When you live in an area like mine, you have to have a certain tolerance for wild life in the road. Early morning or late evening it is not all that uncommon to see black-tailed deer out for a stroll. We are near enough to several parks that raccoons and possums are not a rarity. I don’t mind the animals, they are doing what animals so – out, about, seeking food, shelter or companionship.
The two legged kind, on the other hand, I have little tolerance for. This is Berkeley where, apparently people firmly believe they are entitled. This is a city. There are actually sidewalks. Many of them in my neighborhood have actually been replaced over the last five years. During daylight hours, no one should have any problems seeing the sidewalk.
So please explain to me the reason, other than total obliviousness, why all these people think it is perfectly fine to walk, jog, or run in the middle of the road? The speed limits here are not high, which gives any of us who happen to be driving, enough time to avoid the idiots. But why do they think that it is ok to run in the road.
If it was only an early morning problem, I might be able to understand it. All the emphasis on energy savings means that we have few street lights. Seeing your footing in the middle of the block might prove a bit more challenging. But if you are going to be out in the road at 0Dark30, please, please, please leave your fashion worries at home. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reflective orange, yellow, or neon green. In fact, it might just save your life. I am not driving all that fast, I know better. But nothing makes me more concerned that a jogger happily wearing black, complete with ball cap and headphones trotting down the middle of the street totally oblivious to anything around him. And yes, I used the pronoun him deliberately. The ratio of men:women seems to be about 5:1.
I can accept the bikers in the road. At least those that actually act like they are driving a vehicle and obeying the road signs. But there are a number of them as well that seem to think that lights, helmets and rules are not relevant to them happily peddling down the road.
And I most definitely think it is a Berkeley issue. Picking Angel up from work this afternoon, we detoured down Telegraph toward Oakland to drop off one of his co-workers. There were pedestrians. They were all on the sidewalk or crossing at corners. There were a few individuals on bike. As we drove closer to Berkeley, I could almost see the Oakland/Berkeley border. The closer we were toward campus, the more idiots in the rood.
And, no, it is not just students. Most of those I take pains to avoid are beyond even the age of graduate students. Nope, entitled “adults” is what most of them are. In fact, the closer we drove toward home, the more walkers, bikers, and dog walkers there were. Only the dog walkers seemed to stay out of the road. I am trying to be glad that plenty of people are trying to get some exercise while actually observing more than a minimum of social distancing.
But please, not down the center of the road. Not on foot. And, for that matter, if you are wobbling up our massive hill on a bicycle, you might just want to ride on the side like most others, or walk your bike up the sidewalk.
and to answer the question up front – no – it is not finished.
I think my friend Anita recounts it best: first you do all those tasks which have you have been putting off (cleaning, laundry). Then you organize your materials, followed by making a cup of tea – because, of course, why would you want to be interrupted in the middle of a good bit of writing by sudden thirst. Then you have an email/txt/phone call that comes in. And then it is so late that you are exhausted and can’t think straight. Because you need sleep – there is always tomorrow.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
So, again. No, not done. In actuality, I really didn’t get much done over the weekend. Except for cross stitching- 1300+stitches on Sat and another 800 yesterday. All of which are excellent considering that the pattern is full coverage and averages 10 different colors in every 20 stitches.
So here it is Monday – and I have a class in 45 minutes. So I can’t possibly due anything but organize a bit and wait for 1000 which will be followed by 2 hours of Zoom. And then I will need either tea or coffee along with some lunch?
And gee, all of a sudden it is early afternoon.
Doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong.
Rather it means that the days are blurring into each other such that I (imagine this) can’t work up the energy to put fingers to keyboard. Part of that reason is that if I sit down to type, I really should be putting the finishing touches on “that paper” rather than chasing news or talking with friends.
Or reading books, exploring YouTube or any of the myriad other things that are oh, so tempting and completely and totally non-productive.
I am trying to avoid checking the news more than once a day. It doesn’t help at all. Especially since the US numbers are so totally out of whack with what is actually happening. The Worldometer, for example, is now listing tests run. Which, as it turns out, is a totally useless number. Why? It is tests. It is not individuals, which means that the number includes multiple samples for some, it includes post-infection clearing tests, etc. So it is not an accurate number at all of what is actually going on. But what it does is artificially make it look like the US is doing an adequate amount of testing (it is not) and that most people who get tested don’t have COVID-19. That also may be a very false assumption.
The other thing of concern, which doesn’t show up at all in those numbers is that California, for example, wound up more than 70,000 tests behind. Yes, that is right – 70k worth of tests sitting in the queue. I don’t know enough about the specific procedures to be completely confident that a sample that has been sitting and waiting for more than a week is going to be either a true-positive, or a true-negative. And frankly, a result coming back a week later isn’t of a whole lot of use. If you were the person who was tested, and not all that ill, you have gone on with your life. If you were in hospital, you were treated as if you were positive anyway.
