Survivors of Covid-19 show increased rate of psychiatric disorders

Here you have it. The bridge that may finally make people see that “mental” conditions are in fact physical and that it’s the mental health stigma that is bonkers.

(Also, could we be trying too hard to stamp out the human aspects of what it means to be human – to be alive – and turning people into perfect little robots? What would life be like if we never had ups and downs? At all? Btw, one guy – I won’t mention his name; he is a geologist – once told me that when he smoked cigarettes – not weed, but cigarettes – his ups were less high and his downs less low.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/03/survivors-of-covid-19-show-increased-rate-of-psychiatric-disorders-study-finds

(31% of COVID-19 survivors suffer from depression. Read the article in The Guardian to find out what else plagues them. We already knew that psychosis is linked to COVID-19 as well. Psychosis is also linked to the recovering from physical brain trauma.)

SARS-CoV2, wastewater and seashores

A few months ago, someone in Florida sent me a link to a news item – I think it was from Yahoo News – in which a professor in California was warning people to stay away from the seashore as she was sure that they would get infected by the ocean surf there.

I dissected the article and had to dismiss it as panicky nonsense. It for example mentioned the rapid spread (in Wuhan) as an argument but Wuhan is nowhere near the sea and everything that was ascribed to marine spray could much more easily be explained through asymptomatic spread. The existence of the latter was not even mentioned in the item. I did not expect the virus to be able to play a big role in the marine environment on the basis of my very limited knowledge in this area.

Just now, I spotted an article written by Kristen Kusek, who I know from my time in Florida. She is now the communications director at the place where we both were into marine science, while she also pursued journalism at the Poynter Institute a bit further down the road.

USF’s College of Marine Science has started the first American program to look at the virus in wastewater. I had earlier heard about the virus having been detected in sewage in, I think, Venice.

https://www.usf.edu/marine-science/news/2020/usf-partner-in-costa-rica-launches-the-countrys-first-program-to-detect-coronavirus-in-wastewater.aspx

It is very important to keep in mind that the virus having been detected waste water (or anything else) DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN CATCH COVID-19 from it.

I also saw this:
https://coloradosun.com/2020/07/21/poop-early-coronavirus-warning-colorado-wastewater/

It was time for a quick update.

I found this:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004313542030436X

At first glance, this seems to confirm my assessment. Good.

Here is more on the topic:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896972033151X

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S004313542030436X?token=01D96FD19564AA8CCAF293E95112CB80711556EDFB30B8701D6895EEEAECA0747FB112F019F2BDD2877DDAC55EE331B7

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S004896972033151X?token=7D077B4CFF621AF2C66AAE410611192580B09C4F7AFA638CD1CBE5BB26F6121305BABE2F25608A43C70A06F0D6BC74B0

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666016420300049

As I live in an island city, with a stormwater sewage overflow to the east of us and a (treated) sewage outlet slightly to the east of that, along the seashore, such questions have local relevance. So far, nothing to worry about.

(Please note that this does not mean that the situation will stay this way, but at this point, there is nothing to indicate that it won’t. That’s okay. We have plenty on our plate as it is.)

Is cruelty cool?

My book titled “Is cruelty cool?” will become available on 31 August.

This book is for people who believe that cruelty gives you edge. But it is not only for them.

This book is also for all the otherized people in England. The 3million and all the other non-UK citizens, the disabled, the women, the feebleminded, uppity females like me who don’t know their place, the poor, the elderly, many of the educated and of course everyone whose skin is not lily-white (including Priti Patel even though she keeps repeating that she wants to reduce the number of people like me, the low-skilled cheap labour that supposedly forces the UK government to keep wages low and the English poor).

