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More science is needed! It would be very helpful to know what makes some people more resistant to catching it. There is something genetic involved perhaps. A nurse I work with was on a Covid unit where an older woman and both of her sons died from it. They were having a high survival rate on that unit. Of course something can seem genetic but actually be environmental.
 

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COVID RANT

Something I find frustrating is the reluctance of government bodies to explore treatment options. If we cannot stop the spread, can we make it less dangerous?

Treatment with HCQ became politicized when Trump mentioned it as a possibility. The UK stopped investigating it based on a report that has since been retracted. Studies in North America have been 4 times more likely to say it doesn't work than studies around the rest of the world. Does that reflect higher standards of studies in NA? Or does it reflect how political things have become? My gut feel from reading is that it was oversold in the beginning, but that the reaction to it became overly negative due to politics. But there isn't much evidence that it is HARMFUL either - not with it being used around the world for malaria. I took it in Afghanistan, IIRC. For 7 months.

Ivermectin? Cheap, readily available. I've got a bunch of human sized doses with apple flavor sitting in my truck. Third world countries claim it is helping. Oxford is just starting a major study (a year later) which hopefully will give high quality data on its effectiveness - or not! But given for brief periods of time, it is very well tolerated by humans. So...what would have been the harm in exploring it when it first showed some signs of promise? If it won't HARM anything, why the reluctance to try?

Vitamin D seems to be helpful. Vitamin D supplements may not be. But higher levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with much better outcomes. Of course, there could be some other factor which boosts both vitamin D levels AND boost protection against COVID...but why the reluctance to try? Oxford (way to go, UK!) is studying it. But we know 4,000 iu is well tolerated indefinitely by humans and costs a few pennies a day.

Baby aspirin is another, now being studied at....you guessed it, Oxford.

I realize all these may prove to be worthless when examined in large scale trials. But why has it taken so long to BEGIN large scale trials when it would be easy to recruit a million people who already take vitamin D supplements and compare what happens with a million who do not? Island countries like Australia and New Zealand and Japan can put a lot of emphasis on preventing COVID from reaching their shores. North America, Europe and Africa cannot. I'm glad we had "Operation Warp Speed" and heavy funding for vaccines, but why not use a full court press and experiment with multiple strategies that cost almost nothing, are highly unlikely to have negative impacts, and that seem to be showing some promise? Do so, knowing in advance that 80% of them may be no more effective than a placebo.

Suppose we find next summer that ivermectin can reduce fatal cases by 20%. 20% of 400,000 dead in the US would be 80,000 alive. 10% would be 40,000 alive.

Happily, no one in my immediate family has lost a job yet. Most are military or work in transportation. And since arriving here, our two grandkids have been going to school in person 4 days a week. And I'm retired and live my life in semi-isolation anyways. But it seems the only options the US government wants to look at are the ones that cost - and make someone - a lot of money.

RANT OVER. I've been affected far less than millions all around the world. I have much to be thankful for.

Here is a website that allows one to look at a wide variety of studies involving various medicines: Vitamin D for COVID-19: real-time analysis of all 54 studies One can click on individual studies and see a summary and find the full citation if you want to see more. The banner across the top allows one to select various optional treatments. Some of the citations include direct links to the full original study, such as https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-81419-w.pdf

Oxford is running multiple trials. They update things here:


PS: As with many health issues, I'm certain genetics plays a large role in outcomes. Like the old joke says, "If you want to live long, start by picking your parents wisely!"
 

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My neighbor (in her mid to late 70's) just died of Covid a couple of weeks ago. They DID try ivermectin on her. She still died. I don't know all the in's and out's of it........maybe it does help a certain amount of people, but it's no miracle cure. She still died. Her husband recovered. Why one did well and not the other........who knows.

I would just be happy if I could get my parent's signed up for a Covid vaccine. We are in Navajo County and it's been harder than hell to get a vaccine for a person over 65 with serious health issues. I've all but given up on ever being able to access a shot myself (I'm in my 40's). I do all the shopping for my folks and just pray I don't bring Covid home with me. I would feel so much better if they could get vaccinated. I go onto that *&[email protected]$!! website at least twice a day and still can't get a spot, much less two or three spots.

Anyway, I do know in certain circumstances they ARE trying ivermectin.
 

