31 votes

Do you feel like many systems are on the verge of collapse?

My post will be US-centric, because that's where I live, but obviously you're welcome to talk about your own location as well.

With this new COVID-19/Omicron surge, strange things are afoot. Specifically, those in charge of our systems and government have chose to ignore it, rather than institute more shut downs, mandates, stimuli, etc. It appears as though the plan now is to let it burn through the population and see how that shakes out.

But if you peruse r/nursing and r/teachers like I do, you can really see how deep the cracks are becoming. Infections are up, as are hospitalizations, and with more and more professionals out sick, we're seeing huge staff shortages in both education and health care. These industries in particular are essential, and the professionals in these jobs are on the front line of our problems. Health care professionals obviously need to be there to help the sick. And teachers need to be there not only to teach, but so that parents can go to work. They're being sacrificed to our economy.

But as teachers, for example, get sick or get burned out and quit, it puts continued strain on the education system as a whole. We're already seeing staff shortages in other areas of education, such as food service, bus drivers, substitutes, paraprofessionals. With how contagious this variant is, it's only a matter of time until school systems collapse in on themselves due to a lack of people running the show. And when kids have no place to go, parents will have to figure something out or stay home themselves, pulling them away from their jobs and their income.

With all help being pulled away from Americans--help such as eviction moratoriums, financial stimulus, unemployment benefits--what might happen if these things begin to cascade? There are already plenty of anecdotal reports from those in health care that hospitals are full, short staffed, and falling (and you can check here to see hospital status in your state). It can take hours, if not days, to find a bed for someone in the ER. As for education, increasingly both teachers and students are out sick with COVID, yet administrations are fighting tooth and nail against any kind of remote learning, only exacerbating the problem. Remote learning, as you know, requires a parent to be home with the child, which takes them away from work, income, and economic productivity.

And meanwhile, the media seems mostly quiet about how things are actually going. The line is that Omicron is "mild" but if you look at hospitals and schools, it seems like that might just be verbiage to reduce panic in the populace. Omicron isn't mild for the health care system. Better hope you don't get in a car accident. And in medical terms, "mild" is a pretty broad thing. It could mean you're home sick for two weeks, feeling like death, but not bad enough to be hospitalized.

And then there are other front line workers, grocery stores, supply chain, all experiencing similar sickness and staff shortages. But I haven't been keeping up with that as much lately as I have been with education and health care. If anybody has information about these sectors, I'd love to hear it.

My gut feeling is that the economy is actually on the verge of collapse, and this "let it rip!" strategy is a hail mary to see if the status quo can be maintained by sacrificing the health and well-being of a lot of people. Any other mitigation efforts could topple the economy as we know it (and as those at the top benefit from it), so the people in charge of our systems have decided that we're not going to try to fix things, we're just going to hope it works out in the end and deal with the death and illness. For me, the proverbial canary in the coal mine for this was the recent extension of the student loan payment pause. Borrowers had been blasted for months, both phone calls and emails, telling them that loans would need to be paid after January 31st, it was happening, get ready for it. And then poof... nope. Extended. The government knows. People are stretched thin as it is and restarting loan payments could be the thing that triggers the economy to tumble. Even if borrowers can pay, it sucks money out of the consumer economy which can have far-reaching effects.

Many, if not most people are absolutely fatigued by this pandemic. I am, you probably are. But it has revealed so many cracks in our flawed system and it really feels like the people in charge of things--whoever that is--are gripping on for dear life, just hoping the flaws can remain because it benefits them, praying that the system holds. I just don't see it. I don't see how we make it through this without some kind of major fall. People want to ignore it all, because it's frightening and it's negative, but it's happening right in front of our eyes. Our most important systems are broken and those with the power to fix them aren't doing it.

I'm curious as to what Tildes thinks.

56 comments

  1. [4]
    tesseractcat
    Link
    Honest question, how would we be able to tell if our systems "are on the verge of collapse" or if they are able to continue to somewhat gracefully degrade to reduced/alternative service (with a...

    Honest question, how would we be able to tell if our systems "are on the verge of collapse" or if they are able to continue to somewhat gracefully degrade to reduced/alternative service (with a lot of complaining of course).

    I've read conjecture similar to this, essentially saying that many of the worlds governments, economies, and logistic systems are an interconnected web that could collapse if any piece breaks. However it seems like the pandemic has tested this theory and at least shown that the 'system' is more resilient than expected.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      I think, if you look at what both educators and health care professionals are saying, that these particular systems have already been collapsing for some time. The degradation has been visible to...

      I think, if you look at what both educators and health care professionals are saying, that these particular systems have already been collapsing for some time. The degradation has been visible to those in the thick of it for more than a decade. But with how interconnected our systems are, COVID is putting substantial strain on them and they just might not hold. Remember... the pandemic isn't over. There has certainly been resilience over these past two years, but we're not out of it yet.