Testing is best used for early diagnosis and prompt isolation/contact tracing. Even with social distancing, how many of us know exactly where we have been every minute of the day for the last seven days? Was there a grocery run? A stop to pick up meds? Costco? Target? Other box store? How about fuel for your vehicle if you drive one?
And if you weren’t sure – this is social distancing ….
If you are not in the US – you might not be aware of the US Census which was supposed to be conducted starting 1 April. In past years, this has involved a huge hiring effort and a massive door-to-door inventory of “everyone in the country.” As for why the census? Not only is it mandated by the US Constitution, but the census forms the basis for allocation of a huge number of things – from Congress representation to funding of various programs.
Starting last year, there wound up being a massive mess in the courts because certain people in the US Administration wanted to add a “are you a citizen” question to the census. Now, there is nothing in the constitution that requires someone to be a citizen to be counted. In fact, the ugly truth is that the compromise at the time it was written was that slaves would count as 3/5 of a person. And those numbers would be included in determining the Congressional Representation. Note also that there was no gender definition. One can easily say then – if slaves counted, then citizenship didn’t matter since they also were counting all family members, even though women and children had absolutely no rights, say, etc.
So why would we need a citizenship question? Other than the fact that certain people do not understand what immigrants contribute to the country. And that they are looking for yet another way that the Immigration and Naturalization Service can track down and deport more individuals.
It is all stupid – California had a significant problem last year in obtaining enough workers to handle the harvest. Also true in other states. I don’t know many US raised children who are willing to do the backbreaking work that is required in farming or agriculture. (Colin,Jan, Rebecca, you are the exceptions).
But anyway – follow this link to a new version of Annie’s Song (John Denver)…
This came in the mail yesterday –
Shipped from Calgary.
But let me back track first.
Like many people with various hobbies, I am a tool and toy junkies. Not a total and complete hoarder of same, you have to understand. I have divested myself of various bits and bobs (some of them significantly large) over the years. After all, I live with other people and they just would not understand if I took over the house for a weaving and fiber studio. So, I no longer have my Glimakra, AVL, or Harrisville looms. Sewing machines have been upgraded over the years and I haven’t kept all of the old one.
I will admit to probably having a few too many spinning wheels. In fact, when I stop and think about it, I haven’t done much in the way of spinning or knitting since the move to California. Since wool is my fiber of preference, that might make a small bit of sense. It is not all that cold here. But I “might” want them in the future. I am not counting the two that I “re-homed” before leaving Germany or the one that I gifted (along with the Harrisville and several dozen cones of yarn) after settling here.
Since moving here, I have been doing more sewing, machine embroidery, and cross-stitch. Like any other crafter, I have been accumulating supplies (aka Stash) against a future want, the apocalypse, or an acute shortage of whatever I might fancy at the moment. I don’t spend beyond my means. And I haven’t quite run out of storage space.
Anyway – for the couple of years, I have been searching for the perfect cross-stitch stand. Functional is important – and so, frankly is esthetics. I had three various stands (System-4, Lacis, and ???) which do work, for some projects, but ran into the challenge of trying to sit comfortably while stitching so that I don’t get a sore back. There is also the challenge of width of the project. The System-4 stand can adjust to quite a wide width – but it has a three point braced foot that makes it impossible to use with any kind of a lounge chair or foot stool. The Lacis stand is lovely, adjustable, and a max of 50cm wide. The ??? which I think might be a Charles Craft has split rail rods, and goes to 60 cm, but doesn’t work well with a chair/footstool combination.
All of this lead me to Hearthside Craftworks – which is a home based Calgary couple. After thinking about it from January on – I ordered a Mark 2 stand near the beginning of March. My stand went in the mail on the 20th of March, checked into the Calgary post office. And then it seemed to sit there on the tracking display for day after day after day. Suddenly on 29 March my stand showed as now being in Richmond, BC which is an area (town/suburb/whatever of Vancouver). Apparently Canada Post only logs packages in, and doesn’t log them out – so in transit can mean anywhere from the originating post office to the door of the next. On the 30th it was marked at being at customs.
And it arrived yesterday.
which rapidly turned into this –
I am more than a happy bunny
And yes, that is exactly how I meant to spell it!
was sent to me by my friend Jill who lives is Australia.
And it is what I have been doing this week….
As someone wisely pointed out this week, the absence of toilet paper is not solely the result of toilet paper holders.
In the normal way of things, most adults spend at least part of their day out of the house related to employment. Children spend time at school. People go to restaurants, concerts, sporting events. In all of those situations, the toilet paper used is supplied by the location as it is not the custom in the US to supply your own no matter where you are.
Now, with everyone home, those extra 8-12 hours of toilet use – and prime awake time at that – are transferred to the home. This results in the increased use of home toilet paper.
