log: blast out

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: PHASE 1 LEVEL 4

54,122 -1,185,361: 282(-3): 20-6,963(0.59%): 86.1 %–56 %

Omicron is continuing its rampage. We cracked 50,000 new daily cases today. By the end of the month, we may be at 130,000. Cases per million isn’t looking much better.

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-cases

But, on the bright side –insofar as there is one of those– the critical cases are actually going down, as are the deaths. And not just as a percentage but as a counting stat.

Although Omicron is breaking through the vaccinations, they still seem to be holding the line. South Korea has about 86% of its population fully vaccinated, and about 96% of adults are fully vaccinated. One has to think that this, more than the much ballyhooed “mildness” of Omicron is making a serious difference in outcomes — even if the spread is madness.

The containment strategy has changed. Differences in testing, care, all sorts of things. Right now, the strategy is mainly about protecting the hospital system from being overwhelmed and protecting the most vulnerable. It seems to be working? Hard to say.

Overall, a bit of an odd period. The situation seems like what was supposed to happen with the “With Covid” strategy –a lot of cases, few of them critical– is happening now. But it’s happening without the cheering benefit of less attention paid to case numbers, loosened restrictions, or even much of a feeling like tightening restrictions would even make much of a difference. I mean, fucks sake, once you’re into the Hong Kong hamster outbreak stage of a thing, it doesn’t feel like reducing business hours or group size is going to make much fucking difference at all. I mean, it might. But it doesn’t really feel that way.

And, of course, none of this had to be like this but

here we are

As is, I’m just holding to the advice and guidelines, still limiting my time out, avoiding crowds and closed spaces, and waiting for my Wife to bring home a case from work to me.

All that is just sort of a psychological backdrop. Just that constant exhausting low key stress of the thing. That constant groaning of strained metal in the back of my head.

School is a bit of a more upfront source of stress. Part of it is the workload I’ve bit off this semester, the other part is the nature of the work. One of my research apprenticeships deals heavily with ethnocide, genocide, and that sort of thing. So much so that we provide content warnings –not just to help those who will be reading the final product– but also to protect us, the researchers, from all the terrible things weekly exposure to this stuff can do to you.

I’m pretty capable of dealing with reading about this side of things — a capability that, in itself, sometimes worries the fuck out of me– but I do get a little stressed out and bothered about it at times. Not so much about the content but about the responsibility. It’s a form of witnessing. Witnessing has some weight. It needs to be done right.

Without getting into details, an example of what stresses me out:

In one country I’m working on, the census has itself been deployed as a weapon in an ethnocide. Basically, the attacked minority has been deliberately wiped from the books through violence and manipulating the figures. Part of that has to do with politically disenfranchising the group, part of it is saying they don’t even exist. But the long and short of it is, that this, of course, makes the census figures unreliable. That’s part of the point, I think.

Now, one part of what we have to do is rate the data quality from 1-3, with a 3 being the best. In these cases, I’m not sure exactly how to do this. The numbers can be unreliable but that was done on purpose. There is ample data about the rest of it — and in one case, I’ve even been able to find the meeting where this policy towards cooking the census with a goal of erasing a group was approved. Calling the data low quality seems to be a form of complicity with the erasure of the group. Part of the point of such a practice could very well be making the data unreliable.

But it’s complicated. By pointing out the unreliability of the census data, one does reveal a gap in knowledge that needs to be filled. So is calling it a 3 erasing that coverup?

Fucked if I can figure out a satisfactory solution. As is, I’ve been rating such cases as a 3, which I’m not sure I’m supposed to, and adding a note explaining the weakness in the counting numbers. My thinking is, if you’re trying to prove a murder, and you find a bunch of human remains in the suspect’s backyard, have footage, and the weapons, but cannot get an accurate count of how many victims there were even though you have evidence that the bodies were disposed of in such a way to make a count impossible — you still have extremely high quality data that a murder did occur. Perfect would be knowing everything.

But I’m not satisfied with this.

We were warned how unsatisfactory this research could be. Forewarned is forearmed, but it still bothers me. I’m not totally sure what the right thing to do here is in terms of data collection and in terms of ethics or if I think these are opposed. It’s a gray area. In these cases, I tend to err on the side of the victims. That might be a bias. And it’s sometimes not even clear where that side is, what will serve them better, or how to do it.

So, yeah, that’s been stressing me out. That sort of thing. And I just don’t seem able to get out of the house, take a walk, and clear my head. My desk is always there. I’m writing this on one of the computers I do this work on. I can’t quite get away. Pleasures of working from home I suppose or, I guess, living in one’s office. But I feel fine. I mean, today I suddenly broke down and started crying at my desk but I feel fine. I don’t mind a good cry. It helps.

So does music.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying –against my better judgement– the Sleaford Mods. Being a Fall fan, I might just have a soft spot for English people ranting over repetitive beats. Whatever the case, it helps blast some of the shit out my head.

3 thoughts on “log: blast out

  1. I’m nowhere near as much into fitness as you are, you exercise and everything, but for what it’s worth regarding stress I feel healed since I started finishing off my shower with cold water. It’s such a cliché but for me it’s worked. I start with the legs where it’s easier, and work my way up where it gets tougher. In time your tolerance to the cold gets better. It gets me through the day and helps me sleep better at night. Maybe it would be medicinal for your stress.

    Liked by 1 person

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