CovidLand

 

I’ve been leaving CovidLand every weekend now for about eight weeks. It started with my vacation in western New York, then continued as I started the “restoration” of the dining room (i.e., removing the old wallpaper and painting) in the family’s western Pennsylvania home. Mom has set the deadline as Thanksgiving, when we expect about a dozen or more family to come to dinner. A far cry from the 30 or more that was a regular feature of my childhood, but a vast improvement over last year’s six.

Funny thing about that. We never asked if we should limit it to six last year. It was before any vaccine, and the family is aging to the point it just seemed prudent not to expose a lot of the older members of the extended family to the risk. Another funny thing. This year mom was shooting for 20, and we didn’t ask anyone about that either. You see, we don’t live in CovidLand.

Somewhere outside the DC Metro area, maybe by Frederick, certainly by Hagerstown where I often stop, I’ve left CovidLand behind. The masks, aside from those working for some sort of corporate affiliate like Dunkin’ Donuts or Wendy’s, are gone. There may be a sign on the door, but nobody is wearing them anymore. And it doesn’t seem to freak anyone out. It’s a wonderful feeling and just serves to highlight how much I hate life in CovidLand.

Each morning I get up for work, spend 45 minutes driving into the office, where I dutifully put on my mask as I enter the building, and walk to my office where, once the door is closed, I may remove my mask. I sit at my computer taking online meetings, answering phone calls and e-mails for wight to nine hours whereupon I don my mask for the walk to the car and drive home where (after doffing my mask upon entering my residence) I stare at my unused telework space.

It’s a nice space. Fully OSHA-compliant with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, the monitor set at the perfect eye level, and a chair the proper height to prevent both back and leg strain. And it all looks nice. The desktop is uncluttered with shelves on either side of the desk to hold my printer and desk lamp. The desk is a fine old piece I picked up in a Salvation Army store for a song when I was in grad school and I have dragged it with me in every move since. Everything is plugged into a commercial-grade UPS, fully surge protected, with a spare battery in the nearby closet. The monitor is an identical model to what I use at work, so when my workspace comes up everything is exactly where I expect it to be.

My home internet connection is considerably faster and more reliable than the one at work, as is my HVAC, and my noise environment. In short, I have created in my home the workspace the government professes to wish for all of us keyboard warriors. Comfortable, efficient, healthy, and accessible. But it is not in an important building in the city where important people can see me and be assured my job, whatever it is, is getting done, as they walk past.

I work for an un-named federal agency and early on there was a great push for vaccinations. A very great push. One that indicated to me there was some metric involved leading to the technically allowed “no thanks” to the vaccine being an unacceptable answer. My personal experience with this was that I declined not to keep an appointment, scheduled for me with no real notice, to get my first shot of an un-named vaccine. I had heard about some of the side effects, wasn’t quite sure if I should consider myself “high risk” and wanted to read up and possibly wait for the promising single dose J&J vaccine which apparently had fewer and less severe side effects. I’d been teleworking for several days a week since March 2020, and exclusively for a solid month after the inauguration, so I wasn’t much of a risk. But it was quickly made clear to me that my “no thank you” was not well received by upper management. Note that upper management in this case may involve military ranks not necessarily used to supervising civilians.

Upon my physical return to work for some computer issues, to say that my immediate supervisor was “very concerned” that I have all the necessary information on “the availability of and information necessary to schedule” a vaccine would understate the situation. It was clear that “no” was not considered the right answer, and absent a well-documented medical or religious reason for it, that unacceptable no would fall on my supervisor as a failure to provide the upper management with the numbers they required.

I was planning on getting a vaccine at some point, so I relented and made everyone’s life easier. Of course, the second shot knocked me on my ass for a week that couldn’t have been much better than the actual infection, and from what I’d been hearing was considerably worse than a lot of cases, and I still had to quarantine for two weeks after the second shot till I was considered “fully vaccinated.” But it was better than catching COVID, right?