In addition, if you are suffering from seasonal allergies (unfortunately extremely common right now in the Northern Hemisphere) you are also pushing fluids. Or if you are coughing, drinking a lot of fluids improves your health. In any case – this results in more trips to the loo.
If every person who normally buys toilet paper bought just one extra package in a two week period, the shelves would be empty. Well, duh! The shelves are empty! Also of interest is that the commercial supply (restaurants, hotels, convention centers, schools….) is a completely different supply chain than that for the home market. Since most of us don’t want to buy 100-1000 rolls at a time (nor can we even get accounts) it isn’t easy to shift between the systems.
So before you look askance at the person who has bought a package of 12 rolls of toilet paper, they may not be hoarding. In fact, they may be like this household where we buy once for three locations (upstairs, downstairs, Richmond) from one package.
At least that was one thought, not that there aren’t those who have years supply in their garage in case of the apocalypse.
There are a lot of tasks one can perform while procrastinating. So far I have not been desperate enough to tackle dresser drawers or the floor of my closet, but I am reasonably sure that those tasks are in my future. One of those many “clean up” tasks on my list included clearing up the in-boxes in several of my email accounts.
It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that I have more than one email. I have been on email for decades – starting, in fact, in 1986 while working for AMC (Army Material Command), adding in personal when I went on Fido-Net, then transitioning to one of the “big carriers” when we relocated to München in 1999. Which actually wasn’t all that long ago…
But anyway, I was looking down the names on my email list and figuring out exactly how long I have known some of the people. And then decided that I really didn’t need that proof that somewhere along the line, I had earned my grey hair.
What has this to do with virus spread you might well ask.
It is significant.
Just as the introduction of home fridges in the US correlated with both increased public sanitation and
decreased food borne illness, the presence of a fridge in the house fundamentally changed the shopping and food habits of the US.
The average fridge in the US is not small. Most have both a freezer and a cooling section. There is enough room for several days worth of perishable groceries. The freezer section, even in the smallest “house size” can hold frozen veg, a pizza and some ice cream.
Now, and for those of you who have experienced the fridge size on a cruise ship or hotel room, think of that size as the norm in most homes across Europe. Most homes in Europe are not single family dwellings. Most live in units which maybe in smaller buildings to large scale apartment buildings such as you see in China or S. Korea.
In those situations, you have to shop often for fresh items. Daily as a matter of fact if there is more than 1-2 people living there. Plus you have the cultural aspect of daily shopping which can be extremely important as social contact if you are older and have been living this way your whole life. When we lived in Germany for so many years, while we never got in the habit of shopping EVERY day, we certainly went to the bakery rather often. The small Italian grocer’s shop received fresh vegetables in season several times a week driven directly by her brother from Italy along with hand made pasta.
How does that work if you are shelter in place?
In Korea, they delivered directly to the large apartment buildings several times a week so that no one had to leave their building.
Here (US), grocery stores can still be crowded. Even tho there are several of us, our fridge can hold food + condiments and the freezer more than 1-2 containers of ice cream.
Does it make a difference?
Nor was yesterday Opening Day.
For everyone who hasn’t a clue – I am referring to the opening of Major League Baseball Season. Said season of which was to have started here with a day game yesterday afternoon between my old home team – The Minnesota Twins, and my new home team (is 2016 still new?) – the Oakland A’s. Realistically, all professional sporting events are on indefinite hold. The League has been making old games available for streaming, those who are fanatics are spending time on social media, blogs, and the phone talking about games, players, and what they re planning on doing when the season recommences.
Me? I am a fair weather fan. Or perhaps a, any weather fan as long as I can go to the game in person. I have season tickets to the As and had been contemplating whether I was going to wear my Twins Jersey or my As Jersey to Opening Day or Opening Night. But now, I don’t have to make a decision at all. Perhaps my only regret is not having made plans to spent a week in Scottsdale, AZ seeing the beginning of spring training (and inflicting myself on my sister who lives there). But that blasted paper, classroom obligations and family here took up my time the beginning of February. And then the window of opportunity closed. The closest I am likely to come is wearing an As sweatshirt
We are all slogging through daily life; I expect the same is true for all of you. As the numbers mount in the US, one can only wonder at the total disconnect between certain members of the leadership and the reality on the ground.
Having participated in major planning efforts with regards to pandemics (Avian Influenza, Novel Influenza) in both 2005 and 2009, I perhaps am one of the few people who think the world so far is faring better than might have been predicted. We still have power, the internet is still functional, food deliveries are still making it to grocery stores
as Donna says – I am not stuck at home – I am safe at home.
