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The Debbie Downers have been right all along


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6 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Your comment about "premature" is simply not borne out by the facts.  

 

My "premature" comment is based upon what I am hearing within the last 24 hours from respected local health authorities.  

 

Most of your post states what I think.  

 

When I am able to enter my favorite wine store, my favorite locally owned grocer, and whatever restaurant that I choose to patronize and see a sign that says "Masks are no longer required"--then, I will accept your premise that "the pandemic is over".  

 

We are not there yet in my community.  Tomorrow, June 2, 2021, is the day that Ohio's public health orders relating to Covid will be lifted.  Let's see what June 2nd and the days after bring.  

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3 minutes ago, kevingastreich said:

It came from China. Even China admits that although they are trying to blame it on a bat. pangolin or whatever and not the lab where they were actually studying THE VERY virus that took over the world. Reality check is in order Sir.

 

I'd prefer to defer any further conversation about the origin of the virus until our Intelligence Services are able to determine what actually happened.  If that will ever be able to be determined.  

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

My "premature" comment is based upon what I am hearing within the last 24 hours from respected local health authorities.  

 

Most of your post states what I think.  

 

When I am able to enter my favorite wine store, my favorite locally owned grocer, and whatever restaurant that I choose to patronize and see a sign that says "Masks are no longer required"--then, I will accept your premise that "the pandemic is over".  

 

We are not there yet in my community.  Tomorrow, June 2, 2021, is the day that Ohio's public health orders relating to Covid will be lifted.  Let's see what June 2nd and the days after bring.  

There is so much confusion and misinformation it is hard to blame anyone for being confused.  In Pennsylvania, our Governor lifted nearly all restrictions yesterday and there is no longer a mask mandate for anyone vaccinated.  This morning DW went into Panera to pick up an order and was met with a sign that said masks required (they even offered to give anyone a free mask).  She later went to the public library (masks are not required) but she was the only person without a mask.   Stores are certainly allowed to have their own policy and in Panera you need to wear a mask when you walk in the door but can take it off as soon as you sit at a table.  But as far as our State is concerned you need no mask anywhere, there is no longer a need for capacity control, and there is no longer a need for social distancing.

 

As some have predicted, many in our country are having difficultly adjusting.  Our librarian who is a relatively young man told my wife he is vaccinated but just feels more comfortable wearing a mask.  And that is fine.  Local and even State Health Departments (I used to work for our State Health Dept) get caught up in bureaucratic politics and there can be substantial delays while they decide the appropriate policy.   The way I see it, folks that feel comfortable wearing masks should continue to wear masks (even when making love to their spouses).  Those that are fully vaccinated and see no reason to wear a mask should not wear a mask (unless it is required at their location).  

 

I like to think that some of here on CC have been ahead of many agencies.  When the CDC Director said (back in March) that folks who are fully vaccinated "do not get sick or spread COVID" it was essentially game over.  But then politics infected decisions, there was some walking back, some mixed messages, and more uncertainty.  But Dr. Walensky had made the mistake of speaking the truth (she was new to the government).  It took nearly 2 months for the CDC to admit that what she said was accurate and it was only 2 weeks ago that the CDC finally started changing their policy to align with their own data.    So ask yourself, if fully vaccinated folks do not get COVID or spread COVID then why do they need to wear a mask?   That is the same question that Frank del Rio (CEO of Norwegian Holdings) posed to the CDC a few weeks ago.  Within a few days the CDC changed their cruise ship policy and said that on ships where everyone is vaccinated there is no need for masking or social distancing.  Duh!  Really?

