Bearing Witness to the Pandemic October 2022

More things continue to return to normal across the US, almost as if the pandemic never happened. That is with the exception of economic pain from a raging inflation that owes its origins to disruptions during the pandemic.

But things are definitely not back to normal elsewhere. China continues to believe in and enforce a no-Covid policy with a mass testing strategy. Street-side testing booths are located all across major cities to provide weekly testing for residents.  Some jobs and cities require testing every 72 hours.

Sadly, as more of the world reopens and people head back to their places of work, pet animals are being abandoned by those who can no longer take care of them. The rare, good news from the early months of the pandemic was that animal shelters were reporting a huge uptick in adoptions, leaving some of them with empty cages. But now, ever so tragically, many of those same shelters are overflowing with surrendered pets of all types.

The FDA has given approval for updated COVID boosters for children 5 and older. Previously, they were allowed only for those 12 and older. The new boosters have been tweaked for the predominant Omicron variants. While these boosters are only approved for those kids who have gotten their initial vaccinations, less than a third of 5-11 year olds have had their two primary doses.

A new study in JAMA has found that as many as 4 in 10 Americans misled or misrepresented to others about their COVID-19 status or adherence to public health measures. As example, almost 20% claimed to have not mentioned that they suspected they had COVID to another individual they were in close proximity with.  Nearly a quarter said they had broken quarantine rules.

ACT test officials reported that the average score of its college admissions test fell the lowest level in three decades. It marked the 5th consecutive year of falling scores. While many blamed pandemic restrictions, others said there were a number of causes, perhaps including a fixation if not addiction to social media.

National test results of middle schoolers in math and reading proficiency also took a dive during the pandemic. Math scores fell in nearly all states; some by double digit amounts with the national average below 40% proficiency.

Pregnancy-related deaths have increased almost 80% since 2018, and COVID-19 shares much of the blame.  Overall maternal death rates in the US continue to rise across the board, but more severely for women of color who also suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

Former CDC officials have confirmed that Trump political appointees attempted to change scientific reports, block public health recommendations, and muzzle then threaten top officials within the agency when they did not submit. And who is surprised by this?

A new study reports that people’s personalities changed during the pandemic. Many have become more introverted, less agreeable and less conscientious with fewer social connections, interactions, and attachments. Researchers found that living thru COVID years had the effect of negating one decade of normative personality growth. Psychotherapists also reported similar trends.

The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

The featured image is from CDC Covid Tracker showing the trends in confirmed deaths in the US since the pandemic began.

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