In the middle of everything, the computers of Alameda County grind on. Unsupervised, or just automated, the printer is spewing out Jury Duty summons. I received one last month, but the courts shut down before my report date. George received his summons on Monday. As I remember correctly, he was in the hospital last fall when his number came up. He called them and explained that 1) bone marrow transplant in hospital 2) house bound for a minimum of 100 days afterwards 3) recommendations for avoidance of extremely close quarters for at least six months. No problems, they would take him off the list permanently for medical.
And another summons shows up.
Perhaps they are leaning forward and hoping that the courts will be back open next month. Not. Going. To. Happen. The best modeling predicts things are going to be extremely ugly right about then. And, in any case, there is no way that he should take that kind of risk. Not unless the judicial system can go to Zoom courts…
Think about it – Anything that doesn’t require physically passing something around could be done by Zoom/GoToMeeting or one of the other softwares that link people in video conferencing. Certainly the courts could easily blow through all of the traffic tickets that way without requiring personal appearances. Effective use of both court and law enforcement time. For that matter, it would mean that people would not have to waste an entire day sitting on a bench just in case their number comes up.
Right to a trial by your peers? Ok. Where does it say that those peers have to be in the same room with you? Where does it say that you have the right to reach out and touch someone? If we can manage to support thousands of people through tele-medicine, why can’t we think ahead and set up tele-courts?
And before anyone goes down the rabbit hole about advantages to the wealthy and disadvantage to those of age, color, or poverty – exactly who do we think is tying up the court system (outside of family court) right now? It isn’t grandma on her old age pension, it is the dude with money. It is the larger landlords who have the money to evict their tenants, it is the insurance companies that would rather fight than pay claims.
But anyway…I am thinking of the waste of computer time, paper, ink, postal services for something that can’t happen next month. And this just may be symptomatic of all those automatic systems in place. The ones that let us do dumb things more quickly….
Meanwhile, “the paper” grinds slowly on. Miriam continues to build webpages as part of her “work remotely,” Shana is being the demo model for the local BAR Method’s move to Zoom Classes. Noah is on his way back to San Diego as he has lab classes when the quarter resumes next week. Angel is hard at work – more than half the staff where he works are now either out or gone and people want bagels, Alex is putting together some on-line activities for groups of JCC kids now locked down at home, Dani’s work is shut down – so she is hunting for on-line employment.
As the numbers today went over ½ a million that have tested positive, the curve is slowing only in a few locations. The US has passed Italy for total number of cases. Both Italy and Switzerland are reporting over 1000 cases per million inhabitants; and not everyone who is ill is getting tested. I think that is lot more realistic. California is still lagging hugely in testing, Ignorance doesn’t help; in my area it leads to complacencies.
Those that think working from home is easy, convenient, problem free are only thinking about access to the coffee pot and the bathroom. Most of us are not set up to easily work efficiently at home. Not to same extent as an office. Especially if you are one of those high and mighty people with a door that shuts.
we have George’s space in the dining area. The desk mostly used as a receptacle for whatever needs organizing and a comfortable chair at the table with better (and safer) access to drinking coffee
I suppose I can detour here to provide an explanation of the blank walls. When Shana and Noah moved to the US and oversaw the renovations of the house starting with fall of 2014 (good grief, time flies) this room was painted dark red if I remember correctly. They went with pretty close to white. Then a couple of years later, we had the windows replaced from the original 1930s to something that was both energy efficient and had screens. Anyone who tells you that there are no high (or low) flying insects in California is just wrong. About a year or two ago, I purchased the corner unit, along with desk and chair for George and moved the over large table out to the living room.
When you have somewhere between four and eight people for a meal, it is nice to have a larger table. This table, complete with chairs, seats 10 without fuss. Fine, it was purchased in Germany and shipped with our household goods in 2014. For the time it lived in the dining room, mashed up against the wall as otherwise there was no room to move (someone had not accurately assessed the available space). I, personally am not a fan of long distances between kitchen and tables. But this opinion was over-ridden by reality.
And it also has become Miriam’s and my working space/office. Lots of airy space, great day lighting. Easy access to coffee and the kettle. We can even turn on the fireplace for a bit of extra heat. But I can see my stitching chair and my needlework frame is calling me.
And this is day 8.
And if there is any question or not in your mind as to whether or not staying home, shutting down everything and social distancing makes a difference – look at a comparison as to where New York is as apposed to California. Our cases are rising, but not at the same rate. Not that there is not fear, some panic, and increased burden on the health care system. CA population ~ 39M+, NY ~ 19M+. NYC is dense, so is LA and the Bay Area.
OTOH – it perhaps could be just an artifact of inadequate testing. Grossly inadequate testing. And not sure why that can’t be solved. But that doesn’t explain the difference in death rates. The NYT is putting in a lot of coverage. As are all the other newspapers as well as TV and radio. No matter what your political affiliation – listen to the medical experts – and stay home as much as you can. If you are an essential person – take care of yourself. This whole mess is going to get much worse before it gets better.
