Not my Corona
I decided to keep a daily log that details what I am going through during this Covid-19 Coronavirus problem.
Week one, March 2020:
It started out like any other week, at least any other week when you are a retired senior. Boy, that still sounds strange to me! The retired senior part. How I got here that fast is amazing to me. Anyway, the week was normal even though we had heard about the Covid-19 Coronavirus and the problem in China and on cruise ships. But what the hell, this is America and we have the best of everything, and besides, we all think that we are invincible. It can’t happen to me; I can’t catch the damn virus so let those poor people off the boats and welcome them here. The president says that once the warm weather starts the virus will disappear.
We have only had one or two cases here in California and with our healthy lifestyle, we should be immune to most health issues, even if we are retired seniors. Business as usual, except many sporting events, were being canceled, and Disneyland was closing. Italy got a major hit of Covid-19 but we are unfazed.
Our sister-in-law recently got a job in the San Francisco Bay Area and commutes back and forth from Carmichael twice a week. It’s Saturday and she invited us to have lunch for our anniversary that’s coming up later this month. We accept and go to a wonderful Ramon restaurant in downtown Sacramento. Afterward, we treat her to ice cream at Leatherbees. Nida got two helpings because they messed up her original order.
That week we went to a concert at the Harris Center in Folsom. We got to see Kofi Baker, the son of famed Cream drummer Ginger Baker, perform a bunch of Cream and Clapton songs as a tribute to his dad who recently departed.
During the week we also went out to a few wildlife refuges and took a ton of photos and had a nice picnic while we watched birds.
Week 2, March 2020:
We have heard that some people were causing quite the stir at Costco and Walmart trying to hoard, of all things, toilet paper. Police had to be called.
I went out and got a haircut and even splurged and had my beard trimmed.
A neighbor tells me that he went to our local Raley’s store and the parking lot was packed. Shelves were empty and he couldn’t understand how people could behave this way, it’s as if they thought it was the apocalypse. He’s a retired doctor and seen it all and he thinks the yearly flu kills more people. And of course, at least so far, heart disease and cancer kill more people every year and we seem hardly fazed by those stats (650k and 600k respectively).
Our sister-in-law says that she also went shopping and the shelves were bare as people were panic buying. Not a roll of toilet paper to be found she says.
I haven’t been keeping tabs on our supply of toilet paper so in a panic, I do a walk-thru and find we have about a month’s supply. But I am a bit worried if people are hoarding toilet paper that you can buy any day in massive bulk quantities, what else are they thinking about hoarding?
Well, I find out that they are hoarding all sorts of things including milk, baby formula, Lysol, hand sanitizer, and even bread!
March 17, 2020:
Most schools have closed indefinitely, all major sporting events have been either postponed or canceled altogether. Funny how little you hear any more about the death of Kobe Bryant. Sports and rich athletes just don’t seem all that important in times when getting a roll of toilet paper seems impossible to obtain.
The other day Trump announced that he was putting his vice-president, Mike Pence in charge of the Covid-19 problem, including the dissemination of information related to the virus. His first act in this role was to tell the news media that he didn’t want any information getting out unless he approved of it. Most people just shook their heads at the sheer stupidity of this administration. Then Trump went out and babbled a bunch of unintelligible garbage at a news conference!
Not feeling like I want to face large crowds of panic-buying people, we decide to go on-line and order a few things to get us by until this whole mess blows over. We ordered some staple items like milk, bread, laundry soap and of course since it was St. Patrick’s Day this week—some corned beef and cabbage. They gave us a window for the next day to simply drive up, get our groceries and avoid going inside where who knows who might be lurking about with that bad old Coronavirus just eager to jump on us.
March 18, 2020:
Our window to pick-up our grocery order at Raley’s was from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm. We arrived and let them know that we were in the designated parking spot. The nice lady came out with just a very small amount of our order. She apologized and told us that we should have come early in the morning as most of the stuff is gone by now. I said, but we ordered it last night and you took our order. She said she was sorry again just as one of her fellow Raley’s employee was walking out to her car with a package of toilet paper. She acted like she had just gotten the trophy for winning the Miss Universe contest. We wound up going inside where all the nasty bugs are floating around and found similar stuff that we had ordered but were told they were out. So much for online shopping.
People are now telling other people on the internet how they should wash their hands. Geez, my mom drilled that into me seven decades ago to the point that I thought I was a germophobic. I guess she was right about something else!
March 19, 2020:
The garbage people picked up our bulk waste this morning which was a huge pile of tree branch trimmings. And honestly, I was debating to keep it as I might need it in case our wonderful government decides they don’t have gas and electricity or the people to get it to us. Perhaps I could use them for kindling wood for a campfire? Oh well, they took it before I drove myself crazy worrying about it.
I begin to wonder since we hear nothing from the Trump and Pence masterminds about where our country stands in the fight against the virus. The amount of people with the virus in China seems to be going down a bit. But having dealt with China, I don’t believe all that they say. China and Russia are notorious about distributing information, especially if it makes them look stupid, which it usually does.
My friend Dan Hiller was recently in the Philippines with his wife and son visiting her family. He had to come home for work, and she stayed there. Now all domestic flights in the Philippines are canceled, and she cannot get to Manila for a flight back home to the USA. I am ever so thankful that all of this bullshit didn’t happen while we were in the Philippines earlier this year. Not sure how I would survive in a foreign country under these circumstances.
We went to Walmart later tonight and bought whatever we could, mostly stuff that a long shelf life like soup and canned items. I bought a small container of whipping cream. We left most of the nonperishables either in our car in the garage or on the kitchen floor just in case those nasty bugs had found their way into our groceries. We will give them a 24-hour isolation period just in case.
I washed my hands about a thousand times today.
March 20, 2020:
It occurs to me that my understanding of two items is woefully lacking. One, I have no idea why we buy so much crap from Costco in large bulk, and yet they run out of toilet paper. I mean I guess that I have gotten used to going there and buying so much of one item that I am sick of that item in no time and waste huge amounts of it just to get rid of it.
The second item that I have little understanding is the whole concept of germs, viruses, and bacteria. I worked for a time at a company that made blood scanners and my department was not only responsible for making them but repairing them when they failed, which a lot did before I went to work there. As a well-trained germophobic I was always afraid of nasty little bugs that I couldn’t see that may have attached themselves all over the defective blood scanners. These machines went largely to the vet market and some wound up in zoos and even to gorilla, orangutan, and other primate refuge centers in Asia and Africa. I had heard that some even went to Aids research centers around the world including Africa.
When I first arrived at this company, my repair people were blowing off the machines with high-pressure air guns! I was alarmed and immediately outlawed this practice and had a central vacuum system installed. Anyway, the chief technology officer of the company, who I presumed had a doctorate in molecular biology, poo-pooed my concerns and gave me some shit about germs, viruses, bacteria and other invisible nasty bugs dying within a few hours, if not minutes, after finding their way to an “inert” object like our portable blood scanners. I called bullshit and never touched a used piece of equipment again and avoided the repairs department as often as I could.
These days we are told to stay indoors unless of an absolute emergency and to wash our hands a lot. It seems that of late I wash my hands a lot and I am starting to feel that my previous efforts as a self-proclaimed professional germophobic may not have been good enough and would probably never be good enough in the future after this virus goes away.
Talked to my mom, my kids, grandkids, brother, and sister, and the hard part about all of this is that we may not see each other in quite some time. Everyone is essentially sheltering in place.
Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Fauci held an on-line conference his week to have people text in their questions. I did watch and I sent in a question but they didn’t use it:
I wonder if my shoes are picking up the virus when we go out for a walk around the block or if the mailman brought the virus to our front porch when he delivered the mail. Is it airborne? Can dogs track it or for that matter carry it? Can birds? Squirrels? Cats? This can drive a sane man cuckoo!
I made creme brulee today and in consideration of the potentially calamitous situation that we humans face, it almost felt like Marie Antoinette when she said, “let them eat cake!”
March 21, 2020:
Yesterday I spoke with my daughter Melanie. She is working from home as is her husband, a schoolteacher in Tracy. She mentioned that my granddaughter is pretty upset about this being her last year of high school and it ended so strangely and so quickly. When they called off the school year, she hadn’t been able to say goodbye to kids that she had gone through many years of school with and most were going off to college next semester. No graduation ceremonies are being planned and she is in limbo, not even sure when and where college starts. My granddaughter says that this chapter in human history will go down in the annals of human history that scholars will study and comment on for many decades. If we survive that long!
I also called my mom, who will be 94-years-old this October. She is in good spirits and is pissed because they keep cutting into her favorite daytime television programs to make announcements about the Coronavirus. She’s a fighter and warrior. Nothing of earth-shattering proportions will even phase her the slightest. She spent her teenage years in the heart of Germany during the bombing and fighting of the second world war. She may get pissed about a neighbor’s dog shitting on her lawn, but a toilet paper shortage? Forget about it!
My mom and I talked about how tough the times were for her parents, my grandparents, who went through not just one world war, but two! And they were in the center of the conflict in Germany and they had ten kids to keep safe, healthy, and fed! No, we have no idea what it was like to do without food and water for days on end. And we have the audacity to hoard toilet paper!
The house that we own and currently live in was owned by a family who was Mormons. I have been told by a neighbor that our basement used to be full of food and other items in case of a doomsday. He said it jokingly and at the time I also thought it was rather foolish and even silly. Now I think that they may have been the wise ones. Hell, for many years the government agencies have told us to stock up with at least several weeks of food, safety items, water, etc., in case of a major catastrophe like an earthquake. Few people listened and now they are scrambling to find something to wipe their nether regions!
I read a report the other day that some Chinese imbecile is spreading rumors that the Americans are the ones who spread this virus. Of course, this is the same country where the outbreak started and the same where MERS and SARS unleashed themselves on the world. In fact, the same meat market in Wuhan where SARS started and believed to have originated from some exotic wild animal. Apparently, this time it came from a pangolin body that was for sale in that same meat market. Makes you want to cry out, “You get what you deserve!”
Today they reported that more than 284,000 people have come down with the Covid-19 virus worldwide. It makes me wonder when things will get back to normal. Or will it ever? Or will we go back to treating the earth and our fellow inhabitants the same as before?
Not much has come from Trump and Pence, who both could do much to ease the fears of this country, and let’s face it, the entire world if they had any leadership skills, which they don’t. Pence is very quiet, and Trump yesterday shouted at a reporter who asked if he thought he should say something to the American people to ease their fears. Obviously, he had no logical answer, so he shouted at the reporter and told him it was a stupid question. Terrible leadership!
Today I wanted to just have a normal life, to do some normal things. I got up just after 8:00 am, made coffee and Nida made a delicious breakfast of fried rice and fried eggs. Then I went outside and did a little weed-whacking in the back yard. It was odd when I heard my name being called over the loud din of the electric week whacker. I turned around and my neighbor was standing in my yard and asking if I needed anything. We chatted for a little while but stayed the government-mandated “social distance” from each other. He and his family are great neighbors and friends, and we love their little boy. This keeping of social distances is near insanity to people whose DNA dictates social interaction.
After working in the yard until about lunchtime, I started thinking about what items were really important to me and things that I take for granted. Now that we are essentially in a 14-day lockdown, I think that perhaps I used way too much toilet paper in the past. Of course, I never counted the actual number of sheets per wipe that I used, but clearly way too many. And all of those other things that I wasted, even though I try to be a conservative, like hotel soaps and shampoos. And let me not forget about how much water I let run down the drain while I wait for the water to get hot. I finally put back an empty five-gallon bucket in my shower last week.
March 22, 2020:
Yesterday Donald Trump said an antimalarial drug called hydroxychloroquine that is also used to fight arthritis would be made available almost immediately to treat coronavirus.
“It’s been around for a long time, so we know if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The president said other drugs would be soon available, too. But Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said it would take some time to run the clinical trial on these drugs.
So far Nida and I are doing ok and have had no symptom of the Coronavirus. Thankfully we are in relatively good health and taking enough precautions to avoid this dreaded virus! I am spending my time cleaning up my computer files of family history and photographs. Way overdue!
As of this morning (worldwide):
Coronavirus Cases: 340,408
Here is what they say to do if you get the virus:
People who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, or think they may have COVID-19, can only try to treat the symptoms – which include fever, sore throat, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Some COVID-19 patients also experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, sometimes before respiratory symptoms begin.
There are different opinions on the best way to do make a COVID- 19 patient more comfortable while the disease runs its course, which, depending on the severity of the contagion, could take weeks. But there’s consensus that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or think they may have the disease, should isolate themselves at home –as far as possible from other family members – and contact a doctor by phone instead of visiting the physician’s office.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to get medical attention immediately if you have difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or the inability to arouse from sleep, a temperature that’s over 104 degrees Fahrenheit or bluish lips or face.
People who think they have COVID-19 are treating it like a cold or flu.
Over-the-counter medications, like cough suppressants, can help minimize coughing episodes, and expectorants can help people bring up mucus. A humidifier can also help. Pain relievers and fever reducers can help treat aches and reduce fevers. And doctors say COVID-19 patients should remain hydrated, drinking plenty of fluids.
There’s a debate, however, over which pain and fever-reducing medicine should be used.
