All aboard the pandemic roller-coaster!

I already told you my university is removing the vaccine mandate for attendance at large public events, and now the major cities are removing them, too.

Twin Cities Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey on Thursday jointly rescinded their vaccine-or-test emergency regulations for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, effective immediately, as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rapidly decline.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. This is bonkers. Yes, the numbers are going down, we’re past the peak, but look at the difference in the case rate between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

So we’re going to reduce the incentives for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. These chickenshit politicians are calling it “invasive regulation”, when it’s a mundane public health measure, in the same way that we expect children to be vaccinated before they go off to school. It makes no sense. It’s pandering to Republicans.

Or maybe it’s something more nefarious. The Democrats see a way to reduce the number of Republican voters permanently. Hey, Mr MAGA Hat, please do cough and sneeze all over your friends at a rally, and while you’re at it, go play in traffic. We won’t get you all, but if we cripple you financially by throwing you on the mercies of your preferred health care system, or invalid you out with long COVID, we’ll be hampering your future effectiveness as a political force. <cackles evilly>

No, not really, I don’t endorse that. You’re already enough of a drag on society, and I don’t want to encourage a reservoir for new mutations to fester.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the next surge, here are some recommendations for you sensible people.

I’m using N94 & N95 masks entirely now. It’s kind of a shame, because last year there was a little cottage industry of artists making lovely cloth masks, but those are no longer recommended, unless worn as part of a set of layers. Things better not get so bad that I need a PAPR to go grocery shopping!

I also don’t understand the resistance to wearing masks. It’s -12°C and snowing with 55 km/hr winds here — even without a pandemic I’d be wearing a mask.


  1. robro says

    Apparently the Biden admin is also concerned about the rush to relax mask wearing and other roll backs. Personally I will continue to carry masks with me and wear them, particularly inside stores or around large groups. At my age and with my health conditions, I don’t want to risk a cold, much less a bout of COVID.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Even without the pandemic, it sounds like balaclava weather.
    I am unable to provide any meaningful advice for you while the comet is approaching. Maybe buy anti-comet ointment from ‘Cut-my-own-throat-Dibbs’?

    PS the Darwin day would also work as Lincoln day (two dudes whose thinking the Regressive ones do not want to emulate).
    -Oddly, in North Sweden it is quite mild nice sunny weather. And people get vaccinated at a brisk rate… because the conspiracy Flat-Birthers never took hold (för which I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster every day. Also Ukko the Finn god of lightning, just to be safe).

  3. Howard Brazee says

    I prefer to see numbers. I suspect the difference between the “not recommended” masks and no mask at all is bigger than the “not recommended” masks and “good” masks. But we can’t tell from that picture.

    And it matters.

  4. bcw bcw says

    I noticed a reference to one of your favorite people in a Guardian article about the Ottawa craziness:
    “It was definitely time to take a stand,” says Spencer Bautz, a 24-year-old who drove his truck here from Saskatchewan on day one. Dressed in a black cowboy hat, Bautz described vaccine mandates as “medical segregation” and argued that exclusions for the unvaccinated were an infringement of their freedoms. His views, he said, had been greatly informed by the thinking of psychology professor and culture war provocateur Jordan Peterson.

  5. littlelocomotive says

    As far as the timing of this, my wife points out that there is a particular event this Sunday that the sports bars, the ones with 157 big screen TV’s per establishment, care about very deeply. They and their clientele would have been very unhappy with these mandates.

  6. C Sue says

    I was a small part of the cottage industry of making cloth masks, and we were happy to wear ours when we could get nothing else. I mailed them to friends who had none and could not sew. I gave them away with etsy orders. Glad to have better protection now that omicron’s a thing!

  7. raven says

    Death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    The pandemic will eventually wind down to something approaching a new endemicity.
    Your task is to survive it until that happens.

    The longer you go without getting the Covid-19 virus, the better. For good reasons.