      7 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        Is nobody seeing the massive problems that are rearing their heads just in the past few months due to the supply chain issues caused early on? It's increasingly difficult to source parts and...

        Is nobody seeing the massive problems that are rearing their heads just in the past few months due to the supply chain issues caused early on?

        It's increasingly difficult to source parts and appliances, especially if you look above the absolute-lowest-quality.

        This is not likely to get better unless there is some major intervention.

        2 votes
    2. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      The podcast It Could Happen Here calls this "the crumbles," as a long, slow descent into collapse, but it's hard to pinpoint the exact time in which it occurs.

      The podcast It Could Happen Here calls this "the crumbles," as a long, slow descent into collapse, but it's hard to pinpoint the exact time in which it occurs.

      3 votes
  2. [21]
    Akir
    Link
    I don't feel like any systems are collapsing so much as I feel that people's capacity to care is collapsing. I commented elsewhere that it's strangely difficult to get tested for COVID right now,...

    I don't feel like any systems are collapsing so much as I feel that people's capacity to care is collapsing.

    I commented elsewhere that it's strangely difficult to get tested for COVID right now, and if I were to guess a reason why it's simply because there's not enough budget being given to make them more generally available.

    At the same time I am hearing about this holiday surge and unlike last year we are not having a big pushback of "told you so" from the more cautious crowd who knew better than to do a get-together or to use mass transit. People just don't care anymore.

    I can't help but feeling that the antivax people have won; not enough people got vaccinated and they did everything they could to spread the disease to as many people as possible, and now COVID is probably going to be endemic; we've got a new plague that's going to kill people every year, and we won't be able to counter it very well because there will be too many variants.

    8 votes
    1. [20]
      post_below
      Link Parent
      SARS-CoV-2 was always (very likely) going to become endemic, it's a human coronavirus. Also very likely, it will continue to get milder. From an evolutionary perspective, that's what it wants to...

      SARS-CoV-2 was always (very likely) going to become endemic, it's a human coronavirus. Also very likely, it will continue to get milder. From an evolutionary perspective, that's what it wants to do. Killing or incapacitating a large percentage of hosts is not a trait favored by natural selection.

      I agree that more people should have gotten vaccinated, but the majority did. Given the level of misinformation and conspiracy buy in we have these days, that feels like a win.

      10 votes
      1. [7]
        eladnarra
        Link Parent
        That's not necessarily true, right? If a pathogen has a long infectious period and/or is very contagious, it can maintain high mortality/morbidity. The only thing that matters is whether it gets...

        Killing or incapacitating a large percentage of hosts is not a trait favored by natural selection.

        That's not necessarily true, right? If a pathogen has a long infectious period and/or is very contagious, it can maintain high mortality/morbidity. The only thing that matters is whether it gets transmitted to other people enough before the host dies.

        14 votes
        1. [3]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          It is true though. Killing the host at any point causes the virus to stop spreading and replicating from that person, which is it's one and only goal. The mortality rate will always be pushed...

          It is true though. Killing the host at any point causes the virus to stop spreading and replicating from that person, which is it's one and only goal. The mortality rate will always be pushed toward zero. However there are levels of equilibrium.

          If the mortality rate is very high then there is a lot of evolutionary pressure to become less lethal so that the hosts stop dying and people relax their public health measures a bit. If the mortality rate is low (like the already common flu, or even the common cold) then there is much less pressure since less hosts are dying and people aren't very afraid of it. But the pressure to drop toward zero mortality will never go away entirely.

          6 votes
          1. chrysanth
            Link Parent
            It can be a useful general rule for viruses, but because COVID does most of its spread when the infected are asymptomatic, the selective pressure on the virus to evolve decreased severity is not...

            It can be a useful general rule for viruses, but because COVID does most of its spread when the infected are asymptomatic, the selective pressure on the virus to evolve decreased severity is not as strong in this case. It's important to note the specificity of COVID in this regard, it is a bit misleading to say that it applies to COVID as it would any other virus.

            12 votes
          2. eladnarra
            Link Parent
            Sure, killing the host stops it spreading, but so does the host recovering. So if you assume the "goal" is to stay as infectious as long as possible, a mild virus that the host can clear quickly...

            Sure, killing the host stops it spreading, but so does the host recovering. So if you assume the "goal" is to stay as infectious as long as possible, a mild virus that the host can clear quickly might be less effective at spreading than say... A strain with a longer, infectious asymptomatic period with possible death at the end.

            It feels like there are a lot of potential combinations of factors and selective pressures at work, rather than simply "it'll get milder."

            6 votes
        2. [2]
          post_below
          Link Parent
          Transmission isn't the only factor, response is a huge part of the equation. The more deadly the disease, the stronger the reaction in the population. Lockdowns, quarantines travel restictions,...

