Over en million er døde af corona i USA – men amerikanerne er ligeglade

Metaltræthed præger coronadebatten, selv om hospitalsindlæggelserne igen stiger.

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More than 1 million Americans have died from the Corona virus but nobody seems to care.

Corona fatigue characterizes the debate, although hospital admissions are rising.

It’s Wednesday morning, the clock shows 5:45 am. I reach for my my cell phone. A text in red lights up on the screen: “You have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.” This is the first time I receive such a message, but I came back from Denmark three days ago, so the message does not surprise me.

“In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease

On my first trip to Denmark in almost two years, not many people were wearing masks on the plane from Seattle to Iceland. From Iceland to Copenhagen, I was the only one out of a handful, and in the metro, wearing my KN95 mask made me stand out to the extend that I got an answer in English when I asked a Danish fellow passenger in Danish for directions.

“Prepare for more waves,” the White House warns, while I blink dully in front of my TV screen. I do not notice any reaction from the journalists in the conference room either.

In the last three months, 100,000 Americans have died from the Corona virus and the media talks about crossing a milestone of a total of over 1 million dead Americans from the virus. The truth is, however, that according to the University of Washington, America already passed this grim number last year if you include direct and indirect courses to Covid-19.

1 in 330 Americans have died, everyone knows or has heard of someone who has had the virus. The long-term effects of Covid have hit thousands of people struggling to hold on to their daily lives in a country where the fear of losing everything over night always lurks just below the surface. It is completely unfathomable that so many have died in the world’s richest country, where everyone over 12 has access to the vaccine. More than 300,000 Americans did not have to pay the ultimate price had they chosen to get vaccinated. But when it comes to public health policy, vaccines and masks have become an expression of political stance.

In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease rather than a public health issue. During my ten days in Copenhagen and Aarhus, I sat in the metro and on busses, in cafes, restaurants, and bars, and everyone went about their lives as if Covid was a thing of the past. The Danes shrug when they hear of raising positive cases. They are vaccinated and know that if they get infected, they will most likely have mild symptoms.

Joe Biden has a reputation for being empathetic when it comes to talking about loss. More than anyone, he knows what loss does to a human being. But he, too, sounds rehearsed and tired when he softly whispers: “We must not become numb to loss.”

The truth is, we have become numb. The shock we felt in the beginning of the pandemic has subsided. The horror of the death toll from countries like Brazil, Italy, England, and the United States, where we saw quickly erected tents with people lying in a row in knock-out-beds in uneven bedding, the sound of pumping machines, coughing and rasping voices, have subsided. The news on tv no longer show such images but reports dryly about millions in isolation in Chinese cities, millions of unvaccinated positive cases in North Korea, and about a new virus wave in South Africa caused by a new variant, it is impossible to remember the name of. And in the meantime, I shake off the words from the news anchor, focus my attention on Ukraine and the debate on Roe v Wade – and embrace the world around me, even though the infection rates are higher than they have been for months.

Today was my son’s birthday. So I put the cellphone away and set the breakfast table with Danish flags and flowers by his plate as is custom. When he ran off to catch the school bus, I found a home Covid test. One strip told me, the test was negative. Some day there will be two strips showing me that I have tested positive. But until then, I choose to let the Danish side of my brain take over and let life feel a little lighter than it has the last few years.

Ingen kvinde, homoseksuel eller minoritet kan vide sig sikker i USA

Den amerikanske højesteret tager politisk standpunkt imod kvinders rettigheder. Tiden er ikke til at fortvivle, den er til at kæmpe – for kvinder, minoriteter og sociale udsatte gruppers rettigheder.

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No woman, gay, or minority should feel safe and protected in the United States

The US Supreme Court takes a political stand against women’s rights. The time is not to despair, it is to fight – for the rights of women, minorities and socially disadvantaged groups.

“Keep your fingers from my uterus!”, “My body, my choice!” and “Abortion is a matter between a woman and her doctor,” are some of the statements on the banners the demonstrators carry. For the last few days, I have been following the debate about the leaked document from the Supreme Court and the intent to reverse Roe vs. Wade. The population in the United States is shocked about this news. My shock goes deeper than just shaking my head when it comes to the polarized stands in America on weapons, politics and abortion.

The hatred, the lies, the desire for power and oppression leave me with a sad uneasiness and feeling of having been manipulated and misled- even though I was aware that Trump’s appointment of no less than three Supreme Court justices could have fatal consequences, beyond his time in the White House.

