Something struck me as I read this latest piece of Pandemic Porn in John Henry's Boston Globe:
The discovery of a more contagious coronavirus strain in the United States this week has turned the battle against COVID-19 into a high-stakes race between the newly authorized vaccines and a virus that soon may spread even faster.
That’s what scientists are saying after the first US case of the easily transmitted “British variant” of COVID-19 was confirmed in a Colorado National Guardsman ... heightening the urgency to ramp up the sluggish national vaccine rollout that’s already behind schedule. ...
“We need to be in overdrive now,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a Columbia University professor and director of the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative. “We need to move as rapidly as possible to get the whole population vaccinated.”
But about two weeks after its launch, the US vaccination push has been running far behind early projections.
It occurred to me that, while every word of this is no doubt true and I'm all about getting as many people on the needle as fast as possible so we can start going to pubs and movies and crowded house parties again, this call to action by the Globe sounds vaguely familiar.
In fact, it takes me back to the first month of the pandemic response. Back when the vaccine was just a distant dream and the immediate need was for masks for our front line workers, which were in critically short supply. And how one man and his family stepped up and did what they could, at great personal cost.
Not just to their own front line workers, but to those in another market hit hard and desperate for help:
That was for a total of 1.7 million masks. Flown from China on AirKraft One. Then shipped to hospitals in New England and NYC in tractor trailers. A trip of enormous logistics, personal cost and immediate benefit to a grateful nation.
And here was John Henry's newspaper's response a few days later:
It was a rare moment of celebration in a season of misery: The New England Patriots team plane touching down at Logan Airport April 2 with a massive cargo of scarce respirator masks for front-line health care workers who were trying to save lives.
But like so much else in this global pandemic, the ensuing reality has proven to be more complex.
How did Ned Stark put it? "Everything before the word 'but' is horseshit"? Let's continue:
As well-intended and carefully executed as the covert mission to China had been, at least some and possibly many of the roughly one-million protective masks on the team plane were not the time-tested, industry-standard N95 masks that medical workers wear when treating coronavirus patients. Rather, they were a Chinese version known as a KN95 mask that some hospitals in Boston and beyond have so far declined to use and remain reluctant about today. …
When KN95 respirator masks are made right, authenticated, and properly tested, they are considered to have most, if not all, of the protective qualities of the N95 masks. The federal Food and Drug Administration on April 3 issued an exception to its strict regulation of respirators, releasing a statement saying it “would not object” to their use “for the duration of the pandemic.” The Centers for Disease Control has also deemed the KN95 mask a suitable alternative when N95 supplies are low.
Warning: More horseshit ahead:
But while the masks appear to offer similar performance, they are not certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Fears of counterfeit masks run rampant, and many doctors are concerned they would put workers at risk.
Right. You may remember the piles of dead bodies of medical personnel stacked up behind the hospitals of Boston and NYC like cords of wood. These brave professionals cut down in their prime due to the shabby, inferior, Family Dollar Store-quality N95 knock offs RKK provided them out of his own pocket. While, I might add, John Henry's Liverpool FC and Red Sox were laying people off and providing zero masks to anyone.
If there was ever a follow up to this, if the Globe circled back and said something along the lines of "Welp. It looks like all that PPE the Kraft family provided our most essential workers was huge benefit and saved untold lives and it looks like we were way off base to suggest otherwise and boy howdy, do we have egg on our faces!" I definitely missed it. What we got instead was the agenda of the paper and the man who owns it blatantly exposed for all the world to see. And if it was announced tomorrow the Kraft family is vaccinating 1.7 million people, no doubt the Globe's Slander Response Unit would immediately launch into action, smearing the shots as being inadequate. Or worse.
Like the saying goes, tough times don't just build character, they reveal it. Some people do what they can to help in a crisis, others sit back in their ivory tower and criticize them for not doing enough. Never forget which team owner in town did what in this year where we've needed to be helping each other more than ever. Or as that other saying goes that it less old because I just stole it from Large, "You've never lived a day until you've done something for someone who can never repay you."
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