38 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 1-13-21

  1. Morning! What a beautiful day to celebrate our Lord’s sweet gift of you Kizzie!! Happiest of Birthdays to you…you should see your Colorado Birthday sunrise…the sky is ablaze with wondrous glory!! ♥️ We love you!

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  2. Happy birthday, Kizzie!

    My mom made beautiful flower arrangements and eventually became a judge after winning so many awards. She had me gather some of those shelf-like items once, since she used them in arrangements. Unfortunately, she found when they come straight from the forest they may have bugs still living in them. So I ended up having to dispose of them, too.

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  3. Roscuro, your post last night, I’m sorry that so many young people are being careless. It would seem that the natural invincibility of youth, combined with the current idea that young people should “sow their wild oats” and be reckless with drugs and sex and whatever they desire, combined with all the talk about Covid-19 posing virtually no risk to anyone under 50 or 60 or even 70, creates a perfect storm. (I’ve seen pastors say that the disease doesn’t kill 99.9% of those under 70, which in the first place I don’t think is true, in the second place ignores that it can do a lot of harm even when it doesn’t kill, and in the third place wrongly suggests that even people in their 60s are at virtually no risk from it.)

    I have a niece who is closer to 40 than 30 (she’ll be 37 this spring) and who has been to more countries than her age, though never yet to south or central America. She was supposed to move overseas for a job last year, but because of the pandemic she moved back with her parents, in the LA area, and did her job remotely. This year she is restless again, and she is now in Costa Rica for the month of January. She emailed me that Colombia has “closed again,” so she won’t be going there in February. And I’m scratching my head that anyone living in LA, where according to DJ the pandemic is really raging, would see this as an ideal time to travel the world if it wasn’t for silly governments closing down their countries. Months ago I had heard that her father had presented himself as some sort of expert on the “real” numbers (no, he has no medical or mathematical background), but I had assumed that by now the family may have begun to realize this isn’t “just the flu.” (I don’t know if he ever said that, but several of my siblings said something along that line, and one of them spoke approvingly of how my California brother spoke about it publicly, so I’m assuming his line was something of that sort.)

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  4. Cheryl, this morning, a British newspaper whose headlines go through my FB feed carried a story about a grieving set of patents in Wales, whose 25 year old daughter died within days of getting COVID. The headlines on FB included a photo of the young woman, and it was apparent she had been a bit heavier in weight. The comment section was filled with people insisting it was obesity, not COVID, that had killed her. The article itself noted that another Welsh family, who lost three family members to COVID, an elderly mother and her two forty-something sons, had been immediately attacked on social media by those who insisted it wasn’t serious. The horrible callousness of it all was staggering, and I cannot locate the story now, leading me to suspect it was pulled from social media by the paper because of the horrible comments.

    Such commenters are beyond my scope to address, but my own family members who whine about the safety measures in place and insist it isn’t that serious are pushing me to the brink of snapping back at them. It won’t do any good, which is why I have refrained to this point. But this certainly has revealed the glaring self absorption of society. I know it is hard to be locked down. We missed our family in the US terribly at Christmas, and it hurt to be able to only make a brief visit, with mask on, to my youngest sibling, and every Sunday online gathering increases my longing to return to church. But my pain at those separations hasn’t made me want to rail against the pandemic restrictions. I know that relaxing restrictions would only endanger those I care for. It isn’t the pain of separation from loved ones that leads people to dismiss this as not being a serious problem, but rather a deep seated callousness towards others, a belief that illness and death are for those less healthy, less worthy of life than themselves. It is selfishness and self-absorption driving such responses.

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  5. While some members of my family rail against the restrictions, others comply without complaint. I wept inwardly for one of my cousins yesterday after he posted a lament. He is the youngest son of my eldest aunt, the one who is dying of inoperable cancer. He said he had done everything he could to protect his mother from the virus (and he had, as he lived closest and would do all her grocery shopping) but he could not protect her from cancer. She has been in agony from the pain, which is not able to be controlled well, and been hospitalized twice since her diagnosis, the second time after she reacted badly to pain medication. They are supposed to do a procedure to sever a nerve complex to provide relief. She has been given several months to live, but the pain is threatening to kill her sooner.

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  6. Roscuro, I don’t think it is all callousness. My family has told me, for instance, that lockdowns will kill “many more people” than Covid-19 will, and they also insist it is “no more deadly” than the flu, that people who die of it would have died of the flu. Of course, I don’t personally know of anyone who has died from the flu, and I doubt they do either, and I now personally know at least two people who have died of Covid-19, several more who have been seriously ill with it, and multiple people “one person removed” who have died of Covid-19. (A close friend just lost her stepfather to it, for instance. I don’t know her stepfather, but he’s just one person removed from me knowing him.) In other words, I disagree with my siblings strongly, but I think they truly believe this isn’t a very serious disease. Some may have changed their minds by now for all I know–I have seen so many more illnesses and deaths in the last month, and by now some of them may have also experienced loss that can’t be ignored.

