Tag Archives: Covid 19

Are we overplaying COVID?

The thought occurred to me today as I was visiting by phone with a dear friend and former colleague: I am starting to wonder if the media aren’t overstating and overplaying these occurrences of COVID-19 positive tests among celebrities.

My friend, who is married to an Amarillo physician, didn’t disagree. I frame it in those terms because she didn’t precisely embrace the notion. She and her husband have seen their share of heartache and tragedy among her husband’s clientele.

To my point … which is that we seem to be entering a new stage of this pandemic in which “testing positive” is just, well, part of the new normal.

Texas Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke tests positive and the media are all over it; same with Vice President Kamala Harris.

They both report they are fine. They have “mild symptoms.” They’ll isolate for a few days and then be back at whatever it is they do during the day. The same can be said for practically everyone these days who is listed as testing positive for the virus.

I am not selling short the consequence of getting sick with this pandemic. A member of my family became desperately ill shortly after Christmas 2020. I also have lost several friends who have died from the disease. That was then. These days, though, the treatments are vastly improved and with more Americans becoming vaccinated, the instances of serious illness from the disease appear to be waning.

You remember when becoming infected with HIV/AIDS was a virtual death sentence, yes? What’s happened there? People are living long and fruitful lives with the virus that once delivered death with stunning and ruthless efficiency.

I am thinking at this moment that I am not going to get overly worked up over reports that someone in the news has contracted the COVID-19 virus. It is becoming part of living each day.


Big Lie gets even weirder

I never thought it was possible to embellish The Big Lie but the Republican nut cases who occupy public offices have managed to do so.

It goes like this …

There are those within the GOP who contend now that Democrats are fabricating the impact of various COVID-19 variants to “cheat” their way to winning future elections. One of the Republican nut jobs in Congress, Rep. Ronny Jackson of Amarillo, went on Fox News to suggest that very thing. The hosts on “Fox and Friends” let the moronic physician-turned-politician mutter that trash without challenging him.

One of the hosts said Jackson is “probably right.” Umm, no! He’s not right! He is wrong. So are those who suggest that the impact of the latest variant, called Omicron, is made up, that it’s a fabrication.

The Big Lie was born out of Donald Trump’s phony claim of “widespread voter fraud” in the 2020 election. It has now grown more legs and to my utter horror it is beginning to take root in the gullible mindlessness of Republican cultists’ noggins.

Good grief. Is there no end to this idiocy?


POTUS tells us: do not panic

Message received, Mr. President.

Joe Biden went on TV this morning to tell us the Omicron variant that began in southern Africa but which is working its way around the world provides no reason to panic.

He said we have to do the same things we have done to suppress the original COVID-19 virus and the assorted variants of the virus that have sprung up. Omicron is no different, President Biden said.

I hear ya, Mr. POTUS. My hope is that we all hear the president. That we all do the things we need to do to keep the virus variant from spreading. You know what they are, so I won’t belabor the point here.

I remain an eternal optimist that we are going to weather this matter. The timing of when we get the all-clear signal remains an open question.

No worries as far as my family and I are concerned. We aren’t waiting with bated breath for someone to tell us we’re in the clear from the virus. We are going to stay with the good-practices recommendations and do our part to put this virus — and the variants — down for keeps.


Medical personnel are heroes as well

(Photo by Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A phone call today produced a remarkable statement from one of my North Texas sources, a fellow I have gotten to know well while working as a freelance reporter for the Farmersville Times.

He is recovering from pneumonia induced by the COVID-19 virus.

He is grateful to be alive. Indeed, there was a lilt in his voice I hadn’t heard before today.

My source wanted to make a critical point: He said the medical personnel to tended to him are “among the very best.” They are performing heroic work under trying conditions, he said.

I did not press this fellow about precisely where he had been hospitalized. His feelings, though, about the medical personnel who cared for him could apply all across the spectrum.

My goodness, we hear stories of doctors and nurses stressing out as they care for those cannot touch their loved ones. The coronavirus isolates the sick from the healthy. Those who are hospitalized by the COVID virus become the exclusive charges of the medical professionals who care for them.

So, these folks step up. They become “surrogate loved ones” for those who depend on them to bring them back to good health or to save their lives.

As my friend noted as well, they are answering the call to do what they can under the most trying circumstances one can imagine.

“They need to know how much we care about them,” my friend said. I assured him that I would use this blog as a forum to do that very thing.

