Do They Believe It?

We had a big dust-up on the university discussion board today. I’ve put up with so much COVID panic-mongering but there’s a limit to what I can take. The local authorities have decided to reopen the schools in the Fall. (Obviously, giving the nervous parents the option to choose eLearning.) We’ve had very few deaths in the county, with 59 out of 71 being in nursing homes. No kids have been sick. The deaths have ended weeks ago.

But people started agitating to push the school authorities not to reopen because… life is scaaaaary.

So I had to mention that there is no evidence that kids are a big factor in transmission. The reaction was like I’d announced that I was voting for Trump. OK, not that bad. But pretty close. Not a single person supported me. I’m hoping they are either scared or indifferent to public debate. But I wonder, what if they believe it? What if everybody honestly believes that schools need to be closed until September 2021?

That’s what is really scary.

16 thoughts on “Do They Believe It?”

  1. I’m afraid they do, Clarissa. I wish I could offer more hope, but the vast majority of people I have spoken to recently have completely swallowed the fear-mongering that the mainstream media is peddling. They have lost the capacity for critical thought and and really believe that the situation is very dire, and that they will die the minute they step out of their house. The media is to blame for this. The “fake news” that Trump talks about is real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The media is to blame for this.”

      We are living in a very dark time and the media is not the only bad actor. From the top to the bottom of the “resistance,” all the stops are being pulled to ensure that Trump and the like-minded are annihilated in the elections this fall in the US. Riots, plague, crashing the economy, whatever it takes to get the job done. The fix is really in this time and everyone, including a tired and defeated-looking Trump, knows it.

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  2. Well, I’d say 71 deaths in a county of less than 30000 people (I do not want your county to be easily identifiable) is not such a small number. Technically, it is higher than the per capita rate in Sweden (~5,500/10,000,000). If you count only the 12 people who were not in the nursing homes, you will get the rate roughly comparable to the total rate of Sweden (including their nursing homes). Let me ask the following question – what numbers would look serious enough for you? I am not demanding you take the current numbers seriously – it is your choice – but what numbers would be serious enough?

    Another problem – younger people who do not die sometimes develop some pretty unpleasant long-lasting complications. It is not binary, like if you do not die – you are completely safe.

    Finally, I know of many people who are not that concerned about dying or contracting the disease themselves, they are more concerned about transmitting the disease to some of their loved ones, or just to random persons, who for some random reasons may have it worse… I guess neoliberal individualism has not fully won the hearts and minds of the people…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Five people in our county have died. They were all over sixty and in very poor health anyway. There are still people here losing their minds over mask non-compliance. It’s not rational. Meanwhile, all the regular people who have been going to work every day, same as usual, THIS WHOLE TIME, because life as we know it can’t go on without them: security guards, cashiers, shelf-stockers, pharmacy employees, nurses, doctors, trash collectors, truck drivers, plumbers, welders, pipefitters, construction workers, repairmen, etc. have all stopped wearing masks while out doing their day-to-day errands. Why? Because they were told there would be waves of death among everybody exposed. They were exposed. They’re looking around and seeing, plainly, that they and their coworkers have not, in fact, been dropping like flies. This is seriously not about the virus anymore. The virus is done… probably it becomes an annual scourge of poorly-run nursing homes, and a nasty inconvenience for everyone else– like the flu except less dangerous to little kids.

      Our local news, like every other news outlet, is still determined to beat the drum as hard as they can on OMG THE DANGER! They put out a criminally-misleading article last week with a big red “Rising Cases! ICUs are full! headline. What was remarkably absent from the article was any direct statement connecting the two… because that would have been an outright lie. The ICUs are full. Because people have been waiting three months for surgeries, there’s a major backlog, and they’re doing their best to get caught up. My husband is recovering from a hernia repair that had to be delayed for over a month. He didn’t need to be in the ICU, but a bunch of heart patients did. The ICUs are NOT full of COVID patients, which is puzzling, because our “case” number has been rising like a rocket. Why is that? A friend who works in a nursing home enlightened me: they’re being tested every week. So previously, only people who were very, very sick were getting tested, because the tests cost like $180 and who’s going to shell out $180 to get a test if they’re not sick? A whole bunch of people aren’t going to do that even if they are sick! Now, suddenly, anyone involved with nursing homes or health care is getting tested weekly whether they want to or not, and people working in healthcare can be antibody-tested for free. So a lot of them are getting tested just to satisfy curiosity: and every antibody test that comes back positive (as in, you had it, but you got over it already) is counted as a new case. Every person who tested positive more than once? Each positive test is a new case!

      So yeah: Case numbers rising rapidly. Deaths still falling.

      Around here, mentions of COVID, outside the small-but-loud contingent of people who really needed an excuse to let their latent agoraphobia run wild, are likely to get an eye-roll.

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      1. God. I hate this kind of coverage. Hate it.

        I was at the ER last night, and here it’s exactly as you say. It’s pretty busy. The nurse said it’s busy because the corona has gone away. She said it was empty at the peak because people were afraid to come in.