And next week is NOT a time to back off on restrictions.
Cal is on spring break, so I have no lectures around which to structure my day
Otherwise – it sit, stare out the window. Wash and repeat.
I now have an extremely hard deadline for my paper. It is not the end of April. it is 3 April. The 4th is when my free access to MS Word (the mandatory software) provided by UCHastings is going to want money out of me. I am a MAC person. I otherwise want Word why?
Valentines Day is long over – but I started this small cross stitch on a bit of 14ct white Aida with a Threadworx #12 Perle cotton.
Because – of course, I need another WIP….
he would be a dead ringer for Santa. Instead, above the round, smiling face which almost disappears into an exuberantly full white beard sits a slouch hat. Black shirt, open sturdy blazer, heavy work boots, and a large silver cross hangs around his neck.
We are standing that 2 meters apart outside Peet’s waiting on our mobile coffee orders. There are several whose faces I recognize, but other than Joe (Berkeley Police and wearing both uniform and name tag) I can’t call anyone by name. Peet’s has adjusted to an 0700 opening time, and mobile ordering only.
Meanwhile, J. gets his coffee, checks in with one of our homeless regulars who sits bundled up in his electric chair, and heads back to his blue van. It doesn’t look like a sleigh. But as part of Night on the Street – Catholic Worker, he has been collecting and delivering meals, sleeping bags, essentials for several decades.
The numbers of ill and deaths are continuing to climb. Part of the challenge for all of us on a daily basis is to remember that cases showing up now are from people infected 2-14 days ago (average 5-6 days) which means that social distancing doesn’t show a drop in new cases until 28 days after restrictions are instituted. In that middle time, everyone who has already been infected has a chance to get sick and spread their joy. To this point, the “average” person landing critically ill in the hospital survives several days in the ICU. So fatalities lag several days behind increased numbers of cases. The better the health system, the longer that lag time is, until the health care system becomes totally overwhelmed. Once it is overwhelmed, the challenges mount. There was a great article in the NYT yesterday discussing triage, priority setting and the burden it places on staff and hospitals, not just on family and patients.
Reality? I would forgo a respirator if it meant that someone younger would have a chance at long term survival. But not everyone of those over 65, 70, 85 would make that choice. Perhaps it is because I feel I am already living on borrowed time and have had the gift of the last two decades and these past couple of years to spend with my family.
But it is Monday – one on-line Zoom class I think is actually not happening this week due to a previously scheduled spring break. Back to my regularly scheduled procrastination and stitching….
I was going to try and be nice and sociable, not ranting anymore. Especially since I have been told to “drop me, you are too negative” by several who have been on my email list for years.
But then I have been hit from multiple sides by do-gooders who think it is a wonderful idea to make masks at home. This is the equivalent of knitting socks & hats for the troops, only not as good or effective. Knitting socks & hats kept those not involved happy, busy, and feeling like they were contributing to the war effort. In modern times, that connection was probably even more important as, with the ending of most countries drafts, fewer and fewer citizens served, knew anyone who served, or anyone who was serving.
Connection is good.
But a false sense of security is an extreme health risk for everyone.
Down the rabbit hole:
Why does anyone wear a mask in a medical setting?
Surgical masks are worn in a medical setting to protect others from YOU. Repeat, the mask protects those around you from whatever droplets/particles you might be producing. In order to be effective, the mask must be of specified materials that left through the minimum amount of anything. Breath goes through, aerosols, for the most part do not. Medical personnel wear them routinely in specified settings, understanding both the reasons for the wear and the limitations of a mask. The medical personnel are wearing masks to 1) protect you from anything they might have – in which case, something might be better than nothing 2) to protect them from you – and a face shield is probably better than a mask.
M95 masks, so named because they filter out 95%, are denser, have to be fitted closely, are uncomfortable to wear and have a limited life span (about 4 hours). There are requirements for fitting, wearing, and handling. Frankly, the industrial painters masks are very similar, but not completely the same.
From there you go to enclosed systems which completely cover the nose and mouth, delivering “packaged” air or O2 such as airline respirators or scuba gear. Since you aren’t breathing anything from your surroundings, you don’t get anything from your surroundings. Until you take the equipment off and don’t handle decontamination properly (normally not an issue).
So why I am so upset about people making their own?
1) there is absolutely no evidence that home made masks will do good.
2) there is abundant evidence that hand made masks can do harm
If wearing something on your face gives you a sense of security – remember, that masks protects other from YOU. If you need a mask, you need to be home. Period. Full stop. Not out potentially exposing others. If you are wearing something home made, it is not going to protect you from others. And it is not going to protect them from you. And frankly, neither is that surgical mask worn by someone else for day after day. So making/wearing a homemade mask gives a false sense of security. See one on someone else? Give them a wide berth. Same as if you see someone wearing a mask over their mouth, but not their nose. Breath in through the nose? Right….
