Far Gone

The weirdest thing is that the same people who go out of their way to demonstrate that a public service is completely expendable then expect that in the future there will be increased funding for that public service.

Seriously, there are people (with supposedly intact brains) who say, in the same breath, “of course, schools shouldn’t reopen next academic year but there definitely needs to be better funding for public schools in the future.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, “right after there’s a vaccine for COVID.”

And the poor creatures are so far gone that they brighten up, nod vigorously and say, “Exactly!”

17 thoughts on “Far Gone”

    1. Probably not in a near future (and not with the traditional way), but we don’t know.
      No vaccine for HIV and SARS. Mutated not very efficient versions of vaccines for influenza…


    2. Probably not. But this is the kind of virus that loses potency with time. This is why we never hear anything about SARS / swine flu (which killed thousands of children, by the way) anymore. There’s no vaccine but they play out after the peak and lose potency.

      COVID has passed the peak, the numbers are dropping off a cliff everywhere, the only reason we are still talking about it is what I keep saying about the neoliberal rollback of welfare.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Also, after which age does the danger from Covid become real? I know a teacher who is 72 years old, so he must be in at risk group. But what about teachers who are 64-65? If they don’t come to work, they’ll lose their profession forever already since they are after pension age. How dangerous is the virus to them?


      1. I know somebody with an autistic kid. The parents are in a situation where they both have to work full-time and it’s non-negotiable (many dependents and health issues). The kid is getting helped very well at school. They have a great special needs program and it’s a lifesaver for the family. Take that away for a year and the kid loses all the gains from the program.

        Not all parents can teach a special needs kid like this completely on their own. And there are many situations like that. What are people supposed to do?

        If at least we got our (very high) property taxes back to use them to hire private specialists. But we are paying the teachers for the work they don’t do and are supposed to pay privately for what the school was supposed to provide. It’s ridiculous.


    1. The virus is very dangerous to people in this age group. But they won’t get it from kids.

      Because kids don’t transmit.

      I definitely think that at 72 it’s prudent to self-isolate. It’s not prudent to expect the whole society to put itself on hold because 72-year-olds are too selfish to simply self-isolate already and let us all be.

      We are torturing 5-year-olds because the 75-year-olds are acting like entitled brats. People in their 70ies should absolutely stay at home if they are worried. But the employability of a 72-year-old cannot possibly be a factor in deciding to deny schooling to kids.


      1. I sort of agree, but, on the other hand, it sure seems like age is merely a proxy for health. It’s old people in nursing homes and hospitals – old people who are very ill, in other words – that are at the greatest risk, not old people in general (it seems – the data is not entirely clear here). BUT: one reason old people tend to be sick is the decline in efficacy of their immune systems, so that a person may be perfectly healthy for their age and still more vulnerable than a younger healthy person to nasty infections.

        In general, though, it seems better to think in terms of health rather than age, acknowledging that age does weaken us all in the end and so that some degree greater caution should be exercised by the elderly.


      2. // The virus is very dangerous to people in this age group.

        The group of 70+ or for 64-65 years olds too?

        // the employability of a 72-year-old cannot possibly be a factor in deciding to deny schooling to kids

        The problem is that there are many teachers in their 60ies. Is the virus very dangerous for them so that they should self-isolate? I am talking about high school teachers I know who teach practically adults which transmit just fine.

        That was my question since this is the relevant question for our family.

        Btw, what I hate most of all is parents sending a completely ill child to school and administration saying “it’s fine, it’s not corona because of the symptoms.” Even if it’s not corona (and it’s not like anybody there is a huge expert), is it OK to send a child with a bad case of flu or something else to make everybody in his class ill?

        // COVID has passed the peak, the numbers are dropping off a cliff everywhere

        I hope you are right, but they are still only rising in Israel.

        “There are currently 252 people in serious condition of which 70 are on ventilators – an increase of 15 since Saturday; death toll rises to 409 after two more deaths reported, 1,437 new cases confirmed”


        1. I think it’s prudent to self-isolate at 60+. I think anybody who feels nervous should self-isolate because mental health is as important as physical.

          But I also think they should bear the costs of that decision themselves and not force others to do it.


          1. My parents are both 70+ and not in great health. After a few weeks of self-isolating, they are done with it. They were basically like “Screw it. I’m 70, anything could kill me this week–heart attack, diabetic ketoacidosis, stroke, tripping on the stairs, falling in the shower–anything. If I catch it… so what?” It helps that they hate each other, and they’d both rather die than spend months with only each other for company.


            1. My parents love each other’s company but they made the same decision and are prancing around like crazy even though they are in a very hot zone. They want to see their grandkids, friends and be out and about. I’m worried but I respect their choice.

              I haven’t noticed much COVID craziness in the 70+ crowd at all. The worst are people my age, to be honest. They want the whole world to stop because their are too scared of life. It’s very annoying.


  2. Hope you share something since you said you read a lot and those are not ‘curiosity’ questions for me.
    My mother is worried and wants to teach via Zoom, but if told to come physically will do that. Is that very dangerous?
    I really hate this virus now. 😦

    Btw, shields don’t protect you, but one can be without mask when lecturing near a blackboard and put it on only when one approaches students.

    Today a head of one (of two) teachers’ union threatened with declaring a work conflict if there is no solution for high risk teachers such as the deceased kindergarten teacher (61 years old). Currently they are forced to come to work since they are not (yet) ill in order not to lose pay. There are many old teachers in Israel, will they all lose their jobs now? 😦


    1. Kindergarten age children don’t transmit. Their viral loads are too low. Anybody who says that lady died because she came to the kindergarten is lying to you. Kindergartens are about the safest places for COVID that you can imagine. They are not safe for flu though. Yet somehow we never heard these debates about the flu. The situation right now is objectively LESS dangerous to teachers than any regular flu season. Anybody who is saying otherwise is lying.

      Now the question is, what’s the purpose of all this lying.


  3. // There are many old teachers in Israel, will they all lose their jobs now? 😦

    One opinion article offers “Full isolation of at-risk populations, such as those who are aged 60 or over” as a “less bad alternative to complete virus lockdown.”

    Together with “the continuation of restrictions on gatherings, with no more than 10 people in confined spaces and no more than 20 in open areas,” the economy will remain open since younger people will work almost as usual.

    If he is right, it’s terrible for so many older workers and families. 😦

    As for schools, I start getting worried after seeing an article from 4 days ago in Haaretz about the first fully online school (the article is locked but the beginning is sufficient):

    “Welcome to the Coronavirus-proof Classroom: Israel’s First Virtual School
    Starting in the coming school year, ZSchool intends to offer classes to grades 7 through 12 with nary a physical building or book, and not by Zoom either”

    The plan in Israel now is physical attendance for kindergarteners and grades 1-4 . It suits studies I read that children till age 10 transmit less. Grades 5-6 I am unsure about, while grades 7-12 (middle and high school) are supposed to be in a hybrid model – “Some mix of in-school attendance and online learning” – physically coming to school at least once a week. I am unsure what will be since plans change every second and nobody is sure what the government will do next.


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