Bad Crow Review: Maundy Monday
In which we pressure-wash our feet to discharge a debt owed to ourselves
Links are at the end.
Substack restored the subtitle and the font, leading us to believe we weren’t the only or the grumpiest protestors against the kidnapping and presumed death of those editorial elements.
In which science rocks and rolls
The US Geological Survey put up a webcam with a nicely composed live view of the Mauna Loa eruption.It’s impressive in the daytime and better, hypnotic even, at night, which likely happens later here than where you are.
The Pillars of Creation are the most spectacular images in the James Webb Space Telescope portfolio, and they’re back in composite photos using two of the telescope’s three cameras.
Elsewhere, scientists are working on ways to sap and impurify the precious bodily fluids of the American male during the physical act of love.
Another area of research targets precise points in the sperm's life cycle, including its ability to swim, or to fertilize an egg. These drugs are a bit more precise than hormonal ones, says Logan Nickels, research director at the Male Contraceptive Initiative, which supports researchers working on non-hormonal contraceptives.
"They target a very specific link in the chain of the generation or lifetime of a sperm and ... if you were to break that link, there aren't any other bodily functions or any sort of broad signals that you're interrupting." In other words, someone using these methods would likely experience few to no side effects, he says.
"The male reproductive system is really cool in that there's hundreds and hundreds of links in this chain, [so] that if you take out any one of them, you end up with effectively an infertile man," Logan says.
Infertile men! Commies! Science!
Money Money Money & Long Covid
Long Covid has been variously ignored, scoffed at, the subject of accelerating medical research and, finally, an economic concern.
In January 2022, Brookings Metro published a report that assessed the impact of long Covid on the labor market. Data on the condition’s prevalence was limited, so the report used various studies to make a conservative estimate: 1.6 million full-time equivalent workers could be out of work due to long Covid. With 10.6 million unfilled jobs at the time, long Covid potentially accounted for 15% of the labor shortage.
This June, the Census Bureau finally added four questions about long Covid to its Household Pulse Survey (HPS), giving researchers a better understanding of the condition’s prevalence. This report uses the new data to assess the labor market impact and economic burden of long Covid, and finds that:
Around 16 million working-age Americans (those aged 18 to 65) have long Covid today.
Of those, 2 to 4 million are out of work due to long Covid.
The annual cost of those lost wages alone is around $170 billion a year (and potentially as high as $230 billion).
Estimates of cost and quantity vary — including within the Brookings Institution, where this August 2022 report was produced — but researchers are in agreement that a lot of people with long Covid are either unable to work full time or at all, and this is putting a dent in the economy — not to mention the individual and family tolls, which in fact get short shrift — and should somehow be addressed.
Of course the only sure way to prevent long Covid is to prevent the spread of Covid, something that at this point isn’t a priority with the population’s friends in high places: wear a mask sometimes, if you feel like it, they say, and get boosted. Brookings researchers believe the government could do something more.
There are at least five critical government interventions that can reduce the economic burden of long Covid: better prevention and treatment options, expanded paid sick leave, improved workplace accommodations, wider access to disability insurance, and enhanced data collection on long Covid’s economic effects.
First, we need better and more accessible prevention and treatment options. On prevention, some scientists are calling for a second “Operation Warp Speed” focused on nasal vaccines that reliably prevent COVID-19 infection. Until we have such vaccines, it makes good economic sense to encourage or mandate the use of masks, air purifiers, and other interventions known to reduce spread.
Unless the pandemic reaches election-threatening proportions again, or the economic hit from long Covid starts approaching that of the illness itself, the government is certain not to mandate any of the Brookings recommendations. The good news in the current wave is that it’s affecting older people more than anyone else, and so many of us don’t work anymore—the burden of the illness is ours, and Medicare’s or the insurance company’s, and perhaps our family’s if we’re fortunate to have one of those, but not an employer’s.
Silver linings! and another: we’re headed for a recession, which means fewer workers working and accordingly fewer whose long Covid struggles pose an economic threat to an employer.
The Brookings people think that the cost of long Covid will mean accelerated research and better workplace efforts toward prevention and accommodation, but we feel compelled to note that corporations are at present making unimaginable shitloads of money without having done much of anything about anything. We also feel compelled to note, on the subject of mandated sick pay, that the large majority of our federal legislators just gave a big “fuck you” to the notion.
Covid has not brought out the best in our government or our corporations, and it seems to us a stretch to think that long Covid will fare much better.
We’re convinced that if corporate executives and major shareholders were compelled to wash the feet of some poors every Monday, they’d make an effort to eliminate the poors, one way or the other. Could be a decent income for all, could be a more final and less expensive solution, and we honestly couldn’t predict which.
Helium, “The Works;” The Wake, “Tidal Wave of Hype;” The Mekons, “Existentialism;” The Boys Next Door, “Door, Door;” Big Something, “The Otherside.” The Mekons album was the only one we’d heard already and we liked all the new-to-us ones.
And that, comrades, is all we got. Be well, take care, and overthrow the government if you can.