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A few days go I asked the cashier in the grocery store, a young woman in her early 20s, how she felt about masking. “I only do it because we have to here. Everyone is going to get it.”

And on the weekend there was the unsettling picture of the “opening” of Sycamore St in Petersburg – picnic tables in the streets crammed together, people gathering closely, nobody masked up. It drew critical comments, and one absolutely ridiculous defense where the writer threw everything possible on the wall hoping something would stick including this – “How can I drink wearing a mask?” well… you could always poke a hole in the mask and use a straw… it would probably ruin your selfie, though

In the statistical crap shoot that is Covid-19, neither of these young ladies will probably die. Six factors influence mortality – obesity, high blood pressure and hypertension, compromised immune system, pulmonary disease, cardio disease, and population density. Lacking the 5 morbidity factors and living in rural and ex-urban locations can provide a false sense of safety. The urban story, the rural county with a slaughterhouse story, the nursing home story… these are stories those unaffected or indifferent do not comprehend.

Early studies in January indicated a re-infection rate of 2.7 per initial infection, which means 1 infected person will likely infect 3 more, who will in turn infect 3 more, who will in turn infect 3 more… For those who are not scared of numbers – on day 1 the function is 2.7 to the zero power, on day 2 it is 2.7 to the 1st power. on day 3 it is 2.7 squared, on day 4 it is 2.7 cubed, and so on. Remember, this virus is infectious before you are symptomatic.

2.7 gets real big real fast.

You are not vulnerable, or think you are not vulnerable, so you don’t have to care. But how many people who are vulnerable will you kill with your exceptional stupidity? Someone’s Granny, maybe the spouse or child of a co-worker, perhaps a stranger…

that you may not die is likely, that you will kill if you don’t take precautions is statistically inevitable.

I understand the perspective of the cashier, somewhat. Exposure probably is unavoidable, and not knowing anyone who has died from Covid-19 gives a false sense of distance and understates the brutality of the virus. I know someone who has Covid-19 and is in a nursing home, I know his ex and his daughter. You do not want the hell that is currently theirs.

I have no intention to Die For The Dow, or for Phat Donny’s Reelection, or for the US Chamber of Commerce, or for someone’s assertion of a right to drink in public, a right that, like the right to be stupid, simply does not exist in our Constitution.

Nor do I intend to be the instrument of someone else’s death. I mask, I wash my hands, I distance in public. I respect your right to life. I expect the same.

postscript December 13, 2022 – When I originally posted this essay the death toll from COVID was about 60,000. A year ago our farrier lost his father and 2 uncles to COVID. The causation event was an extended family dinner before Thanksgiving, the infection source was a family member, a Virginia Tech student, who went to Florida and danced in DeSantis’s petrie dish, comtracted COVID, showed no signs of the disaese, was not at the gathering, and still killed 3 members of his extended family.


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