So that's all going really well

Violet's year-end pandemic roundup is just full of all kinds of great news you may have missed...

Many states did not get the allotments of doses they expected. Worse: the stupidly-named federal "Operation Warp Speed" is moving so slowly that "Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace," reported NBC News. [...]

"in many places, this first batch of vaccine is set to expire in late January, around the time Joe Biden, who has been criticizing the rollout and promising to accelerate it, is set to take office." [...]

Stanford University deserved all the ire it received when the first vaccine doses didn't go to frontline doctors and nurses but instead went to senior staff working from home (among others), blaming the favoritism on an algorithm. Well oops, they did it again: over the weekend non-clinical and non-frontline affiliates and researchers got the next round of shots in what they are characterizing as a "mistake." [...]

Two weeks ago we saw a new Covid-19 variant come out of the UK and learned that it made this extremely contagious virus somehow even more transmissible; it had traveled to various EU countries by last week. Now it is in the US, identified in Colorado and Southern California so far. [...]

What kind of people are going to restaurants during a pandemic? The worst kind.

"Working at a restaurant in 2020 has meant constant exposure to people who don't take safety, or the health of service workers, seriously. Abigail recalls overhearing a table at her previous restaurant discussing how they recently attended a huge party at a local creek in the hopes of catching COVID-19 and "getting it over with." "I had to warn the server and the bussers to make sure to wash their hands extra after dealing with this table," she says. "It's just so awful." [...]

"He offered to send a C.D.C. team to Wuhan to investigate, but Gao said that he wasn't authorized to accept such assistance. Redfield made a formal request to the Chinese government and assembled two dozen specialists, but no invitation arrived. A few days later, in another conversation with Redfield, Gao started to cry and said, "I think we're too late.""

Previously, previously, previously.

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27 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    I'd actually been wondering where Violet's been, since she hasn't updated Tiny Nibbles since November 2019.

      • Dude says:

        Yes, I'm aware. I don't go around Patreon much 'cause I'm broke (and getting broker without a $2K stimulus cheque) and I try to avoid Jack Dorsey's glorified Nazi watering hole as much as I can.

        • Jim says:

          I plan to use my $600 to commission a fundraising video for a project to survey the surface of the moon with laser spectroscopy from many small Parrot Sumo-style hopping landers in rhombic dodecahedral shock cages for auctioning the prospecting data and dual-use as a VLBI telescope array. If you're interested, what kind of a cut you would need to run the Wefunder?

  2. Elusis says:

    Meanwhile, a Wisconsin pharmacist intentionally spoiled 500 doses.

    Dog with coffee, table for one?

    • Not Frank says:

      I've not been a fan of the various sorts of warmed-over utilitarianism espoused by "modern" "AI" "researchers", but frankly that pharmacist makes an argument for life imprisonment without parole, or worse.

      • Elusis says:

        I'm pretty much anti death penalty but it's times like this wot make me long for a "first against the wall when the revolution comes" type solution.

    • Ham Monger says:

      I too was outraged by this headline, but the wording from Aurora Health is quite strange.

      The pharmacist admitted to "intentionally removing" the doses, not to "intentionally spoiling" them, and Aurora announced this at a press release two days after firing them. (For the record, I think the firing was reasonable.) Previously, they'd said the spoilage was due to "human error".

      The two statements aren't incompatible. "Yes, I intentionally removed the doses, to get to something behind them. Yes, I then forgot to put them back, because I made a grave mistake."

      Also, why weren't the doses under significant surveillance to begin with? These are probably the most valuable medicines in existence right now, and people will pay anything for them. (That's rhetorical. The answer is because the DEA will kick your ass if you lose narcotics, but there isn't a penalty for losing vaccines, and insurance will even pay for the loss, at least the first time.)

      I feel like Aurora found their scapegoat. Not saying the person didn't make a terrible mistake and needed a firing, but I'd rather learn more of the circumstances before sentencing them to death (and if their name gets out, I'd expect terrible vigilante retaliation due to the headlines).

      • jwz says:

        Well, now they're explicitly calling it deliberate sabotage.

        However, if you want a sentence to make your head explode, how about this one from that article:

        “This was a situation involving a bad actor,” he said, “as opposed to a bad process.”

        So, your process. The one that doesn't protect against bad actors. Good process? Real happy with that process?

        • Ham Monger says:

          Okay, well, deliberate sabotage is way different than human error. Human error has consequences, but it happens. I agree that sabotage is significantly worse (and doubly so in this case since people will literally die because of this).

          Also, I was arguing that the process was obviously broken, because a good process wouldn't have let the vaccine go unmonitored long enough to go bad.

          Monday morning quarterbacking is easy, but why wasn't it under lock and key in its own area, with access logs that got reviewed? Or, maybe require two people to open the high-value refrigerated (frozen) storage? For bonus points, add on everyone's favorite security theatre, video surveillance, so there are more eyes to spot a problem people to blame when the vials get left out. (Still rhetorical, q.v. consequences of vaccine loss vs narcotics loss.)