          Transmission isn't the only factor, response is a huge part of the equation. The more deadly the disease, the stronger the reaction in the population. Lockdowns, quarantines travel restictions, vaccines, the virus doesn't need to understand these concepts in order to feel the evolutionary pressure they exert.

          3 votes
          1. eladnarra
            Link Parent
            Ah, good point. I'm so depressed about the current response, I forgot people might actually care a bit more if outcomes were worse per individual.

            Ah, good point. I'm so depressed about the current response, I forgot people might actually care a bit more if outcomes were worse per individual.

            2 votes
        3. post_below
          Link Parent
          No, not necessarily true, I didn't write a long post to account for all the various ways different kinds of pathogens can go because the context here is SARS-CoV-2 and becoming endemic. I should...

          No, not necessarily true, I didn't write a long post to account for all the various ways different kinds of pathogens can go because the context here is SARS-CoV-2 and becoming endemic. I should maybe have used more specific language.

          A highly contagious, highly lethal contagion does not become endemic. Or at least, it never has before. And here again there is plenty of room to debate what highly contagious and highly lethal means, or to point out that the black plague still exists in animal populations or etc.. But all of that is beside the point.

          It's historically true that human coronaviruses mutute quickly and settle at a significantly contagious, relatively mild danger level, if you prefer. This allows them to become endemic.

          2 votes
      2. [11]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        I don't agree with this. China and New Zealand were able to eliminate it - it is entirely due to policy failures that we did not do the same in the USA.

        SARS-CoV-2 was always (very likely) going to become endemic, it's a human coronavirus.

        I don't agree with this. China and New Zealand were able to eliminate it - it is entirely due to policy failures that we did not do the same in the USA.

        5 votes
        1. MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          New Zealand stopped infections from spreading in its borders for a time by being an isolated island nation where strict border controls could be enforced. Those controls eventually were...

          New Zealand stopped infections from spreading in its borders for a time by being an isolated island nation where strict border controls could be enforced. Those controls eventually were ineffective. China has certainly not eliminated it, though their reported numbers are certainly much better than those in the USA.

          18 votes
        2. [5]
          nacho
          Link Parent
          So industrialized, well-functioning states should just permanently require weeks of quarantine for anyone coming from outside to come into our richly vaccinated zones, and we'd live the entire...

          So industrialized, well-functioning states should just permanently require weeks of quarantine for anyone coming from outside to come into our richly vaccinated zones, and we'd live the entire sickness and economic burden of the pandemic to poor areas where it's not economically feasible to shut down society?

          I agree that the handling of Covid has been bad and very bad in many countries. I think that especially goes for vaccination distribution: If we want to get out of a situation of pandemic, we need to rid the globe of contagion reservoirs. That means vaccinating in poor areas rather than doses 3, 4, 5 +++ in rich places.

          9 votes
          1. mtset
            Link Parent
            Yes, imo the handling of vaccine patents has been absolutely unforgivable.

            That means vaccinating in poor areas rather than doses 3, 4, 5 +++ in rich places.

            Yes, imo the handling of vaccine patents has been absolutely unforgivable.

            7 votes
          2. [3]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            Making a second reply here because I really do not understand what you're trying to imply here. Why do you think that eliminating the disease in one area, would mean more disease elsewhere? That's...

            we'd live the entire sickness and economic burden of the pandemic to poor areas where it's not economically feasible to shut down society?

            Making a second reply here because I really do not understand what you're trying to imply here. Why do you think that eliminating the disease in one area, would mean more disease elsewhere? That's not even remotely how it works.

            Distributing vaccine information worldwide so that anyone with the appropriate manufacturing facilities could create it; not hoarding vaccines until they'd almost expired; not allowing US citizens who might have COVID to leave the country; investing in a true, multi-month lockdown with organized government-funded food and necessities deliver as was done in Vietnam; and many other policies that could have been but were not implemented would have significantly reduced the problem for everyone!

            3 votes
            1. nacho
              Link Parent
              In many poor areas you cannot shut down society to quarantine or limit physical interaction to prevent outbreaks. That's simply because people there live close to margins of survival and won't be...

              In many poor areas you cannot shut down society to quarantine or limit physical interaction to prevent outbreaks.

              That's simply because people there live close to margins of survival and won't be able to put food on their tables. People would starve and die. Additionally in many other places, shutting down business in many poor areas, even for short periods of time, simply isn't possible because you'd never be able to get back in business for many various reasons.


              The WHO have been crystal clear on all these issues since the pandemic started. They're hugely underreported in Western media and politics because the facts are extremely inconvenient and damning to the way we handle the pandemic.

              It's easy to lose sight of how privileged we are.

              Many places simply can't say no and stop, and don't have strong enough public sectors or infrastructure that is possible to rectify that in the short and medium term.

              9 votes
            2. skybrian
              Link Parent
              It seems worth pointing out that the vaccines aren't all the same and the ones that are easier to manufacture and don't require ultra-cold freezers are probably more feasible to use in many...

