Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Vax Of Life, Con't

 Republican "leadership" at the state level in the era of COVID is literally killing off their constituents.
For the first time in Alabama’s known history, the state had more deaths than births in 2020 — a grim milestone that underscores the pandemic’s calamitous toll.

“Our state literally shrunk in 2020,” Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s state health officer, said at a news conference on Friday. There were 64,714 total deaths in the state last year, compared to 57,641 births, Dr. Harris said.

Such a gap had never been recorded, not even during World War I, World War II and the flu pandemic of 1918, Dr. Harris said. Going back to the earliest available records, in 1900, “We’ve never had a time when deaths exceeded births,” he said.

Nationally, the birthrate declined for the sixth straight year in 2020, and some experts say the pandemic may be accelerating that trend. A study from the University of New Hampshire found that half of the 50 U.S. states had more deaths than births in 2020, compared with only five states with more deaths than births in 2019.

In Alabama last year, 7,182 deaths were officially attributed to Covid, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

On Wednesday, in a town hall discussion with, Alabama’s largest digital news site, Dr. Harris dismissed arguments that Covid deaths were being misrepresented.

“We get skeptical people who go, ‘Oh well, those were just older people who were going to die anyway, and you’re just attributing their deaths to Covid,’” he said. “That is not the case.”

Alabama has recently averaged about 60 deaths a day, according to a New York Times database, and only 41 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.
I guarantee you that the numbers for 2021 in all of these states with GOP ghouls running the show will be much, much worse.  These buffoons and monsters should be run out of town. Instead, "serious" pundits are asking which one of these clods will replaced Joe Biden in 2024.

A look at the polling in California and nationally reveals that Republicans would be wise to come up with a better message on the coronavirus, or else they could be throwing away a clear pathway to a strong 2022 midterm election. 
The number one issue for California voters in last week's recall was the coronavirus. Nearly a third (32%) of the electorate said it was the top issue in the exit poll, which was the runaway for most important. The "no" side on the recall -- against the removal of Newsom -- won among these voters by a 81% to 19% margin. 
The coronavirus being the number one issue matches what we've seen nationally as well. CNN's last poll conducted by SSRS showed that 36% of Americans said the coronavirus was the most important issue facing the country. The next closest was the economy at a mere 20%. 
When we look at the generic congressional ballot, Democrats lead among voters who said the coronavirus was the top issue by a 63% to 27% margin. Among all other voters, they trail by a 52% to 36% margin.
And hey, let's be honest: the people who are worried about COVID will be alive to vote in 2022. The people who think the virus is a hoax and the vaccine is worse, well, there won't be as many of them around in November of next year, now will there?


Sunday Long Read: Fighting On The Southern Front

Our Sunday Long Read this week comes to us from Scientific American, where an ICU nurse, Kathryn Ivey, describes her experiences in the ICU as a rookie.

I saw my name followed by “RN” for the first time on July 27, 2020. The next day, my instructor, or preceptor, and I were assigned to the COVID intensive care unit at our hospital in Nashville, Tenn. I read the assignment sheet with a strange knot in my chest. It wasn’t fear or dread rising into my throat but something much harder to name.

For months, as a nurse intern, I’d watched the battle-weary nurses emerge from COVID rooms, taking off their PPE like warriors stripping off armor, their faces lined from the pressure of the respirators. There was something etched in their faces I couldn’t fully understand at the time, something that ran deeper than sadness, some terrible weight that came from caring for these patients. Now it was my turn for what became a grim initiation into the world of nursing and medicine. I learned how to be a nurse behind a respirator and a yellow gown amid the constant beeping and hissing of ventilators that couldn’t support failing lungs. I learned how to be a nurse with death constantly at my heels.

Because I was so new, I had no baseline for what normal nursing looked like; I just had a vague sense that it couldn’t look like this. The unit was bleak, and everything we did felt futile, and I realized at some point I felt more like a ferryman to death than anything else. Some people lived—if they never got to the point they needed continuous BiPAP, a type of face mask that constantly pushes air into the lungs. Most didn’t live. By the time they came to us, they were too sick and were beyond the power we had to heal. They were in renal failure, respiratory failure, liver failure, cardiac failure. One organ system would fall, and it brought down the next and then the next like dominos, a horrible cascade that we could predict but not stop.

I watched, feeling helpless, as patient after patient progressed through the stages of the disease, each requiring a higher level of oxygen support: nasal cannula to Vapotherm to BiPAP. Then, when their chests started heaving and they started sweating despite the BiPAP mask forcing the strongest possible concentration of oxygen into their lungs, I knew with heavy dread that soon they would be intubated. I remember every single time I made the call to the doctor to tell her that it was time. Then came the quiet acquiescence on the end of the line and the flurry of activity as we prepared the ventilator and the medications that would keep them comfortable after. I remember every single 2 A.M. phone call to family members so they could hear the voice of the person they loved at least one more time.

“Is she going to be okay?” they would ask. I tried not to lie, not to give false hope. I heard too many voices cracking on the other end of the line, the family beset with helplessness and with grief. “We’re going to do everything we can,” I would say.

There are places we can’t call you back from—places you go where we can’t follow. And this is one of them. The ICU felt like purgatory, like a punishment, like we were torturing these people whose bodies were wrecked beyond hope. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were failing them. The feeling of wrongness was so pervasive that it followed me home and would have choked me if I let it. So I didn’t let it. I got used to the death. I walled it off, pushed it down and did my job. I advocated for death with dignity, with as much kindness and comfort as we can muster, and I accepted very early on that we can't save everyone.

Every time I try to describe the COVID unit in anything more than metaphor and allusion, I falter. I can tell you that for a while, walking into work felt like Dante following Virgil past the gates and the warning inscribed there. I can talk about Charon and the river Styx and how the nurses flitted between worlds, crossing that river of death every time we entered a COVID room. What I’m saying is dramatic and probably pretentious, but language fails here. I don’t think there are words for what this is. The COVID unit is mottled limbs and scorching skin; bloody secretions and constant alarms from one patient after another going into abnormal heart rhythm;. It is the beeping of the Prismaflex delivering continuous renal replacement therapy because the circuit pulling the patient’s blood outside of their body to filter it, as the failing kidneys should do, has clotted yet again. The ventilators sound the alarm from inside the rooms for 1,000 reasons, some of them fixable, some not. Room after room of patients are on life support, silent except for the relentless chiming and beeping that remind us that they are dying, we are failing. Those alarms ring in my head when I get home, reminding me of every way I couldn’t save them. We are haunted by failures now, starting with the failures of policy that allowed human lives to be sacrificed on the altar of the economy and ending with us telling a family that we can do no more. COVID has made martyrs of us all.
Zandarmom is a retired nurse, and I just scream when I read accounts like this and think of the absolute, infantile selfishness of the anti-vaccine fools. I don't want to bring them into the fold, I want to wring their damn necks.
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