A year and a half into this thing, how's it going?
From Canada's Globe & Mail, which is like The New York Times but without the jokes, it seems the New Normal is going to have to be cranked up a notch:
Overwhelming evidence now demonstrates that the dominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV2 is airborne, yet mitigation strategies have not evolved with this knowledge.
Indoor environments where people are in close contact present the highest risk for transmission. Work-from-home should continue as much as possible, as it is premature to return to the office unless absolutely necessary. When indoor close contact is occurring, cloth or medical masks should be replaced with respirator masks, which provide superior protection through a combination of exhalation source control and inhalational filtration.
Respirator masks, huh? They're pricey but stylish - and your kids will soon get used to them.
On the other hand, from Iceland's top epidemiologist:
Þórólfur Guðnason sagði í Sprengisandi á Bylgjunni í morgun að vonbrigði séu að hjarðónæmi hafi ekki náðst með bólusetningu. Hann segir að einungis ein önnur leið sé fær til að ná hjarðónæmi, að leyfa veirunni að dreifast um samfélagið.
Which means more or less:
Þórólfur Guðnason said on Sprengisandi á Bylgjunni this morning that it is disappointing that herd immunity has not been achieved through vaccination. He says the only other way to achieve herd immunity is to allow the virus to spread through the community.
The great monolithic herd of public health commissars then took the tire iron to him, and Mr Guðnason has now walked that back.
Meanwhile, in America - or at least on Twitter - it's business as usual. Lars McMurtry is following the science:
The CDC should roll out a new program: Get the shot or get shot.
The unvaccinated need to be rounded up and lined up in front of open trenches, Their choice is simple.
America has had enough of their virus. We need to get back to normal life.
With or without them.
The bad news is that America can't dig open trenches, because all the shovels and excavators are made in China and the supply chain's a bit disrupted. The good news is that what Joe Biden calls "the pandemic of the unvaccinated" mostly involves the vaccinated giving the Delta variant to the un-, so Mr McMurtry may get his wish albeit a little more incrementally than he'd like.
My view is that the Icelandic guy is right - that is, before he was clubbed into submission. To recapitulate a pithy line from another apparently silenced researcher, stopping humans from being human won't stop the virus from being a virus. Whatever the original justification (ie, to prevent the collapse of hospital systems), maintaining lockdown after, oh, late April 2020 did nothing to the virus except retard the development of herd immunity and, in the absence thereof, enable it to incubate more lethal variants than it would otherwise have done.
What's the upshot? This medical prof from East Anglia now says "herd immunity will never happen". Well, whose fault is that? Quarantining millions of healthy people while setting a target of zero-Covid is a pandemic policy that no sane government has ever attempted.
Given that we're now being told we have to live with Covid forever (which is true, albeit an increasingly cold-like Covid, discernible only by sore throats and sniffles), we could at least take measures to punish the Chinese biowarfare lab and its enthusiastic funders in America's diseased public-health bureaucracy for loosing this thing on the world.
Ah, but that's even less likely than open trenches...
~Speaking of China, I see the world's most overpaid military brass are now wargaming full-blown military conflict with Chairman Xi over Taiwan. It's not going well in the Pentagon basement. I think we all know it would go even worse in real life. America accounts for almost half of the planet's military spending - and, through interest payments on the debt, has also financed China's expansion of its own armed forces to the point where it now has the world's largest surface fleet.
In return for all that expenditure, the US now takes twenty years to lose to goatherds with fertilizer. It has not won a war in living memory, not because its soldiery is insufficiently brave but because its general staff are irredeemably incompetent corrupt grifters.
I said as much on Fox News Primetime just a couple of weeks back. But I felt a bit bad about it, because I'm an immigrant to this land and it seems poor form for a chap to excoriate even such garlanded boobs as General Thoroughly Modern Milley. Then again, clearly the entire American way of war needs rethinking - as I've been saying for well over a decade - and, alas, the rah-rah money-no-object national-security right sees no problem whatsoever in its current business model.
So I am heartened to see an American say it, very forcefully - Josiah Lippincott in a piece in The Federalist with the headline:
America's Generals Lied, Lost Wars, And Looted The People They Claimed To Serve
And he's only just warming up. Do read it.
Any war over Taiwan would be the final humiliation for the Pentagon. Even Chairman Xi can't get that lucky, can he?
~In these glum times, I was thinking of introducing a weekly feature of things that make me happy. Trying to track down from very hazy memory a telly routine by Richard Burton and Bob Hope, I stumbled upon this clip from Hope and the irrepressible Ann-Margret.
It's 1974. So Bob is just beginning the final quarter-century of his career. He is seventy-one and, having booked a considerably younger fireball of talent, would like to do something with her. Somehow they settle on "The Two of Us", a recent song by the great Tony Hatch ("Downtown", "Call Me") and his wife Jackie Trent. As far as I'm aware, it was only really a hit in Australia and New Zealand. So it was a new number to the septuagenarian Hope: that's not an age when big and busy stars want to learn unfamiliar material. But he and A-M run through the song and improve the tempo from the rather dirge-like pace of the original record.
And then they dance...
As I said, that was supposed to be for my new weekly chin-up spot. But it's hard not to watch without reflecting (as with General Milley and his wanker chums) on how many skills we are losing. Bob Hope at seventy-one is a pretty good hoofer - and, as dear old Sammy Cahn used to say to me about Sinatra's acting, that's not even what he does. Today, the late-show hosts who are Hope's heirs as topical-comedy gagmeisters can't even do the topical comedy: stuck in their Covid-secure YouTube boxes, the floundering Trevor Noah is reduced to "F**k Tucker Carlson" and the slack-jawed Jimmy Fallon coos at identity-politics grievance hucksters.
A while back, for one of our telly ventures, musical director Kevin Amos and I were running the band through a number we'd done a couple of years earlier with a killer solo for our star trombonist Gordon Campbell. I don't want to be too specific with regard to time and place, but Gordon wasn't there and, after half-a-dozen takes, it was pitifully clear (though no one said a word) that the trombonist on hand couldn't actually play his part. The engineer, a man in late middle age, told us in the control room that this was just the way it was now: when he'd started forty years earlier, you could have found any number of trombonists who could have played it; now, in a city of millions, there were none.
Who cares, say you? Song'n'dance, trombone solos... We have lots of new skills, like whatever it is that Miley Cyrus does. Well, I urge you to read this piece by Heather Mac Donald on the suicide of classical music. It is not enough that we have lost the knack of creating new symphonies, concerti, operas; it is also vitally necessary that we destroy utterly our stewardship of our former greatness ...so that future generations will not even know what we have lost.
Oh, well. So much for our new Happy feature...
~It was a very busy weekend at SteynOnline, beginning with a new episode of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade, looking at contrasting views of family life. For our weekend movie date, Rick McGinnis celebrated one of the all-time greatest Hollywood couples, William Powell and Myrna Loy ...but not in a Thin Man movie. Sunday saw a Last Call special, with a personal note from Mark on Rush Limbaugh and the Duke of Edinburgh, plus Larry King getting the inside scoop from Donald Trump, a lot of walking alone, and survivors of Chernobyl and terrorism who could not outrun the Covid. Our Sunday song selection was a magical night in Alabama, and our marquee presentation was Steyn's latest Tale for Our Time - Jack London's Burning Daylight: Will the King of the Klondike be brought low by mere romance? Click for Part Twenty-Seven, Part Twenty-Eight and Part Twenty-Nine - or go here for a good old binge-listen. Part Thirty airs tonight.
If you were too busy booking your booster shot with complimentary perspex helmet, we hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.