The public health mitigation methods used to deal with COVID-19 are much more complex than the wash your hands — don’t touch your face — wear a mask — check for fever. — stay six feet away from others — do not congregate in groups mantra.
There are many “keys” to making such a simple set of procedures work. Hundreds of them.
The mind map below lists some of the keys to making the simple set of public health techniques work. Click the image to expand it.
COVID-19 greatly damaged the educational experiences of US children throught out country. Some schools stayed open, some jumped around between classroom and online education, most went in and out of classrooms as the rates of COVID transmission went up and down since March 2020.
3rd grade is no longer 3rd grade in another county or state. Individual school districts set their own schedules and patterns of using the classroom as opposed to online teaching methods.
It is no longer possible to assume that all children learned the same basic skills by the end of 3rd grade.
We are going to have to individually and independently assess where each child is in their education as the pandemic winds down. Many children are going to need to repeat at least part of the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years because many schools could not even start to present all of the materials which are usually taught in the fifth grade. As anyone with school-age children knows, school districts were asked to almost immediately switch class from classrooms to the Internet without any additional resources or teachers or support personnel to help. Teachers and students were asked to do the impossible and many amazingly were able to do 50 or 70 or 90 percent of the impossible.
Unfortunately, in order to make out traditional educational system work, a fourth-grade teacher has to be able to assume that each child mastered certain materials in the third grade in order to manage a large class of fourth-graders.
Right now, the skills of our children are no longer in synchronization with the labels we use about their grade levels. Some are far behind what we would typically expect of children in their grades, some are almost at the typical level. It is likely that there are very few children who are not at least a small amount behind the traditional assumptions about what children can do at certain times during a school year.
The problems being caused by the way that schools have been opened and closed haphazardly will require some time and a lot of money to sort out.
Some of the major issues are summarized in the diagram below. Click on the image to expand it.
Like other retired people I have been at home since March (today is November 25). In the interest of not going stir crazy, regular crazy, and agitated crazy, I decided to expand my knowledge of Covid-19 and from the standpoint of basic disciplines like epidemiology and methods of mathematical modeling and ways of presenting information about the pandemic in a visual way so that there would be more accessible information for the general public than is available in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I also decided that I might as well let out my accumulated rage on Trump who caused tens of thousands of deaths from Covid-19 by denial, apathy, stupidity, crimes, and greed. [Whoops ….. there I go again.]
After all, there is only so much time you can spend watching sports played in empty stadiums, reruns of Battlestar Galactica, John Wick movies, and the unending din of MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the 2020 election., and idiots going to spreader events.
So I decided to work on building up cognitive reserve and eliminating some of the holes in my brain caused by laziness, distractions, and current dementia. It was helpful for me.
Trump proposed a way for dealing with natural disasters in San Juan, Puerto Rico after a hurricane devastated the island.
Now he is doing even less as the tsunami of COVID hits the whole USA at the same time. Papers towels do not work very well fighting COVID even though at times US medical professionals have needed to use them as for PPE during the COVID pandemic because Trump refused to pay for PPE for the national stockpile of medical supplies.
So you are flying home for the weekend. Fortunately I get to stay inside my condo and stay far, far away from you in a healthier universe.
Here is the visual form of the arguments of the day explaining how those who like to travel spread COVID around for the rest of us forcing retreat into the Star Wars, Star Trek, and football universes this weekend.
Click the image to expand.
Remember, even if you believe the airplane is safe due to air filtration (and it isn’t), there are one heck of a lot of those infected with COVID in the airplane terminals. And they come from all states and many foreign countries.
At least wear a mask and wash your hands. Maybe that will help you not bring your grandmother a very unwanted present.
The COVID-19 pandemic and all of the problems it has exposed or created in 2020 is far more than the transmission of the coronavirus.
It is my belief that COVID-19 is but one part of the pandemic. In the mind map diagram below I listed 14 plagues of the pandemic.[I rarely write about my personal religious beliefs but in this case, explaining mine is necessary to explain how I feel about the pandemic. I am sorry if you are offended.]
No matter how much individuals and communities pray to a Divine Being, it is my belief that Divine Intervention is not going to solve these problems whether you believe in Agnosticism, Animism, Atheism, Buddhism, Chinese Traditional Religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, as well as any other major religions (or their non-religious but humanistic alternatives) that I have inadvertently omitted from the list.
We created all of the plagues that relate to COVID-19 and I believe we need to get ourselves out of them. It is not enough to rush to do medical research to eliminate the pandemic. We need to solve the problems of food insecurity, violence, poverty, intolerance, inadequate mental health, non-belief in science, and many others on my list of 14 plagues of which COVID-19 is but one.
We created this current mess. We need to solve it. Then we will have a kind and productive world that meets the needs of all. It is my belief that the Divine Beings and humanist non-religious congregations all require this commitment on our part. So if you are not working on eliminating one or more of these plagues, get off your butt. We would all benefit from your commitment and hard work. And I believe the Divine Being(s) you worship will all smile at the kindness and hard work.
The dreaded day has reached us in the United States.
250,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
We have vaccines coming soon. But WE DO NOT KNOW how long the immunity from the vaccines will last. We do not know if a sufficient number of Americans will agree to take the vaccination. And for those who have already been infected by COVID-19 and either had symptomatic or an asymptomatic episode, WE DO NOT KNOW what medical conditions those who have been infected with COVID will develop in the next 80 years. Some of the medical conditions of COVID-19 infection might only manifest themselves in a year or two or a decade or two or in six decades.