At this point, the New York Times (for US) is probably a better source of information than the CDC. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the US current administration deliberately underplayed the seriousness of what could potentially happen. The NYT webpages about corona virus are free; they are not political. And, even if you are an extremely conservative person, the NYT is not slanting the news.
The US is at 29k+ cases; deaths in 33 states. 316k+ cases world wide. Before anyone thinks that “what is happening in Italy is not going to happen here” just remember they are at least one incubation period, and probably 2-3 incubation cycles ahead of us. Canada is hunkering down, as is Australia. Germany, Spain, France have been there for days. You can’t get an accurate reading from any of the numbers except to see how they are growing. As the epidemic spreads, testing in many countries is only applied to those who are sick. Figure that numbers for most countries are significantly lower than the actual number of cases.
But back to masks. If you are not comfortable going out without a mask, stay home. If you can’t stay home, stay away from other people as much as humanly possible. Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, nose, and mouth. Even ordinary mittens and gloves worn on your hands will prevent you from picking up whatever is on that grocery cart handle. Just take them off properly. Wash, repeat. Bring your own bags. Cancel unnecessary meetings, trips. Stay away from medical sites unless you are actually and significantly sick – then follow the appropriate directions–whether they be “call ahead,” “go through the tent,” “stand 2 meters from everyone else.” Avoid those acting like obvious idiots.
Reach out to family and friends. Make a phone call, a FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp check in. If you are young and healthy, run errands for those who are not. If, like me, you are high risk, restrain yourself from being stupid.
And masks? Batman, Superman, Zombie are equally effective as anything you can make (baring access to medical grade materiel) and a lot more entertaining….
*Many hospitals are NOT accepting donated masks. The few that are have been very clear about specifics – two layers of tightly woven 100% cotton fabric with a layer of cotton batting in-between. Prewash the fabric, wash the mask after making. These masks may wind up going through hospital laundry at 60*C. Artificial fibers melting would not be good for the washing machines.
Of much more use are a couple of companies that have developed patterns for 3D printed face shields…
For those of you who are news junkies – you already know that todays total of cases was approaching 300,000+ and a death toll close to 12000 as of 1500GMT. Yes, from now on, I will use GMT. It is just easier and I know that everyone will convert to their own time zone (well, except for Mary, Anita, and Beverly who are ON GMT). In most countries, we have not yet hit epidemic peaks, much less transitioned into a more easily monitored recovery phase.
I am ashamed to admit there are still those in the US so tied up in politics and conspiracy theories that they are doubting the epidemic is real. As the old saying goes:
You can’t regulate common sense
and you can’t cure stupid.
I am not sure what leaves individuals so secure in their own little bubble that they totally ignore health, safety, responsibility, and a reasonable duty to others.
and – for common sense and clear explanation of basics – I direct you to Pat’s most recent post
So what is my serious discussion?
Personal affairs. Now, if you are over a certain magic age which I will, for the short term peg at retirement, you have probably at one time or another done things like catalog property, make a will, and think about who is responsible for what – should you become incapable of managing your affairs. But maybe not. Or perhaps you haven’t relooked at the paperwork for a number of years.
Folks, it is time to revisit and revise. It isn’t just the major bits: physical property such as real estate and vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, off-site storage, bank boxes, recurring bills…..It is the little things as well: pets, treasures and that all important “STUFF.” For all of us with crafts or hobbies, exactly what do you want to happen to your stash?
Over the last several years, when talking to various seniors (senior? no, not me in this instance), I have heard repeatedly “my family/daughter/children/spouse” will take care of things.Think about it–is that really fair? To not leave any instructions? To potentially set up conflict? To dumb an unholy mess on those who already have enough on their plates with grief?
California law is relatively easy: several years ago, George and I set up a living family trust and transferred just about everything into it, excepting our USAA accounts (Texas is its own little world). Since we are nowhere near the eight digit limit of value, this completely avoids probate. Both a legally good and cost saving measure. We also executed living wills and medical power of attorneys.
George has tons of books and vinyl. I have stash, in the form of fabric, fiber, and all the assorted supplies that go along with sewing, quilting, knitting, spinning, cross-stitch etc. Do we care what happens to any of it? Well, actually yes. The relevant historical books will go to the Magnus Museum. Several years ago, I donated a loom and a large number of weaving supplies to a lovely woman who teaches weaving in an improvised Mexican area (where she grew up). But the rest of it? Do I care? Hummmm… Certainly we are extremely limited on family heirlooms, antiques or collectables. And, it seems like “stuff” counts more than anything that could be even remotely considered valuable.
Take the time you have now been gifted to get your personal affairs organized. If you care who gets your “stuff” at least do the courtesy of making a list. It might not be legally binding but it should help. This is not the time to nourish those festering arguments that have been going on for years; forgive, even if you can’t forget.
