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COVID-19, The Spike! – Religion and Politics

If you’ve watch data point generation, particularly on a large scale, you’ll be aware that it takes time for data to accumulate. Sometimes the “reality of data,” can be days or weeks behind. That’s understandable, since one expects that things will be discovered over the course of time, that may even radically change the data.

Truth is, this is commonly the case when attempting to get to the truth of just about everything. If you jump on something immediately after the occurrence, the chances are good you’ll get bad information and it’s more than a little likely you’ll react inappropriately to what appears to have gone down.

By way of example, there was a recent case where a young lady was gunned down as a result of a shootout between law enforcement and her boyfriend.

To hear many tell it, the police came in, guns blazing, and killed her in cold blood. What actually happened doesn’t seem to look that way at all. To begin with, her boyfriend fired first—which means the officers were essentially acting in self defense. Further, it turns out, the young lady’s name was also on the warrant. That means she was going to be taken in for questioning at a bare minimum. As such, she could easily have reacted as her boyfriend did—that appears not to be the case, but in the heat of the moment, it may well have been.

The point of all of this, is that the available information changes over the course of time. Typically that means more is revealed as the clock continues to tick. This is as true (maybe truer) for the data being collected on COVID-19, as it is on the case about which I just spoke.

That said, it appears that the Centers for Disease Control here in the U.S. end up taking roughly two weeks to get their ducks in a row with regard to death counts (found here: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/COVID19/index.htm).

So at the present moment (Monday the 27th of July, 2020), the data that’s probably reasonably accurate, is that presented for the week ending on the 18th of July, 2020. Keeping in mind the collected information may change, it should still be obvious that there’s currently a mild downward trend on COVID-19 death rates. The prior week to the one discussed, shows 3814 (three thousand eight hundred and fourteen) deaths nationally; the week talked about shows 2737 (two thousand seven hundred and thirty seven). 

To be fair, there’s been a small amount of “roller coaster action” over the past five or six weeks. That said, folks should be crystal clear that the numbers over that period are not even close to the “peak week” for deaths; which, as I indicated in another piece, was the week of the 18th of April, 2020, more than two months ago.

It’s important to keep in mind that even according to the CDC, we’ve been on a strong downward trend since that time. That’s totally ignoring which states have supposedly “reopened for business” and which haven’t. It also doesn’t consider where deaths have been occurring in terms of region, state, city, or neighborhood.

In the piece I spoke about a paragraph or so ago, I also made it clear that I found the CDC’s numbers questionable as a result of anecdotal information I’ve heard “reported.” Precisely because those stories are not statistical in nature, I can’t say they’re symptoms of widespread malfeasance. My suspicion is they are, but my reckoning is no better than anyone else’s, as such, you should take what I say next with the appropriate amount of consideration of possible incorrectness.

Having dispensed with that, the things I heard were along two lines.

First, that there are potentially people being counted (at least in some regions or states) “on suspicion alone.” That is, someone in the household was supposedly infected, therefor everyone in the household was.

Second, that certain of the tests being used for antibodies, test just for Coronavirus and not specifically for COVID-19. That means that folks will be counted who weren’t actually “COVID-19 positive” even for antibodies.

There’s a third thing I just heard mention of, it is that doctors appear to be expected to “include” COVID-19 in the list of conditions with which a given patient was suffering even though there was no sign of it or they were never tested for it.

How often are these and other things happening? I’m certainly not indicating I have any idea. It’s possible that things are being done to reduce the counts as well.

It’s understood that data can only be as accurate as those reporting it and those recording it. For this reason, I question the absolute integrity of the numbers.

Even so, the numbers as they currently stand, show a strong downward movement at least in terms of deaths, where COVID-19 is concerned.

Considering tests that would answer who is actually infected are not universally available, as well as the apparent truth that there are those who present little or no symptoms even though the’ve apparently contracted COVID-19, you begin to question just how accurate infection rate data might be as well.

I recognize that the statistics collected talk about the “known cases of infection,” and that’s fine. I also know that many weather reporters talk about the “heat index” rather than the actual temperature and people treat the two as synonymous one with the other.

Obviously, if the number of infections is actually higher than reported. The ratio of deaths to infections must also slide downward to match (assuming more deaths are not reported for the periods in question).

Considering that the sheer number of deaths has been pretty consistently falling for a couple of months, the additional possibility that the number of infections may be higher than what’s reported may be startling to some.

Add to this the apparent lack of correlation between the supposed (and probable) spike in COVID-19 cases—whatever the cause—and the number of deaths week-over-week, and it becomes even more apparent that regardless the reason for the spike, the overall picture seems to be looking better on a daily basis (at least from a perspective of mortality).

I’m not here to try to sell you on anything. All I’m doing is lifting the curtain a bit to allow you see inside the data. You must make your own decisions and come to your own conclusions. Take this article for what it’s worth, but remember, the numbers are the numbers are the numbers.

Thanks for reading and may your time be good.

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Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt – Religion and Politics

I’ve come to the conclusion long titles are harder for people to handle than short ones. As a result, I did my best to keep this one relatively short. If I had made it as long as I would have liked, it would have been “Familiarity Does NOT Breed Contempt; and Absence Does NOT make the Heart Grow Fonder.” Since I was unable to do that while keeping with my own “short title rule,” I thought it might be good to make this the introduction to the article. So, here it is!

I often wonder if I will have enough to say to “fill” a thousand words. The funny thing is, I seldom find that to be a problem in the least. I wondered that about this article, I don’t think it’ll be an issue here either.

One of the sad realities of many “old adages” is, they sound really good, but it turns out, the sound is very nearly the only good thing about them. These two “old gems” are no exception.

