Tag Archive: Brazil

Plague diaries, Day 368

Tuesday night.

Yet another groundhog day. I have to keep reminding what day of week this is. It’s Tuesday, but it may as well be Wednesday or any other weekday. So little variation…

At work, I’m helping train a newbie: one of at least two that I’ll help onboard in the coming weeks. How strange, that merely staying at the same job for two years gives that sort of seniority and apparently prestige. (I’m still not buying that, and am suspicious of any attempts to convince me so. Heh.) My old-timey coworkers who actually manage people inside the warehouse find it hard to believe I’ve been away for over a year. I guess I’m not the only one stuck with the groundhog day syndrome, eh.

…there’s probably something else I can do during my waking hours aside from working, gaming, reading, eating, half-assed attempts at exercise, and pretending to study Spanish. Yet for the life of me, I can’t think what.

In covid news, the American Red Cross found that 21% of blood donations from unvaccinated donors during the first week of March in the US had covid antibodies. Blood donors aren’t representative of the entire population, but that’s interesting nonetheless. It means that a) wow, 21% of American blood donors had been exposed to covid at some point, and b) double-wow, this means 79% haven’t been exposed at all. Both of those numbers are huge and significant in their own way. So much for the idea of herd immunity. (The UK tried the herd immunity idea and ended up generating a highly contagious variant that’s all over the world now. Probably best not to try that again.)

In other news, things are getting worse in Brazil. They keep setting new records for covid deaths almost every day. Today, the new highest death toll was 2,841. They have about 280,000 deaths so far, and that’s not counting all the ones that got misdiagnosed, misreported, or simply swept under the rug. The newest health minister, cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga, seems to be yet another puppet for Bolsonaro. His main advice consists of washing hands, wearing masks, and nothing else. He’s also against lockdowns… It’s hard to imagine a more gruesome environment for a virus to spread: an anti-vaccine president and a succession of puppets as health ministers. (Querioga will be the fourth since the pandemic began.) Brazil is highly unlikely to get huge shipments of vaccine (enough to make a difference) anytime soon, and it’ll probably be the horror story of 2021 as the year goes on. As always, here is hoping I’m completely wrong.

Good night, y’all.

Thursday night.

Today was the kind of busy workday where I forgot to even glance at my email, even during my lunch break. As a result, I missed an email from the vaccine trial people. How symbolic is that? I’ll call them first thing tomorrow, and all should be well, but this is just another reason the “work/life harmony” thing is a sham.

Good news: days are getting longer – today’s sunset was at 6:11pm. Bad news: I no longer wake up just in time to see the sunrise: now the sun just blasts me straight in the eyes. Heh.

In the US, there was a sufficiently convincing threat of a new attack on the Capitol. As a result, all the congress-critters took today off. Nothing happened, but all the domestic terrorists out there scored a big symbolic victory. The most powerful government in the world went into hiding (if only for a day) because of a violent threat from a cult/militia. (It’s hard to tell where one starts and the other one begins.) Yeah, that’s a perfectly normal day in the life of a nuclear superpower… I expect there will be more insanity along the lines: this, today, happened less than two months after the initial coup attempt. Lack of consequences is just an invitation to keep trying.

In covid news, Biden got fed up with Republican governors who are opening up and abandoning masks prematurely (it’s not just Texas now) – in his own words, “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.” That, of course, set off a lot of performative outrage – apparently, one guy took that as an attack on white people and his personal Neanderthal values, and his angry rant is being passed around as today’s biggest joke. Poor Neanderthals don’t deserve such ugly comparisons.

In other covid news, this New York Times article on the situation in Brazil is genuinely scary. Bolsonaro is still very committed to killing his own people by disparaging vaccines, science, and modern medicine in general. There are few tests. There will be very few vaccines. Their official covid death toll is currently 259,000 – and climbing. Their indifferent (well, actually, more than that – militantly idiotic) leadership allowed the virus to spread like wildfire, and somewhere along the line the Brazilian variant known as P.1 has popped up. It’s hard to tell for sure but it looks like the new variant is reinfecting those who had already survived and recovered from Covid Classic. The worst part is that there’s no help on its way. Brazil is likely to continue generating horrific headlines like they did a few months ago when hospitals ran out of oxygen.

It makes me wonder… Had Trump won the second term (or somehow succeeded in his attempted coup), would the US have been doomed to a similar fate? Allegedly, there was no vaccination plan at all when Biden took over, and the new administration had to set everything up from scratch. The FDA still would’ve approved covid vaccines but would the rollout have been as fast and successful? It’s absolutely wild that the lives of hundreds of millions of people can defend on the whims of just one person.

I’ve just found a fun little interactive vaccination tracker over yonder. According to its data, the US has vaccinated a total of 80.5 million people already, and 1.9 million of those were today. Canada has vaccinated 2.1 million people; about 70,000 were vaccinated today. Worldwide, 275.8 million have been vaccinated; 6.3 million of them got vaccinated today. Those are impressive numbers, but we still got a long way to go – and I really, really hope that Canada will be able to scale things up. The US has roughly nine times more people, but they’ve administered roughly 27 more doses just today alone. Gotta stay patient, I suppose…

Good night, y’all.