Too much of the same Deja vu all over again. Too many hours each day. Too many days with the same structure and flow. Waiting for Groundhog Day to end.
It’s all part of pandemic fatigue. Death count every morning. The same news ever day — Trump is stupid again, Congress members are trying to eat each other, valued members of our society no longer have jobs and their children do not have enough food, there is no end to huge numbers of death every day, Trump pronounces daily that he has done a terrific job.
Makes your thinking dull and your emotional responses muted.
I love America, the way it was in the good old days of January.
Every time I think Trump cannot exceed himself in stupidity, meanness, cruelty, sadism, and lying, he comes roaring back and gets stupider, meaner, crueler, more sadistic, and more dishonest.
Trump’s adoption of a herd immunity model is being widely criticized by virtually every infectious disease expert who comments in television and print interviews. Virtually everyone predicts a number between 2 million and 6 million deaths from the strategy.
Herd immunity is social Darwinism, a policy adopted by many totalitarian governments.The “strongest” win, the “weakest” disappear into the trash can of of history. Social Darwinism is the antithesis of the American traditions I learned as a child from adults and religion.
Pandemic Burn-out. Virtually all of us have some version of this. COVID-19 has been unrelented in its impact up our psychological functions at the same time those have become infected by it have experienced many physical symptoms. Our worst pandemic in a century. An overwhelming burden.
Click on the mind map to expand the list of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors you probably experience daily.
Simply put, Donald Trump has been waging a biological war against the residents of the United States (and the war) for all of 2020. Or, if you prefer, you can call the same behaviors a fundamental lack of understanding science combined with a distrust of public health experts and misguided priorities made because of conflicts in interest between what is best for the world (minimizing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic) and the financial and electoral benefits to the President and his family.
President Trump did not inform us of the arrival of a deadly virus into the United States until two months after our Intelligence Community confirmed it existed in China and was deadly. Our public health and medical communities knew it would be extremely deadly unless the Federal government took immediate and decisive action. Some of the best medical and public health professionals told President Trump that he needed to take immediate action and that if he did so a huge number of Americans and residents of other countries could be saved from COVID-19 infection. He did not acknowledge the coronavirus until two months later. He was, however, dumb enough to tell Bob Woodward in a telephone interview being recorded that he was lying to the world’s people.
Trump did not use our national stockpile of medical supplies in a fair and equitable way for all 50 states, instead pitting what he called “red” and “blue” states against each other. In the USA, maps color states that typically vote Republican as red, and use blue for the majority Democratic voter states. Trump continues to contend that blue states should not receive federal assistance. [In response I have been informed by a reliable source in the Office of the Creator that 97% of the founders of the USA are rolling around in their graves after being informed of Trump’s comments and the remaining 3% have been re-assigned to hell.]
Trump is still telling American residents that he did a great job managing a fight against the invading coronavirus. Today (9/21/20) he gave himself an A+ for his handling of the coronavirus at his press conference. Instead of telling the truth, he continues to lie to the public, refuses to use our federal tax dollars to pay for medical and social services, denies that the virus existed and later that it got out of control, and refused to listen to medical, public health, and logistical experts.
Trump has many tools and weapons to protect us from the invading virus. Instead, he allows it to attack us. Through negligence Trump allowed the virus to kill more than 200,000 of our citizens through September 21, 2020. Current projections include a worst-case scenario of 600,000 dead Americans by January 1, 2021.
I consider Trump’s actions to be biological warfare against the people of the USA and secondarily the rest of the world. I also consider his handling of the COVID pandemic to be criminal, impeachable, and morally reprehensible. If your views are not the same as mine you can call him incompetent, stupid, a liar, and unwilling to consult experts. Either way, there are still 200,000 (most needlessly) dead confirmed and probably many more not identified accurately as COVID-19 victims on their death records. If Trump continues as he has been in not dealing with COVID effectively, another 400,000 could die before the end of the year.