The World Health Organization this week warned against the use of ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs to fight the fever and aches of COVID-19 after a leading French health official warned against it.
France’s health minister, Olivier Véran, said aspirin and ibuprofen worsened the symptoms of the disease. Véran said certain drugs, including ibuprofen, increase the number of so-called ACE2 receptors on the surfaces of cells. The coronavirus uses these receptors to infect cells, so, in theory at least, taking these drugs might make one more vulnerable to the virus.
The WHO recommends taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead.
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no proof that ibuprofen should be avoided.
“I think it was a conflating of some medical issues … may be true, may not, but there’s no good scientific evidence that says ibuprofen can make coronavirus worse,” Fauci said.
There are also differing opinions about how to deal with a fever.
Some doctors say there may not be a good reason to lower a temperature, unless it’s very high, because dozens of medical studies show fever helps fight infection.
Others warn that even a slight fever increases the metabolic rate, burning up calories. Coupled with a decrease in food intake, an increase in the metabolic rate can weaken a patient. It is estimated that for every degree Fahrenheit of a rise in body temperature, the metabolic rate increases by 7 percent.
The CDC also has these recommendations for those who are sick:
• As much as possible stay in a specific room in your house and, if possible, use a separate bathroom.
• Do not handle pets or other animals because it’s not fully known how coronavirus affects them.
• Wear a face mask around other people.
• Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the used ones in a lined trash can. Immediately wash hands for 20 seconds or use a sanitizer.
• Avoid sharing household items or bedding with other people or pets
• Wash hands often or use sanitizer.
• Clean all ‘high-touch’ surfaces often, as well as dishes, glasses and other eating utensils that are used.
The CDC also says the decision to end home isolation should be made on a case- by- case basis by a physician.
The New York Times today reported:
“The number of undetected cases is 11 times more than has been officially reported, researchers at Columbia University estimate. Their analysis offers a stark warning: Even if the country cut its rate of transmission in half — a tall order — some 650,000 people may still become infected in the next two months.”
My concern for the day: What if the animals that we eat for food contract this virus? What if this virus is in the air and in our drinking water? Nobody has a definitive answer.
My nephew Evan will have his 13th birthday and since we could not get together, our family used Zoom to have a family video conference. It was nice but just not the same as being face-to-face but at least we got a chance to say hello to each other.
March 23, 2020:
This morning it was reported that a lost or reduced sense of smell and taste has emerged as a telltale sign of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. We have been in isolation and only going out in the yard on brief occasions. My sinuses have been stuffed for weeks so I am not sure about my sense of smell. Nida made a wonderful corned beef yesterday and I do know that the house smelled heavenly.
Apparently, China, where all of this mess started, has gotten some control over the spread of the virus. South Korea, who was hard hit by the virus, also seems to have seen some improvements. New York is hard hit and accounts for about five percent of the world’s cases. Germany has prohibited public gatherings of more than two people, except for families, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was going into isolation because her doctor had tested positive for the virus.
The death of a Chinese doctor who tried to warn about the coronavirus outbreak has sparked widespread public anger and grief in China.
Dr. Li Wenliang died after contracting the virus while treating patients in Wuhan.
Last December he sent a message to fellow medics warning of a virus he thought looked like Sars – another deadly coronavirus.
But he was told by police to “stop making false comments” and was investigated for “spreading rumors.” Dr. Li was accused by the Chinese government of disturbing the social order.
“I don’t think he was rumour-mongering. Hasn’t this turned into reality now?” his father, Li Shuying, told the BBC. “My son was wonderful.”
According to Chinese site Pear Video, Dr. Li’s wife is due to give birth in June.
Above, a map showing how fast the virus spread from Wuhan, China
Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a household name during the coronavirus outbreak, frequently appearing on TV as a trusted disease expert. He is often tasked with setting the record straight on facts misconstrued or misrepresented by President Donald Trump, Fauci has been left in awkward positions at the White House briefing podium.
According to a New York Times report, “Mr. Trump has become frustrated with Dr. Fauci ‘s blunt approach at the briefing lectern, which often contradicts things the president has just said, according to two people familiar with the dynamic.”
Trump has on numerous occasions blurted out false statements or simply blundered his way clumsily through a news conference spouting out unintelligible, confusing statements seemingly just for the sake of saying something.
Dr. Fauci also made headlines on Sunday in an interview with Science Magazine, saying, “I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push [Trump] down.”
Our neighbor sent me a text asking if we wanted him to leave on our porch some smoked tri-tip that he was making but we declined. We want to remain in isolation until this thing blows over.
March 24, 2020:
Garbage day and it seems like any other day. Of course, I have purposely stayed off the television and avoided certain parts of the internet. One can only take so much news that seems these days to be heavily focused on what they know and what they don’t know and what they think is the situation about the Coronavirus. What is fake, speculation or fact is hard to decipher. The stock market is about as far into the toilet as it has ever been, and Herr Trump seems to think that this will all conclude in a few weeks “not months” as everyone predicts. Of course, I don’t trust a man who has the early stages of dementia to be the chosen one who can predict the future. So far, he has not exactly been Nostradamus.
I got up when my alarm went off at the usual 7:15 am, made coffee, had Life cereal for breakfast, and went out to mow my front lawn and water our new vegetable garden. Business as usual. Then came inside and took a shower and scrub my hands, which I seem to be doing a lot lately. In fact, the palms of my hands have never looked so shiny, clean, and white.
While I was showering, I pondered why all of this might be happening to us humans. Some are speculating that it is the will of some god as punishment for our wicked ways. Some suggest that China unleashed this purposely to get back at the western world for their decadence and extravagance. Others, including the nut case from China who has a large Chinese following on social media, suggests that it was the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency who unleashed it on the world. Seriously? The word intelligence in the same phrase as Central Intelligence Agency should give you a clue that these people are really not all that intelligent. Of course, it would be easy to think that maybe they did release it and are now too stupid to “put the genie back in the bottle” so to speak.
Of course, our friends in China may also be the culprit. They haven’t always been too straightforward about a lot of crap that they pull, including a huge amount of human rights violations. They clearly have not been honest and upfront about the overall root cause of the problem, and since they either don’t know, or won’t tell, it is hard for the rest of the world to figure out not only what to do, but how to prevent this from happening again.
Personally, I think that it could be a lot of things that could have caused this virus to develop and to escape widespread into every country in the world. For one, we seem to have a reckless abandon for our earth. We pollute the shit out of it, destroy precious habitat that sustains equally precious life, and we eat nearly every plant and animal on our planet. Maybe this is nature telling us that she has had enough and that she is tired of us failing to fix the problems. Maybe she can see that we will eventually destroy our precious planet in a universe where we may be the only form of intelligent life. If we can actually claim that title!
March 25, 2020:
We have been isolated in our home since March 20th and just doing a few chores and activities around the house. I mowed the front lawn yesterday and plan to do a few chores around the yard each day. I was somewhat concerned about the lack of toilet paper in seemingly every store. Last night an ad popped up as I opened my Yahoo mail browser for Quilted Northern toilet paper. It looked like it came from the Quilted Northern tissue company, so I ordered a few rolls of toilet paper that included free delivery. I used my Paypal account and completed the purchase for $32.99. When I did, I realized that the “pay to” company had a weird Chinese name (XINCHANG INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CO LTD), so I immediately contacted Paypal. They denied the claim saying that I had made a legitimate purchase.
I have been online with Paypal since 8:10 am this morning waiting for someone to get back to me. Here is what I sent them:
“I disputed a purchase yesterday. The company pretended to be “Quilted Northern” the toilet paper company. I purchased toilet paper then found out it was a fake Chinese company. The real Quilted Northern company has no stock and does not know who that company is.
Dispute Case ID: PP-D-59494527
Transaction Amount: $32.99 USD
Dispute Amount: $32.99 USD
Transaction ID: 18C086415W696172V
Transaction Date: March 25, 2020
Their ad popped up on my Yahoo e-mail starting page and looked very real!”
In a few minutes I will disconnect as it will be four hours that Paypal customer service has had me on hold!”
Skynews reported this morning that Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus. Clarence House confirmed that the 71-year-old heir to the throne was diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease in a statement released this morning.
Above, Pierce Brosnan and Prince Charles greet each other in the current non-touching protocol set forth by Covid-19 requirements.
The Prince displayed “mild symptoms” on Sunday and was then tested on Monday, with the results coming through late on Tuesday night, the statement said.
Charles “otherwise remains in good health” and has been self-isolating in Scotland with the Duchess of Cornwall, who has tested negative for coronavirus.
I try to look at the daily numbers of the Coronavirus health concerns at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
As of this morning (worldwide):
Coronavirus Cases: 459,793
In the USA: In Italy:
Total cases: 62,627 74,386
New cases: 7,771 5,210
Total deaths: 881 7,503
New deaths: 101 683
Total recovered: 387 9,362
Active cases: 61,359 57,521
Serious/critical: 1,382 3,489
Total Coronavirus Cases in the United States
Total cases: 2,662
New cases: 96
Total deaths: 58
New deaths: 7
Active cases: 2,596
I received this from my cousin Martina Sigl who lives in Germany:
Hi Jim, so glad you are doing well.
Here we also stay at home, at least to or after Easter.
My parents are doing well and Thea too. My Dad goes out for shopping and my Mom stays at home as usual. So for them, life is not that much different. As I am in touch with people from work all around the world, the Situation is everywhere pretty much the same except in some countries people over the age of 65 are not allowed to go out of their Homes at all.
Even Putin’s restrictions are getting more serious.
Glad to hear that Leni is doing fine.
This whole virus thing is in my opinion man-made and does not come from a market. It is really strange that this virus has such a bad impact on old and sick people. To me very strange.
We can only stay at home and wait. At least we are allowed to go out for walks and sports. Only alone or with family, but still this feels good.
We were supposed to travel to Barbados over Easter…will not happen. More important now is to stay healthy.
For me not an easy thing as I love traveling or just going somewhere nice hiking in the mountains.
So no plans anymore …. nothing to look forward…
Take care Jim and give a hug to Nida as well
March 26, 2020:
It has been eight days since we have been in isolation and not gone out, even for a walk like we normally did every day. We do go out mostly in the backyard but rarely into the front yard. It is a weird feeling to be sequestered in my own home but not altogether a bad thing. I enjoy my home and I have so much to occupy my time that I find it rather enjoyable not to be running all over the place, buying this and that and polluting the air with our gas-guzzling cars. With the world in lock-down mode, maybe we are giving the earth a chance to recover somewhat.
Neither Nida or I are feeling sick, even in the slightest way, except sinus issues which we always get when the plants and trees begin to flower. But as far as symptoms that resemble a cold or viral infection, not at all. I do find it odd that very few squirrels come into our backyard and this is not typical as we usually have brown, grey, and even a black squirrel that comes around every day and many times a day.
It is also odd, funny really, that when you avoid the news, you seem to not comprehend how bad it is all around the world. It is easy to put this crisis out of your mind when you keep yourself occupied with hobbies and other interests. I feel sorry for the healthcare workers and those that have to work. The neighborhood professional gardeners still go about their daily business as do the pool cleaning companies and mailmen in our area.
There is talk about extending the lock-down for several additional weeks just to make sure that the Coronavirus goes away. But Trump is saying that he wants America back to business by April 15. He seems not to understand the gravity of the problem and probably fears that his many business interests are suffering more than they were before he became the president.
I heard from Paypal today about my claim for the fake toilet paper company from China. They are investigating it.
Got this from the CDC website:
Some coronaviruses that infect animals have become able to infect humans and then spread between people, but this is rare. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are examples of diseases caused by coronaviruses that originated in animals and spread to people. This is what is suspected to have happened with the virus that caused the current outbreak of COVID-19. However, we do not know the exact source of this virus. Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of COVID-19. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person. The coronavirus most similar to the virus causing COVID-19 is the one that causes SARS.
At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.
Animals and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
* Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in certain types of animals.
* Coronaviruses that infect animals can become able to infect people, but this is rare.
* We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
* We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
* We do not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products imported pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
I am thinking that they could have just said, “We don’t know anything.”
March 27, 2020:
Today is our 27th wedding anniversary and truth be told, I would rather be celebrating it somewhere other than being stuck at home under enforced lock-down. Of course, I get it. The more we go out in public, the greater the risk of catching the damn virus. Especially after seeing this news this morning:
It’s official: America is the new coronavirus epicenter
The U.S. overtook China and Italy in confirmed cases. At least 85,000 people have been infected, including more than 1,200 deaths — and experts predict the peak is still weeks away.
China also announced today that they are worried that international travelers might trigger a second wave of infections, so they announced that it was suspending practically all entry by foreigners. Maybe they ought to get their legions of computer hackers and toilet paper scammers off their asses and have them work on finding a cure for the catastrophe they caused!
Heard from Paypal and they refunded my money for the fake Chinese toilet paper.
March 28, 2020:
This morning from The Atlantic:
“Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.
On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.”
This morning from United Airlines:
Sat, Mar 28 at 5:22 AM
An update on our response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.”