Nearly 50 years ago, a case was settled in the U.S. Supreme Court that grants a woman the right to abortion. The law is known as Roe vs. Wade – a woman sued the state of Texas because the state banned abortion unless the woman’s life was at stake. The case ended before the Supreme Court, which ruled that the individual woman’s right to choose abortion is above a state’s abortion law.

Maybe we should do something about the structural reasons for why a reversal of abortion legislation will disproportionately affect the weakest in society instead of making life harder for them?

Since then, the debate has been heated. In recent months, several states have enacted legislation on abortion that makes it virtually impossible for a woman to detect that she is pregnant before the time limit for having an abortion is exceeded.

There are, of course, many arguments from both the pro life and the pro choise sides shouting and waving their banners. That´s how it is in the United States, especially when it comes to highly contested political views.

What I do not understand is why pro lifers can not just be against abortion – for themselves. Why can´t they let other women decide what is right for them? How can you be so self-righteous in your indignation that you feel you have the right to judge another human being who may or may not have a thousand reasons for her choise? Freedom for all, is something America pride itself of, apparently that does not apply to a woman’s right to decide over her own body.

For when self-righteous, often white, ultra-religious with privileges and access to health care feel they have the right to impose their anti-abortion message to vulnerable women, it honestly makes me sick to see their desire for self-assertion and lack of empathy.

This is America, and here, as opposed to Denmark, you do not have access to the health care system when you need it, without having to pay for it. It is primarily black and Latina women who need an abortion – and there are many reasons for this.

Maybe we should do something about the structural reasons for why a reversal of abortion legislation will disproportionately affect the weakest in society instead of making life harder for them? How anyone can think they have the right to harass and persecute others with their arrogant, cynical stance on something that should be a private matter between a patient and her doctor, I fail to understand.

One of the Supreme Court judges’ argues that Roe vs. Wade should never have been in favor of the individual woman’s right in the first place – because the Constitution does not mention abortion. There is quite a lot of our current way of life that is not mentioned in the American Constitution of 1788. If the argument is stretched, then what implications does it have for gay marriages just to name one example?

Several states are ready to introduce legislation that makes it illegal to have an abortion. Other states have indicated that they will help women with the procedure who cannot have an abortion legally in their own state. The United States is more divided than it has been for decades, and women’s rights are now an active part of a larger movement that divides the country even further.

Wanting to control and oppress women is nothing new, men have always wanted to dominate women and their right to control their own bodies. But if you think they will stop at women’s bodies, you are wrong.

In a society with racial, cultural and religious diversity and with a disparity between rich and poor, sontrol and oppression of the vulnerable and minorities is what keeps you in power.

The time is not to despair, it is to fight – for the rights of women, minorities, and socially disadvantaged groups.

Fuck, de unge taler grimt!

De unge markerer identitet gennem sproget.

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Why the fuck do young people swear so much?

Young people show identity through their use of language.

“Fuck ! Shit! Nederen, LOL´eren, the chiller, meganeder”- I am watching a Danish dating show with my teenage daughter and can not quite find a facial expression suited for the situation. We are watching Wild Love on DR (Danish public service tv network)- for fun and because I want to introduce my daughter in a variety of ways to her Danish culture.

My daughter´s eyes are wide, and every now and then she side glances at me. I feel like a dinosaur. The way the Danish language is used has changed a lot both since I was young and since I lived in Denmark.

My daughter is shocked, but she is also fascinated. In the US, you get in trouble if you drop the f-bomb in school . On my end, I am both repulsed by the young people’s language at the same time rejoicing that they so clearly express identity. Because if there is one thing that is an identity marker, it is how we use language.

“I must say they swear a lot in Denmark,” my daughter states. The next day she starts to imitate the language she has been introduced to. “Fuck, I xxx,” “shit, I xxx…” first, I explain linguistically to her in which context you can use the words she is experimenting with and in which situations they are out of place – I am after all a former Danish Lecturer.

And so she starts experimenting. I sense that she thinks that part of her Danish heritage is exotically repulsive and attractive at the same time. Occasionally, she says something that clearly shows us that she is in the process of figuring out how far she can go before we as adults ask her to tone it down a bit.

My experience is that Danish kids and young adults use the f- and s-bomb in every other sentence and that it is a completely normal and accepted use of language. But here in the United States it is completely and utterly unheard of.