It’s for black people and native-American people in the US and it is for people who are workplace bullies or who used to be workplace bullies and for people who are the target of workplace bullying and community bullying or who have a friend or colleague who is being bullied in the community or at work as well as for some employers. It might be good if a few more English politicians other than Priti Patel would read this too but most of them are likely too busy feeding voters crap. The kind of crap that encourages cruelty…

And the people saw that it was good…

It must have been centuries ago, many hundreds of years ago, when King Prius of Leftus to Litmus de Lexus and yonder Alset was King of Caranoland. Prius was lazy. He didn’t believe in learning or working. He believed in pilfering and war so instead of investing in schools and healthcare and universities and housing, he kitted his people out with guns and knives and armor and sent them all over the world to conquer and pilfer and bring the loot home.

Oh, how vast his kingdom became. It stretched all around the globe with countries happily being robbed of their people and goods just so that they could support King Prius (or so he may really actually have thought in his boundless arrogance).

And the people saw that it was good.

They took and received all the treasures from the foreign lands and lived in splendor and squalor – which both sounded equally good to them – and if anyone happened to get into the way, well, too bad.

And the people continued to live in Squalor and continued to see that it was good as King Prius who lived in Splendor kept reassuring them that they had no need for education and healthcare and all that stuff because they were naturally superior, in no need of education and healthcare and all that stuff, and there were plenty of countries left to plunder so that they could live happily ever after.

And the people agreed that it was good.

And that’s how an entire nation ended up collectively kidding themselves into believing that they were a superior, healthier and brainier race than all the folks in foreign lands and so they never even noticed it when the foreign lands raced by them because they didn’t possess the knowledge to recognize it. After all, they had no need for education and healthcare and decent housing and all that stuff and they firmly believed that this was so because after all, King Prius of Leftus to Litmus de Lexus and yonder Alset had said so.

So they knew that it was right and it was good.

King Prius, of course, never told them about it when he’d had to stop plundering those foreign lands when his soldiers were getting their butts kicked and successfully continued to convince them to live in Squalor while he continued to live in Splendor.

And the people knew that it was good.

Because King Prius of Leftus to Litmus de Lexus and yonder Alset and Lamborghini had also ordered high walls to be built around the country so that nobody who wanted to come live in Squalor too could get in.

Keir Starmer, values, the pandemic and the British. Are they in sync?

In a live webinar that took place on 24 June 2020, Keir Starmer said that there was a feeling among many in the UK that “we haven’t got our values right”. You know, that brought tears to my eyes, mostly of relief and also a little bit of gratitude.

Because I too feel that many in the UK haven’t got their values right and that is certainly reflected by the UK government.

It goes for many people in various other countries too, of course.

People who have no problem with cold-hearted callousness. People who see no problem with keeping other humans as slaves. Modern slavery shackles between 20 to 50 million people around the world, depending on how you define it.

People can be kept almost like cattle in stable-like conditions or be in a slightly better situation, trapped and for example sent to apply for housing benefits or other benefits that will go to their keepers. Who cares.

This parallel with how humans exploit non-human animals reveals the connection between how we treat each other and how we treat other species and vice versa.

Only a few days later, Keir Starmer badly messed up during BBC Breakfast on 29 June. Gone was the human rights lawyer with the emphasis on the importance of treating each other humanely, having worked in all sorts of countries all around the world suggesting that he had seen and learned so much. In his place, we saw someone much harsher and quite callous, someone keen on sending thousands to jail and someone who dismissed “Black Lives Matter” as a moment, as something that happened in faraway daft America, had nothing to do with the UK, thereby dismissing everyone in the UK who is not lily-white.

The slithery slippery slope of politics exemplified. Two sharply contrasting faces. The same man. One addressing young people in Britain, including non-indigenous Brits, the other addressing the typical BBC Breakfast audience.

So I guess that Keir Starmer does not have his values right either because “values”, that’s just whatever you present that you think will gain you most votes in his view. In the webinar, he spoke appreciatingly of “Becky” several times. The next day, he fired her. It does not matter whether she had her values right or not. If she did not, then it would have been clear long before that day and she should not have been part of Starmer’s team and if she did, then Loyalty 101 should have applied. Enough about that.

