This Is My O Face: Welcome, Omicron [UPDATE-1]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Scroll down for update and new content. /~Rayne]

Well, it had to happen sooner or later given this pandemic’s craptacular start and the inability of Trumpy right-wingers, nation-states with fewer resources, and Global Big Pharma to tackle COVID’s spread.

I’ve got what feels like a chest cold – gravelly upper chest, scratchy throat – and my spouse has the scratchy throat.

I’ve been around exactly five people in the last two weeks, one of which is my spouse; the others are my kids and two friends. All of them are fully vaccinated and boosted as are we two in my household.

Their status doesn’t rule out the possibility that one of them may carried the virus, if indeed we’re infected. Vaccinated folks can carry the virus.

No lost of smell or taste noted. No other symptoms so far. In my case this might not even be COVID; with the crazy windstorms we’ve had this week I’ve inhaled a bunch of dust every time I’ve had to go outside which may have triggered a flare of my autoimmune disorder.

But if Omicron results in milder symptoms especially in fully vaccinated persons, I may well have COVID.

Put me down as Status: Pending until I’m tested and receive my results.

There will be more to this post when I get back from the testing center, watch for an update.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE — Saturday 18-DEC-2021 -–

That’s not how I intended to start a post about the Omicron variant, but here we are: we go with the virus we have, not the one we wish we had.

What we know about Omicron so far is still rather loose and ill defined. Part of the challenge is that Omicron meets a different population than Alpha or Beta did last year – depending on the country there’s such a broad mix of people who are partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated, boosted, and with different mixtures of vaccinations as well as the stubbornly unvaccinated and the previously infected who occur in each category along with the immunocompromised.

When the first wave hit, everyone everywhere was unvaccinated. There was no need to sort the population except for those who may have been previously infected. By the Delta-dominant third wave analysis was slightly more complicated as more people were vaccinated or previously infected.

Now there’s so much more to sort through to identify trends. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still surprises in case data as Omicron infections explode.

And explode they will, doubling every three days — if not more in less time.

I still can’t wrap my head around the number of cases this variant is expected to produce. I’d like to recommend you listen to this Twitter Spaces recording of a discussion with Financial Times’ statistics journalist John Burn Murdoch, pharma correspondents Hanna Kuchler, Jamie Smyth, and Donato Mancini, and senior editor Clive Cookson.


A caveat before you dive in: the discussion has a UK+EU bias given the location of the participants and their employer. The UK’s handling of COVID has been absolutely abysmal to date and may shape their perspectives.

An even bigger caveat: Twitter Spaces self-delete in 30 days, so you only have 27 more days to listen to their discussion. Catch it before January 13, 2022.

I also can’t wrap my head around the dramatically increased contagiousness of Omicron versus Delta. Delta was already much more contagious than the initial dominant variant; its electrostatic charge caused the aerosolized virus to be attracted to soft human tissues like magnets.

Omicron, though, is 70 times more infectious than Delta. Just fucking mind boggling, this jump from Delta, and what it means for this winter as we approach the holidays.

A preliminary study suggests the Omicron variant is better at transmission because it infects the upper airway, but bad at infecting the lower lungs explaining why it presents with milder symptoms than its predecessor, Delta. Attaching itself to tissues higher in the airway the virus can be more easily dispersed in aerosol, but lower in the lungs the virus is more difficult to blow out.

The increase in infectiousness means you MUST upgrade your masks, especially before holiday gatherings in enclosed spaces. Fabric alone will no longer do the job even if everyone in the same shared space is wearing them. This goes for health care workers, too, who’ve continued to wear surgical masks through the pandemic when they could get their hands on them. All of us need to be wearing N95 masks in shared public spaces to reduce transmission.

Testing will become more critical because Omicron may present for many like common cold symptoms, hence my scramble yesterday to get tested. A year ago I might have blown off the symptoms I had because I didn’t lose my sense of smell and/or taste, didn’t run a temperature, didn’t have breathing problems or feel like I was losing oxygen. But not now – I can’t do that.

Nor can we ignore the fearsome possibility of co-infection or super-infection as mentioned in Financial Times’ discussion, in which the infected has both Delta and Omicron at the same time. Imagine this kind of scenario creating conditions for development of a new variant which is everything bad about Delta and Omicron combined. There’s also the possibility of co-infection with influenza, which has already happened though infrequently so far.

If this is what lungs looked like with the earlier variants, what will they look like with a super-infection of Delta and Omicron combined? Will we see more patients in need of lung transplants even earlier? Will we simply see an increase in mortality?

Only time, observation, and data will tell, and we’d really rather not accrue any data.

One thing we have learned about Omicron: the Johnson & Johnson adenovirus-vector one-shot vaccine is not effective against it, based on a study (pre-print) by Vir Biotechnology Inc. employees published this past Wednesday.

The Center for Disease Control issued a statement of preference for mRNA vaccines as well given the risk of death from unusual clotting observed across the population vaccinated with J&J. This means if you are J&J vaccinated but unboosted, you should look into an mRNA booster as soon as possible. This is fluid and may be subject to change; I wouldn’t be surprised with Omicron’s explosion of cases to see revaccination with a full regimen of mRNA recommended for J&J recipients.

~ ~ ~

Besides this unexpected Chinese fire drill of chasing COVID tests and results, what’s really frustrating is the continued absurd nihilistic conservatism of many unvaccinated and their maskless counterparts.

Exhibit A: Matthew Walter, arch Catholic, editor of The Lamp, contributor to the American Conservative, and the author of “Where I Live, No One Cares About COVID,” unfortunately published by The Atlantic.

Let’s make a distinction here between the folks who are still struggling to get vaccinated because of vampiric capitalism and racism. Many unvaccinated people want to be protected but can’t take the time away from work to get their shots and deal with the possible symptoms which often follow the vaccine. We forget too many Americans living in precarity risk losing their jobs if they or their family members are sick because this country hasn’t ensured a reasonable amount of paid time off for illness let alone health maintenance. These same workers end up gambling on not getting COVID because they can’t afford to take a handful of days for the vaccinations and booster for themselves and their family. If COVID gets them, well, they know it’s all over.

Ditto the unvaccinated who have legitimate health conditions which preclude vaccination. For them the rest of us should be vaccinated.

But the deliberately unvaccinated and COVID indifferent who identify with Matthew Walther? Fuck them.

All those stupid assholes like Walther who’ve decided to pretend there’s no pandemic, choosing instead to party on Michigan’s Torch Lake’s sandbar back in July 2020, causing a superspreader event? Fuck them all, the selfish gits.

Fuck all the jerks fighting mask and vaccine mandates, who’d rather kids and their teachers got sick with COVID, causing more superspreader events.

Sure, I get it – Walther wrote his misbegotten spike-worthy piece for The Atlantic from his deep red rural St. Joseph County located on the Michigan border with red state Indiana. The Atlantic’s editors stupidly decided to both-sides the pandemic.

But The Atlantic failed to look at what side they were giving oxygen by platforming Walther. The town in which Walther’s journal The Lamp is published has a population of less than 8000.

And they’re white, white, white.

It’s a super homogenous location where nobody gives a shit about COVID because nearly 90% of them share the same everything from skin color to politics. They act as if the only people who get COVID, are disabled by it or die from it are those people in Metro Detroit area. That’s the hidden subtext in Walther’s essay.

