Yet another bureaucratic fumble by leadership

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Northern Virginia healthcare workers told me their hospitals throw away COVID-19 vaccines at 5 p.m., when the clinics close.

Here’s why.

There are multiple vaccine doses in one refrigerated vial; when a vial thaws, it must be used within a matter of hours. If a clinic has no-shows or scheduling errors, the extra doses end up tossed. Two sources told me they were vaccinated simply for being near hospital premises at closing time. (Wondering if I should tell my elderly nun friends to mill about Walgreens at dusk?).

Another issue:

While staggering target groups according to supposed need seems optimal, this strategy might not actually be the most productive. CNN reported that people in “high-priority groups,” like residents in senior-living facilities, don’t always want to get the vaccine first. Stringent laws also forbid healthcare workers from distributing outside the target group; they could face severe consequences for administering vaccines to anyone else, even if they can’t fill spots otherwise. …

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Photo: NBC Washington 4

This week’s been bursting with politicians’ tired takes claiming “this isn’t who we are.” Oh, that cliched phrase of American exceptionalism. It seems to surface monthly at this point, so I wonder: if it must be said so frequently, doesn’t it make the opposite true? This is exactly who we are and who a country founded on imperialism has always been.

As white nationalists stormed the hallowed halls of democracy on Wednesday, an act incited by the president who then hid behind his keyboard, the public worried if we should be working during the coup. And noting the fact that Congress looked eerily similar to school shooting drills, one high schooler wrote me: “Do you think we’ll at least get gun regulation now?” That’s America. In this country, 100 citizens die by guns every single day, our “leaders” stoke angry, racist mobs in exchange for power, and police kill innocent people while letting Neo-Nazis run free. All the while, we watch disingenuous, wealth-hoarding politicians on television tearfully say: “This isn’t us though.” …

I seem to be permanently online lately — I type all day in this hellscape, and I also can not and do not want to abstain from memes. So the past year, I’ve worked on making this a more livable space, one that has actually become a place of refuge instead of a necessary evil of the modern world. Here’s my advice if you’re in a similar predicament.

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if you can’t do this, that is

Stop the morning doomscroll.

One way to feel like shit for the entire day is waking up and immediately scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. My apparently-masochistic self made this mistake today (Monday after the holidays). Everyone was bitching about the Slack outage (which reminded me I have no job lol), or posting their cute little vacation pics from Mexico (I am a sad pasty little creature quarantining in suburban VA at the moment). Now it’s 4 p.m. and I’m still crabby! …

No spoilers here, just vibes

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Hamburg, HBO

Twenty-nine year old Madison Hamburg is the series’ director, documenting his own investigation of his mother’s gruesome murder in an affluent Connecticut suburb. She was killed when he was 18. The murder went unsolved.

This is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t watch over the holiday, when I prefer to melt my brain with Parks & Rec reruns. Real life’s been dark enough already that I basically abandoned the true crime scene this year, with the exception of reading Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered (Karen and Georgia, ily). This is all to say that it took a very convincing and trusted television source to get me to log into someone else’s HBO and watch a wack crime story. …

But I did become fluent in British slang

“It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” -Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That.

I started 2020 so excited about possibility. The previous fall, I’d traded cowboy boots for platforms, ready to take a hit of that New York freedom; and it was truly intoxicating. I’d walk through Union Square belting Amy Winehouse, or parkour off a bodega wall, and no one gave a fuck. I paired socks and Chacos with men’s blazers and called it streetwear. I once sobbed during rush hour at the intersection of 67th and 1st, and a friend texted me after: “Congrats! You don’t live in NYC until you cry in public and nobody cares.” …

Don’t ask us to be ‘horny for tha polls.’ The world is literally burning.

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Photo: Biden 2020

My brother has been quarantined for eight days in a hotel on the University of Virginia’s campus after someone in his freshman dorm tested positive for Covid-19. Last week he texted me asking how to get an absentee ballot from our home state of Missouri — it’s the first election he’s eligible to vote in, and the government website is painfully convoluted. I sent him the PDF ballot request, thinking how absolutely psychotic my brother’s life is now: In his second week of college, he’s taking virtual chemistry lab in a sterilized hotel, and being chastised by administrators for acting irresponsibly after he was told to come to campus. …

With payday lending becoming a desperate lifeline of the pandemic, I’m forced to reckon with my past life working in a predatory system

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Photo illustration, source: Michael S. Williamso/The Washington Post/Getty Images

It was an accident, becoming a teenage debt collector. “Listen,” a friend told me. “There’s this job I heard about — it’s at a law firm, you’ll make bank.” It was the summer of 2015, and I was a college student living in downtown St. Louis, away from my childhood home in the Missouri suburbs. The promise of a $10 hourly rate for office work was a serious upgrade from my earnings as a lifeguard. So I met with the partners at their exposed-brick office, burrowed in a city alley.

The firm defied every stereotype of the typical tax attorney. In the lobby, an incense machine whirled in front of colorful tapestries. The two men who ran the joint, both white, bald, and middle-aged, wore Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. The secretaries sat cross-legged and barefoot in sweats, eating Lean Cuisines. “We like to keep it fun and casual here,” one of the partners told me. He had a side practice teaching yoga at a neighboring studio. They ordered bougie salads to the office on Fridays. …

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skrrrrt ! me confronting my emotions and rolling into my future like

Liminal space; the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. That’s how the past few months have felt.

Last year I invested so much of myself into something so impermanent, into building a life that I eventually had to leave. I decided to be ~soo present~ during my grant year that I never considered life after the adventure.

In mid-December I inevitably woke up in St. Louis, Missouri in the dead of a desolate winter, the aftertaste of shucked coconut still on my breath. I wanted to talk about the year, to keep it alive, but I didn’t want to be a bother- no one here would care, and I didn’t expect them to. …


Meghan Gunn

Meghan Gunn is a writer. tweeting @95gunn

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