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For a short time there was a website showing where a person fell on Arizona's priority list for a vaccine. I fell in the bottom 15%. Begs the question: If 50% of Arizonans refuse to take it, will it EVER be given to me? The lady who hosted two COVID people through quarantine doesn't want to take it. She used to sell drugs for a pharmacological company and is more knowledgeable about these things than I am - but I'll take the vaccine if I'm ever allowed to do so. I was vaccinated for everything under the sun during 25 years in the military. I figure I'm not too likely to grow a third ear or anything. My wife, however - a former RN - doesn't want to take it. Tough choices.

Don't think there are miracle cures. The guy I knew who died with COVID had a massive heart attack 10 years earlier. Was told then he'd be lucky to live 5 more years. Did COVID aggravate it? Very possibly. But would ANY drug have saved him? Maybe not. PROBABLY not. He was asymptomatic until sudden collapse and loss of consciousness - consistent with a heart attack. But it isn't fair to say COVID was not part of his death, either. Lots of gray areas and no easy answers.

"Last Updated: January 14, 2021

Recommendation

  • The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) has determined that currently there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19."

I believe prior to 14 January, they recommend it NOT be used. One of the problems is that COVID has a very high survival rate for most people: 99.98% or higher for those below 50. 99.5% for those 50-70. So it requires a huge sample size to determine statistical significance in survival rates. And what might help a young person, for example, could make things WORSE for an older, frailer person. So it is a tough challenge.
 

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I was able to get my first shot and am scheduled for the second one on Feb. 12. I signed up the "other grandmother" who is raising my grandchildren, and she wasn't home when they called her to get her shot. She has tried and tried to get her first shot and so far, has not. If she gets sick, we lose the grandkids because I cannot raise 4 kids ages 6,5,4,3. I am desperate for her to get her shot.
 

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Here's some articles that you might find interesting:




Prevention, of course, is better than cure, and I'm glad to live in Australia, whose public health response has been close to spot on. We're largely not having to live with this virus, and our current position is a lot more economically sustainable than if it ran rampant through the community like it is in the US, UK and large parts of Europe. I'm not sure what can be done once the horse has bolted, but here, it's never bolted, and when it threatened to in Victoria with a second wave, they sat on it for three months with an extended lockdown and got community transmission back to close to zero. It's been contained enough here to be mostly manageable by quarantining and contact tracing; good community cooperation with health protocols (social distancing, hygiene, masks in enclosed environments and during community transmission) has been very helpful. Taiwan and NZ, ditto. We can't live with open borders (international, but also state, and sometimes region) while this virus is a thing; we're learning to live in our local communities again, and to make that work economically, in this handful of nations. And in theory, you don't have to be an island to do it (and the UK spectacularly failed to do it, unlike Taiwan etc). Also in practice, if you look at Vietnam etc.

It's all also a really good learning opportunity for other pandemics, which with the current human population density, pre-pandemic huge global mobility and stressed ecosystems, isn't going to be another 100 years in the making. And the next one may have a far higher fatality rate.

Vitamin D, I've been on since I broke my foot, since I realised that many of us are borderline deficient from sun avoidance now - and for over a decade we've been into the coldsore prevention treatment (VitC, zinc, lysine) whenever there's any kind of respiratory virus floating around. Even more important, of course - overall decent nutrition, enough sleep and exercise, looking after mental/emotional health, and yes, (bubble) cuddles:

 

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Thanks for all the reading, @SueC. This stuff fascinates the former biologist in me. It also interests me from a public policy view point....and my growing cynicism about government's relations with business. BUT - it IS a very difficult challenge for anyone to deal with. Don't care what political party, etc - there are so many unknowns and unknowables, perhaps. And it is easy for me to get disgruntled, but the folks making the calls have a much tougher time. If THEY screw up, people die. If I screw up, I'm just a retired old fart no one needs to mind.....
 

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One of the really sad side-effects of the pandemic has been that it has profited billionaires significantly and is again driving the gap between ridiculously rich and dirt-poor further apart:


In Australia this billionaire feast has been even worse than in the US:


It's been offset here by quite generous unemployment pay, which got doubled during the pandemic, because otherwise a whole lot of mortgages would have defaulted and people would have been unable to afford accommodation (expensive even to rent in many parts of Australia, including its capital cities and regional centres, such as our own) - but of course, cynically speaking, because with all the layoffs, the unemployed were now a large enough fraction of the population for their votes to be important... :devilish:

...and guess who's gonna pay this bill in the end - that's right, ordinary people's taxes, not the people who profited from the pandemic... those people do creative accounting and mostly avoid paying tax altogether... which is a big part of the problem.
 

