Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hopeful Again

Deaths from covid, which are a lagging indicator, bounced back up after the long weekend of incomplete reporting, as they usually do.  A few states still seem not to have reported.  Yet even with that, the numbers have not gone up as high as recently.  An encouraging sign.

More encouraging still is that there is no new variant looming. 

I had hoped the decline would be apparent at the end of January, as some reliable sources thought at least possible.  While that has not quite happened, something like it has just occurred only a little later. I have found myself being less cautious in the last two months, likely more from fatigue than from intellectual conviction.  As with Americans tiring of war win or lose after three years, there may be similar response to restriction, that we (perhaps all peoples) cannot sustain a practice on the basis of intellectual convincing alone if there is no visible reinforcement from the environment congratulating you on your wisdom, as there is with car accidents or substance abuse. I have been irritated at people whose reasoning seems to be "Well I'm not seeing death from my yard, so it must not be real," but we all may be like that, with some getting there more quickly - even immediately, in some cases - while others hang on longer.


engineerlite said...

As the trendsetter we expect you to be, I’m delighted that you’ve identified a new covid continuum. We’ve all known about the risk/benefit continuum, which we presume to cause some people to have different tolerance for public maskless display.

Today you’ve created the fatigue/intellectual continuum, where fatigue eventually overruns the intellectual evaluation of presumed facts. For some, fatigue won the day after Fauci first spoke; for some, the intellectuals, the presumed facts will always be persuasive.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you. And yet, there are also the overcautious who use the intellectual arguments they prefer as rationalisations. So we could fall out of either side of this boat.

Grim said...

There are, however, intellectuals on the other side of this one also. Iceland's Ministry of Health has adopted the view that it's important that COVID spread widely:

“Widespread societal resistance to Covid-19 is the main route out of the epidemic,” the health ministry said in a statement, citing infectious disease authorities.

It added that to achieve widespread societal resistance, which is also referred to as “herd immunity,” “as many people as possible needed to be infected with the virus as the vaccines are not enough, even though they provide good protection against serious illness”.

After initially supporting tight lockdowns in the early months of what was then an unknown virus, I also came to the conclusion in mid/late 2020 that it would be wise for as many of us who were in the lower risk categories to run the hazard of the virus in order to obtain what they are now calling 'widespread societal resistance.' That was too early to be about fatigue; it was, I think, an intellectual consideration based on the evidence at hand.

This was before the vaccines, while it was still unclear if a vaccine would really be possible; Iceland, at that time, did not agree and chose to wait until now. The vaccines proved possible but insufficient, they have now decided, and so we should run the hazard having the buffer provided by the vaccines.

It's still possible to reason to a conclusion that more restrictions/time/something else are needed. It's not, though, the only or obvious road.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

A lot of people have flirted with that idea. Boris brought the UK into that at first, and the Swedes also had an abortive attempt at it. But it is based on a best-case scenario of immunity, not a likely case. A novel disease might best be fought in the longest run but letting it ride. Then I think of the American Chestnut blight, with a fungus brought in on the Oriental variety, that wiped out very close to the whole population over a hundred years ago. They are just now recovering, with a few stands of resistant chestnuts. Yet they used to be half the trees in some mature forests in the east. These things can happen.

In the longest run, the Old World populations have more immunity to even terrible diseases and can be said to succeed when encountering the New World populations, because 90% of the latter just die off without a battle. But...