I Wanna Be Sedated

Apparently, a recent flurry of musings have caused enough concern among at least one of you who felt compelled enough to actually send me a note via the e-mail function on this site.  I’m grateful, of course, because at least that means that there’s SOMEBODY real out there who is noticing all of this.  But the tone this person took came off to me as somewhat mocking.  Something to the effect of “do I ever not complain?”.

Let me perfectly clear, as a former world leader from a time I fear is meaningless to this person used to say.  These are not complaints as much as they are fear-driven laments, typically caused when I’m dumb enough to glance at my bank account balance.  We’re a third of the way through the month, and I’ve already spent half of what I’m supposed to live on.  My car needs work again, so that’s an unforeseen expense that piled on.  I’m “patiently” waiting on several potential incremetal gigs that are in flux, but nothing certain may come from any of them.   And that’s pretty much been my experience ever since the world shut down, for a host of reasons relating to timing and the way the world seems to want to live, that has consistently denied me the one sure-fire way I’ve relied upon for decades to assure that I will make a strong impression and maintain an income.  Sitting down face-to-face with someone and letting them see up close I’ve got a lot to offer and am very much worth their time and money.

So please, dear reader.  Don’t mistake what you may feel is snarky bitchiness or bitterness as anything other than what it really is.  Overwhelming fear that the wishes of a few outliers that have even deeper negative feelings about me than you seem to have will be met.  Homelessness or perhaps more.  And close to my birthday, no less.

Naturally, this has left me even more sleepless and mournful than ever, so I doomscrolled a bit more than usual.  And sure enough, my favorite Los Angeles Times writer, good old Rong-Gong Lin II, and the rest of what I can now adoringly reference as the Hyphenates, was given a pulpit of more than thirty paragraphs for the third time in a month to open a “debate” on what is clearly an editorial direction for what they hope we should devote time and effort into thinking about:

The uptick in coronavirus transmission this summer has not brought major alarm from health experts.

But it is raising questions about whether the risks are high enough to go back to safety measures that many have abandoned.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert, said transmission is increasing and “we haven’t seen the crest yet” of the wave.

Aah, the esteemed Dr. Chin-Hong, who seems to have been given a priority place at the educational table by Rong-Gong and Soon-Shiong (Patrick, the Times’ billionaire publisher and bioscentist, as his Wikipedia entry describes him), hence the Hyphenates.   Heres how UCSF’s website describes him:

Peter Chin-Hong is Associate Dean for Regional Campuses. He is a medical educator who specializes in treating infectious diseases, particularly infections that develop in patients who have suppressed immune systems, such as solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. He directs the immunocompromised host infectious diseases program at UCSF. He has been one of the leaders of institutional and community education around COVID-19 and Mpox.

Impressive.   And Dr. Chin-Hong is quoted several more times in this lengthy piece, providing the “pro” to the numerous cons that Lin seems to grudgingly include throughout this tome.  Take for example the next several paragraphs:

Most people have stopped wearing masks and aren’t likely to follow suggestions to return to that practice all the time again.

But swearing off masks for good — even when sitting on a plane next to someone who is coughing or sneezing — would unnecessarily put people at higher risk for illness.

“I think there’s, like, an in-between” message, Chin-Hong said. There are people who may want to avoid contracting COVID-19 “because it’s disruptive to life.”

Chin-Hong said he’s aware of people who’ve had to change big travel plans to Europe and Africa because of illness.

“Right now, when things are heating up all around the country with COVID, you might want to think about [masking at] public transit and airports,” Chin-Hong said. And even if you don’t choose to mask up, “definitely be kind to people who decide to wear masks.”

We clearly know how he feels, and far be it for me to even think that there just might be some sort of vested interest by someone with his job and someone who’s trying to sell newspapers (or what’s left of them) to devote so much time and effort to raising blood pressures enough to think we’re in for yet another deadly wave.

You need to go quite deep into this piece to see some actual statistics, which would seem to suggest that the esteemed Dr. Chin-Hong’s anecdotal evidence might just be a tad reactionary:

Coronavirus levels are ticking up, but overall rates are still quite low. Nationally, the number of new weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations has risen by roughly 12% each week over the last three weeks. But the most recent number — about 9,100 new COVID-19 hospitalizations for the week that ended July 29 — is still near a record low.

As a researcher myself, I equate all of this to the type of conflating that successfully conned potential buyers into making deals on marginal content or talent that I’ve authored for decades.  And thanks to the miracle of algorithms and the breakdown of filters from X, I got sucked into perhaps a more ironic rabbit hole where I somehow wound up in a discussion group led  by the hashtag #covidisnotover with these kind of feelings:

Turns out our new social media connection was triggered by this little note from a British group contributor, courtesy of THE GUARDIAN:

Millions of people under the age of 65 in England will be denied flu and Covid jabs this winter despite one of the government’s top public health officials warning that coronavirus has not “gone away”.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the UK government, said on Tuesday its plan for Covid was to offer jabs only to those at “high risk of serious disease” who are “most likely to benefit” from vaccination.

Kinda flies in the face of the world that our new friend Taro envisions.

Ensuing discussions suggested that there be organized protest in London and perhaps a demand for a sit-down meeting with these government officials.  Probably looking somewhat like this, I’d imagine:

I was dumb and yes, depressed enough to make the mistake of briefly attempting to engage with these fine people.  What I did learn is our shared disdain for what they mock as “baggy blues”.  And the first thing that comes up when my browser scrolls over it is this explanation:

According to a source, cloth or ordinary surgical masks cannot trap the infectious droplets from the wearer’s mouth which causes the disease to spread. This is because they are often very baggy and don’t provide a well-fitting around the mouth.

Beyond that, it appeared that anything else I offered up was triggering and deserving of insults and mocking.  And after my most recent feedback here, I honestly didn’t need any further aggravation.

Funny, in this country radicalized people want to storm government offices in the hopes of shooting someone who they think is ruining their lives.  In England, people want to do that in the hopes of BEING shot, at least with a syringe.

I did unsubscribe, but not before I was tagged on a reply from a woman who announced she was divorcing her husband because he refuses to wear a mask, and proceeded in a lengthy post to ask the world for prayers and understanding as she stood her ground.  In this particular case, the woman is an advocate for those who suffer from long COVID.   But even this woman’s work has yet to truly establish a direct  and statistically significant connection between mask-wearing and both incidence and degree of infection.  Long COVID is something we all want to avoid, and the fact I have five vaccines should be more than enough proof of how strongly I fear it.   But every single time I dared to ask the question of whether or not there is an actual controlled study that specifically shows a statistically significant differenc between masking and non-masking that does not account for vaccination rates or other co-morbidities, I got  conflated and panicked arguments and insults, occasional references to studies that did NOT control for those variables and a lot of threats to my safety.   I kinda identify with the poor schmuck now facing divorce but, much like some other situations I know a lot about, it probably wasn’t a match made in heaven.

I did leave the woman seeking consolation with this suggestion.  Subscribe to the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

As for me, I’m gonna try some other way to calm down if possible.  I’m open to suggestions.

Until next time…



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