Thursday, December 10, 2020

Wear. A. Mask.

 My initial instinct for this year's G I Joe battle village was to have all the masked action figures in normal (for me) poses, and all the unmasked ones laying dead on the ground.

The problems with this were

A) The figures are old, and I have very little control who can stand up anymore.
B) It's not a set up that lends itself to a joke filled narrative.
Most Importantly
C) It revealed that me being pissed off all the time about what's going on is affecting my ability to write in a way that relaxes me.

I need to get this out, then I can go back to the creative process in my skewed definition of normal.

Wear a Mask
Social Distance
Wash Your Hands.

When I was a nerdy kid, my non sciencey friends would ask me questions about space and dinosaurs and stuff, because they knew I read a lot and watched documentaries.  I'd answer as best as I could, and because they knew those things about me, they accepted what I said.

Now I've been an engineer at a medical device company for twenty seven years. I've worked with  physicians both on staff and through outside connections. I have read  peer reviewed papers and other medical documentation.  I also have friends in the medical and scientific fields.

Wear a Mask
Social Distance
Wash Your Hands.

These are not a magic spell of protection that completely prevents one from catching the disease.  It's all about the science and the math.

These practices reduce the chance a statistically significant amount of transmission of the virus. 

Reduced transmission means a reduced number of infections, which means reduced serious infections which, and this is the important part, reduces the drain on the medical personnel and resources needed to treat those serious cases, increasing the chances of recovery for patients, and decreasing burnout and infections in medical personnel.

Wear a Mask
Social Distance
Wash Your Hands.

The science and math behind these are based on a group effort for the good of EVERYBODY. That's how this stuff works, by statistics of the overall population, not by individual anecdotes.  You do them to protect everyone around you, and other people doing it are protecting you.  There are individual benefits but the group benefit is greater.

And guess what? Vaccines work in the same way, but the process of the science involved, statistical significance and reduction of transmission are all at a much higher level. 

Now let me say something about risk for any medical item (device or pharmaceutical) that needs review for release.

Risk Analysis and Control, as dictated by federal and international standards must permeate all aspects of the creation and approval for release of something new.   Risk level drives choices, and all qualifications. The need for a positive Benefit to Risk ratio is a huge part of any evaluation.  Risk control choices CANNOT be affected by economic decisions.

The vaccines weren't fast because they were rushed. They were fast because A) Research started before the disease was confirmed in this country, because it's a global pandemic. B) Normally there are giant piles of reviews by regulatory bodies for approval, but these were pushed to the top of the list, because it's a global pandemic.  C) Frequently it can take a long time to get the required number of test cases in a study, but cases were readily available, because it's a global pandemic. 

The biggest problem science faces when confronted by faith (and I don't mean religions, I mean, in general, unshakable beliefs) is that by its nature, good science changes with new evidence, where blind faith never changes. This is often pointed at as a weakness of science by the unshakable, but the ability to correct and change based on new evidence is one of its greatest strengths. 

And, no, I do not have "faith" in science. I have an understanding that science operates on a proven process with strong statistical evidence (using math as a key tool), and through that process leads to the most likely and beneficial solutions for issues.

Wear a Mask  
(And wear it correctly, please. Your chin isn't going to infect anyone, but your nose might.
And good gravy, stop pulling your mask off to cough or sneeze.
I've already yelled "Cover your F***ing nose!" out loud when a guy I was trying to dodge on a whole shopping trip surprised me coming in the out door of the supermarket. 
I'm passed polite now and will cause a scene in public)


Social Distance
Wash Your Hands.

Get the vaccine once it is approved and available to your group.

I'm tired of being angry all the time, and even more tired of watching my daughter's year be filled with cancellations and stress because the people protesting, complaining about, and ignoring the methods needed to slow the virus are the ones prolonging the need for following those methods.

I could piss and moan about how politicizing this has made it worse, (if a politician goes against recommendations by choice or through hypocrisy, it doesn't change the math and science) or how pandemics are a natural occurrence and this one has been handled badly at multiple levels and locations ...

But I don't have the energy and I know this has no chance of convincing anyone who has their blind faith set. 

There's a good chance I will turn off comments (or ignore or delete them if I can't figure that out because I'm a fossil).

This post isn't to start a debate. I've already seen and read the memes, anti-freedom conspiracies,  data reviews and other counter arguments to make my informed decision comparing risks, benefits and sources of information. As of right now, the opposition doesn't hold up to the science and the math behind the formal recommendations. 

And stop using bad analogies, it's embarrassing.  A graduation ceremony cannot be compared to Home Depot being open unless the whole stinking town goes to Home Depot on the same evening and then a quarter of the people parade through the paint department while the rest stand in a group and watch them for several hours.

I will continue to read and review logically presented information and make choices accordingly.

I needed to get this out of my system because it is affecting my ability to write the pointless, goofy and entertaining (to me) crap I usually spew out to reduce my own stress levels and keep myself sane.

And I need to do that now more than ever. 


longbow said...

You don't know where my chin has been. See, there's this thing single people started doing about 10 years ago...

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you for adding levity and some non specific grossness to lighten my dark mood.