|The new mask rules from the C.D.C. amount to an honor system of sorts, where only unvaccinated people are expected to keep wearing masks in most places. But many Americans are wondering whether they can trust others to do the right thing.
|In social psychology, there’s a well-established principle that a common enemy is supposed to bring people together. But shortly after the pandemic arrived, the U.S. saw a partisan divide over masks, screaming crowds outside state capitols and death threats against health officials.
|It quickly became apparent that, even in a crisis, Americans were finding it difficult to come together. So it’s no wonder that the federal government’s new mask guidance has been greeted with reluctance — especially when fewer than half of Americans over 12 are fully vaccinated.
|Celeste, a newsletter reader from Dayton, Ohio, wrote in with her own experience.
|“The first day of The Great Unmasking at work went exactly as you’d expect: people who have previously bragged about not being vaccinated walking around without masks on,” she wrote. “Assuming people would act unselfishly to protect others goes against everything we’ve seen so far this pandemic.”
|The C.D.C. is also asking Americans to trust one another at a time when faith in institutions and their neighbors is particularly fragile. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center report on Trust and Distrust in America, trust in the federal government was near record lows, and seven in 10 people said they thought that Americans’ trust in one another had declined over the past 20 years.
“Betrayal is the wound that cuts the deepest.”
Boise State Public Radio
Most people in the Mountain West are still unvaccinated. Idaho has the second-lowest rate in the region with only 34% of its residents getting one or more doses.
COVID-19 vaccine supplies are now abundant – nationally about 60% of adults have had at least one shot.
“At least here in Casper, (Wyo.), you can go to the clinic and pick one of the three vaccines. It’s like a menu: I want Moderna, I want Pfizer, I want Johnson & Johnson. We have that much vaccine now,” said Mark Dowell, an infectious diseases physician and Natrona County health officer.
Even so, most people in the Mountain West are still unvaccinated. And Wyoming has the region’s lowest vaccination rate with about a third of residents with at least one shot. Idaho is a close second at about 34% of its residents with one or more doses.
To achieve herd immunity, epidemiologists have suggested we need about 70% of people to be immune, though that number is hard to pin down without more research.
Dowell said we also don’t know how many people actually were infected with COVID-19, how many of those built up antibodies, and how long those antibodies might last.
“We think that for every one infection, there may have been one or two more that had symptoms that went undetected,” he said.
Even if we could figure out how many were infected, he said we still have one big unanswered question: “Of the people that had the infection but didn’t know it, did they get good protection from their immune system to add to our herd immunity?”
We also don’t know how long the vaccines will stave off the virus, though many expect them to offer protection for at least a year.
Dowell says it could take several months to figure out how much of the virus we’ve stopped, saying, “The proof of the pudding will be next fall and winter when everybody’s inside again.”
At the same time, areas with low rates of immunity and high rates of spread could allow the virus to mutate into a more dangerous strain.
“That’s another reason to get vaccinated, to head off the mutations,” he said. “The worry is that you’ll find a variant eventually that will not really be covered by the vaccines.”
Dowell said he is continually talking to patients who believe in false conspiracy theories about the vaccine, ranging from it causing infertility to vaccines actually being tracking microchips from Bill Gates. At the same time, he still hopes he can convince more people to get it.
“When you’ve seen people die horrible deaths from COVID, it changes your perspective on things,” he said. “I had a close, healthy friend that died of COVID way before we had the vaccines. And it was a rough death. I sat at his bedside as he died, as we took him off the ventilator … it’s rough.”
Guest essay on why novelty means severity, and why so many questions about variants, children, Long Covid, endemicity and more revolve around that very notion by Dylan Morris, PhD.
. Nothing in this pandemic makes sense except in the light of novelty.
‘…wealthy countries have two choices for how the global pandemic ends: via natural infection or via vaccination. We should choose vaccination.’
‘Remembering that novelty means severity helps us see that the vaccines provide cause for hope, even if SARS-CoV-2 manages to stay with us for years. SARS-CoV-2 might stick around; the COVID-19 pandemic will struggle to do so.
But it also makes clear that those of us in wealthy countries have two choices for how the global pandemic ends: via natural infection or via vaccination. We should choose vaccination. And we must commit to that choice now. We don’t have much time.’
I continue to think where we’d be as a country right now with this pandemic if it had not been allowed, and encouraged, to become political. Hundreds of thousands did not need to die. -dayle
“One day some historian will look back and say how remarkable it was that these strange folk who called themselves ‘Americans’ governed themselves at all, given how they went about it.” -Michael Lewis [p.78.]