Well, that wasn’t really the goal. The goal was to get everyone back in the office ASAP. Upper-upper management had toured our offices sometime in late December 2020 and expressed dissatisfaction at the emptiness, hence in their view, idleness of the facility. Our organization is however about as technocratic and tied to your laptop as they come and was actually seeing a jump in productivity due to people at home routinely working longer hours with fewer interruptions than when in the office. We’d also been supplied with a version of Microsoft Teams that our IT staff hadn’t had time to wreck with IA (Information Assurance) compliance yet, so even the meetings were running better and more efficiently than usual. In short, we were proving every day that we could, as planned, continue to operate efficiently in a “disaster” scenario with minimal on-site presence. This was clearly unacceptable to those walking through empty hallways, unable to see the worker bees busy at their desks.

So we all got the jab. Well, most of us. There were a few who apparently stuck to their guns or had sufficient proof that their refusal to comply was not a widespread threat to the numbers management wanted to hit. From what I heard, we were well into the 90% vaccinated range when they told everyone that COVID was no longer a reason for telework, as our workplace, through the tireless haranguing of management, had been made safe for all, vaccinated (can’t get it, can’t give it) and unvaccinated alike. So we all returned. The unvaccinated were still required to wear masks mind you, they were voluntary for everyone else, but recommended when working in close proximity. And there was a “don’t ask” policy on vaccination status so you couldn’t assume that a mask-wearing employee was unvaccinated.

It was a glorious few weeks, before the dreaded delta variant, and it turned out that you could both give and get COVID regardless of your vaccination status. Then the masks came back out for all federal employees in all workspaces, unless you had a private office with full floor-to-ceiling walls and a door, so as to effectively seal yourself off … And the outdoors mandate was lifted, but there would still be none of this working from home because of COVID balderdash. All employees would show up at the office and wear their masks while they took their online meetings and answered their phone and their e-mails in their office! With the door shut. Lest the virus leap from a vaccinated you at your desk to the vaccinated and masked co-worker walking past in the hallway.

The feds weren’t alone. All of DC and most of Virginia and Maryland went back to full mask requirements, this time regardless of vaccination status. Because someone could be lying about that after all.

But this isn’t a panic mind you. It’s science. It’s lousy sloppy inconsistent and often bad or just plain wrong science, but damn you, it’s SCIENCE!

Funny thing about science, it doesn’t make judgments about right and wrong, good and bad, woke or not, it just presents a series of facts, a snapshot of reality that we have to come to terms with, but rarely do.  Oddly the medieval mind seemed more adept at this.  It was well understood that the lower calling of natural philosophy was distinct from revealed philosophy (usually referred to as theology back in the day).  Natural philosophy or theology could confirm, through observations by the senses, what revelation and scripture (Revealed Philosophy) had taught us, that the creator had provided us proof of the intelligence, power, and goodness of God based on the order and beauty of the world.  It took centuries to pry them apart and make Natural Science a thing of its own, absent judgments of morality or value, much like the politics of man were eventually recognized as a lesser earthly manifestation of divine law that would forever fall short. Our secular world was born out of the bitter experience that, as revealed millennia before, man was not god, and infusing men with the power or authority of God would not, and could not bring about heaven on earth. But that is another topic for another day.

The problem, or one of the current ones we’re dealing with presently is that, absent God, whom we apparently killed a century or so ago, science and man have once again taken on his role. Science is seen as the arbiter of right and wrong.  We must “follow the science” on global warming or deforestation or masking and vaccinations lest we become fallen beings, turning our backs on the revelations of science and the salvation it can provide us in the hands of proper-thinking men.

