the prior 14 days. Then all the owners of those cellphones will be called and informed that they have recently been near someone who has been diagnosed with the virus. They will be advised, or perhaps ordered, to be tested, self-isolate, or take some other action.

The technology to do this kind of contact tracing could be rolled out in mid-May, with widespread implementation this summer. Apple and Google are working together on a way to embed the tracing software into their operating systems, so that downloading an app won’t be necessary. But MIT’s brainchild would require the download of an app called PrivateKit.

So far, authorities are saying that participation in Bluetooth contact tracing will be voluntary. However in order for it to work effectively, most of the population will have to opt-in. Thus, it’s possible that it could become mandatory. But they assure us that all data will be anonymized through special encryption codes.

Hacking, through deanonymizing techniques, is always a risk with this kind of dataveillance. In spite of the best efforts by developers, our privacy could still be compromised.

If you don’t mind the risk, and want to opt-in, you must make sure you have enabled Bluetooth on your smartphone. It’s normally enabled by default, but there’s a chance it could have been turned off. It’s easy to turn it back on. The way I do this on my Android phone is to press the “Settings” icon (it looks like a gear).

Settings takes me to a menu. One of the items on the menu is “Connected devices.” This takes me to a new menu, with “Bluetooth” at the top. It may say “Connected” or “Not connected.” Just because it says “Not connected”, it doesn’t mean it can’t query other phones. A nearby switch determines if Bluetooth is activated and can do queries.

If the switch is moved left, Bluetooth will be deactivated and a message will say something like “Not visible to other devices.” Moving the switch to the right will activate it.

A few weeks ago I got experimental and decided to deactivate Bluetooth. And then I decided to turn off Location services on all my apps. To do this, I went to Settings again, and then selected “Apps & notifications”. I then selected “App info”. This allowed me to select each app on my phone and, one-by-one, disable permission to track my location.

While I was doing this, I noticed something called “Body sensors”. This seemed a little creepy to me, so I disabled all permissions I came across that apparently sense my body.

With Bluetooth, Location, and Body Sensors disabled, I wanted to see how well my cellphone would work. Well I’m happy to say that after two weeks of this ongoing experiment, everything has been working fine and dandy.

Every day I receive an onslaught of robocalls, as usual, so at least this tells me that my phone can still receive calls. Also, I went hiking where the lockdown police wouldn’t catch me, and way out in the middle of nowhere I tried calling my house. It worked like a charm. So I can also make outgoing calls.

But I can’t use Google Maps unless I activate Location permissions for that particular app. That’s fine, I hardly ever use that app anyway. And I can always turn Location back off, after I finish with the app.

Another thing, my phone doesn’t automatically pair with my car’s entertainment system anymore. If I want it to pair I have to re-activate Bluetooth.

Also, I occasionally get a message from Google Play, begging me to activate Body Sensors. Eww, get your hands off me, Google Play. I just hit “Cancel” when I get this message, and so far nothing bad has happened.

When contact tracing is rolled out, I can easily opt-in by going back into Settings and activating Bluetooth. That’s a decision I’ll make when the time comes. I like the idea that this program will probably be voluntary. I find it refreshing that in a free country, we may still have some freedom left.

Here’s a short youtube video you might be interested in, that provides more details about the contact tracing system coming soon to our phones:

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