Friends regularly visit us from Denmark. They generally think it is immensely fun to blurt out the words in public I am trying to explain are not equally as accepted here as they are in Denmark.

And here is why. All though, in Denmark cursing expresses identity and has almost at present become a form of adjective and noun in line with any other, the use of the English words shit and fuck is culturally unacceptable here. Danes have a hard time understanding this – perhaps because they think that English swear words work here in the US since they are, after all, English.

Identity can be marked in many ways, but wanting to mark it presupposes that you are aware of which cultural codes you may be breaking – otherwise there is no point in the marker.

“You can not say that!” We exclaimed on the first semester of college to our professor at KUA (University of Copenhagen, Amager). And: “It’s not the correct use of Danish!” He had so much fun as he called us “old farts” and compared us to people who contacted tv and newspaper stations to complain about the journalists use of what they perceived as bad language. That semester, we learned that there is a difference between how people use language and in what situations – and that people do it to mark their identity.

So even though the old fart in me would like to be outraged at what honestly in my ears sounds rather simplistic and ridiculous, especially when English words are pronounced with excessive Danish pronunciation, I must at the same time rejoice that young people do what young people are best at – experimenting with who they are in the world and poking their fingers at the rest of us while doing so.

Kan ro og orden gå hånd i hånd med ytringsfrihed?

Urolighederne i Sverige viser, hvilke enorme udfordringer Europa står over for.

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Is peace and order possible in societies with freedom of speech?

The unrest in Sweden reveal enormous challenges facing Europe.

Are you allowed to spit on a book, step on it, burn it off in a godforsaken rest area in the outskirts of Sweden? Yes, you have the right to do that – even if it is neither very original, nor constructive.

There is no need to discuss what our rights are, we are well aware of them. If you would like to, you could portray Christ with a ginormous boner and gods and prophets with and without bombs in their turbans.

The right and ability to mock politicians, religions, gods and prophets is a way of measuring whether a society is free – it is precisely when freedom of speech is pushing our limits for feeling comfortable that we know it works. It is the cornerstone of a free country. But in a globalized world people with different views move around. And when the majority views freedom of expression differently than countries, in for instance Scandinavia, is it then time to scale back on ideology and keep ones positions on politics, religion etc. to conversations around the dining table within the confined space of our homes?

The Danish model worked because the population was homogeneous and largely based on the same culture and the same values. That is no longer the case. You can mourn it, but it’s the reality. When the demography changes, so must the model of society.

How do we deal with the massive aggressions lurking beneath the surface in many European countries? Around Europe, streets and residential areas are on fire every time religious criticism is perceived as personal persecution.

Something has to give. How should secular nations of atheistic culturally Christians on the one hand and hardcore believers for whom there is no difference between faith and the individual, on the other, live together in the same country?

It is difficult for a Dane to understand the feelings that exist within Islam. And it is a corner stone in Danish identity to seek consensus.

A few years ago, a priest in the United States wanted to burn a Koran in front of his church. The Pentagon asked him not to. For the safety of US forces in the Middle East.

It should be clear at this point in time that in a global world, actions taken in the small Danish town of Skive can reach all the way to Shanghai, Koran burnings at a rest stop in Sweden and drawings in a Danish newspaper can become known throughout the world in an instant.

It should also be clear at this point that it is both ignorant and arrogant to believe that all immigrants from totalitarian regimes who come to Western democracies will naturally embrace the values of western democracies.

We know the conditions in Saudi Arabia, the repression in China, the killings of journalists and political opponents in Russia, Turkey’s mafia methods around Europe on opponents of the president, killings and rapes of women in India, girls’ repression in Afghanistan. The list is long, I have unfortunately only just started. When democracies are attacked by totalitarian powers, and when violence is met with the desire for dialogue, when basic human rights are met with oppression – then resistance is shattered, democracies lose and the dialogue falls silent.

Simply put: The soft fight for freedom of expression, as we have defined it until now, is lost. For the premise of mutual understanding is basically not just skewed, but in a conflicting relationship where the parties can never reach each other. “Freedom of expression is inviolable” faces “nothing critical may be said about Islam”.

Western democracies are fundamentally based on dialogue, exchange of views and compromise. Especially in a democracy like the Danish one, where minority governments have historically been the norm, our approach to resolving disagreements is negotiation, consensus and dialogue.

