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    1. What have you learned from going through a pandemic?

      Question here is for everyone really, since we all went through/are still going through the COVID-19 pandemic. What have you learned? How did it change you? Note: the intention of these threads is...

      Question here is for everyone really, since we all went through/are still going through the COVID-19 pandemic.

      What have you learned?
      How did it change you?

      Note: the intention of these threads is reflection, not hot takes. I know that a prompt like this can provoke quippy responses, but please try to limit those or, if you feel compelled to give one, try to dive a bit deeper with it.


      Previous questions in series:

      What have you learned from...
      ...being a parent?
      ...going through a breakup?
      ...moving to a new place?
      ...working in tech?

      These threads remain open, so feel free to comment on old ones if you have something to add!

      13 votes
    2. I think I might be starting to freak out a bit here

      Hey there people. Long time lurker here. I decided to start writing because it's late at night, my mind is running wild and I'm trying to piece together the situation myself here. This will...

      Hey there people. Long time lurker here. I decided to start writing because it's late at night, my mind is running wild and I'm trying to piece together the situation myself here. This will probably turn out to be a wall of text. Apologies to anyone who might see it as spam or bothersome - my bad.

      Context:
      in the second half of my 20s. Working in Germany. Healthy and slim. Working as a field technician for a company installing machines for industrial kitchens. Since this whole pandemic started I have always worked (and traveled around the city). I had offered myself for AZ when people were refusing it, got my second as Pfizer and 3rd with Moderna after 6 months from my second shot. Always followed guidelines regarding masks, vaccines and the whole shabang.

      These past 6 months the whole 'global pandemic thing' kinda started becoming 'old news' so-to-say for me. Yes, some people I know got it recently, yet most had little to no symptoms and all recovered without a problem. In my mind I have been thinking 'come on, in 2 years working in closed environments with no ventilation and all sorts of people I have never caught it - I am surely one of those fully immune or asymptomatic ones, right?'.

      On top of that I have started to indulge actually going out: drinking with friends, dining with people, casual socialising... I still believe that there is no way going forward without it. I know I cannot stomach another Christmas, Easter, birthday or whatever by myself. And still here I am freaking out after actually getting COVID.

      Being brutally honest I was actually quite chill up until about an hour ago. I had been watching the last episodes of a certain very lighthearted anime comedy series that's coming out while lightly coughing, cleaning my nose pretty often and drinking as much water as I could. At some point I came to realise that something was not right. Initially I couldn't put my finger on it, I was just feeling uncomfortable.

      Then it hit me: I couldn't smell anything. Not the laundry I did today, not the soap I had used to shower myself with, nothing. Up until this point it had been nothing more than some cough, sore throat and phlegm. Now it felt real - or rather unreal, it still feels like a nightmare.

      Thinking logically it doesn't even make sense to me - I mean, come on, it's just smell right? - still losing the sense of smell is the first thing that has truly scared me since testing positive 2 days ago.
      I have been going around the apartment for 20 minutes trying (to no avail) to smell stuff:

      • old spice deodorant stick
      • mouthwash
      • toothpaste
      • perfume
      • isopropyl alcohol
      • chlorine (super concentrated mildew killer spray)
        I just feel like i have ice up my nose. It's a very weird and unpleasant sensation (or lack thereof).

      I have now just decided for no particular reason to do a mouthwash, and since then I can faintly distinguish smells. What the fuck.
      I am now in between putting paper imbued with mouthwash in my nose and drinking a glass of the heaviest edible alcohol I have in my apartment. This is just insane.

      Noone I know has lost smell or taste since the original variant, 2 years ago. I am worried and scared. Be brutally honest with me people, should I be or am I just being unreasonable and overly emotional?

      8 votes
    3. The forces of authoritarianism are getting slicker and deeper, and that disturbs me

      A friend shared a troubling website with me. I'm not 100% sure why I found the site so troubling, but one thing that stands out is its slick sophistication. There are two primary facets to this...

      A friend shared a troubling website with me. I'm not 100% sure why I found the site so troubling, but one thing that stands out is its slick sophistication. There are two primary facets to this sophistication: the organization and the presentation. https://defeatthemandatesdc.com.

      The presentation is, at very first glance, about what I would expect from a leftist or progressive group. It didn't take long for me to detect something was off, and an a quick reading of what they are after confirms it's neither leftist nor progressive. But that very first impression, which was followed by a sense of confusion as part of my subconscious detected the true message, was unique for me, I can usually detect political bias instantaneously. (This is a curse more than anything else, a symptom born from trauma, but that's another discussion.)