💯%: “…this was a major blunder that threatens to set back much of the progress made. President Biden needs to fix it, urgently […] for the public good.” -Dr Leana Wen
While many people happily shed their masks and celebrated the apparent end of the pandemic, others are concerned that with only 37 percent of the country fully vaccinated, this relaxation is premature and could lead to a resurgence of infections
The CDC’s mask guidance is a mess. Biden needs to clean it up.
This was an astounding strategic and tactical mistake. It will have lasting repercussions unless the White House steps in to clean up the CDC’s mess. As a start, the administration should clarify that while vaccinated people are generally not at risk, the unvaccinated are still at high risk. Therefore, if there is no reliable way to verify vaccination status, indoor mask mandates must still remain in place.
“We do not have enough vaccinated; we are seeing frequent emergence of new variants[…]Relaxing NPIs (masks/distancing) before adequate vaccine coverage could result in tremendous loss of potentially averted cases, hospitalizations & mortality.” -Dr. David Pate, Idaho Covid Task Force
Please. Just a little while longer.
This is the only herd we’re going to have if you don’t vaccinate.
The 21st century, the United States of America, capitalism, our churches and our political parties, and all the rest are passing away. We might recall the Buddhist heart sutra “Gone, gone, entirely gone” when we watch old movies—even celebrities and stars die. We can take this as a morbid lesson, or we can receive it as the truth ahead of time, so we’re not surprised, disappointed, and angry when it happens in our generation.
In times like these, our prayer may need to be expressive and embodied, visceral and vocal. How else can we pray with our immense anger and grief? How else can we pray about ecocide, about the death that humanity is unleashing upon Mother Earth and upon ourselves? How else can we break through our inertia and despair, so that we don’t shut down and go numb? – Fr. Richard Rohr
Walk. And pray. Contemplation.
Terry Tempest Williams
Who have we become? “This is a violation against ever woman and life-giver,” says Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk
A prehistoric petroglyph panel near Moab was defaced with the words ‘White Power’
The Bureau of Land Mangement is offering a $10,000 reward for relevant information about those who committed the vandalism
Salk Lake Tribune
Known as the Birthing Rock, the boulder features petroglyphs on all four of its accessible sides that date from the Archaic period to more modern Ute inscriptions, including dozens of ancestral Puebloan-era images, including a woman giving birth.
Sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday, however, vandals descended on the roadside rock and scratched it with obscenities, a crude penis and the words “white power” directly over the top of two anthropomorphic figures.
The Bureau of Land Management is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the vandalism.
Al Jazeera English
‘India’s devastating second wave was fuelled by a series of crowded events, including mass rallies addressed by PM Narendra Modi, religious holidays and pilgrimages on the Ganges river — in pictures.’
India opened too quickly, no masks, large gatherings, few vaccinations…by choice.
331 (M) people in the U.S. Masks eased outside. Be wise. Distance. Small groups. Oregon is surging and variants are circulating. And please. Read the science. Vaccinate. -dayle
“They had no idea the virus could spread this fast.”
Fear and Loss: Inside India’s Coronavirus Crisis
New York Times
Jeffrey Gettleman, The South Asia bureau chief for The New York Times, based in Delhi.
You gave everything. For what? Look at us. Humanity. We’re a mess. We can’t even don a mask because, you know, our rights not to wear one are greater than your right to live.
But yeah. Thank you for your service. We truly don’t know what it means, as a
C O L L E C T I V E
to take care of our own.
We dishonor you with our actions during this global pandemic.
Some continue to try. ♡
“I am just grief stricken by how many Americans are OK with racist dog whistling and white supremacy and cutesy nods to white nationalism. Even if 45 is gone, that all stays. This is who we are.”
A friend, the White mother of a Black child, posted this on Facebook on election night. That last line floored me: This is who we are.”
It is exactly who we are. Since before the birth of this nation.
The pandemic’s toll on veterans
by, Ashley Gold
“A number of recent studies highlight the problems facing veterans as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
- According to one recent survey of 30,000 veterans wounded after 9/11, 52% said their mental health has gotten worse and 49% said their physical health has become worse since they started social distancing during the pandemic.
- Sixty-one percent said they felt more disconnected from friends, family and community, according to the survey by the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Veterans are delaying doctors’ appointments too, with 70% reporting having in-person appointments canceled or postponed. And 40% noted employment difficulties.
- The Associated Press reported in September that military suicides have gone up as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019.A study by the
- Bob Woodruff Foundation this spring said emergent trauma, loneliness due to social isolation, and unplanned job losses creates a “perfect storm” threatening the mental health of veterans.