 

So folks will continue to do as they please (after all, this is America) which is fine.  Some folks will live in fear of COVID for years (even if they are vaccinated) and that is nothing new among folks that live their lives in fear of lots of things (think of folks afraid to go off ships on their own because they constantly fear missing the ship).  Others of us, who have an adventurous side and actually use common sense, will just move on with our lives within the constraints that exist.  I cannot change the policies around the world, but we can certainly choose our itineraries to take us to countries and places that are accepting of travelers.  I am talking about places like Greece, Croatia, and even Italy (under certain conditions).   If countries like Canada choose to keep their borders closed then we should all simply avoid that country on current and future itineraries.  I respect their lock-down decision and they should also be happy that tourists will simply spend their money elsewhere.  Our favorite Canadian B&B has already closed (for lack of business) which is sad...but we will adjust.

 

Hank

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6 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

So folks will continue to do as they please (after all, this is America) which is fine. 

 

A very well stated post.

 

I believe there will be a migration from those businesses that today say "a mask is required" to "no mask is required".  

 

Last week, I witnessed a patron of a business that has been strict about wearing a mask.  "No mask; No service."  The gentleman wore no mask and was not challenged.  Now, that the official guidance for Ohio is being changed, I expect to see more of this until the signs for "mask wearing required" are in the dust bin of history.  

 

 

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9 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

A very well stated post.

 

I believe there will be a migration from those businesses that today say "a mask is required" to "no mask is required".  

 

Last week, I witnessed a patron of a business that has been strict about wearing a mask.  "No mask; No service."  The gentleman wore no mask and was not challenged.  Now, that the official guidance for Ohio is being changed, I expect to see more of this until the signs for "mask wearing required" are in the dust bin of history.  

 

 

I like to think I am reasonable person who is suspicious of just about anyone with a strong personal agenda (including most within our government).  I do not dismiss what they say, but simply seek out fact to support their recommendations/conclusions.   The mask wearing, during COVID, has always troubled me on several factual issues.  For one thing, all masks are not similar in terms of performance.  Once you move away from N95, KN,95, and KF94 you enter into an unknown arena where most masks are of questionable benefit.  That is why DW and I continued to wear N95 and KN95 masks throughout the bad months (when we were traveling).  Now, we see little reason to wear masks anywhere.  

 

That being said, I like the idea of wearing a good mask (N95, KN95 or KF94) when moving through airports and some other very busy transportation hubs.  Why?  During a lifetime of travel I would often get a cold or URI within a few days after we were doing lots of traveling.  It got to a point where I assumed that after a long trip (airports, planes, etc) I would likely have to deal with a "cold."  Not a big deal but darn annoying.  But during COVID we always wore good masks when we traveled and DW and I managed to avoid any cold or URI.  I cannot quibble with success so we will probably continue to mask while in "travel mode."  

 

Hank

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3 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

I cannot quibble with success so we will probably continue to mask while in "travel mode."  

 



"Travel mode" or not, I do what you do in my everyday life.  What seems to "work", I keep on "doing" until there is evidence that it isn't working or I receive truly expert advice that I need to "change what you are doing".  

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16 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 



"Travel mode" or not, I do what you do in my everyday life.  What seems to "work", I keep on "doing" until there is evidence that it isn't working or I receive truly expert advice that I need to "change what you are doing".  

We can have some fun with this topic.  No question that decent masks are helpful at avoiding many common ailments.  Whether sub-standard masks are effective against viruses is very questionable and folks who wear masks that are not of high quality and are worn without proper air tight fitting are even more questionable.  

 

I suspect that folks that continue to wear masks, when out of their homes, for the rest of their lives will have some positive results.  So if you enjoy wearing those things everywhere (no need for ladies to ever use lipstick) then go for it.  As to what your call "expert advice" you already have that in the recent statements from the CDC (and many other experts).  But this is America and when it comes to something like mask wearing (even if you wear a knitted mask with large holes) you certainly can wear your masks as long as you please.even if that means into the 2030s.  Personally I am very supportive of other folks that wear decent masks since that does help protect me from colds and other bacterial infections spread through the air.  When I lived in Asia (back in the early 70s) mask wearing was quite common among folks that had colds (to protect others).