      Regarding the organization, it seems focussed and professional. There's some real effort and intellegince both behind the design and messaging at least. If that is representative of a larger effort, that indicates significant funding and effective organization skills at play. I can't quite articulate what's differnt from previous and ongoing, similar efforts. There's something, fundamentally different here that projects real power, depth, and sophistication, and that is deeply disturbing. Efforts like whatever was behind Jan 6 seem chaotic and angry. This effort feels more collected, dispassionate, focussed, and expansive.

      14 votes
    4. 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....

      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.

      31 votes
    5. How has the pandemic changed you?

      I won't give a preamble for this one like I normally do in my ask topics, as I don't want to prime anyone's responses. Feel free to interpret the question however you like, and answer with...

      I won't give a preamble for this one like I normally do in my ask topics, as I don't want to prime anyone's responses. Feel free to interpret the question however you like, and answer with whatever you feel is relevant.

      35 votes
    6. What pandemic-related norms would you like to see remain once the current COVID-19 crisis is "over"?

      I know that "over" is a nebulous concept as it relates to COVID-19, but I'm using that more as a way of prompting long-term thinking rather than identifying any actual endpoint to the pandemic....

      I know that "over" is a nebulous concept as it relates to COVID-19, but I'm using that more as a way of prompting long-term thinking rather than identifying any actual endpoint to the pandemic.

      The question could also be phrased: what changes did COVID-19 bring about that you hope will stick around in the years to come?

      28 votes
    7. Today I have hope

      I'm at a pharmacy, distributing their vaccine after hours the second it came in. I'm typing this up while my pregnant wife is in line to get her vaccine. If I get lucky maybe I do too. If not, my...

      I'm at a pharmacy, distributing their vaccine after hours the second it came in. I'm typing this up while my pregnant wife is in line to get her vaccine. If I get lucky maybe I do too. If not, my heart is still lighter knowing that my family is safer.

      I'm filled with joy knowing that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

      Thank you all for putting up with my special blend of near-persistent 2020 mania. Hopefully this will finally calm it for awhile.

      25 votes
    8. For those of you who have had COVID-19, what was your experience like?

      I'm interested in hearing your stories. What are/were your symptoms like? Do you know how/when you were exposed? What was your timeline of events, including symptoms, testing, quarantining, etc.?...

      I'm interested in hearing your stories.

      • What are/were your symptoms like?
      • Do you know how/when you were exposed?
      • What was your timeline of events, including symptoms, testing, quarantining, etc.?
      • Did it affect other aspects of your life (e.g. employment, relationships, etc.)?
      • Have you fully recovered?
      • What's something about your experience that you haven't seen a lot of mentions of elsewhere?

      And of course, feel free to share anything else not asked in these questions.

      If you personally have not had it but someone close to you has, feel free to share your experiences with that as well.

      META: If this topic is better served in ~health.coronavirus feel free to move it!

      41 votes
    9. What has/have your government/school/college/teachers done to keep education flowing during this pandemic?

      Admittedly keep education flowing is some corporate language. The only people who care about education are left-wing politicians and the actual teachers, neither of which matter now. Anyway, my...

      Admittedly keep education flowing is some corporate language. The only people who care about education are left-wing politicians and the actual teachers, neither of which matter now.

      Anyway, my state government is broadcasting classes with 3 subjects from around 2PM to 4-4:20PM. The last subject of the day (3:30PM until the end) is only broadcast on the app they made and their YouTube channel unfortunately. All the classes are uploaded onto YouTube for posterity.

      The app they made is mainly a chat, later limited to 15 messages as an attempt to stop copy-pasting from flooding the few meaningful/serious answers (it is a live chat with 20k people in it simultaneously so good riddance), to little avail IIRC. (IIRC because I watch by TV because my battery is limited and the screen is too small to actually copy to a textbook)

      The quality is kinda mediocre but nothing bad enough usually. One time it was a 4:3 480p clip with interlacing, which is based until you start caring.

      They are also sending us "handouts" (apostilas, PT-BR to English) and the normal state tests every bimester.

      As for the teachers, they have sent us pretty much the full student workload via Google PDFs on WhatsApp, which is the opposite of private, but privacy is hardly possible when you're Brazilian and likely don't even have an up-to-date (defined as less than 5 years old LMAO ) PC. They haven't done any zoom/meet chats to teach us stuff however, since that's kind of the purpose of the TV/YouTube broadcast.