Denmark is one of the world’s best functioning countries. The Danish model worked because the population was homogeneous and largely based on the same culture and the same values. That is no longer the case. You can mourn it, but it’s the reality. When the demography of a population changes, so must the model of society.

The United States has long debated freedom of speech, and the different states are massively divided on their approach. In general, we have learned to censor what we say and do in public when it comes to religion. There are no Christian holidays here, no Easter egg hunts, and no Christmas decorations in public schools.

That’s fine with me – the less religion takes up space, the better. But for those of us in favor of freedom of expression, the line has been crossed in an attempt to compromise, when books that can be perceived as offensive are censored out of libraries and curricula at educational institutions. The result is young, ignorant and single-minded people.

The balance is difficult, and personal preferences mean that the population groups themselves in enclaves, select schools and educational institutions that meet their beliefs, choose friends with the same ethnicity, culture, and religion. The American society works, but it is divided.

I wonder if Europe will not develop into being more like the ones we have in the United States? How long can European societies last if the streets are constantly set on fire because of hurt feelings before drastic changes have to take place?

If we want a society of peace and order and a peaceful coexistence in a population that is no longer as homogeneous as it once was, freedom of speech and peace and order are opposites.

If we give in and keep quiet, we are compromising the ideology that most of us treasure as absolutely essential to our freedoms, identity and human condition. But if we do not give in and continue as usual, the streets will be on fire again and again and human lives will be lost. None of these to premises are acceptable.

How do we find a different way of living our values than the one that worked in what seems like an antiquated Danish society, where the population shared culture, ethnicity and religion? If we insist on going about religious topics in public space in a way we found healthy and liberating in the 1970s, we risk a divided society.

What did the American priest end up doing? He canceled his Koran burning event – and avoided a reaction of violence and hatred, perhaps even saving the lives of American soldiers in the Middle East. But he did so at the expense of freedom of speech.

Corona har ændret mit syn på andre mennesker

Jeg melder mig ud af kulturkrigen, for livet skal leves. Vaccinerede, ansvarlige borgere bør igen kunne møde verden.

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Covid has changed my view of other people

I resign from the culture war, because life must be lived. Vaccinated, responsible citizens should once again be able to engage with the world.

“The pandemic has changed me and I have lost friends. Friends I thought were different. Good people who have done volunteer work in Africa. I would never have thought they were anti-vaxxers.”

The conversation took place in a doctor´s office. “Have you changed your view of other people?”, he asked me.

I have to admit, I have. I have always had a curiosity when it came to meeting new people. That curiosity has flourished here in the United States, where I have met people from all over the world, people with vastly different religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

But in the two years we have lived with the pandemic, I have changed my behavior to a degree so that I don´t recognize my own way of behaving in the world anymore.

Because something within me has broken, namely the belief that we all want the best – for each other and for the greater community. But even so, I don´t want it to stop me from going on living.

Not everyone is willing to do their part, pull the load, even when the shit hit the fan. It makes me sad, but it also comes with an enormous sense of loneliness.

The pandemic caught us on the wrong foot in terms of logistics and vaccines – but it also pointed out a huge moral problem. In relation to vaccines and masks, this has become evident – even though it was the “community first, individual since” mindset that was the original approach.

After two years with the virus, we all know what measures work. If you choose to ignore the recommendations, you are cynical, selfish, and unsympathetic. I thought it was a matter of time, before even the fiercest mask and vaccination opponents would follow science. That’s not how it turned out.

The Danes have had a more pragmatic approach to their daily lives during Covid, but here in the Seattle area where I live, it has been a strong identity marker to show in your behavior that you are on the blue team – on the side of science and the Democrats.

The division centers around what is in the best interest of society on one side and the freedoms of the individual citizen on the other. And in that conflict, I choose me and my family’s best. I have done my part for the community. Now it is the time to go outside and embrace the world again.

We will not eliminate this virus, we have learn how to live with it. Just as we must learn to live with people we do not agree with. Therefore, it is now time for us to reevaluate. We can´t continue to live a life of restrictions.

This is not easy, because there is a lot of fear and identity built into the way I and others have become accustomed to living in recent years. I sense that the Danes have had a more pragmatic approach to their daily lives during Covid, but here in the Seattle area where I live, it has been a strong marker of identity to show in your behavior that you are on the blue team – on the side of science and the Democrats.

Because insisting on returning to a normal life easily resonates a discourse we know from the ultra-right-wing media, like FOX News, and from Republican Trump politicians. So for the blue team, this is quite a step to take.