              It seems worth pointing out that the vaccines aren't all the same and the ones that are easier to manufacture and don't require ultra-cold freezers are probably more feasible to use in many countries.

              In India they don't use mRNA vaccines at all and wouldn't even take donated vaccines from the US due to a regulatory dispute, but India is a large manufacturer of AstraZeneca and recently approved Novavax, which is apparently also in use in Indonesia and the Philippines. And the problem with Novavax seems to be some kind of manufacturing difficulties, not patents? They are having trouble getting their US manufacturing approved and it's unclear why.

              I don't have a good handle on what the real supply bottlenecks are. Just pointing out that it's complex. Patents are one of the hurdles to making and distributing some vaccines and this there are definitely complaints but it's unclear how important it is.

              2 votes
        3. EgoEimi
          Link Parent
          I think that Taiwan is a must-note example. There is a ton of passenger traffic between China and Taiwan. Despite political tensions, some 2 million Taiwanese live and work in China. Taiwan is...

          I think that Taiwan is a must-note example.

          • There is a ton of passenger traffic between China and Taiwan. Despite political tensions, some 2 million Taiwanese live and work in China. Taiwan is arguably the closest to the viral epicenter.
          • Taiwan is hyper urban and one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

          Their infection rates have been in the single or low double digits for almost the entire pandemic. There was an anomalous outbreak in the summer but they quickly contained that.

          9 votes
        4. [3]
          post_below
          Link Parent
          Are you thinking that the entire world could have realistically done that? Putting some of the logistics aside, we didn't even manage to get enough doses, early enough, to poorer countries. If...

          Are you thinking that the entire world could have realistically done that? Putting some of the logistics aside, we didn't even manage to get enough doses, early enough, to poorer countries. If somehow we had (and we should have tried a lot harder) the next big hurdle would have been policy and enforcement in all of those countries, which we couldn't really have controlled.

          New Zealand was kind of a special case, isolated, easy to control borders, and once things have calmed down and (hopefully) SARS-2 is milder version of itself, it will indeed arrive there and become endemic.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            You're making it sound as if the West made a valiant effort but failed under the sheer difficulty of the task; in fact, hoarded vaccines now making their way to poorer countries are often close to...

            Putting some of the logistics aside, we didn't even manage to get enough doses, early enough, to poorer countries.

            You're making it sound as if the West made a valiant effort but failed under the sheer difficulty of the task; in fact, hoarded vaccines now making their way to poorer countries are often close to expiration, and the world's second largest nation had to create their own vaccine because the US wouldn't allow them to manufacture ours, which they absolutely could have done more quickly.

            Why I say "policy failures," this is what I mean. We as a society made a decision to fuck over poor countries, and as a result the disease is more widespread and further mutated than it otherwise would be.

            7 votes
            1. post_below
              Link Parent
              I agree completely. That should be clear I'd think, in the paragraph you grabbed your quote from I said we should have tried harder. I can't tell if you're intentionally trying to sidestep the...

              I agree completely. That should be clear I'd think, in the paragraph you grabbed your quote from I said we should have tried harder.

              I can't tell if you're intentionally trying to sidestep the point. So maybe the best thing to do is re-establish the context.

              Here is your post, that I was replying to:

              I don't agree with this. China and New Zealand were able to eliminate it - it is entirely due to policy failures that we did not do the same in the USA.

              What you were disagreeing with was my statement that it was very likely always going to become endemic.

              So in order to stop it from becoming another in a list of endemic coronaviruses, we would need to eradicate the pathogen globally. It's contagious enough that if it survives anywhere, the descendents of that strain are going to eventually end up everywhere.

              Or do you have a different perspective? Is there some way that we could have realistically eradicated a pathogen that mutates so quickly and bypasses immunity (Omicron, for example)?

              With vaccines, everyone on board, and a limited population under strict restrictions and airtight travel lockdowns, I could see it being at least a possibility. But globally, with each country reacting differently, it seems impossible.

              2 votes
      3. Akir
        Link Parent
        I get it. But it's yet another example to put under the list of things where we could have done better but people are just too shitty and now we are all suffering for it.

        I get it. But it's yet another example to put under the list of things where we could have done better but people are just too shitty and now we are all suffering for it.

        3 votes
  3. noble_pleb
    Link
    The system will not collapse as long as the people are willing to make the necessary adjustments. If most people are willing to stay at home in lockdowns, order stuff online through Amazon, etc.,...

    The system will not collapse as long as the people are willing to make the necessary adjustments. If most people are willing to stay at home in lockdowns, order stuff online through Amazon, etc., even work from home and tutor their kids through Youtube, etc. (you guys even have degree colleges that offer online courses like Penn Foster, right?), it's possible that the system might hold good.