      8 votes
    10. How well did sci-fi predict the details of this pandemic?

      One of the favorite subjects of horror sci-fi — right up there with aliens, deadly asteroids and the machines taking over — has always been the deadly pandemic. One of the things I'm surprised at,...

      One of the favorite subjects of horror sci-fi — right up there with aliens, deadly asteroids and the machines taking over — has always been the deadly pandemic.

      One of the things I'm surprised at, is how close so many of those old sci-fi books and movies were. No, there are no zombies (...yet), no enraged psycho-killer chimps ... but on so many of the basics — how it spreads, the incredibly widespread piles of misinformation, all the ancillary political BS, right along with the courageous healthcare workers and medical researchers out there on the front lines, battling for a cure before it's too late ...

      and etc.

      How about a discussion thread to compare and contrast what the sci-fi got right, and wrong?


      ETA: Alternatively, if we've already had this conversation and I just missed it, somebody please point me in the right direction, and then never mind about this thread?

      11 votes
    11. Why aren't more leaders encouraging protesters to stay home?

      I can think of several good reasons why protesting is a really bad idea right now: The virus doesn't care if your cause is just. If you end up going to jail, that's another hotspot. It provides...

      I can think of several good reasons why protesting is a really bad idea right now:

      • The virus doesn't care if your cause is just.
      • If you end up going to jail, that's another hotspot.
      • It provides cover for violence.
      • The courts are going to do whatever they do at their own pace anyway.
      • The long-term work of police reform isn't even going to begin until the crisis is over.

      And yet, despite all these good reasons, I don't see leaders, black or otherwise, clearly saying that people should stay home. For example, Obama's statement is carefully neutral on this. It seems to be taboo?

      But I'm out of touch. What am I missing?

      11 votes
    12. Charity and volunteer work in a time of crisis

      Many people have plenty to do just figuring out how to protect themselves and take care of their families. Others are busier than ever with essential jobs. But at least some of us are stuck at...

      Many people have plenty to do just figuring out how to protect themselves and take care of their families. Others are busier than ever with essential jobs. But at least some of us are stuck at home and could probably be doing more to support the common effort, something besides avoiding infection and watching it happen.

      There are many to choose from, but what charities do you think are most deserving of support, and why? What are good ways to volunteer?

      Edit: LessWrong has a section of their link database devoted to work and donations

      14 votes
    13. Now is not the time to lose our humanity: Some DOs and DO NOTs

      I've seen a lot of different attitudes towards the virus and I want to talk about one of the more toxic ones. You might think I'm referring to people attending lockdown parties or other dumb...

      I've seen a lot of different attitudes towards the virus and I want to talk about one of the more toxic ones.

      You might think I'm referring to people attending lockdown parties or other dumb things like that; no. I am referring to those who usually mean well, but forget to remain human in the process. Please read on, because this might be something you yourself are doing without realizing it.

      The last few weeks have been, and the coming months are going to be, a time of careful balance. You might hear politicians say they "want to fight the virus without creating a bigger problem"; usually it's about the economy, but it applies to everyone on a personal level as well.

      • DO: Treat this virus seriously. Through collective action, we can limit its spread and its deadliness.

      • DO NOT: Become selfish. I'm not just talking about "fuck you, got mine" hoarding. I am talking about prioritizing your own health above everyone else's. (Caveat: this obviously applies to different people, differently. Especially if you are at risk, now may the time to be a little selfish, without being ungrateful to those who would help of course.)

      • DO NOT look down on people you see going out; you don't know why they're out. Maybe they have to be because they're part of the ones who still have to go out to keep the world running right now. Maybe it's the first time they go out in two weeks and they direly need it not to become depressed. The virus, and the measures to tackle it, affect many people differently.

      • DO NOT deprioritize mental health. Yesterday, I've heard someone laugh when I mentioned that. In the past decade, the world has made great progress towards accepting mental health as important. It still is; the virus does not change that.

      • DO: Check up on your friends, family and neighbours. Ask how you can help and be there for each other. Be neighbourly, as they say. If you're out and see someone else, give them a smile, they very likely need it right now.

      • DO NOT treat health workers like they have the plague. You know those people clapping at their windows "for health workers" at 8PM every day? Maybe you're part of them. Yet I've heard several stories of people not-at-risk who aren't willing to be in the same room as a nurse or doctor. Obviously, this doesn't just go for health workers, but they are those most affected by it. So be careful.