Whether you feel you show your sympathy or antipathy with a certain political approach, your hatred of authorities, or what opposition it is you want to express with your Covid behavior, Covid does not know politics or ethics. It looks for breeding grounds.

But if you have been vaccinated and have received your third shot. If you are wearing a mask and behave responsibly, you should once again freely meet the world.

Glem ”hygge” som sællert i udlandet – Danmarks succes er sammenhold

Danmark kan løfte covid-restriktioner, fordi danskerne bakker op om videnskaben.

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Forget “hygge” as international branding – Denmark’s success is “togetherness”

The reason why Denmark can lift covid restrictions is because the population work together and believe in science.

All eyes are again on Denmark.

Yet again, the country is a frontrunner when it comes to handling the Corona virus. The consequences of the Omikron variant was apparently not as dire as the health authorities feared.

Now, some restrictions are lifted. Cultural venues can reopen, children are back in schools, the hospitalizations are at a manageable level.

All of this happened, because the population have done their part. Each individual Dane has made sensible corona choices. The choices may not always have been easy to make, but they have meant that society as a whole is moving towards greater freedom – and that benefits everyone.

In the United States, we see infection rates like never before. Between 700,000 and 1 million. pr. day. Many never become part of the statistics – because they do not want to be registered, or because they cannot get a test until next week due to lack of testing capacity. 150,000 are hospitalized with Covid, the highest number at any time during the pandemic.

The American population is divided. While Biden and his team are trying to appeal to the public to get vaccinated, many people have a skepticism against the state weighing in on their personal lives. In their pursuit of political gain, many Republican state governors strongly oppose health officials’ recommendations.

“I am proud of the way,

Denmark has handled

the last two years.

Politicians react based on

advice from health and science professional,

and everyone has access to vaccines.”

We have been living with Covid for two years now. Every society in the world, every single citizen’s everyday life, every single family has had to deal with the disease and its consequences.

Personally, I am emotionally exhausted. Even though I am in a privileged situation where I and my children have access to vaccines. I’m honestly so tired of how familiar the names Brostrøm and Fauci sound.

The constant announcements from the authorities, new mutations, restrictions, changes in behavior, cancellations of social events, changes in the children’s everyday lives – it all takes my breath away. Add to that a concern for my children’s mental health and their memory of a childhood during a pandemic.

And then there are the concerns for my neighbors, for the people of the world and the societal consequences we see around the world in the form of riots, empty shelves in grocery stores, the exploitation from dark totalitarian powers now that the attention is directed away from their abuses.

I am far from the only one who is exhausted over constantly dealing with topics of illness, fear of death and a fear of political instability. Every day, I hear from friends, neighbors or the media that people suffer from “covid- fatique ” because of the constant worries.

“Do you want to give a lecture about Denmark and hygge,” my former Professor colleague asked when she invited me to come to the University of Washington to give a guest lecturer in the class she was teaching in Scandinavian culture.

“No, I don´t want to do that,” I replied.

“But I would like to talk about what it is that makes the Danish population stand together, how there is a general trust in the authorities, and why the model of society works in a way that makes the country so well-functioning.”

So, I did – and while the students asked me to elaborate on the way the country works, I realized there are things I miss about my old country.

When I see how Denmark has handled the last two years, I am proud. Politicians are reacting based on advice from health and science professionals, and everyone has access to vaccines. Most importantly, the people stand together and support the decisions that are being implemented – even when they do not agree politically.

The rest of the world could learn a lot from that attitude.

Danmark bør følge USA og lave en diplomatisk boykot af OL i Kina

Sport og politik har altid været blandet sammen; at påstå det modsatte er et privilegeret og mageligt standpunkt.

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Denmark should follow the United States and make a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China

Sports and politics have always been mixed together; to claim the opposite is a privileged and leisurely position.

You are overreacting – that´s never going to happen!

That was the reaction I was met with in Denmark a few years ago. I was on vacation in Denmark and the discussion I was engaging in took place in a Copenhagen kitchen – far from China and the USA. I claimed that China was dangerous and would soon gain economic power to the extend that the world would not dare to go against the country when it violated human rights.

And here we are. The United States and other nations has announced a diplomatic boycot of the country – they will cheer for their athletes but will do so from home. That decission is the right thing to do. I would prefer that the Olympics were not held in China at all, that the whole world would boycott the event. But that is not going to happen, so the next best thing – a diplomatic boycott – is an important strategic signal. For China is not part of the club when it comes to human rights, and Western democracies must dare to say thta out loud.

