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a note of optimism, for a change

Anticipated vaccination: September ’21

Today has been a red letter day.

1.) New president  (I have become incredibly cynical in the few years, but even I can’t help but feel a bit hopeful.)

2.) My Dad has an appointment to get the vaccine Sunday.  He is incredibly high risk, so this is a relief.  My Mom made it happen – can’t wait until she can get it as well.

That is all.

on repeat

Anticipated vaccination date: 0.7 years / October 2021

Washington has one of the lowest death rates.  Unfortunately, that also implies we have one of the lowest infection rates, which further implies one of the lowest immunity rates.  So, my prediction is that in October 2021 + 30 days for the second dose, only 55% of the population will be immune.  (Probably less since lots of people won’t get the second dose and many of the people in the first group, long-term care residents, will die from other causes.)  Fauci says we need 85% of people to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, and while I don’t really believe that, unless herd immunity implies no one gets sick ever, it seems like 50% is probably not going to cut it.  New York state, which, along with NJ, remains the hardest hit, probably has 30 to 40% immunity due to infection, and they’re still going strong with infections.  I find it disappointing how little discussion there is in the newspapers about the likely infection rate in the hardest hit states – NY, NJ, and MA – and how that has or has not impacted ongoing infection levels, as compared to the least-affected states – VT, ME and OR (excluding HI and AK for obvious reasons).  I would love to see more discussion about why New Jersey and Massachusetts were hit so much harder than Vermont.  They are right next door!  Why did New York do so much worse than Virginia?  NY’s per capita death rate is more than three times higher than Virginia’s.  Why?

Meanwhile, S Dakota has received a lot of flak for its handling of the epidemic (despite still lagging behind NY and other states for death rate), but they’ve managed to use 70% of the vaccines they’ve received and vaccinate more 5% of their population, as compared to WA, which has only used 33% of its vaccines and vaccinate 2.5%.  You can read more about WA’s vaccination debacle thus far here.

I honestly didn’t mean to get on here and rant more about Covid, but I just can’t seem to help myself.

What I’ve been playing on repeat lately:

2021

Anticipated vaccination date: 1.4 years / June 2022

So far, 2021 has sucked.

1.) My uncle died on 1/1.

2.) We are experiencing record Covid deaths, with an excruciatingly slow pace of vaccination.

3.) Saoirse cut her finger due to my negligence.  Blood gushed everywhere, and we almost went to the ER.  (Arranged a babysitter, etc., before we finally got the bleeding stopped and our pediatrician recommended staying home.)

4.) Attempted insurrection at the White House.

I mean, it’s only 1/9.

It will be interesting to see if the impeachment succeeds.  There is no doubt it’s justified this time.  (I felt the last impeachment was political theater, not justified, and in general, bad form.)  I will honestly be encouraged and hopeful for our future if it succeeds.  We’ll see.  I can’t imagine that he would run again, but stranger things have happened.  The best thing about impeachment would be preventing a future run and diminishing or eliminating his role in the party going forward.

We attempted to go play in the snow at the pass today, drove 60 miles (one way) and sat in crazy traffic jams and couldn’t find a place to park.  Anywhere.  There are just way too many people here and with literally everything closed, people are dying to get outside.  So “outside” is turning into a city.  And getting off the beaten path is challenging when you have three kids, the youngest of whom is one.

anticipated vaccination

I’ve decided to start tracking anticipated time to vaccine for my husband and I, based on an expectation that we’d get it when 50% of our state has had it.  This is based on about 30% probably refusing the vaccine plus being ahead of children in line.  Obviously guesswork.  Time to vaccine is based on how many have been vaccinated and rate of vaccination in Washington state.  (Surprise, surprise, we are near the bottom in terms of both % vaccinated and % of doses received distributed.)

Update – I changed my algorithm to use a 7-day running average, which shortened the anticipated vaccination wait.

Anticipated date of vaccination: December 2021 (0.9 years from today)

I feel the country is in a very perilous situation over the next week and a half.  We are intensely vulnerable to any kind of internal or external attack.  (Obviously, we already had one internal attack.)

I am very supportive of removing Trump from office, if possible, but if it is not possible, then Democrats should resist the urge to grandstand and, for the love of God, be pragmatic.   Pragmatism over self-righteousness and scoring political points, please.  (I know even asking for this is futile.  In this desperate time, politicians of both parties will likely still be more concerned about their personal political futures and their party than the American people.)

I should add that I think Trump should go to prison for this, but I believe the process to make that happen is completely unconnected from the process to remove him from office.

While I understand the urge of the various members of the cabinet to resign, I’m also not sure that’s the right step.  We need to continue running this country and protecting its citizens against chaos and foreign attack until Biden can take office.  That can’t happen if there is no cabinet.

Counting the days.

two more weeks

Two. More. Weeks.

A lot of people are saying they’re not surprised by what happened tonight, including my husband.  I guess I must be naïve, because I am not only surprised, I am shocked.  (And horrified.)

