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Steve
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The youngest of my ancient aunts passed away from COVID earlier today.

 

< rant >

 

My mom's side of the family has been heavily into anti-science and faith healing long before our former president and his ilk came along. (Some of them believe it is sinful to go to a doctor or to take medicine but luckily my aunt isn't that extreme.)

 

In any case, most of them bought into the anti-mask and anti-vax misinformation because it matched their beliefs. And they also bought into the "the state can't tell us not to have church services in person" and into comparing it to people in previous centuries who'd been martyred for practicing their faith.

 

So they've gone through the whole pandemic not really buying into social distancing or why you shouldn't go to your nephew's birthday party with the rest of the family and the people in the neighborhood.

 

In any case, my aunt finally came down with it. They think she caught it at church because there's been fifty people in her church congregation of less than 200 adults & teens who've gotten COVID in the last couple of weeks. (Mini-rant: they're charismatics so they do a lot of running around the auditorium, singing/chanting in each other's faces, and crowding around each other laying hands and praying over each other during services. You can lay the hands of an amazing number of people on one individual if everyone is determined enough to give it a try. Last time I visited the church, I was tempted to see if there was a listing in Guinness for the largest number of people to be simultaneously touching a single person. And I don't have a problem with believers giving faith healing a go if that's their cup of tea, but as they were practicing it, at least some of the people getting the benefit from the laying on of hands weren't sick in any shape, form, or fashion. You can find out a lot if you're nosy enough to actually ask.)

 

So in any case, my aunt was sick with COVID and in the hospital.

 

The hospital let the family come in to see her if they wore a gown, mask, and gloves.

 

1) These are completely unvaccinated people. 2) They don't believe in protective gear so there's no reason to suspect that they'll treat the process of wearing it and taking it off seriously. 3) Since when can family come and go out of the room of someone with COVID? 4) The hospital is associated with the Mayo Clinic (but maybe the people who work there think that means mayonnaise?)

 

My wife is angry. She's angry at the family for the totally preventable death. She's angry at that church. She's angry at the hospital but to a lesser extent (at least until one of the visitors come down with COVID). She's angry that the aunt who died was my mom's little sister who my mom made sure got fed as a child by giving up her own food.

 

This isn't the first church-related outbreak for my family. On my dad's side, I nearly lost an aunt and uncle back in November. They'd had their kids take them on a trip out of state to attend a family funeral. They were late getting back in state so they decided to stay overnight with the kids and attend church with them the next day (one of the kids is a pastor).

 

So they go to church along with most of the family who'd gone to the funeral. Almost every adult there that day came down with COVID. In my family, everyone came down with COVID, children included, except for one of a set of twins. My aunt and uncle came very close to death. My uncle got that same shot of whatever it was that Trump got when he was ill (the name of the drug escapes me at the moment).

 

They're not as anti-science/anti-doctor as my mom's side of the family. But as a group they're Trumpy and were before Trump came along (maybe in some ways less Trumpy since Trump came along). But it's still deeply frustrating to deal with during a pandemic.

 

I told my dad before they made the trip that making the trip was a mistake. He patiently listened as I explained to him why from a medical point of view that it was a bad idea (listening patiently was a breakthrough at the time for him). The travelers wanted to stop off at his house for a visit while they were in-state and I begged him not to allow it.

 

I feel very fortunate that the caravan got infected after they left my parent's house rather than before.

 

I am so tired of people dying unnecessarily.

 

< /rant >

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I'm so sorry your family has had to go through this, Archer. The frustration and anger you and your wife feel is natural and justified. It sounds like you did everything you could to try to forestall this tragedy. Perhaps everything that's happened will open the eyes of some of them to reality, so at least something good might come out of this mess.

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A couple days ago we went shopping at one of the big Asian markets here in Cleveland.  They're still requiring folks to wear masks before being allowed entry -- and had a security officer out to enforce it AND an infrared temperature scanner.

 

Which I was fine with as I still wear a mask.  Hubby had to go run back to the car to grab one for himself.

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Most of the problem in the US could be fixed in a couple of months.