          • Elusis says:

            Perhaps because this is what happens when you drown government in a bathtub for 40 years and give the states only 6mil apiece to implement vaccine distribution, so you can blame them when things go wrong, which is what you've been lobbying for all along with your anti-science bullshit?

            • Jim says:

              What's a reasonable amount for vaccine distribution? The FAA standard of $9 million per life is what my codicil demanding that my corpsicle be put in orbit around Titan is going to ask for.

          • Elusis says:

            Also, I appreciate your caution in interpreting the news reports but sometimes (a lot of the time of late) it really is zebras.

            Possibly the zebras have managed to supplant the horses, thanks to their great orange ringmaster.

  3. ChoHag says:

    "Working at a restaurant in 2020 has meant constant exposure to people who don't take safety, or the health of service workers, seriously."

    So there is a correspondingly higher mortality rate among wait staff in the data that we can correlate this higher risk with?

    • margaret says:

      i'm guessing you've never had a job where you've had to deal with the public.

      • jwz says:

        Hey, Gotcha Guy's "just asking questions".

        • margaret says:

          realized about 1/1000th of a second after hitting "post" that it wasn't about dealing w/ public but about denying reality. was regretting the lack of a "delete my comment because i'm too stupid to be posting shit on the internet" button.

      • ChoHag says:

        I don't remember having a job where I don't.

    • Dude says:

      Yes, they do. That's why the CDC lists in-door dining - even with reduced capacity - as having the HIGHEST possible risk of infection.

      What's more, your question is the sort entitlement-prone query one would expect from the patrons mentioned in this Food & Wine article about how our not-new disrespect of food service employees has gotten worse during the pandemic:

      Chef Angie Mar was in no rush to re-open indoor dining at her upscale New York City steakhouse, the Beatrice Inn.

      “I didn’t feel super comfortable with it yet,” says Mar, explaining that she had yet to purchase the necessary air filtration system and figure out protocols to ensure the safety of her staff and guests. It was an early fall day and the weather was still pleasant, so she stuck to the 12 tables she could comfortably seat outside. A woman showed up for dinner with her boyfriend in tow, demanding a table indoors. When Mar explained the situation to the customer, offering her a table on the sidewalk instead, she was met with extreme vexation.

      “I can’t sit outside! I am wearing Gucci,” huffed the woman.
      [..]

      Customer entitlement, or what customers believe they are owed, has long been an issue in the hospitality industry. Restaurant workers swap stories like war veterans about ridiculous demands, difficult customers, and bad tippers. But the pandemic, and the terrible customer behavior that has come with it—impatience regarding wait times, name-calling, frustration over limited seating and menu options, and disregard for safety protocols—has only served to highlight how pervasive and, frankly, dangerous the problem really is.

      Being a food service employee during a pandemic is the same as working in an ICU, except an ICU patient would actually be masked their entire time, reducing the level of contagion for both themselves and those around them.

      • margaret says:

        one place i worked the boss/owner told us "if a customer gives you a hard-time tell them to fuck off and go somewhere else." that was lovely. never had to but it meant that we could deal with whatever came our way before it entered the temper-tantrum phase. so much drama would just be shut down right away with everyone the happier if instead of a sequence of apologies and accommodations while running up the chain-of-command a simple, firm, and final "no. we are not going to do that. here's what we can do..." was issued by the front-line employee.

        • Dude says:

          Both this and this explain the legal(-ish) legitimacy of this quintessentially American piece of signage:

          IN SHORT: you can refuse a customer, but not discriminate against them; ie. you can't turn them away for being Black/Jewish/LGBTQ+/disabled/etc., but you can turn them away for being an asshole.

          And off to Yelp they'll go.

      • tfb says:

        You've failed to take into account that the CDC is merely a cat's paw for the rootless cosmopolitan illuminoids: you can't trust their data or advice, especially when taking it might require momentary inconvenience, like having to wear a mask or not being able to insult the slavespeople who serve your food. The only data you can trust is data you've made up.

      • ChoHag says:

        OK. So, um. Where are the dead waiters?

      • Elusis says:

        That article is sitting open in one of my several-hundred "to read later" tabs, but does it mention the sexual harassment? Apparently men feel entitled to tell women servers to pull their masks down "so I can decide how much to tip," I read elsewhere.

        • Dude says:

          Indeed, it is mentioned:

          A new report from One Fair Wage says that over 80 percent of hospitality workers have seen a decline in tips, and 40 percent have seen an increase in sexual harassment since the pandemic started.

          I don't know if you've ever seen The Deuce on HBO, but there's a scene in the final season in which sex-worker-turned-film-maker Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is in a restaurant and sees a waitress trying to serve a table of douche-bros who keep trying to proposition. The waitress - clenching her teeth through a fake smile - tells them they can only have what's on the menu... so one of the douche-bros drops the menu on the floor and makes her stand on it.

          When Candy asks the waitress why she puts up with that shit, the waitress gets pissed and tells her that she needs the money. It later inspires Candy to recreate the scene in one of her films.

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