Well, well, well, the GSA is finally acknowledging what the rest of us knew weeks ago. Joe Biden is President-elect; so let the transition officially begin. So, if you haven’t heard, yesterday, the General Services Administration via letter by Administrator Emily Murphy said it is ready to begin the formal transition of power. It’s about time.
In the letter, Murphy tries to justify her not releasing the funds and states that she was not influenced by the President and that she made the decision to withhold the transition funds of her own accord. But in the same breath she didn’t acknowledge Biden winning by saying the “actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution.” Really! At any rate, Biden now has access to $6.3 million available for the transition and an additional $1 million for appointee orientation sessions. Biden can also now access additional office space inside the agency and use federal resources for background checks on all his recent staffing and Cabinet decisions.
The Real Obstacle with Vaccines
With the latest announcement of a third promising vaccine, it’s worth a closer look. Three companies have COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca is the latest to announce, with its vaccine being 70% effective on average with up to 90 % in smaller groups with a lower dosage. The other two vaccines are 95 % effective. However, AstraZeneca’s is cheaper and doesn’t require the challenging subzero temperature storage. So which do you think will be more widely distributed around the world?
Distribution, however, will continue to be a problem regardless of which vaccine is the predominant one. But, in American we have a bigger problem: minorities who need the vaccine the most don’t trust it. Today, Black, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic COVID-19 patients still die far more frequently than White patients. Yet, according to a recent survey, fewer than half of Black people and 66% of Latino people said they would definitely or probably take it. Only, 14% of Black people trust that a vaccine will be safe, and 18% trust that it will be effective in shielding them from the coronavirus. While, among Latinos, 34% trust its safety and 40% trust its effectiveness.
For a number of legitimate reasons, there is deep-seated mistrust of institutions in general and government institutions in particular in the Black community. This will be the hurdle to getting a large number of Black Americans to take the vaccine. Some of this can be addressed by Black physicians, but with everything else there is not enough of them. It will take a major PR/public health effort by the country to overcome this.
This year two Georgia school districts had two very different plans for resuming classes. Swainsboro Middle School made masks optional: about half of the children wore them, the receptionist, sporadically and some teachers. Within a couple of days of reopening: 2 receptionists were sick. In the coming weeks: the school became a hotspot, 100 students were quarantined, 9 middle school teachers were infected and one of them spent 4 weeks on a ventilator.
The Marietta school district required masks, even for pre-kindergarteners inside school buildings and they trained their own contact tracers. During the first month of classes, it reported no school-related transmissions of COVID-19.
Although recently several states have made the “painstaking” decision to mandate masks. 11 states, including Georgia, don’t require students to cover their noses and mouths, regardless of whether they are indoors, in small classrooms, or in close contact during sporting events. Those states left it up to local districts, thus the disparate policies. Only about ⅓ of Georgia counties require masks. I really am sick of the stupidity when it comes to handling this pandemic.
What Religion is Covid?
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined a federal lawsuit, Friday, to make an exemption for religious schools. He opposes an executive order issued by Gov. Andy Beshear to close schools, in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The order would keep middle and high school students in remote learning until at least January 4, but allows elementary schools to reopen December 7, unless the school is in a “Red Zone County”. But, Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined a private Christian school, Danville Christian Academy, in a lawsuit against Beshear, arguing the governor’s order is unconstitutional because it would prevent religious organizations from providing private education. I’ll ask again, what religion is COVID-19? There has got to be better things we can do with our time and religious platforms. It’s like each individual person, school, city, and county has to learn the hard way. Once, again, this is just dumb. This is NOT the hill you want to die on, both literally and figuratively.
Sun, Sand, and Suspension
A group of 70 MBA students took a trip to Turks and Caicos in violation of Columbia Business School’s COVID-19 travel policy. The School’s response: temporarily prohibit them from attending in-person classes. This trip of course was not school sponsored and their Fall 2020 policy says “All academic or work-related travel, domestic or international, is suspended.” So now they have to attend on-line classes.
How did they get caught? A snitch. There was a formal complaint filed and Columbia used IP addresses to trace the students. A second violation will result in suspension. Apparently there was also a trip in August. 60 students went to a mansion in the Poconos, they dubbed “COVID Castle.”
The stupidity continues.
iPads for Guns
The idiocy in the story is a welcome change of pace. Apple’s head of global security was indicted last week on charges that he offered 200 iPads to Santa Clara County sheriff’s office in exchange for concealed weapons licenses. There was a two year investigation, but the ipads were never delivered because the sheriff’s office got wind that a search warrant was coming. It is unclear why these concealed carry permits were so coveted. Gotta ask though, Sheriff’s office, were you that hard up for an iPad?