 

1) Finalize FDA authorization of the vaccines so the "emergency authorization" is over. That allows you to mandate that each person in the armed forces gets vaccinated.

 

2) With the "emergency authorization" gone, individual states could include COVID vaccinations in their list of mandatory vaccinations for attending school (for kids who are old enough to qualify for COVID vaccination).

 

3) Change OSHA regulations to require workers to be vaccinated in order to enter their workplace.

 

Obviously, just urging people to get vaccinated doesn't work.

 

Telling people that getting vaccinated will allow them to be maskless has been a disaster because people who have been the most frustrated with masks are also the people least likely to want to get vaccinated. They'd rather cheat on the "you don't have to wear a mask if vaccinated" than to get vaccinated.

 

Make it mandatory for military, work, and schools. That'll be enough to put the US at herd immunity levels so that we can quit white knuckling every new variant that comes out and instead focus on shipping out vaccines to kill the spread and mutation of the virus overseas.

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1 hour ago, archer said:

Most of the problem in the US could be fixed in a couple of months.

 

1) Finalize FDA authorization of the vaccines so the "emergency authorization" is over. That allows you to mandate that each person in the armed forces gets vaccinated.

 

 

The rub is, that's short-circuiting the full approval process a GREAT deal, and in doing so, would that compromise approvals generally?  Would that open the door for the ant-vaxer crowd to expand into a "see?  you can't trust FDA approval for anything!!"...or is that a straw man cuz they do that anyway.  That can't be ignored.

 

To be sure, a pretty darn common complaint is that the approval process is MUCH too slow, and...let's face it, the major Covid vaccines have effectively been undergoing clinical trials for months now;  they've probably been the largest such trials in history.

 

Nice little article here:
https://www.contagionlive.com/view/emergency-use-authorization-vs-full-approval-what-are-the-implications-

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

 

The rub is, that's short-circuiting the full approval process a GREAT deal, and in doing so, would that compromise approvals generally?  Would that open the door for the ant-vaxer crowd to expand into a "see?  you can't trust FDA approval for anything!!"...or is that a straw man cuz they do that anyway.  That can't be ignored.

 

To be sure, a pretty darn common complaint is that the approval process is MUCH too slow, and...let's face it, the major Covid vaccines have effectively been undergoing clinical trials for months now;  they've probably been the largest such trials in history.

 

Nice little article here:
https://www.contagionlive.com/view/emergency-use-authorization-vs-full-approval-what-are-the-implications-

 

Well, for the purposes of vaccinating the military, you could just change their rules so that they could mandate this particular vaccination under an Emergency Use Authorization rather than having to wait for a full authorization. That way you aren't screwing with the actual FDA process.

 

That's not going to satisfy the anti-vaxers but then nothing will. But at least you aren't helping them throw shade at the FDA.

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2 hours ago, archer said:

 

Well, for the purposes of vaccinating the military, you could just change their rules so that they could mandate this particular vaccination under an Emergency Use Authorization rather than having to wait for a full authorization. That way you aren't screwing with the actual FDA process.

 

That's not going to satisfy the anti-vaxers but then nothing will. But at least you aren't helping them throw shade at the FDA.

 

I agree, that should be possible.  That said, it's not a particularly large group.  The newest story I can find quickly said that a little over half of the 1.4 million members had received at least their first shot...and that was the latter part of May.

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The military require vaccination for a great many diseases in order to qualify for foreign deployment. Troops getting sick degrades combat readiness, and drains medical resources. It's not a violation of rights, it's a job requirement. They're free to refuse, but then they can't be deployed to other countries, which curtails their opportunities to earn promotion. If they don't like that but still don't want to be vaccinated, they have the right to resign.

 

I read one comment from an ex-sailor in the US Navy who said his ship's captain told the crew they can refuse vaccination, but then they'd be unable to leave the ship at any foreign port for the two years of their service.

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21 hours ago, archer said:

Make it mandatory for military, work, and schools. That'll be enough to put the US at herd immunity levels so that we can quit white knuckling every new variant that comes out and instead focus on shipping out vaccines to kill the spread and mutation of the virus overseas.