Funny thing about science.  It’s a snapshot of reality, and we may or may not get every detail out of that snapshot.  Reality can change, at least our version of it, based on our present ability to read and rationalize that snapshot.  Or based on what the secular priesthood tells us.  So masking is useless, or mandatory and you are fully vaccinated (can’t get it, can’t give it) after two doses, until you aren’t, because fully vaccinated now means three or four doses, and you can still get it, but not nearly as bad, but you should still shun the unclean who refuse to vaccinate because they’re young and healthy, or because they already had the virus, or because they’ve been exposed to it for over a year due to their jobs, and haven’t come down with a case yet…

So I’m leaving CovidLand, this time for about a week, to celebrate with family that we have all come through the worst of it, and can gather without inordinate fear to share a meal and a prayer or two thanking our creator, who reveals his goodness through things that can’t always be measured by the science of men, but that we all know exist.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Ernie Davis: Funny thing about science, it doesn’t make judgements about right and wrong, good and bad, woke or not, it just presents a series of facts, a snapshot of reality that we have to come to terms with, but rarely do.  Oddly the medieval mind seemed more adept at this.  It was well understood that the lower calling of natural philosophy was distinct from revealed philosophy (usually referred to as theology back in the day).  Natural philosophy or theology could confirm, through observations by the senses, what revelation and scripture (Revealed Philosophy) had taught us, that the creator had provided us proof of the intelligence, power, and goodness of God based on the order and beauty of the world.  It took centuries to pry them apart and make Natural Science a thing of its own, absent judgements of morality or value, much like the politics of man were eventually recognized as a lesser earthly manifestation of divine law that would forever fall short.  Our secular world was born out of the bitter experience that, as revealed millennia before, man was not god, and infusing men with the power or authority of God would not, and could not bring about heaven on earth.

    This whole thing. Beautiful. Of course Progressives will disagree.

    Also, happy third Rico-versary.

    • #1
  2. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Wonderfully put.

    As to exemptions, the State for which I work requires all government employees to be vaccinated upon pain of termination.  Medical and religious exemptions were announced, of course.  In my official capacity working for the state DPH, I attempted to find out what reasonable accommodations would be made for those excused.  None were made. And in fact, zero religious and three medical exemptions have been granted, all three of the latter being staff in the central administrative offices of our State’s capital.

    Kabuki. 

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I live in east Tennessee, and we pretty much were never Covidland.

    • #3
  4. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    It wasn’t the reason, but when I moved from CA to FL last year, I found that I was moving from COVIDland to AMERICA.

    • #4
  5. Ernie Davis Coolidge
    Ernie Davis
    @davehall

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Wonderfully put.

    As to exemptions, the State for which I work requires all government employees to be vaccinated upon pain of termination. Medical and religious exemptions were announced, of course. In my official capacity working for the state DPH, I attempted to find out what reasonable accommodations would be made for those excused. None were made. And in fact, zero religious and three medical exemptions have been granted, all three of the latter being staff in the central administrative offices of our State’s capital.

    Kabuki.

    I found out after this was mostly written that our organization hit 97% vaccinated.  This is a number that will never be reached in the general population, and our workspace has strictly controlled access.  So despite public proclamations to the contrary, the vaccinated are apparently unsafe among the vaccinated and masks must still be worn.  Unless this is about something else.

    • #5
  6. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It is about something else.  Masks are mostly useless, vaccinations can help reduce the severity, but young peopled and most  and pre seniors  are probably better off developing natural immunity.   Individuals can make decisions better than the government, but like I said it’s about something else.  In my grocery store some 99% of folks wear masks, in my church about a third wear them but they’re not required.   I’m ignorant, not trained in any related field, even the things I used to know that fell in my field are mostly gone,   But some things are clear, the disease and its risks aren’t driving policy.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    What I’ve been asking for all this year is, Why does 100% of everyone need to be vaccinated?  Some people say it’s for control.  Some people say, It’s so you don’t die, stupid!  Others say it’s to give trillions to Big Pharma.  Others say it’s to tag us all.

    Is there another reason that is not crazy or stupid?

