Tag Archives: coronavirus

Preparing to embrace a new year like never before

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s just me, I suppose. Then again, there might billions of other human beings who share my view about what is going to transpire in just a few days.

They’re going to drop that ball in Times Square and we’re going to welcome 2021. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am prepared fully to embrace the new year in a manner I have never done in my life. Not ever!

The year we are about to kick into the crapper has been the pits beyond belief. You know to what I refer: the pandemic.

To be somewhat charitable toward 2020, I should note that we end this smelly armpit of a year on a hopeful note. Researchers have developed vaccines developed to eradicate the virus and doses of it are being injected into millions of Americans’ arms as we sit here tonight.

It will take time for the killer virus to vanish. Maybe another year? Or longer? I don’t know. Neither can even the most learned infectious disease experts say with any certainty when the virus will vanish.

We have lost more than 332,000 Americans. Many more are going to die from this disease. It has caused untold heartache, heartbreak, misery and agony. Those of us who have not been stricken by the virus have been forced to change our living habits. It’s been a bit of a struggle for many Americans.

What’s more — and this is unbelievable to me — the issue of preventative measures has become a political flash point. How in the name of medical safety can this happen? Oh, I know. It happens because the president of the United States has made it one. Donald Trump has denigrated those who wear masks or take other extraordinary measures to avoid getting sickened by the virus and his followers have taken his cue.

Ridiculous!

The old year is about to pass into history. Those who write about such things no doubt will attach plenty of superlatives to describe 2020: unprecedented, historic, without parallel.

I’ll add the term “miserable.” Accordingly, when the old year passes and the new arrives I might break with a recent tradition and stay awake long enough to cheer the end of the most heartbreaking year I can remember.

Update on COVID test

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I took the liberty the other day of announcing to the planet that my wife and I had taken a test to see if we had become infected with the COVID-19 virus.

We learned this morning we both tested negative. The young woman who called with the results was practically giddy when she gave us the news. I don’t know if she feared for us or whether she had grown weary of delivering bad news to patients who came to the McKinney clinic for coronavirus testing.

Whatever. We ain’t infected. We certainly ain’t sick.

We also are not out of the proverbial woods, even with the vaccine that is being injected into the arms of thousands of Americans each day.

Mask up, keep your distance, wash your hands … and keep your voice down, America.

Time makes Person of Year pick … sigh

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I’ll be candid: Time magazine’s selection for Person of the Year is not the choice I wanted the venerable publication to make.

It’s not that I object strenuously with Time naming President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris as its Person of the Year. It is that I wanted the mag to honor an entire category of human beings: those on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus … namely the first responders, health care workers, educators. Those folks are society’s heroes and they earned the honor of Person of the Year.

But that’s just me, I suppose.

As for the president- and vice president-elect, they indeed made history. They defeated the most corrupt, amoral, venal and disgraceful presidential administration in U.S. history. They did so convincingly. Joe Biden deserves kudos for making history by selecting Kamala Harris, the first black and first candidate of South Asian descent to run with him as vice president.

They both acquitted themselves well on the campaign trail. They have rolled up 81 million votes en route to a solid Electoral College majority. Biden and Harris are assembling a first-class team with which to govern.

In some ways, the Time choice is the politically safe choice. Winning presidents (and this case winning VPs) often get the Person of the Year nod.

However, the pandemic is the overwhelming story of 2020. The chief element of that story, in my view, has been the heroism displayed in hospital emergency rooms, ICU rooms and the bedsides of COVID-19 patients; moreover, there have been heroes abounding in our classrooms as educators seek to teach our children amid the threat of exposure to a potentially deadly virus.

And this heroism is a worldwide phenomenon.

So, I’ll accept Time’s choice simply as the editors’ call. It’s not one I would have made but it’s their magazine, their decision.

Just to be clear — one more time: I am delighted that we’re about to welcome Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our new president and vice president.

Wear a mask … dammit!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This item comes to me via social media from a friend of mine who lives in Amarillo, where my wife and I lived for 23 years before relocating in 2018 to Collin County.

My friend writes: The Amarillo “statistical metropolitan area” i.e. Potter and Randall counties, has 357 COVID-19 deaths. With a population of 265,053, that puts our deaths per million at 1,346 which is higher than all but 5 of the 50 states. Out of 220 countries only 4 have a higher death rate. Respect science. Respect your neighbor. Wear a Mask.

There you go. How in the world does one argue with that? How do you dismiss the advice given to us by infectious disease experts who tell us until they get hoarse to don masks, to observe social distancing, to stay away from indoor crowds, to wash your hands frequently?

Yet some of us are doing that. They are dismissing the advice. They are rebelling against government seeking to protect us from a deadly virus. Spoiler alert: The COVID virus has killed 280,000-plus Americans already and the death rate is accelerating.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to do two things when he takes office next month. One is that he will issue a directive that orders anyone working or doing business on federal property to wear masks; the other is that he is going to ask all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

I hear you, Mr. President-elect. If only the rest of us would follow your lead.

Vaccine, yes; anti-COVID measures, also yes!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I feel as though I am lecturing a child who likely knows what he or she is about to hear. Here goes nonetheless.

Vaccines that could eradicate the COVID-19 virus that has killed 270,000 Americans and sickened millions more are on the horizon. Does that mean we should relax? Do we now just forget about all the warnings we’ve been hearing and hopefully heeding for the past nine or 10 months?

Not just no, but hell no!