The COVID-19 lockdowns made many people more compassionate in the UK. More considerate. We started noticing each other more now, without judging. The social distancing rules forced us to look at each other and estimate the distance first instead of instantly assessing and judging each other on appearances or not even noticing those others and just walking by them.

On the same day when Starmer emulated Priti Patel on BBC Breakfast, I also read this.

Great UK headline 29 June 2020. This appears to confirm that there is indeed a feeling throughout the UK of “we haven’t got our values right”.

Apparently, lots of Brits want the country to be fairer. But for whom? And how long will that sentiment last? Fingers crossed!

Is the DVLA in chaos?

After I did some more googling after I posted the information below (beyond the more tag), I suddenly found this!

“To make it easier for drivers who need to update their photocard licence with a new photograph at the end of the 10 years validity, photocard driving licences that expire between 1 February 2020 and 31 August 2020 will be automatically extended for a period of 7 months from the date of expiry.”

How come DVLA on Twitter was not aware of this?

How come this information did not show up before or during the online renewal procedure?

And how come the post office was not aware of this either? My license got snipped with scissors and discarded and I was told that as of the next day, I would be breaking the law if I drove.

(For many people, their driving licence is their main ID.)

How come that apparently this information is not that easy to find on the web? (Failure to submit to the search engines at the time? But then, it is not that easy to find on the DVLA website either.

Was the information announced retroactively, such as on 4 June, perhaps? https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dvla-coronavirus-covid-19-update#history)

(By the way, it also explains why I didn’t get the renewal reminder. Sorry anonymous.)

Continue reading

Need a face mask for in public transport?

If you need a simple face cover for use in public transport or because you are looking after someone who is medically vulnerable to COVID-19, and aren’t able to make your own fabric mask, you could get one of these washable face masks with replaceable filter from Vistaprint.

They are not manufactured to any medical standard. The designs are a bit dull; this white one with the drawn hearts on it may be the nicest, but there is also for example a light blue one with smilies and a dark blue one with dinosaurs. They cost £17 and a pack of 10 filters cost £6 and delivery is free (checked on 8 May 2020). No, I don’t get a commission. https://www.vistaprint.co.uk/masks/

Dismantling police forces

Police forces no longer serve a useful role in society and have become a source of pain and crime and destruction, of historic untouchable lawlessness, in almost all countries.

They set the wrong example across the board.

I agree with Black Lives Matter’s initiative to defund police. One major American city has already decided to do away with its police force. I applaud that decision.

We shouldn’t merely reform police forces. We have to dismantle them and start over from scratch, applying what we’ve learned.

CNN about racism in the UK

Today:

 

Yep, I’ve also run into repeatedly that my objections against abuse were considered a mere expression of something being wrong with me. We are the most tolerant people in the world so if you disagree with that, then that’s simply because there is something wrong with you.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2020/06/europe/britain-racism-cnn-poll-gbr-intl/

Having people like Boris Johnson in charge makes matters worse. Finding people who are willing to listen and help change things can make a big difference. They do exist.

It’s not “just” about racism. It’s all connected.

How we treat each other, how we treat others that look or behave slightly differently and also how we treat non-human animals.

I am not saying you have to be infallible. We’re all only human. We all have our bad days.

Jumping to conclusions

This morning, I went to Pets At Home, was asked whether I had a card. “No.” (I used to have one.) “I used to have lots of pets but now I only rehab.” That earned me an oddly inquisitive look.

On the way back, someone wished me a good morning. Closer to home, I saw two neighbours chatting. I realised that one of them might have Treacher-Collins syndrome. Or not.

Why I am no longer talking about COVID-19

Simple.

I’ve found out just about everything that I wanted find out, for myself. The NAM/APHA webinars have also started to repeat themselves. I don’t think they already know everything there is to know about whether getting infected confers permanent immunity, but we’ll learn that in due course.

