Saturday, August 21, 2021

Headlines during Week 76

Deep sigh. If you use the arbitrary date of March 11, 2020, as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — that's when the World Health Organization officially declared it to be such — then we're in Week #76 right now, with no clear end in sight. There have been 4.4 million global deaths and the United States passed 628,000 deaths today. (I'm writing in the morning for a post to go up in the evening, and there's no doubt we'll pass from the 627,000s to the 628,000s today.) 

COVID-19 takes up most of my workdays. Monitoring the news and latest developments. Editing letters about the pandemic. Rejecting letters filled with dangerous misinformation. Editing columns about vaccines, masks, schools, governors, health care workers, children, nursing homes and more. It's grim and stressful and frustrating. We didn't need to be in this bad of a spot in Week 76. 

This piece by The New York Times' Jamelle Bouie caught my eye this morning. In "On Freddy Krueger and Our Current Nightmare," he writes:
"But if there was anything that stood out to me after watching all seven movies, it is how within the universe of the films, the adult characters went from concern and terror over the brutal and mysterious deaths of their children to virtual indifference. When a young woman is killed at the start of the first film, it becomes a town crisis, reason to mobilize every available resource to find the killer. ... The adults of the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' franchise just don’t seem to care that much that kids are dying; and in the same way, we live in a society that can’t seem to muster the energy to protect kids from needless death and suffering, whether from gun violence or a deadly pandemic."
It's a depressingly apt comparison, even if it's drawing lines between supernatural fiction and reality. The bummer in pointing out there parallels is that movies have always served as an escape from reality. Especially when reality is at its most crushing. Many people have doubled-down on their love and viewing of horror films during this pandemic, as a way of coping. I think it's a nuanced (and fascinating) topic, and we shouldn't say there's any singular biggest reason for the surge in horror fandom. But this excerpt from a March article in Psychology Today by Juliana Breines speaks to one aspect of the trend:
"Fans of horror movies reported feeling lower fear and anxiety related to the pandemic, and that those with an interest in pandemic-related films in particular reported greater resilience — they were better able to find meaning and enjoyment in life despite what was going on around them, and to take the daily onslaughts of bad news in stride."
Personally, I've found solace in quieter films, such as those by Yasujirō Ozu and Agnès Varda, during the pandemic. But Ashar and I have also watched a lot of horror films, new and old, during the pandemic. There's been run on Boris Karloff films, for example. And there's always the comfort food of The Walking Dead, which returns this weekend. 

Last year, we planned out and watched a whole slate of horror to celebrate October as Halloween Month. We're planning the same this year, as there's a seemingly bottomless reservoir of horror classics he's never seen, including series Bouie referenced. 

This is a longer preface than I intended to sharing some of this week's terrible headlines for posterity. I have previously done this on March 25, 2020; April 25, 2020June 27, 2020; July 18, 2020; July 26, 2020October 6, 2020; and December 4, 2020. Amazingly, this year has just flown by (sort of) and I haven't done any collections of headlines, to the best of my knowledge. So here we go, for posterity:
  • ‘Nursing Is in Crisis’: Staff Shortages Put Patients at Risk
  • The F.D.A. is aiming to give full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine on Monday
  • In Melbourne, Australia, a protest against Covid restrictions turned violent
  • LG Health raises staff vaccination rate, seeks to rehire former hospital nurses amid staffing losses
  • Manheim Township will require masks indoors to begin school year
  • Vaccine resistance in the military remains strong, a dilemma for Pentagon as mandate looms
  • A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides.
  • Finding reliable masks online can be tricky. Here are tips that can help.
  • Monoclonal antibodies are free and effective against covid-19, but few people are getting them
  • Covid reaches 'astronomical' levels in Louisiana
  • Health officials warn people not to take a drug meant for livestock to ward off or treat Covid-19
  • University of Virginia disenrolls 238 students for not complying with university's vaccine mandate
  • Analysis: Trump heads to Alabama but his Covid politics are everywhere
  • Hurricane Henri puts 42 million under storm alerts as it heads to Northeast coast
  • Variants likely to bring a fall and winter of mandates, anxiety...
  • Orlando mayor urges water limits because of surge...
  • Outbreak shuts entire police force in Illinois...
  • 48% Want Govt to Restrict 'Misinformation' on Socials...
  • Coronavirus live: UK death toll rises by 104; fears of ‘super-spreader’ Trump rally
  • Classrooms in England to get air quality monitors to help combat Covid
  • ‘This isn’t surprising’: Jacinda Ardern warns New Zealanders to remain calm as Covid cases rise
  • Quarter of New COVID Cases in Florida Among Those 19 or Younger
  • Dallas Hospital to Open 4th COVID Ward as Cases Surge in County
  • Hannity Called Out by CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky for 'False' Vaccine Claim
  • Over 1,000 Quarantining in Texas School District Fighting Abbott on Masks
  • Vietnam Deploys Military to Get Food to People Trapped by COVID lockdowns

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