Champions, Civil Rights and CDC Changes

By David Mark Greaves

Simone Biles
What a class-act champion Simone Biles is. She did her vault and then, with a pensive look, walked to her coaches and then her teammates. She gives them all hugs and we hear her saying “I love you guys. This is your first. I’ll be fine.”
After she said she realized during the vault that she did not know where in the air she was. Given what she does for a living, that could mean not only losing a medal, it could mean a life-changing injury. “I just never felt like this going into a competition before. Once I came out here I was like, ‘No, mental is not there. I need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,’” Biles said.
Sometimes boxers stay in the ring, or footballers stay on the field, longer than they should and live with the regret.
Biles is a champion who knows when to step away and as she says, deal with the battle going on inside her head.

Voter Suppression
It’s been over 50 years and Civil Rights champion Rev. Jesse Jackson is still being put in handcuffs over voting rights. This time it was Monday during a sit-in outside of Arizona Democrat Sen. Krysten Sinema’s Phoenix office to bring attention to her refusal to vote to change the rules of the filibuster that are preventing the senate passing voting rights legislation.
Rev. William Barber and Beto O’Rourke are leading a march on the Texas capital in Austin to protest the draconian voter suppression efforts by the Republican majority that forced the Democratic representatives to leave the state to prevent a legislative quorum and stop the vote passing.
Without the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act now pending, the danger of White supremacist rule is real and must be confronted if the nation is to be the place we grew up to believe in.

The Centers for Disease Control Changes Mask Guidance. Why?
To the question, “Do they know what they’re doing or are we all in an experiment?” The answer is the CDC is doing the best they can with what they know at the time.
As the novel virus emerged and the pandemic began, doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies began to learn how to react and at each learning, fewer lives were lost. Doctors learned to put patients on their stomachs instead of the back, they learned not to use ventilators early in the treatment. Researchers learned about monoclonal antibodies and airborne transmission and masks were then mandated. Pharmaceutical companies learned how to design a vaccine that produced antibodies that attacked the virus.
That vaccine success, 161 million vaccinations and only about 5,914 reported hospitalizations and deaths reported to the CDC among the fully vaccinated, meant the mask mandate could be relaxed.

But a serious problem has arisen.
Now they’ve learned that the new Delta variant is more transmissible and more dangerous than the original and that vaccinated people can still catch it, even though they may have no, or minimal symptoms. A report in the National Geographic of a July 9th study shows “that people infected with the Delta variant have about a thousand times more viral particles in their respiratory tracts when they test positive for COVID-19 than people with previous strains at the same stage of infection.”

We take this to mean that vaccinated people, even asymptomatic and relaxing in the company of other vaccinated people, can still catch and carry the virus and be a mortal threat to the unvaccinated when they go home.
The CDC has updated their recommendations to wear masks indoors based on this new knowledge. These messages are sequential, not mixed. As we go forward, I do not doubt there will be more changes based on rates of vaccinations, infections and the emergence of new variants, possibly even more dangerous.
It does not have to be this way. “There wouldn’t be any evolution [of the virus] if everybody got vaccinated—the virus would just go away,” says Robert Darnell, a physician scientist at the Rockefeller University in New York. “Vaccination is what basically eradicated measles and came close to eradicating polio. We could do the same thing here with COVID. We could be done with this.”

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