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

 If countries like Canada choose to keep their borders closed then we should all simply avoid that country on current and future itineraries

I’m surprised by this.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for your posts.  This seems very punitive, but of course you can do as you wish just as each country does what it thinks best for its citizens.  

Edited by bennybear
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I'm still a Debbie Downer, but it gets less and less likely that my prediction of 2 million pandemic deaths by October 14 will come to pass. 59% of the US population is completely unvaccinated and with new variants popping up there is still an opportunity for things to go haywire. 593,000 deaths, many of them elderly, yet there are still people driving slowly ahead of me in the left lane.

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15 hours ago, ontheweb said:

And baseball is less important, so the TORONTO Blue Jays are now playing in Buffalo.

Don't forget that the New York Yankees team had an outbreak. These were young, professional athletes who had been fully vaccinated. Anyway, I'm not concerned about sports. After all, its just a game.

 

Reopening the border is a matter of life and death. Economic consequences too if we have a lockdown again.

 

The chart below shows the results of an antibody test of elderly care home residents, after

being fully vax. Wide scatter with a few showing little antibody response.

 

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210413/Measurable-antibody-response-to-mRNA-COVID-19-vaccine-in-elderly-care-home-residents.aspx

 

Be safe. I'm also eager to travel. But, there are currently many caveats. At the right time, it will be my pleasure to sound the All Clear!

 

 

 

 

Nursing home - post vaccination April 2022.JPG

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7 hours ago, Hlitner said:

  But during COVID we always wore good masks when we traveled and DW and I managed to avoid any cold or URI.  I cannot quibble with success so we will probably continue to mask while in "travel mode."  

 

Hank

 

I always enjoy your rational, well thought out posts.  Totally agree with this one, we will continue to wear our KN95 masks when travelling for the foreseeable future.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Masks have made a huge difference in the number of colds, the flu and other illnesses in the last year......not just Covid. 

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13 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I noted a comment that US is "acting in haste" in reopening.  That Statement is a total crock that ignores the actual situation here in the USA.  While many countries were trying to figure out how to deal with COVID of thinking they just lock everyone away forever and avoid COVID, the US Government (under Trump and later under Biden) made a very deliberate decision that the only way to deal with COVID was to vaccinate our way out of the Pandemic.  And that is what we have done.  The reality here is that anyone in the USA who wants to be vaccinated can easily get free shots (or shot) without much hassle.  In most places it is now possible to get vaccinated the same day by simply walking into various pharmacies or vaccination centers.  

 

So, there is no haste here in the USA.  For us, the pandemic is essentially over.  Those who want to be protected can get protection (vaccines) and those who prefer to gamble are generally free to not get vaccines and take their chances.  But there is no reason for our country to remain closed other then to mollify folks from some other countries who seem to be suffering vaccine envy.  Countries that do not have an effective vaccine program (Japan would be a great example) have little choice but to remain mostly closed, continue to damage their economy, and speed up their vaccine efforts.   But let us be very clear.  Nothing other then vaccines will end the big COVID problem in nearly every country.  Those countries that have mostly kept COVID out by using lockdowns and border closures have simply bought themselves more time to vaccinate their public.  Countries that thought they could just keep COVID away by closing their doors (like Taiwan) are now finding that you cannot keep a virus out forever.  These countries now understand that without vaccinating their population they will eventually be overwhelmed with COVID infections.

 

As to those who might wonder why the USA, the UK, Israel, UAE, and some other countries have done well with vaccine programs might want to look inwards as to why their countries are not on that short list.  No doubt there are many countries where the cost has been a big issue.  But most Western countries have the money but simply lack the policy or forward thinking governments.  I understand that Trump is not a popular figure around the world but that does not change the facts.  It was Trump who pushed an innovative fast vaccine program (called Operation Warp Speed), it was Trump who put money where his mouth was in terms of vaccines, and it was Trump who insisted that the entire COVID mess likely started at the Wuhan Lab (for which he was trashed worldwide).  Now, a year later, those policies and comments seem a lot more acceptable.  I also think a lot of credit should go to both the UK government and the Israeli government who also saw the wisdom of a major commitment to vaccines.   I am a bit puzzled by the German Government since it was one of their companies (Biontech) that developed one of the best COVID vaccines.  But even today Germany has only fully vaccinated about 11% of their population (many more have received one shot).

