We’ve lost 230,000 lives this year in the U.S. How many incalculables is that?
If we still took COVID seriously–and Biden’s recent comment didn’t help–we would be pushing boosters*, providing masks and testing, and giving people actual information about the prevalence of COVID (releasing asymptomatic hospital intake data). That’s an insufficient list which lacks community/societal-level interventions, but we’re not even doing the individual-level interventions.
It’s not that there will be no deaths, but it didn’t need to be like this (and, in D.C., about 22% of deaths have occurred among those who are up-to-date on their vaccinations, so it’s not just a pandemic of the unvaccinated).
As I’ve said since May 2020, a major concern is long COVID–and the best way to limit long COVID cases is to limit COVID cases, but we’re not even trying to do that. Instead, we’re conducting a very large experiment on viral-mediated disability.
Hopefully, that won’t lead to something incalculable.
*The conservatives on the Supreme Court really hurt–and they did Judge Aileen ‘Loose’ Cannon quality fact-finding in their decisions related to COVID.
**D.C., since the start of Omicron in March, has had eighteen deaths: nine hadn’t completed the primary series, five had completed the primary series but weren’t boosted, and four were boosted.
Thanks to the June decision by the Supreme Court that argues gun control regulations must be rooted in ‘historic traditions’, ammosexuals have started firing off lawsuits, including one that argues for the right to carry on D.C.’s Metro. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine states the obvious–which, of course, means nothing when it comes to the runaway conservative courts (boldface mine):
But in his 44-page response, Racine argued that Metro is in fact a sensitive place because of the role it plays in transporting government workers and school children (since D.C. has no school buses, children use Metro for transportation) but also because of the possible risks of conflict on crowded trains and buses.
“In dense spaces characterized by jostling and interpersonal conflict, the risk of a gun being accidentally discharged or hastily fired is tragically high — not only for the innocent bystanders who may be shot, but also for the countless other victims who may be crushed or thrown from a platform by a panicked crowd. What is more, any incident involving a firearm could disrupt transit for the hundreds or thousands of people relying on government-provided transportation each day,” he wrote. “In addition, the Metro is a sensitive place because it functions as the District’s school bus, meaning that a large concentration of children may be riding trains and buses at any given time.”
Racine also countered historical arguments made by the plaintiffs to justify being allowed to carry concealed guns on Metro, saying that the conditions faced today are little like those early in the country’s history. “Plaintiffs provide no sensible reason to assume that the desolate roadways of 19th century are at all analogous to the Metro’s gated, underground, and densely packed transit zones,” he argued.
At some point, if the courts keep being stupid, the executive and legislative branches must execute checks on their prerogatives. And, yes, guns in a subway system are a really bad idea, especially in light of the right’s belief that urban areas are violent hellholes.
At least in relative terms. Unlike the U.S., the UK has been monitoring random population samples through its UK COVID-19 Infection Survey (run by the Office for National Statistics, ONS) and samples over 500,000 people. A recent study reports the frequency of long COVID as defined by the following question:
“Would you describe yourself as having ‘Long Covid’, that is, you are still experiencing symptoms more than 4 weeks after you first had COVID-19, that are not explained by something else?”
“Do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more (excluding any long-lasting COVID- 19 symptoms)?” and “If yes, do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities (a lot, a little, or not at all)?”
First, the good news: two doses lowered the likelihood of long COVID by 41%, and lowered the percent of those with severe long COVID by around thirty seven percent. That said, the not-so-good news is that 9.5% of vaccinated people had long COVID symptoms and 5.5% of vaccinated people had activity-limiting symptoms.
Hopefully, the Omicron variants don’t cause as much long COVID, but even if the rate were halved, that’s still a lot of disabled people. And we do need to desperately ramp up vaccine uptake (among many other things).