The United States is signaling that China’s views on human rights and the treatment of its own citizens are unacceptable. America refuses to send an official diplomatic signal that would legitimize the regime. It may result in consequences in relation to trade agreements, environmental negotiations, etc., but it is a question of integrity – and Denmark and Europe aught to stand up for the human rights they claim to fight for.

The sports world is full of corruption. Again and again we learn about shady deals, where huge sums of money change hands, and holding sporting events are dependent on what sums a country is willing to slip into the pockets of a decision maker. That is unfortunately the way things are, and if we are being honest, we know it – even if we would rather close our eyes and comfortably sit back on the sofa in front of the TV screen while watching the athletes.

To claim that sports and politics have nothing to do with each other is a privileged stand point. And what’s more, it’s so unsympathetic and distasteful that I have a hard time finding a vocabulary suitable for the printed press to describe it.

Because if you claim that you “just” want to sit and scroll in front of the screen and enjoy watching your sport without supporting a diplomatic boycott, you are de facto supporting a regime that has millions of human lives on its conscience. People who, for one reason or another, do not agree with the regime – and pay a hefty price for their desire to think, speak, and believe freely. If you do not take a stand, you are essentially contributing and supporting and thus partly responsible.

But if it does not worry you or touch a string in your human right spoiled universe far from a world where athletes disappear and people are sent to labor camps if they do not show the right loyalty to the Chinese government, then just take a bite out of your pizza slice and down it with a sip of microbrew beer while cheering on your Danish homeland.

We have a responsibility, and we can not just turn our backs because it is convenient for us. Denmark has not yet sided with democracy and human rights in the issue of the Olympics in China. Who knows, maybe the country will one of the next few days – but I wonder if the politicians would have given it a second thought at all, had it not been for the United States stand?

Until a decision is made, Denmark signals no hesitation in sending princes, politicians and diplomats to a dictatorship without respect for human life and the rights of the individual.

Sygeplejersker og sundhedspersonale er pandemiens helte – nogle betaler med døden for deres heltedåd

Mere end 180.000 sundhedspersonale har betalt med deres liv under covid-19-pandemien

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Nurses and health professionals are the pandemic´s heroes – some pay for their heroic deeds with their lives

More than 180,000 healthcare professionals have paid with their lives during the covid-19 pandemic

If you are a nurse, SOSU assistant or healthcare professional who has worked with corona patients, I would like to thank you.

Healthcare professionals around the world have brought sacrifices, both mentally, physically and in the form of thousands of lost human lives in the healthcare sector.

The WHO estimates that up to 180,000 nurses, doctors, nurses, porters and health professionals in general may have died of covid-19 in the period January 2020 to May 2021. The WHO has stated that the figure may in fact be estimated 60% too low.

After nearly two years with this disease monster, nurses and health care professionals are at the brink of exhaustion. They are burnt out, stressed, suffer from anxiety and are tired to the core of their bones.

Here in the United States, many nurses are looking for work in other sectors of the healthcare industry to get away from the hospitals. This means that those who are left behind have to run twice as fast or compromise on the quality of their work because they simply cannot do everything.

I have followed the development from the sidelines. My friend works as a nurse at a hospital here in Seattle. She is a wound care nurse, so she comes into close contact with the discharges of vulnerable citizens. It is a job that requires hygiene standards to be followed closely. The job is made no less dangerous by the fact that many of those she treats are homeless, drug addicts and mentally vulnerable. They are often aggressive and unpredictable in their behavior.

For the first many months of the pandemic, she had to reuse her surgical mask for up to two weeks and was of course not vaccinated. She saw several nursing colleagues leave their jobs, after which she had to step in and cover their work. At the hospital, there is a constant shortage of nurses and the nursing positions in her ward have still not been filled. In several hospitals in my state, many surgeries are postponed indefinitely because the resources are spent on Covid patients.

Denmark has done formidably well, partly because the population, and thus also the health personnel, have had access to vaccines. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere in the world. In Africa, only one in ten in the healthcare industry is vaccinated.

Regardless of whether it is politically motivated when Denmark sends vaccines to a specific country in Africa, it helps the healthcare staff and the country’s population when the nurses are healthy enough to be able to take care of their patients.