    In my country (India), about 80% of population stays in rural areas and doesn't know a thing about online systems. Most systems are manual and happens through files and papers. Lockdowns aren't easy to impose, the administration has to invoke strict laws like Section 144 for a curfew, and deal with the angry public. I often wonder how such a clumsy system can still be holding at all during a pandemic! If this can hold, I'm pretty sure systems in US/EU should hold fairly easily!

    8 votes
  4. lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I actually think that the recent crisis showed that humankind is incredibly resilient. Sure, a lot went wrong, many died and suffered, but the amount of things we solved, including developing and...

    I actually think that the recent crisis showed that humankind is incredibly resilient. Sure, a lot went wrong, many died and suffered, but the amount of things we solved, including developing and deploying effective vaccines in record time, against all odds, gives me a lot of hope.

    As you can see, I'm not a pessimist.

    Edit: additionally, it's probably not a good idea to use Reddit as a thermometer for reality. Like much of the internet, Reddit is heavily biased towards the negative.

    8 votes
  5. [3]
    drannex
    Link
    I wrote this, albeit brief and somewhat sporadic, message on Tumblr the other night: I posted that last section yesterday in my strange self-reblog chain style of posts, and it has nearly 200...

    I wrote this, albeit brief and somewhat sporadic, message on Tumblr the other night:

    Is it me or are we all just going slightly mad?

    the answer is obvious, but I love how we are all just pretending that everything is normal, totally fine, nothing to see here, move along now

    We have no leadership, the rich have been getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, our public infrastructure is broken and crumbling, the outside weather is becoming unusually warm and dangerous, we have more people sick than we have ever had before, we have the growing rise of fascism, terrorism, and violence, death rates from overdoses are skyrocketing, our healthcare is near non-existent, corporations continue to control and monitor nearly every little thing that we do, war is always stirring up either directly by the governments above us, or by the media and stock markets around us.

    But hey, we have reality television and new game shows so we might as well just forget that we are seeing the real time devastation of societal collapse. The little things are the only things that are keeping some of us going, and any way that we can control our own lives is important even if it is to just sit back and forget about the world.

    We are living in dark and interesting times, I want it to end, but I don't want to go back to the normal before all this — this global event we are all experiencing just launched us faster than ever towards the cliff of destabilization, perhaps for the better, but in moments of uncertainty we can only dwindle on the most shocking and negative, and feel entirely powerless and without any semblance of personal control.

    I posted that last section yesterday in my strange self-reblog chain style of posts, and it has nearly 200 notes, so you are most certainly not alone in this mentality.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      This is a very vague call to action. Is there something you think you should be doing? I'm always in favor of sensible disaster preparation, not just for whatever the pandemic brings but bad...

      This is a very vague call to action. Is there something you think you should be doing? I'm always in favor of sensible disaster preparation, not just for whatever the pandemic brings but bad weather and natural disasters of all kinds.

      1 vote
      1. drannex
        Link Parent
        There is no call to action there, it's a method of airing grievances and rejoicing in the idea that we aren't alone. Small things help. I don't know if I am misreading you, but that mention of...

        There is no call to action there, it's a method of airing grievances and rejoicing in the idea that we aren't alone. Small things help.

        I don't know if I am misreading you, but that mention of weather was about the climate crisis we are all living through without any real methods to stop due to the control the corporate class have on us and the planet. The entire post relates to each other in a complex mash of dystopian sadness.

        5 votes
  6. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    There are news stories every day about how things are going, and they often make the front pages of newspapers. They might not be shared as much, because I think people are pretty weary about...

    And meanwhile, the media seems mostly quiet about how things are actually going

    There are news stories every day about how things are going, and they often make the front pages of newspapers. They might not be shared as much, because I think people are pretty weary about reading them (and reporters are about writing them) but they're there.

    "Omicron isn't mild for the health care system" is what every expert has been warning about all the time.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      Leading up to the holiday season, the vast majority of the media I saw concerning Omicron was parroting how "mild" it was. I saw plenty of stories about the health expert from South Africa who was...

      Leading up to the holiday season, the vast majority of the media I saw concerning Omicron was parroting how "mild" it was. I saw plenty of stories about the health expert from South Africa who was the first to proclaim that it was "mild."

      Additionally, my comment that you quoted was more about hospital capacity and what's happening in schools. For example, the Chicago Teacher's Union is getting trashed for their strike when the real story is that schools are floundering everywhere. My local school district was closed Monday and today due to staff shortages, and have already announced distance learning for the beginning of next week. That kind of thing is happening all over, if you read through some of the threads on r/teachers.

      4 votes
      1. skybrian
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I guess I mostly saw the backlash to those articles, although it more along the lines of "we don't know it's mild yet" and "South Africa might be different than what we see, they are younger and...

        I guess I mostly saw the backlash to those articles, although it more along the lines of "we don't know it's mild yet" and "South Africa might be different than what we see, they are younger and it's summer there" but combined with "it might overwhelm hospitals anyway" and here we are. I feel like this is playing out pretty much as expected. But as someone who followed the discussion obsessively I probably got a different view of things.