Click on the images to expand their size.
Trump never wears a simple cloth face mask that dramatically cuts the likelihood that others will contract COVID-19 from him when he is in public places.
Trump was repeatedly asked to wear a mask to model behavior that could have saved tens of thousands of lives. He refused to do so in public because (as reported widely in the media) he felt that it would make him look weak.
Then he broke down and wore a mask two times for photo opportunities.
He returned to refusing to wear a mask at large events, often without social distancing. To the time of this writing, he has repeatedly screamed at his followers during his political pep rallies that masks are not really needed.
I just lived for the past six months in “stay-at-home” conditions because of the COVID pandemic. I also am living with dementia and my residence is a health-care living complex regulated by the State of North Carolina.
As usual, I developed a mind map over the past few weeks to summarize what the issues were (are) in dealing with both of these “problems” at the same time.
Most of the information is best explained by the mind map below because it shows, in a summary fashion, what it meant to deal with the pandemic. Here are some bullets to cover things.
The condominium building I live within has 18 units with either or two occupants. There is a trash pickup a few times per day. The units each have one or two bedrooms and several bathrooms, a small kitchen, a living room, and a very large number of windows in units.
During the last six months, everyone was in a quasi-lockdown condition with residents asked to not leave the large campus with lots of green space and several dozen buildings and about 50 single or duplex homes. No visitors were allowed inside buildings and the social interactions I had were with family members sitting on chairs I would bring downstairs to the grass where we would sit 12-20 feet apart, eat bag lunches together, talk.
Most weeks residents were encouraged to stay in their units and to only go out to get the mail or exercise in a socially distanced way. One meal per day per resident usually served in a communal dining room was delivered to each of the homes. Most of the time residents used grocery delivery services and online stores like Amazon. Most prescriptions were delivered by mail or picked up at a local pharmacy where you could call and pay and they would set your prescriptions outside when you arrived for you to pick up.
The complex of about 400 persons has had no cases of coronavirus among residents and five cases among staff members. A related small residential intensive medical building has had two positive cases of coronavirus.
Within my building, I am the youngest resident (at 69) and most of the other residents are in their late 70s or 80s with all still fairly mobile. I have not talked for more than 5 minutes to other residents in a day. One thing that I have observed is that most of my fellow residents cannot maintain social distancing because of cognitive difficulties or lifestyle issues like their cultural norms, poor hearing, and loneliness.
I have also observed that I am probably the only resident of my building taking advantage of bringing chairs out to the lawn and sitting far apart from 1-2 visitors at a time.
I often (more than half of the time) do not formally see other people in a day; our interactions are limited to my identifying them from the door peephole and conversations through an unopened door.
I love Facetime. My whole family uses it and I log many hours each week on it with family. My goal is to increase my use of it or another video call app with friends.
I have canceled several medical appointments that were not urgent. I am waiting until the virus is under more control before getting cataract surgery in both eyes. I had one online (voice only) appointment with a neurologist I see for cognitive issues. I recently had a video appointment with another neurologist I see for movement symptoms and overall management of neurological issues.
The two online appointments (one each with two different neurologists I consult with every six months that I had worked well The video format was much more effective than the audio-only one I had early in the pandemic before video equipment had been installed in the offices of the Neurology Department.
When I had my appointment with the movement disorders expert, I found that we could accomplish much of what we did in an in-person visit. For instance, I adjusted my video camera a little and then walked up and down the hall for her to observe in the same way she had done for 10 years at her office. I help my hands up to the camera so that she could look at tremors and movement acuity. Surprisingly, I also found the interactions with a doctor I have worked with for years to be as relaxed and thorough as those I experience in person.
As someone who had early-onset dementia and neurodegeneration diagnosed before I was 60, I have watched myself decline in functioning level for a decade. Over that decade, the level of the decline from year to year was fairly constant although getting a little faster as I got older as would be expected. During the pandemic, my rate of cognitive decline as been dramatically greater.