By the numbers: Beyond the stress caused by the pandemic, coronavirus cases are up among veterans, too. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there have been 83,383 cases among VA hospitals with 4,223 known deaths.”
Exhausted. On edge.
Now, as the world heaves a collective sigh of relief (or grief), whatever you’re feeling, wherever this finds you…
Let’s take a moment to remember that the great task of our lifetimes is not to change the world.
Our task is ONLY to transform ourselves …
The world is naturally transformed by our Light.
‘Since the “map show” of last week—all those blues and reds signifying, well, everything and nothing—we’ve been hearing calls for unity. I get it. I really do. I crave more steady common ground rather than the shifting tectonic plates we’ve all been surfing unsteadily these last four years. I want a news network called Truth that everyone, regardless of political party, actually trusts. Let’s spend some time disagreeing about our values and how to get things done, not the facts, for a change. Let’s log off of social media where our most base emotional wiring is being profoundly manipulated. At this point, I’d rather our commander-in-chief communicated via interpretive dance than twitter.
But as much as I honor our collective desire for kindness, this is not the time for congeniality. This is the time for a fiercer form of moral leadership. Our foundational values need to show up in public—calm, sure, if that feels authentic, but more importantly, uncompromising on questions of basic humanity. We have developed some powerful new muscles the year for tolerating uncertainty, for unvarnished truthtelling, for outraged solidarity; now is not the time to get back to compartmentalization and quiet desperation, violent death and violent denial.
It’s not unity we need. It’s a basic agreement that racism, sexism, ableism, etc. will not be tolerated. There are not two sides on this. There are a million shades of gray on how we live and lead, but there are not and should never be two sides on dehumanization.
And, yes, that means that my work is not to dehumanize those who didn’t vote as I did. My work is to get ever more curious about them, about our current ecosystem of information and the way it has distorted all of our perceptions of truth and trust. My work is to disagree with them out loud, on the page, wherever I need to, whenever I need to—boldly and respectfully.
I am especially invested in doing this with White women right now, having seen that half of those with a similar racial and economic status as my own supported Trump; I am baffled and profoundly sad about this. My job now is to transform that bafflement, that disappointment, into fuel. I am tired of looking at the demographic data the day after an election and being ashamed of the way “my people” voted. But I won’t reject those people. I will pick my chin up and get after organizing with them—figuring out what my gifts are and how I can bring them to bear on this conundrum (the conundrum being that even the dehumanized vote for the dehumanizer).
I see that as work of those who have had the privilege of not watching their humanity be debated. I am not going to ask my Black or immigrant or disabled friends to spend their precious energy empathizing with someone who doesn’t believe they are as worthy as I am. If that’s someone’s spiritual practice, so be it, but to publicly call for all Americans to unify is to ask those who have been systematically and interpersonally dehumanized by racists and xenophobes to invest in them. That’s not just insensitive, it’s emotionally violent—particularly within the context of 400 years of this shit. That’s not their sacred duty. It’s ours.’
To those calling for unity, here is my ask: Stop requesting self-annihilation from anyone. Yes, we need to combat the reductive thinking that is only further entrenched by the “map show.” No, we don’t need to capitulate, compromise, or God forbid, normalize the hatred that has always been part of this country, but was surfaced so painfully this year.
And while we’re at it, stop painting fierce moral leadership as wokeism (looking at you, David Brooks). It’s patronizing and inaccurate. Sure, there is a faction of the progressive movement that is more performance than substance. That’s true of any movement at any time. But there are a huge number of people who put a tremendous amount of effort into taking a stand for basic humanity this year; we even risked our own health, the health of our families, to show up at protests and work the polls. We donated money at a time when money was already tight. We talked to our children, however clumsily, about the brokenness of the world. We didn’t do it for woke brownie points. We did it because something intrinsic to our very souls resists the dehumanization of others.
We must not parody that, or call for its politeness. We must nurture and grow and honor that. We must push progressive White America to look at the places where hypocrisy and neglect live in our own lives, not just point the finger at Trump voters. We’re coming to the close of a year of painful unearthing; don’t dishonor that with pavement of politeness.
If you are a White person on this journey to figure out how to organize with other White people, check out my bud Garrett Bucks’ new Barnraisers Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice, and/or Integrated Schools.
U P D A T E
WASHINGTON POST/Thursday, June 25th
State health departments reported 38,115 new infections on Wednesday, the highest single-day caseload in the United States since the pandemic began. As for the total, true number of infections, CDC Director Robert Redfield said Thursday: “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections.”
The new spike was caused by a rush to reopen without proper safety measures in place, infectious-disease experts say, and the push to do so, even as cases climb, sends a dangerous and inaccurate message.