        (Also, "mild" is a weird word to use for "probably won't kill you.")

        6 votes
  7. rogue_cricket
    Link
    I am extremely pessimistic about nursing. My mother is a nurse in semi-rural Canada. The hospitals right now are held together by duct tape and wishes. On top of the pandemic, nearly half of all...

    I am extremely pessimistic about nursing.

    My mother is a nurse in semi-rural Canada. The hospitals right now are held together by duct tape and wishes. On top of the pandemic, nearly half of all working nurses in my province are eligible to retire in the next five years.

    And who will replace them? Nobody can afford to go to school anyway, and even the ones who graduate leave because of the overworking, the poor treatment, and the poor pay compared to neighbouring areas. I am afraid for the future, especially for the boomers who are statistically about to start needing a lot more medical care in the next decade. It won't be pretty.

    7 votes
  8. simplify
    Link
    r/teachers had an article written about them. If you don't want to spend time at Reddit reading through the sub, I highly suggest reading the article for a good overview of what's going on. I feel...

    r/teachers had an article written about them. If you don't want to spend time at Reddit reading through the sub, I highly suggest reading the article for a good overview of what's going on. I feel it's important to understand what's happening to our nation's teachers right now.

    Inside /r/teachers, the Reddit forum where educators commiserate amid the latest COVID wave

    Given that current positivity rates are above 20 percent and even 30 percent in some parts of the country, the tone of the community is grim. Teachers swap stories about how they feel abandoned by their administrations, taken for granted if not abused by parents and demonized in the media, where the prevailing opinion is to keep schools open at any cost. That position tends to come without a strategy to deal with what happens when large chunks of the staff or student body are out sick with a respiratory virus that’s killed more than 800,000 Americans.

    “This school year, I think the tone has shifted to more of a nihilistic tone compared to last year,” he continued. “My perspective is there seems to be more outspoken agreement that the system is completely broken. I do see some teachers post with a more positive attitude, but the upvotes and downvotes suggest those folks are really in the minority. One other thing I have noticed is an enormous increase in discussion of leaving the profession. Even if all these teachers don't end up leaving the profession, there is certainly a dramatic increase in what I'll call ‘resignation ideation,’ and that does not bode well for the strength of public education in America.”

    Richard said that no particular posts have stood out to him due to their frequency and similarity. “They all blend together. Complaints about school administration mistreating employees. Questions about the journey of changing careers. Reports of COVID outbreaks and school mitigation efforts. General despair that we're living through the collapse."

    6 votes
  9. HotPants
    Link
    It's going to be a rough couple of months globally for teachers, parents, children, hospital staff and sick people. From an economic perspective, wages are finally going up in USA, in part because...

    It's going to be a rough couple of months globally for teachers, parents, children, hospital staff and sick people.

    From an economic perspective, wages are finally going up in USA, in part because boomers retired early due to fears of COVID. If COVID remains a concern, wages will continue to rise. Which is going to drive rates up. Which could cause a recession in a few years or could cause a black swan event this year.

    But I dont think that is the same as a collapse, unless you consider the possibility of another Great Depression a collapse.

    5 votes
  10. stu2b50
    Link
    Not particularly - certainly there's additional strain but I don't see any indication of some kind of "collapse" as opposed to linearly correlated degradation that oscillates with the ups and...

    Not particularly - certainly there's additional strain but I don't see any indication of some kind of "collapse" as opposed to linearly correlated degradation that oscillates with the ups and downs of COVID cases.

    The student loan repayment I don't see as some sort of last ditch effort to bandaid the economy, but just a fairly free thing for the administration to do to net some points. With federal student debt, IBR plans would already prevent overwhelming and sudden monthly student loan payments.

    4 votes
  11. [4]
    Amarok
    (edited )
    Link
    If we were truly serious about this pandemic and all future pandemics, we'd pick two weeks every 3-5 years and lock down the entire planet for those two straight weeks. Everyone, everywhere, total...

    If we were truly serious about this pandemic and all future pandemics, we'd pick two weeks every 3-5 years and lock down the entire planet for those two straight weeks. Everyone, everywhere, total voluntary lockdown - call it a reading holiday (with full pay). Your job is to stay home and make sure anything you caught dies in your house.

    By the time we opened the doors again most strains of cold and flu would be extinct forever, along with God knows how many other diseases. It'd take at least a couple years for the bugs to recover and we'd just hit them again every couple of years if they do. Ditto if another pandemic emerges.

    If the lockdown is planned well in advance, paid for, has an end date, and is universal - rather than this on again off again neverending piecemeal clusterfuck method we use now - most people would do it. It's the uncertainty and interminable duration that turn people off to quarantine and cause economic stress. Sacrificing 2 weeks every couple years to buy back normal the rest of the time is a deal most people would take. Enough to make it work, anyway. We would save a fortune on medicine in the process.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Except some things can’t take a break. A lot of people would still go to work. A lot of people would need to travel to take care of someone.