The Ameri-centric xenophobia also rolls off Walther:

…Indeed, there is something small-minded and puritanical and distinctly American about the whole business of obsessing over whether vaccinated teachers remove their face covering during a long school day. …

Shall we ask Japan and South Korea about mask wearing and other COVID mitigation measures? Japan’s population is 38% of the U.S. and has had less than 19,000 COVID deaths to date, while South Korea at 15% of U.S. population has had less than 5,000 COVID deaths in the same time frame.

Apparently the world doesn’t exist outside predominantly white spaces like the U.S. and Europe for Walther. We look like morons not only because of the ongoing mass death event but because folks like Walther insist there’s nothing to see, move along.

But I, too, live in Michigan, in a limnal space between a suburb and rural Michigan. It’s not just those people  who are getting sick, hospitalized, disabled, or dying because of COVID. Here we all know quite a few white people who’ve died of COVID, the disease Walther doesn’t give a shit about any longer; the obituaries scrolling by on the local television stations are wall to wall with these white faces.

It’s not just these disposable people to whom Walther is indifferent who are casualties. COVID is chewing up our health care system capacity to the point the feds have sent in support personnel; it’s eating the spirit of our health care workers to the point where many are leaving health care permanently.

ER doctor Rob Davidson lives and works only four counties and a hundred miles north of Walther, in a community which is even smaller and whiter than Three Rivers:

If you follow Dr. Davidson on Twitter you know how frustrated he and health care workers are to care for so many who are deathly ill and too often die when the disease could have been mitigated or prevented with a readily available vaccine regimen. Many of the people lost are friends and neighbors who refused to get vaccinated.

As Davidson notes, “…they’ve been poisoned with this idea that A, COVID’s not a big deal from the beginning and B, these vaccines will somehow make them sick.”

That’s what Walther’s piece continues to validate and nurture because it was platformed by The Atlantic – the other Big Lie which Trump began and continues with propping up by right-wing wretches who treat others’ lives like so much toilet paper, supported by media complicity and click-bait cupidity.

When the pandemic began, Trump wanted to save his own ass at the polls so he repeatedly assured his weak-minded base that COVID wasn’t a big deal, it was a hoax, it would disappear.

Except it was American’s lives which disappeared – more than 800,000 so far, of which more than a third could have been saved by vaccines had Trump left a distribution plan in place instead of another Big Lie.

Nearly double that 800,000 have been lost if excess deaths are included due to COVID’s drain on our health infrastructure.

Which means we’ve lost roughly two million Americans because of Trump’s other Big Lie – a passive-aggressive democide by active neglect.

The capper on Walther’s nihilistic crap: while he claims nobody cares about COVID, a couple thousand people are slogging away in Portage, a mere 26 miles north of Walther’s digs.

They’re producing as much of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine as fast as they can. There’s a Pfizer plant under construction to expand production of injectables which will bring 450 more new jobs. Other biotech companies and their workers in southeast Michigan support Pfizer’s production.

These Michigan residents and employers care one hell of a lot about COVID, and they’ve saved millions of lives.

Which makes Walther’s op-ed look like what it is, an extension of Trump’s democidal lie and an insult to the conscientiousness and humanity of fellow Michigan residents.

A literal insult to neighbors who may be commuting from Walther’s town to make life-saving vaccines every day.

I hope some day Walther meets his Catholic god and is told what an offense it has been that he treated other human’s lives with so little respect and dignity.

~ ~ ~

Status update: Both my antigen and PCR tests came back negative. My coughing is subsiding, leaving just the occasional tickle. I hope this was just an extremely mild cold or an autoimmune flare. But I’m now back on heightened alert; if this was a cold, how did I get it? Could I have infected one or more of the few people I’ve been in contact with this week?

Stay safe, peeps. Don’t drop your guard just yet. Get your booster shot, and a flu shot, too.


Commenter “Doug Fir” took exception to the use of the word “transmissibility” and the substitution of the word “infectious.” Reporting across the media ecosphere has used transmission/contagion/infection and variants of these words interchangeably; this is a point needing further explication and explanation by researchers who are still studying Omicron’s differentiation from other variants. I’ll point to this excerpt from an article in StatNews also linked above as the most thorough reporting but still not definitive as it is based on preliminary data:

The new research comes from a Hong Kong University team led by public health professor Michael Chan Chi-wai and pathologist John Nicholls. Previously, the researchers pioneered a method for growing human tissues extracted from the lung and respiratory tract, which they used to study how SARS-CoV-2 invaded cells and replicated compared to other dangerous coronaviruses. Using this same system, they analyzed how live, replicating particles of Omicron infected the tissues. They found that over the first 24 hours, Omicron multiplied about 70 times faster inside respiratory-tract tissue than the Delta variant. When they ran the same experiments with the lung tissue, they found Omicron was actually worse at infecting those cells than either Delta or the original strain of the virus that originated in Wuhan.

That seemingly helps explain the variant’s infectiousness, and also why it may not be causing as severe sickness as previous variants of the coronavirus — as early data suggest.

“That basically tells us it’s inherently more transmissible,” said Müge Çevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology at the University of St. Andrews School of Medicine in Scotland. “The reason Omicron is spreading so fast is not just because of immune evasion” — its ability to elude antibodies from vaccines or infection with earlier variants — “but a combination of that with intrinsic enhanced infectiousness.”

It appears Omicron is not as effective as Delta in attaching to tissues deeper in the lungs; it attaches more effectively to the trachea and bronchi or upper airways where it can be more easily blown out as aerosol others can inhale especially if not well masked and in enclosed shared space with poor ventilation.

158 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    This is my oh-my-fucking-god-you-must-be-kidding-me face -> -__-

    ADDER — 4:00 PM 18-DEC-2021 —
    Yeah, “Nobody in Michigan cares about COVID” Walther, you utter selfish hack and your anti-mask bullshit. If I want to signal my virtue, you’d best watch for my shit-kicking boots.

    Shout out to MetroTimes for the best line about that wretch Walther:

    … The church frowns upon sodomy, but Walther’s head is completely up his own ass. “COVID is invisible to me except when I am reading the news, in which case it strikes me with all the force of reports about distant coups in Myanmar,” he writes. But like the distant coup in Myanmar, COVID-19 is very real, and impacts people in Michigan. Its distance from Walther doesn’t make it any less so. One would think a professional journalist would understand and appreciate how the power of the written word can make the abstract tangible. But not Walther, who seems to have found heaven on Earth in his blissful ignorance. …

    • joel fisher says:

      Omicron might just get everyone before it’s over. I hope your experience–and your family’s–is mild.

    • Zirc says:

      Good luck! I have tried to be a good boy during these strange days. I got both my shots as soon as I could. On Tuesday, I got my booster. I mask up, I try to stay socially distant. However, Monday night I noticed I had the sniffles. On Tuesday, my voice was a little raspy, but I didn’t think anything of it and got my booster anyway. By Wednesday night, my THROAT WAS ON FIRE. Swallowing was painful, I felt a little light-headed at times. I have felt this way before during bouts of bronchitis or strep or some such, though my sore throat at those times was never ON FIRE.

      So I went to UrgenCare yesterday. It was a long wait, but my THROAT WAS ON FIRE. So I waited. They text you when they’re ready for you, so I went a couple doors down to the ice cream place figuring a cool dollop of ice cream would go down nicely. No. All it did was remind me that my THROAT WAS ON FIRE.