 

bUt WhAt aBoUt OuR RiGhTs & fReEdOm??!1?!1??

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20 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

The military require vaccination for a great many diseases in order to qualify for foreign deployment. Troops getting sick degrades combat readiness, and drains medical resources. It's not a violation of rights, it's a job requirement. They're free to refuse, but then they can't be deployed to other countries, which curtails their opportunities to earn promotion. If they don't like that but still don't want to be vaccinated, they have the right to resign.

 

I read one comment from an ex-sailor in the US Navy who said his ship's captain told the crew they can refuse vaccination, but then they'd be unable to leave the ship at any foreign port for the two years of their service.

 

An interesting situation arises with the Army or Marines, where an overseas deployment isn't as (semi) automatic as it is in the Navy, and even probably Air Force.  There's overseas bases but that's a smaller fraction.  (Altho Marines also serve on ships, so maybe mostly just Army.)  

 

Don't want to send a grunt overseas?  In the Army, by and large, I don't think that's an issue....UNTIL a unit gets called up for deployment overseas.  THEN what do we do with the unvaccinated?  There isn't any option like keeping them on the ship.  There's a form of discharge called General Discharge under Honorable Conditions that includes "failure to adapt to the military environment" (from militarybenefits.info) that seems to fit.  

 

But that's covering diseases like malaria, that one rarely sees in the US.  I suspect they parallel the civilian vaccinations.  The covid vaccination will very likely become a part of the standard immunization list like MMR or polio.  But, that won't happen with a vaccine that has only emergency authorization.  As archer notes, get the full approval, and I suspect the military will require it.

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At the same time, CNN Health earlier today is quoting a former health department official that the FDA is expected to give full authorization to the Pfizer vaccine before the end of the month.

 

(The FDA itself doesn't comment on drugs which are under consideration for authorization.)

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23 minutes ago, Cygnia said:

 

Ehh...but Pfizer wasn't particularly surprised, so I don't think it's that big a deal.  Other than the fact, of course, that the anti-vaxers will seize on this to justify their position.

 

The emergence of the virus variants suggested the possibility that we might be looking at needing boosters periodically, at least until this outbreak is strongly contained...and that could be several years, given the politics.  Mostly abroad, but to a degree, here as well...if Brazil, for example, doesn't change its policies and their infection rates remain relatively high, then that leaves an incubator for new variants.  SOME of them might bypass existing vaccines well enough to spread more broadly.  The upside should be that all the work on the base virus *should* mean that identifying new variants and developing boosters should be MUCH quicker. 

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In the terminal 1960s/early 1970s, the UK had a remarkably short limit on how long a smallpox vaccination was recent enough for entry into the country.  I remember being required to get one in spring 1970 to make a trip into England from Germany, even though I had had to get one in spring 1968 before going to Germany from the US.

 

What I don't know is why that fast requirement was in place, but there were other vaccinations with even shorter valid intervals back then.  I remember those as being tropical diseases; they weren't things that you needed to go between the US and Europe.

 

So a short booster shot interval is hardly a new thing.  If it works out that the existing vaccines need a 6 month or 12 month booster, well ... from very recent experience, it is absolutely, incontrovertibly better than not having a vaccine at all.  That the vaccines came out as fast as they did and then were scaled up to deliver hundreds of millions of doses ... frankly, that's a technical development achievement that deserves to be remembered in the same way as Project Apollo and the Manhattan Project. 

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Well, finally broke down and got first shot yesterday. (Worked morning and had a short schedule)

 

Everything went fine until i went to get lunch.  Went to nearest Bojangles, after ordering while waiting, felt a sudden weak, empty feeling in my stomach, and next thing i am aware of, i am looking up at the guy who ordered behind telling me to stay down because i had hit my head hard when i fell.

 

Luckily, i was pretty aware, and the rescue squad, got me worked out. Once, i ate, i was pretty much alright.

 

Only problem i am having beyond bruises, is a slightly stiff neck muscles which i assume was from the fall rather than the shot.  Though, i am keeping an eye on for next couple of days.

 

All around fun day, and i am making sure i eat before my 2nd shot.😁

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