      Except some things can’t take a break. A lot of people would still go to work. A lot of people would need to travel to take care of someone.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        It doesn't have to be perfect to knock transmissible viruses down into the high double digits. That further frees up our resources to chase the spots that remain a problem.

        It doesn't have to be perfect to knock transmissible viruses down into the high double digits. That further frees up our resources to chase the spots that remain a problem.

        1. meff
          Link Parent
          You'd be surprised how long the long tail of personally extenuating circumstances is. I have vivid memories in a developing country of having a family member becoming really sick and being unable...

          You'd be surprised how long the long tail of personally extenuating circumstances is. I have vivid memories in a developing country of having a family member becoming really sick and being unable to find a doctor because protestors were striking and blocking all the roads. As much as we try to impose lockdowns on populations for our own long-term thriving, that doesn't stop the random occurrences of nature from just happening.

          2 votes
  12. [5]
    bkimmel
    Link
    Very much so, to the point that I've been reading a lot of history lately about the end of the Soviet Union. The parallels are absolutely uncanny - right down to a disastrous withdrawal from...

    Very much so, to the point that I've been reading a lot of history lately about the end of the Soviet Union. The parallels are absolutely uncanny - right down to a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. It took the Soviet Union roughly 34 months to dissolve after they left Afghanistan. I wonder if we'll do better...

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      This is interesting. Can you expound on this?

      The parallels are absolutely uncanny

      This is interesting. Can you expound on this?

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        bkimmel
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Some of the broad strokes: No one trusts anything anymore. Everyone assumes "everyone else is cheating", which leads to a complete disintegration of trust in government/institutions. "Why should I...

        Some of the broad strokes:

        1. No one trusts anything anymore. Everyone assumes "everyone else is cheating", which leads to a complete disintegration of trust in government/institutions. "Why should I play fair when no one else does?".
        2. Economic destabilization leads to risky policymaking (perestroika / trillion dollar deficits / crypto)
        3. Partly because of the previous two things a lot things just... Stop working. People stop working. A wave of nihilism sweeps over the Union and different ethnic (or in our case political/regional as well) groups start openly sneering at each other.

        ... There are other things, too. I think we'll either end up settling into some kind of structure like a confederation (with maybe loose ties via trade and defense... And hopefully at least some limited framework to ensure basic human rights) or at least I hope we do, considering some of the alternatives could be a lot worse.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          Maybe it would be better to describe it as a "democratic confederation" than "neo-confederacy", which immediately makes me think of something else (unless that's what you meant)

          Maybe it would be better to describe it as a "democratic confederation" than "neo-confederacy", which immediately makes me think of something else (unless that's what you meant)

          1 vote
          1. bkimmel
            Link Parent
            See also "framework to ensure human rights". Democracy doesn't cleanly map onto that idea either, unfortunately.

            See also "framework to ensure human rights". Democracy doesn't cleanly map onto that idea either, unfortunately.

            1 vote
  13. [6]
    Fiachra
    Link
    Most systems have been put under a lot of stress, and the weaknesses have become extremely obvious to many. I won't rule out some things collapsing or ceasing to work as we're used to, but part of...

    Most systems have been put under a lot of stress, and the weaknesses have become extremely obvious to many. I won't rule out some things collapsing or ceasing to work as we're used to, but part of the sense of imminent collapse may be that more people are now aware of how poorly many systems have been running for years.

    Major crises are usually followed by political reform. The Black Death led to the end of the feudal system in Europe. The Great Famine led to the Land War, and a sea change in land rights. Covid-19 is going to lead to some big workers' rights concessions, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't one day end up in history books as a factor leading to the introduction of UBI in many parts of the world.

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      bkimmel
      Link Parent
      I don't know... The thing with all those people getting stuck on I95 last week really rattled me. Even 30-40 years ago, I don't ever recall anything like that happening. That should be the kind of...

      I don't know... The thing with all those people getting stuck on I95 last week really rattled me. Even 30-40 years ago, I don't ever recall anything like that happening. That should be the kind of thing where everything converges to bust a problem up... Maybe it takes a couple hours, but they get tow trucks, cranes, whatever and get it done.

      I think we're past the point where we kinda have to admit: a lot of stuff just doesn't work anymore.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Hurricane Rita in 2005 caused evacuations around Houston and Galveston that shut down the surrounding highway system, kind of similar to what happened on I-95.

        Hurricane Rita in 2005 caused evacuations around Houston and Galveston that shut down the surrounding highway system, kind of similar to what happened on I-95.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          bkimmel
          Link Parent
          Yeah, that was an "act of God"-level event, though. Last week was like ... 8 inches of snow.