      They tested me for COVID and strep. Strep was negative. COVID was positive. Interestingly, all my numbers were semi-ok to great: temperature – 97.3, BP 125/85 (a little higher than usual), pulse in the sixties, oxygen 99. But my THROAT WAS ON FIRE.

      So I have informed all the folks I work for or near, and I sit at home, feeling a little sorry for myself. But other than my THROAT BEING ON FIRE, I feel a little weak, nothing else. And I don’t blame the booster. If the sniffles I had Monday are any indication, I probably already had the virus when I got the booster.


      • Rayne says:

        Wow, Zirc, sorry to hear about your COVID experience. Wonder if this was Delta or Omicron, but the variant probably doesn’t matter to you when your THROAT IS ON FIRE.

        Hope you’re perking along and past the ‘rona very soon. Hang in there!

    • Dennis B says:

      Two weeks ago I had a normal 24 hour kinda cold, sneezing, runny nose, sinus congestion and a bit of gunk in my lungs.I stil have some of that.COVID certainly comes to mind, so I went to get tested but couldn’t find a place and the next day felt WAY better. The End

      • Rayne says:

        Hope you didn’t transmit whatever you had to anybody else. Omicron will be particularly difficult for our public health care system if its symptoms make it easily blown off, I’m afraid.

    • Duke says:

      Happy for you and your loved ones that you are negative Thanks for the deep dive into what we should be getting from the “media”.

      Currently, I have one child traveling with only two shots trying to enjoy the Upper Peninsula. I want to scream!!!

      The sky isn’t falling but, Chicken Little might be bent over the toilet puking and wishing it were dead.

      My wife in her wisdom, asked if this qualifies as a plague. My response was it is a pandemic and in another age the grifters of time called it the plagues in the postscripts we call bible.

      There is still plenty of fuel for this fire to burn. Hopefully, scientists will author the postscripts yet to be written. Welcome to the new version of the Roaring 20’s.

      • Rayne says:

        I love the UP being a Yooper by birth, but it’s not a good place to get COVID because of the insufficiency of health care facilities. I’ll bite my tongue about the quality.

        Let’s hope some folks wise up sooner rather than later, before the fire of the gods burns through them to make a point.

  2. Troutwaxer says:

    I just got tested on the same basis. The test came back negative and a couple days later I said, “Oh, this feels like Bronchitis.” Now I’m on antibiotics.

      • P J Evans says:

        Agree with that – I had it several times between 1983 and 1990 (twice in six months in 1983). The last time I was taking 1000mg capsules of erythromycin. The first time I was on jury duty and taking a prescription cough syrup with codeine….

    • madwand says:

      People who get bronchitis frequently get it again, I’ve had it at least four times since the 80s. Knocking on wood I haven’t had since the oughts but you never know. Had a bunch of antibiotics and their efficacy decreased over time as I became more antibiotic resistant. Good luck and feel better.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve had bronchitis too many times in my lifetime. I don’t envy you a bit. Don’t forget to onboard a broad spectrum of probiotics once you’re through with your antibiotics since gut flora does a lot of our immune system signaling.

      See: Belkaid, Yasmine, and Timothy W Hand. “Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation.” Cell vol. 157,1 (2014): 121-41. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.011
      https:// www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056765/

      • P J Evans says:

        When I was taking those high-dose erythromycin, I kept acidophilus caplets around for between-meals and at bedtime, because yeah. (I could *taste* the mycin. It’s a musty, moldy flavor, as you might expect from its ancestry.)

        • Rayne says:

          Acidophilus is in the Lactobacillus family; there are about four others, IIRC, which are also necessary for gut health and immune signaling along with Bifidobacteria. Worth looking for a broader range supplement when taking antibiotics, or boosting consumption of a wider range of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            Thanks everyone. I’ll be taking the last of the amoxicillin tomorrow and I’m slowly getting better.

            • bmaz says:

              FWIW, as a lifetime asthmatic, I have had a lot of bronchitis. I call it the grunge, but when you get split pea green stuff in your sinuses and/or lungs, you are screwed. Amoxycillin works okay, but I have always found Zithromax a good measure better. And a ZPac no longer costs a small fortune. It also helps to take a short dose of common prednisone with it. Obviously I am not a doctor, but this has worked for me often.

  3. Alan Charbonneau says:

    Hope you receive a test that is “negative, in a good way”

    I think you may be interested about cruising in the age of COVID.
    I went on a cruise to Alaska in October and I’m going to write about the COVID protocols observed by the airlines, cruise line, and excursion companies in an email. I can’t type too well anymore, the atrophied muscles in my left hand had me 3-fingered typing when I went on disability at age 64, so it may be awhile, but when I’m finished, I’ll send an email to anyone who is interested.

    • Rayne says:

      Consider a speech-to-text app on a cell phone or tablet as a tool for your first draft. Many of them are very good now, should reduce your typing substantially. Keep us posted on your progress.

    • L. Eslinger says:

      Given how slippery Omicron is proving to be, the risks of infection during travel appear to be increasing. And what passes for a functioning mask makes me want to go through decontamination after just going to the grocery (going to Home Depot or Lowe’s is worse).

      Many of my wife’s patients have immune system deficiencies (mainly age, medical conditions, and the side-effects of medical treatments) and their reconstructive work can involve hours of open-mouth chair time, so we’re particularly careful in our infection control practices.

      Unfortunately, even after two years of this pandemic, some patients are dangerously misinformed, or suffer from IDGAF Syndrome, and during intake screening I often catch people who overlook, excuse, or are oblivious to their own bad behaviors. We now dive more deeply into travel history to get a better sense of whether an appointment should be rescheduled.

      • P J Evans says:

        Every time I go to my dentist, I fill out a form about symptoms and such.
        And then I get to do a peroxide rinse before they start work.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL you mean driving by myself a whole whopping 70 miles in my own car to visit my kids and their dog?

      Come to think of it, maybe it was the dog who gave me the bug. The little bugger woke me up twice overnight, licking my face and hands. Cute but pesky rascal.

  4. nvg says:

    I came to this site two years ago because of a link from RossK’s blog. Yesterday he wrote about a Scripps Research report on Omicron:

    “I know I’ve gone to this well a number of times already but I can’t emphasize enough the fantastic job that Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Institute is doing keeping up to date with all the COVID data.”


    • Rayne says:

      Topol is really good; he’s on my list of about 100 people I follow on COVID news.

      I should probably update my Twitter list because it only has about 60 resources. See https:// twitter. com /i/lists/1233903224987553792 (remove spaces)

  5. Pete T says:

    Wishing the best Rayne and to your family.

    7 and 5 year old granddaughters stayed over two nights after TG and I, then my son, but not my wife came down with crappy cold-like symptoms. One GD did have the sniffles.

    3x vax for all of us – flu shot too – and the family gathering included masks and outdoor dining.

    GDs just got their first kid vax earlier this week.

    I do not think it was COVID for my son and me, but we did not test for it. But the symptoms are so similar you gotta wonder. Lasted about a week so nothing unusual about this from the GD spreaders in the past.

    When it hits the USA full on in 2 weeks or so people with symptoms should stay home (not all will) and that will result in service/work force shortages – as it should. But what of the asymptomatic spreaders? We’ve been there, but not on this scale.

  6. Franktoo says:

    At the moment, only 10% of PCR tests are positive. So, even if you have symptoms, the odds are still in your favor, especially if you haven’t been out much. Wishing you good luck.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Franktoo. Both tests were negative and I’m going to stay close to home for the next week to play it safe.