‘A nationwide crisis, made worse by a vacuum of political leadership, threatening to overwhelm hospitals.’
The pandemic is getting dramatically worse in almost every corner of the U.S., Axios health care editor Sam Baker and visual journalist Andrew Witherspoon report.
- ⚡ This is the grimmest map in the eight weeks since Axios began tracking the state-by-state change in new cases.
- Nationwide, cases are up 30% compared to the beginning of this month
- Dramatically worsening outbreaks in several states are beginning to strain hospital capacity — the same concern that prompted the nationwide lockdown in the first place.
- Over half the country — 26 states — has seen its coronavirus caseloads increase over the past week.
Trying to unpack this logic:
Governor Brad Little, (R) Idaho, will not mandate masks because “compliance would be terrible.”
Boise (Ada County) COVID numbers, like in Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida, continue to exponentially increase.
From Boise State Public Radio [KBSX] reporter Heath Druzin:
On the day the governor says Idaho is not meeting its #COVID19 goals, and in the midst of a local outbreak, just saw a @CityOfBoise employee pull up in a city car and walk into a gas station store with no mask. So that’s how seriously we’re taking the pandemic right now.
More from Heath:
Idaho saw its highest number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day Wednesday, with 223 and another 20 probable cases. There was also an additional death, bringing the state’s total to 90.
Wednesday’s total includes 101 cases in Ada County, which is in the midst of a spike, with some tied to downtown bars where patrons did not practice physical distancing. In response, Central District Health has ordered bars in the county to close again and the county to return to Phase 3 of reopening.
There have been 908 cases over the last seven days, representing by far the worst week for COVID-19 infections in Idaho since the pandemic began in March. In addition, Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced the first confirmed infection of an inmate at an Idaho correctional center.
Vacation bookings are up in the Mountain West with folks looking for outdoor escape from their own dramatically increasing COVID numbers. Guides report a record increase in bookings. From Eye On Sun Valley:
Silver Creek Outfitters’ three dozen fishing guides have seen a record number of requests for guided fishing outings this summer from out-of-state visitors eager to escape coronavirus lockdowns.
While grateful for the extra business, it does present a conundrum for some.
“Terry Ring has put a whole lot of precautions in place and fly-fishing is an activity in which you can social distance,” said fishing guide Bob Knoebel. “But, while I feel confident with most of the people in the valley, I’m not as comfortable with people from outside the valley because I have no idea where they’ve been and who they’ve been with.
From CDC website. (A reminder to consider the source.)
“Do we need to get a flu vaccine earlier this year (i.e. July/August)?
While the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has not yet voted on the flu vaccine recommendations for 2020-2021, CDC does not anticipate a major change in the recommendation on timing of vaccination. Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.
Will there be changes in how and where flu vaccine is given this fall and winter?
How and where people get a flu vaccine may need to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC is working with healthcare providers and state and local health departments to develop contingency plans on how to vaccinate people against flu without increasing their risk of exposure to respiratory germs, like the virus that causes COVID-19.
Some settings that usually provide flu vaccine, like workplaces, may not offer vaccination this upcoming season, because of the challenges with maintaining social distancing. For more information on where you can get a flu vaccine, visit www.vaccinefinder.govexternal icon.”
The National Institutes of Health has been fast-tracking work with biotech firm Moderna on a potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19, which has infected more than 6.28 million people worldwide and killed at least 375,987, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Anthony Foci said earlier this month that the biotech company expects to enroll about 30,000 individuals when it begins a phase 3 trial in July. He said there are at least four trials for potential vaccines that he is either directly or indirectly involved in.
Fauci said that by the beginning of 2021 “we hope to have” hundreds of millions of doses.”
When asked whether scientists will be able to find an effective vaccine, Fauci said he’s “cautiously optimistic,” adding that “there’s never a guarantee.” He cautioned “it could take months and months and months to get an answer” before scientists discover whether the vaccine works.
U.S. officials and scientists are hopeful a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 will be ready in the first half of 2021 — 12 to 18 months since Chinese scientists first identified the coronavirus and mapped its genetic sequence.
It’s a record-breaking time frame for a process that normally takes about a decade for an effective and safe vaccine. The fastest-ever vaccine development, mumps, took more than four years and was licensed in 1967.
However, scientists still don’t fully understand key aspects of the virus, including how immune systems respond once a person is exposed. The answers, they say, may have large implications for vaccine development, including how quickly it can be deployed to the public.
Dr. Fauci stestifying earlier this week in Washington D.C. on the federal pandemic response.