Monday, September 13, 2021

Social dance considered harmful in a time of COVID pandemic

A friend who wants to remain anonymous wrote this post in response to someone else's cautionary note on COVID and social dance. Caution seems incompatible with actually social dancing right now and we should all take heed. (Post title provided by me) - David Begin quote: Here are some links to Covid-19 Risk Calculators: These events are indoors and with lots of people breathing each other's air, all exhaling heavily because dancing is energetic. Covid is spread through airborne transmission, particularly in situations where air is likely to recirculate or even be blown onto others (imagine someone who is contagious standing in front of a fan, which would then spread the virus into other people nearby and across the room). Think of the teacher in Marin who infected many kids in a classroom and then multiply that many times over. Or gym classes or choirs that have been shown to be high risk environments. You couldn't design a better way to infect lots of people in a short period of time. Anyone who thinks there's a safe way to attend such an event is fooling themselves. Use any of the risk calculators listed above, plug in the location and other factors. All of these show a risk factor that is either high or 100% risk of contracting Covid under the conditions of a typical dance convention event. People are in relatively enclosed spaces, for many hours, in close proximity, exhaling more forcefully because of exertion and thereby creating larger volumes of airborne droplets that could be carrying virus. They are coming in close contact with multiple people over several days. Those who hold such events should offer rapid testing for free for all participants and people should be tested every day during the event. Not doing so is unconscionable to keep rates of infection as low as possible. People who test positive on any given day need to quarantine immediately and notify staff of the hotel and the event. The comments by Maria don't consider the consequences to others: Consider how you might feel hearing that someone you danced with at an event you attended got sick and died, what if you were an asymptomatic carrier that infected them; or that they went home to infect loved ones who needed hospitalization or died. Maybe they had loved ones who were left to grieve. Based on infection rates of Delta, the transmission is one infected person infecting 5-7 people (much higher than the original strain). People are supposed to test negative 72 hours prior. That is 3 days where one might become asymptomatic or symptomatic. The highest spread happens 1-2 days before symptoms. What if someone was infectious and infected 5-7 others on the first night of a convention. It's possible that someone could become infectious before leaving the convention, So, 5-7 people now infect 5-7 people each (this is 25-49 more people if you do the math). But let's say 10 people were infectious to start. So, doing the math, that means they infect up to 50-70 people, and those 50-70 people infect 5-7 people each -- that's 250-490 people, who will leave and potentially spread it to 5-7 people once they get home, or to 5-7 people on the way home. The math comes out that those initial 10 people wind up possibly infecting up to 1250-3430 people. This is, of course, based on everyone being unvaccinated, so the numbers would be less if the people they came in contact were vaccinated, but you get the gist of the way this spreads. Consider that hotel workers could be infected by participants -- did anyone die because this event was held? Did someone lose their father or mother or sister or brother who worked at the hotel because this was a high risk environment? Most hotel workers are not well paid and their families depend on whatever income they generate, but if that person dies, they lose that source of income. Most dancers are privileged enough to have disposable income to pay for travel, hotel, and other expenses to attend. They may not feel the impact of lost sick days, but the families of hotel workers may suffer the consequences of a parent or sibling needing hospitalization. What about the airline personnel or other people traveling that come in contact with someone from the event that got infected, but may not be symptomatic yet, but are highly infectious? How will those lives change? Consider that many hospitals are at capacity for treating patients. ICUs are full. HCWs are exhausted. What is the impact of your being sick to the healthcare facilities where you live and are likely to seek help if you fall ill? What about the hospitals near the event, as you may have likely infected people working at the event? Did you take an ICU bed or healthcare services from someone else that needed care? DId someone die because you exposed them to the virus? What about the emotional toll on HCWs who have to hold the hands of those who die because their loved ones can't come to the hospital? Those emotional scars will not just go away in a few days, weeks, or years. Anyone not masking themselves or quarantining after such an event is irresponsible. But given the consequences of attending an event that would have a high risk of infection and spread, how is it even ethically conceivable for someone to even participate and attend if they truly care about other human lives? This is not just a decision that impacts just your health, but has impacts far beyond your own.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Obituary for Bill Murphy

 Bill was a close friend in junior high and high school, as well as a fellow Boy Scout and member of the school band. We had lost touch in later years, but he still mattered to me. I last saw him at a high school reunion. Another reminder of mortality and to live life while we can. RIP, Bill.