      Maybe I should play the lotto…LOL

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, I was just typing something up about an “umbrella” coronavirus vax — funny how this pandemic has presented a possible vaccine for the common cold with that umbrella regime. We may not need a polyvax for one coronavirus but a regime which prevents SARS, SARS-CoV-2, MERS, and common cold.

      But the super-immunity may not be found with exposure to Omicron. More on that when I finish the adder to my post.

  7. obsessed says:

    Glad to hear that you’re fully boosted. I have a friend who had 2 shots of moderna who got an exceedingly nasty, albeit non-hospitalized case, with 103 temp for several days. Among the many other unnerving things I’ve read today is the idea that analyzing the combined population of boosted, vaxxed and unvaxxed, we’re falsely concluding that omicron is less virulent when in fact, people like us are dragging the death and hospitalization rates down by getting milder cases. But after hearing my vaxxed but unboosted friend’s description I hope everyone gets that booster asap.
    With the obvious caveat that IAAM (I Am A Musician and don’t shit about anything else): If anybody wants to go the full Monty as I have (and anecdotally I haven’t had so much as a sniffle since this whole thing started and I do all the shopping for lots of people), I’ve put aside my hatred of corporations to purchase (after several false starts), the ultimate in covid protection: You have to get 2 p100 filters and you still have to wear a kn95 under the mask to protect others from your exhaust. The problem with the off-brand models that look like the 3M is that they’re murder to put on and take off. I can put the 3M on or take it off in 2 seconds – faster than fastening the two ear straps of a kn95 and way faster than an n95.

    [FYI, link edited to remove tracking. /~Rayne]

  8. Jenny says:

    Rayne, sending you good vibrations.
    Rest is best in my book. When down and out to get rid of the gunk, I go for:
    Fresh lemon, ginger and honey tea.
    Chicken soup.
    Organic Spirulina Tablets.
    Epsom salt baths.
    Relaxing meditation music.
    Naps and sleep.
    A big bonus would be a reflexology session.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Jenny. For me it’s hot sour soup — best way to clear my head and chest. I make mine with my instant pot now, only takes a couple minutes once all the ingredients are assembled. And I drink a “tea” I make with ginger, lemon, garlic, tumeric and green tea to boost my immune system.

      I’m going to top it all off with a quiet night watching Netflix. LOL

      EDIT: Hot sour soup Instant Pot recipe which may be easier for westerners. I prefer this one from northern China which includes chili bean paste. Mmm, more heat.

      • Peterr says:

        There are so many things that are reserved as “when you are sick” meals, that are incredibly delicious. However the tests turn out, enjoy the good stuff!

        • Rayne says:

          Hot sour soup last night hit the spot, always my go-to for upper respiratory and upper chest colds. It was delicious.

          I don’t make it often, am more likely to order it when I’m dining out. But what’s great about this “when you are sick” dish: I can ask someone to pick it up for me or order it for delivery. Not a lot of places one can get “when you are sick” foods one doesn’t have to make or ask a loved one/friend to make.

          • P J Evans says:

            Reminds me I need to check the instant soups at the market – they should have dehydrated hot-and-sour. It may not be great, but it’s available.

            • Rayne says:

              There’s at least a half-dozen brands of instant/dehydrated hot-and-sour soups out there. In a pinch, if you have egg drop soup mix or ingredients, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, soy sauce, powdered ginger, garlic, you’re most of the way there without a special mix.

              • bmaz says:

                Lol, like I’ve got all that stuff laying around in the fridge and pantry. Mrs. bmaz might even have it all, but I’d never find it if life depended on it. Soy sauce, that I can find, the rest not so much.

                On a positive note, we are gearing up as we speak to make homemade Ooni pizza tonight. So that is good.

          • Solo says:

            The soups sound real good. I’m sort of a teaman when breathing gets difficult. Egyptian licorice as a good expectorant and this dried flower I can only find in Latino food stores, sometimes smaller Mom and Pop gringo places in the Southwest. It’s called “Gordo Lobo” (which to me is “fat wolf). The lungs just love it. They relax, fill out. A couple healthy pinches in a quart of rolling boiling water for fifteen minutes.

            In the meantime, a wish for good health, long life, true living to all who traveler here, from one of our greatest songwriters, Warren Zevon. “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” recorded here by Jackson Browne.


            • Rayne says:

              “Egyptian licorice” is a tea blend; its key ingredient is licorice root which has been used as an herbal remedy to treat inflammation and upper respiratory distress for millennia. It has side effects, though, particularly for those with a tendency toward high blood pressure. Use cautiously.

              “Gordolobo” is the Hispanic term for mullein leaves. Many people will recognize this as a weed with pale grey-green fuzzy leaves and a tall flower spike covered with yellow blooms in late summer. It’s been used as an herbal remedy for coughs. Use with caution as some people are allergic or are irritated by the fuzz on the leaves (strain tea well). Could be some other side effects that I haven’t heard about, use cautiously as always.

              I stick to daily mix of green tea and hibiscus — both have antioxidants and the latter in particular is a zinc ionophore. Helps cells increase uptake their of zinc to fend off viruses. Lovely pink and tart like cranberries, too.

    • Rayne says:

      Sadly, the wrong O face — as in, Oh-My-God-Why-After-Two-Years-Of-Near-Isolation-Do-I-Have-To-Do-This-Crap.

      Not the Oh-My-God-Right-There-Don’t-Stop face. ~sigh~

  9. Ed Walker says:

    I’ve been tested twice. The first test was mandatory before flying back to the US from Paris. I went down the street in my neighborhood to a Pharmacy where the guy spoke some English, because my medical French is non-existent. They did the old long-swab test, which felt like someone tapping my brain through my nose. Negative outcome with report in 10 minutes; cost was 25Euro, free for the French.

    The Monday of Thanksgiving week I had a stomach bug, which could be a symptom of Covid. The home test was positive, so we drove several miles to a testing site in Chicago run by a private entity. They did a rapid test and a PCR. The rapid test came back negative in a few hours, and the PCR came in negative two days later. The cost? $300 for each of us; which I suppose was covered by Medicare and my gap policy.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, I feel you there. I had both the long and short swab today. My nose was not happy. I’ve had worse, though, like the swab I needed when I was diagnosed with my autoimmune disorder — needed a long swab to take a sample around my windpipe. Though I was going to barf and cough up a lung at the same time.

      Annoying how the tests can be so variable, let alone expensive here in the US. We should already have remedied this long before Omicron.

  10. mospeck says:

    Best luck, Rayne. But then you’re real tough and figure that you’ll pull her through :)

    You know that Mike Nesmith just kicked off? You’re too young, but he’s the Monkey who wrote Different Drum (a song which you no doubt will appreciate) all the way back in 64, in which Linda Ronstadt just killed it in 67. Love both versions, but then they’re kind of two different takes on the same phenomenon. to the winds, march.

    • Rayne says:

      Not too young — I used to love watching The Monkees’ TV show, had a crush on Davy Jones. But Nesmith was the genius of the lot. What a loss.

      • holdingsteady says:

        Monkees TV show fan here too, my crush was on shy Peter Tork but Davy was awesome too, just out of my reach, haha (and now my husband is named Peter:)). Hey hey we’re the Monkees… We’re too busy singing’ to ever put anybody down…

        Rayne, I hope you are well soon. The wind sounds awful… my Mom lives in Flint and said the wind wasn’t very bad.