What you don’t want is the comment said by many after the World Trade Center destruction in 2001 – “I never got a chance to say “I love you.” “I never got a chance to say goodbye.”
Miriam and I are sitting at the large table ensconced at our computers. She is obviously working at home. I am, almost as obviously, not particularly working. There is an incredibly loud screech which repeats. Yes, we have redwoods and other trees around us, home to squirrels and the occasional birds nest. But nothing that sounds like that. What is more, it seems to be coming from inside the living room.
All is quiet for about five minutes, then a few repeats.
Oh, (blinding flash of the obvious), yes. I have a tab on my browser open to this particular YouTube channel.
My plan for today is simple – a few more pages on my paper, some stitching, welcoming Noah home (his flight from San Diego which left at 0715 this morning) had only 18 passengers. I don’t think SouthWest really had to enforce boarding order. Every one had several rows to themselves. If I am really ambitious I will finish clearing off our large table. With this many people in the house + the Eldest who lives close + College Guy, it is reasonable to use a table that easily seats eight.
While many people are banding together, supporting their neighbors and using social media responsibly, there are plenty who aren’t. Which means all of us need to be quiet, but firm. This is NOT a hoax. The disease, with reasonable infectivity (no where near that of measles) is spreading rapidly. If the distancing measures put in place have the intended effect, we will not see it for 14-28 days (two incubation periods). Most people become ill sooner than 14 days, but there is a range.
There are more sources of bad information and rumors than there are accurate. One of the challenges in the rush to share data in the medical community is that the whole peer-review process is being skipped. What this means for all of us is the following:
1) the authors are doing their best to provide what they know in an effort to help educate and further care and treatment of COVID-19 patients
2) no one has checked to see if the methodology (patient selection, lab reporting, etc) used in the “study” meets scientific method, valid analysis or even common sense. This process weeds out a lot of marginal information that does not prove to be valid on a second go.
3) the general press is hungry for anything they can find and report. So a study that may/may nat provide information that is medically valid gets picked up and circulated widely by and to people who have no idea of what really underlies the report.
Example – YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK FROM CORONA VIRUS!!! the xxxx report (and unfortunately, CDC is partly to blame for this mess) says that XX% of ICU patients are young adults!
Somewhere down in the report, if you read the report and not just the headline and first three paragraphs, you will find that the age grouping for “young” is 20-50 in one report and 20-64 in another.
Hello? I do not consider those in their 30s, 40s, 50s as young adults. They are adult. Period. Normally a young adult is someone in that transition period from secondary school through University to first job. Maybe 18-23/25. I checked this with Miriam who is waiting for a conference call to start. She gave me the above number. I gave her back the age range actually used in the paper. When she was done chocking, her response was – anything about that is AN ADULT.
Perhaps the intention of the wording was to engage the Florida spring break crew – but that is not the job of the scientific community. Our job is to clearly and accurately present the facts as we know them. Grouping individuals into age bands is common. But grouping 30 + years is deceiving. Yes, the numbers are so low as to be not useful for the under 50 (especially if you eliminate the health care providers), but that doesn’t excuse poor analysis and worse writing.
The World diagnosed numbers exceeded 258,800+ by 1600 (GMT) and deaths are now over 10k world wide. This is still fewer than the US alone has had die from Influenza this year. There might be an island out there that is unaffected, but complete disease sparing of anywhere is becoming less and less likely. Even the “ocean floating boat community” which considers itself exempt from most societal constraints is not going to be able to dodge this one – everyone has to dock for supplies sooner or later.
Extra vitamins, anti-malaria drugs, dietary supplements, herbal remedies are not going to magically protect you. Taking care of yourself, avoiding crowds and those that are coughing/ill, and washing your hands are all proven to decrease your chances of disease.
Off-soap box for now!
Rather than provide you with another day of doom and gloom (I think all the major news outlets, TV stations, and talking heads are doing more than a complete job of that) I will divert to one of the new residents of our house.
Arriving in December along with Miriam and Angel when they moved here from New York over the winter holidays, Kitty wasn’t a completely happy cat. After being forced to diet for weeks – who knew that the airlines both had and enforced a weight limit on under seat animal carriers of 20# (around 9 kilos) – Kitty has settled into a reasonable routine.
During the day he sleeps a lot, in the evenings he prowls. On a schedule known only to him, he nags for food, pokes his head in corners, and vary studiously avoids doing those things which will get him in trouble – at least while someone is watching. After several months, I am more than used to him stalking around the living room in the evening, occasionally complaining, or watching the squirrel channel through the back living room door.