    .1. The hospitals are way beyond capacity right now with sick and dying Covid-19 virus patients. In a lot of places, the new version of a room is a hallway somewhere.
    This means the care you will receive from tired and understaffed health care workers isn’t going to be optimal.

    .2. Hospitals are running out of all of their supplies. Example.
    Jan 3, 2022 — SHELBYVILLE, Ind — A sudden and severe shortage of basic medical supplies is affecting some suburban Indiana hospitals and it’s forcing at …
    They are also way short of health care workers for a lot of reasons.

    .3. Two new antiviral drugs from Merck and Pfizer have been approved. They aren’t yet widely available though. In widespread use, they should prevent a lot of Covid-19 virus cases from turning into multi-week death spirals.

    .4. If this drop is sustained, the longer you go without getting Covid-19 virus, the longer you can go without getting the virus. That is because cases will be far and few between.

    That being said, I will keep an eye on national and local Covid-19 virus cases numbers and make a decision based on those to get out and do more of what used to be known as a normal life.

  8. kome says

    Someone on the right seriously published an article sometime last year trying to argue that the reasons Democrats are going so hard on mask mandates and vaccinations is because they know Republicans will be against whatever the Democrats want, and are therefore playing an N-dimensional game of chess to get Republicans to succumb to the disease and die. I wish anyone in the Democratic party was capable of that level of thinking (even if I disagree with the use of such thinking to render an entire group of people infirm or dead).

    But, one thing that line of thinking fails to account for is the data about who is not vaccinated. A huge chunk of the unvaccinated aren’t anti-vaccine; they’re just poor. Our country has done a truly abysmal job at providing vaccines and boosters to poor areas of the country, and that has not changed at all since Democrats took the White House. Literally thousands of counties around the country have an insufficient supply of vaccines and/or booster shots, an insufficient pool of people qualified to administer them, or both. The messaging from the Democratic leadership on this, that we’re in a pandemic of the unvaccinated, fails to acknowledge how they’ve also done just as crappy a job as the Republicans have of getting necessary medical supplies to the same poor areas that Republicans clearly didn’t give a flying fuck about when they were in control. The implication that not being vaccinated at the moment is a moral failing is absolute bullshit and helps feed the centuries-long narrative in the United States that poverty is a moral failing. We have such a clusterfuck of a healthcare system that no one in any position of leadership seems to give a damn about because the bulk of its failings only hurt the poor and already vulnerable.

  9. says


    Your information is out of date. Partnership is now and has been for months the best predictor of vaccination status, surpassing both income and race. Here:

    Trumpists en masse decided to remain unvaccinated in order to hurt the Dems politically in the midterms by needlessly extending the pandemic and running up the numbers. I feel for the group of poor people who want to get boosted, vax but can’t; alas through that group is a small minority of the unvax. The largest chunk is the trumpist faction.

    And yeah at this point I don’t give a shit if they let the virus kill them or not. Fuck’em

    Likewise, the GOP is trying to turn the truck blockades we are seeing in Canada into a domestic issue and supporting the Canadian ones merely to fuck up the supply chain. Trucking boycotts and these sort of blockades were used in Chile in the 70’s by the CIA, US gov’t in topple a gov’t-which is what the trumpist right is also trying to do.

  10. kome says

    Your information does not contradict mine, and in fact there is some congruence. I never claimed the best predictor of vaccination status was socioeconomic status, just that a huge chunk of the unvaccinated are so because the area in which they live has still yet been provided with a sufficient supply of either the vaccine or the booster. Your link shows that recent estimates put around 60% of the unvaccinated as identifying as Republicans. A 40% remainder split among the ways one can be not-Republican is… a big chunk of the population of unvaccinated individuals.