As of this morning (worldwide):
Coronavirus Cases: 621,592
In the USA: In Italy:
Total Cases: 105,161 86,498
New Cases: 1,035 0
Total deaths: 1,722 9,134
New deaths: 26 0
Total recovered: 2,538 10,950
Active cases: 100,901 66,414
Serious/critical: 2,494 3,732
Totals by country (top 20):
S. Korea 9,478
I read an article today and the reporter was slamming America for our efforts to contain the Coronavirus. He said that countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea have done a great job. What he failed to report, or perhaps even realize, was that these countries are smaller than the size of California. One would hope that they could control the outbreak much easier.
March 29, 2020:
Today starts the 11th day of home lock-in insolation which began for me on March 18. In a way, it doesn’t seem so long ago, yet it does seem a great distance in the past. So far, we are doing good, our toilet paper situation is good, but I am pissed that stores like Costco and Walmart, who under normal circumstances, have either everything or way too much of some things, are out of toilet paper and disinfectant spray. They let people panic-buy and now those of us who waited too long and tried to avoid the hoarders may be stuck without certain sanitary items.
Yesterday I began getting all of our documents together so we can do our income taxes. I had thought that after the 2018 tax season that I would make a conscious effort to keep up a continuous record-keeping process, but I did not. But now I am rethinking the process. We have one file where we throw our receipts and the credit card company provides a detailed list of expenditures that is simple to download and sort out. Either way, I still have to sort, download, weed-out, and enter the data, so, business as usual. It’s Sunday today so I plan to finish the tax preparation today. The government announced some sort of “rebate” economic stimulus package where they will spend 2 trillion of our money and give each of us back about $1,500.00. Well, that may put a small dent in our property taxes that is due.
Today is my nephew Sean’s 21st birthday. It seems a real tragedy that one has to celebrate their 21st year on this earth by being in lock-down at your own house. But then again, I think about the millions of refugees all over the world that have no home to go to.
March 30, 2020:
It occurs to me that humans have invincibility complex and that they invulnerable to the things that they seem convinced will never happen to them. I am the same way. It won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to wear a safety belt in the car. Or, I feel good, so I know I won’t catch this Coronavirus. And it doesn’t just start with youth, it grows as we get older and as we gain confidence after being a survivor for so many years.
Recently over spring break many young kids enjoyed themselves by partying on Florida and Mexico beaches, or by going skiing in the snow-covered Sierras. Or, they went to New Orleans for the mardi gras festival. Well, guess what? A massive outbreak of the Coronavirus is happening right now in Louisiana because of these idiots and the stupid people who organize the mardi gras. We are invincible alright!
We did our income taxes yesterday and spent the whole day doing it. What a silly complex process that this is. Since we are retired, our income is mainly from social security, and since we need to list our income on our tax preparations, guess whose system is down and we could not retrieve this vital data?
From the New Yorker:
From Bats to Human Lungs, the Evolution of a Coronavirus
By Carolyn Kormann
March 27, 2020
“For thousands of years, a parasite with no name lived happily among horseshoe bats in southern China. The bats had evolved to the point that they did not notice; they went about their nightly flights unbothered. One day, the parasite—an ancestor of the coronavirus, sars-CoV-2—had an opportunity to expand its realm. Perhaps it was a pangolin, the scaly anteater, an endangered species that is a victim of incessant wildlife trafficking and sold, often secretly, in live-animal markets throughout Southeast Asia and China. Or not. The genetic pathway remains unclear. But to survive in a new species, whatever it was, the virus had to mutate dramatically. It might even have taken a segment of a different coronavirus strain that already inhabited its new host, and morphed into a hybrid—a better, stronger version of itself, a pathogenic Everyman capable of thriving in diverse species. More recently, the coronavirus found a new species: ours. Perhaps a weary traveler rubbed his eyes, or scratched his nose, or was anxiously, unconsciously, biting his fingernails. One tiny, invisible blob of virus. One human face. And here we are, battling a global pandemic.
Jonathan Epstein, an epidemiologist at the EcoHealth Alliance in New York who studies zoonotic viruses—those that can jump from animals to people—was part of a research team that went hunting for the source in China’s Guangdong Province, where simultaneous sars outbreaks had occurred, suggesting multiple spillovers from animals to people. At first, health officials believed palm civets, a mongoose-like species commonly eaten in parts of China, were responsible, as they were widely sold at markets connected to the sars outbreak, and tested positive for the virus. But civets bred elsewhere in Guangdong had no antibodies for the virus, indicating that the market animals were only an intermediary, highly infectious host. Epstein and others suspected that bats, which are ubiquitous in the area’s rural, agricultural hills, and were, at the time, also sold from cages at Guangdong’s wet markets, might be the coronavirus’s natural reservoir.
In 2013, Epstein’s main collaborator in China, Shi Zheng-Li, sequenced a coronavirus found in bats, which, in January, she discovered shares ninety-six per cent of its genome with sars-CoV-2. The two viruses have a common ancestor that dates back thirty to fifty years, but the absence of a perfect match suggests that further mutation took place in other bat colonies, and then in an intermediate host. When forty-one severe cases of pneumonia were first announced in Wuhan, in December, many of them were connected to a wet market with a notorious wildlife section. Animals are stacked in cages—rabbits on top of civets on top of ferret-badgers. “That’s just a gravitational exchange of fecal matter and viruses,” Epstein said. Chinese authorities reported that they tested animals at the market—all of which came back negative—but they have not specified which animals they tested, information that is crucial for Epstein’s detective work. Authorities later found the virus in samples taken from the market’s tables and gutters. But, because not all of the first patients were tied to the market, nor were they connected to one another, Epstein said, “it raised the question of, well, perhaps those forty-one weren’t the first cases.”
March 31, 2020:
We have been in home lock-down since Wednesday, March 18, so by my count, we are at day number 13 of isolation. So far, maybe it has paid off since neither of us is sick. We have allergies but I would expect that since we cooped up in the house and only go out to work in the garden for a few hours at the most. I spoke with my mom yesterday and she appears in good spirits and sounds almost cheery. She complains that she falls asleep right away but wakes up in the night and cannot go back to sleep. I have the same problem.
Here are the statistics for today:
Coronavirus Cases (worldwide): 809,139
In the USA:
Total cases: 165,392
New cases: 1,604
Total deaths: 3,182
New deaths: 41
Total recovered: 172,516
Active cases: 156,666
Although Italy has only had a total of 101,739 cases, compared to the USA’s 165,392, they have had 11,591 deaths while the USA has had 3,182. I wish I could see the data that would show why Italy has had so many more deaths. Is it their health, their age, their lack of medicine, their lack of medical equipment?
There is talk on the internet that Xi Jinping, the president for life of China, was behind the spread of the Coronavirus. Of course, these same people are accusing the American Democratic party of starting this crisis. Either way, it did start in China from all indications and they seem to be getting a handle on the problem. At least their number of cases and deaths are going down, but that may be the “Buzz Appleby” school of quality assurance: if you stop doing the test, you will not fail the test!
(Buzz Appleby was a former quality assurance manager at a company that I worked for. We had a huge number of products that was failing at our customer, and rather than finding the root cause of the problem, he declared that we would simply stop testing the product. Of course, that didn’t fix the problem, numerous continued to fail at our customer and he was finally fired. I got his job, found the root cause and we lived happily ever after!)
April 1, 2020:
Today is one of those major milestones in my life: Ten years ago, on April Fools Day in 2010, I retired. Back then, if someone were to ask me what the next ten years would be like, I would have probably told a different story. These past ten have been a huge mixture of ups and downs, new places to see, old places to revisit, new things to try, and old things to reconsider. Of course, now with the world essentially on lock-down, there is an uncertainty in me somewhat like it was while I was in high school in the late 1960s. The Vietnam War was in its height, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy had just been assassinated and for an eighteen-year-old kid, life was uncertain. No one or nothing had really prepared me for the events that would come after graduating from high school. And with the coronavirus epidemic, that same uncertainty and that same sense of not being prepared all come flooding back.
In terms of the “normal” influenza, the CDC estimates that about 36 million people have gotten sick, 370,000 have been hospitalized and 22,000 have died this season. Up to today, the death rate of the coronavirus versus influenza is about double:
Coronavirus Cases (worldwide): (as of today: 902,715; yesterday: 809,139)
In the USA:
Total cases: 199,425
New cases: 10,895
Total deaths: 4,383
New deaths: 330
Total recovered: 8,698
Active cases: 666,767
April 2, 2020:
I know that this virus has caught us humans by surprise. In fact, it really caught the so-called experts by surprise as it does not behave as other viruses behave. Of course, in typical “expert medical” jargon, they simply use the same excuse that “we are still studying” when it comes to their expert opinions.
I am concerned about a few issues. One, how fast this virus spreads. It seems that the experts have different models when it comes to where and how long the virus can live. This comes from the CDC via Huffpost:
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than through fomites, objects and materials that when contaminated can transfer disease. However, the CDC notes that evidence suggests that the novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, which includes clothing.
Articles of clothing, according to public health specialist Carol Winner, can hold respiratory droplets, as we use them every single day. These particles can dry out over time and inactivate the virus. But this doesn’t mean that it will happen quickly, and she said scientists are still learning more and more about this virus each day.
“We know that the droplet can dry out under some conditions, which may be faster with natural fibers,” Winner told HuffPost. “We’re hearing that heat and humidity can affect viral survival on surfaces, but remember, it’s 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) in Australia, and Tom Hanks still got it.”
Family and emergency Dr. Janette Nesheiwat suggested that polyester, spandex-like material may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabrics, making it important to wash leggings, underwear and dresses carefully (more on how to do that later!).
“Polyester spandex-like material may retain germs longer than cotton-based fabrics, but all types of fabrics can be contaminated,” Nesheiwat said.
As information and research pertaining to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, continues to evolve, Winner stressed that so far studies focused on it tells us about the virus’ ability to remain on surfaces such as cardboard, steel, copper and plastic-door knobs and high-traffic areas.
“The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has told us that some viruses can remain active after two or three days on plastic and stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard and four hours on copper,” she said. Be aware that some of your buttons, zippers and other clothing hardware could be made of those materials.
And while current CDC guidelines encourage social distancing (personal distancing of six feet) to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, Winner said laundromats are generally safe to go to ― if the right precautions are taken, of course.
“The only way the viral particles become active is to get into your mouth, nose and eyes, so if you wear gloves, don’t touch your face and remove them properly following CDC’s guidelines, you should be fine,” she explained.
Rodney E. Rohde, chair and professor of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at Texas State University, reiterated the importance of washing clothes in warm or hot water, but also advised paying attention to the detergent you are using.
“I would recommend that you wash clothes in detergents that contain a bleach compound,” Rohde told HuffPost. “Viruses do not do well at all in this type of harsh environment.””
Today marks our 15th day of isolation and we have not had any human contact except with our neighbors who live around the block. They stayed about twenty feet away as we chatted while I was out in the front yard whacking some weeds that seem to grow as fast as the damn virus spreads!
We have completed our income taxes and submitted our 2020 federal census.
April 2, 2020:
Well, today is my grandson Ryan’s birthday and we all have to stay isolated. It really is weird that we cannot, or rather do not, trust anyone, even our family members to be free of the coronavirus. You cannot hug or kiss your mother or your spouse, or your grandchildren. You can’t shake someone’s hand, of course, you cannot even get close enough as they recommend a six-foot space between all humans. What a strange disease this is. Thank you, China, for your ultimate stupidity!
Ran out of milk so I made a few cups of hot chocolate, added a tablespoon of Coffee Mate and let it chill. Now we have a sort of chocolate milk for our cereal! Hey, make do with what you have!
A neighbor recently told me that we are over concerned about this coronavirus business, when in fact the normal flu kills more. I beg to differ!
I bought a few groceries from Amazon/Whole Foods and I am hoping that when they deliver them tomorrow, all that I ordered will be there. Of course, still no toilet paper or other types of tissues!
April 3, 2020:
Amazon/Whole Foods was right on schedule this morning at the appointed 6:00 am delivery of our groceries. Surprised that all we ordered was delivered! I opened the garage door and then stood twenty feet away as the delivery person dropped off the goods. Then I wiped everything down with a disinfectant wipe! Taking no chances!
Mr. Xi Jinping trying to be friendly after his country gave the world a giant screwing! When this is all said and done, I doubt that anyone could even come close to guessing what the total cost this virus has been. Virtually every business is shut down, all restaurants are closed except for window pick-up or delivery, but honestly who wants some kid making your food under who knows what sanitary conditions?
I spent a little time in the backyard, glad to have a large yard or I would go crazy being cooped up. Doing some reading and writing and a bit of gardening. In fact, while weed whacking the other day a damn rock must have flown off and busted my garage window!
Trump seems lost at his daily news briefings, he yells at reporters when he doesn’t have an answer to their questions, and generally makes up stuff. I found this on the internet today:
April 4, 2020:
Since none of us can get close to another human being, aside from the tribe that we live with, we can instead video chat. Today we celebrated my grandson, Ryan Jackson Logan’s 8th birthday via Zoom, the video chat website. I am not sure how many people were on the, call but it was a bunch and this may set the norm in the future, even after this corona crap goes away. It was cool to have people on the call that are usually too far away to come to family get-togethers.