In eight days, the G20 countries will meet. Between now and then, It is the goal to have 500 million doses produced and that at least 40 percent of the world´s population is vaccinated. Right now, it seems that 82 nations are not reaching that goal, mainly due to lack of access to vaccines.

Countries with access to and an abundance of vaccines have promised to provide 1.2 billion vaccines to those countries that are in short supply. But they have not yet lived up to their commitment. Only a total of 150 million have been reached. Meanwhile, the healthcare workers in these countries pay the highest price with their lives when they try to save their patients.

Once the vaccines reach the countries that still need to receive them, it is vital that healthcare professionals are the first to receive the jab that enables them to survive and save others.

If the health care system is on the verge of collapsing, we have no welfare, then a country’s system is collapsing. It’s that simple, and it does not matter what form of government you have. This applies to the welfare state of Denmark, and it applies to countries that do not have the same welfare structure as the Scandinavian countries.

The corona pandemic has cost far too many lives. Today, I bow my head in respect for nurses, ambulance drivers, porters and everyone else in the healthcare sector to respect all the lost heroes who paid the ultimate price with their lives.

(Partly Google Translate)

Tre oplevelser har lært mig, at det ikke er altid nemt at træffe det ansvarlige corona-valg

Hvornår melder man afbud, og hvornår vælger man at tage afsted til et arrangement med en lille tvivl i maven?

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Three recent experiences have taught me that making the responsible corona choice is not always easy

When do you cancel, and when do you choose to go to an event with a little doubt in your stomach?

“I’m calling because your son is not feeling well, so please come and pick him up at your earliest convinience.”

That´s the voicemail I received from my son’s after-school program yesterday.

Things are under control in little Denmark. In fact, the country has lifted all of their Corona restrictions. Throughout the pandemic the country has not seen the dreaded pressure on their healthcare system and the population have a pragmatic approach to getting the vaccines. Unfortunately, this is far from the case in the rest of the world.

When I received the message about my son, I was on my way to an outdoor BBQ event. The event was meant to mark the beginning of our first physical meeting in a year and a half for the members of the Advisory Committee I sit on for the Scandinavian Studies Department at the University of Washington in Seattle. I had been looking forward to the freshly caught Alaska salmon on the grill, a cool glass of wine in my hand, and reuniting and conversing with members who, like me, are passionate about promoting Scandinavia in our northwestern corner of the United States. The event was to be held outdoors and it was a requirement that everyone was vaccinated. 

“You have to pick him up and take him straight to the test site,” I told my husband. “Then I’ll try to find rapid tests in the meantime.”

It quickly turned out to be quite impossible to find rapid tests anywhere. After four attempts a some phone calls, I gave up. My online order will arrive in the mail within the next two days. My son’s Corona test results will arrive within 15-48 hours. There is a lot that is different here compared to Denmark…

Maybe my son is just feeling sick because he has not been near other kids for more than a year and is now picking up bacteria. Maybe it’s just a lot to start in school and institution after staying in a house with his parents for so long without any other social stimulus. Maybe he really will test positive for the Corona virus. Maybe, maybe.

So what does one do? Do you cancel the social event that starts in less than an hour, or do you take the chance and bet that the test will come back negative?

A few weeks ago I gathered up enough courage and booked an appointment with a hairdresser. But not just any hairdresser. I asked my friend – who is a nurse and who is super diligent when it comes to being safe, her level of hygiene, etc. – which hairdresser she goes to. When I arrived, the lady was wearing a mask and was sanitizing the chair after her last costumer. “That´s a good sign,” I thought. We started conversing, as one does and I asked her if she had been vaccinated. “No,” was the answer to my great surprise. And for the time being she did not intend to do so either. “I’m sorry,” I said “I would love to support a self-employed female business owner, but I just do not feel comfortable with this.” In that situation, the choice was not difficult. It’s just hair, I can put it in a bun and almost forget that about my split ends.

Last week I went to have taken blood samples taken. Again, I started conversing the masked and gloved woman I was sharing the room with. While she was getting the needle ready, I asked about her vaccination status. I should not have done that, because while I was sitting there and watching the needle go in, she replied that she was afraid that the vaccine would affect her DNA. She was not vaccinated and did not plan to get the vaccine. I was shocked. Meeting conspiracy theories in a medical clinic in a city where more than 80% are vaccinated, is something I was pretty unprepared for.