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    2. At this point, I personally know nine people who have tested positive for COVID. Two had zero symptoms and were tested because they were exposed to other cases, they are 11 and 16. Three (all in their 40s) got sick with cold/flu symptoms and recovered at home, but it took them all two to three weeks to feel completely healthy again, it was not a regular cold/flu. One (mid 50s) was hospitalized for a few days and needed a month to feel normal again. One (70) has spent three weeks in the hospital but is recovering and will need a long time to get back to normal health. Two (49 and 68) died. I think this group of people reflects pretty well what I’ve drawn from reports and media accounts, the kids will be fine, the old are going to struggle, and it’s going to be all over the place with younger and middle aged adults. My friend who was 49 had no known health conditions that would have made him high risk. Most people his age are fine, but some will be unlucky.

      What I don’t understand is why those who want to reopen are also against masks and social distancing precautions. There is solid data over many years from East Asia that widespread mask wearing reduces the spread of the flu, that is more solid evidence than any of the quickly thrown together studies that have been done involving COVID. Not knocking the COVID researchers, but it takes time to put together a quality study and COVID hasn’t been around that long. COVID isn’t precisely the same as the flu, but it didn’t arrive from Mars and they clearly have droplet transmission in common. Reducing the spread will make it easier to reopen. If you want to reopen you should be in favor of measures to slow the spread and widespread mask usage is part of that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m against because very few people use the masks correctly. The homemade cloth masks, especially. People touch them constantly. They are germ collecting devices. People shove then into handbags or pockets. People touch them constantly. People reuse the disposable one for days. As for the cloth ones, how many people really do the laundry every day just for the mask?

        Honestly, the way I’m using my mask (and everybody I see around me uses it), it does more harm than good. They say don’t touch your face. Mask usage makes touching the face constantly into a habit.

        I just visited somebody in her office. She fished an unsanitary looking face diaper out of a very messy handbag and put it on. Then shifted it to under her nose. Then lifted it abd scratched her chin. And it went on like that. I’m sure I do the same without noticing.

        East Asia, gosh, completely different cultures. How much ADD do they have? How much obesity? There’s a million factors.

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        1. East Asia is clearly a different culture and they have a longer tradition of wearing masks and are definitely doing a better job with it that we are. But they have also built up that aspect of their culture. I read an interesting article back when this all started about how the South Koreans had put ads up everywhere and were sending out alerts to all cell phones reminding people about how to wear the masks correctly, not to touch the face, wash hands correctly, etc. etc. Those sorts of advertising campaigns can change behavior over time. I have gotten e-mails from my university and seen posts on facebook, but I have not seen a single ad encouraging me to do anything virus related.

          I have a plastic face shield and I think those are possibly a better option for us here in the US. It’s easy to clean and mine fits pretty well, so I am not tempted to mess with it when it is on.

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          1. The university will not let us use just a plastic face shield, saying those only protect your eyes from droplets, but not others from droplets you might emit.

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      2. I should add that I REALLY want to teach face-to-face this fall. Online teaching in the spring was terrible, it was more work for me and a worse learning experience for the students. But we have got to do things to slow the spread as we reopen because the virus is dangerous.

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        1. “But we have got to do things to slow the spread as we reopen because the virus is dangerous.”

          I don’t think for a minute that the “danger” of the virus to people in their late teens and early 20s – there’s little to none for 99++% of this age group – has anything to do with closing colleges and universities. This is all about politically-created, media-driven mass hysteria. Cui bono?

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          1. Also: if young people are allowed to swarm the bars – no masks, no distancing, and not that great for the health – why can’t they also come to class? It’s definitely more wholesome abd hygienic.

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            1. “why can’t they also come to class?”

              The messaging here is passivity in the response to directives from bureaucrats. Collective interests (as defined by designated authorities) are held to be more important than individuals setting and achieving their own goals. The ensuing social disruption is then weaponized for electoral purposes. And, it’s working.

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      3. I’ve been to Southeast Asia. They wear masks all the time, for a lot of reasons. Flu isn’t the primary one. The two main reasons are: 1) Tan avoidance. Women fear that they will get a tan and be ugly. They also, in 90+ degree summer weather, wear hats, jackets, and gloves when they’re out and about. And 2) Everyone rides motorbikes, emissions standards are different there, and the roads are dusty. If you’re on the road, you wear a mask to avoid breathing the particulates in the air.

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    3. If these were 12 kids, I’d dig a moat around my house and never leave. I’m a crazy mommy who has suicidal thoughts when my kid scratches her thumb (real story).

      If it were 12 people under the age of life expectancy, I’d be concerned. I actually am very concerned about my elderly friends. I love older people and have a bunch of 70+ yo friends. But I see no evidence that justifies keeping the schools closed, especially given what a disaster it is for people who need to be out of the house to be employed.

      As for the narrative that school children will pass it on to elderly relatives, if this were a culture where the elderly hung around with kids, then yes. But… It’s a different culture. The only retirees I know who are constantly with their grandchildren are my parents. And nobody can convince them to stop.

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      1. Here, large multigenerational families hang out together all the time. Kids leave school and go to their retired relatives’ houses until their parents get off work, etc., etc.

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