Wednesday evening. Just a couple more days, and it’ll be the Labour Day weekend. I’ll be spending most of it helping xgf move to her parents’ place in a different suburb of Toronto, since most of her friends don’t have either cars or muscle, and her parents are worse than useless. Hey, beats sitting inside and killing video game zombies, right?

I keep reminding me how good I have it: healthy, employed, got some prospects, and my job is better than some, even within the company. All that while millions are sick, over a thousand die every day, there are ~30 million unemployed Americans (almost as many as there are Canadians!), and some of my coworkers are working absolutely ridiculous hours while I try to log off at 5pm sharp or shortly after. (Whereupon I just switch to another device. Heh.)

Really, it’s only the creature comforts that I miss: eating at my favourite Egyptian restaurant, going to an occasional movie or a museum, going to meet-ups to have some no-strings-attached socializing… I’m not doing as well as I would have in the world without covid, but I have it so, so much better than other people. Got lots of privilege to check, eh?

Meanwhile, the “exercise for cider” regimen is going remarkably well. I took a rather long break from daily workouts (oh, about 150 days or so), and even before the pandemic, I’d go to the gym after work but skip it on weekends. This could well be the placebo effect, but I’m starting to both feel and see the difference. Who knows, maybe I’ll emerge from this pandemic as one of those annoying suddenly-buff people after all.

In covid news, I hate being right. What’s the male version of Cassandra? Cassio? Cassandro? Alecassandro? I’ve mentioned this idea here a few times before, and looks like I got it right. The New York Times obtained the CDC documents instructing public health officials to get ready to distribute an as-yet-undetermined covid vaccine by late October. Late October is just before November 3rd, aka the election day in the US. That right there would be a sufficient October surprise to suddenly boost Trump’s approval rating just before the big day. They’re not even hiding the manipulation… It’ll take the CDC decades to wash off the political stink after all the ways it’s jeopardized public health for political purposes of those in power.

The really interesting question is what exactly they’ll be injecting. Fauci just said that if the stage three results are sufficiently good, it might be okay to fast-track a vaccine to get it to the masses sooner. If things get far too rushed, there are three possible outcomes: a) the October vaccine will be legitimately good or useful; b) it’ll be mostly inert, not doing much one way or another; c) it’ll be worse than useless, resulting in bad side effects. In scenarios b and c, giving people false hope and the false sense of security will backfire enormously, in terms of both the public health and the public policy – but that won’t matter after the PR campaign gets you elected. (Putting my Cassandra hat back on, I imagine a photo op at the White House, with a photogenic person getting jabbed with a syringe. Cue applause, banners, and a 20% bump in the approval rating.)

On the other hand, the CDC has just announced a moratorium on evictions for folks making less than $99K per year. The move is highly unusual, with the official justification being the CDC director’s authority to “take measures that are reasonably necessary to mitigate the spread of communicable disease.” It’s pretty funny that the CDC refused to comment why it hadn’t used the same awesome power to enact a nationwide mask order. The upside here is that millions of people won’t get evicted. (Or that it’ll be much more difficult to evict them now.) The downside is that the moratorium will only last through the end of December: this isn’t an amnesty, and all the rent will be due right away. In a way, this is a political ticking bomb. If Democrats win the election in November, this will explode in their faces right when they take over in January.

There are no good guys here, nor bad. It’s all just lots of grey.