Saturday, March 20, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Big Weekend Edition

This week, my county opened up vaccine availability to people with a list of medical conditions, including asthma. I took me a few days of trying, but I managed to get an appointment for a shot. I am getting my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this afternoon. My husband doesn't qualify yet and obviously the kids are still unable to get vaccinated. 

We got an email yesterday with the details of our school's back to school plan. We'll have air purifiers that can replace the air every 12 minutes and windows will be open. Masks will be required. When the weather permits, lunch will be outdoors with kids six feet apart. The only thing I would have liked to see done differently is testing. Staff will be tested every two weeks and kids can optionally be tested for free every two weeks. I think more testing would be better, but oh well. Teachers will be teaching to the in person class and the online class at the same time, so kids will have to bring their computers to school everyday so that the kids at home can hear their questions, etc. I don't envy the teachers having to deal with the muting/unmuting but this seems like the best option. 

We have to make our binding decision this weekend. We are planning to let the kids go back to in person school. They both want to, even after reading the details of how it will be. 

And so, things will be changing around here. I am glad that I will be partially vaccinated before school starts. I wish my husband could be, too, but we think the school's plan is good enough that we can allow the kids back, anyway. 

It is so surreal to be sitting here in a county in which vaccinations are limited by supply and read about places like Alaska and Mississippi that have opened vaccinations to all residents over 16 due to lack of demand. We have a long road ahead with a lot of different obstacles to navigate through to get to herd immunity. 

Meanwhile, some states are seeing rising cases again. There are worries about a new surge in Michigan, and the Washington Post's tracker has cases high in New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, too.

It is particularly distressing to see cases going up again now, when vaccines are available and we are so close to getting them to everyone. I am watching our local numbers nervously. We've moved to Calfiornia's "red tier" which allows for indoor dining at 25% capacity and some other indoor entertainment (like movie theaters) also at 25% capacity. I hope that non-vaccinated people still choose to do things outdoors as much as possible! Twice before we have gotten close to opening our schools only to have plans canceled by a surge in cases. I hope we don't do that again.

OK, on to some links:

This is a good summary of the concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe. Regulators have since allowed vaccinations to proceed. We don't know what caused the clotting issues in the affected patients but I can see why regulators were worried. I am particularly interested in the theory mentioned in the article that perhaps the affected people were already infected with COVID-19 - if that turns out to be a factor, it would at least give us a way to further reduce risk. 

Speaking of vaccines... this article about what messages helped sway vaccine hesitant Trump voters was interesting.

I haven't had a chance to read David Wallace-Wells' piece about how so many rich countries got things so wrong on COVID, but I hope to get to it this weekend. I think we really need to try to learn the lessons from this experience, not just for future outbreaks of novel viruses (which will surely come), but also for how we can get our governments to act on climate change.

Speaking of climate change... This is good news from Microsoft. Your move, other tech giants.

Adam Serwer's latest piece is really good and I'm failing to summarize it so just go read it.

Read about the victims in Atlanta. I have a long list of things I want to read from Asian Americans this weekend, to learn about how I can better support them right now. I will try to share some links on this next week.

Here are some things that made me smile this week:

I posted a new Where in the World quiz at Adjusted Latitutdes.


What a cool photo:

This story!

You really need to watch this video and be patient!

OMG the drone footage in this video is just stunning. I've enjoyed all of Patrick Dexter's cello videos but this may be my favorite.

More fun from Ireland:

And now for something ridiculous:

Here's your rabbit of the week:

Happy weekend, everyone!

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