        Enjoy your Netflix, I know it’s getting late there now. I liked Power of the Dog, watched 3 times. Long and intense, as Jane Campion tends to do. And what a different role to see Benedict Cumberbatch in! And the actor who plays Peter is very good, and Kirsten Dunst is awesome as well. I’m no movie critic, but it could kill about 2.5 hours and get your mind off things.

        • Rayne says:

          Wind was nasty here, had gusts near 60 mph. We’d also had high winds last Saturday as well, up to 50 mph. I’d spent quite a bit of time Saturday morning tying my outdoor furniture down because it had been flying from one end of the deck to the other.

          Yours is the first feedback I’ve read about Power of the Dog, thanks for sharing that. It’s on my list of movies to stream, but I’m working on a rewatch of The Witcher S1 before I plunge into S2 which released on Friday. I admit to a need for fantasy fiction given how much ugly non-fiction I have to read/watch. LOL

          • holdingsteady says:

            Good job tying down furniture! Our winds haven’t been so bad but I end up hearing some of the plastic chairs go thump.

            Now that you’ve encouraged me, I’ll recommend a fantasy fiction for you, Locke and Key (my brother recommended to me). At first, I thought it was just for kids but ended up being very entertained. The actress who plays the mom is from Alaska, so that was fun (I’ve called Anchorage home for almost 40 years now).

            Take care!

            • Rayne says:

              I actually had one chair get away from me, almost had to chase it into a pond to retrieve it. Hope nobody caught that sight on their security camera. LOL

              I watched the first season of Locke & Key but it felt a little flat. I think it may be because I watch a LOT of K-dramas and they’re so much better than American or English-language content on the average. I need to learn Korean so I don’t need to rely on subtitles so much. My favorites so far have been Mystic Pop-up Bar and Bring it on, Ghost, though I haven’t yet finished the latter. I’m also a big fan of the Japanese series, Midnight Diner — every episode is short, bite-sized. Also slowly picking my way through Spanish series The Cook of Castamar, but I have to be in the right mood; it’s paced a little slow for my taste.

              You might like October Faction on Netflix if you liked Locke & Key; it’s aimed at a slightly older audience, a little more noir. Unfortunately it only garnered one season. Also a little more supernatural-noirish: Warrior Nun, which is English language but produced in Spain with Spanish+Portuguese actors. This one has been greenlighted for a second season.

              You’d think I spent all my time streaming but I don’t — I just have jags where I might spend one day out of a month bingeing on a series. LOL

              • holdingsteady says:

                Wow, thanks for all those great recommendations (including links)! The only one I’ve seen/heard of is Cook of Castamar, which I thoroughly enjoyed but thought they could’ve done more with the lead cook, I got a little tired of the Duke but still enjoyed.

                Maybe I can even get my picky son who is home from college to watch with us (Re: Power of the Dog, he “liked it a lot”). (He and we really liked Parasite and we want to see more Korean TV too – we liked ‘Forgotten’, another Korean mystery noir with a twist .

                I know you don’t spend all your time streaming, your writing here is strong evidence of that!

                Also, in the genre of ‘head fake/twist’ films, we went on a binge based on a movie called ‘Searching’ (all-online depiction of dad searching for missing daughter). I like that Netflix offers similar titles, but it gets me into ‘trouble’. I should stop talking about tv now.

                I am feeling much relief on your behalf for negative covid tests:)

    • Leoghann says:

      Although he was born in Houston, Mike Nesmith grew up in Dallas, and spent a good deal of time there after the Monkees were no longer a thing. He started his production business there, before moving it to the coast. That was in the early Seventies, and he and I happened to have some mutual friends who were very involved in the Dallas music scene. So I got to meet him and then see him a few times. He seemed to be a very nice guy, not at all standoffish or arrogant. The fact that he was raised with a good bit of money, thanks to his mother’s miraculous invention, and wasn’t new rich might have had a bit to do with that.

  11. rattlemullet says:

    I was never was impressed with the Monkees as a group but when I saw Timerider I knew Nesmith was an incredible talent. But that is a side note to the topic at hand. I wish only good health to you and your family. In the spirit of the Lakota I will burn the sweet grass for your health.

    • Rayne says:

      Haven’t burned sweet grass here, but I’m going to smudge this place with rosemary, lavender, and cedar when the spouse stops his sneezing. This place could use a purge after this week. Thanks for the good thoughts, wish you and yours the same!

  12. Eureka says:

    Rayne, whatever it is I hope you’re all well, and fully well, soon.

    I may have a hell of a story for you in couple few weeks, Oslo-restaurant-party genre. [Did not attend.]

    Aside, before the (known) rise of Omicron I was hearing reports of even some boosted (3x) among the hospitalized. Anyone dilly-dallying on that, just go get it.

      • Eureka says:

        Welp, if it’s not nothing it’ll be so bad it: makes the newspaper; requires sharing to you on the DL; and/or results in me/mines with some third-party ‘vid. My vote’s for “nothing” … we shall see.

        I’m glad you’re clear this time and feeling better some. I felt like crap yesterday + and – but am not dealing with the impossibility of weekend testing (and the store’s out of home kits) so it shall remain a forever mystery.

        My treatment of choice might be some of that spicy sangria in the fridge # Christmas blessings.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL my dad has long called red wine his “medicine” since wine and grape juice have anti-inflammatory properties and help with his cholesterol. Whisper “Healed!” over your glass as you pour yourself a glug and enjoy! I see Aldi has swapped out their seasonal sangria for seasonal lambrusco — you know I’ll be enjoying the latter “medicine.” ¡A tu salud!

          • Eureka says:


            (Lol I even have a “salud” shirt. Will don. And raise a glass to your smart Dad and his smart daughter.)

            These batches (we have a red and a white) are homemade gifts so I’ve got all manner of leaching fruit / cinnamon sticks & c. for the curative, restorative.

            I don’t even know that it’s legal for our ALDI to sell ETOH (checked our flyer: we’ve got “sparkling grape juice” for sale). We just got beer and some wine in some grocery stores a few years back. _And_ they have limits (and limited sales hours).

            (Else, and before that loosening of prohibition) We have to buy beer at a “distributor” (by the case, though some now will sell less) or like a pizza place (by the exorbitant sixer, if you wanted less than a case), and wine/spirits at a “state store”. It’s a whole thing.

            • Rayne says:

              OMFG an Aldi without wine or beer???? NOOOOO!!!! You don’t know what you’re missing! My friend and I were going to fight over the peach prosecco if they had any left — fortunately or not they were out, won’t find us on someone’s TikTok brawling in the aisle. But their wine selection is just what one needs in the absence of a reliable source of Two-Buck Chuck. The only annoying part is bottle returns since our state has a ten-cent deposit on beer and soda; Aldi isn’t quite as sophisticated with bottle returns as the larger grocers like Kroger. But the cheap Corona-like brew they offer can be worth the hassle.

  13. blueedredcounty says:

    Sending positive thoughts/energy your way for a quick recovery, for whatever you and your family are experiencing.

  14. @pwrchip says:

    Rayne, I as many here have done already, sending the best of vibes for the best of health, sooner rather than later to you and yours. Stay warm, well rested, and tomorrow might be a better day for you and family.

    • Rayne says:

      Staying warm might be the bigger trick right now. After this week’s windstorm with much warmer than average temperatures, we’ve got snow now enabled with a ~40F degree temperature drop. Brrr…

      Wish you and yours warm and well, too!