Not much else is going on today, just doing some writing in a book I am putting together about my grandma Jackson’s family—the Burtons, Nash, and Coble lines. I wonder what my dear old grandma and grandpa, who are long gone, would think about this virus situation. Of course, my grandpa never believed, until the day he died, that man ever landed on the moon.
It is lightly raining today and I went outside a few times to get some fresh air. Strange how good the air smells! Maybe we could stop the world for a month every year, no cars, no factories, no pollution! Right, like that will ever happen!
I got a text from my brother-in-law in the Philippines about how some are thinking that this coronavirus was intentionally and deliberately released by the Chinese. The e-mail points out that Wuhan had the virus but nearby Shanghai and Beijing never had one case and never shut down their cities. And places in India, Italy, Iran and the USA have been devastated by it. I need to research this!
April 5, 2020:
Rained like crazy this morning! Roof leaks!
Heard an amazing song today by the French National Orchestra. Bolero by Ravel:
I checked out the e-mail claim that China cities like Beijing and Shanghai don’t have the coronavirus and that their stock market wasn’t affected. Seems like another of the many false claims on the internet:
REUTERS FACT CHECK APRIL 1, 2020 / 12:08 PM / 4 DAYS AGO
False claim: In China, the coronavirus only hit Wuhan, Chinese stock market unaffected
Multiple posts on social media make the claim that in China, the coronavirus spread was suspiciously confined to the city of Wuhan, alleging that the virus did not “travel” to the cities of Beijing or Shanghai, for example. Some posts also make the claim that the Chinese stock market was unaffected by the spread of the pandemic, unlike in the U.S. and Europe.
Some posts go on to include further claims alluding to a possible conspiracy by the Chinese government and Democratic party members in the U.S. to financially cripple America and negatively frame President Donald Trump’s administration.
VIRUS FEARS AFFECT CHINESE STOCK MARKET
In early February, when cities like Wuhan were in lockdown, fears about the spreading of the coronavirus wiped $393 billion off China’s stock market, despite government support moves, Reuters reported. A nearly 8% plunge on the Shanghai composite index was its biggest daily fall in more than four years.
The wipeout came even as the Chinese central bank made its biggest cash injection to the financial system since 2004 and despite apparent regulatory moves to curb selling.
By mid-March, factory production data continued to underscore the impact of the pandemic on the country, as Chinese stocks fell again to six-week lows. The claim that the Chinese stock market was unaffected by the spread of the virus is therefore untrue.
CORONAVIRUS CASES CONFIRMED ACROSS CHINA
As it begins to ease its strict coronavirus curbs, China has urged authorities to pay more attention to asymptomatic cases, as part of efforts to allay public fears that large numbers of infectious people have gone unreported. Residents and medical staff in Wuhan told Reuters that testing problems at some hospitals meant that some infected people were not identified, and thus were not included in official data.
Despite criticisms related to the Chinese government’s lack of transparency, official coronavirus data released by Chinese health officials and reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) do disprove the claims made on social media that only Wuhan was affected.
An early WHO coronavirus situation reports from January 20 confirmed the presence of coronavirus cases in Guangdong province, as well as in the Beijing and Shanghai municipalities.
Information from China’s National Health Commission (NHC) also confirms that coronavirus cases were identified in Beijing and Shanghai, spreading beyond Hubei province, where Wuhan—the epicenter of the virus—is located. As late as March 28, the NHC confirmed 7 newly imported coronavirus cases in Shanghai and 4 in Beijing.
An interactive map of coronavirus statistics by Johns Hopkins University, a reliable academic source for information on the pandemic’s development, also corroborates that in China, the coronavirus spread beyond Hubei’s borders, ( here ). The claims on social media alleging that in China the coronavirus was geographically confined to the city of Wuhan are therefore also inaccurate. However, it is true that Beijing and Shanghai, both cities that have adopted strict measures aimed at slowing transmission rates, have so far avoided a major coronavirus outbreak. In a report from the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the head of Shanghai’s medical team fighting the virus is quoted as saying that ”the measures taken by Shanghai over the past month are effective”.
April 6, 2020:
We have now been in isolation since March 18th and have not been in direct contact with anyone. What is becoming increasingly clear is that there is no ending of this coronavirus in sight. Many people are still dying, China is releasing some numbers that show improvement, but at this point, not many are believing them. Too bad that we humans are so territorial or perhaps we would pool our resources and solve this epidemic.
We had ordered some food and supplies last Friday from Costco who uses Instacart to deliver the items which were to arrive on Sunday between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. At about 6:00 pm I get a text saying, “Unfortunately, your order is behind schedule and is likely to arrive by 7:15-7:45 pm. Due to high demand, estimates may change. We’ll notify you with updates.” Not that bad I thought, only a little behind schedule.
Well, that time came and went and I got another text saying that now it was running further behind and the order should arrive by 8:15-8:45 pm. At 8:00 pm I get another text which now says that the order will not in fact be delivered as scheduled and “The latest we expect to deliver is by April 8 at 2 pm.”
I must say that during this whole coronavirus episode, Costco has had a poor performance. People wait outside in long lines around the store, once inside it is near-riots as people are fighting over the basic necessities like toilet paper, their on-line shopping is a joke because the required items can only be bought in-store and with the requirement to not go out, especially for older people, that makes it impossible to buy what you need.
In other news: I have been concerned about animals, especially pets, getting the coronavirus. Despite the words of the so-called experts, now it appears that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the virus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S., officials said. Other tigers and lions at the zoo have also become sick.
What were the so-called experts even thinking or were they not thinking? The damn virus is supposed to have originated in a pangolin in China. The SARS epidemic apparently originated in an ocelot. Last time that I looked, these are animals!
Here are the stats for the day:
Coronavirus Cases (worldwide): 1,379,168
Total Cases: 377,499
New cases: 10,495
Total deaths: 11,781
New Deaths: 910
Total recovered: 19,877
Active cases: 345,841
The stats since I started tracking them:
As of today, in the USA, there are 30,331 new cases and 1,255 new deaths. However, an estimated additional 180 – 195 deaths per day occurring at home in New York City due to COVID-19 are not being counted in the official figures. “Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don’t have the testing capacity for the large numbers dying at home. Now only those few who had a test confirmation *before* dying are marked as victims of coronavirus on their death certificate. This almost certainly means we are undercounting the total number of victims of this pandemic,” said Mark Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday evening after 10 days of battling the coronavirus, unnerving a country that had gathered to watch Queen Elizabeth II rally fellow Britons to confront the pandemic and reassure them that when the crisis finally ebbed, “we will meet again.”
The British government said that Mr. Johnson would be undergoing tests and that he would continue to carry out his duties.
But the uncertainty generated by his persistent illness underscored the sense of crisis that led the queen to address the country in a rare televised speech that evoked the darkest days of World War II.
“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” the queen said. “A disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
April 8, 2020:
Today is my wife Nida’s birthday and we are still in home isolation. I made her a birthday card using a great black and white photo that she had made when we were in Portland, Oregon a few years ago. Since we cannot go out, it is obvious that we will be celebrating at home. Really odd but her sister who lives alone nearby, asked last night to come over to bring Nida a gift. I think she might be mad at me because she asked me to arrange it. That was easy for me, I told her to stay home because we don’t want to be around anyone until this virus issue is resolved. She insisted that she has not been around anyone who is sick and that we could stay the recommended six feet of “social distance” away from each other. I simply said no.
Our neighbor brought Nida a birthday gift of homemade zucchini bread and a roll of toilet paper. A great gift that may have some value at the rate we are able to purchase more.
Costco finally delivered our order that was supposed to be delivered last Sunday. They didn’t have the toilet paper or paper napkins that we ordered but they did have the cooked roasted chicken, the four bottles of wine, dish soap, and few other items that we ordered.
April 9, 2020:
Lately, I have been just working out in the backyard. I planted some leftover seeds that I had kept from a previous year planting. We have carrots and radishes growing that sprouted by themselves from seeds that dropped. Weeds are growing like crazy but I never liked to spray weed killer. Taking some photos of birds that come into our yard and we have several really beautiful species. One scrub-jay allowed me to photograph him for quite some time.
I have been giving some thought to this whole social distancing thing. The government recommends that we stay six feet away from each other in order to avoid “sharing” the coronavirus in case we have it. I am not sure how they determined this as being an adequate distance but I am not convinced. There are just too many people getting this bug and I doubt that sneezing and coughing and touching stuff is alone the way it spreads. I mean, I go out in the backyard and pollen and mold spores are everywhere. They don’t just drop to the ground after a few feet, they fly around at great distances. Why would an equally lightweight virus that has all the appearances of having a perfect design that is made for aerodynamic flight, simply drop to the ground within six feet of being “launched?”
And while I am it, if they say six feet, doesn’t a simple safety calculation mean that it must drop at about half that distance in order to prevent its spread? Hell, if it were me who dictates our social distance, I would say that we maintain 20 feet distance of each other. Of course, there are some people who I would prefer to be socially isolated.
This morning we went outside and ran a little around the neighborhood. It was only a little over a mile that included a pretty steep hill, but otherwise not too strenuous.
The president is now holding a daily briefing. He replaced his press secretary since she never held one press briefing. Many think, including me, that Trump is using these briefings to bolster his re-election campaign. Many think that he is making an idiot out of himself, including some very intelligent people.
April 10, 2020:
Here are the headline news items this morning:
Wuhan lifts lockdown:
The city where the coronavirus first emerged began to reopen after 11 weeks, though officials are still urging residents to stay home as much as possible. The slow return to normalcy could provide hope for the rest of the world, but questions remain about the true size of China’s outbreak. THE NEW YORK TIMES
The daily U.S. death toll topped 1,800 yesterday, and early data showed black Americans are disproportionately at risk. There was a sign of improvement in New York, though: The governor said hospitalizations are slowing. REUTERS
President Trump removed the acting inspector general of the Pentagon, who was tasked with overseeing how the government deployed the $2 trillion stimulus package. Trump has recently clashed with other independent federal watchdogs. POLITICO
The acting Navy secretary resigned after leaked audio revealed he called the commander who raised alarm over his coronavirus-infected ship “stupid.” SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
‘Glimmers of hope’ amid a rising toll:
We start today with a note of cautious optimism from our writer Dan Barry: “The world began this week to see small but encouraging signs that concerted efforts to drastically change human behavior — to suspend daily routines by staying at home — are slowing the insidious spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed tens of thousands and sickened more than a million others across several continents.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday that he was starting to see “some glimmers of hope,” but epidemiologists warned that a return to pre-pandemic life won’t happen safely anytime soon.
In other developments:
■ Virus-related deaths reached new highs in New York and New Jersey for the second straight day on Wednesday, even as other figures suggested that the outbreak in those states was beginning to slow.
■ New research shows the virus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, brought mainly by travelers from Europe, not Asia.
So much for the government having our backs!
■ Citing the pandemic, Saudi Arabia announced a cease-fire in the war in Yemen starting today, which could pave the way toward ending the five-year conflict. Separately, as many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family are believed to have contracted the virus. BLOOMBERG
■ A Saudi Arabian–led coalition declared a ceasefire with Yemen’s Iran-backed rebels, in part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The five-year war has killed more than 100,000 people. REUTERS
I am surprised that these people don’t want to save bombs and bullets! Geez, 100,000 people have been killed in this silly power struggle and they stop because they are afraid the virus may kill people!?!? How stupid is that thought process?
■ A review found little evidence to support the idea that hot weather will stop the contagion. (I guess that Herr Trump will be shocked that his prediction was wrong and had no basis for his remark!)
April 11, 2020:
Pope Francis, above on Sunday in Rome, has called them “the saints next door, priests who gave their lives in service.”
Doctors and nurses on the front lines have become symbols of sacrifice in Italy. But priests and nuns have also joined the fight. The virus has killed nearly 100 priests across the country, many of them older and especially vulnerable.
Hospital chaplains are no strangers to death, illness, and tragedy. But chaplains across the U.S. are now carrying more of their own grief and fear.
“I said the prayer for the dead, and then I changed my gloves and continued my round.”
New signs suggest coronavirus was in California far earlier than anyone knew
By PAIGE ST. JOHN
LA TIMES STAFF WRITER
APRIL 11, 20205 AM
SACRAMENTO — A man found dead in his house in early March. A woman who fell sick in mid-February and later died.
These early COVID-19 deaths in the San Francisco Bay Area suggest that the novel coronavirus had established itself in the community long before health officials started looking for it. The lag time has had dire consequences, allowing the virus to spread unchecked before social distancing rules went into effect.
“The virus was freewheeling in our community and probably has been here for quite some time,” Dr. Jeff Smith, a physician who is the chief executive of Santa Clara County government, told county leaders in a recent briefing.
How long? A study out of Stanford suggests a dramatic viral surge in February.
But Smith on Friday said data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health departments and others suggest it was “a lot longer than we first believed” — most likely since “back in December.”
“This wasn’t recognized because we were having a severe flu season,” Smith said in an interview. “Symptoms are very much like the flu. If you got a mild case of COVID, you didn’t really notice. You didn’t even go to the doctor. The doctor maybe didn’t even do it because they presumed it was the flu.”