I felt like yanking my arm away from her and rushing out of the clinic. But I stayed in my seat. And then I took a deep breath and started talking to her about the misconceptions about the vaccine without giving in to the far out indoctrination it turned out that her boyfriend had fed her. “It can be difficult to make a different choice than your surroundings if it creates conflicts at home and goes against the perception in the social circles one moves in,” I said, and she nodded.

In the state of Idaho, which borders my state of Washington here in the northwestern corner of the United States, they have just announced that, for the first time ever, they are forced to choose which Covid patients they choose to treat. The hospitals have no more capacity. Several patients have already been sent to our state. Healthcare professionals are now forced to choose to help only those citizens who have the greatest chance of survival.

The citizens here in the United States who are hardest hit are the non-vaccinated. The group consists of children under 12, those who for various health reasons can not tolerate being vaccinated and then the last group – namely vaccination opponents. 1 in 500 have died in the US – from a disease that could be prevented with two small jabs in the upper arm.

But the reality is that everyone has to make personal choices every day that weigh risks, pros and cons in their daily lives. In that equation, one can potentially risk taking another another person’s life.

Danmark løfter alle Corona-restriktioner, imens USA strammer reglerne

Den danske vaccinations-succeshistorie trækker i dag overskrifter i amerikanske medier.

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Denmark lifts all Corona restrictions, while the US introduces new rules

The Danish vaccination success story makes headlines all over American media today.

Denmark was the first country in Europe to introduce Corona passport. The passports made it possible for Danes to maintain a semi-normal life. During the time passports were required for dining, attending schools, etc. more and more Danes got vaccinated. Thanks to the Danes’ sense of community, all Corona restrictions have now been lifted. On Saturday, a concert will take place in Copenhagen, more than 50,000 people have bought tickets.

Meanwhile, the conditions are, to say the least, somewhat different here in the United States.

I got my Moderna Covid-19 vaccine long before my Danish friends. But then the vaccination misinformation started in this cowboy country, and Denmark has long since overtaken the United States in terms of percentage numbers for how many in the Danish population who has received the vaccine.

Yesterday, we were informed that a family at a middle school here in the area had sent their child to school for five days after learning that child had tested positive without informing the school.

The students have been home from school for 540 days and have just been back for a week. What a mockery of the sacrifices it has cost the children, the families, the teachers and the schools, when they first had to deal with online teaching and now finally – with a sea of ​​restrictions – are back in the classrooms!

Is it any wonder that the country’s second largest school district, located in California, now requires students ages 12 and up to be vaccinated if they want to be allowed to go to school?

Last week, 250,000 American children tested positive. We have gone from being at a level where 10,000 Americans tested positive a day to the figure now being 150,000 every single day. Every day, 1,500 Americans die from Covid-19.

Yet, many ordinary Americans will not take the vaccine. The hospitals are full of them. In several places the morgues have been filled up and refrigerated trucks have been called in. Cancer treatment is paused, non-life-threatening surgeries are postponed. It didn´t have to be like this.

Finally, Uncle Joe responds. He normally chies away from conflict. But not now. No more begging and enticing, no more carrots. Now he swings the whip.

On Thursday, Biden held a press conference, where he said, “What more do you need to know? The vaccinations are free, safe and easy to obtain. They are FDA approved. We have been patient, but our patience is running out.”

Politicians have tried to reach the skeptical vaccine opponents with carrots in the form of cash dollars, free education, beer and hot dogs. It has not worked, now the whip must come out, and it is about time.

If you do not want to be vaccinated for personal reasons, then you can not expect to be able to strut around either at work, in the supermarket or at school and spread your virus.

The grip has been tightened, and Biden now makes it mandatory for all public employees, contractors and health professionals to be vaccinated. In addition, employees of companies with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated or provide a negative Corona test weekly.

But Americans are a stubborn people who cherish their individual freedom as a fundamental principle even in situations where it is headlessly stupid. Even Trump was recently booed when he called on the audience to get vaccinated.

Opposition to the authorities telling people what to do has always been a part of this country. But it is insanity, when people are willing to risk their own and others’ lives for a principle they only understand the seriousness of when they lie in a hospital bed with tubes in their nostrils and gasp for air.

In the meantime, I hope that America turns her attention to tiny Denmark, which seems to have found the balance between respect for the individual’s needs and rights and a responsible health policy – now with freedoms we can only dream of in this Covid restricted freedom-loving country.

(mostly Google Translate)