  15. Leoghann says:

    Rayne, I hope your malady is just a reaction to allergies or the weird weather. If you do test positive, I hope the symptoms are negligible. I had to take a test on Monday, 06 December, and it was negative.

    I have a small but close group of extended family members here, and we spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together, along with a couple of times per year when several of us have birthdays. Our Thanksgiving dinner this year turned out to be a super-spreader event. My nephew got sick the Monday before Thanksgiving and was sick as hell within a couple of days. By the Monday after TG, it was clear to him he had Covid–the machine shop he works in switched to a timeclock that requires a fingerprint, and Covid had been going through the workforce there.

    He and his wife stayed away from the family day, but his BIL had spent the previous Sunday with him, all day, while he was still asymptomatic. Said BIL was obviously infected but asymptomatic on TG Day, because he started getting sick that Saturday. We tend to be a very huggy group, but because I got there late and he was called in to work early that evening, he and I only said howdy in passing. Everyone else started getting sick that Monday or Tuesday. Of 14 of us who were there, there were only 4 who were fully vaccinated and boosted. None of us got sick. and we all tested negative. Two others were vaccinated but had not had booster shots. Both of them tested positive. One had very mild symptoms, and the other was really sick (like the flu), but only for a couple of days, and bounced right back.

    Although several in the group are still kind of draggy, with low stamina, only one has had lingering symptoms that were worrying, but all those folks are young, with a maximum age of 44. Each of us who were also boosted have other health problems that would not bode well if we were to get any of the main variants besides, perhaps, Omicron, and three of us are over 55. I was vaccinated in March and April, and had my booster shot on 05 November. I feel lucky, but I’ve already begun restricting my trips into town.

    All of y’all take precautions and stay safe. In other news, it seems the major flu strain for this year has mutated, and is no longer controlled by the vaccine.

    • bmaz says:

      Aw jeez, sorry to hear about that. We here are all fully vaxxed and boostered (Pfizer). Was almost starting to relax a little before Omicron. No longer, back to being overly careful. It is mostly not hard, as we no longer go out that much anymore anyway. It does bug me personally that courts may lock down again, and there is just no substitute for going to live court and talking to the judge prosecutors, witnesses etc. We had just gotten back to that. Christmas season is always a little sleepy anyway, but I worry how it will look after January 1. Actually harder for Mrs. bmaz who works in healthcare.

    • Rayne says:

      Icky — so sorry you had to get swabbed, too, on top of sick family members.

      Remind them to continue wearing masks since Omicron is slippery and contagious. They don’t need a second batch of COVID and with Omicron it’s very likely.

      • Leoghann says:

        Thanks, Rayne, and congratulations on failing both your tests. I have gone back to restricting my travel and masking when I go out. I’ve managed to survive for two decades with a bad-and-worsening heart; I sure don’t want to fuck things up with a virus.

        Unfortunately, several of the younger members of the family are in the never-mask group. In fact, the workplace of the nephew who was sick before Thanksgiving pipes InfoWars through the plant sound system. Another person is a manager at Hobby Lobby. But being Real Damn Sick might have brought some of them around.

        Bmaz, I’m Team Moderna, but at this point almost any team will do (except for Sputnik and Sinovax). I have been curious whether the court by Zoom system has been troublesome for legal professionals. But what you said about “no substitute” seemed intuitive.

        • bmaz says:

          I have a good friend that had two J&J shots, and just got a Moderna booster last Thursday. The data seems to be that that too works extremely well.

          As to court, I know a lot of civil and appellate attorneys that love zoom, swear by it and do not want to go back to court. Not me, I want nothing to do with it. I not only do not mind going to court, I want to. There is no substitute for sizing up your opponent in person, reading the judge assigned, making nice with their judicial staff and clerks and getting a feel for that particular courtroom at the current time. Even for judges I have known forever, it is all critical.

          And for evidentiary hearings and jury trials, it is extra important. What makes the opponent and his lawyer nervous or excited? When are they hurriedly talking and scribbling down notes, and what prompted that? When is the judge excited or bored? If you have a jury, what are they doing? When are they attentive and when not? You simply cannot get any of this stuff the same over zoom. And the opportunity to talk to everybody in person is incredibly useful. Lawyers are paid to go to court, and I am happy to do so.

    • Eureka says:

      We share poke-a-versaries, Leoghann. I tried to time my booster for latest-possible to get through the winter but when the kids got approved I zipped in ASAP so as not to get lost in the crowd.

  16. Tom says:

    Sorry to learn, Rayne, that you found it advisable to go for Covid testing. In your case, I hope it turns out to be a matter of being tested and found wanting (in the Covid virus, that is). You spoke of planning to settle in for a night of Netflix viewing, so perhaps you just have a touch of Colorado Couch Potato Beetle-itis. Get well soon and all the best to you and yours!

    • Rayne says:

      “Colorado Couch Potato Beetle-itis” — I need to look up the Latin variation of that so I can whip that out the next time I need a quiet night.

      “I’m sorry, Bob and Sue, I’ve got a bad case of Solanaceae Colorado reclinator pestis inflammationis –” *cough-cough* “And I can’t possibly come to your glum –” *cough-cough* “I mean, glamorous get-together.” LOL

  17. Savage Librarian says:

    Way back when there were few correct protocols in place for handling Covid-19, I experienced some alarming symptoms. They included severe pain in my ears, throat and nose. But the scariest was numerous blood clots in my nose for a few days. And my upper nose (near the bridge) had a severe, throbbing pain that I had never experienced before.

    To help alleviate the pain and fear, I swabbed my ears and nose with hydrogen peroxide and gargled with half water/half peroxide. I did this several times a day for a few days. Then I got better. I didn’t get tested. So it may have been another illness.

    I have no idea whether or not the remedy I used was effective or even advisable. I only know that I recovered. And I know that I had not had a cold or the flu for 10+ years prior to those symptoms.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery, Rayne. I’m so sorry for all the stress you have had these past few years.

  18. Raven Eye says:

    Rayne: Fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

    Looking at Omicron, I think that the variants of the virus most likely to be persistent or endemic are those that are most infectious and which are most likely NOT to kill their hosts. But that’s not necessarily good news.

    — The worldwide presence of persistent/endemic variants mean that more spinoff variants are inevitable, which could include even less lethal variants, super-Deltas, or somewhere between.

    — Related to that is the risk of wild surges of infections in countries with low vaccination rates and low protective practices. Those areas provide the incubators for new variants AND make up significant portions of the global supply chain for both raw materials and finished goods (along with all those offshore call centers).

    — It’s too soon to see Omicron’s “contributions” to Long-Covid.

    — If endemic but serious, Omicron-ish variants mean that employers and insurers will need to take into consideration increased levels of absence in the workforce. Since there is no consistency in sick leave policies across the national workforce, we could end up with a chaotic mix of higher net labor costs AND increased personal financial risk within that workforce. That increases the costs of goods and services.

    — There will be a shift towards health care making up a higher percentage of the workforce. That’s overhead and that also increases the costs of goods and services.

    — Since the national health care “system” already is essentially chaotic, we can be pretty confident of — even more so than at the present time — paying more and getting less. (Cost of goods and services, again.)

    — Meanwhile, the MAGA/Freedom to Infect ass-hats will continue to do their darndest to prolong this crisis and make sure that urgent care, EDs, and ICUs are packed with both themselves and their victims.