Just as New York has strong ties to travelers from Europe, who are believed to have brought the coronavirus there from Italy, the Bay Area is a natural hub for those traveling to and from China. Santa Clara County had its first two cases of COVID-19 almost a week before federal approval of emergency testing for the disease Feb. 4. Both were in travelers returning from Wuhan, China, where the virus was rampant.
This makes me a bit nervous because when we arrived at the Manila airport in the Philippines in early December 2019, so did several hundred Chinese who we queued up within the immigration lines. But so far so good, no sign of sickness other than bouts of allergies that cause slight breathing issues, but that has been my problem for decades.
April 16, 2020:
The seconds roll into minutes, the minutes into hours, the hours into days, the days into weeks and are still sheltering in place. No need to go out so why risk catching the infectious coronavirus? We have enough food and we are rationing our supply of toilet paper so we are doing good. I haven’t added much to this journal, simply because there is nothing to say. I stopped watching the news on the television because it is so damn depressing. All they talk about is how many people have died, or something about an aged people home where the entire complex of people has gotten the corona bug. Then they flash across the screen how we need to wash our hands and stay away from people who are sick, etc., and then they show a bunch of young kids gathering in large groups watching “side-shows” where they spin the cars in circles burning the rubber on their tires!
One thing that I have to be thankful for is that so far, no one in my family has caught the bug, or should I say, the bug has not caught anyone in my family. I am also very grateful that I have a fairly good size yard, so I can go out, catch a little fresh air, see some nature and walk around a little. We do go jogging a few times a week, but just around the neighborhood. We see people walking while we jog and it seems strange that we can’t stop and talk to them, they are our friends but with this bug, we can’t take a chance.
The Trump government is giving everyone a stimulus check of up to $1,300.00. It is meant to help the economy which is the worst that I have seen in my lifetime. Millions are out of work, stores and shops are closed, the restaurants are all closed except for take-out at the drive-thru windows and for delivery, but who the hell wants to get food from people who may have the bug?
This is an election year and the egomaniac Donald Trump insisted on putting his signature on all of the stimulus checks! The country is in the toilet, people are afraid of the uncertainty of this virus, many are dying and this imbecile just has to have his name on the check to get publicity. Like it was just him who did this. The joke going around is that his former mistress, Stormy Daniels, the porn star, already got her stimulus check but it was $130,000.00, not $1,300.00 like everyone else.
Trump also threatened to cut off funding for the World Health Organization because they are not acting fast enough, yet he has done nothing but blame it on anything and everyone except him, And now the buffoon insists on reopening the country despite health officials calling otherwise. If only America had a real leader!
April 19, 2020:
We have now been in “home lockdown” for an entire month. Schools are closed, as are restaurants, churches, and nearly all public places. Yesterday and the past few days people have taken to the streets in places like Nevada and many other “MAGA” sites to protest that we should open our country again. I get it, people want and need to get back to work. Financially this must be devastating to some people but with the numbers, and I doubt that these protestors are looking at the numbers, it would tell them that it is not the right time just yet.
Since I started tracking the worldwide data a month ago, the number of cases has risen dramatically. And frankly speaking, these numbers are purely speculative as many countries do not have the capability to report accurate numbers, and as with some states in America, they do not have the proper understanding to diagnose the difference between the flu, the common cold, and the coronavirus:
Number of cases: Deaths:
March 22, 2020 340,408 14,573
March 25, 2020 459,793 20,823
March 28, 2020 621,592 28,791
March 31, 2020 809,139 39,559
April 1, 2020 902,715 45,309
April 6, 2020 1,379,168 78,223
April 19, 2020 2,361,482 162,045
So, worldwide we have gone from 340,408 cases to 2,361,482! In one month! And during that same time span, we have gone from 14,573 deaths to 162,045 worldwide! One month ago the USA had 150 deaths, as of today, we have had 39, 084! If you think that it’s time to reopen the country, I have several bags of dirt that I can sell you as gold!
More than 500 in “Reopen Nevada” protest business closures:
For a small, sparsely populated state like Nevada they have had 3,725 cases and 155 deaths as of today!
If you look at the above chart, can you tell which country has the best leadership?
April 29, 2020:
Here it is Thursday already and quite honestly, I have paid very little attention to the news and have avoided anything to do with the coronavirus. We stay isolated in our house, going out only to work on our yard and garden, which thankfully is big enough to avoid us from feeling trapped. I am working on some family history and doing research about a family member who died in 1919 of what everyone thought was insanity, because, well because she was in the North Texas Hospital for the Insane. I was able to find her death certificate and it seems that the 20-year-old woman had a form of postpartum depression, anxiety, or even psychosis. She had lost a set of twins, had probably been kicked off her land, and was given the typical diagnosis at the time – she is crazy. I found her actual death certificate and it seems that she was locked in a mental ward, and the poor lady died from — drumroll please – influenza that was complicated by exhaustion!
It was a primitive time back then, especially from a mental health standpoint. But my thinking is that from a general medical point of view, it was pretty much cavemen style back then too. Sanitary conditions were terrible and the methods for treatment were hit and miss and filled with strange concoctions and quack-doctor elixirs and potions. The Spanish flu which hit back in the 19-teens, which I think my relative had, killed millions of people. I shudder to think what would be left of us if this coronavirus had hit back then. Of course, it may not have spread so fast considering the travel and mobility back then.
Sundays are usually a day that Nida goes to church. With everything being shut down to avoid people making contact with each other, she now goes to church remotely on her cell phone. We also do our shopping on-line which is really not all that bad for me as I really hate the whole in-person grocery shopping experience. I typically buy groceries based on how I feel when I am shopping. And as with most people, if I am hungry I but all sorts of junk. If I just ate before I go shopping, I seem to only buy essentials. Now, with online shopping, we buy what we need and hopefully get all that we order. So far, the delivery service from Costco and Whole Foods (via Amazon) is doing a great job and although we pay a little more and we don’t always get to pick the fruit and vegetables, we are happy with the outcome. They have only been out of stock on a few items, toilet paper for one, but we have enough and they did have facial tissues so we stocked up.
As a country, or for that matter, as a world, we have been in a lock-down, stay at home, no human contact within six feet, etc., the situation since about March 18. It seems to be helping to stem the tide of this virus, except in places where there is close human contact, especially in nursing homes, where some have been hit very hard. Many states are considering opening up and relaxing the “isolation” orders. But each time they do it, another outbreak hits hard. There have been several protests, mostly by the “conservative” of our society who want the “freedom” to do what they want and don’t want the government telling them what to do. Maybe we ought to just chill a little, let this virus die down, and perhaps even let our air get cleaned up from not so much fossil fuel getting discharged into our atmosphere?
April 27, 2020:
As they say, same shit, different day. Not much has changed since the home lockdown except perhaps that I am getting used to the routine of staying at home. We are saving money by not going out to restaurants and we are getting great gas mileage. As someone said, we are getting three weeks to the gallon. Our yard is looking great, flowers are blooming throughout. Our artichokes have ripened and we have eaten several. More time to enjoy our yard instead of just running, running, running!
Since not much has changed, I do not really scour the news for updates. Many people are still dying and many are still catching this damn virus, and China is noticeably quiet. We have enough food and supplies, with deliveries coming in regularly. The British Prime Minister has recovered from the virus and is back to work. I read today that they have started injecting males who have the bug with female hormones as this seems to be a predominant male-loving virus.
I am trying not to focus so much on what Trump is saying and doing, but it is impossible not to. Last week he actually suggested that people could inject themselves with disinfectants! My niece in the Philippines had seen his press conference on the internet and could not believe it. She, as well as I, thought it was an internet hoax. But then I watched the entire press conference on a credible television station and sure enough, he said it! There was even a doctor sitting on the stage with him and he was acting like she had suggested this. She looked stupefied! The dumbfounded look on her face was of total astonishment! The Lysol and Clorox companies immediately put out ads saying that people NOT do this.
Today this what the imbecile Trump is doing: “After suggesting last week that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help fight the virus, Mr. Trump took no questions at Friday’s briefing and later said that the events were no longer worth his time.”
And yet there are people in this country who think he is a great leader and has done much good for the country. At this point, I can only ask: Name a few! (Is that crickets that I hear?)
April 30, 2020:
Yesterday was my granddaughters 18th birthday. What a shame to reach this milestone and be cooped up and not have any social interaction. Life has been strange these past few weeks of home seclusion, we do get up and go running a few miles a few times a week but otherwise, we are home alone.
In other news this past week:
Antibody testing is problematic, officials say:
Saying that the coronavirus pandemic requires an urgent response, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed about 90 companies, many based in China, to sell antibody tests that are intended to indicate whether people may have built an immunity to the coronavirus but that hasn’t been vetted by the government.
The agency has since warned that some of those businesses are making false claims about their products, and health officials in the U.S. and abroad have found other tests to be deeply flawed.
Officials fear a repeat of the earlier launch of Covid-19 diagnostic tests that failed to monitor which Americans, and how many, had been infected.
Governors said on Sunday that a shortage of coronavirus tests was among the most significant hurdles to lifting restrictions in their states, in some cases rejecting the Trump administration’s assertions that the supply was adequate.
President Trump plans to bar immigrants:
The president said on Monday that he intended to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S., which he said would protect American workers once the economy began to recover.
A formal order temporarily barring the issuance of new green cards and work visas could come within days, according to several people familiar with the plan, although it was unclear what legal basis Mr. Trump would invoke to justify the move.
Queen Elizabeth II turns 94 today. For the first time in her nearly seven-decade reign, her birthday will not be commemorated by a gun salute — another longstanding ritual halted by the pandemic.
The New York Times interviewed more than two dozen business executives, city and state officials, and industry groups to find out more about the challenges facing New York, where hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and at least $7.4 billion in tax revenue is projected to be lost by the middle of next year.
“I don’t think the New York that we left will be back for some years,” said Gregg Bishop, the commissioner of the city’s small businesses agency. “I don’t know if we’ll ever get it back.”
Related: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that an additional 478 people had died in New York State, the lowest single-day toll in more than two weeks.
Pressure builds to reopen:
Governors across the U.S. are moving ahead with plans to reopen their states’ economies, even as public health experts say the country lacks the necessary testing capacity to track and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus briefings on Monday with a vow to “double” the number of tests, after previously saying that testing levels were “fully sufficient to begin opening up the country.” About 1.6 percent of the population has been tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its list of possible symptoms of the virus to include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
And on a lighter sarcastic note:
News from the Korean Central News Agency
DPRK Doctors Thank President Trump
PYONGYANG, APRIL 27 (KCNA) –Democratic People’s Republic of Korea medical personnel honored with the privilege of overseeing the excellent health of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il wish to thank U.S. President Donald Trump for his outstanding suggested treatment regimen.
Injections of bleach and Lysol have yielded extraordinary success for the peerlessly great leader of Korea’s Juche-oriented socialist workers paradise.
“We are also pleased to announce the Dear Leader has been resting fitfully in the same position and has not smoked a cigarette in many weeks,” said Dr. Dolpal-I Jong (돌팔이 돌팔이).
In the indomitable spirit of displaying mercy against misguided hostile forces, the Dear Leader’s sister and successor Kim Yo Jong further announces the same treatment will be administered to all other family members in the line of succession, as well as editorial cartoonists privileged to visit the DPRK in the future.
Behold now,” Kim said, “the work of the counterrevolutionary hooligans at Counterpoint.”
And now a real surprise from China:
“Adding to growing evidence that the virus can spread through the air, Chinese scientists reported capturing tiny droplets containing its genetic markers in two hospitals in Wuhan, where the outbreak started.” No shit Sherlock, we knew it all along!
“The Treasury Department is trying to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars lent to big companies under the initial terms of a program intended to help small businesses.” Really? Good luck getting Trump’s buddies to give us back our hard-earned money!
“President Trump signed an executive order in an effort to keep meat processing plants open. Unions and labor advocates said the administration needed to do more to protect workers, thousands of whom have become sick.” Hey, those big company bosses need the energy to count all that ill-gotten money!
Above, me posing with street art in Vilnius, Lithuania
And a final final:
More grim milestones for the U.S.:
“More Americans have died from COVID-19 than in the Vietnam War, and nearly half the deaths are concentrated in New York. Meanwhile, confirmed cases in the U.S. topped 1 million.” The Los Angeles Times
New street art in Rochester, NY. from artist Mike Dellaria:
The union that represents Mayo Clinic workers says Pence’s decision not to wear a mask ‘insults the hard work and sacrifice of all health care workers.’
May 3, 2020:
Another month has passed and many people are upset with having to stay isolated and not working. I get it, but I am retired, have good health, very few bills, and get my supplies delivered to me. I am rather enjoying this free time to write, organize my photographs, and work in my yard. But those that have bills and family to support, it has to be rough. But the time is not good to get out and start socializing again, not until we understand what is causing this virus to spread so fast and why it is so deadly.