Monday, August 30, 2021

My letter to KALW management and overseeing board/license holders

 KALW Station Management, Board of Directors, and License Holders

I am late in writing this email because of travel, illness and my desire to sample the new music programming fully. I expressed some opinions on the two community Zoom meetings, but want to say more after some deep consideration of the issues and my reactions. My personal focus is resisting voter suppression, but I have a very personal relationship to the issue of KALW programming changes, so I am willing to also participate in this discussion as well.

I write for two reasons, to express support for the Tangents radio show and to provide feedback on the project to revamp KALW as a model for NPR stations in general. I have listened to Tangents for almost forty years. It is a staple of my musical and political diet and is important to me. When I heard that the program would be cut in half, I was alarmed and upset. My life was disrupted for a few days, a stronger reaction than I would have predicted. My alarm was greater after I read the station manager’s op-ed and after I participated in the two Zoom meetings. Here is why.

I fit the mold of an NPR listener and supporter. I have donated to various stations and programs for years, including KALW, KQED, WQXR, WNYC, RadioLab, UnderCurrents, KPFA, and Democracy Now. I listen several hours per day, mostly to the music programming, but also news programming. These are staples of my media diet, in other words. I also fit the demographic, as I am a white, CIS-gender male, and middle class Boomer with a college education. With that background, let me respond to the central issues, the aging out of people like me and the low diversity of the listeners and donors.

The station manager’s op-ed and more raw, unfiltered comments on the first Zoom call show the damage wrought by personal wrongs due to gender, ethnicity and age. She has an agenda that arose in response to those wrongs. There is also an occupational “Joan of Arc” quality to this, in that a successful revolution in KALW programming, listenership and donor base would vault her forward in the NPR world as a solution provider nationally. I get that. As KALW staff member David said, to paraphrase, the existing model is not sustainable.

After I listened to a couple weeks of the new programming, I conclude that my image of what was coming was a little off. Although the core genre is hip-hop, the sound is more KBLX/Quiet Storm than the sound I expected. Frankly, I do not expect this to draw a large donor audience. I suppose it is a valid experiment though. I, on the other hand,  would recommend an Americanized version of Gilles Peterson’s BBC6 Music show on Saturdays with a mix-in of Greg Bridges show on KPFA.

Now, as to Dore Stein’s Tangents show… The pursuit of diversity can take multiple forms. Clearly the music and the political content of Tangents is diverse, that is, varied, multi-ethnic, multi-generational and representative of multiple minorities, far beyond the week night programming. It is also cohesive, representative of a progressive point of view, and artistically and professionally very accomplished. I think if we examine the station manager’s comments about Tangents, especially in the first Zoom meeting, it is clear that she does not consider it diverse - she scoffed at the idea. I attribute this to the fact that Dore is a Jewish American and not a BIPOC. This is discriminatory on its face. She did not ever address the fact that the music is diverse, which blatantly leaves out the central premise of the show. Her treatment of the Gaza Corner issue is also illustrative. Clearly cutting the program time to two hours makes it impossible to include a long news segment. It’s disingenuous to blame Dore. It also shows that the political views of the show are not considered as a voice of minorities, probably because those minorities are not the target audience for the new programming. I think that is short-sighted.

As I edit this, I see that the Station Manager is moving on to a new organization. I hope that something can be done to rectify the situation she created.

Friday, July 2, 2021

A perfect morning

 Woke early again, but not *too* early. Another especially enjoyable episode of UnderCurrents Radio, a delicious hot cup of coffee, and a short story by Charlie Jane Anders in Worlds Seen In Passing. Based on my enjoyment of that story, I borrow an e-book of an Anders novel, then hop in the shower. Ready to pull a full day of my three jobs for the first time. Life feels good!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Good morning

 Undercurrents Radio on my cans, a steaming cup of coffee in my hand. Life is good. Work has been hard but not *too* hard. Accomplishing things. Learning. Producing from skills I built up. Over a minor health issue.Morning light, pleasant weather. Carrying on…

Glad to see Dave Winer getting some traction on the seriousness of our political situation. Joe Trippi prodded into action!

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