Pfizer and Moderna, two “big pharma” firms that are developing vaccines, are seeking Food and Drug Administration fast-track approval to begin distributing the vaccines; AstraZenena, a third firm that is developing a vaccine, likely is set to make the same request of the FDA.

I am hopeful and optimistic about the vaccines. Just so you know, I intend to be vaccinated as soon as it is available to me. I also know that I — along with my wife — likely will have to wait while others who need it more urgently get vaccinated.

We have been diligent in our house to protect ourselves against the virus. We mask up when we venture outside our house.  We maintain our distance from others. We use generous amounts of hand sanitizer. We wash our hands frequently … in our own home!

I intend fully to continue doing all of that even after I receive my vaccine.

The Dallas Morning News editorialized about all of this the other day, calling on us to refuse to let our guard down. We must not relax even with vaccines on the horizon.

We all know what’s happening out there. Infection, hospitalizations and deaths are up. Too many of us are ignoring the warnings. I heard Dr. Anthony Fauci, the premier infectious disease guru in the nation if not the world say that he has no problem with people accusing him of “overreacting” to the pandemic.

Indeed, it is far better to “overreact” and stay clear of the killer virus than to do the opposite.

I, too, plan to overreact.

Do as he says, not as he does

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Not good, Mr. Mayor.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock made an impassioned plea to his constituents: Stay home over the Thanksgiving holiday to avoid spreading the COVID virus that’s still killing Americans.

Good advice? Sure it is.

What, then, did Hizzoner do? He boarded an airplane to fly to Mississippi to visit with family members.

Ouch, Mr. Mayor. C’mon, man. If you’re going to tell your constituents to do something that could save their lives, you need to set the example for others to follow.

He apologized to Denver’s residents. Hey, I am not one of them, but I accept his apology. Just do better from now on … OK?

 

COVID ain’t about politics, man!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

America passed another grim and tragic milestone, recording more than 2,000 deaths in a single day from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hmm. And still the issues of mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, precautions to avoid being infected by the killer virus continue to be the source of political disputes.

Republicans/conservatives don’t like being told to do those things; Democrats/progressives seem to be more willing to heed the warnings from the medical experts.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

I don’t give a sh**! I remain baffled in the extreme that this issue has devolved into a political spitting match.

Yes, I have concluded that one side is mistaken by ignoring the advice. I side with those who preach extreme caution. They are the folks who, for the most part, remain in relatively good health.

These vaccines are on the way, or so we are being told. I am a patient man. I am willing to wait my turn to get vaccinated. Until then, I am going to gnash my teeth at the continuing political debate over a virus that is no respecter of ideology. It kills indiscriminately.

Why do GOP pols keep getting sick from COVID?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

OK, don’t hate me because I am going to ask this question, given that I recently called for an end to the politicization of the COVID pandemic.

I gotta ask: Why are Republican politicians and political operatives — not to mention members of Donald Trump’s family — keep getting infected by the virus? Why aren’t more, um, Democratic pols and key aides to President-elect Biden getting the disease?

Oh, I think I know. It’s because GOP pols and key aides keep dismissing the measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keep urging us to take to avoid getting sick; Democrats, meanwhile, are taking these measures seriously.

Could that be it? Oh, sure it is!

Is there a lesson to learn here? You bet there is.

Vaccine on the way … will it spell end to pandemic?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s difficult for me to avoid getting too ramped up over news that a vaccine that could eradicate the COVID-19 virus is on its way to a pharmacy near me.

Pfizer has announced a potential vaccine with a 95 percent cure rate; Moderna has a similar vaccine in the works; Astrazenica does, too. Big pharma, which gets whipped and flogged all the time, is answering the call.

It’s all part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. It’s fashionable these days to bash the daylights out of Donald Trump … who deserves every bit of the thrashing he is getting for a whole host of reasons.

Operation Warp Speed, the code name for the administration’s effort to find a cure for the disease, has been a mixed bag to be sure. The pharmaceutical companies haven’t gotten the federal help that was promised, but they appear to be delivering trial versions of vaccines that well could be the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”

I am not yet ready to whoop and holler, proclaiming it to be the news for which an entire nation has waited, but it does look promising.

Given all the bad news we’re getting — Trump’s refusal to concede his loss to President-elect Biden and the undermining of our democratic process, not to mention the death and misery caused by the pandemic — I will cling to the hope that we might awaken soon from this national nightmare.

We’re still talking about COVID, Mr. POTUS

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I feel the need to remind you, Mr. President, of something you said on Oct. 24, about two weeks before you got thumped in your re-election bid.

You said everyone talks about “COVID, COVID, COVID,” and that by Nov. 4, “no one will be talking about” the disease that continues to infect and kill Americans.

OK, Mr. President. It’s now Nov. 13 and we’re still talking about COVID. Why? Because your administration’s shameful inaction on combating the killer virus has resulted in yet another ghastly and deadly spike in infection and death.

Haven’t you read the papers, Mr. President? We’re breaking records every day! For God’s sake, dude, the infection you kept telling us is “under control” is anything but under control. It is stampeding through our population like a herd of bison.

Does it fail to register with you, Mr. President, that your staff has been infected? Or that members of your Secret Service detail have come down with the disease? Or that you, your wife and your youngest son all were infected by the disease?

We’re still talking about the disease, Mr. POTUS! We’re going to keep talking about the disease for far longer than any of us want to talk about it.

This ain’t a hoax, Mr. President. It’s real. It is deadly … and you, sir, are responsible for continuing misery.