If you have ever watched a show about African wildlife, I’m sure that you have seen one about the thirsty gazelles. These animals stay in large herds and graze on the savanna under the blazing sun. They get thirsty and wander over to the water hole for a drink. Just under the surface lies the crocodiles who are hungry for gazelle meat. As the gazelle approach the water for a drink, invariably a few get caught and eaten by the crocs. The herd quickly runs away and begins to graze again on the dry, hot grassland. The crocs are laying on the bottom of the watering hole with full bellies and they never get thirsty. But the gazelles eat dry grass and it gets hot in the open prairie so pretty soon they forget that one their brothers just got eaten by a croc. And the water looks so cool and tempting and it looks safe because the crocs are below the surface. They come back to the watering hole and by now the crocs are hungry again and bam! The surface of the water explodes and a huge mouthful of teeth grabs another gazelle for a meal! They just cannot stay away…
Initial results showed the experimental drug remdesivir could speed recovery in patients infected with the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday.
In a federal trial, the time to recovery averaged 11 days among those who received the drug, and 15 days for those who got a placebo. The improvement “doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent,” Dr. Fauci said, but “it is a very important proof of concept, because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”
The news comes as the Trump administration is working on a crash development program for a vaccine that could be widely distributed by the beginning of next year.
Above, the internet is having fun with Dr. Dumb, the vice president.
As states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, President Trump indicated that he would not extend federal distancing guidelines, which expire today. “They’ll be fading out, because now the governors are doing it,” he said. Thank you for not doing your job you incompetent buffoon!
President Trump’s order to reopen meat-processing plants is worrying local leaders. In one Iowa county, 90% of coronavirus cases are tied to the Tyson facility, and the officials say returning to work will threaten efforts to contain the outbreak.
Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to fall nearly 8 percent this year, the largest drop ever recorded, the International Energy Agency reported today. But the group’s executive director warned, “The only way to sustainably reduce emissions is not through painful lockdowns, but by putting the right energy and climate policies in place.”
Dozens of decomposing bodies were discovered in trucks parked outside a funeral home in Brooklyn. It was unclear whether the people had died of the coronavirus.
And from my favorite editorial cartoonists at Counterpoint: “Our editorial cartoonists are offended they were excluded from President Trump’s most recent executive order, an egregious slight implying they’re not as critical to the nation’s infrastructure as people who produce corn dogs and Jimmy Dean sausage.
Just as America’s farmers are killing worthless pigs and chickens, America’s cartoonists are performing the vital function of goring sacred cows and skewering the feral hogs slopping around Washington with their snouts into the public trough.”
The presidents new Kool-Aid
May 4, 2020:
Slowly it seems that things are getting back to normal. People are going out for walks, driving around, and working around their house. My neighbor is getting a new roof and our other neighbor and I are trying to get our fence replacement finalized. However, I am not keen on having a bunch of people traipsing around our yard. This virus thing is far from being over and I have no desire to let up now after being so vigilant these past weeks. The death toll numbers and new cases are still very high.
But there are idiots who see it differently:
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan reinstated a state of emergency on Thursday, even as protesters, some of them legally armed, gathered at the State Capitol. These imbeciles are showing up with assault rifles to protest their freedom to be let out into the public to either spread the damn virus or catch it. I don’t understand this but for the most part, I don’t get these white supremacists.
A looming vaccine challenge:
Ramping up production of syringes and other medical products to deliver a coronavirus vaccine will be as important — and perhaps as difficult — as developing the vaccine itself.
In the U.S., more than 300 million people may need to be inoculated, and products that doctors now give little thought to could easily become obstacles in the future.
“We’re thinking about the vaccine, but what if the vials it is stored in, or rubber stoppers in the vial or the plungers in the syringes become the constraint?” said Prashant Yadav, who studies health care supply chains.
The collapse of oil:
For more than a decade, the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico has been the center of the oil boom in the U.S., producing one of every three barrels in the country.
But as the pandemic has drastically reduced the demand for oil, the region has become the center of the industry’s demise.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, even over the last 20 years, but this feels very different,” said Matthew Hale, the president of a pump truck and chemical services company. “We’re concerned about our industry, survival, and what survival is going to look like.”
After weeks of doing their shows from home, the hosts are starting to feel the strain. “No one wants eternal lockdown,” Seth Meyers said. “If I see another of my friends holding up a janky loaf of homemade bread on Instagram I’m going to run outside and lick a banister.”
In other news:
On Thursday, the U.S. intelligence community released an assessment formally concluding that the virus behind the coronavirus pandemic originated in China. While asserting that the pathogen was not man-made or genetically altered, the statement pointedly declined to rule out the possibility that the virus had escaped from the complex of laboratories in Wuhan that has been at the forefront of global research into bat-borne viruses linked to multiple epidemics over the past decade.
Trump has been noticeably quiet about China, maybe because they are making his reelection campaign propaganda material?
May 7, 2020:
Cinco de Mayo was never really a holiday that we celebrated with any spirit, after all, it is a Mexican holiday of their independence from Spain. But we do celebrate that day because it is our grandson’s birthday, he just turned 12 years old.
Many states are reopening and many malls and stores are reopening but it seems that no one is looking at the data to make their decisions.
May 9, 2020:
Today is my daughter Melanie’s 50th birthday. Another major milestone that has come and gone while the world, at least the intelligent world, is in quarantine. At least we did a Zoom chat that included Kimberly’s family, Heidi, and Oma, and Dave and Debbie’s family so at the immediate family was together, even if remotely. We also had a Mother’s Day celebration of sorts over the internet.
I follow Apple news and the New York Times and the world is literally laughing at America, Trump specifically. He comes up with the most stupid comments that are now beyond being humorous, they seem to be coming from a man with a serious mental health problem. He is encouraging idiocy and has no concern for data to make his decisions. Everything that comes from his mouth is channeled directly from his impulsive behavior.
In the end, as history will record, the story that would have been the biggest news on Wednesday, March 11—the story that in normal times might have been the biggest headline of the month—will hardly register in America’s memory: That morning, at 11:06 am, a judge sentenced Hollywood super-producer turned super-predator Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison on sexual assault charges.
Yet within 12 hours, the staggering fact that Weinstein—the force behind an entire generation of movie classics from Shakespeare in Love to Pulp Fiction—might very well spend the rest of his life in prison turned out not only not to be the biggest story of the day, it wasn’t even the biggest Hollywood story of the day.
Instead, Wednesday, March 11, the 71st day of 2020, proved to be unlike any other in American history—the pivot point on which weeks of winter unease about the looming novel coronavirus turned in a matter of hours into a sudden, wrenching, nation-altering halt to daily life and routine. Just a day earlier, Americans across much of the country were still going into the office, meeting friends for drinks, and shaking hands in meetings. That morning, the number of coronavirus cases in the US crossed the 1,000 mark, up 10-fold from the prior week. Only 29 Americans had died.
But on that Wednesday, the World Health Organization, which had only begun referring to the virus as Covid-19 a month earlier, declared the disease a global pandemic. Every hour seemed to bring major new developments: On Wall Street, after days of huge up-and-down gyrations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,465 points and officially entered bear territory; Capitol Hill faced its first confirmed Covid-19 case; the NCAA announced it would play its basketball tournament without fans; and then, in rapid-fire succession that evening, President Trump gave an Oval Office address, announcing a travel ban from Europe, the NBA suspended its season after player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, and Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita, posted on Instagram that they too had been diagnosed while in Australia and were recuperating.
By Thursday, the national landscape had been undeniably altered, and Americans were panic-buying toilet paper. A whole new vocabulary—WFH, PPE, flattening the curve, social distancing, self-isolation, Zoom-bombing, and quarantines—loomed ahead. Epochal events that had occurred just weeks earlier, from the Australian wildfires to President Trump’s impeachment trial to the drama of the Democratic primary, would seem instead to have occurred years ago.
Within a month, thousands would be killed by the virus, as hospitals from New York to Detroit to New Orleans were overwhelmed, and more than 100,000 had been sickened. The economy would slide into a virus-induced coma, and some 17.7 million Americans would lose their jobs over the next month—a number larger than the populations of all but four states. Not even Harvey Weinstein would escape the drama: He tested positive for the virus on March 23.
May 11, 2020:
It seems that humans can always adapt. Here it is nearly two months into this home-isolation/quarantine and what was once a very strange behavior of staying at home, working around the yard every day, cleaning and straightening out the house, preparing meals instead of constantly going out, and just generally getting involved in projects around the house, is now a new normal for me. Organizing computer files of thousands of photographs has been a fun project, although it will probably a perpetual project. Gardening and writing are now my top priority.
From the New York Times:
As the weather warms and people returned to public parks over the weekend, many Democratic leaders (and a few Republican governors) are counseling patience. Public health experts largely agree, because the number of new cases nationwide remains near its peak.
Many Republican leaders, however, are starting to take a different approach, with more conservative regions, like the Southeast, that are moving toward reopening faster than the more liberal ones, like the Northeast.
Why the difference? Some of it is only natural. Conservative areas tend to be less densely populated, and conservatives are often uncomfortable with government directives. But the growing partisan divide also reflects a fundamentally different view of the virus between leaders in the two parties.
Republicans are focused on the economic damage from a prolonged shutdown. As Dan Patrick, Texas’s 70-year-old lieutenant governor, said recently, “There are more important things than living, and that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.”
Many Democrats, on the other hand, continue to see the virus as a dire threat. They believe that reopening now — without the availability of tests that President Trump has long been promising — will needlessly cost lives.
The bottom line: The country is about to enter a new phase of the virus, with a near-national lockdown giving way to more regional variation.
And if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, now we have to deal with:
The ‘murder hornet’ arrives in the U.S.
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Scientists and beekeepers are racing to control the spread of the Asian giant hornet, a vicious species that decapitates bees with its mandibles and could devastate bee populations.
In Japan, the hornets kill up to 50 people each year. Being stung by one, a scientist told The Times, felt like having red-hot thumbtacks “driven into my flesh.”
And we all knew that at some point this would happen:
Trump says the death toll will rise
In an event with Fox News at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday night, President Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus has turned out to be more devastating than he anticipated. He now expects up to 100,000 Americans to die from it, he said, and he continued to blame China.
May 13, 2020:
Some asshole sent me an e-mail today saying that if I don’t send him a huge amount of money in bitcoins that he would release all of my information as he has my password. Of course, that password is wrong and I don’t have any naked pictures of me that he says he will release. Crazy world we live in.
As if there are not enough problems in the world, now the virus hits the meat counter. Costco has limited sales of fresh meat, apparently in response to potential meat shortages stemming from virus outbreaks among slaughterhouse workers. Each customer can buy only three fresh beef, pork, or poultry products.
Seeking social-distance justice, in Alabama, a woman called the police on teenagers goofing off outside a bowling alley. In Utah, officials closed tattoo parlors and salons after fielding more than 500 complaints. And in Wisconsin, a doctor was suspended from work after attending a packed rally without a mask.
Call it virus snitching: A growing number of frustrated Americans are calling the authorities on people they believe are flouting social-distancing guidelines. Of course, if anyone really thinks that the six-foot distancing guidelines are adequate, perhaps there is some iceberg floating in the North Atlantic that I could sell them?
In an interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he’s optimistic that a vaccine will be ready within a historically short time frame; there are “impressive” results being seen in animal trials. He also said he doesn’t entertain theories that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.
The FDA, criticized for allowing antibody tests to flood the market without being reviewed, is now cracking down on fraudulent kits and will require them to meet new standards for accuracy.
From the New York Times:
The end of Trump’s virus task force
The Trump administration plans to disband its coronavirus task force in the coming weeks. Vice President Mike Pence said the decision was a “reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country” — despite growing evidence that the outbreak is still raging.
The task force was a key part of President Trump’s response: He often shared the stage with its medical experts, Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, during televised briefings.
Why it matters: “The influence of those health officials was reassuring to those who believed doctors and scientists should mix with the more economic-minded figures in the group,” said Noah Weiland, who covers health care for The Times. “If the task force dissolves, people like Dr. Fauci may have a less organized role at the White House.”
Administration rejects CDC’s advice for reopening
The White House pushed back against the CDC’s proposed guidelines for easing coronavirus-related restrictions, which include details for schools, places of worship, and mass transit, over concerns they risk further damaging the economy and infringe on religious rights.
And we knew this would eventually happen:
An outbreak in the White House
The coronavirus has reached the cramped offices of the White House, with two staff members having tested positive. Three top health officials began to quarantine themselves over the weekend, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said he had contact with an infected staff member.
Given the vast resources at the White House’s disposal, including access to rapid-testing kits, the news suggests that other workplaces may struggle to prevent transmission if the economy begins to reopen soon.
White House faces its own outbreak
President Trump’s team is scrambling to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the West Wing after two staff members tested positive. Trump and Mike Pence are being tested daily, and three top officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, are self-isolating.
The White House ordered all West Wing employees to wear masks when not sitting at their desks. Two notable exceptions: the president and vice president.
And finally from my good friend Steve Sowers:
“I tried to get up in the middle of the night but it felt like I had a heavy weight on my chest. And I had a difficult time breathing, everything was dark and I couldn’t see anything.
Then I woke up and realized that Terri was sitting on my chest, holding a pillow over my face.
I think we’ve been quarantined too long together in the house.
May 14, 2020:
From the New York Times:
President Trump insists that things are looking up with the coronavirus
Anthony Fauci, one of his top advisers, has a different message: “We run the risk of having a resurgence.”
