Let’s breathe freely

There has been much dispute since the pandemic began about the efficacy of face masks, even within the medical community. Some doctors say wear it. Others say its help is minimal.

I favor the latter approach. I don’t wear masks. I am not a pandemic denier, and I am not anti-vax. I have been vaccinated, though hesitantly this time due to the rush job.

I fight the pandemic in two ways: First, I wash my hands a bit more frequently. Second, I embrace social distancing, which does not require changing my lifestyle in the slightest.

It appears that if you are ill and cough or sneeze, the mask will help reduce whatever you may fling into your immediate vicinity. The mask helps you protect others. Makes sense.

However, if you are healthy, it does little to block your inhaling Kung Flu because virus droplets are microscopic, passing through most materials and around spaces in your face coverage.

And then there is the weird political aspect to the pandemic. If you are a leftist, you embrace masks. If you are a conservative, you embrace liberty. Do viruses vote?

Thankfully, here in Mexico, mask obsession is minimal. And we have few Karens. But there are places you must wear a mask. One is my wife’s gym, which is quite heavy-handed on the mask issue.

And wearing a mask while exercising, from what I have read, is a lousy idea. Exercising or not, it’s unwise to inhale your lungs’ exhaust.

I recently discovered a solution for her. It’s the unmask. That’s one in the photo. It’s sold by a small American enterprise. You can breathe normally through it. I bought one for her. It arrived this week.

If you want to unmask, buy one. If you enter the code UC20 at checkout, you’ll get a 20% discount. Tell them that Felipe sent you, and you’ll score an additional reduction of 0%.

That’s not a typo. I’m always here to serve, amigos.

15 miserable years

Bread line in New York City in the 1930s.

The last year and a half have been unpleasant due to the Kung Flu and political conflicts. And then I think of my parents’ generation. A year and a half would have been a godsend for them.

Their bad times were immeasurably worse, and they lasted 15 years, not our measly (so far) 18 months.

We have a pandemic that’s affecting fewer people than one would think, thanks to modern mass communication and the ratings-mad news media. The political situation, in my opinion, is worse if you consider the long-term.

In Mexico, we have a doofus demagogue who can hardly speak correctly. In the United States you have a senile old codger propped up by an oligarchy. In Canada, there is a metrosexual, politically correct fop of a prime minister who’s in office entirely for being good-looking and having his father’s name.

But all of this is a walk in the proverbial park compared to what my parents endured. First a decade of the Great Depression and then five years of world war. So far we have it mighty good. What’s down the line is another matter, but count your blessings. You’re not in a blocks-long bread line or lying dead on Omaha Beach.

1944: The sad casualties of war — husbands, fathers and sons.

Kung Flu facts & figures

Occasionally, I look at my daughter’s Facebook page. I did that today, and rolled my eyes at the mass of Kung Flu posts. She worries! Another Facebook page, a chat site that deals exclusively with my mountaintop town, also fixates on Kung Flu numbers. Worries!

It appears Mexico is having a sizable increase in cases due to that Delta variant, which is, I hope, the last variant we’ll see with this pandemic. Pandemics usually last one to two years, so we likely have to slog through a bit more of this, and the media-driven hysteria too.

Don’t discount the media-driven hysteria. It’s a fresh element to pandemics. The other fresh element is that it appears the Red Chinese developed the Kung Flu and then, accidentally or not, let it get away from them. Bio-warfare or big boo-boo? Lord knows.

I look at the hysteria, and I look at the facts, which are that the general survival rate is somewhere around 98 percent, but somewhat lower for old folks like me. Any virus will kill old folks faster than younger folks. And if you sum up the cases of any virus within a large population like a city, state, nation or globally, those numbers will get spooky.

Not just viruses. Cancers, heart attacks, traffic fatalities, murders, etc., if the population is large, the fatality figures will be hefty too.

But the numbers are meaningless without taking into consideration the population number in question:

In Mexico, the death toll now sits at around 246,000. Wow! That’s scary. But it’s about 0.19% of the population. Not so scary now, huh? In the United States, the death toll is about 635,000. YUGE number. The streets must be lined with corpses. But it’s, coincidentally, also about 0.19% of the U.S. population. The world death toll to date is about 4,334,000. That’s four million-plus. Good Lord!

But it’s about 0.055% of the global population.