The fact is, in the case of both, though they sound fair and reasonable—they even sort of sound “deep”—they’re actually shallow and therefor lack real and meaningful substance. 

The reality is, relationships take work. The reality is, people choose to behave appropriately, or not. The reality is, people in the “current age” have been “sold a bill of goods,” and many of us have bought them. The reality is, but for a few people who have actually figured, or are actually figuring, it out, relationships in the modern day are a highly expendable commodity.

Maybe this is not so new a phenomenon, but it sure seems like it is to me. It truly seems to me that in my scant almost fifty five years of life, I’ve watched as relationships—particularly more serious, long term relationships—have become rarer and rarer. More and more, it appears to me, such relationships end in failure; and if you listen, you’ll find at least one party who swears that it’s all the other party’s fault—if both parties don’t do so!

Don’t get me wrong, there are instances where one or both persons really kill a relationship, and can be “held responsible” for so doing. The problem is, in the majority of instances, it’s not the person or people folks count responsible. Either that, or the reasons are not what folks account them to be.

One of the first problems in long term relationships, is that folks “jump into them” far too quickly. Would it were that folks would take their time, and refuse to rush into such relationships, the World would be far better—if far from perfect—one. And this is more significant when considering that people seem to be living ever longer. As a result, my first piece of advice to young folks seeking to enter into long term relationships is, “Truly, take your time. I know it seems like you have to do things now now now, but if you do, you will likely reap a somewhat unexpected reward, or set thereof.”

Another problem is that folks approach such relationships in an almost cavalier way. It’s not so much that they say things like, “If it doesn’t work out, we can just get a divorce,” or other breach of the relationship, though this does happen, and happen far too often. It’s that they are thinking in the “short term” and not considering what’s likely to happen as their life continues.

So here, by way of example, are two young folks working as wait staff at a local restaurant. They strike up a relationship, not considering that one truly desires to work in food service, where one is doing so in order to “step up the ladder” in the course of time, doing something entirely different. As time and events move, the two realize their ambitions and views on life are not only different, but counterproductive one to the other. Instead of changing for one another, they “stick to their guns.” The both continue to move in the path of their choice, ultimately tearing the relationship apart.

Or perhaps they start in a place that looks much the same—even in terms of what they believe and hold dear and one changes (or both do), and again, the changes work to rend the relationship in a way or in ways that is or are “unfixable.”

The point is, as has been said many times—to the point that it is seen as flippancy or a “pat answer”—relationships take work.

As if this were not complicated enough, things come along that entirely change the character of the relationship. One of the first and most important of these is children. This is particularly true when the children “aren’t normal.” By way of example, I have a moderately Autistic child. Rest assured, he has entirely changed the character of my relationship with my wife.

Please don’t assume I’m saying this is the “only challenge” we face by any means. On the other hand, realize that it’s a pretty serious challenge. How such a challenge will affect a relationship is largely determined by the character of the participants in that relationship.

Another pretty important consideration is where the relationship “finds itself” at the time those in it are dealing with such a challenge. Put another way, when confronted with various challenges, if one or the other (or both) of the parties is not in a place to handle it well, the relationship may well be in serious trouble (if not doomed to die).

Allow me now, to take a moment to impart a bit of wisdom and in the process, sum up this piece.

Please do not “rush into” any type of long term relationship. This is my first “gem of wisdom.”

Realize that relationships are not static. You will  change; your partner will change. It’s already possible the relationship will become irreconcilable if you work to make it work, but not doing so all but guarantees its failure.

Okay, you can be certain I have much more I could say, but here I am at my “self imposed” word limit—and this looks like a good place to “wrap it up for now.” So, may your time be good, and thanks for reading.

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On Spam

I just wanted to take am moment to reiterate what I have previously said. In case you’re wondering why “your comment” is not showing on my site, let me clue you in:

  1. The site is moderated. That means no comment will make it past me (the moderator) without my scrutiny of all of its content. This includes the content of the comment, the “user name” and the email address and website address if given.
  2. I have added captcha functionality (based on math and images) to test to see if you’re a “real person.” If you cannot get past that, you’re not going to add a comment at all. I don’t at all think that’s too much to ask.
  3. When reviewing comment content, you can be assured that I will not allow comments that do not in some way, add to the discussion. Put another way, no “ego stroking” or nonsense comments will be approved. I will be as lenient as I can, but honestly, if it doesn’t contribute in some wise to the conversation, it will not ever make it out of moderation (read here, “It will be considered spam and deleted).

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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A Note to the Spammers

Just a quick note to my “spammer fans.”

  1. Because I have had spammers try to use my site for their purposes (among other things), my site is fully moderated. Put simply, no message or reply will “make it to the general public” without being reviewed by my eyes.

  2. You (the spammers) have helped me to decide on policy for my site. Please know that, if your message doesn’t have true content, it will not ever see the light of day on my site. That means—just to make sure I’m clear—that not only does what makes its way even to the comments must have something in it other than two or three characters, but I have zero interest in being “ego stroked.” So, “This is exactly what I was looking for,” or “Such a very insightful piece,” or similar, will not get your comment posted on my site.

    If you’re not saying something meaningful (arguing against what I have said, providing supporting information, something meaningful), you will not ever have a post or comment “published on” my site.

  3. Even if you say something meaningful, if there is even a trace of advertising or other “piggybacking” visible in your post (this includes email addresses, web sites that are for selling or advancing some agenda, or whatever of that sort), your post or comment will not be allowed on this site.

It’s not at all hard to “moderate you out of existence” and if it ever becomes so it will be time to quit blogging. Frankly, I see zero signs that anybody is listening as a rule to begin with, so it won’t be that great a loss if I have to discontinue this site.

Thanks for listening (or not).