Operation Warp Speed: The Next Generation

Ira Lacher: Star Trek postulated that galaxy exploration is a never-ending mission; we must consider combating COVID-19 in the same vein. -promoted by Laura Belin

Remember “flatten the curve”? That was the former administration’s non-policy, which basically involved keeping America’s woefully inadequate hospital system from being overwhelmed and our nation becoming the nonstop outdoor crematorium that is today’s India. Even under that mismatched crazy quilt of how to deal with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, nearly 600,000 and counting have died on these shores, and cases, though declining, continue to add up, by the thousands per day, with lasting consequences unknown.

It was thought that the advent and mass distribution of superbly effective vaccines would eliminate the threat since, public health officials surmised, once we attained herd immunity through vaccination, there would be little fear of virus spread.

But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to that practicality: millions of Americans, and many American civic leaders, have brainlessly rejected this totally efficacious — and, it is reminded, FREE — solution that can do for COVID-19 what we did with polio and smallpox: get rid of it.

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All right: What's it gonna take?

Ira Lacher considers how to address COVID-19 vaccine resistance. -promoted by Laura Belin

Volunteering at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic recently, I encountered something making me start to believe that regardless of all the gloom surrounding who’s getting shots in America, we may be better off than we think.

A former colleague, one of the most egregious Trump supporters I’ve ever known, was there. For their second shot.

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Healing our collective trauma

Ira Lacher considers whether “the only way to heal is to treat our society the way we would treat traumatized individuals: small-group therapy.” -promoted by Laura Belin

America has a mental health crisis.

Not the type conservatives insist makes someone turn a movie theater, shopping mall, or hotel parking lot into a kill zone. A mental health crisis that is contributing to a monumental, perhaps unprecedented loss of ability to connect with reality. The reason is extreme trauma on a national scale.

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Courting an Ex

Ira Lacher: It’s long past time for women’s college sports to again be governed by an organization committed to promoting women’s college sports. -promoted by Laura Belin

Anyone who tuned in on Saturday, March 27, to watch the University of Iowa take on top-seeded Connecticut in the women’s NCAA college basketball tournament should have been made aware of how poorly the NCAA has treated the women’s game.

Since the tournament in San Antonio, Texas, began, articles have repeatedly evidenced the utter inequality between it and the men’s tournament, in Indianapolis. Optics that include no on-site TV commentators until the round of 16, the dearth of marketing presence around the Texas city, inadequate weight rooms, the outright ban on the term “March Madness” for the women’s tournament, and the investment disparity, prove more than ever that the NCAA’s treatment of women’s sports is how W. C. Fields deals with annoyances: “Go on, kid, ya bother me.”

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No shirt, no shoes, no shot, no service?

Ira Lacher: If you want to kennel any watchdog proposal in America, no matter how beneficial, just scream “freedom!” -promoted by Laura Belin

“COVID passports” may be well on their way to fruition. The idea of having to produce documentation before you can do what we used to take for granted — like go to a ballgame or board a plane — is gaining traction overseas, where proof of an ultrarecent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination is required to travel freely among European Union countries. Many airlines flying domestically or internationally require similar proof, and you can’t enter the United States from abroad without it.

The next step, proponents argue, is to import the idea. Such proof would be required for interstate travel, and perhaps for more mundane access such as attending a concert or sporting event. Advocates say this would allow more than a small percentage of stadium or arena seats to be filled, permit restaurants to operate at full capacity, and eliminate quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.

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Banishing our inner Eeyore

Ira Lacher: Many of us remain even more pessimistic — and not just about the pandemic. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s hard not to feel optimistic when there’s less snow and ice on the ground each morning, shorts and sandals feel comfortable outdoors, and the gas grill fires up with ease.

Remember how this time felt a year ago? Now, we can dare hope again. Optimism is awakening.

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