    Short of a bunch of miraculous medical innovations, is there any reason to expect things to settle back to almost-normal in less than three years?

    Meanwhile, the administration needs to get off their backsides and authorize home testing kits for federally managed health care participants: Medicare, Medicaid, military medical, federal employee medical, Tricare, IHS, etc.

    • Rayne says:

      “There will be a shift towards health care making up a higher percentage of the workforce. That’s overhead and that also increases the costs of goods and services.”

      I think we’re going to see a very heavy investment in automation both software and equipment, to make up for a continued shortfall of labor. If we have a lot of folks transitioning into/back to health care, we’re going to need more automation elsewhere including the places we’ve already seen labor gaps. Next several years are going to be very challenging.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Ugh. With your observation in mind, folks in corner offices are probably already looking at their operations and considering “Fuck the workforce”. If they can automate (source, install, and maintain) and eliminate a significant portion of the workforce; so be it. They would calculate that those changes reduce some serious long-term uncertainty (which equates to risk), replaced with a lower level of uncertainty in a different area.

        The anti-vax/anti-public health proponents have had a chance to take disinformation out of the lab and are unleashing fully mature techniques for turning voters (or any other humans) against their own self-interests. So, while the workforce is subjected to the Pushmi-Pullyu effects of an uncoordinated “adjustment” (because, after all, any steps that the government might take to make the process more rational is just more Socialism), those people will be subjected to even more uncertainty – getting hammered with misinformation all along the way towards any transitions.

        In workplace situations where there still needs to be a lot of humans (even with as much automation as possible); if there is minimal training involved how many more will adopt Amazon’s model of grudgingly paying what might appear to be an almost acceptable wage (including hiring bonuses), grinding those workers into the ground, hoping they will self-exit within three years or less. Let someone else worry about their health.

        Challenging indeed.

        • Rayne says:

          folks in corner offices are probably already looking at their operations and considering “Fuck the workforce”

          This is not the thought process at all. They simply don’t have labor and they’re looking at a population in which +30% resist any rational measures to mitigate the pandemic. It will be endemic and they will continue to lose labor as this massive disabling event continues. Seriously, we’re looking at as much as 10% of the population becoming disabled because of long COVID, on top of at least one million people culled who were either in the workforce or supporting formal members of the workforce (ex. daycare and eldercare providers). There’s no way to serve the remaining population with the same level of products and services let alone one in which workers and consumers continue to slowly decline.

          Some automation will change in the simplest of ways and has already begun — like consumers order their products online requiring less interaction with customer service persons, combined with stripping away the least profitable, lowest demand products which in turn enables robotics to fulfill orders.

          I’ll tell you this household has been supported by automation for decades; the demand for more automation may defer retirement for another several years. I can’t tell you much about it but it’s the kind of stuff already long in use, just more and better. You may not even notice most of it. And no one in the course of planning and development is saying, “Fuck the workforce.”

          Christ, even this deferral of retirement should tell you they don’t have enough young people to replace old codgers. If they were thinking “Fuck the workforce” they’d have put the pricey old man out to pasture and hired any cheap young body they could to fill the seat. But there aren’t young bodies available for this and the old dog still has a lot of value.

          • P J Evans says:

            They might even have to reconsider their policies of not hiring people over 40 or so. Or people who don’t have college degrees, but do have years of experience in the field.

        • DrFunguy says:

          My friends significant other recently took a nursing job at a rural hospital in eastern Oregon. $56 per hour + $10,000 signing bonus!
          So, its not all bad on the heath care worker compensation front.

  19. harpie says:


    Trump White House made ‘deliberate efforts’ to undermine Covid response, report says The White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance from the nation’s top infectious disease experts and silenced officials, the report found.
    Dec. 17, 2021, 12:20 PM

  20. obsessed says:

    Status update: Both my antigen and PCR tests came back negative.

    If I’m reading this right, you don’t have Covid? If so, congratulations and I hope your cold gets better quickly! But could you explain the differences between those types of tests? We only had the one with the super long q-tip up the nose. Is that antigen, PCR or something else? Also, has there been any research on restoring the sense of smell? I’ve almost certainly not had covid unless it was 100% asymptomatic, but a couple years before the pandemic I started losing my sense of smell. As I’ve aged, my sight has gotten drastically better and my sense of smell drastically worse.

    • Rayne says:

      Both tests were negative for COVID, thanks!

      Explainer wrt PCR versus antigen tests:

      PCR = long swab (feels like they’re scraping the back of your sinuses)
      antigen = short swab (like a Q-tip in the nose)

      I don’t know much at all about recovery after the loss of smell/taste wrt to COVID symptoms and sequelae, nor about recovery after loss from other causes, sorry.

      • P J Evans says:

        The ones they used last year when I got one before surgery were long enough to get well up into my nose, which was not at all happy afterward – took about 45 minutes for it to calm down and decide it wasn’t going to bleed or something. And a couple of days to get the results. Definitely longer than a Q-tip, because I got to use alcohol-soaked Q-tips on the inside of my nose when I showed up for the surgery the next week.

  21. Doug Fir says:

    “Yay!!!” for your negative tests, Rayne. That’s great news.

    My read of The Guardian article you reference is that Omicron replicates in the bronchus 70 x faster than other variants. I don’t see where it says it’s 70 x more transmissible. If I’ve read correctly that’d be an important distinction.

    • Rayne says:

      I think I’m going to change that word to “infectious” rather than transmissible, because both transmissible and contagious are being used across different articles. Thanks.

        • Rayne says:

          You’ll need to belabor this with nearly the entire media ecosphere, then, including the medical journalism beat, because if you look at the breadth of reporting they’re using transmission/contagion/infection and variants of these words interchangeably. My use of transmissibility came from the FT discussion and it’s used elsewhere.

          As I’m sure I noted we still don’t have definitive information about Omicron — even the most recent piece examining how it attacks the body which I linked admits the data is preliminary.

          The only concession I will make is to footnote you have a problem with this and the data nor the reporting is there to define exactly what’s going on. Basta.

          • Doug Fir says:

            My point is that in the article you linked to, and the research it’s quoting, the “70 x” number DOES NOT refer to the infectiousness/tranmissibility/spread/whatever between people. It’s quite specifically the increase in viral replication rate in the bronchus.

            In your post you essentially say that Omicron spreads 70 x faster, which is not what the article or research you reference says.

            Not trying to have a pissing match with you, just pointing out what the article you referenced actually said.

            It’s important because 70 x more infectious/transmissible/whatever is hella scary but not what that particular research shows.

            Tout fini.

  22. Molly Pitcher says:


    Glad to see that you had a negative test. Omicron has me spooked back to the anxiety level of last year. On the news this morning they said that at one medical facility in L.A., 30 cases of Omicron were detected yesterday. All were double vaxed and 4 were also boostered. Omicron don’t care…

    My daughter, who lives in Nashville, is four months pregnant…I don’t know how I am going to make it to the end of her pregnancy. Cocktails may be required.

  23. madwand says:

    Didn’t read Walther, so probably didn’t miss much. Did read in The Atlantic:

    In Yong article the part that scared me was the Norwegians getting together who had all tested negative within a few days before.

    “Omicron may also be especially difficult to catch before it spreads to others, because its incubation period—the window between infection and symptoms—seems to be very short. At an Oslo Christmas party, almost three-quarters of attendees were infected even though all reported a negative test result one to three days before. That will make Omicron “harder to contain,” Lowe told me. “It’s really going to put a lot of pressure on the prevention measures that are still in place—or rather, the complete lack of prevention that’s still in place.”

