Saturday, October 03, 2020

Coronavirus News (251)

Donald Trump’s narcissism betrays a fragile ego lashing out in rage The popular notion that narcissists are endowed with an extraordinary reservoir of confidence, self-importance and unconditional self-regard is mistaken Narcissists like Trump try to mask their shortcomings and constantly attack others to protect their own fragile egos from being exposed and collapsing ...........  The 90-plus-minute barrage of personal attacks, insults, interruptions and incoherence was often credited to Trump’s lack of integrity, intelligence and decorum. ............ many psychiatrists and mental health professionals in the United States are warning about the dangers of Trump’s narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). ........ What is a narcissist? A common understanding is someone who is grandiose, entitled and lacks empathy. ....... Those who work with NPD in a clinical setting are familiar with a psychological reality that is in stark contrast to the common myth. The psychological structure responsible for NPD is actually a very fragile ego. Because it is too painful to get in touch with such fragility, the narcissist goes to extreme lengths to banish any inkling of their own imperfections. ........... “Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth – that he is none of those things – is too terrifying for him to contemplate.” ......... material we don’t want to deal with in waking life shows up in our dreams in disguised forms. ............ Donald Trump, who “began to believe his own hype, even as he paradoxically suspected on a very deep level that nobody else did”. ............. This is the plague of narcissism. Narcissists are persecuted by a fragile, impoverished ego; the only recourse to avoid the painful realisation of their fragility is to continuously inflate the ego as a countermeasure to keep their fragile ego from collapsing. When the mirror on the wall sends back a view that challenges the evil queen’s inflated sense of her prettiness, she responds with a murderous rage. This is not an uncommon response from a narcissist – any threat to their sense of superiority will be met with rage. .................  The president said so himself on Twitter: “When someone attacks me, I always attack back...except 100x more. This has nothing to do with a tirade but rather, a way of life!” ........... a psychological warfare that has no place for peace because one has to keep up the attacks on others to protect one’s fragile ego from being exposed and collapsing.

A North Carolina college student apparently died of rare neurological complications from the virus, his family says. A 19-year-old student at Appalachian State University — a basketball player “in tremendous shape,” according to his family — died Monday night, apparently of neurological complications related to Covid-19, his family and the university said............  New cases in Sweden, which became a lightning rod over its lax pandemic response early on, remain surprisingly low. ............. Almost alone in the Western world, Sweden refused to impose a coronavirus lockdown last spring, as the country’s leading health officials argued that limited restrictions were sufficient and would better protect against economic collapse. ........ The per capita rate is far lower than nearby Denmark or the Netherlands (if higher than the negligible rates in Norway and Finland). Sweden is also doing far better, for the moment, than Spain, with 10,000 cases a day, and France, with 12,000. ....... “Today, all of the European countries are more or less following the Swedish model, combined with the testing, tracing and quarantine procedures the Germans have introduced, but none will admit it”

‘The Social Dilemma’ Will Freak You Out—But There’s More to the Story    Dramatic political polarization. Rising anxiety and depression. An uptick in teen suicide rates. Misinformation that spreads like wildfire. The common denominator of all these phenomena is that they’re fueled in part by our seemingly innocuous participation in digital social networking. But how can simple acts like sharing photos and articles, reading the news, and connecting with friends have such destructive consequences? ............... the way social media gets people “hooked” by exploiting the brain’s dopamine response and using machine learning algorithms to serve up the customized content most likely to keep each person scrolling/watching/clicking. ........  “Every single action you take is carefully monitored and recorded,” says Jeff Siebert, a former exec at Twitter. The intelligence gleaned from those actions is then used in conjunction with our own psychological weaknesses to get us to watch more videos, share more content, see more ads, and continue driving Big Tech’s money-making engine. .............  For the first few years of social media’s existence, we thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Now it’s on a nosedive to the other end of the spectrum—we’re condemning it and focusing on its ills and unintended consequences. The next phase is to find some kind of balance, most likely through adjustments in design and, possibly, regulation. .......... The issue with social media is that it’s going to be a lot trickier to fix than, say, adding seatbelts and air bags to cars. The sheer size and reach of these tools, and the way in which they overlap with issues of freedom of speech and privacy—not to mention how they’ve changed the way humans interact—means it will likely take a lot of trial and error to come out with tools that feel good for us to use without being addicting, give us only true, unbiased information in a way that’s engaging without preying on our emotions, and allow us to share content and experiences while preventing misinformation and hate speech. ................ “While we’ve all been looking out for the moment when AI would overwhelm human strengths—when would we get the Singularity, when would AI take our jobs, when would it be smarter than humans—we missed this much much earlier point when technology didn’t overwhelm human strengths, but it undermined human weaknesses.”