Which view is right?
The news about the coronavirus really has gotten better over the past week. There have been fewer than 200 deaths in New York for two consecutive days, down from more than 1,000 in early April. Nationwide, the number of confirmed new cases each day has finally begun to decline substantially.
There is even reason to believe the official numbers aren’t fully capturing the decline — because the number of tests being conducted has also been rising. All else equal, more tests should lead to more confirmed cases.
So why, then, do Fauci and many other public-health experts sound so worried? Because the United States may be on the cusp of ending the very policies that have caused the recent progress.
There have been only two proven approaches to stopping the virus’s spread so far. One is extreme social distancing, like the lockdown that has been in effect across much of the U.S. since March. The other is an intricate program of testing, tracking and quarantining, as parts of Asia have done.
Right now, large parts of the U.S. are moving toward ending their lockdowns before it’s wise to do so, according to many epidemiologists. Perhaps the biggest problem: Despite the recent increase in tests, the country is still doing far fewer than are likely needed to avoid new outbreaks. Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican, echoed the views of experts yesterday when he said that the country’s testing record was “nothing to celebrate whatsoever.”
More from the headlines:
If you haven’t received a stimulus check, today is the deadline to sign up for direct deposit on the IRS website. Meanwhile, House Democrats unveiled a new $3 trillion aid package, though it’s already getting pushback from the left and right. CNET
California State University, the biggest college system in the U.S., said it will move almost all its classes online for the fall semester. LOS ANGELES TIMES
Officials in Wuhan, China, where the virus was first discovered, ordered tests for all 11 million residents after a cluster of new infections emerged. BBC NEWS
When the coronavirus lockdowns began almost two months ago, the outdoors seemed like a scary place. It was where you could get infected by a neighbor, jogger, public bench, doorknob, or any number of other things. The better move, as a popular hashtag put it, was to #StayHome.
As more virus research has emerged, however, the outdoors has begun to look safer. It still brings risks (like those doorknobs). But they are fairly small. One study of 1,245 coronavirus cases across China found that only two came from outdoor transmission.
Besides the research, something else has also begun to make outdoors seem more attractive. People have started to go stir crazy.
This combination is leading to a surge of new expert advice that might be boiled down to: Get out.
May 15, 2020:
Funny how many people and news agencies and politicians are telling people to go out, even when the data says otherwise. And the testing is even worse! Yesterday it was reported that Abbot Labs has a test that is 48% inaccurate. So, are the numbers correct or this so far out of control that no one knows the actual facts other than a lot of people are dying?
All that I know, I don’t need to take the risk of catching this virus and I don’t need anyone in my family catching it, especially my 93-year-old mother who is shown above demonstrating the proper use of a facial mask.
Speaking of my mother, she has seen just about every situation that could be thrown at a human being! She spent her teenage years during the second world war in the heart of Germany and saw horrors that none of us could ever imagine. She seems to be taking this coronavirus situation as just another test that she knows she will pass without any difficulty. She is above all else, a strong fighter! We all want to celebrate her 94th birthday and many, many more!
Who would have known when all of this started that we would have this:
And this from the New York Times:
“A new study suggests that talking can cause droplets containing the virus to stay in the air for up to 14 minutes.”
A new study?? Some damn common sense would have told you this! Six feet distancing? What idiot came up with that?
May 16, 2020:
Today was graduation day for most high school seniors and since the entire country is on lockdown there were no commencement ceremonies. CNN did a virtual commencement program to honor these graduates and it featured several celebrities like Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander.
President Bill Clinton gave a great speech and proved what an intelligent and articulate man he is. The closing speech was made by President Barack Obama and in my opinion, it was a speech that defined the moment and the times. He showed the world what a smart, compassionate, humble leader looks like. It was so refreshing to listen to a president who can speak using words that have more than two syllables and focuses on the subject and not on his deeds and actions.
LeBron James, the basketball star, also gave a wonderful speech and showed the world that he is not just some dumb jock who knows nothing about anything except sports. I am sure that many people were impressed, I sure was.
And props to CNN for the great production of this program and the super graphics!
Today was also our neighbor’s son’s 4th birthday. And since we couldn’t have an actual party, they arranged for all of their friends and family to have a parade in front of their house. We decorated our cars, and I beat on a snare drum as we drove by him as he was sitting in the front yard. He was so surprised when he saw us coming down the street and when he realized that it was for him, he lit up! How cool is that for a four-year-old to get his own birthday parade?? It moved me when I saw the video his parents had taken!
May 17, 2020:
It’s Sunday but the sun hasn’t been out today as it has been raining pretty much the entire day, beginning during the night. It feels fresh outside and I am thinking that it would sure do planet Earth some good if we could just shut down for a quarter of the year, every year so that she can recover. But that’s not going to happen; too many greedy people that need their goodies and trinkets and closets full of shoes and clothes.
Testing for this damn virus is as confusing as the people who are in charge of getting us through this mess. One day I read that they have an accurate test, the next day it is not accurate. One day I hear that an anti-virus is just around the corner and the next day the results are not so promising. Then we have the president saying that he is taking some medication for the coronavirus, then we find out that he owns stock in the company and that he may be lying about taking that medication. Hard to know what is reak and what is fake during times like this. But I thought this was funny:
From the New York Times:
The country finds itself at a perilous moment in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. With more than two-thirds of states significantly relaxing restrictions on how Americans can move about, experts predict a resurgence.
Months after the virus began spreading, only about 3 percent of the population has been tested for it, leaving its true scale and path unknown. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency clearance for a testing kit that lets people take a nasal sample at home.
May 18, 2020:
The question that many are asking is, Can you get the coronavirus twice?
More than 160 South Koreans tested positive a second time for the novel coronavirus last month, weeks after being discharged from medical supervision. Some symptom-free Americans have been barred from donating their blood plasma to help treat others because they are still testing positive.
From Kaiser Health News:
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
The arrival of COVID-19 has provided a nuclear-level stress test to the American health care system, and our grade isn’t pretty: at least 73,000 dead, 1.2 million infected and 30 million unemployed; nursing homes, prisons and meatpacking plants that have become hotbeds of infection. The actual numbers are certainly far higher, since there still hasn’t been enough testing to identify all those who have died or have been infected.
By all accounts, a number of other countries have responded — and fared — far better.
In some ways, COVID-19 seemed the biological equivalent of 9/11 — unthinkable until it happened. Who would have thought individuals would fly jets filled with people into skyscrapers filled with workers? Likewise, who would have predicted the onslaught of a new virus that was stealthy, easily transmissible and also often perilous?
Actually, many public health specialists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, did. And yet, our system failed in its response. Heroic health care providers were left to jury-rig last-minute solutions to ensure that the toll wasn’t even worse.
But the saddest part is that most of the failings and vulnerabilities that the pandemic has revealed were predictable — a direct outgrowth of the kind of market-based system that Americans generally rely on for health care.
Above, a 1962 Italian magazine of how the world will look in 2022
Our system requires every player — from insurers to hospitals to the pharmaceutical industry to doctors — be financially self-sustaining, to have a profitable business model. As such, it excels at expensive specialty care. But there’s no return on investment in being primed and positioned for the possibility of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Combine that with an administration unwilling to intervene to force businesses to act en masse to resolve a public health crisis like this, and you get what we got: a messy, uncoordinated under-response, defined by shortages and finger-pointing.
May 19, 2020:
It has now been two months of home quarantine and a lot has happened, but mostly a lot of people dying. And Trump is behaving like a man who has absolutely no clue about what to do. He says that he has been taking Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) to prevent him from getting the coronavirus but most highly trained doctors say it doesn’t help and only causes major side effects. Apparently it is an anti-malarial drug that he owns stock in. His temperament and behavior lately are very bizarre even by his standards. Here are some of the common side effects of taking that drug:
headache, dizziness, ringing in your ears;
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
loss of appetite, weight loss;
mood changes, feeling nervous or irritable;
skin rash or itching;
symptoms of an overdose:
no pulse or blood pressure.
numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips.
Today Trump held a press conference and he acted extremely strange:
Donald Trump has attacked another female reporter who asked the president on Tuesday about a national reopening plan surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, calling her a “rude person” and adding: “That’s enough of you.”
The president was responding to a question from CBS’ Paula Reid, who asked him why he has yet to announce a plan that would get the millions of Americans seeking unemployment aid amid the pandemic back to work.
“Just a rude person you are,” he said, before claiming “the plan is that each state is opening”.
“I think we’ve announced a plan, the plan is that we’re reopening the country, just a rude person you are,” he said. “We’re opening up our country and we’re opening it up very fast.”
“It’s opening up very effectively,” he added. “When you see the numbers I think even you will be impressed, which it’s pretty hard to impress you.”
As Ms. Reid attempted to continue asking the president for an answer to her question, Mr. Trump snapped back “that’s enough of you” then pointed at another reporter.
More than 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began in the United States.
She’s far from the first female reporter to be on the receiving end of controversial attacks from Mr. Trump. Just days ago, the president attacked CNN’s Kaitlin Collins over a viral clip of the journalist shared in right-wing circles of the web that appeared to show her removing her face mask for a few seconds at the end of a press briefing.
He shared the clip in a tweet, writing: “CNN Faker!”
The president also stirred controversy after abruptly ending a contentious press briefing a week earlier in the White House Rose Garden after refusing to take a question from Ms. Collins.
Just before the end of the briefing, he told Weijia Jang, White House correspondent for CBS News, to “ask China” her question about testing in the US.
“Maybe that’s a question you should ask China,” he said. “Don’t ask me, ask China that question. OK?”
Ms. Jang, who immigrated to the US from China at the age of two, responded to the president: “Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically?”
“I’m telling you,” Mr. Trump replied. “I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question.”
Ms. Jiang pushed back, saying “That’s not a nasty question” and repeating her question once again.
As he attempted to ignore the journalist and call on another reporter, Ms. Collins noted that she was previously called on but gave Ms. Jiang an opportunity to respond to the president’s comments.
“I just wanted to let my colleague finish,” Ms. Collins said. “Can I ask you a question?”
Mr. Trump then said “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much” before exiting the Rose Garden.
May 22, 2020:
Not much going on this past week as more and more states open up and let people go back to the alligator-filled watering hole. I am not taking any chances, but really, I don’t need to go out. We have food and other supplies and we never really dined out too much or went to too many events where there are lots of people. We have enough programs on the television to keep us entertained and unless it was a really great movie, we waited until it came on TV or we had a chance to catch it on some long-distance flight.
From the New York Times:
Over the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be important to keep this recent history in mind. Without mass testing — and the United States is not doing mass testing — there is a lag before a virus outbreak becomes apparent. Most people who develop symptoms don’t do so for at least five days, and sometimes longer. The worst symptoms usually take almost three weeks to appear.
With more parts of the U.S. starting to reopen, many people will be tempted to look at the data this week and start proclaiming victory over the virus. But this week’s data won’t tell us much. It will instead reflect the reality from early May and late April, when much of the country was still on lockdown.
“The data are always two or three weeks old,” Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania told me. “And we have a hard time understanding that things are different from what we’re looking at.” Crystal Watson of Johns Hopkins University told The Associated Press that we wouldn’t really know how reopening had affected the virus’s spread for five to six weeks.
It’s possible that the reopenings won’t cause the outbreaks that many epidemiologists fear — because many people will still stay home, or because they will venture out cautiously, or because the virus may spread more slowly in warmer air. But it’s also possible that the country will find itself suffering through a new wave of outbreaks in June.
In other virus developments:
The World Health Organization’s decision-making body will meet starting today and likely discuss whether to investigate China’s response to the outbreak. (My question is: WTF are they waiting for? As an organization that oversees these types of situations, they have failed miserably!)
Above, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum attitude at the start of this virus epidemic caused many people to have a relaxed attitude about the severity of the problem. He has been very quiet these past months after appearing on TV many times at the onslaught of the problem.
The number of confirmed cases passed 5 million worldwide, though experts warned the true count is likely higher. The World Health Organization reported the largest single-day increase of infections since the outbreak began, and about 40% of them were in the U.S.
The World Health Organization’s first virtual assembly starts today, and tensions are expected to be high. President Trump is critical of the agency’s response to the virus and has urged an investigation into China’s handling of its outbreak.
“It’s probably the most important assembly in their history,” says Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy for Oxfam America.
“We have a global pandemic. We have half a billion people at risk of falling into poverty. And we need the World Health Assembly to come up with the core solutions. And that is getting a vaccine out, manufactured, distributed and freely available to everyone as soon as possible,” he says.
And this: As more children survive a mysterious syndrome linked to the virus, their experiences are helping doctors understand what they’re up against. “It was almost like someone injected you with straight-up fire,” said one ninth-grader in Queens.
And finally: Annie Glenn, a champion of people with speech disorders and the wife of American astronaut John Glenn, has died at 100, from Covid-19.
May 23, 2020:
From the Los Angeles Times:
By LAURA NEWBERRY
MAY 17, 20208:22 PM
A Butte County pastor who defied public health officials and held an in-person Mother’s Day service that potentially exposed 180 congregants to the coronavirus has spoken out about his decision on social media.
