Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Lost
Photo by Zoltan Tasi / Unsplash

This is now my 10th and probably final post about COVID-19 and the 8th series in isolation (Day 7, Day 21, Day 35, Day 49, Day 63, Day 77, Day 119). A good deal of events both locally and worldwide have occurred since Day 119 so lets get into it.


Vaccines

It took roughly 14 months from the first blog about COVID-19 and on December 14, 2020 the first vaccine was given to the public. As months went on various brands became available:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (2 shots, 21 days apart)
  • Moderna (2 shots, 28 days apart)
  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen (1 shot)
  • Sputnik V (2 shots, 21 days apart)
  • AstraZeneca (2 shots, 28 days apart)

I took my chance with the J&J vaccine and outside of a 10 hour stint of feeling sick, I'm now vaccinated. What is strange is I've gotten a few comments about why did I take the vaccine brand that isn't as effective as the others. I found a cool short video that basically does a better job explaining that comparing vaccines is not fair unless they were all tested in the same way.


The "Flu" vs COVID-19

I've heard my fair share of "This is just the flu" from far too many people which I can't comprehend how people get to that conclusion. I'll start with the CDC graphic that depicts the estimated deaths/cases of the Flu every year for the past 10.

Disease Burden of Influenza (Figure 2)

Let's range all these values from lowest to highest for what is visible above:

  • Illnesses - 9.3 million to 45 million
  • Hospitalizations - 140,000 to 810,000
  • Deaths - 12,000 to 61,000

So lets head to the CDC website for the count of deaths from COVID-19 and see what we are dealing with.

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totaldeaths

It obviously isn't fair to take these numbers since they are longer than a year time span, but lets talk through this. A common claim I see on Twitter is that the Flu kills this many yearly.

I just looked at the Flu deaths and the largest year was 61,000. So lets round that up to even 100,000 dead yearly from the Flu and subtract it from the COVID-19 death count.

  • 582,263 - 100,000 = 482,263

Even if the hospitals accidentally classified every single Flu death as COVID-19 we still have an extra 482,263 remaining. Now I know what you are thinking, that timeline is from December 2019 to May 2021. Well, the first USA death from COVID-19 was in February 2020 and we are in May so an extra 3 months from a perfect year. So to make up for it - lets subtract another 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 count.

  • 482,263 - 100,000 = 382,262 deaths.

I don't think anyone can argue with that death number with how much padding and subtraction we did. Even with all the subtractions the value is massively higher than even the largest influenza death comparison in past decade.


No Mask. No Service

My growing washable mask collection

What has been a required change is nearly every single business had a sign at one point requiring the wearing of a mask for entrance. I've seen far too many folks claim once again that inflicts against their human rights, but I thought a private business can do what it wants. The same way they can remove patrons for not wearing shoes or a shirt so not sure why so many are up in arms.

What really got me to laugh was is this individual yelling that masks make humans weak and we shouldn't wear them as our health will be in danger for consuming our own exhale and weaken our lungs. People wear shoes though to protect their feet so this argument always gets a quick chuckle.


The workplace re-opened partially

My desk spaced out like the rest

With the vaccine available to nearly all the discussions on how to return to the office have begun. A strange discussion when the world has changed on how comfortable people feel being closely near others.

It reminds me that I don't really have a strong preference either way at this point. If you want to be vaccinated and old enough - you can. So in my perspective now if you get sick from COVID-19 and you are not vaccinated and die - it would be unfortunate, but avoidable. Now that the CDC said you can lose the mask if you are fully vaccinated - the world is moving on.

My social skills have taken a hit after spending 427 days basically alone working and spending weekends in a house. I ran into a neighborhood gathering and it was laughable that I forgot how to keep a conversation with someone random if it wasn't a Zoom call.

Though back to our office re-opening. The key to everything is going to be communication as described to us. Some may lie and say they are vaccinated and not. Some may not feel comfortable in a meeting room anymore. Some may prefer masks for months to come. Some may forever prefer to work at home. It'll take basic human behavior and respect the wishes and communication of all co-workers to ease back into this.


Peppers

My canned peppers

Another pandemic hobby I took up was planting various peppers, growing them, eating them and canning them. There is something about putting in all the effort into making something from nothing - eating it and burning your mouth off with the fresh heat of a pepper.

With that, I'll end the isolation series as tomorrow - its back to the office.

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