From ‘brain fog’ to heart damage, COVID-19’s lingering problems alarm scientists Life for the 38-year-old is a pale shadow of what it was before 17 March, the day she first experienced symptoms of the novel coronavirus. ............ she struggles to think clearly and battles joint and muscle pain. “I used to go to the gym three times a week,” Akrami says. Now, “My physical activity is bed to couch, maybe couch to kitchen.” ...........  “Everybody talks about a binary situation, you either get it mild and recover quickly, or you get really sick and wind up in the ICU,” says Akrami, who falls into neither category. Thousands echo her story in online COVID-19 support groups. ............  The list of lingering maladies from COVID-19 is longer and more varied than most doctors could have imagined. Ongoing problems include fatigue, a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, achy joints, foggy thinking, a persistent loss of sense of smell, and damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. ..........  One group in Italy found that 87% of a patient cohort hospitalized for acute COVID-19 was still struggling 2 months later. ........... 10% to 15% of people—including some “mild” cases—don’t quickly recover. .............  Distinct features of the virus, including its propensity to cause widespread inflammation and blood clotting, could play a role in the assortment of concerns now surfacing. “We’re seeing a really complex group of ongoing symptoms” ................ Three months later, the man with the mild case “falls asleep all day long and cannot work” ................ Like a key fitting neatly into a lock, SARS-CoV-2 uses a spike protein on its surface to latch onto cells’ ACE2 receptors. The lungs, heart, gut, kidneys, blood vessels, and nervous system, among other tissues, carry ACE2 on their cells’ surfaces—and thus, are vulnerable to COVID-19. The virus can also induce a dramatic inflammatory reaction, including in the brain. Often, “The danger comes when the body responds out of proportion to the infection” ............. “What we’re experiencing is an epidemic of severe illness,” he says. “So therefore, there is an epidemic” of chronic illness that follows it. .............   One study of health care workers with SARS in 2003 found that those with lung lesions 1 year after infection still had them after 15 years. ............... The virus ravages the heart, for example, in multiple ways. Direct invasion of heart cells can damage or destroy them. Massive inflammation can affect cardiac function. The virus can blunt the function of ACE2 receptors, which normally help protect heart cells and degrade angiotensin II, a hormone that increases blood pressure. Stress on the body from fighting the virus can prompt release of adrenaline and epinephrine, which can also “have a deleterious effect on the heart” .............  78 of 100 people diagnosed with COVID-19 had cardiac abnormalities when their heart was imaged on average 10 weeks later, most often inflammation in heart muscle. Many of the participants in that study were previously healthy, and some even caught the virus while on ski trips ............ previously healthy people are not exempt from the virus’ long-term effects on the lungs ..............  After some severe viral infections, there are “those people who still don’t feel quite right afterward, but have normal brain scans” ............ Collectively, these “long-haulers” describe dozens of symptoms, including many that could have multiple causes, such as fatigue, joint pain, and fever. “It’s time to give some voice to this huge population of patients” .............. “You might have fibrosis in the lungs, and that will make you feel fatigued; you might have impaired heart function, and that will make you feel fatigued.” ........ The message many researchers want to impart: Don’t underestimate the force of this virus

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