So … that is what I am doing here.

These men and women have earned our eternal gratitude for the work they are doing. They save lives every day. How much more heroic than that can it get?


Appreciating a POTUS who stays out of the way

The coronavirus pandemic has gripped two presidencies hard, which brings me to this thought.

The first president snagged by the pandemic, No. 45, kept stepping into the spotlight and talked over the advice we were getting from the experts he had brought in ostensibly to “assist” him in fighting the killer virus.

He hired a first-rate team. Then he refused to let them do their job, which was brief the public on what they know and how to advise us on dealing with the peril.

The next president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., aka No. 46, has stayed the hell out of the way. He kept a couple of his predecessor’s key medical advisers. President Biden has brought in some experts of his choosing.

The refreshing and, frankly, encouraging aspect of the current president’s modus operandi is that he is letting the experts talk directly to us. He isn’t stepping on their lines. He is not contradicting them. Biden is not hurling epithets, such as “idiot” and “loser” at them.

Yes, we are experiencing a surge in infection. A variant has emerged that has dodged its way out of medicine’s best strategies to deal with it. Children have become a major concern.

However, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, is letting the experts do what they do better than anyone else, which is convey information we need and provide counsel to the nation in need of some level of expertise.


Get vaccinated … dammit!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am going to implore everyone within shouting distance of this blog to do something that some of you might have been resisting.

You need to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, and against the damn variants that are cropping up.

The Food and Drug Administration has declared that anyone who has been vaccinated fully can get a booster shot eight months after they have received their second vaccine dose. So … my wife and I checked our vaccine cards. We become eligible for the booster in late October; we both got our vaccinations in late February.

We are just two of the 161 million or so Americans who have been vaccinated fully against the virus. Our sons have been vaccinated, as has our daughter-in-law. Our siblings — my sisters and her brothers and their spouses have been vaccinated. Our granddaughter isn’t yet old enough to receive her vaccine; she’ll get one when the FDA gives the go-ahead. Her brothers have been vaccinated, too.

To be sure, we have some knuckleheads in our extended family who have refused to get vaccinated. Most of them are refusing for ridiculous political reasons. A couple of them reportedly have bought into the goofy notions espoused by the QAnon crowd, the stuff about serious body changes if you get a shot … that kind of crap.

I have been a longtime proponent of vaccines. When our sons were young, they got all the vaccines that helped ward off infectious disease. I have little tolerance or patience for those who refuse to get vaccinated. Religious reasons? Sure, I get that. Serious medical concerns and fear of adverse reaction? I understand.

The booster shot is going into this old man’s arm as soon as the calendar allows it. Oh, and I also am going to wear a mask when I am among people I don’t know.

President Biden said several months ago that getting vaccinated is the “patriotic thing to do.” We must do so to protect ourselves and those we love — and even total strangers — against a disease that still is killing too many of us.

Politics of the pandemic?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Whoever thought in a million years that an international medical emergency could devolve into a partisan dispute among leaders of the world’s most indispensable nation?

If you could foresee such a thing happening, then you are the smartest human being to ever walk this good Earth.

A pandemic erupted in late 2019. It spread around the world through that winter and into the spring of 2020. The U.S. president at the time downplayed the threat to human beings. Some of us believed his public dismissal. Others of us didn’t.

It has gotten only worse since that time.

We now argue over whether we should wear surgical masks to prevent being infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Politicians tell local authorities they cannot do things above what they declare to protect their constituents. Learned medical doctors and scientists are called “idiots” and “losers” by a former president.

We end up arguing along partisan lines over whether masks do the job. Republicans say “no.” Democrats say “yes.”

Oh, meanwhile, the disease keeps sickening and killing us. The U.S. death count is 600,000-plus. Are we worried? If not, we damn well should be.

The politics of the pandemic is beyond annoying. It is disgraceful that we would tolerate any short-shrift given to this disease by those — namely on the right and the far right — who dismiss it all as some sort of conspiracy.

We also have the vaccines.

Read my lips: The vaccines work! They are effective. They also are safe. Yet we hear from the goofballs on the far right — namely the QAnon cabal — about human beings turning into chimps because they get the vaccine.

What the … ? The only individuals who buy into that nonsense are the chumps among us who swill the Kool-Aid being offered by certifiable nut jobs.

We need to pull together to rid the world of the pandemic. The scientists know of what they speak. The politicians among us — starting with the immediate past president of the U.S. of A. — are know-nothing clowns.

