An tremendously enlightening article in the New Yorker about the spread of the virus begins in this manner. “There’s an urban legend about a Texas man who takes a rifle to the side of his barn and sprays bullets across the wall, more or less at random. Then he finds the densest clusters of holes and paints a bull’s-eye around each one. Later, a passerby, impressed by this display, trots off in search of the marksman. In a reversal of cause and effect, the Texas Sharpshooter is born”
Then the narrative changes and the facts of the virus are discussed.” A coronavirus infection isn’t what it once was. Studies suggest that, compared with Delta, Omicron is a third to half as likely to send someone to the hospital; by some estimates, the chance that an older, vaccinated person will die of covid is now lower than the risk posed by the seasonal flu. And yet the variant is exacting a punishing toll—medical, social, economic. (Omicron still presents a major threat to people who are unvaccinated.) The United States is recording, on average, more than eight hundred thousand coronavirus cases a day, three times last winter’s peak. Given the growing use of at-home tests, this official count greatly underestimates the true number of infections. We don’t know how many rapid tests are used each day, or what proportion return positive, rendering unreliable traditional metrics, such as a community’s test-positivity rate, which is used to guide policy on everything from school closures to sporting events.”
The author points out that data is necessary to formulate policies – empirical data is numbers.
There are many other numbers we’d like to know. How likely is Omicron to deliver not an irritating cold but the worst flu of your life? How does that risk increase with the number and severity of medical conditions a person has? What are the chances of lingering symptoms following a mild illness? How long does immunity last after a booster shot or an infection? Americans aren’t waiting to find out. Last week, rates of social distancing and self-quarantining rose to their highest levels in nearly a year, and dining, shopping, and social gatherings fell to new lows. Half of Americans believe that it will be at least a year before they return to their pre-pandemic lives, if they ever do; three-quarters feel that they’re as likely, or more so, to contract the virus today—a year after vaccines became available—as they were when the pandemic began.
The picture is bleak but concludes in a rather upbeat manner: “But this wave, too, shall pass—possibly soon. At the end of it, the vast majority of Americans could have some degree of immunity, resulting from vaccination, infection, or both. In all probability, we’d then approach the endemic phase of the virus, and be left with a complex set of questions about how to live with it. What level of disease are we willing to accept? What is the purpose of further restrictions? What do we owe one another? A clear-eyed view of the numbers will inform the answers. But it’s up to us to paint the targets. “
Dhrub Khular, the author is a practicing physician and an assistant professor at Weo;; Conrnell Medical Collage. An extremely informed and educated contributor who gave a valuable nuanced picture of a extremely complex problem. This is why I LOVE the New Yorker, if only it would write about the Middle East. We need some clarity – or at least I do. Here is the link to the article, if you wish to read it in its entirety.
The thrust of the article was that the virus is no longer what we thought it was – any understanding came from numbers – but numbers no longer have the same meaning. Suppose that set me to thinking about my numbers – wondering who read me these days in my new life. Therefore, did the only logical thing – asked my ever trustworthy Computer Guru to do a country check and he efficiently and immediately responded – here are the results and the email we exchanged. As You can see there is a long term analysis and the figures from last week. It reveals burgeoning numbers from the UAE, I suppose not surprising. I do recall a moment in time when I had only two readers from the UAE.
Me: I think I have exploded in the UAE – just wondering. (Apt phrase considering explosions here) Life is so weird as to be unbelievable yet again. Really says Computer Guru?!?! Alexis aka Sheikha Fatimah
He: Really ?!?!?Straight in at this week’s no. 3…First image is long term, second image is last week.
I do admit to being stymied. First addressing the long term analysis – why all the viewers in Singapore? And where in the world is Unknown, where most of the viewers hail from? But then to the this week’s analysis. I thought it was the last month and told people from around here that it was one month in which I had attracted 156 UAE viewers. But as I prepared this blog realized that it was only one week. Absolutely WOW!!!
Awoke to a powerful video on Instagram prepared the Supreme Commander of the UAE Forces. It was so powerful. I commented as Alexis McTwit. I do not have my iPhone with me at the moment. I am having a flat white and a croissant breakfast in Costa at my home, the Premier Inn. I am clad in my robe, slippers but dressed underneath and have a head scarf. So I am clad according to the Qur’an – Allah says that both men and women should be dressed modestly. All those other rules, upon women, are imposed by men in the last 1400 years. I will just quote my Instagram words in tomorrow’s (or later today’s blog).
Therefore, I will now send this off sreading Glad Tidings Of Great Joy (I think that is a Christian Christmas Hymn) – That Shall Be Heard Amongst All Peoples. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed preaches tolerance and is building a monument to three religions on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The site is next to the Louvre – where I was the very first 2022 member. I am increasingly feeling that I belong here, for oh so many reasons. Now if I would ONLY get my Emeritus ID. The faith teaches patience and for me, I am showing great patience. All praise to Allah.