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One of the really sad side-effects of the pandemic has been that it has profited billionaires significantly and is again driving the gap between ridiculously rich and dirt-poor further apart:


In Australia this billionaire feast has been even worse than in the US:


It's been offset here by quite generous unemployment pay, which got doubled during the pandemic, because otherwise a whole lot of mortgages would have defaulted and people would have been unable to afford accommodation (expensive even to rent in many parts of Australia, including its capital cities and regional centres, such as our own) - but of course, cynically speaking, because with all the layoffs, the unemployed were now a large enough fraction of the population for their votes to be important... :devilish:

...and guess who's gonna pay this bill in the end - that's right, ordinary people's taxes, not the people who profited from the pandemic... those people do creative accounting and mostly avoid paying tax altogether... which is a big part of the problem.
Right, exactly. Most of the things they do make no sense. For example, some nurses I know have been flying places, and they say in the airport it is very strict that everyone stays 6 ft apart. However on the airplane, they sit people close together as usual and say that is safe. So it all comes down to money.

Around here, small businesses have had to close off and on, being "non-essential." Yet huge shopping centers are kept open. Restaurants have been protesting because as they say, none of the spread has been linked to them. They take reservations, sit people far apart, require masks, and sanitize everything between customers. You can go to a big shopping center and mill around with lots of people but you can't to sit in a controlled environment. The very small stores seem the safest, but those are the ones that are being forced out of business. Meanwhile, Amazon has everything we need and we all are buying online. Soon those will be massive monopolies that no one can control. We will not have options locally, and they will be able to tell us it will take two months to get our product, send it by the slowest shipping possible, and we won't be able to complain since they will own the market.
 

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Although I'm conservative, I find some common ground with Bernie Sanders. I mentioned the Buzzard theory before. I think I'd now say, instead of left or right, that Big Business and Big Government are the two wings of one buzzard. I get incredibly frustrated that WalMart can be open the entire pandemic while almost every small business is under tight restriction. And in some states, WalMart could be open 24 hours but a church built for 1,000 could only have 10-25 people inside. Don't get me wrong. I find huge churches bizarre. I'm more a "50 people or less" kind of guy and increasingly sympathetic to home churches. But...why are churches and small businesses "bad" and big businesses "good"? If Amazon can operate its enormous warehouse at 100% capacity, with workers running around 24/7, the why can't a Thai restaurant open at 50% capacity for 6 hours?

An interesting take on business and government can be found in "The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America".

BTW, the house purchase has fallen apart. Some information came to light Sunday that resulted in us cancelling our offer Monday. Worst case, we'll lose our earnest money. That will be up to the title company. But based on what we learned, it might have been impossible to keep the horses there. Far better to lose $1,000 earnest money than to buy a horse property where horses might not actually be allowed. It was a bitter blow to us and we're at a loss for what to do next. We had started packing and now have no where to go. I'd rather not discuss the details. I doubt I could be fair to all sides and an unbalanced description would not be helpful. This link played a part. I'll leave it at that:

 

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Really sorry to read this update @bsms. But I suppose you're right, better for info to come to light now rather than when you're already there. I couldn't get the specific link you posted to load, but knowing the big picture purpose of the website, seems like a lucky break nonetheless.
 

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First of all, I'm really sorry to hear that the house deal fell through. We know what that feels like, because before we moved to our farm and built our own house, we'd made an offer on a place we'd really liked, and had spent a weekend in it to "test-drive" it (it was being used as a holiday house while on the market), and it was a house we could really envisage living our lives in. It was like a tree-house; two-storey and with windows in all the right places and cute design inside and out, and right in the wet forest, in little Denmark, in a gorgeous neighbourhood. So that really disappointed us... and we still sometimes wonder what our lives would be like now, had that offer been accepted! (like a parallel universe!)

But, the farm turned out to be more magical than the place we would have liked to buy before that, and I hope that what you end up with will be even better in the end, than the place that didn't come through for you. It's all annoying and depressing right now, and a headache, of course, but hopefully a year from now you can laugh, and know you're somewhere even better.

