Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Checkout The Games WE Play and Live - Op-ed By JV Howard

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The Games WE Play and Live
Raven Saunders stood out in the shot put and making social stands during pandemic. Photo courtesy NRP

By JV Howard

The Olympic Games, a raging prophetic pandemic, and epic climatic disasters all conspire to make the planet almost hostile and in some cases inhospitable. As the world turns, burns, floods, ravages, and hemorrhage the Olympic games open to empty seats, muted fanfare, and individual drama as a cloud of uncertainty, anger, and misplace priorities underscore Olympic size expectation.

These games have as a purpose to unite the world in friendly, however nationalistic, competition for gold, silver, and bronze distinction but COVID-19 and it’s mutation (Delta Variant) permutated the dynamic of such competition. The original antagonism between worldly Olympian is no longer just to win a gold, silver, or bronze medal but to survive COVID-19 and its anomaly - to be the last man/woman standing - literally.

There is much to be said, vociferously, about living in the moment but nothing exemplifies the moment more than the mental challenge of being the fittest on the planet (olympians) on the one hand and the sickest on the planet (pandemic) on the other. Whole body integrity has at its root the component of mental health.

The line of demarcation between Olympic athlete and a COVID-19/variant host is delicately thin. So tenuous that in the wink of an eye a gold medalist can become a COVID ominous statistic. From an Olympian dream to a COVID nightmare with no exemption except vaccination which offers no guarantee.

The data on whose winning and losing is an unfair interpretation of the games we play and the life we live. Be advised you can choose to opt in or opt out of being an Olympian, of vaccinations, or playing to win or not to lose.

Three superstar athletes -- tennis player Naomi Osaka, gymnast Simone Biles and track and field sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson -- have opted out of Olympic Games for various reasons mostly due to mental health issues.

All seize the moment to win by not participating . Why? Mental health matters too. We play games to win but, in this moment during a pandemic we are living life not to lose - big difference.

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The difference - empty seats in Japan National Stadium and no empty beds where COVID looms and it’s mutations stalks. This invisible virus with ghastly physical connotation has exacted a tremendous mental toll. It has caused 192,284,207 affected and 4,136,518 deaths globally.

The cloud of a dreaded second lockdown make these games inconsequential and exiguous to the extent that the only real winner is a Covid survivor who may not get a gold medal but represents the gold standard for survivorship. The fear among experts is that as delta spreads infected people will surround and overwhelm vaccinated people through “spillover infection,” while continuing to retard herd immunity.

TeamUSA Women's Relay Team Made History Despite COVID-19 Photo courtesy Getty Images

It behooves every human on this planet to beware that their nasal passage is ground zero for a fugitive mutant and anything that stops short of arresting this biological Frankenstein is considered gaslighting the problem. Yes - that mean vaccination; do the math.

Since the first Olympic game of 1904 we have been reminded that the games signal our lives must go on but should they? Should any game, national or global, run the risk, calculated or otherwise, bubble or no bubble, vaccinated or not, while the delta variant run amok and is just a few mutations away from avoiding vaccines all together. Clearly, we have entered the twilight zone of pandemic purgatory that can’t be fixed with temporary Olympic glory.

Here in the US with 34,380,019 cases, 608,403 death, and 341,818,968 vaccinated we stream the Olympic games for temporary glory and watch billionaire cowboys excursion to outer space for absurd escape, marvel at satellite images of Mars, and conceptualize a bubble concept so our National games (NFL,MBL,NBA, and NHL, etc) can continue when the Olympics games are over.

Over in academia the JAMA of Internal Medicine, researchers published an investigation of the NBA "bubble" campus in Orlando, Florida, that allowed teams to play against each other with only limited contact with the outside. ‘Does that mean that 10 days of isolation protects everyone from infection passed on from people who has already sustained a COVID-19 infection?’ Despite the apparent success of the NBA approach to protecting players from COVID-19 during one of the oddest professional basketball seasons ever, the results should not be taken as definitive, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine editor's note that accompanies the original investigation.

Upon investigation and reconnoitering the global landscape for a work around its been discovered that an extremely sobering reality - the COVID-19 delta variant- is searching, aggressively and belligerently, for a host.  The Delta variant doesn't care if you are a vaccinated host or a non vaccinated host.

It doesn't care if you're an informed host or an ignorant host, a masked host or an unmasked host. It is the nature of the beast, (outbreak, epidemic, pandemic and endemic) to behave like a drone as it stalks and search for a bandage on a shoulder or mask or an arrogant disposition that conveys vibes of vulnerability. Remember we are being tracked to the nth degree.

The byways are replete with stories of anti-vaxxers who now want to repent having experience the horror of hospitalization and there are just as many who are repugnant in their refusal to comply with the CDC’s recommendations. This pandemic and variants is nothing short of a biological hack with ransomware demands...take steps to live or don’t and risk misery and death. Your choice!

We learned in the early rounds of this pandemic that the virus is devastating to minorities with unequal access to health care. I surmise it is supposed to go unnoticed the idea to incentivize vaccination while undercutting the Affordable Care Act. Factors such as underlying health conditions, dense living conditions, employment in the service industry or as an essential worker, access to health care and racism — contribute to the impact of COVID-19 on people of color. Research shows that people of color are often more greatly affected by public health emergencies.

While the data provide useful insights, they also remain subject to gaps, limitations, and inconsistencies that limit the ability to get a complete picture of who is and who is not getting vaccinated. American Indian and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander people. Some states have high shares of vaccinations that are missing race/ethnicity, limiting the ability to interpret the data. For example, in Washington D.C., 28% of vaccinations were among people classified as “unknown. The data, metadata, and information from so called experts seem to hurt more than help in knowledge processing. Dr. Fauci has to clarify the plethora of sources on a daily basis yet the infection rate is exorbitant in the same window.

Meanwhile the games will conclude and some will get their medal of gold, silver , and bronze representing the fittest athletes on the planet but some will get COVID 19 delta variant representing the sickest on the planet. But you don’t have to be an Olympian and you don’t have to be sick. You just have to choose how to play the game of life. I am playing to win. You?

The article ideas expressed are those of freelance commentator JV Howard and may not be totally reflective of Scoop publications.  You can reach JV Howard at: jvguru@outlook.com

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

About the Black News Scoop - covers national and global news focused on reporting positive, insightful, and empowering news for the international Black Community.

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