    I do think there is at least some sense of “most of them are old and sick, and they would have died soon anyway,” which comes wickedly close to Scrooge’s “let them die and decrease the surplus population” callousness, and which is strongly opposed to the biblical view of respect for the elderly. But even some of that is ignorance, a sense that the first cold this person got would have killed her, a lack of awareness (willful ignorance?) to what is the actual situation in nursing homes.

    The concern over lockdowns is legitimate. Having people lose their businesses, deciding whether or not one is “allowed” to be open is a financial crisis for many, and an emotional one, and a “freedom” one. I’m sympathetic to the religious-liberties question, too. Governments should NOT be knocking on doors because people are hosting Thanksgiving meals in their own houses. Government should not be deciding which businesses are “essential” and which ones need to close.

    But yeah, the idea that someone who dies of this “deserved” to get it (she’s fat or she went to the wrong event or didn’t wear a mask), or obviously didn’t actually die of it, is pretty horrifying. People are so set on their own interpretations of truth (on this and so many other things) that reality can’t compete.

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  7. Cheryl, as I have said before, an unchecked plague would be as much or more damaging to the economy than a lockdown. Lawlessness increases when the line between living and dying gets narrower – see also the plague of Athens, the Black Death in Europe, etc. Many historians are convinced that the Black Death set Europe back hundreds of years in terms of economic advancement. Plague, like war, causes chaos and poverty. There is a lot of ignorance in the modern world about the past. I grew up reading some very old (1800s) books on our shelves, and I remember, in a large volume from the 1880s that recounted real life stories, reading the account of an English village in the 1600s that got the plague that London had in the same era and was quarantined from the surrounding communities, not allowing anyone to leave or enter (quarantine policies in the past did not give much account of rights – in some places, European cities actually walled off infected streets). The minister of the local congregation stopped preaching in the church and held open air services to try to stop the spread – sound familiar? Humanity has been down this road before, many, many times, and so has the Church along with them. Viruses have no respect for rights or freedoms – that is why the precedent of quarantine laws exists, made by people who did know how quickly a disease could wreak havoc in a population. Plagues, like war, are a state of emergency, and require more stringent rules so that a society can survive. We have been allowed a much greater degree of freedom this time around than previous plagues.

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  8. Roscuro, I agree that there need to be some restrictions, and early on when we had no idea how fatal this would be, tight restrictions were wise. You don’t want 5% of a city to die in a single year, for instance. I’m strongly in favor of wise precautions. I don’t like it that my 84-year-old mother-in-law is doing her own shopping or that every member of her daughter’s family had Covid-19 and that she was exposed in one of those situations. (My nephew ran for office and lost, but he had an “event” to watch the results, my mother-in-law was present, and my nephew and his wife both tested positive a few days later.)

    It seems to me that people over 70 shouldn’t be doing their own shopping, businesses and churches need to be using wise precautions, families should wait on traveling, and in general people should be cautious–especially those at high risk. But a healthy 45-year-old man should not be kept from working to care for his family–not at the level of risk this particular disease poses. If it were killing 5 or 10% of people in a town then yes, shut everything down.

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  9. Very festive, happy birthday Kizzie!

    We’re trying to get our vaccines rolled out here, it’s been pitifully slow and awkward after the scheduled became so bogged down with sub-categories within other sub-categories, based not just on age or risk but on all kinds of job categories. Sheesh.

    Now they’re saying it would all just be much faster if we did it strictly by age and kept it simple.

    Many of the job categories wind up wasting vaccines when people in that category don’t show up and the vaccines can’t be given to anyone outside that particular niche category. Interesting that there’s so much vaccine resistance after what we’ve all been through, but I think that will start go lessen as time goes on.

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  10. Seems like the alternative, if ‘herd immunity’ can’t be reached in fairly short order, is just to continue on as we have for the past year, with businesses closing down, many for good, and people frankly just struggling mentally and physically with the isolation.

    Friend said her mom told her taking the polio vaccine was seen as the patriotic thing to do back in that time. And vaccines certainly were a lot less sophisticated then than they are now.

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  11. Wish I could forward that to my friend, but I already made my case to her a few months back and she said they’d decided it should be “up to the bride-to-be,” her daughter, which is true. And the daughter is still holding out for a full-on “event” at a venue yet to be selected and reserved (the timing keeps getting pushed back, now they’re thinking we won’t be anywhere near “normal” with covid rates until fall).

    Everyone’s already adjusted to the expense and pitching in to pay for it all — and, as I said, the big full-on weddings were what my friend (mother of the bride now) and her parents went with. My friend loved hers, 250 guests and she basked in the glory of it all.

    Of course, theirs were full Catholic Mass church affairs and the daughter has left the faith; groom-to-be was raised Methodist and I believe he’s left that as well, so they’re both pretty much ‘nones.’ (Other daughter is, for all practical purposes, now Muslim after marrying into that faith several years ago.)

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  12. DJ, herd immunity doesn’t exist for natural plagues. They just recur once enough of the population is no longer immune. Smallpox just kept breaking out every few decades until a worldwide vaccine campaign put a period to its existence. Influenza just kept recurring in mutated form, but as long as only the weakest and sickest died, we didn’t change our living habits for it.

