Older METARs, please take precautions against virus

METAR board members tend to be (ahem) perhaps slightly older than other gatherings.

There is concerning news about flu and Covid. Of course, this has Macroeconomic implications since millions are affected.

The H3N2 variant that’s more severe for the elderly is dominant right now, which means the U.S. could be in for a tough season.

More than 300 people are still dying each day on average from covid-19, most of them 65 or older, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that’s much lower than the 2,000 daily toll at the peak of the delta wave, it is still roughly two to three times the rate at which people die of the flu — renewing debate about what is an “acceptable loss.” Today, nearly 9 in 10 covid deaths are in people 65 or older — the highest rate ever…

As expected, both Covid and flu cases are beginning to trend up after the autumn lull. Practically everyone in the U.S. has either already had Covid or been vaccinated (often both).

Older people, who have weaker immune systems, do not retain immunity as well as younger people. To be fully vaccinated, we need to have both the flu and Covid boosters at the beginning of the season since the immunity only lasts about 6 months. (In my case, mid-October since the shot takes 2 weeks to become effective and the season lasts from November through March.)

Failure to take precautions could be unpleasant at best to fatal. Since few people are still wearing masks, this flu/ Covid season could be dangerous for seniors. (I am still masking indoors in public places.)



Getting the flu shot and updated COVID boosters should both be no-brainers. Although I’m one of the younger members of this board, I’m glad that I got both during the first half of September. In the case of the updated COVID booster, it’s better to be 1 variant behind than 7 variants behind.

Physical distancing and masking up should also be no-brainers. I regard being up-to-date on vaccination, physical distancing as much as reasonably possible, and masking up in the risky places as the bare minimum measures to avoid being fodder for a Darwin Award. However, they’re not enough.

That’s where xylitol nasal sprays, Vitamin D3 supplements, and a healthy diet come in. People should be doing far more to uphold their general immune system health, and it’s sad that there’s still no mainstream national dialogue about this. I don’t really know how effective xylitol nasal spray is against viruses, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try as an ADDITION to other precautions.


I am still masking, social distancing, and hand washing. I can not imagine this changing during my lifetime.

We’re still cautious, but have relaxed a bit, since we’re triple boosted, have our flu shots… Our recent trip to Seattle had no ill effects, few masks, theater, elevator, Pikes Market, but did distance as best we could… Theater was mandatory masking, but like here, restaurants don’t bother…

There are new cases in the family, but not the elderly, College age GS, Teachers, both husband & wife in their 50s, second time for them, messed up their Disneyland plans, but they are recovering OK…

Staying apart a bit, but an early Christmas Pizza party is next Sunday, hopefully our luck holds.


While you should still wash your hands, this does NOTHING to stop COVID. Washing your hands does prevent some diseases, but COVID-19 is NOT one of them.

Also, it’s physical distancing, not social distancing. Social distancing sounds terrible. Physical distancing sounds so much better AND is more accurate.


I have received my flu shot. I am waiting to Dec 10 for my Omicron booster because I had Omicron beginning on Sept 10.

But I am back to regular living. Breathing most of the air around me. Washing my hands to cook, if dirty or after the john. I need a sense of normalcy after what happened.

There is another matter to consider. I was raised in a medical family among doctors who were family and friends. In medicine there are viruses of all sorts coming and going. No they are not usually pandemic in outcome but the viruses can cause a lot of problems. There are even viruses that can cause heart attacks or cancer. Doctors are exposed at times. We lived in a regular if you call it that manner. Meaning no masks at home, hands washed for the usual reasons, in each others spaces, and living with spouses and children.

From that perspective it is necessary to have time and space away from medicine.

The other issue, I was raised if sick to avoid people. Meaning I had a bug in late January 2020 and avoided my parents who are in their 80s. We will never know what that bug was. The ER was concerned about a little known bug named Covid at that time. One of the attending nurses wore a mask and full face visor. The others did not protect themselves.

That training was not to infect my dad with minor colds and flus so he could help others daily in his practice. It paid off.

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Depending upon the era you’re talking about and the fields your family members were working in (surgery being the exception) these were the likely levels of precautions taken at work also.

I’m very fond of the adage “It ain’t so much what you don’t know that gets you into trouble…but what you know that just ain’t so” I think the world of viruses and virology illustrate that it’s both.

Coming from a family of coal miners and factory workers, I had very little insight into the diversity of viruses prior to dental school. Sure, I was well aware of the childhood diseases my mum made sure I was vaccinated against…and even smallpox (that the UK ceased vaccinating for routinely around 1950 or so). There was a small outbreak in Northern England when I was about 10 or 11…and you can bet our mums got us to the mass vaccination clinics as soon as they were set up.

The interesting thing is that only a handful of folk prior to the 1960s or so found viruses very interesting…it was very much a Cinderella field even within general microbiology. For example, Anthony Fauci wouldn’t have heard of very many of the viruses that have been front and center in the infectious disease world when he graduated medical school because they’re either novel viruses or existing (and known to exist) but unidentified.


Added for historical interest. From a textbook…no, THE textbook… of liver disease from dh’s days as a brand, spanking new hepatology fellow. It’s quite a tome but just look at how short the chapter on viral hepatitis was back then (preface to the 5th edition for accuracy of dates)