Then George decided a treat was in store and a package arrived via DHL – full of various Haribo candies. As an aside – I think he ordered on line in an attempt to get the German versions of the candies rather than the US market version. A number of products are like that, most noticeable Nutella which has a different formulation (related to oils used) in North America than Europe. In any case, there was marked interest in various gummis. Being good, and liking my teeth In my head, I declined. Forgetting about candy, I settled into my chair to listen to an audiobook and stitch.
But there was this funny crinkling sound. Looking up –
said cat was sitting on the end table. Like most cats, he likes things that crinkle. Ok, he isn’t allowed on the end table, but I was thinking this was actually pretty funny. Cat finding the only thing in the room that could make interesting noises. You can see several bags of candy sitting on the table next to him. After carefully considering his choices, he picked up a bag and headed toward the stairs.
I sent the picture to the family on WhatsApp. Next thing I know, Miriam is flying down the stairs and takes the ill-gotten goods away from the thief. Turns out Kitty adores Gummi Bears. As in rips into the bag and eats them.
And of course he gets sick.
To sum up this day –
The Chinese are now seeing more imported cases than local transmission… which means vigilance but not hysteria.
The Germans & French are having increasing numbers of cases (exactly as one would predict based on transmission curves. The numbers, I think, also accurately reflect an extensive amount of testing.
The Italians are in a world of hurt. Not only are they out of hospital beds, intensive care facilities, but illness is now breaking out in health care workers. The two main tracking sites –
Worldmeter site – by country breakdown
and Johns Hopkins University – if you really like maps rather than tables
no longer have updates from Italy.
The world total will be over 230k by the time you read this. The US is now over 10k in cases. This is probably a gross underestimate – you can get tested if 1) you know someone 2) you are a celebrity 3) you are “important” politically. Believe it or not – there have been challenges for ill health care worker getting tested.
The same idiots are proposing to activate the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort. No surprise, it would be at least a month; non-active ships are non-active ships. Secondly – exactly where are those health care workers coming from? The answer, of course is Navy military facilities in DC, VA, CA which are currently supporting active duty, families, and some limited numbers of retirees. It is not like the local community is going to have any capacity to absorb these patient populations.
[edited to correct ship names on 20 March, thanks to Steve, my upstate NY navy buddy who also notes that “Mercy was in the midst of an overhaul, and I think Comfort is too. They are owned by the Navy, staffed with Civilians, and a combo of medical personal.”]
Ignore any SPAM you get which promises a cure, a medication, or supplements, vitamins or any other “sure fire way” to cure your ills. Snake oil is snake oil.
The same way – all the surfaces tests have documented that viral PARTICLES can be found for hours afterwards. Infectivity hasn’t been proven. If we test any surface, we can find virus and bacteria. So be smart, take your shoes off at the door, wear sensible clothing, keep your fingers out of your month. But don’t wash your books, hug strangers or cough on people.
Family & Friends
Thank you to everyone who has checked in. It is good to know that people are ok, keeping themselves entertained (all of us old folks are hunkered down, while the younger generation is busy taking care. of themselves, their families and the community around them). So far I have heard from France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia, with further reassurance about family members in far flung regions (Korea, Indonesia, Central and South America). We are a small world, thanks to electronic communications.
UCBerkeley has moved all courses on-line that it can. Some courses (science labs, theater, art, music) just don’t lend themselves as well. We are still waiting to hear what UCSan Diego is going to do at the quarter start. Since Noah has both physics and engineering classes – completely on-line just isn’t a possibility.
For those of you who enjoy classical music – this data base covers a wide range of free streaming options from chamber orchestra to opera to full up symphony.
I wrote a whole page on my paper – then spent the rest of the day on various cross stitch projects. I am now 20k/76K completed on Farewell to Anger
the several Stitch A Longs (aka SALs) are caught up and I should not start anything new….
As are most of you, I am spending the majority of my time at home.
If any of you think this is a short term state of affairs, you are sadly mistaken. The positive side of flattening out an epidemic curve is that the medical system doesn’t get overwhelmed. The downside is that, by flattening the curve, the epidemic is prolonged for months. Expect that, with bad luck, we are looking at a minimum of six months and probably more realistically a dozen months before any semblance of normality returns.
At that point, there is going to be little left of the developing world as the health care system there is not robust, to say the least. Similar to the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, we will never have an accurate picture of the number of lives lost in many areas as neither birth nor deaths are accurately recorded. Many areas and countries have a fragile logistical system which is constantly disrupted by conflict, militias, and environmental disasters.
Most of the more developed world will be in severe economic straits with our more vulnerable populations decimated as individuals and families no longer have the ability to pay for shelter, food, clothing or health care. Those countries with good health care systems that cover everyone will fare far better than the US. I honestly expect that Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Finland will come out of this crisis with large portions of their population and economies intact. Australia may be able to do the same. Western and Central Europe will have major challenges as they are so interdependent for food and energy.
and all of this is gloomy.
I think I will go back to my cross-stitch….