    • #7
  8. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I kind of ignored COVIDland. When they announce the shut down of the bars and restaurants March 15th of 2020, I bought a round and left a $200 tip at my favorite bar because I knew the staff was going to be unemployed for a while. Then my friends and I started having house parties. These lasted 2 months until the bars reopened (except you couldn’t actually sit at the bar) and I was one of the first back in. There were lots of rules, but they were sparsely enforced. I have never had a confirmed case of COVID, but I never was never very careful so I’d be surprised if I haven’t had it.

    Despite this I got vaccinated as soon as I could, and I recommend it for everyone. (I kinda feel 26 and no health issues is the dividing line.) But it is clear that it is a personal health issue not public health issue. Mandates are un-American.

    • #8
  9. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What I’ve been asking for all this year is, Why does 100% of everyone need to be vaccinated? Some people say it’s for control. Some people say, It’s so you don’t die, stupid! Others say it’s to give trillions to Big Pharma. Others say it’s to tag us all.

    Is there another reason that is not crazy or stupid?

    Who knows?

    However I was greatly cheered about finding out that a judge ruled on the side of sanity, in my old stomping ground of the Western Chicago suburbs:

    https://rescue.substack.com/p/a-judge-stands-up-to-a-hospital-step?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

    Naperville Illinois judge demands hospital administrators stand back and allow COVID stricken man to have the remedy ivermectin

    The article first talks about how without any real remedy, this grandfather was close to dying. The article then paints quite a different picture of the man’s condition, once the judge’s ruling took effect:

    “Ng, who with his wife, Ying, had come from Hong Kong to celebrate their granddaughter’s birthday, was able to breathe without a ventilator within five days—he, in fact, removed the endotracheal himself. He left the ICU Tuesday, November 16, and, although confused and weak, was breathing Sunday without supplemental oxygen on a regular hospital floor. “Every day after ivermectin, there was accelerated and stable improvement,” said Dr. Bain, who administered the drug in two previous court cases after hospitals refused. “Three times we’ve shown something,” he told me. “There’s a signal of benefit for ventilator patients.”

    Ng’s remarkable progress stands in sharp relief to the repeated attempts by Edward-Elmhurst Health, the hospital’s managing system, to thwart the use of ivermectin. It succeeded in having the court’s initial November 1 order dismissed by claiming Ng was in better health than his lawsuit contended. (Although he wasn’t). It then defied the November 5 order, saying Dr. Bain was not vaccinated (a negative test resolved the issue).  Moreover, after Ng’s treatment was complete, the hospital system filed notice that it would appeal the order that had already been carried out. It did this even though Sun Ng seemed to have benefited greatly.!!!!

    #####

    Exclamation marks above are mine. After all,  I believed we fought an entire war to end Corporal Klink-styled stupidity, arrogance and fascism.

    Full article at above link, including a photo of  the greatly improved Ng able to enjoy the infant he came to see

    Ah schucks, the photo is too impressive to not post here:

    • #9
  10. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Ernie Davis: Each morning I get up for work, spend 45 minutes driving into the office, where I dutifully put on my mask as I enter the building, and walk to my office where, once the door is closed, I may remove my mask. I sit at my computer taking online meetings, answering phone calls and e-mails for wight to nine hours whereupon I don my mask for the walk to the car and drive home where (after doffing my mask upon entering my residence) I stare at my unused telework space.

    So you drive into work for 45 minutes without the masd, but drive back home, another 45 minutes with the mask?  Typo?

    • #10
  11. Ernie Davis Coolidge
    Ernie Davis
    @davehall

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Ernie Davis: Each morning I get up for work, spend 45 minutes driving into the office, where I dutifully put on my mask as I enter the building, and walk to my office where, once the door is closed, I may remove my mask. I sit at my computer taking online meetings, answering phone calls and e-mails for wight to nine hours whereupon I don my mask for the walk to the car and drive home where (after doffing my mask upon entering my residence) I stare at my unused telework space.

    So you drive into work for 45 minutes without the masd, but drive back home, another 45 minutes with the mask? Typo?