    In this country people have been all over the place (Thanksgiving Travel etc) in an attempt to get back to “normal” and Omicron is just beginning to emerge, I think we are already screwed and don’t know it.

  24. Judy says:

    I only know you through your writings but was so happy to see your tests came back negative. I enjoy your fiery postings.
    I am lucky to have a small group of militant vaxxers/boosters as friends. We have been able to get together in person several times this year. It made me realize how important those in person events are to my well being.
    This morning there are articles saying that Regeneron may not be as effective in treating the Omicron variant. This is not good news for the anti-vaxxers who think this will be their saving grace when they get Covid.
    Best wishes to all.

    • Rayne says:

      Yes! Having a “small group of militant vaxxers/boosters as friends” is exactly what we all need to get us through this with our sanity! We have to be able to trust within our circle for various reasons; one friend’s parent had cancer, I’m immunocompromised, another has friends who are immunocompromised. We do things together like screen movies outdoors weather permitting, have bonfires, cook together indoors. Hope you’re finding joy with your group often in spite of ~waves around at the flames~

      And yes, Regeneron’s casirivimab/imdevimab and Lilly’s bamlanivimab/etesevimab don’t appear effective against Omicron, but GSK+Vir’s sotrovimab may work. Let’s hope there’s more than this one antibody therapy in the offing.

    • mospeck says:

      It’s a shockah! and my eyeballs almost fell outa my head when I took a look at the ticker. Lions beat Cards. Holy Cow and not by a little. That’s the thing you just gotta love about the NFL, the pride and the nevah say die. imo one of the best and most sparkly parts of the American culture.

      But storm clouds are brewing on the horizon recently with the fearsome Roskomnadzor just issuing a Notice to Mariners and to all the ships at sea:

      1st must check in baggage claim Komisar A. Lipov, 42 head Roskomnadzor just like you drive Borat truck but soon take LSAT 1st in class 1st author sovereign internet policy make Russia1st internet independent prevent being switched off please.

        • bmaz says:

          Ooof, and the Saints just shut out the Bucs and Brady. Every team I rooted for this weekend lost. Including when I would stumble into some podunk bowl game. If I picked a team, they immediately tanked. Lol, just brutal.

          • harpie says:

            Ha! I didn’t know harpie-itis was infectious!

            I think it has something to do with if I’m watching a game…it’s kind of like a jinx.

  25. Solo says:

    Negative is good, in this case. Thanks for sharing that news.

    Being compromised in breathing makes this really scary. I had bronchitis yearly, two weeks out of every school year, every March from age eight or nine through high school. Also severe bronchial tube closures due to food, mold and some chemical allergies. It is a terrifying experience, as a kid, to be unable to breathe and unable to understand why.

    Those respiratory emergencies are good teachers, though, good ways to practice “seeing the world” with what Martin’ Prechtel calls “the indigenous eye”: air, which all of us share, is one of the great connectors between every critter who breathes it, flies through it, sends branches and leavers up into it.

    But how to let these unvaccinated-by-choice folks see how this air connects us all? That they cannot hide from the great teacher? That we are connected. Period.

    My pulmonologist was checking me out a couple weeks ago and, being a veteran of ER’s, his office connected to the hospital, I know he had seen a lot Covid cases. I said something like, “Boy, I bet this is really hard to do?” Tears rose in his eyes and he looked right at me. “Yes. And it doesn’t let up.” Then his phone rang and he headed over to the hospital side.

    Like my pulmonologist, the timber wolf is an animal that does these two things at once, year after year: remains distinct and exemplary as an individual, yet serves the tribe.

    Distinct and exemplary as an individual, yet serves the tribe. Hmm. Unvaccinated- by-choice is maybe distinct, just maybe, but there’s no individuation that can serve the tribe.

    I’m thinking of a scene early in the Nils Gaup film, “Pathfinder.” A young Sami boy, Algin, has witnessed the brutal murder of his family by a roaming band of Tchudes. They track him to the next village, where he hides in a tent with the village shaman. When Algin hears the Tchudes stomping around outside he is about to burst out, following his anger and rage and grief, thinking of himself and of avenging his family. The shaman puts a strong hand on his shoulder, holding him back from a certain death. Algin struggles. The shaman whispers fiercely he is “connected to all his people, all Sami, even these villagers who have just barely escaped and who he does not know. All are connected.” Algin does not hear him, just hears his rage, his boiling blood. He only hears his separate self.

    The shaman puts one strong hand behind Algin’s neck, the other hand covers his mouth, forefinger and thumb pinching his nose, completely cutting off his supply of air. The shaman says a few soothing words, I think. But after some moments struggling Algin stops fighting, gets it, feels it. The air, the connection to all, removed. Taken away. That’s his conversion.

    After he is captured and forced by the Tchudes to lead them toward the location of his fleeing people, Algin goes on to use a newly mindful controlled rage, one which powers great trickery and bravery. One which destroys the enemy and saves the tribe.

    Algin becomes like a timber wolf, doing two things at once: remaining distinct and exemplary as an individual, yet serving the tribe.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I too have had asthma and the bronchitis grunge thing since a kid. It does suck. Did you ever have to go in for a “flying machine” treatment? That was what I got when things got seriously bad. It was a Bird Mark IV-VII respirator where you put on a mask that literally looked made for a jet pilot (thus the flying machine) and it pumped oxygen and a fine mist of something into you. Only had to do it a few times, worked like a charm, but left you with the damndest headache you can imagine.

      • Solo says:

        Good! It’ll get inside you and work for a long time, I bet. (Make sure you find the one directed by Nils Gaup, dialogue in Sami.) Big stories like that can’t be explained or figured out. They just leave an imprint. I watch it every couple years. Sort of like getting a booster shot. Or, as a good friend who was lucky enough to be only mildly touched by a stroke calls it: his Bumper shot.

        • Rayne says:

          No, sorry. That particular film doesn’t appeal to me because it centers whites, unlike Atanajurat which is an indigenous story told by indigenous people featuring indigenous people.

          • Solo says:

            Just found a copy of Atanajurat at Alibris and placed an order. I should have it in a week or so. Thanks again for the recommendation. Always open to suggestions. Best way I know to learn new things, meet new people, keep my borders porous.

            Have you watched The Emerald Forest?

  26. Geoguy says:

    Yippee! I am glad that you don’t have COVID. Spouse and a couple of friends have had the same symptoms which persisted for a week. All are vaccinated, boosted, and tested negative.

    The piece by Walther is maddening. His audience might not care about COVID but the Catholic Church sure does if they can profit from it. An example from the Denver Post on 7/10/21: “Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer coronavirus aid, got $1.4B”

  27. punaise says:

    Rayne, I’m so glad you dodged this one.

    From a song we play:

    Dodging It (2)
    BPM: 80 A#m
    A#m x4
    So jumping to the heart of the matter,
    G# x2
    I gotta tell ya,
    the virus,
    A#m x2
    is gonna kill me
    or I’ll be spending,
    C# D# C#
    spending the rest of my life, A#m x2
    dodging it.
    It’s less about fear
    Than a desire to see:
    how we behave with each other in the face of such idiocy and evil,
    gilded in grievance,
    as the refrigerated trucks rumble C# D#
    and democracy quickly
    A#m x2 crumbles.

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