(See? That's not like Job's friends, now, is it? 😜 Of course, I'll have egg on my face if you end up in a complete hovel. Chances of that are pretty low though, since you are exercising your agency and have presumably got a list of non-negotiable criteria... 🙃)


I mentioned the Buzzard theory before. I think I'd now say, instead of left or right, that Big Business and Big Government are the two wings of one buzzard.
I think that's completely spot on! Have you taken out copyright on this metaphor? Because if not, I think I'm going to start using it a lot! 🥳


I get incredibly frustrated that WalMart can be open the entire pandemic while almost every small business is under tight restriction. And in some states, WalMart could be open 24 hours but a church built for 1,000 could only have 10-25 people inside. Don't get me wrong. I find huge churches bizarre. I'm more a "50 people or less" kind of guy and increasingly sympathetic to home churches. But...why are churches and small businesses "bad" and big businesses "good"? If Amazon can operate its enormous warehouse at 100% capacity, with workers running around 24/7, the why can't a Thai restaurant open at 50% capacity for 6 hours?
We had an initial lockdown here in WA at the start of the pandemic, just in case the virus had gotten in - and it had, through the mismanagement of the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, where all 2000 passengers were let off the ship without testing or quarantine despite respiratory symptoms. (Contact tracers were kept very busy by that debacle.) Several of these travellers ended up positive and spreading it to family members in WA before being picked up and isolated, but they managed to nip it in the bud, and we've never had documented community transmission outside of to family members, here in WA, and no documented community transmission at all for months now (still cases in quarantine for returned travellers).

Anyway, during our initial lockdown, we were locked into small regions outside which we couldn't travel without permit, and were allowed out for essentials shopping, exercise and medical attention only. But, every store selling groceries was allowed open, not just Coles or Woolworths (our big two). Every pharmacy; and also all restaurants were allowed to operate as take-aways or even as greengrocers (since they had fresh supplies they needed to sell, with the customer downturn). Eventually they loosened restrictions to include other shops, using the same public health protocol. They were actually limiting the number of people who could go into major supermarkets and shopping centres, to avoid overcrowding (every shop had the 4 square metre per person rule for maximum admissions) - people had to wait in a socially distanced line outside, and it was one person in only to shop, not the whole household - unless there were supervision issues with young children, who couldn't be left alone in cars. They also had extended opening hours, with special times every day for pensioner shopping where nobody else was allowed in but them, to try to keep the vulnerable safer. Lots of good ideas like that, and good public support of the measures.

When we had a good idea of what was going on in the community with ramped-up testing, they relaxed restrictions (finding no community transmission, the majority of the time) - but not until then, and not until contact tracers could deal with any potential problems with the virus getting out of quarantine etc (happened a couple of times and was stamped out again quickly and without further general lockdown here, but with other restrictions at times).

The whole of our community is back at work, under new protocols - social distancing etc continues, mask wearing on public transport etc, 2-4 sqm per person in venues (and homes, for visitors) depending on what's going on with testing, crowd size limits (and that's despite no documented community transmission, to stop another wave happening in case there's a breach somewhere). Every shop here is open and has been for months, under these new conditions. It's still tough for venues who lose out on customers and turnover due to restrictions on the amount of people who can enter, but there's some lateral thinking, like sidewalks being used for outdoors seating rent-free; plus financial support for businesses affected like this, so they can afford to stay open while this is going on.

But in the interim period of lockdown, some big hardware and department stores were allowed to trade while smaller non-grocery shops weren't, and there was a lot of criticism because of that, which eventually got heeded; now all businesses can open, as long as they follow protocol.

An interesting take on business and government can be found in "The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America".
I've just read the summary, very interesting indeed! 😎

Best wishes again with finding both a temporary and permanent residential solution.
 

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Thanks, @SueC . A good friend suggested we put the horses in a local stable for a few months, work on selling the house, and then we'd be cut loose from Tucson/Pima County - and know our house buying budget for certain. Alternatively, we could move back to our house and look again at moving in a few years. We've never boarded the horses before...but where we've lived is growing so fast! The desert solitude is gone for good. It is as though people can't imagine "outdoor recreation" without "outdoor destruction". Runners and horse riders are PART of nature. Mechanize it and everything goes weird. I remember a few months ago watching an ATV zip past, maybe 30 feet from where Bandit and I were waiting - and they had no idea we were there! No horse and very few joggers could pass by a horse & rider in the open and not notice! It is as if the outdoors is like the background of a video game.