We have an international medical crisis on our hands. The politics can be set aside for a day when we defeat the pandemic.

AG hopeful stung by this reality

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This clearly won’t help George P. Bush push his candidacy to become the next Texas attorney general.

It turns out, according to the Texas Tribune, that the state’s veterans homes — which are administered by the office Bush runs — have been dying of COVID pandemic complications at a rate greater than the state and national averages.

Bush serves as Texas land commissioner. The General Land Office runs programs aimed at helping Texas veterans. Bush now wants to be the next Texas attorney general. He is running in the 2022 Republican primary against incumbent Ken Paxton; former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman also is running for the AG’s post in the GOP primary.

But wait! Now we hear that Texas veterans who live in GLO-administered veterans homes have fared poorly as the state has battled the COVID virus.

That’s on George P. Bush.

As the Texas Tribune reports: Nursing homes, which care for people who are already medically vulnerable, were ravaged by the pandemic. But Texas’ state-run veterans homes were often the deadliest places to be.

Texas veterans homes were deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic | The Texas Tribune

Also from the Texas Tribune: Three of the state’s nine veterans homes — including Ambrosio Guillen in El Paso — had the highest death rate among all nursing homes in their county. Seven had a fatality rate of 25% or more, far higher than the statewide average of 11% across Texas nursing homes.

Bush wants to restore integrity in the attorney general’s office. Indeed, Paxton’s tenure since his taking office in 2015 has been fraught with scandal and suspicion of malfeasance and outright corruption.

Texas veterans and their family members need and deserve answers as to why state-run nursing homes have become synonymous with the term “death sentence.”

Ignore the know-nothings

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

While visiting with a family member this afternoon, chatting about this and that, I made a command decision about how I will treat the yammering that comes from the anti-vaxxers out there who say we should ignore pleas to inoculate ourselves against the COVID-19 pandemic.

I will ignore them.

When Fox News blowhard Tucker Carlson says we should forgo the vaccine, I will ignore him. When such nonsense spills from the pie holes of politicians wedded to the nonsense spouted by POTUS 45, I will ignore them, too.

FYI, my family member happens to be on my side in this argument.

Now, that said … if a learned physician with the skill and knowledge credentials of, say, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says we should refuse the vaccine, I’ll give it all due consideration. Then I’ll disregard what he or she says, too.

The blowhards are know-nothing gasbags. They make handsome livings by being able to articulate half-baked opinions in a witty, reasonably articulate manner. They have their followers. I am not one of them. Thus, I do not take their blathering seriously; hell, I usually choose to avoid listening to it in the first place.

I established long ago my own bias. We all have it. You do, too. I am going to accept the opinions of those I trust. Dr. Fauci — the nation’s premier infectious disease expert — says the vaccines are safe and effective. That, dear friends, is good enough for me.

As for those who refuse to get vaccinated, or refuse to inoculate their children against the killer virus and its variant(s), they are putting themselves in dire peril. Worse, they are endangering their children.

All of them — every single one of them — should be ashamed.

End the vaccine politics

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My request is simple and straightforward.

Let us end the politicization of the COVID-19 vaccines … shall we?

I am sickened to the core at the yammering of right-wing talking heads/blowhards/gasbags who continue to insist that the government is trying to force us to do something we don’t want to do, such as take the vaccine that protects us against a virus that continues to kill Americans.

For starters, no one is “forcing” anyone to do anything of the sort. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to tell us until they run out of breath that all the available vaccines are safe, they are effective and they will protect us from infection, sickness and death.

And yet we hear from right-wing politicians and their pals in the right-wing media continue to insist that President Biden should “fire Anthony Fauci” because the good doctor — and senior administration pandemic medical and health adviser — is trying to frighten us into taking the vaccine.

Good grief, man!

I interpret Dr. Fauci’s message differently. He seeks to speak to us using common sense. If you have a vaccine that works, and is safe, it makes sense to take it to ward off the effect of a virus that has killed 4 million human beings worldwide and more than 600,000 Americans. Why is that such a frightening concept?

Don’t answer that. I know why. Because it serves as political grist for those who adhere to the misplaced skepticism and deception about the virus expressed by President Biden’s immediate predecessor, the former Moron in Chief.

Joe Biden says the virus “is on the run.” I believe him. However, we are not out of danger. Indeed, the danger is heightened by those who continue to wage a political war in the middle of a fight for our lives against a virus.