Wednesday, October 26, 2022

COVID: An Equal Opportunity Infector

Whites now more likely to die from covid than Blacks: Why the pandemic shifted
SOMERVILLE, Tenn. — Skill Wilson had amassed more than three decades of knowledge as a paramedic, first in Memphis and then in Fayette County. Two places that felt like night and day. With only five ambulances in the county and the nearest hospital as much as 45 minutes away, Skill relished the clinical know-how necessary to work in a rural setting. Doing things like sedating patients to insert tubes into their airways.


The imbalance in death rates among the nation’s racial and ethnic groups has been a defining part of the pandemic since the start. To see the pattern, The Washington Post analyzed every death during more than two years of the pandemic. Early in the crisis, the differing covid threat was evident in places such as Memphis and Fayette County. Deaths were concentrated in dense urban areas, where Black people died at several times the rate of White people.

“I don’t want to say that we weren’t worried about it, but we weren’t,” said Hollie, who described her 59-year-old husband as someone who “never took a pill.” After a while, “you kind of slack off on some things,” she said.

Over time, the gap in deaths widened and narrowed but never disappeared — until mid-October 2021, when the nation’s pattern of covid mortality changed, with the rate of death among White Americans sometimes eclipsing other groups.

A Post analysis of covid death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from April 2020 through this summer found the racial disparity vanished at the end of last year, becoming roughly equal. And at times during that same period, the overall age-adjusted death rate for White people slightly surpassed that of Black and Latino people.

The nature of the virus makes the elderly and people with underlying health conditions — including hypertension, diabetes and obesity, all of which beset Black people at higher rates and earlier in life than White people — particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death.

That wasn’t Skill.

The virus also attacks unvaccinated adults — who polls show are more likely to be Republicans — with a ferocity that puts them at a much higher risk of infection and death.

That was Skill.

He joined the choir of critics opposing vaccination requirements, his rants in front of the television eventually wearing on Hollie, who, even if she agreed, grew tired of listening and declared their home “covid-talk free.”

So, she said, Skill commiserated with like-minded people in Facebook groups and on Parler and Rumble, the largely unmoderated social networking platforms popular with conservatives.

“We’re Republicans, and 100 percent believe that it’s each individual’s choice, their freedom,” when it comes to getting a coronavirus shot, Hollie said in January. “We decided to err on the side of not doing it and accept the consequences. And now, here we are in the middle of planning the funeral.”

Capt. Julian Greaves Wilson Jr., known to everybody as Skill, died of covid Jan. 23, a month after becoming infected with the coronavirus. He fell ill not long after transporting a covid patient to the hospital. At the time he died, infection rates in Fayette County had soared to 40.5 percent among people taking coronavirus tests. [...]
There are a lot more details in the article. In short, it is saying it was easier for blacks and latinos and people in lower income brackets to die of Covid, because of crowded living conditions. Middle class and upper class whites had an advantage for a while; it was easier for them to avoid exposure. But if they did not get vaccinated, they remained at risk. Over time, they became less careful about exposure. And now, it's catching up with the unvaccinated.

Viruses don't care about your politics, or what you think and what you believe. They care wether you are a receptive host.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Can humanity bring pollution under control, before it's too late? Would you belive the answer is, "Yes, it's likely".

I hate arguing about "climate change". Because whether you belive we are causing it, or whether you believe it's a natural occurance (as pre industrial history supports), it doesn't change the facts that:

a.) Pollution is bad; it kills us. And...

b.) Even if climate change is a natural cycle doing it's thing, our pollution could make the changes even more severe. Does anyone want, or need that?

What I like about the following video is, that it looks at current trends, with an eye to the big picture. What it sees, is more optimistic than you might expect.

Now of course, if Russia or China drags us into WWIII... but that's another story. This story is, we need not die of pollution. Nice to hear some good news, for a change.

Monday, May 02, 2022

The Disasterous Concequences of Legal Marijuana in Oregon

‘Talk About Clusterf---’: Why Legal Weed Didn’t Kill Oregon’s Black Market
Legalization was supposed to take care of the black market. It hasn’t worked out that way.
[...] Over the last two years, there’s been such an influx of outlaw farmers that southern Oregon now rivals California’s notorious Emerald Triangle as a national center of illegal weed cultivation. Even though marijuana cultivation has been legal in Oregon since 2014, Jackson County Sheriff Nate Sickler says there could be up to 1,000 illegal operations in a region of more than 4,000 square miles. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, which oversees the state’s $1.2 billion legal cannabis industry, estimates the number of illicit operations is double that.

Local law enforcement officials believe that people from every U.S. state and as many as 20 countries have purchased property in Jackson or Josephine counties. Cartels roll in and offer long-time residents as much as a million dollars in cash for their property, and hoop houses follow soon after the sale is complete. Residents have become accustomed to hearing Bulgarian, Chinese, Russian and even Hebrew spoken at the grocery store.[...]
      Read the whole thing for... many stories of lawlessness. Photos of massive amounts of trash and destruction. It's the lawlessness that is the most disturbing, as law enforcent seems unable to deal with it.

There is also the untold story, of mental health problems. Marijuana triggers Schizophrenia in some people with a family history of it. At the very least, there should be warnings about it on Marijuana products.

Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Oregon also has some of the most mis-guided mental health laws in the country, making it impossible to intervene to help people with illnesses like Schizophrenia. We had a tenant who was diagnosed with it after using legal purchased marijuana products. She lost her ability to work and pay rent, and became homeless. Even her family could not legally intervene. It was tragic, and it continues to happen to many unsuspecting people.

Legalization, and the way it was rolled out and implemented, has been disasterous. Drastic changes are needed, before things get even worse.