This frustrates me a little bit.
It's a disease more usually associated with the densely-packed cities of Europe in the middle ages, but health officials have confirmed a case of plague at South Lake Tahoe—the first in California in five years. The infected person is reportedly recovering at home. "Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious," El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said, according to CNN. Health officials believe the South Lake Tahoe resident may have been bitten by an infected flea while walking a dog along on Tahoe's south shore. The last reported human cases of plague in California were in 2015 when two people were exposed to infected rodents or their fleas in Yosemite National Park. Both recovered. Plague can successfully be treated with antibiotics, and, according to the CDC, treatment has lowered mortality rates to approximately 11 percent, with antibiotics working best if given within 24 hours of the first symptoms
The disease is spread by contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasites. These parasites are released from infected freshwater snails. The disease is especially common among children in developing countries, as they are more likely to play in contaminated water.
Schistosomiasis affected about 252 million people worldwide in 2015. An estimated 4,400 to 200,000 people die from it each year. The disease is most commonly found in Africa, Asia, and South America. Around 700 million people, in more than 70 countries, live in areas where the disease is common. In tropical countries, schistosomiasis is second only to malaria among parasitic diseases with the greatest economic impact.
Infected individuals release Schistosoma eggs into water via their fecal material or urine. After larvae hatch from these eggs, the larvae infect a very specific type of freshwater snail. For example, in S. haematobium and S. intercalatum it is snails of the genus Bulinus, in S. mansoni it is Biomphalaria, and in S. japonicum it is Oncomelania. The Schistosoma larvae undergo the next phase of their lifecycles in these snails, spending their time reproducing and developing. Once this step has been completed, the parasite leaves the snail and enters the water column. The parasite can live in the water for only 48 hours without a mammalian host. Once a host has been found, the worm enters its blood vessels. For several weeks, the worm remains in the vessels, continuing its development into its adult phase. When maturity is reached, mating occurs and eggs are produced. Eggs enter the bladder/intestine and are excreted through urine and feces and the process repeats. If the eggs do not get excreted, they can become engrained in the body tissues and cause a variety of problems such as immune reactions and organ damage.
Humans encounter larvae of the Schistosoma parasite when they enter contaminated water while bathing, playing, swimming, washing, fishing, or walking through the water
On Monday nights I run online the Greenwood Chess Club that I started five years ago. We are not meeting in person because of the pandemic.
While I was playing chess online, I noticed that it was storming outside and at 8:35 PM my power went out. This was accompanied by a very loud buzzing sound that had me worried. The first thing I did was to text the guy I had been playing to tell him that my power went out.
The power toggled on and off, again with the troubling loud buzzing. I decided to investigate. The power came back on. I opened my garage and stepped outside. This time I saw what looked like a huge electrical spark above my neighbor's house accompanied by that loud buzzing sound again, but this looked like nothing I had ever seen before. It was obviously an electrical spark, but it looked more like an orange vertical bar. (Electrical sparks cause the electrons to be stripped off of air molecules, which turns the air into the 4th state of matter, called Plasma. When you see an electrical spark, what you are really seeing is the plasma emit light. You can't actually see electricity.) I figured that this had to be a transformer in the process of blowing up. Maybe it was on fire, which might explain why the spark was orange in color, although I'm not sure that this is a good explanation. Maybe the chemicals in the transformer caused the spark to look orange.
This looked scary. My first thought was that I did not want this to burn down my neighbor's house and then take mine with it. There were people in the street watching this strange sight, and I yelled at them and asked if they had called 9-11. They said that they had. One of the neighbors yelled that there was a tree on fire, but I couldn't see this from my vantage point. Then immediately the power went off again and I was relieved because the situation looked very dangerous. Very shortly fire trucks drove by, so I thought thank goodness the Fire Department is here, but they just kept on driving. In the middle of a thunderstorm, they probably had other problems to deal with.
I was not inclined to get any closer to investigate, especially since it was still storming outside. There was a huge crack of lightning close by which convinced me to seek shelter back in the house.
So I mostly sat in the dark texting my friends about what happened until the power came back on 2 hours and 20 minutes later.
Maybe this was all predictable. If you were writing a novel about a pandemic, you could not a write better story. There are many unknowns, which causes uncertainty and agitation. We can't even agree on the death rate of the disease, because the numbers people come up with are all over the place. There are a great many numbers that seem way optimistic. I have seen multiple people, some of which I know, claim that they would not take the vaccine when and if it becomes available. People are protesting having to wear masks and social distance. I regularly see people claim that wearing a mask is a sign that you have been brainwashed. Some scientists are saying that it is safe for children to return to school, while others are saying the opposite. In parts of the country, some teachers are saying that they won't teach if the schools reopen.
The problem is that nobody is on the same page. I thought that a crisis like this would bring us together, but it is more like it split us apart.
I do not consider wearing a face mask an infringement on my freedom. It is the equivalent of wearing a hard hat at a construction site. The danger is real, and we have to act accordingly. Masks provide a small amount of protection for us, which is far better than not wearing a mask, and a greater protection for others.
This disease is not done with us yet. Almost exactly 1% of the state has been infected. The number of cases has doubled since the beginning of June. Does that mean that 2% will be infected by the beginning of October? I don't know, but two months ago we were having 500 new cases per day, and now it is closer to a thousand.
I don't know why, but the death rate in Utah compared to Indiana is several times less.
We can beat this disease by having everyone wear a mask in public and take precautions. This is not like the flu. COVID-19 attacks your organs and your heart. Be careful.