Whether you have been vaccinated or not, had an episode of COVID-19 or not, or have high risk factors that might make you susceptible to COVID-19 episodes in the future there are measures you can take to minimize your chances to get infected for the first time or a later recurrence.
Use a mask, socially distance, wash your hands and use some COMMON SENSE. Everyone will need to keep doing all of these behavioral interventions for a currently unknown time.
The following diagram shows how we got to A QUARTER OF A MILLION DEATHS FROM COVID-19 in the USA.
250,000 souls should not have been lost. We could have avoided the wildfire of COVID-19 infections. We didn’t.
Our highest priority should be for every person on the planet to work their hardest to make sure that COVID-19 transmission is slowed and then stopped.
To the lost family, friends, acquaintances, and those we will never know, we cherish your shortened lives and ask the Almighty Power that you rest in peace.
The United States has not been able to control the covid pandemic. Amazingly to many epidemiologists and physicians, when you tell people to wear a mask and socially distance themselves from one another they do not do so.
This is not a surprise to mental health professionals.
With all of the chaos and psychological trauma and fear from coronavirus and the loss of one’s income and job, it is fairly obvious that people facing so many catastrophic stresses are going to find it difficult to change their behaviors with out support, training, and motivation to do so. Telling people to wear masks and stay home (even when the speaker is America’s favorite grandfatherly, world-famous physician Dr. Fauci) becomes an impossible task when you are worrying about where to get food tomorrow or pay rent or homeschool your child or the health of your aging parents.
Part of a successful response to a pandemic is not only developing a vaccine but also helping people deal with stress, get needed resources to repair their lives, and feel better about themselves and their futures. And then many of them can move their focus to wear a mask and social distance and accept the vaccine when it is available to them.
You know that. The immunologists and epidemiologists and administrators are not people-people but rather laboratory people. We need to get mental health and nursing and social work professionals on the side of those needing interventions to help them deal successfully with the covid pandemic.
As the assault of the pandemic contiunues unabated, I find that I am getting increasingly numb to the causes and the effects. Some call this pandemic fatigue. Others call it trauma. Or overstimulation or shutdown on sensitivity to the continuing clatter. Yeah, I know a vaccine is supposed to save us, but I am so screwed by up by thoughts of what it means that 250,000 souls have been lost in 10 months, I casnnot even envision what it will feel like when 500,000 have died, a marker I think we will hit before the US population has all be vaccinated.
NUMB. No Understanding of the Many Battles.
Why do we fight about whether to wear a mask? The scientific research unequivocally shows masks save lives (including that of the wearer). Will we fight in a few months whether to get vaccinated? Probably so many will refuse that the overall protection for all of our citizens will be limited.
Why do we fight about dealing with the economy? We have far too many people crushed by unemployment. We can create millions of useful jobs that would improve the infrastructure of the country.
Why do we ignore the mental health and psychological processes injured by the ongoing pandemic? I feel crummy from the pandemic, your family and friends do, and you do. We should be able to agree it is a high priority to repair the damage the pandemic is doing to all of us. And, make even more jobs to achieve this.
Why are we so divided as a society? We have brutual political divisions affecting the healthcare and financial systems. We have racism, the denial of equal opportunity, gender and sexual orientation bias, and many other problems that are growing almost as fast as the virus spread.
I am trying hard to get over my own feelings of being NUMB. Maybe you should also try to stop being NUMB.
No covid vaccine yet. Even if one were to be fully tested and proven safe and effective tomorrow, you probably could not get a shot until 6-9 months later.
Mask use seems to be topping out at around 70% in the United States and even conscientious mask wearer and social distancers are getting pandemic fatigue and less conscientious about always using protective behaviors.
The USA is not using behavior change and social support methods to help deal with unhealthy and potentially virus-spreading behaviors.
Instead of promising a vaccine and telling me to wear a mask, how about some social support methods to help with people feeling the depression and anxiety and hopelessness and fatigue and loneliness that comes during a pandemic. Most Americans could use some support in dealing with the balance between working and providing childcare/homeschooling. Or the frustration of being alone at Thanksgiving.
How about promoting behavior change and showing people how to get a mask to fit comfortably and correctly, or showing people how to judge they are six feet away from others. How about getting cigarette smokers to stand 12 feet away from others as they do the huffing and puffing thing in service to nicotine addiction.
A lot of people would benefit from counseling and group support-self help groups during a pandemic.
Many need a case manager to help them get food or a place to live or a job or child care or eviction or mortgage default. Others may need a legal counselor to help deal with problems incurred because of wholesale job loss and the resultant loss of life savings.
To stop the spread of COVID-19 you cannot just tell someone to wear a mask or not go to a family member for support.
What you need to do is to help individuals with pandemic fatigue and other problems find ways to constructively deal with the pandemic and get help from public sources.
Fortunately, most of the social services needed to help many people deal better with the pandemic can be provided by trained mental health and healthcare professionals and their assistants. When provided by telephone or video sessions or online support groups and counseling or specific advice to someone getting evicted these services are much less expensive than treating someone in the hospital or outpatient clinic who has become infected with COVID-19. And of course, every person who gets COVID-19 can potentially die or be affected by lingering symptoms for the rest of their lives, and the cost of any life or development of a lifetime disability is one we should try to avoid as completely as possible.
If we want to cut the levels of COVID-19 we need to up the prevention, support, and behavior change services we provide.
Click on the mind map to expand it and look at the issues in providing behavioral and support services that could make it easier for people to avoid dangerous behaviors that spread the disease.