The past two months have been a time of great anxiety for everyone. At this writing, 170,000 have died from COVID, 25% of the American workforce is unemployed, and the USA is polarized beyond anything I ever saw at any time in the 69 years of my life.
On top of the great challenges of the past months, I deal with dementia and am alternately fairly calm (in no small part due to great medical care and appropriate medications) and anxious and confused and memory-challenged.
Over the past 10 years as I dealt with early-onset dementia I have used the idea of comfort activities to help me get through times of great turmoil and confusion.
A comfort activity for me is one that is predictable, one I know will be pleasant, and one I have probably done many times before. So I watch the Hunt for Red October for the 51st time or rewatch all the episodes of the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica which I have seen at least a dozen times. Recently I have rewatched the four seasons of the Expanse almost a dozen times. been revisiting all the albums of the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers, and reading lots of books I have read several times since I initially enjoyed it years ago.
With dementia, I sometimes have to watch a movie a few times (or more) to understand it. And every repetition thereafter I find things I didn’t understand the previous times or forgot. But I always remember that the activity is one I like, one that is calming, and one that will not confuse me.
If you have early stages of dementia or are a caregiver for someone with dementia, try to identify comfort activities and try to do some several times a day. And, if you do not have dementia, I bet this same strategy can help you deal with trying times of confusion and anxiety.
The following mind map explains my view of comfort activities. Click on the image to expand it.
Why didn’t we realize that superb medical care by motivated and brilliant health care professionals would not be enough to tame the COVID-10 pandemic? We have the largest, most expensive, state-of-the healthcare system in the world.
But our healthcare delivery system is not designed to seamlessly prevent or counsel or treat such effects from a pandemic as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anger, anxiety, fear, excessive drinking, drug abuse, domestic (or other) violence, case management, food security, help to obtain income replacement, and guidelines for planning the future.
While our healthcare system can provide state-of-the-art medical care with state-of-the-art equipment and state-of-the-art professional training and state-of-the-art pharmaceutical interventions, it cannot get people to wear face masks during a respiratory pandemic or to rechannel fear into positive actions or put societal concerns above personal concerns at time when collective consensus is needed to improve the health of individuals.
If you want people to wear masks, you need to help them get over the psychological toll of the pandemic so they do not respond in anger.
Many terrified people cannot deal effectively with getting a new job unless you help them deal with the trauma from the pandemic that is “freezing” their inactions.
Our healthcare system has traditionally not included integrated counseling and psychotherapy, support groups, case management, food assistance, payment of medical bills, transportation, child care while ill with COVID or at a doctor appointment or job, homeschooling, and many other needed services.
If we cannot provide such social services we cannot expect people to follow guidance from public health officials about how to control the pandemic. Everyone needs and should have help to recover from the psychological and financial trauma and uncertainty in our lives. Unfortunately, our healthcare system is not designed to provide social services and these huge needs are not being addressed by our government.
We need to bring social and psychological services into the medical continuum of care now being used. And there is no way we can avoid doing so if we want the pandemic to come under control and to regain our lives.
The following mind map shows my thoughts on what the continuum of services is missing. Click the image to expand it.
The US government — either through commercial insurance companies or self insurance — shouold be providing a free term life insurance policy to those individuals (doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, facilities maintence workers, ambulance drivers, paraprofessionals, other) who die from COVID because of providing services to others with COVID. The cost of such policies is not high because they are for terms, not for a lifetime, and can be restricted to deaths caused by COVID directly or indirectly.
The people who unselfishly protect you andd your family from COVID today should be assured that the people of the United States will aid their families if they die while performing these services.
Anything less is just plain unfair.
I’d suggest a total of $3,000,000 OR MORE paid over 10 years from the time of the death. I’d also suggest that the payment for each person eligible (whether doctor or nurse or technician or facilities workers or ambulance drivers or teacher or other eligible individuals) should be the same.