          Yeah, that was an "act of God"-level event, though. Last week was like ... 8 inches of snow.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            Heavy snowfall and a six-semi crash. Nineteen hours is a longer-than-usual time for a shutdown but less severe shutdowns happen pretty much every winter in the eastern states. I don't think it's...

            Heavy snowfall and a six-semi crash. Nineteen hours is a longer-than-usual time for a shutdown but less severe shutdowns happen pretty much every winter in the eastern states. I don't think it's evidence of a system no longer working as much as it is evidence of a system that never managed to scale well ever.

            7 votes
            1. bkimmel
              Link Parent
              Yeah, I'll allow that there might be some "selection/confirmation bias" at work there, but I can't ever remember thinking going on the road with snowfall under "massive blizzard" level would lead...

              Yeah, I'll allow that there might be some "selection/confirmation bias" at work there, but I can't ever remember thinking going on the road with snowfall under "massive blizzard" level would lead to an entire day trapped in the road. Maybe it was always something that could happen it just didn't for whatever reason.

  14. nacho
    Link
    Why don't we keep spare capacity for all sorts of things "in case of pandemic" ? The answer is cost. Who wants to pay extra just in case? Systems are dimensioned for everyday use with some spare...

    Why don't we keep spare capacity for all sorts of things "in case of pandemic" ? The answer is cost. Who wants to pay extra just in case?

    Systems are dimensioned for everyday use with some spare capacity. If you'd told taxpayers to pay 30% extra tax to have spare capacity, in any sector excepting maybe military spending/national security, no-one would want that.

    The same goes fro private business.


    So we have logistics systems and capacity that's designed for now. It takes time to scale up systems, both locally and globally where systems are interconnected. Especially where you need people to be educated in a specific profession, or to create entirely new components in supply chains.

    For systems to scale, there must also be a willingness to upscale: someone needs to pay the bill. Like with aid, food shortages etc. it isn't just a matter of money, but lots of different resources.


    (I won't get into the second part of the topic, namely stimulus and public economic policy. That's an entirely separate matter that's a lot more complicated)

    3 votes
  15. [2]
    Jakobeha
    Link
    One thing you don't really mention is that all these shortages and overwhelmed hospitals are temporary. If South Africa has anything to show for it, everyone will get infected within the next...

    One thing you don't really mention is that all these shortages and overwhelmed hospitals are temporary. If South Africa has anything to show for it, everyone will get infected within the next couple weeks/months and then cases will drop.

    As for people being burnt out, I think they will recover too. Although it will take longer, but after the surge being a teacher/nurse/staff worker will be back to normal. Moreover, if these jobs get shortages hopefully people will respond by increasing long-overdue wages and conditions, getting new workers to apply, convincing old workers to come back, and improving the overall quality of these services.

    The system will definitely be wrecked for the next few weeks, but unless another thing happens (insurrection, new strain) I don't think it will collapse permanently. Best case scenario, people actually realize the importance of good education and treating blue-collar workers right and these services actually improve.

    3 votes
    1. simplify
      Link Parent
      I appreciate your optimism, but the shortages and overwhelm are now going on a third year. I have a family member who is a nurse working with COVID patients. It doesn't stop, it only compounds....

      I appreciate your optimism, but the shortages and overwhelm are now going on a third year. I have a family member who is a nurse working with COVID patients. It doesn't stop, it only compounds. This is why in my original post I recommended people read the stories at r/teachers and r/nursing because it's becoming apparent to me that the general public just doesn't know what's happening on the ground. People don't seem to realize how bad it is until it affects them personally. A few months ago, my grandmother went to the ER and it took 18 hours to get a bed. And that was months ago. You do not want to go to the hospital right now if you don't have to.

      I suggest you consider reading some literature on burn out and how it affects professionals like nurses and teachers and how it relates to PTSD. We're looking down the barrel of a massive shortage in the professions in the future because of the way these people have been treated for a long time. COVID was merely the thing that brought it all crashing down. Young people are watching and noticing how poorly both nurses and teachers are treated, and how hard they've had it during COVID. Fewer people will be going into these professions, and older workers will not come back because they are retiring.

      It appears to me a lot of people around here, based on the comments so far, just aren't paying attention. By making this thread, I just hope to open some peoples' eyes to what's happening. Even after COVID becomes endemic and life slowly gets back to normal, however long that takes, these professions will never return to the previous normal. They are broken, the professionals are abused, and it's going to affect us all.

      7 votes
  16. moocow1452
    Link
    Yeah, be it our brains or our measurements of a healthy society, the collapse of systems we depend on tend to sneak up on us. It's human nature to bikeshed over petty things that we can have some...

    Yeah, be it our brains or our measurements of a healthy society, the collapse of systems we depend on tend to sneak up on us. It's human nature to bikeshed over petty things that we can have some individual agency over then work together on a big project that requires us to coordinate with no immediate result and a lot of friction.

    2 votes