Back to the Boredom of the Virus; A Rather Upbeat Report from the New York Times; Journalist Admits that They Are Most Comfortable Reporting Bad News; Dubai Not Doing Exceptionally Well But Dealing with It Most Effectively Unlike the USA With Head in the Sand; Sage Comments on the Part of NEFF; An IKEA Visit Yielding BOMB; Photos of BOMB and PUN and Me

Well, there is a lot happening in the USA and the virus. I was not paying particular attention because the last time I checked it was impossible for furniture and books to get the virus and that is all I have there. I am safe here, incredibly so – so ignored the whole scene But information seeped in which caught my attention. Therefore, gentle readers, you are back to being bored, scientifically, hopefully intellectually bored, but still bored..

A New York Times piece caught my eye as it reported with unusual candor. “We journalists tend to be comfortable delivering bad news straight up but uncomfortable reporting good news without extensive caveats.) The writer went on to say: “So I want to be clear: The latest evidence about Covid is largely positive.”

He does report rising hospitalization rates but adds that they are rising because there are are so many cases and a shortage of less intensive care facilities. .

  1. Milder hospitalizations are another plus sign.
  2. At this point the death rates can not be calculated.

“In hospitals around the country, doctors are taking notice,” my colleagues Emily Anthes and Azeen Ghorayshi write. “”This wave of Covid seems different from the last one.” There are at least three main ways that Omicron looks substantially milder than the other version of the virus. In the U.S. mortality trends typically trail case trends by about three weeks – which means the Omicron surge, which began more than a month ago, should be visible in the death count. It isn’t yet.

“It’s unreasonable to ask vaccinated people to refrain from pre-pandemic activities,” Wrn said. “After all, the individual risk to them is low, and there is a steep price to keeping student out of school, shuttering restaurants and retail shops and stopping travel and commerce.”

Consider thisL before Omicron, a typical vaccinated 75-year-old who contracted Covid has a roughly similar risk of death – around 1 in 200- as a typical 75-year-old who contracted the flu.” (Details behind the calculation was provided, based on an academic study.”

So all of that sounds rather positive. But ‘on the ground’ and closer to my former home, things are not as free and clear and I thought.

But my unrestrained optimism about being in the UAE received a cautionary note, reading an article in the National UAE of January 8, 2022. “Live updates: follow the latest news on Covid-19 variant OmicronSome schools in Dubai plan to resume in-class teaching on Monday after switching to remote learning for the first week of the new term.
About 30 private schools in Dubai last week informed education authorities of their decision to return to distance learning because of positive Covid-19 cases among staff, pupils and the wider community.”However, with more staff and pupils now returning negative PCR results, some campuses will return to normal operations from next week.”

But there is an interesting difference between the USA and Dubai. The schools are given more autonomy. In the USA teacher unions, school boards and ‘goodness knows who’ jump in and declare shut downs. And when shut some stay shut.

In its latest communication to schools, the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) reiterated to principals that they can move a particular grade or whole school to distance learning for 48 hours, without prior permission, if a number of pupils or staff test positive for Covid-19 or are identified as close contacts. Ms Menon said that makes it “more convenient for schools to take appropriate action immediately”, should such a requirement arise.Earlier this week, Gems Education, which operates 28 schools in Dubai, announced it would start the new term with remote learning at 26 of its campuses.”

So there is autonomy with the Authority allowing flexibility and discretion, and it works for the following reasons. “The ability to move to distance learning for 48 hours which, alongside the upcoming weekend, allows a four-day circuit breaker period, gives parents the time to take their children showing Covid-19 symptoms for a PCR test,” he said. “We appreciate the support of the KHDA when it comes to the ability to be able to temporarily move to distance learning. “This allows us to both reassure, evaluate and support the health, safety and well-being of our community.”

This article also appeared: “Working mothers employed by the Government of Sharjah will be allowed to work remotely while their children attend school online, officials said on Thursday.
The rule applies to women whose children are in Grade 6 or below, and whose job can be performed remotely. The decision by Sharjah authorities is to help mothers who need to be present while their young children stay home and learn online.”

This is most humane, it appears. What i f Biden was to make the same announcement? Republicans would complain for certain. The notion that woman could remain on the job and care for their children is unheard of in the USA – they whose idea of child care is to curtail the legality of abortions. It is unfortunately true – no decent maternity leave in the USA , no government supported child care.

But back to Covid and the latest statistics.The UAE recorded 2,655 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, taking the overall infection tally to 782,866.Three people died during the latest 24-hour reporting period, bringing the death toll to 2,173.Another 1,034 people beat the virus, taking the number of recoveries to 752,120.The number of active cases across the country stands at 28,576.Latest on Covid-19 The latest cases were detected as a result of an additional 388,572 PCR tests.More than 114.5 million tests have been conducted to date, and more than 22.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Case numbers have risen sharply since December, with authorities urging the public to remain committed to safety measures and to take a booster shot of a vaccine if eligible.”

If you want to read the entire article on the statistics here is the link.

But browse through other articles – you will find that the Emirates sent a delegation to assess the damage and offer assistance in Malaysia. “The Emirates Red Crescent has distributed 250 tonnes of relief supplies to people affected by floods in Malaysia.It forms part of the first phase of a relief aid campaign that focuses on shelter, food and health requirements. Other stages will follow, said officials.Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, directed parcels to be delivered in support of relief efforts.The campaign is being co-ordinated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and head of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority.”

One would never read about the relief provided with great humanity by the UAE in the Western media. Nor did the Western media discuss the huge role played by Qatar in ensuring the safety of thousands of Afghans – speeding them to safety on their Qatar Airway jets. Do remember in the early days of this blog the admission of the Western journalist: “We journalists tend to be comfortable delivering bad news straight up but uncomfortable reporting good news. “

But there also is a distortion in the USA press – an emphasis upon the numbers and horrors of the pandemic but no attention paid to the solutions found in this country. NEFF my brilliant California friend reminded me of this statistic “In 40 years of wars combined with Vietnam and Afghanistan that’s approximately 60,520 people where as in Covid California deaths – it has tallied 77,257 in just 2 years.” Then also this mind boggling fact: “The entire UAE and all of its Emeritus has a death toll less than the death tolls of San Francisco and Santa Clara counties combined.”

She poignantly states: “ I keep telling people I just came back from a place where it’s safe to be in public because they reacquire on-going PCR testing and no one has even bothered to ask where that place on earth is.” That place is, of course, Abu Dhabi where we so accidentally and by coincidence met. The coincidence of it all makes it magic or the work of Allah. I prefer the later as does she.

More about the contrast between the on-going testing here and the total lack of it in the USA in a later blog. Also more about the heroism and benevolence of Qatar who spent years and years in negotiations with the Taliban trying to broker peace in the region, achieving only criticism (and worse) while the USA fouled everything up.

On a much lighter note I went to IKEA yesterday and had such a good time. The prices there are amazingly inexpensive – amazingly so. Inexpensive in the USA but not like this. IKEA is a Swedish company – I will learn more about why things are so incredibly inexpensive here and will pass it on. In the meantime two photos. Me with a ‘balloon’ and two happy stuffed animals. Poor lonely bunny has a companion – a friendly panda. Bunny has two names: PUN which stands for Pink Ugly Nose and Fazza the First. (When Fazza looses favor thereupon it is back to PUN) Panda’s name is BOMB (Bear of Mine Beloved). They make such a happy couple as you can see. BOMB cost about $5.00.(USD)

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