Tuesday, January 5, 2021

To undo the folded lie

            All I have is a voice
            To undo the folded lie,
            The romantic lie in the brain
            Of the sensual man-in-the-street
            And the lie of Authority
            Whose buildings grope the sky:
            There is no such thing as the State
            And no one exists alone;
            Hunger allows no choice
            To the citizen or the police;
            We must love one another or die. 

            W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939


Real talk? I've reached the point in this quarantine life where I wake up each morning and wonder if there's any point in getting dressed for the day. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do because I live with people, and am not yet past caring that they may soon think me disreputable. New York is so very changed, the streets, the train stations, the parks hauntingly empty, now that the cold has arrived. Our numbers are ticking up like everywhere else, though we are still under a ten percent infection rate statewide. On the other hand, lots of people get tested here. In some states, people only get tested when they arrive at the ER with symptoms, so their infection rate is unbearably high, and we have no idea what the real truth is, whether more tests would yield a lower infection rate, or an even higher one. 

We're all still stumbling around in the dark when it comes to covid, and now there is a plan afoot to give half the dose of the Moderna vaccine for the first shot, and the second half of the dose for the second shot three weeks later, so as to be able to inoculate twice as many people. The Moderna experts have apparently said the protection imparted will be "identical" to that of the full dose for both shots, which begs the question, if half a dose is so very effective, why wasn't that the prescribed dosage to begin with? 

My son, as it happens, will be receiving the Moderna vaccine, first dose, today. When I called him yesterday with these questions, he said, "That doesn't sound right. That's not how they did the studies." He'd been away with his love at an Airbnb upstate for the new year, and hadn't watched or read any news, so I filled him in. But he wasn't about to indulge my hysterics. "Look," he said, "This is Big Pharma we're talking about. If they can get you to pay for twice as much as you truly need, do you have any doubt they'd do that?" 

I don't question that he might be right, but then why is Dr. Fauci, whom I trust, against this half-dose approach? "So will you get only half a dose tomorrow?" I asked my son. "No idea," he yawned, as it was early, and I had woken him from sleep. "But don't blow up my phone all day tomorrow asking about the vaccine. I'm getting it late in the afternoon. I'll call you when I'm done." You see what kind of mother I am, anxious, hovering, and my children have learned how to back me off. Still, as skeptical as I am of this half-dose plan, would I take the vaccine if it were offered to me tomorrow? Yes, even the half dose. Looking down the barrel of a covid apocalypse, I guess I'd hedge my bets. (Update: It appears Dr. Fauci may yet convince the vaccine decision-makers not to mess around with the Moderna dosing.)

Georgia votes on its two run-off Senate races today. Let's hope that despite Governor Kemp's and Secretary of State Raffensperger's blatant record of purging state voter rolls and shutting down voting sites in majority Democratic districts, they continue to stand firm against Trump's attempt to trash the will of the people. Let's hope they recognize our common cause in ensuring the integrity of today's election, because even with their egregious history of voter suppression, it's never too late to do the right thing. As the poem here says, in the face of hunger, separation, state cruelty, and lies, we cannot lose hope. We humans have no choice, really. We must learn to love one another or die.

 Also, my daughter adores her dog.


  1. Even up here we are awaiting the Georgia vote with anxiety. And, yes, Auden really nailed it from time to time.
    Our vaccine is sitting in freezers here in Ontario. The joys of government management.

  2. Not knowing what to believe or think - I just stay at home and diddle around. I will go to the grocery, that is all. We will be OK I think. Husband gets immunized tomorrow because "health worker" though he is retired. Glad of that because he is one of the most vulnerable. We will get through this, you know, WE WILL!
    Girl and pooch, adorbs!

  3. Yes, love one another. Treat others the way you want to be treated. We have heard that for so long - when will we listen.

  4. Doesn't it feel with all of this as if no one really knows much about anything concerning this virus? I mean- what the hell with the one-dose-will do situation? Will it? Will the vaccine even protect us for very long or will the mutations of the virus cause them to become useless? Whatever, I'm getting my first dose on Thursday, the privilege of being an older person in Florida who lives in an area with a low population. I wish instead that my daughters who work with the public were getting it. I'm glad your son is. Try not to worry, Mama. Try.
    And your daughter is so beautiful.

  5. I watched an interview last night with a doctor from UC San Francisco on PBS News Hour. He explained in a thoughtful way why the 1/2 dose would be a good way to manage things right now given the dire circumstances we are in. It made sense, and I would gladly take a half dose to start so that more people can be vaccinated.
    I am finding that as time goes on with all of this-- the pandemic, the politics, the runoff elections, the presidential insanity-- I am growing more weary than I thought possible. It's getting harder to find a kind and good balance to the rest of it. Blogging and beauty, love and kindness... I hold on.
    Here is a link to the interview with Dr. Robert Wachter:

  6. I just remembered that I wanted to write how much I LOVE that photo of your daughter and her dog. True love in every way. Beautiful.

  7. I wish Georgia would purge me from their voter rolls. I even paid extra when I submitted my change of address form to have them cancel my registration. The Georgia RNC still sent me several applications for absentee ballots. Voter fraud isn't really my thing so I never sent them back. The pandemic is getting to everyone who has an actual brain. How can it not when so many people have become ill, so many deaths and it will be worse before it is better. Hang in there.

  8. I just hit a button and lost my entire comment so I will try to remember lol. Yes my brain is still not awoke.
    First of all I loved the poem and how things were in his time of 1939 to 2021 we still face the same old concerns and Love was the main focus of of all our lives. Most of civilization tries to encourage love and we so often fail at loving the unlovable. Where we can learn we do and if not then we can try and encourage love beginning with ourselves. This poem is just wonderful.

    I am so happy to hear that your son will be receiving the shot. I am with you tho, I do not understand why if the first dose is effective why is a second shot necessary.

    I just love the photo of your daughter and her furbaby. How adorable and so much love between the two. It is a magic moment. xxx

  9. I hadn't heard about half doses but Florida's governor was floating the idea of just one shot, rather than the two. I'm scheduled to get my first shot on the 16th but I already wonder if there will be any left when it's time for my second shot.

  10. Here in UK we were original told that there would be a first (half) shot and then the next would be 3 weeks later. Now they are saying that the second dose could be up to 12 weeks later so as to get more people with the first dose! On the media this morning there are people ( over 80s) in a nearby city ( Bedford) saying that their first dose has been cancelled . No indication of when they might get it. What a mess. I should be in the 3rd wave of vaccinations due to my age, but I see the time getting further and further away when I might get an appointment. Glad that your son is getting his....he sounds like my youngest when he told you to back off with the phoning!

  11. It's looking very good for Georgia -- Warnock won, for sure. People are repudiating Trumpism. Still not by the margins I'd like, but the reality is there. I LOVE the photo!

    I don't know what to think about dosing. That's one of those areas where we have to just trust the experts and believe they know what they're doing. (Fingers crossed!)

  12. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    I was thrilled to wake up to news of a Warnock victory and very likely an Ossoff victory as well. I am more than ready for at least some semblance of sanity to return to DC.

    I took my first dose (Pfizer) right before the new year, and take the second dose a little later this month. I do not pretend to be an expert, but it did seem to me that there was quite a lot of medicine in that syringe - I can see the wisdom behind administering 1/2 doses and hope a clinical trial is soon underway to determine if that is indeed a feasible, scientifically sound option.