Simanaitis Says

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I MAKE TWO assumptions here: first, that the presence of Covid-19 will eventually diminish to the point of other viruses. These include, in no particular order, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, SARS, Ebola, and HIV, among others. Humanity has learned to coexist with these viruses in controlled form, albeit to differing extents.

My second assumption is both relative as well as etymological: What constitutes normal? And, on an almost trivial note, should it be “normalcy” or “normality”?

Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits gleaned from Science the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Wouldn’t you know, we also find ourselves in an etymological discussion with Warren G. Harding.

An Etymological Interjection. Both “normalcy” and “normality” are legitimate English with the same meaning: a state of being normal. However, there are nuances: For instance, abnormality is standard English; abnormalcy has yet to achieve this status.

Merriam-Webster offers an interesting tale about “normalcy.” Some people think Warren G. Harding coined the word in the presidential election of 1920, when he said he was for “normal times and a return to normalcy.” Actually, M-W notes, the word “normalcy” arose earlier in mathematics, describing perpendicularity, especially at a point of tangency.

Harding is hardly exemplary in all things (see “Mock the President-in-Wanting?”. But his use of “normalcy” to describe a previous state of affairs [Edit: reword?] continues to echo today.

”Normal” Ever Again? If we mean “precisely as things used to be,” don’t hold your breath. Or celebrate any such situation. For example, only the most rabid (and foolish) anti-vaxxers would wish for a pre-polio-vaccine world.

Science and Normalcy. By “normalcy,” let’s mean a knowledgable acceptance of the coronavirus threat and a rational control of it that allows our social and economic well being.

Science, July 3, 2020, addressed this in two articles. The first was written by Roxane Cohen Silver, University of California, Irvine. Her editorial “Surviving the Trauma of COVID-19” gives a mental-health perspective to post-pandemic normalcy.

Roxanne Cohen Silver, American professor of psychological science, public health, and medicine, UCI School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine.

A Resilience. Professor Silver observes, “Responsible health-protective behaviors must be encouraged with messaging that conveys clearly and consistently the costs and benefits of actions that can ensure the physical and mental health of oneself and one’s community.… Just as the public returned to airplanes and high rises after 9/11, and just as people now go through x-ray machines without protest before they board a plane, most people will follow rules.”

She concludes, “Although the timing of containment of COVID-19 remains unknown, most people will get to the other side of the pandemic recognizing strengths and coping skills they did not realize they had.”

Tomorrow in Part 2, young scientists address the question, “What do you hope or fear will be the effects 20 years from now of the coronavirus pandemic?” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020


  1. David S Mansworth
    July 24, 2020

    Many of us can remember the AIDs “pandemic” where we couldn’t/shouldn’t drink in a Cafe or Bar where Gays gathered as “you will catch” AIDs from the Glass-cups-WC Seat etc.
    Insects that Bite a Gay will transfer it to you. and in the same manner as folk today are buying Gloves & Masks (even driving in their car alone wearing the blessed things) the same type of folk then were spraying every insect & walking out of establishments where any Gay person was evident.
    Prime time TV was full of celebrities & even Royalty “going near” aids patients.
    now we know it was all simply rubbish spread by idiots.And very damaging information spread blindly that damaged society.
    The same will soon show to be the case with C19. and the Maskies & Glovies.

    Yes many have died from C19 but it isn’t a zombie plague and a huge number of those who have passed were in the situation of poor Health or at risk due to age (which is the case every year it being natural) and also a sizable number were self inflicted in the very fact that they were obese.

    The whole ethos (which was noble & correct) in isolation was to allow Hospitals time to get ready & equip, that has long passed.

    Folk need to accept the virus is here to stay and its a lotto if you get it & recover or not.
    exactly the same with FLU which kills thousands each winter. whilst lays low thousands more.

    a silly mask made by Mrs Bloggins from a worn-out bed sheet the cats been on, may be a very noble gesture but is simply snake oil.

  2. simanaitissays
    July 24, 2020

    David, I respect your interest in sharing opinions on things as complex (socially as well as medically) as AIDS and Covid-19.
    However, evidence differs strongly from your “nothing more serious than flu.” What’s more, its implication that old folks die anyway is ageist, and not backed by data from recent Covid-19 resurgence.
    There are abundant data that ignoring masks and lack of social distancing have been deadly to the young as well, not only the older or health-compromised.
    Indeed, as moderator (and proprietor) of this website, I thought about whether to approve inclusion of such misinformation. I decided to approve its inclusion, though factual data (and I) disagree.
    I trust other readers will understand.

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2020 by in Sci-Tech and tagged .
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