 

Hank 

 

Hank

 

Hank

Just a quick comment on anyone can get a free shot.

 

Back in January, we received our first Moderna shots. DW was frantically looking for shots, and never finding any. Then she did, and signed us up. She looked again a few hours later, and all slots were filled.

 

The county health clinic where we received our vaccines was named after a pioneer in rural health care in our county, and her last name was the same as one of my classmates through elementary and high school. I e-mailed her (it turns out she was the niece of that person), and she said on the West Coast (she was in the state of Washington), it was impossible to get a vaccine appointment. You had to go on the internet at midnight and hope for the best. Now she too has been vaccinated.

 

Today, in contrast to that, we took a walk, and a half mile away there was a sign for a walk in vaccine clinic (by the high school). 

 

 

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12 hours ago, kevingastreich said:

It came from China. Even China admits that although they are trying to blame it on a bat. pangolin or whatever and not the lab where they were actually studying THE VERY virus that took over the world. Reality check is in order Sir.

No arguing that it came from China, but that is no excuse for the violence that too many Asian-Americans now seem to be experiencing.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

A very well stated post.

 

I believe there will be a migration from those businesses that today say "a mask is required" to "no mask is required".  

 

Last week, I witnessed a patron of a business that has been strict about wearing a mask.  "No mask; No service."  The gentleman wore no mask and was not challenged.  Now, that the official guidance for Ohio is being changed, I expect to see more of this until the signs for "mask wearing required" are in the dust bin of history.  

 

 

I'm now seeing, though not everywhere, signs that say according to CDC guidance those fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks. Those not fully vaccinated still must wear masks. These have replaced the masks required signs.

Edited by ontheweb
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5 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

Don't forget that the New York Yankees team had an outbreak. These were young, professional athletes who had been fully vaccinated. Anyway, I'm not concerned about sports. After all, its just a game.

 

 

 

Writing that the NY Yankees had an outbreak is a bit of an overstatement. One player tested positive. He was supposed to go into at least a 10 day quarantine, but was released from it early after negative tests. There were I believe 8 other cases, coaches and travelling staff members. And I think only one actually showed even mild symptoms. In other words, the vaccines worked. Nobody was hospitalized. If it was not for MLB's testing policies, it might not even have been known that there were infections.

 

They think the spread came from when everyone was in close quarters during a rain delay. Think what might have happened if there were not vaccinations.

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Just another few words about that Yankee "outbreak."  That group had all received the J&J single shot vaccine which has an efficacy of about 67%  (unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines which have a much higher efficacy rate).  So it is not surprising that part of a large group, who spent a lot of time in close quarters would test positive.   You might also consider most of those folks would not have even known they had COVID (if they truly did) since they had no symptoms/illness.

 

Hank

 

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17 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Just another few words about that Yankee "outbreak."  That group had all received the J&J single shot vaccine which has an efficacy of about 67%  (unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines which have a much higher efficacy rate).  So it is not surprising that part of a large group, who spent a lot of time in close quarters would test positive.   You might also consider most of those folks would not have even known they had COVID (if they truly did) since they had no symptoms/illness.

 

Hank

 

I believe the MLB rules allow teams much more freedom if there is an 85% vaccination rate. I think this is one of the reasons for the less efficacious Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be commonplace. It is easier and quicker to get counted as fully vaccinated with a single dose vaccine. Also, with teams constantly travelling, the one dose vaccine makes it easier as you do not have to worry about being able to get the same vaccine the second time.

