End of Year 2020

 At the end of  year one often sees blog entries or social media posts giving a personal account of the year which is ending.  I considered that approach for this year since 2020 was a year of some unexpected difficulties which thanks to the competence of modern medicine are being addressed.  However I decided to not be overly personal since 2020 was a year of such large scale events that devoting a blog post to the my stay-at-home or medical or other issues just was not a compelling idea.  Therefore I will give a few thoughts about me observations of 2020 on a larger scale.

In any year it is typical to see some humans acting in a manner which I would consider as worthy of praise. And in any year it is also typical to see some humans acting in a manner which I would most definitely not consider worth of praise. And occasionally the same humans fall into both categories at various times. My perception of the year 2020 is that the stresses combined to magnify both types of behaviors.

The SARS-COV-2 virus and the associated disease Covid-19 had their beginning in 2019 however really started to impact the world in 2020. The efforts of the medical professionals to treat those with Covid-19 and the rapid development of vaccines are both a big plus.  Ending 2020 with the vaccines being administered to front line workers seems to be resulting in many people looking at 2021 with increased hope.  Unfortunately there was some very disappointing behavior in 2020.  There were adults who would not properly wear a mask for no other apparent reason than that they just did not feel like it.  I live in the Silicon Valley and most people in this area participate in the behavior one would expect of decent adults and properly wear a mask.  There are a few who do not however they are a distinction minority. Fortunately the local pharmacies, medical offices, and food stores all have masks policies.

Another item related to Covid-19 is the poor behavior of some politicians.  The ones who would go gathering at restaurant after telling everyone else to stay at home.  And unfortunately there were politicians, pundits and even some persons in the medical field that failed to properly distinguish between they were making recommendations based on really solid evidence versus when it was just their best recommendation based on preliminary data or no data at all.  I can imagine that they felt compelled to say things in an effort to increase compliance with their recommendations.  The problem is that exaggerations have a habit of discrediting the very tools and approaches one needs to use to address a serious epidemic.  It is really fine and should be encouraged to say "I do not know" when one is still working on a problem. To just say "I do not know but based on experience and what little we do know here are some recommendations" can go a long way towards maintain the credibility the scientific community.  

Also the CDC and FDA agencies of the Federal government of the USA which were supposed to be handling the initial response botched things early on when it came to the test kits to detect who was infected.  This has been well documented in major publications such as the Washington Post so there is no need to rehash the details here.  However when the pandemic is over it might be a good idea to do a thorough re-evaluation of the CDC and FDA in order to remove the rules and processes which lead them be late to have testing available and to initially put out tests which did not work while at the same time labs around the world in other countries had tests weeks ahead of the USA.

The November 2020 election results show Biden/Harris as the winning ticket. Perhaps 2021 will be the start of better times in the realm of politics.  And I will point out that I was not a Biden/Harris supporter and I also was not a Trump/Pence supporter. I do not say that expect the Biden/Harris administration to be as bad as the Trump/Pence administration however I do not have high hopes for Biden/Harris.  I find there to be a lot of authoritarian tendencies in both the Trump/Pence policies and what I expect will be the Biden/Harris policies. We should not forget that much of the problems that we face today are the result of terrible policies such as the  War on Drugs and the militarization of the police. And the record of Harris is very problematic. So is it possible that Biden/Harris will not behave like over zealous authoritarians? Possible however I would not bet a nickle on it.  

A bunch of politicians are now starting a clamor about repealing Section 230.  Of course reasonable voices who understand the situation point out what a terrible idea that would be. Will the clueless politicians listen? We should all remember a few years back when the SESTA-FOSTA legislation was proposed and reasonable voices who understood the situation said the legislation was a really bad idea which would cause a lot of harm. The clueless politicians passed it anyway and the harm that was predicted has come to pass. Let us not forget that Harris was a co-sponsor of the legislation which has caused great harm. I will not be surprised if Biden and Harris continue to attempt to cause more harm in 2021.