    Cheryl, the death rate currently stands between 2-3% of those infected. As a new virus, everyone is susceptible to be infected – the fact that 2 to 3 percent of the population has not yet died is because the whole population is not yet infected. Let me do a little thought exercise to show the cost of a 2 to 3 percent death rate from a brand new virus to which all of us are susceptible. I know at least a hundred people fairly well – in fact the total of my extended family is close to that number. Then had to that a couple hundred more with whom I am acquainted at a greater or lesser degree, if the entire population gets it, then I will know at least 6-9 people who died (it will vary depending on whom I know – i.e. more elderly, etc.) Then there is the fact that a significant percentage of the survivors are suffering long term effects, meaning that besides the ones that died within my acquaintance, a larger group of those who survive will be left with permanent disabilities, ones that could very well shorten their lives, and will affect their ability to work, thus affecting their ability to provide for their families. My cousin who survived it in the spring still becomes breathless and winded, and he is only three years older than I.

    Now expand that 2-3 percentage of dead, and that larger percentage, say 5-10%, of permanently maimed, and you get hundreds of millions dead or permanently affected by the virus. That is what epidemiologists do, they look at the smaller picture to see the bigger picture. Ebola was actually less of a threat than COVID, because although Ebola has a much higher death rate after infection, it has a much lower infectious rate. The average Ebola victim will only spread it to two other people – the reason it spread so far in West Africa was due to burial practices that involved extensive handling of the deceased (the body of an Ebola victim actually becomes more infectious after death) and poor sanitation. Thus, it was possible, once proper procedures were in place, to slow and then finally, within a year in West Africa, to stop transmission of Ebola. An effective vaccine has pulled the teeth of Ebola completely, as it spreads slowly enough to be able to vaccinate ahead of the spread, and the only reason the recent Congo outbreak lasted so long is that people resisted getting the vaccine. But, when Ebola seemed like a threat to the West, everyone was prepared to go to extreme measures to prevent its spread. The public were reluctant even to allow survivors out into the general public after they had been declared free of the virus. Had Ebola made it into the general North American population, which was always highly unlikely, no one would have brought up rights in any measures taken to stop its spread. COVID has already killed many, many more than all the Ebola outbreaks put together.

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  13. Well, ‘herd immunity’ is the term being used by health department officials but perhaps only in the sense that it stops the current outbreak (and not necessarily an outbreak that could return next year?).

    Immunity timelines from the vaccines they are using now isn’t yet known, so it certainly could return. We get the flu shot every year.

    But it seems to be the publicly stated goal (from everything I am hearing) for ending what we’re currently experiencing in terms of lockdowns and case surges?

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  14. So maybe “temporary” herd immunity is the better term they should be using, though I do think they’ve also explained that it’s simply not known how long immunity would last from these vaccines.

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  15. Roscuro, I haven’t kept track of the numbers, but the numbers I’ve heard recently have indicated it’s more like 2-3% of those over 70 and under 1% of those who get it overall. That’s what I’m basing my discussion on.

    My husband and I are totally isolated. We go outside the house, but not into any other buildings, nor is anyone else allowed into our home. For instance, if we drive somewhere, we go only at such time, and for such distance, as we can reasonably get home to our own bathroom. We are being extremely diligent. But we have both an extreme need for such diligence (my husband would almost certainly be hospitalized if he were to get the virus, and would be far too likely to die from it) and the luxury of being able to do it (we have income established through working from home). We also have kept our debt load very low.

    Most Americans live “paycheck to paycheck,” have high debt loads, and don’t have gardens that feed them. If we were to have, say, 40-50% unemployment, what would that do to starvation rates and homelessness, which are also medical emergencies? The Great Depression was also a medical emergency.

    I understand that this virus is serious and has long-term consequences. I know it in a very personal way. That is why in my early fifties I am effectively housebound except for taking walks (and that isn’t something I do much in winter). Two people I know have died in the last month, and three relatives who have had it (including one twenty years younger than me) have continued to struggle after having it. But keeping people from being able to feed themselves and their families has disastrous consequences too.

    BTW, if herd immunity requires 85% of people getting vaccinated, then we’re in trouble, because we won’t get there with this one. Way too many people (even medical people) are resisting, and many others simply don’t see the need. For me, it hasn’t yet become available for people my age and I’m not going anywhere that I’m at any risk; I’ll probably get it eventually, but don’t need to make that decision this month. But from what I have heard, more than 15% of nurses are refusing the virus, which doesn’t bode well for 85% of the general population accepting it.

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  16. Although I’ve also heard you need to factor in the cases of natural immunity (from folks who get the virus and survive) that is only growing – so that will boost those vaccine-immune percentages also, overall.

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  17. Cheryl, the 2-3 percent is the overall rate for all ages combined. Statistics Canada places Canada’s case fatality rate at 2.8 percent currently (it was at 8.2 percent back in July) for all ages. The mortality rate is much higher, around 20-30 percent, for those in the 70-80 range.

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  18. My nineteen year old’s roommate threw a beer party at their place and eighteen people went out sick from work with covid.

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