Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021

Podcasts abound on the subject of COVID-19. One of my favorites is Dr. Osterholm’s weekly podcast from the University of Minnesota. Lately he’s remarked that his crystal ball has grown cloudy. I answer back that I threw mine away–See Year 2, Week 21 on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. I’ve even stopped using that Countdown App. It’s just not accurate. All we can know is the past, it seems, and not even all of that. For example, just look back a year or two.

Classroom: L.A.Times, Wed. Sept. 11, 2029.

Los Angeles Times, Wed. Sept. 11, 2019:

On the front page: A teacher works with students on a new math approach developed by LAUSD. No masks, no distance, no plexiglass. They probably thought things would always be like that.

Other 2019 articles: Election news of course and a front page piece about Trump visiting L.A. to study the homeless situation. Apple TV + began streaming at 4.99/month, underselling other streaming services. A whole page of sports scores. The Ahmanson Theater is presenting “The Book of Mormon.” There’s a pay dispute among the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians.” They missed the real story, which is that the movie was released in MOVIE THEATERS!

Kansas City Chiefs play for a distanced, masked crows. LA Times, Sept.11, 2020

Los Angeles Times, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020:

A year later, of course, COVID was news.

Front Page: On A1 the news is all about the fires. Understandable. It’s been the same this year for most of September. The pandemic started 6 months ago. It’s no longer news in itself. But page A2 has a full page article on the COVID situation in Chile: “In Chile, survivors struggle with loss.”

“L.A, Schools won’t reopen till November,” we are told, but “Cal State to remain remote for entire academic year.” The L.A. schools are reopening this year (2021) as are the Cal State colleges, but all with strict safety requirements.

There is a prominent article on A8 about a contact-tracing app called Safe Pass. It was touted by the Los Angeles Public Health Director Babara Ferrer and Mayor Garcetti, but I haven’t seen any updates, so it seems to be long gone now.

Another article states that “Virus deaths top 14,000 in state.” Today, one year later, California has had 66,625 total deaths. Could they have predicted that?

I wrote an article myself last year on Pandemic Day 185, posted Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. It was called “Hope,” and I think it holds up as well as anybody’s. Here are a few of the topics:

  1. New treatments (not repurposed). One year ago, STAT News listed 19 new drugs currently in clinical trials. Three were already in Phase 3. Today, they list 21 new treatments. One, Remdesivir by Gilead, is FDA approved. Two are authorized by the FDA. Three are in phase 3 clinical trials.
  2. Vaccines. One year ago, STAT listed 16 vaccines in clinical or preclinical phases with three in phase 3 trials. Today, they list 16 vaccines with five in phase 3. Of these, Pfizer is FDA approved and two are FDA authorized for emergency use.
  3. Dr. Fauci predicted that we may be able to enjoy theater without masks in about a year, that is starting in fall of 2021. That’s now. Well, Broadway will be opening, but vaccinations and masks will be required. No curtain calls or intermissions. Shows are being reworked and sometimes shortened. Not even Dr. Fauci knew about the Delta variant until it was discovered in December of 2020 and turned out to be a game changer.

Crystal balls are useless with this virus. But we are learning to expect change and deal with it. That’s not a prediction. It’s our best hope.

Today’s Notable Headlines

“College life is back and loaded with COVID rules as students return to campuses,” Los Angeles Times, Aug/ 24. 2021. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-24/college-life-is-loaded-with-rules-as-tens-of-thousands-of-students-return-to-usc-cal-state

“LAUSD students return to class, in person, after pandemic shuts out thousands,” Los Angeles Daily News, Aug. 16, 2021. https://www.dailynews.com/2021/08/16/amid-coronavirus-fueled-uncertainty-lausd-returns-to-campus-today-in-a-first-day-like-no-other/

“School Is Back and the Covid Rules Keep Changing: ‘It’s as Chaotic as You Can Get.’” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-reopen-covid-children-masks-vaccine-delta-surge-mandates-texas-california-florida-11631287882

“No curtain calls or intermissions. Broadway is back, but this act is different from before,” CNN, Sept. 2, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/02/entertainment/broadway-returns-new-york/index.html

Additional Sources:

COVID-19 Podcasts and Webinars, CIDRAP, Sept. 11, 2021. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars

Tracking COVID-19 in California, Sept. 11, 2021. covid19.ca.gov. https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/#todays-update

STAT CPVOD-19 Drug and Vaccine Tracker, STAT, Sept. 11, 2021. https://www.statnews.com/feature/coronavirus/drugs-vaccines-tracker/#treatments

“Dr. Anthony Fauci Predicts Yearlong Intermission Between Vaccine Arrival And Maskless Theater,” Deadline, Sept. 11, 2020. https://deadline.com/2020/09/anthony-fauci-theater-vaccine-yearlong-intermission-covid19-coronavirus-1234575418/

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.

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