It’s a question of perspective, little of which is mentioned by the media, just the fat-looking numbers.

In contrast, the Bubonic Plague of the 1300s wiped out about one-third of Europe’s population, 25 million people.

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Here in Mexico — at least in my area but, I suspect, most of Mexico — the government mimics what the United States does. Stay home, wear masks, close your business, etc. We also have little rubber mats filled with bleach or something at the entrance to businesses. You know, to disinfect the soles of your shoes where viruses might hitch a ride.

Is that silliness done above the border?

I read a news story recently from Nuevo Leon which reported those rubber rugs do squat except get bleach on your shoes. I always step around them. Nobody cares.

And my very favorite: bottles of antibacterial gel everywhere. Of course, something antibacterial has squat to do with a virus. It’s like swallowing an antibiotic for a cold. Does not work.

Masks, gels, rubber mats, social distancing. The government mandates them, but people mostly do as they please, and nothing happens to them with some rare exceptions. The big plaza downtown has huge signs warning that you’ll be arrested if you don’t wear a mask. Yet some people don’t, me included, and I’ve seen no arrests.

It’s theater. I see cops with no masks.

The masks are a joke. They do next to nothing. Viruses are microscopic. The cloth and paper masks most people wear offer next to no protection. Viruses can enter through your eyes. There are masks that protect against viruses. That’s one in the photo, a hazmat mask.

Not available at the corner drugstore.

Back to stats now: Sky-high survival rate. Ninety percent of cases get resolved at home in bed with Tylenol. Of the 10 percent who end up in the hospital, most do not die.

Most of our Kung Flu rules come not from the federal government, but from state and municipal officials who are going through the motions.

Local governments report things like the town hospital is at 90% capacity in the covid ward! What always is missing is that the ward has, say, only 10 beds allocated to covid, and nine are occupied. And those covid wards are never full. They are saturated!

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I’ve known a number of people who’ve had the Kung Flu, actual cases, not asymptomatic ones discovered by a test, an issue for another day. Friends, acquaintances and relatives. They got sick, they recovered. Just two were hospitalized due, I imagine, to being old and fat. But they did not die. And neither will you.

Singapore is smart

When the Kung Flu was flung upon the world stage about March of last year, I was concerned. Everyone was concerned. It was being hyped almost as the Black Plague. Stay home, governments hollered via their pals in the news media, or you’ll die. My child bride and I obeyed and stayed home except for shopping.

I bet you did the same.

A couple of months later, I noticed the streets were not lined with corpses, plus I knew no one who had died or even caught the Kung Flu. Phooey with this, I told myself, and we went out and about, starting May 10, doing what we normally did, but often with masks, and maintaining that distance thing.

Time passed, and I paid attention to the news, not so much the mainstream (government) media, but other information sources that seemed more realistic and honest. I became less and less concerned about the Kung Flu. These days I wear no mask except to enter the occasional store where it’s required. I do not do “social distance.”

There is a Mexican government website that keeps track of Kung Flu cases in virtually every nook and cranny of Mexico. I’ve been watching it since last year. To date, about 1.65 percent of my town’s population has been infected in some way, which is to say over 98 percent of our 98,000 population has not caught Kung Flu. Of the minuscule proportion that has, almost all would have recovered at home in bed with Tylenol or something similar.

Comparatively small percentages exist almost everywhere, so this is not the Black Plague. The economic shutdowns were unnecessary, and the people most affected by them are the working class. Government officials, as everyone who’s paying attention knows, have gone about their business as usual. Salaries, exotic vacations and parties. Don’t know about this? I suggest you broaden your news-gathering scope.

Incredibly, one of the most ham-fisted government overreactions to the pandemic is Australia, and that’s going on to this day. Coincidentally, one of the best news organizations anywhere in the world is Sky News Australia. In the video above, the engaging Alan Jones reports on how Singapore is handling the pandemic now.

Even more details are available at The Straits Times. Singapore is smart.


The Political Plague

This is the first political pandemic in world history. What’s up with that? I have my suspicions. A recent Gallup Poll asked if people with no symptoms and otherwise healthy should remain at home or go out and live their lives normally. About 80 percent of Republicans in America said go out and live normally. Over 70 percent of Democrats said stay home, i.e. continue cowering in the closet. Incredible.