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    • Most of us here on Cake have been aware of  the Sars Cov 2 virus, and its associated Covid 19 illness, for almost a year now, here in the western nations.

      We listen to the daily new casts or read the daily new reports about the effects of the pandemic, the number of  folks sick,  the number of hospitalisations, and the number of deaths, and they just seem to relentlessly keep rising, with more new variants of the virus almost every day.  None the less, life seems to go on. Talking heads talk, and politicians pontificate.

      When the pandemic began it was a foreign illness, then an illness on the coastal states of the USA, and finally has spread across all 50 states.  

      Gradually, as last year progressed, I began to hear from friends and aquaintances that they had had Covid 19.  Fortunately, almost all of them were under 50 or 60 years of age, in otherwise good health, and they all seemed to recover without hospitalizations, or more than a minor illness.  I know well over a dozen aquaintances and a several family members  who have passed through the Covid storm and recovered without late issues.  

      Many folks have even come to think the illness is not really as dangereous as the news media portray it.

      Today I received a telephone call from my office where I practiced for almost 40 years, that an individual whom I worked with daily, much of that time, did not survive their Covid 19 illness this week end. They were less than 55 years of age.

      It is remarkable how we can read about 400,000 deaths, and just a single one of them, can have such an impact on us.  They were not a close family member,  but I worked with them and spoke to them daily for over 25 years, and find their absence quite distressing. 

      One cannot fathom the distress being experienced by our nation with over 400,000 current deaths, with substantially more predicted. I have even found predictions of well over 500,000 before summer starts......... Some predictions are even a lot higher than that.....

      I wonder how many other readers here on Cake have had similar experiences...

    • I think what's weird is just how much this virus has taken over and dominated our lives. A year ago, we had no idea it would get this bad. Crazy how much can happen in one year. It went from being a weird thing in China to a global pandemic. Absolutely nuts.

    • Oh jeez, Pathfinder, I'm so sorry. I probably know two dozen (?) people who've gotten it, and a few have become very ill, but no one close to me has died. I park in a very wealthy neighborhood in Los Altos Hills a couple times a week to go running at the nearby open space, and I've gotten to know some of the neighbors there. Strangely, they worry about me getting eaten by a mountain lion, but never ask me about Covid.

      In the neighborhood were two young 50-something men who died and left behind their families and enormous houses. Really sobering.

      My next door neighbor isn't worried in the slightest, doesn't wear a mask, doesn't keep his distance from me... But he lectures me about running because he says it's bad for you.

    • Like most senior citizens I've followed the Covid news since early last year. Sometime in February, I think, when more than a dozen deaths were reported at a nursing home in Washington State operated by a former employer, I realized this pandemic was indeed serious. As months passed and cases and mortalities climbed, we suspended travel plans, stayed home, avoided crowds and masked up when grocery shopping or interacting with anyone; hoping for the best. With increasing frequency though, we learn of acquaintences or family members of acquaintences who have fallen ill, and some have not recovered. One of my wife's former students lost her husband, in his early thirties and in good health. Another young lady who we employed for 10 years as a caregiver for my father-in-law became ill, along with her husband, but after almost six weeks they are recovering slowly.

      Just before Thanksgiving our younger son's wife's grandfather developed a heart arrhythmia and was taken from his senior living center to a hospital where a pacemaker was implanted. He tested negative for Covid when admitted, but when ready for discharge tested positive and was moved to the Covid ward instead, where he died. He was 95 and maybe it was just "his time," but I think not. "Captain P" was hired as a mechanic by Continental Airlines, then transitioned into the cockpit, flying DC-2's and 3's across the country during the Great Depression and ended his career shuttling GI's across the Pacific to Viet Nam in 747's. I'm missing his stories and his friendship. And he's just one of over 400,000; it boggles the mind.

    • This is looking like great news, though!

      The news about the vaccines continues to be excellent — and the public discussion of it continues to be more negative than the facts warrant.

      Here’s the key fact: All five vaccines with public results have eliminated Covid-19 deaths. They have also drastically reduced hospitalizations. “They’re all good trial results,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told me. “It’s great news.”

    • I really wish that pharmaceutical companies would write explanations which the general public could comprehend:

      "NVX-CoV2373 contains a full-length, prefusion spike protein made using
      Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology and the company’s
      proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant. The purified protein is
      encoded by the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and
      is produced in insect cells."

      Whatever that means. I understood the last five words.

    • Perfectly clear, I think.....

      I wonder if the insect cells that produce the synthetic Spike protein are in intact insects, or are insect cells grown in cell culture. That might matter to some people.

      I suspect most people would feel that sacrificing a few insects to save a human life is an acceptable ethical choice.