There is a massive effort underway to develop vaccines and treatments and the huge sums of money that are being pumped into it means that the development process is sped up immensely. I saw a graph last week that illustrated that very well.

I regret that animal models – proverbial “lab rats”- are still being used to test treatments and vaccines. A truly sophisticated society would have no need for that.

When I am in “scientist mode”, I tend to forget that me feeling that there is nothing left for me to contribute in this area – I mean, people have finally caught up on the droplet stuff and the purpose of wearing face coverings – is not necessarily true in a broader sense.

(I like being on the cutting edge of developments and like having momentum, so I have a tendency to transfer momentum to something else once the momentum in one area runs out. A very practical example of that is not getting bogged down by the various hiccups we experienced during the installation of an ICP-MS in a new lab, years ago. I couldn’t just sit down, wait and do nothing. It occasionally meant we were stuck. I transferred the momentum. I arranged for the lab’s Mac to get an upgrade. I had a different card installed which was also very useful, but the kind of thing that easily gets ignored when you have something much bigger in focus.)

There will still be people who I can help by translating some of the science into plain English, for example, or with whom I can walk through a building to identify bottlenecks with them and find solutions.

I could do this in a Skype, Zoom or Telegram video session or I could travel to places like Basingstoke, Littlehampton, Andover, Salisbury and Winchester.

One way of dealing with COVID-19 measures is to turn them into positive experiences. What do I mean by that? Supermarkets and other places are already supplying hand sanitizer etc. If you have a long waiting line, why not get a busker to entertain people? Not all the time, but say, between five and six every day. This could be any kind of busker, does not have to be a musician. Someone to entertain your customers and put a smile on their faces.

You don’t catch COVID-19 from smiling. 

Worse, I’ve been dreading the end of lockdown measures because during the strict lockdown, people were much friendlier and much more considerate. The occasional jackass who pretended there was no line quickly got sent to the end of the line and his loud muttering ignored by everyone who was waiting to be allowed into the supermarket. Aggressive behaviours were suddenly not done. Bliss!

Let’s keep some of that, shall we? 

Supermarkets could also have a few umbrellas to hand out to people standing in line in the rain. (Yes, disinfection needed.)

I also remind people that cleaning is not needed of any surfaces that go unused for 7 days or longer. So instead of cleaning, in some cases, you may be able to set up a rotation system, with for example objects being used by one (different) person only each day and different objects for each of the 5, 6 or 7 days of the week that get stored for a week. In some cases, in which cleaning might be complicated or simply too much work, this may be a solution.

This could be a solution for libraries, for example, to allow limited lending again. It is hard to clean books swiftly without damaging them. Patrons would not get access to the lending materials, but staff would instead collect items from the shelves and hand them over. Any materials that are returned can be left on a cart for a week to be returned to the shelf without risk to staff after that week.

 

Shame and embarrassment

That seems to be a huge part of what it is like to live with NPD. Powerlessness, too. The inability to change what happens in your brain, that thing that determines what you behave like. Who you are.

Is that truly who you are? In a spiritual, cosmic sense?

No.

It would be a bit like saying that snow is “bad” rain.

Rain is only rain and not snow or hail because of an external factor that rain can do nothing about. Temperature.

Shame and embarrassment.

That feeling that you will never ever be good enough. If only people knew what you were really like, eh?

Well, what you are really like is a perfectly good human being.

But you need other people’s eyes to see that for you.

 

 

The corona virus crisis. COVID-19

Do you still know what you are allowed to do and what not at the moment? Yeah, me neither.

Although I’ve been relatively quiet about it for a little while on this site and I find myself behaving a little bit more relaxed about it all, the topic hasn’t slipped my mind.

Being more relaxed about it all makes me feel that I am sloppier about it all, but perhaps social distancing is merely becoming an automatic habit now.