      • DO: Read up on (or maybe simply remember) the AIDS scare of the 80s. There is a lot to learn from the way humans treated each other at that time. A lot of lessons to learn so that we don't repeat them. I know it's scary for a lot of people, but right now, the world needs kindness.

      • Most of all: DO NOT stop hugging your loved ones when they need it. I don't want to live in a world where this statement is controversial. Be careful, but be human.

      21 votes
    14. Would you look down on a normal citizen wearing an N95 mask?

      Recently found one in a perfect state. I sterilized it and now I can have one. Just wanting people's opinions if they saw someone with an n95 mask instead of a surgical mask. Like, it could go to...

      Recently found one in a perfect state. I sterilized it and now I can have one. Just wanting people's opinions if they saw someone with an n95 mask instead of a surgical mask. Like, it could go to a hospital or something.

      edit: I should mention I have type 1 diabetes

      25 votes
    15. Depression and my obsession with national news

      corvid-19 has taken over my thinking. I haven't been this depressed in a very long time. Feels like I'm living in a sort of fog. I usually have national news on in the background during the day...

      corvid-19 has taken over my thinking. I haven't been this depressed in a very long time. Feels like I'm living in a sort of fog. I usually have national news on in the background during the day but the coronavirus is taking over. I don't know if I contracted it. I have been in a funk the last 2 or so weeks. My temp reader (which i don't trust) says im 2 degrees below 97.6. I don't know, i just had to get this off my chest.

      20 votes
    16. Life during the outbreak

      How's everyone doing? I'm feeling quite a bit of stress and mental burnout, so I wanted to post an "off my chest" style thread. Figured I'd keep it for the comments; maybe others could use the...

      How's everyone doing?

      I'm feeling quite a bit of stress and mental burnout, so I wanted to post an "off my chest" style thread. Figured I'd keep it for the comments; maybe others could use the space, too.

      (Posted in ~talk as I don't think it's productive to post this to ~health.coronavirus)

      25 votes
    17. Love in the time of coronavirus?

      Following an off-topic conversation starting here: https://tildes.net/~health.coronavirus/mq7/advice_from_a_doctor_who_studied_coronaviruses_for_50_years#comment-4qi7 I thought it would be handy...

      Following an off-topic conversation starting here:

      https://tildes.net/~health.coronavirus/mq7/advice_from_a_doctor_who_studied_coronaviruses_for_50_years#comment-4qi7

      I thought it would be handy to establish that life still continues even in pandemic lockdown. One participant mentions a successful video date, and another wishes for sex.

      The questions below may be personal and sensitive - please use your best judgement in answering or refraining to do so. Usual Tildes rules of courtesy apply.

      1. If you're in a relationship, what are you doing to keep it alive and healthy?

      2. If you're not partnered, what are you doing, if anything, to date or otherwise meet your needs while everything is closed down (if this is the case where you are)?

      3. Does your idea of love or sex require physical contact?

      4. If physical contact is required, what, if anything, are you doing to stay safe right now?

      21 votes
    18. I'm meta-anxious about coronavirus and the panic it's inducing

      I'm usually the least anxious person among all the people I know, even when shit is hitting the fan. I practically revel in hardships for the problem solving. But, what is freaking me out right...

      I'm usually the least anxious person among all the people I know, even when shit is hitting the fan. I practically revel in hardships for the problem solving.

      But, what is freaking me out right now is this mass panic. It started off as a joke but now it's real, people are literally selling toilet paper on craigslist of whatever. Maybe it's still a joke, I don't know. But mass hoarding of important goods seems to be causing disruptions already, from a lack of toilet paper to a shortage of surgical masks for medical professionals.

      I would like to ask the community here what they think about this and how they expect things to go on. Are we going to have a second-order crisis in supply shortages? Are shipping route delays going to hit us on top of the local supply shortages? Because right now it's feeling apocalyptic, and I'm struggling between not acting like a selfish hoarder but also making sure I can get through this.

      EDIT: Toilet paper is just a prominent example, not my primary concern (we have plenty still). I'm more concerned about e.g. pharmacy goods and produce, since where I live literally 95% of our produce is imported.

      EDIT 2: This article articulates what is on my mind much better: An Infectious Diseases Specialist Reflects on COVID-19

      26 votes