    Omission.  I drive home without the mask, but then put it on again to enter my multi-unit building for the walk to my apartment.

    • #11
  12. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What I’ve been asking for all this year is, Why does 100% of everyone need to be vaccinated? Some people say it’s for control. Some people say, It’s so you don’t die, stupid! Others say it’s to give trillions to Big Pharma. Others say it’s to tag us all.

    Is there another reason that is not crazy or stupid?

    It’s all of the above, except the tagging part.  Hospitals make money off the injections (they don’t make money off Ivermectin, which is cheap and ubiquitous).  The pharma companies make billions off the injections.  Politicians and bureaucracies get to remind us that those little crapweasels have the force of law behind whatever administrative mandates they care to enforce, at any time.  Advertising revenue that pharma provides is a big incentive for information to be presented in one way (why would Pfizer spend a billion dollars marketing a thing that saves your life?  Wouldn’t people just run toward it and throw money at it?)

    Oh, and so you don’t die – which 99.7% would not, even if we caught it.

    Those are the whys.  I’m sure there are more.

    • #12
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Gazpacho Grande’ (View Comment):
    Hospitals make money off the injections (they don’t make money off Ivermectin, which is cheap and ubiquitous).  The pharma companies make billions off the injections.

    Well, here’s one more Why?  Why is Big Pharma getting forced sales on three continents?  This is like a world war that they say is on a bug, but they’re beating up people.  I just can’t believe that this is all just a grand mistake on the part of dozens of world leaders and they simply can’t find a face-saving way out of it.

    • #13
  14. Saxonburg Member
    Saxonburg
    @Saxonburg

    Your experience at work mimics mine. Even though my employer is not a three letter unnamed government agency, it has steadfastly followed every breath whispered by the CDC and has embraced all government decrees, suggestions, and afterthoughts. After over a year of WFH for most people (I was an exception because I needed occasional access to my lab), management finally realized that people really needed to be able to interact spontaneously to make progress, and everyone was called back in. Everyone is thermally scanned upon entering the building, masks are mandatory at all times, meeting rooms are allowed at about half capacity, and the cafeteria allows only one person at each downsized table.   Eat your lunch at your desk.  You can take off your mask while doing that.

    When the Biden vaccine mandate came out, management readily accepted it, even claiming that it applied to our company because we are a government contractor. I have worked in R&D here for 29 years and have never heard of any government contract work. It’s a large technology company…maybe there is someone somewhere working with one of the intelligence agencies to help them understand the functionality of our product, which might be a few $100K contract out of our $10 billion revenue. On the other hand, I have not heard the government contractor claim made recently, and I suspect someone told the HR communications team, “No…we’re really not a government contractor.” However, that has not stopped the mandate. Why? Because vaccines are a good idea, and all good ideas are mandatory.  They are protecting us from ourselves.

    • #14
  15. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Saxonburg (View Comment):

    Your experience at work mimics mine. Even though my employer is not a three letter unnamed government agency, it has steadfastly followed every breath whispered by the CDC and has embraced all government decrees, suggestions, and afterthoughts. After over a year of WFH for most people (I was an exception because I needed occasional access to my lab), management finally realized that people really needed to be able to interact spontaneously to make progress, and everyone was called back in. Everyone is thermally scanned upon entering the building, masks are mandatory at all times, meeting rooms are allowed at about half capacity, and the cafeteria allows only one person at each downsized table. Eat your lunch at your desk. You can take off your mask while doing that.

    When the Biden vaccine mandate came out, management readily accepted it, even claiming that it applied to our company because we are a government contractor. I have worked in R&D here for 29 years and have never heard of any government contract work. It’s a large technology company…maybe there is someone somewhere working with one of the intelligence agencies to help them understand the functionality of our product, which might be a few $100K contract out of our $10 billion revenue. On the other hand, I have not heard the government contractor claim made recently, and I suspect someone told the HR communications team, “No…we’re really not a government contractor.” However, that has not stopped the mandate. Why? Because vaccines are a good idea, and all good ideas are mandatory. They are protecting us from ourselves.

