A Closer Look …

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with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look …

Topic:  How and who will pay for COVID-19 vaccinations?   

Issue:  Pandemic, vaccination costs, and the risks of ongoing collateral damage in the U.S.  

  1. Terminology 

Pandemic was recently dubbed the “word of the year” by Merriam-Webster (click link either left or below).  Congrats, pandemic, you’ve officially arrived!  However, now the discussion has shifted from acknowledgment of the pandemic (for many – but not all – of us) to another word, Vaccine/Vaccination

Whereas ‘pandemic’ can be delivered to our shores for free, ‘vaccine’ cannot and will not come ashore for the same, wonderful price.  What that leaves us with, is, how and who will be actually paying for the delivery and distribution of each vaccine? And, how much per dose?

  1. U.S. Imports: To me, it’s starting to take the form of most every other import into our country.  Those who have the means will receive the goods, and those who don’t will just have to sit and wait.  And since we’re not talking about the newest G.I. Joe (with the ‘Kung Fu grip’) toy or BMW model, it isn’t quite so simple a formula for success going forward. 
  1. Population/ Distribution: Though it is a good start, it isn’t nearly enough to simply vaccinate health care workers and the elderly or vulnerable.  To be even marginally successful, we’ll need the cooperation and participation of an overwhelming majority of our population – and still have no guarantees of immunity or threats of mutation outbreaks.   
  1. Trust/Distrust of Vaccines: For those of us who are unaware, the U.S. has, well, a murky history with respect to experiments and vaccinations in specific communities. One glaring example is the Tuskeegee experiment (reasons for distrust of vaccines) The experiment, logically so, has inflicted what many believe to be a permanent scar on the trustworthiness of vaccines and applications to our underserved population(s). It won’t be a quick or easy solution to turn this around soon enough to chart a new, universally trusted trajectory for the forthcoming Covid-19 vaccinations.  
  1. Cost: I’ve yet to hear much confirmation of the costs of each of the 100s of millions of vaccinations that are “in the works.”  Is it $20 per dose? $37? More expensive than the above? Excuse me for sounding overly concerned, but I believe this will be the most important element in the decision to take a vaccine or decline.  But, for someone who can’t afford their next meal and has been standing in food distribution lines for the past 6 months, this might as well be $2,000 or more per dose. They simply won’t be able to afford it, they won’t receive the vaccination, and we, in turn, won’t achieve the participation rate we need to kill off this raging virus.  

If we are collectively serious about controlling Covid-19 into 2021, we also need to pay much more attention to the feasibility of it all.  Without a true assessment, we may be kidding ourselves in opportunities for success. Chances are the vaccinations won’t be cheap and distribution won’t be equal. 

The dilemma is, will we somehow make this work for the sake of our nation – and the world too – or will it be viewed in history as one of the epic failures of our time. 

Tell me, What do YOU think? I’m curious to find out…

– A.N.  

Supporting links  

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-of-the-year/pandemic

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/tuskegee-study-medical-distrust-research/487439

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-much-will-it-cost-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine

A Closer Look … Baseball, meet Covid

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with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look

Topic: PLAY BALL!! (just don’t spit or argue…and get Covid tested often!!)

Issue: Can baseball players really refrain from spitting?! Or, arguing? Or …

I guess it’s a valiant effort to think we can “field” a troupe of MLB players and count on them to refrain from spitting before, during, and after a game. However, do you think it’s perhaps a bit far-fetched we can achieve such a lofty goal? 

I mean, these guys (I do know a little bit about them) have been “takin’ a dip,” “puttin’ in a chaw,” and otherwise hockin’ loogies since practically tee ball. In fact, I could tell you some stories about guys who filled up 2-liter soda bottles with the “after-sauce” of Apple JackSkoalCopenhagen, or … well, take your pick, big boy.  

The point is that a good argument can be made that spitting is just as (if not more) linked to baseball than both apple pie and hot dogs are to the American culture. Baseball players spit … period.  Even the ones who don’t chew tobacco.  It’s part of the game folks. 

To add insult to injury, players will also be commanded to “not argue” with the field umpires and be available for plenty of Covid testing. Baseball and testing?! C’mon, man! Did you see what happened during the (steroid era) 90s and early 2000s? Again, testing and baseball haven’t mixed too well in the past. Let’s just leave that argument for a different day. 

Okay, so even if we can clear the above hurdles, we must also understand that, in lieu of screaming and adoring fans, the stands will be filled with … cardboard cutouts of fans. Yes, I said it, cardboard! If ever there was a reason to spit on something, this may be it.  

In this technological age, couldn’t we have come up with something more life like? How about holograms that are programmed to behave like regular fans? Or how about cartoons of fans who drink gallons of beer, scream obscenities at the top of their lungs, and hurl batteries (and other unmentionables) onto the field – without provocation?  Sounds kind of fun, huh? 

Or, how about this? How about making the holograms, well, (fake) spit! That way, the players will feel more at home for the opener … wait a second, did the rules committee just tell baseballers that they can’t adjust their, uh, “pant legs” either?  What is this world coming to?!! 

What do YOU think? 

-A.N. 

Seriously though, stay safe my readers! 

A Closer Look …

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with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look …

Topic: What skill did you learn/ are you learning during the extended “home-based” Covid-19 period?

Personal note: Like you, I noticed plenty of people getting in on the new “mask production craze”

The “mask makers” (as seen all over YouTube) …

However, I decided to do something a bit different. I took some time to learn a new digital design skill. Since I began self-learning coding in late 2014, I’ve always tinkered with Photoshop, but, only learned enough to make a mess for the most part! So, with some extra time on my hands (not having to drop off the kids at school for a while) I dug into the progam GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program).

Since its free, open source software, I knew I could simply dabble at my pace without worrying about an forthcoming “expired trial period” to deal with. Also, I knew if I got distracted by something else unforeseen, I could easily move on without worry likewise.

Anyhow, with all that is going on in the U.S.A. and around the world, I just thought it might be a good time reach and ask our social media and site followers:

What skill have you developed (or are currently in the midst of) that you most likely would never have done were it not for the Covid-19 quarantines/ shutdowns/ interruptions?

We look forward to hearing about it!

Be well all!

-A.N.