Continue reading

Calling my attackers from Woolston (2007)

Britain is often a true haven of intolerance, yet it sees itself as the opposite, just like it touts itself as a human rights champion to the rest of the world but does little – if anything – to uphold them within Britain. Many law professors agree on that.

Human rights are not some silly wishy-washy concept for the soft-hearted. They are laid down in laws. That means that if you violate someone else’s human rights, it can land you in court. You too have the right to make a living, have a family, engage in hobbies, celebrate Christmas, go to school, own things that you bought, go for a jog in the sunshine and so on. This is all part of your human rights.

What follows is also a human rights story, a story of the violation of my right to work and to sit on a bench in the sunshine. Continue reading

Are you feeling miserable?

Then you are likely living in an area where a lot of people are miserable.

The good news? Positivity spreads much better than negativity.

This means that while your environment may be making you miserable, you have the power to change your environment just by being who you are and remaining true to who you are.

Don’t let the grouches win their battle against the good stuff in life.

That said, if watching the death of people like George Floyd makes you miserable even before you begin to imagine how anyone related to him in any way must feel when they watch it as well as how he must have felt when he was being killed, then it’s just about you having a normal heart and soul. It’s okay to cry and/or to hug someone when you’re feeling shitty over that.

It would have been an atrocity too if it had happened to a white-skinned person, but the sad fact is that this kind of thing is done to people who don’t have a white skin much more frequently in some societies.

Similar things are also done too often to other people who are a little bit different from the “standard white male” in other respects, such as men who are deaf or autistic.

 

Police violence and racism in the US

That’s a serious issue in the UK too.

I had been so turned off by all the idiotic headlines about Dominic Cummings that I stopped following all news.

I mean, jeez, I don’t think I saw more than one headline about Nigel Farage’s violation of the lockdown rules so that he could go catch dangerous migrants at Calais, but all of a sudden, all news sites had at least six items about Cummings, for days.

My point? Because I stopped following the news, I missed what happened in the US.

That’s why I didn’t understand why someone suddenly responded to one of my tweets about an earlier incident, a few weeks ago, in NYC.

When I saw the headlines yesterday, I wanted to cry. I feel like crying while I am typing this. Why can’t people get along?

On the other hand, I also know that a lot of really bad crap can be the precursor for a major change toward the better.

There is a big discussion about diversity going on in my home country at the moment too, possibly sparked by the pandemic, as it unleashed a lot of animosity against Asian-looking people there. The latter has also occurred in the US and in the UK.

I used to live in a city in the US in which police killed a young black man after which riots followed right when I had just returned to the Netherlands. It was normally a very peaceful environment to live in, much safer than the UK, generally speaking.

Cycling down streets there and observing people as well as having a few innocent remarks misinterpreted taught me how marginalised some people felt there. And the further north I cycled, the whiter and creepier the neighbourhoods became.

One of my marine science colleagues there saw nothing wrong with showing me his home and introducing me to the cats I was going to look after while he was on vacation, commenting that the house next-door was empty at the time and adding that he hoped no black people would move in as it would make the value of his property go down.

He said it as if it was the most normal thing in the world to say. I was too stunned and still too unfamiliar with this kind of thing to know what to say. I said nothing, sadly. I no longer remember the guy’s name. Probably for the best.

The university department was lily-white too. (I also noticed that people from Puerto Rico were often thought to be foreign. They are American. I am not sure what this misunderstanding means.)

To anyone in the UK thinking that this kind of thing is “typically American”, I say “No, it ain’t”. It happens a lot in the UK too. Police violence against people because their skin isn’t lily-white is common in the UK as well.

But it seems to raise fewer protests here.

(If any…)

Just like Brits see themselves as human rights champions, while they aren’t at all, they also often see themselves as highly tolerant when they aren’t at all. What we grow up with and are accustomed to, we see as perfectly normal. That doesn’t mean that it is perfectly normal when you look at it from a different angle.

So please, don’t point the finger at the US too quickly.

Thanks.