    And…by following the mandates, if your company ever did want to become a federal contractor, then they can show off their shiny compliance Gold Star ™, and happily hippily-hop up and down, saying “We’re just like YOU!  We are YOU!”.

    Y’know.  Just in case someone from the government backs up a dump truck filled with cash.

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Gazpacho Grande' (View Comment):

    Saxonburg (View Comment):

    Your experience at work mimics mine. Even though my employer is not a three letter unnamed government agency, it has steadfastly followed every breath whispered by the CDC and has embraced all government decrees, suggestions, and afterthoughts. After over a year of WFH for most people (I was an exception because I needed occasional access to my lab), management finally realized that people really needed to be able to interact spontaneously to make progress, and everyone was called back in. Everyone is thermally scanned upon entering the building, masks are mandatory at all times, meeting rooms are allowed at about half capacity, and the cafeteria allows only one person at each downsized table. Eat your lunch at your desk. You can take off your mask while doing that.

    When the Biden vaccine mandate came out, management readily accepted it, even claiming that it applied to our company because we are a government contractor. I have worked in R&D here for 29 years and have never heard of any government contract work. It’s a large technology company…maybe there is someone somewhere working with one of the intelligence agencies to help them understand the functionality of our product, which might be a few $100K contract out of our $10 billion revenue. On the other hand, I have not heard the government contractor claim made recently, and I suspect someone told the HR communications team, “No…we’re really not a government contractor.” However, that has not stopped the mandate. Why? Because vaccines are a good idea, and all good ideas are mandatory. They are protecting us from ourselves.

    And…by following the mandates, if your company ever did want to become a federal contractor, then they can show off their shiny compliance Gold Star ™, and happily hippily-hop up and down, saying “We’re just like YOU! We are YOU!”.

    Y’know. Just in case someone from the government backs up a dump truck filled with cash.

    • #16
  17. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Gazpacho Grande' (View Comment):

    Saxonburg (View Comment):

    Your experience at work mimics mine. Even though my employer is not a three letter unnamed government agency, it has steadfastly followed every breath whispered by the CDC and has embraced all government decrees, suggestions, and afterthoughts. After over a year of WFH for most people (I was an exception because I needed occasional access to my lab), management finally realized that people really needed to be able to interact spontaneously to make progress, and everyone was called back in. Everyone is thermally scanned upon entering the building, masks are mandatory at all times, meeting rooms are allowed at about half capacity, and the cafeteria allows only one person at each downsized table. Eat your lunch at your desk. You can take off your mask while doing that.

    When the Biden vaccine mandate came out, management readily accepted it, even claiming that it applied to our company because we are a government contractor. I have worked in R&D here for 29 years and have never heard of any government contract work. It’s a large technology company…maybe there is someone somewhere working with one of the intelligence agencies to help them understand the functionality of our product, which might be a few $100K contract out of our $10 billion revenue. On the other hand, I have not heard the government contractor claim made recently, and I suspect someone told the HR communications team, “No…we’re really not a government contractor.” However, that has not stopped the mandate. Why? Because vaccines are a good idea, and all good ideas are mandatory. They are protecting us from ourselves.

    And…by following the mandates, if your company ever did want to become a federal contractor, then they can show off their shiny compliance Gold Star ™, and happily hippily-hop up and down, saying “We’re just like YOU! We are YOU!”.

    Y’know. Just in case someone from the government backs up a dump truck filled with cash.

    A company should be careful about becoming a government contractor, as that first government contract can bring with it a whole bunch of regulations (particularly record-keeping requirements) onto the whole company, not necessarily just the part that’s doing the government work. The Covid vaccine requirement is just an example. And those regulations may persist long past the conclusion of the last contract payment. 

    • #17