And of course, Arizona WANTS more and more people to move here - good for business, you know! I want businesses to survive too, but they were built and grew and survived BEFORE another million or two move here, so why?

Think the wife and I will take a week or two to regroup. Then decide.
 

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@bsms, there's currently the chance to ask any COVID/vaccine questions of some of our top health communicators who've been regulars on TV updates during the whole pandemic. The questions and answers are archived, and they're not afraid to say, "I don't know!" but that doesn't happen very much!

 

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Sorry the house didn't work out. Hopefully you may have been saved from a bad situation just in time. Still very disappointing, I am sure. I'll trust there is something even better coming your way.
Last year my sister had her heart set on a farm property that fell through, but a couple months later found a much better farm on more level ground with more privacy and a barn already built. Better house too!
When we moved to our new area, we first wanted to rent a house on a lake, and I was very discouraged when it didn't work out. But our house on the river we are renting now is more modern, much nicer and still has a lovely view. Hoping something like that is in store for you.
 

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I haven't been following the house hunting story. I remember you were going to go live in Utah, but this house your almost bought was in AZ, no? slight confusion.

I wanted to comment on two things you expressed that hit home for me: the apparent inability for people to just 'be' in the wild places . . . and . . the burden of excess things.

I see the first thing here, all the time. We have here many wonderful natural places. You go there, and what do you find? campers with radios on, or generators fso they can watch TV or run AC. Trucks pulling trailers with huge ATV's, etc. I have a big distaste for that. BUT . . .those folks buy forest passes , fishing lisences, and pay taxes too, so I have to just find my own quiet spot if I can. I have found them to often be fun to talk to , but I don't get the mindset, at all.

As to stuff . . .I remember when I went to Fiji, back in 1995. We spent some time in a native village and had the chance to see how the folks lived. Their houses, built on poles, were made of local materials. Inside, they had some western style furniture, but not a lot. Everything was immaculately clean and open and spare. all their possessions were in plain sight. I was impressed.

AFter returning home, when we walked inside our little house and saw all the STUFF, I felt the weight of all those things. Every 'thing' that you take into your life brings with it a mental burden; where do I put it? is it the right thing/size/ color/ type, etc. where do I store it until I need it? What do I do with this thing, given to me, when I already have three of them? How can I keep the cat from scratching it? how do I clean and care for it? How to get rid of it?

And, ultimately that becomes the heaviest of mental burdens; How do I get rid of it? Becuase, like your wife, I hate to add things to a landfill. Especially if they are perfectly useful, still. So, I TRY to keep in mind this mantra when I buy something: DO I NEED IT, AND HOW WILL I GET RID OF IT. Additionally, I often think about WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? because if it came from far away, then it cost the environment heavily to get it to me. Useless stuff, sent from China, just fills up our landfills, eventually. Participating in that cycle offends my heart.

Like most of us moving through Middle Age, we really start to see how we really don't need ANYTHING anymore. we either already have it, or never needed it to start with. And, if you can still fit into 12 year old clothing, my hat's off to you!!!
 

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Really, REALLY like your thoughts @tinyliny! Do we possess possessions, or do they possess us?

Right now it looks like we might move back into our house and stay there until we either find a place we really like, or until the older horses pass on. The housing market is hot right now, but if I sell in a hot market, it also means I'm buying in a hot market. Kind of a wash. As my brother-in-law put it, "Do you have a place to move TO? What makes it a step UP instead of a step sideways?" So if we find a place we really like (and we thought we had!), it makes sense. But in the meantime, I can buy a good horse trailer and a truck to haul them. Instead of riding in the immediate area with all its rocks, the wife & I can look at a weekly outing to the nearby mountains and ride them someplace like this:



I know three horses who would be glad to take a 20 minute ride in a trailer in exchange for a 2-3 hour "All You Can Eat" buffet.....

I also need to do the work to get them used to riding in the local neighborhood. Both things would be helpful even if, 3 months from now, we find a nice place farther away from Tucson's 1,000,000 population.
 
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