    You also appear to gleefully give a shit that the pandemic kills the Republicans; the people you don’t seem to give a shit about are that other 40%, who may very well be populated by people who want the vaccine but are not able to get it, yet who will also be dying. I’d like to think maybe we should care about those people. And maybe also care about all the collateral deaths that result from overburdened hospitals being unable to properly care for all the non-COVID related diseases that our burnt out health care workers are still expected to deal with. Fuck, I even think we should care about the 60% of unvaccinated people who are Republicans as well because I’d rather the Republicans change their mind about all the myriad shit they’re wrong about then die, but maybe that’s something I feel because I don’t see politics as a team sport like so many people across the political spectrum seem to do.

  11. unclefrogy says

    what galls me is the suspicion that the majority of what passes for the conservative leadership today have been vaccinated and are just cynical enough to use people fear of it for political gain.

  12. says


    I didn’t say Republicans; I said trumpists. People who are truly independent and are willing to vote for both parties is an extremely small minority…by some estimates only 2% of the population. Because of this the 60% of the unvaxed who are Republicans is the floor not the ceiling for the proportion of the unvaxed of the trumpist faction. The ceiling is probably 90% given the chunk of independents. Given what we know of how vaccination rates track strongly with Trump’s vote share at the county level the lion’s share of the independents are in fact trumpists. There’s ,maybe 25% of of the unvaxed who are non-trumpists.

    I do feel bad for those 25% -they are being held hostage largely by the trumpists. As are people-like me! (I have been trying to get a medical test for months)-who are getting substandard care because of the unvax clogging the hospitals. The best way-meaning the quickest and most practical-to help both groups through isn’t waxing poetically about how more money needs to be spent on the healthcare system and throwing more money at the problem. It is too get the Trumpists vaccinated via mandates-to the extent the courts will allow, which unfortunately isn’t a lot. Announcing that hospitals can take vax status into account for triage would help far more than throwing 100 billion more into the vaccine rollout. In short I think you are vastly overestimating the extent of which the unvax are remaining unvax out of necessity. The overwhelming majority-75+%-of the unvax are willfully unvaxed. It is a moral failing to be willfully unvaxed. I don’t need to caveat my statements every time just because a minority of a minority exists.

    Second, I am not treating politics as a team sport. I am treating it as an issue of life and death. The overarching goal of the trumpist faction is to end multiracial democracy and form a dictatorship against the “left.”-which at best will see me stripped of rights but more likely see me killed given that I’m queer. They quite literally see this as a war, for some a holy war. Force and fraud in war are the cardinal virtues. All of their actions and statements are aimed at destruction of US constitutional order.

    The trumpists who are refusing to be vaccinated are not doing it because they sincerely think the vax doesn’t work or that it is unsafe. They damn well know that it is safe and effective. They are making a gross realpolitik calculation that each individual will probably be fine but if a large enough group of persons remains unvaxed they can extend the pandemic as long as possible-that is make life miserable for everyone- to destroy the Dems chances in the midterms. I know this is the case because the trumpists are perfectly fine with the antibody treatments; every single pretext they raise against the vaccine-i.e. that it is experimental-also applies to the antibody treatment. They have also constantly moved the goalposts about when they will get vaccinated-i.e. they lied about wanting FDA approval. And their media organs that have :”doubts” about the vaccine all have vaccine mandates. And everything about the trumpists faction has them seeped in bad faith. They delight in it-they are well aware that vaccine refusal is a horrid thing to do which is why they try to shift the blame to Biden or people of color when the get called out-not to mention they won’t simply admit to what they are doing. (The leadership is worse on this but I live in a red area and I hear what the rabble say.)

    In other words, the trumpists that have allowed covid-19 to kill them are akin to suicide bombers. They used their deaths to further a political goal and hurt and killed others along the way. My feelings of indifference and/or Schadenfreude about the trumpists doing this are the most that should be expected of me. It is unreasonable to expect me to give a shit about person who would see me stripped of a rights when they use their own bodies in their quest to do that.

    Welcome to the dissolution of a body politic. I suggest getting weapons and survival supplies.