COVID-19 will still be with us for a very long time (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 3, 2021.
  2. May 3, 2021, 11:55 pm:
    • So if I’m understanding the story correctly, that is, in a way the reporter seemingly does not intend, Schenectady’s mayor recruited a bunch of Guyanese migrants to be slumlords. And now these slumlords are having trouble collecting the rent,[1] because tenants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic aren’t earning any money to pay them.[2] These guys aren’t big corporations that find it easy to challenge and evade eviction restrictions.[3] But they’re far from saints:

      “It’s a disaster, but what can we do? ” [Romeo] Budhoo said, and the other landlords started talking about how they dealt with delinquent tenants. Some were trading cash for keys. Some were cutting off their own heat or vandalizing their houses, hoping to make them so uninhabitable that tenants would leave. Others had stopped renting out vacant properties during the moratorium, believing it was better to lose income than to risk taking on a tenant who couldn’t be forced to pay.

      Then one of the landlords started to tell the story of what he called an “involuntary eviction” that had happened a few weeks earlier in Albany, where a landlord had become incensed after trying and failing to evict his tenants for months. The landlord had broken into his own apartment early on a Sunday morning, held the tenants at gunpoint, restrained them with zip ties, hauled them out of his apartment, and then deposited them at a cemetery 30 miles from the property.

      “When you kick a dog, eventually it’s going to bite,” one of the landlords said.

      “That guy’s a hero,” said another.[4]

      Except possibly for the kidnapping,[5] these landlords’ tactics are not unlike those being deployed around the country.[6] The simple fact is they’re capitalists. They’re losing. They’re whining. They feel entitled. They expect to be bailed out. Just like those other capitalists running fast food restaurants who think workers should be grateful for a minimum wage that doesn’t pay rent and hasn’t kept pace with productivity.[7] But the reporter, Eli Saslow, devotes most of his ink to a landlord’s whining.[8] Only a little space is given to the tenant:

      Alfonzo Hill watched from inside the house until the landlord walked back to his car. “Yeah, like you need my money,” Hill said after he watched the landlord drive his Mercedes up the block, and then he came outside, lit a cigarette and sat on the porch.

      He resented many things about life at 1042 Cutler: the two-foot hole in the bathroom ceiling, the lingering smell of the previous tenants’ dogs, the broken toilet that flushed only after he poured in a bucket of water. But what bothered him most was always having to repeat the same humiliations to the landlord about why he hadn’t paid, couldn’t pay, didn’t have any money to pay.[9]

      Whine, mother fucking capitalists, whine. Because your investments are so much more important than human lives.[10]


Pandemic

It looks like, even as some semblance of normalcy returns, COVID-19 will be with us for a very, very long time.[11] A short version is that as people refuse the vaccine or are difficult to reach to be vaccinated, COVID-19 variants have the opportunity to arise. Some may be more lethal. Some may be more contagious. Some may “break through” vaccines.[12]

The picture is complicated. A lot of people, including myself, may never know if we have been infected with COVID-19,[13] even if they—I have never been tested—were tested (at least when the tests were new).[14] To the extent we were infected and subsequently vaccinated, we may be more broadly immune to variants.[15] That, in turn, could eventually limit the ability of variants to spread.[16]

I had less severe side-effects with the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, suggesting a possibility that I might previously have been infected,[17] but there is a huge confounding variable in that, anticipating more severe side effects following the second dose,[18] I went home that afternoon instead of going right back to work as I had with the first dose. So the bottom line remains the same: I don’t know. And probably a lot of people in my risk categories won’t either.

“It’s really just kind of a reflection of how unique each of our systems are, what other immunities we have,” Dr. Mark Loafman, chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health in Illinois, told NBC 5. “Each of our immune systems is a mosaic composite of all that we’ve been through and all that we have and all we’ve recently been dealing with.”

“Our individual response varies,” Loafman said, but everybody experiences an “appropriate immune response” for their own body.[19]

It’d all be simpler if we could look forward to a day when COVID-19 was going away. But with so many people refusing to be vaccinated and with significant segments of the population that are difficult to reach, even when they are willing to be vaccinated, that’s looking less and less likely.[20]

Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/

Sally Robertson, “Previously infected vaccinees broadly neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” News-Medical, May 2, 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210502/Previously-infected-vaccinees-broadly-neutralize-SARS-CoV-2-variants-of-concern.aspx

Apoorva Mandavilli, “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe,” New York Times, May 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/health/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine.html


  1. [1]Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction; Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/; Andrew Khouri, “Depleted savings, ruined credit: What happens when all the rent comes due?” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-02-02/rent-debt-worries-grow-covid-strains-tenants; Eric Levitz, “This Recession Is a Bigger Housing Crisis Than 2008,” New York, July 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/coronavirus-recession-evictions-crisis-congress.html; Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/; Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/; Emma Ockerman, “The Tenant Uprising Is Here, and It’s Fierce,” Vice, August 7, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpdyq/the-tenant-uprising-is-here-and-its-fierce; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/
  3. [3]Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Gretchen Morgenson, “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September,” NBC News, October 26, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/large-corporate-landlords-have-filed-10-000-eviction-actions-five-n1244711; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  4. [4]Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/
  5. [5]Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Capitalists are shameless in their entitlement,” Not Housebroken, April 18, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/18/capitalists-are-shameless-in-their-entitlement/
  8. [8]Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/
  9. [9]Eli Saslow, “The battle for 1042 Cutler Street,” Washington Post, May 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/01/landlord-tenant-eviction-moratorium-pandemic/
  10. [10]David Benfell, “Evictions in a pandemic,” Not Housebroken, March 11, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/03/11/evictions-in-a-pandemic/
  11. [11]Apoorva Mandavilli, “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe,” New York Times, May 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/health/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine.html
  12. [12]Sally Robertson, “Previously infected vaccinees broadly neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” News-Medical, May 2, 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210502/Previously-infected-vaccinees-broadly-neutralize-SARS-CoV-2-variants-of-concern.aspx
  13. [13]Holly Yan, “5 common arguments for reopening the economy — and why experts say they are flawed,” Cable News Network, May 11, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/11/us/reopening-the-economy-flawed-arguments-trnd/index.html
  14. [14]Steve Eder, Megan Twohey, and Apoorva Mandavilli, “Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver,” New York Times, April 19, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html; Christopher Weaver, “Questions About Accuracy of Coronavirus Tests Sow Worry,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/questions-about-accuracy-of-coronavirus-tests-sow-worry-11585836001
  15. [15]Sally Robertson, “Previously infected vaccinees broadly neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” News-Medical, May 2, 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210502/Previously-infected-vaccinees-broadly-neutralize-SARS-CoV-2-variants-of-concern.aspx
  16. [16]Apoorva Mandavilli, “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe,” New York Times, May 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/health/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine.html
  17. [17]Katie Camero, “If you’ve had COVID, your first vaccine dose may cause worse side effects. Here’s why,” Miami Herald, April 20, 2021, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article250667914.html
  18. [18]David Benfell, “Medical apartheid and COVID-19 vaccinations,” Not Housebroken, April 4, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/03/26/medical-apartheid-and-covid-19-vaccinations/
  19. [19]Katie Camero, “If you’ve had COVID, your first vaccine dose may cause worse side effects. Here’s why,” Miami Herald, April 20, 2021, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article250667914.html
  20. [20]Apoorva Mandavilli, “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe,” New York Times, May 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/health/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.