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8 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

Don't forget that the New York Yankees team had an outbreak. These were young, professional athletes who had been fully vaccinated. Anyway, I'm not concerned about sports. After all, its just a game.

 

So how do you feel about the fact that it seems that Canada will be opening up the border for the Stanley Cup finals?

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1 hour ago, AKJonesy said:

My point goes to the efficacy of the J&J vaccine.  On other threads there is a lot of discussion about the safety of resuming cruising and strong opinions on either side of this issue.  Many; not most people are concerned about the CDC cards, but seem unwilling to admit or perhaps even know that the JJ vaccine is about 66+% effective only.   There is no 100% guarantee and for those who say they won't cruise without absolute proof of 100% compliance.  Even if that happened, there is still the issue of the efficacy of the vaccines AND how long they last.   

That J&J apparently has its pros and cons.  I enjoy doing my own research and decided, at an early date, that we wanted one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) for a whole host of reasons.  We do understand that the efficacy of the J&J is far below that of both Moderna and Pfizer, but also know that J&J does the job in keeping folks from getting seriously ill or needing to be hospitalized.  For many, only needing one shot is an OK tradeoff.  For me (and my family) it was not.

 

Hank

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3 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

That J&J apparently has its pros and cons.  I enjoy doing my own research and decided, at an early date, that we wanted one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) for a whole host of reasons.  We do understand that the efficacy of the J&J is far below that of both Moderna and Pfizer, but also know that J&J does the job in keeping folks from getting seriously ill or needing to be hospitalized.  For many, only needing one shot is an OK tradeoff.  For me (and my family) it was not.

 

Hank

Right.  HAL President said regarding the vaccine, "we are trying to limit the variables".  I think some of the comments are interesting because the AZ that is not approved in US for emergency use, will be one of the vaccines in other countries.  I'm sure we will find some people commenting in future that people vaxxed with AZ should not be allowed.  These seem to be the people that want 100% guarantee; at least that is what I glean from their posts.  Again, IMHO, the cruise lines are being scrutinized far beyond what other industries are having to do.  That is not a bad thing; just an observation.   

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10 minutes ago, AKJonesy said:

Right.  HAL President said regarding the vaccine, "we are trying to limit the variables".  I think some of the comments are interesting because the AZ that is not approved in US for emergency use, will be one of the vaccines in other countries.  I'm sure we will find some people commenting in future that people vaxxed with AZ should not be allowed.  These seem to be the people that want 100% guarantee; at least that is what I glean from their posts.  Again, IMHO, the cruise lines are being scrutinized far beyond what other industries are having to do.  That is not a bad thing; just an observation.   

I would hope that HAL does allow those with AZ or even the combinations (used in some countries of Europe) on cruises.   There is not any controversy about the AZ or combinations as far as efficacy (they work fine) but other issues regarding testing protocols have kept them from getting approval in the US.  In fact, the AZ Phase 3 testing is almost like a comedy of errors which is very surprising giving AZ's long experience in the industry.    I have read some very positive articles about the use of vaccine combinations (such as AZ and Pfizer) that indicate they might even have better efficacy then a single brand vaccine.  But without adequate test data the idea is not going to embraced by the US FDA.   This is going to be a "big deal" with booster shots since whether or not one would need a booster of the same brand (of their original shots) or could use any approved vaccine is a question.

 

Hank

 

 

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Posted (edited)

In Canada, people are being allowed to choose, if they had their first AZ, whether they want to continue with it or have their second as an mRNA vaccine.

Edited by Vict0riann
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2 minutes ago, Vict0riann said:

In Canada, people are being allowed to choose, if they had their first AZ, whether they want to continue with it or have their second as an mRNA vaccine.

Interesting.  I wonder if Canada has had time to do any testing of the results of such combinations.

 

Hank

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9 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Interesting.  I wonder if Canada has had time to do any testing of the results of such combinations.

 

Hank

Not that I am aware of. I think we have just reviewed the results where it has been tested.

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