Coverage should be retroactive for those who have already died before this policy is adopted.
We have a responsibility to insure that the families of our COVID-related workers are not destroyed as a result of taking care of the rest of us.
Anthony Fauci has offered the American public and healthcare professionals his sage advice about COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and research. It is incredibly sad to see Trump trying to jail Dr. Fauci in a prison of Trump’s fantasies and anti-science views and false public opinions.
The world map below shows the percentage of people worldwide who said they wore a mask each time they went out on June 19.
The map is taken from the website of IMHE at the University of Washington http://www.healthdata.org. IMHE produces projections of COVID-19 spread that are widely used in the USA, including by the federal government.
As usual, the United States is not using the most effective method for limiting the spread of COVID-19. Too many US residents think mask use is not necessary or is not effective. Why do they believe this? Would you believe that our president is telling them these lies?
The restaurant industry is a huge one world-wide. Talk to the friends that you have not seen for a while and probably dining options will be the second thing you talk about. (“Oh, I am so glad you are alive” will be the #1 topic for most people.)
Aaahhh, but what are the dining options tonight? Let’s categorize them into four levels of risk.
The mind map below provides an introduction to the coronavirus-related ssues the United States has addressed this spring.
Click on the images to expand them. The first image is the entire map. The second is the first half of the map (right side). The third image is the second half of the map (left side). The half-maps can be expanded to show additional detail.
Interesting weekend. Lots of pictures in new stories of Americans jammed into swimming pools and lying on beaches with no concern for social distancing.
And, in most Memorial Day weekend pictures face masks were nowhere to be seen. I guess the celebrations were not very worried about what would happen to their family and friends if they sneezed on them. Or maybe they were just modeling Trump’s childish behavior of not wearing a mask.
The United States used to be the leader of the free world. We provided plans, strategies, resources, money, and hope to the rest of the world. We were empathic. We respected the ideas and actions of our partners.
Then we got stuck with the worst president of the United States ever. And the worst pandemic in one hundred years.
We did not deliver as promised and expected by the rest of the world.
Please give us another chance to do what we should have done in the first place.
Had the White House admitted that the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States was inevitable and started to implement strategies to keep the virus well-contained in the United States, 10s of thousands of people in the US, and 100s of thousands of people throughout the world would not have died. Also, if the White House had acted earlier, the US and the World might not be the worst financial depression in history.
Partisanship cannot fight a pandemic. Nor can the worst president in US history.
We can adjust to the new normal that COVID-19 will cause as we deal with the deaths, financial disaster, and general chaos created over 3.5 years by Donald Trump, the President who steals from the poor to pay the rich.
But we need to stopping dreaming of the good old days from two months ago and wake up with our feelings of responsibility to make American work for all of our residents. We can do it, but we do need to take stock of what our strengths are now and proceed instead of mourning for the way things used to be.
We have it within us. Ignore Trump and his merry band of idiot s and let’s forge a revitalized USA that is good for ALL of us.
It’s getting to me. It’s probably getting to you. One day Trump disband the COVID-19 Task Force as the US hit a new national high of virus deaths. The next day he restores the Task Force commenting at the time that its TV ratings we so high he decided we needed it.
In other directions, tomorrow may be a much better day. The South Korean Baseball Organization is starting their season with empty seats and broadcasting to the USA in English (overnight but I will record it).
Trump announced today that he would continue the US committee that presumably “advises” him (admittedly a fully impossible task) after announcing its dissolution. Trump’s attempt to silence his critics (many of the scientific-medical members) on the committee was transparent and greeted what can be described as a Twitter excrement storm.
The committee is now back the next day and hopefully, Drs. Fauci and Birx will get the face time that most of the watchers of their televised press briefings see as the only honest information being shared.
Stay vigilant. Trump will try to sneak this past us again in a few days.