Those voting against the results of the American election in Pennsylvania were: Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Rick Scott of Florida.

Those voting against the results of the American election in Arizona were: Mr. Hawley, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Tuberville, Ms. Hyde-Smith, Mr. Marshall and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

Take note of those names.  Are you a resident of one of those states?  Can we get rid of these guys?  Is that possible?  Democrats just took Georgia – not one seat, but two.  So anything is possible.

“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” Mr. Romney said.

In the House, Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, received his own standing ovation from Democrats as he outlined why he would not object.

“That vote may sign my political death warrant,” Mr. Roy declared. “But so be it.”

I’d like to think that the Democrats took Georgia in part because many people in that state, both Republican and Democrat, were swayed by Trump’s unacceptable behavior since the election.

For me, our political system feels like an unstable control system, with the social media echo chamber being the factor that increased the gain and pushed things over the edge.

Monday rant #2

What’s a Monday without at least two rants.

I’m finding myself becoming increasingly pessimistic about 2021 lately.

The new South Africa strain.  In case you haven’t read, scientists think it will be resistant to the vaccine.  It has already spread to the UK, so there is no hope of containment.   Assuming it’s similarly contagious as the other strains, it’ll take about three months to spread and take hold, per what I’ve read.  So, in three months, when most of the population hasn’t even been vaccinated against the first strain, this strain will start circulating and taking hold and negate the progress achieved by the vaccine.  Schools will remain closed through 2022, another three or four hundred thousand more people will die, and Covid will continue to screw up our lives.

Furthermore, I am pretty depressed by the snail-like speed of vaccination.  I’ve been tracking things on the New York Times website.  (The article in question is not behind the paywall.)  If there is a better source, let me know.  In any case, as of today, 1/4/21:

  • Washington got the vaccine on 12/14.  Since then, 22 days have elapsed.
  • Washington has received 389,250 vaccines but only given 92,700.
  • That’s 4213 vaccines per day.
  • At this rate, it will take 1807 days to fully vaccinate the state.  That’s 4.95 years.
  • Based on 30 deaths per day, between 6000 and 12000 people in the state are being infected daily.  So people are catching Covid faster than they are being vaccinated.  We will achieve herd immunity by infection before we achieve it by vaccination.
  • Meanwhile, the governor of NY, instead of trying to solve this problem (NY is doing only slightly better than WA) is threatening huge fines if the priority order for vaccines is not respected.

In Israel by contrast:

“Another reason for the swift execution is the Israeli attitude of “organized chaos”. I visited two vaccine centers. The process focuses on speed rather than bureaucracy. Arrived early? Good. If there is a gap they will try to squeeze you in. End of the day? They will announce if there are left over vaccines and first comes first served in order to avoid wasting them. The process is super fast and it takes a few minutes to get in and get out. You don’t sign bullshit papers by lawyers. The nurse asks you a few questions, jab, zei gezunt and arrivederci!  Here is a prime example from today to Israel “organized chaos”. End of the day in a vaccine center. A few doses left and will expire. Nurses go out, spot a pizza delivery guy, call him “pizza guy wanna vaccine?”, jab, and another person has spike mRNA!”

Why is this not happening in the US?  Should I check out the process for getting Israeli citizenship in addition to NZ?

How long before we get a mutation that starts killing young people and kids?

Political rant

I am sick to death of the Democrats.  I am sick of the grandstanding (impeaching Trump), threats to change our Democratic process because it doesn’t favor them (pack the Supreme Court, get rid of the electoral college), sick of the ancients running the party.  I am sick of living in a one-party state, where Democrats control the executive, the legislature, and the judges decade after decade.  I am tired of the identity politics.  I am above all disgusted by the low priority placed on children and education during the pandemic, a prioritization which will most greatly increase income inequality, income disparity and opportunity gap between races, and just generally hurt the poor and marginalized.

I am ready to vote Republican.

But I just can’t.  Leave it to the Republicans to one-up the Democrats by a significant margin for being terrible, awful people.  Are there any good politicians out there?  I can’t bring myself to read the articles about what is basically a coup attempt on Trump’s and his cronies’ parts, but I will never, ever vote for any politician associated with this in any way.  This is shameful, and I cannot believe the number of politicians supporting it.  I cannot wait until Biden is in office.  And I am in the process of renewing my passport.  Not the blue one.

I still believe in the US.  The pandemic didn’t shake my belief.  Neither did the civil rights marches and accompanying unrest.  On the contrary, I’m glad to live in one of the few countries in the world where you can actually demonstrate.  Try that in Australia!  There are young people who care enough about our country to try and make a difference!  Trump’s ridiculousness throughout his term didn’t really shake my belief.  He actually did a lot of good things which were underreported.  (It was past time to address China’s bad behavior, for example.)  But people trying to dismantle our government?  It’s a bridge too far.  We need Republicans to stand up and do the right thing.  We need Republican voters to look past the end of their nose and declare this unacceptable.  Or God help us all.