In a Facebook post on Friday, pastor Mike Jacobsen of Palermo Bible Family Church said that an asymptomatic congregant who attended the May 11 service woke up the next morning “needing medical attention” and was tested for the coronavirus that day. The congregant received positive test results for COVID-19 two days later.
Jacobsen, who with his wife has led the pentecostal church since 2008, said in the post that he would “never with knowledge put anyone in harms [sic] way.”
“For 7 weeks we have been kept out of our church and away from our church family,” Jacobsen wrote in the post, which has since been deleted. “I am fully aware that some people may not understand that for our church it is essential to be together in fellowship.”
Above, a cell, in greenish-brown, heavily infected with the coronavirus, officially called SARS-CoV-2, that causes the COVID-19 disease. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—Integrated Research Facility)
May 24, 2020:
I have to admit that I am losing my enthusiasm for keeping a daily log concerning this coronavirus outbreak. When I first started writing it I figured, as probably most Americans or most earthlings for that matter, that it would be a one and done deal. One month of isolation then things would get better, maybe even a quick cure, and we would be back to normal. Instead, we are coming out of isolation for no good reason other than people are sick of being cooped up. Death rates are still up and climbing in places where they “opened up” their states dues to loud-mouthed people who care only for themselves. There is no cure unless you subscribe to the bullshit that Trump is supposedly taking, or if you consider injecting disinfectant as he suggested. But no, there is no cure yet and the smart people are not mingling with the stupid people until there is a vaccine.
The really sad thing about this entire coronavirus affair, aside from the nearly 100,000 people who have died from it in America alone, is that Trump is doing nothing to ease the fears of the people. He points his fingers at everyone and blames everyone and take no leadership role in this mess. He plays golf and says that churches are an essential service and should be opened, yet when they have church gatherings, someone typically has the Covid-19 and spreads it to the entire congregation. I find it funny that Trump insists that churches are an essential service while he never attends church unless it’s for a photo-op. I would bet that he cannot recite one single prayer, like the simple Lord’s Prayer or even the children’s Now I lay me down to sleep prayer. And besides, he plays golf on Sunday.
May 25, 2020:
Speaking of essential services, it is hard to understand just what those services are and who gets to work and who doesn’t. The stores and food industry are essential as are the toilet paper makers. But gardeners? Roofers? Fence installers? Pool cleaners? Hairdressers?
Thank goodness for the grocery companies like Amazon, Whole Foods, and Costco, they have been amazing during this time. And the people who deliver the items like Door Dash and even the mailmen/mailwomen, we would probably have had to go out and not stay at home if it were not for these good people.
May 26, 2020:
From this weekends headlines:
A Memorial Day weekend like none before
The weekend that marks the start of summer will look very different this year. Many beaches and parks will be open to those who practice social distancing, but the rules for who can do what vary state-by-state. AAA expects a large portion of Americans to stay home. BLOOMBERG
At least 36,000 fewer people would have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. if restrictions were imposed just one week earlier, according to new estimates. The findings are based on evidence that reduced social activity beginning mid-March slowed transmission. THE NEW YORK TIMES
The CDC revised its guidance to say the coronavirus “does not spread easily” via surfaces, and reiterated that it mainly spreads from person to person. THE WASHINGTON POST
From the New York Times:
The U.S. is approaching a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
Almost all of them occurred within a three-month span at an average of more than 1,100 deaths a day. The Times scoured obituaries and death notices honoring those who died. The 1,000 names listed here reflect just 1 percent of the toll.
They are our family members, friends, and neighbors. Our Sunday front page is dedicated to them.
The number comes on the eve of Memorial Day, typically a kickoff to the first rites of summer. But public health officials warn that the impulse for social interaction and fun could result in an uptick in cases.
President Trump has been questioning the official coronavirus death toll, even as most experts say it is likely higher than what has been reported. And testing remains an issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been lumping together tests for active coronavirus with those for recovered patients, muddying the process of tracking the pandemic’s course.
May 27, 2020:
Here are some personal milestones that have come and gone while in isolation:
The tenth anniversary of my retirement, our 27th wedding anniversary, Kyla’s high school graduation, James, Ryan, Kim, Kyla, Nida, Melanie, Jeff and Sidney, and many other’s birthday who we missed.
The death toll in the USA from the coronavirus just surpassed 100,000. Reports are that if the country would have shut down and begun home quarantine, 30,000 people would not have died.
Here is the latest data:
And while we are in this epidemic our illustrious president is focused on two major items: playing golf and preventing us from voting by mail, even if he and his family are doing so. It is another way for the GOP to prevent people from voting for them since most cannot get out due to this coronavirus home quarantine. Trump and the GOP claim it will cause voter fraud, but since the Russian’s interfered with the last election in 2016, I doubt that this would have that much negative impact unless you would happen to think that kicking Trump out of the White House is all that negative.
May 28, 2020:
In 2018 we bought a new Honda CRV. It is a comfortable car and it gets good gas mileage but it has some very odd quirks. Specifically, the navigation system is off. It tells you to turn when you have already passed the street that you were supposed to turn on. Now the battery died, and the car is not even two-years-old!
I contacted the dealership and told them of the problem and that I was concerned about going out in public with the coronavirus issues and they assured me that they were taking proper precautions. In fact, I get weeklong communications from the dealership, Mel Rapton Honda in Sacramento, telling me that they are taking all the necessary precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Well, they did replace the defective battery for free but their Covid-19 precautions stink! When we went there to pick up the car it was parked in the staging area where people drop off their cars for service. The windows were rolled down and some guy comes out, no mask, no gloves, and no social distancing. He walks over to another car, fiddles around with the steering wheel, again with no gloves on or face mask. He is about two feet away from the car owner and they apparently have no concerns. The guy gets into his car and doesn’t bother to wipe down the steering wheel and drives off. No disinfectant spray, no semblance of taking any precautions.
Next, the girl who brings the customer their serviced car drives up in a vehicle, no gloves, and her face mask is wrapped around her neck! She doesn’t bother to spray and disinfectant in the car or on the handles and leaves the windows rolled down.
Next, a guy comes up to us, no six feet distancing, and he is not wearing a mask. I have left the window rolled up in Nida’s car and he tells me that I have to go inside to sign the paperwork. By now I am getting pissed! I told him that we were assured that precautions were being taken and that we could simply pick up the car without having to go inside their building, and in fact, we have no intention of going inside their building. Noticing that I am concerned about their lack of precautions and just a little pissed, he immediately slips his face mask that was around his neck, over his mouth and nose as he backs away to the six feet of recommended social distancing. Then he says that he would take care of the paperwork and we could just get the car and go.
I brought Lysol, latex gloves and disinfectant wipes, so after putting on the gloves, starting the car and rolling up the windows, I wipe down as much of the interior as I can and spray a liberal amount of Lysol all over the inside.
Gee, how does the Covid-19 spread?
May 29, 2020:
My sister’s birthday is today but we generally have stopped the get-togethers long ago before the virus hit. Seems that we greet birthdays of the adults with a card or simply using Facebook to say “Happy Birthday.”
I have to talk a little about travel plans, or rather the elimination of our travel plans during this COVID 19 virus pandemic. We had planned to go back to the Philippines this coming December, and in fact, have already purchased our airline tickets. But now with the easy spread of the disease and the uncertainty of the precautions that many people are not taking, we may not be traveling until there is a vaccine.
Above, the new passport stamps during the lockdown
It seems that I have spent more time in my house or around my house then I have ever spent since I first learned to walk. I fear that I may be getting “cabin fever” and start to enjoy just doing things around my house. Of course, it has been hitting 100 degrees F last week and not a temperature that you want to go outside and swelter in.
May 30, 2020:
My niece in Dubai turned one year old today and they made the coolest birthday cake for her. The family was going to go back to the Philippines to celebrate this momentous occasion but with nearly all flights canceled, they had a Quarantine Birthday in Dubai.
In other news: It seems that the CDC and WHO and all of the other agencies that we have depended on to keep us safe have also failed to report the accurate numbers during this pandemic. Now it seems that instead of 100,000 people dying in America from the coronavirus outbreak, the numbers may be over 30,000 higher! I guess that none of these agencies, who are responsible for our safe-keeping, did any disaster planning. And I guess this proves what many of us have always believed, that nearly all government entities are simply a huge jumble of bureaucracy and waste with people sitting around avoiding any sort of responsibility.
It also seems that the president of the USA is becoming more and more the subject of ridicule during this epidemic. He is the leader and he has been the center of all that is wrong with those empowered to fix national problems. And it seems that he is delusional in his approach to fixing problems. He thinks that if he says something, whether right or wrong, then it will happen, as the absurd comment about the disease going away when the weather gets warmer or injecting disinfectant.
During this past week, another black man was murdered by the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The cop lied about what happened, his fellow officers who were on scene lied about it and even the coroner filed a false death report. But then a video emerged showing the racist cop kneeling on the black man’s neck who was begging that he could not breathe. The cop had falsely claimed that the black man, George Floyd, was being hostile and violent, which of course the video showed otherwise. And what does our illustrious president say or do? He says and does nothing, except he goes golfing and complains that Twitter has no right to fact check him since he falsely claimed that a news anchor murdered another news anchor! He was pissed and threatened to shut down all social media. Does it still make you wonder how an insane man like Adolf Hitler became so powerful?
May 31, 2020:
There have been protests about the unjustified killing of George Floyd, not just in America but around the world. So far they have been peaceful. My sister-in-law and my niece participated in one that was held in Sacramento. I would have joined but this coronavirus problem still exists, more people are catching it, more people are dying from it and I do not want to venture out in public with a bunch of people who are possible carriers of it. I am good with staying at home until this is all over. The death rate is just too high and I see no end in sight.
June 1, 2020:
Here it is the first day of June and no cure in sight for the coronavirus, and to make matters worse, some rogue cop kills an innocent black man and the world has no erupted into riots, violence, and looting. It was inevitable. I went through this as a kid when Martin Luther King was murdered. Then the craziness after the Roddy King verdict, and several other inequities against blacks up to now when an innocent black man is literally murdered by a cop who choked him by kneeling on his throat as the man begged that he could not breathe. Then the cop and his partners who watched the whole affair lied about what happened and even the coroner lied on his autopsy report as to the cause of death.
And so it seems, as it always does, that when you think that it couldn’t get any worse, it does. Now our country’s focus is on military action to stop the looting and most cities have established curfews to keep people off the streets. Trump has proclaimed, “if they loot we will shoot!” Then he makes time for a ridiculous photo-op where he walks to a nearby Washington, DC church while armed militia fire tear gas at peaceful protesters! Then he stands in front of the church holding high a bible! Of all the silliness of his presidency, this might be the topper. Many, including me, doubt that he has ever read a single sentence in a bible if in fact he even opened the pages.
Trump’s Bible walk to church was an act of ‘sacrilege,’ says former Bush advisor
(RNS) — Posing for the cameras, President Donald Trump held a Bible at St. John’s Church near the White House on Monday evening after law enforcement cleared protesters out of the area with tear gas before his visit.
The protesters appeared to be acting peacefully before they were dispersed by force.
Tear gas canisters could be heard exploding as Trump spoke in the Rose Garden. He then walked over to the 200-year-old church that over the weekend was set on fire as demonstrators clashed with police.
Trump is urging the nation’s governors to get tougher with violent protesters and to deploy the National Guard.
He said in the Rose Garden that he is an ally of peaceful protesters, but he stressed that “I am your president of law and order.”
It is so odd to see this blatant act of publicity from a man holding up the holy article that he swore on to serve and protect the constitution of the United States, then threaten to shoot people. And the war against the COVID-19 has lost its momentum while the president and his minions claim it is fake and continue to hurl misleading information and inuendos and all sorts of silliness to distract away from the real issues. And as the days go on, and if history is any lesson, it will get much worse before it gets better.
June 2, 2020:
From the New York Times: “As the pandemic progresses, the number of cases and deaths per capita can provide a good measure of the prevalence of coronavirus in a community, even if the deadliest period of the outbreak has passed, as it may have in places like Seattle, New York, and New Orleans.
There are other measurements that would be helpful in understanding the progress of the epidemic in different places, such as the number of new hospitalizations, the number of tests administered, or the number of people showing any symptoms of respiratory illness. But confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, however incomplete, are the most useful daily statistics currently available at a local level everywhere in the country.”
Seems that there really is no barometer to measure the overall scope of the COVID-19 outbreak, however, as Bob Dylan once said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” In fact, it seems that when the death number of any disaster gets very high, people seem to become rather numb and mundane about the entire affair as if the numbers boggled their minds and they just want to put them out of mind. Out of sight, out of mind.
June 8, 2020:
Today there is nothing new, people are going back to work and going out and doing all of those things that they did before this crisis started. The exception is that there still is no cure, and people are still getting the virus, but we cannot, as a people, stay cooped up inside our houses. Except me, who has gotten a case of cabin fever. I simply do not have any desire to go out in public at this point. When there is a cure and a vaccine, OK, but until then, I am OK with just staying at home.
Here are the stats up until this final post:
Total Coronavirus Cases Worldwide: 7,131,859
Total Deaths Worldwide: 406,924
Total Recovered Worldwide: 3,479,449
Total USA Cases: 2,009,987 (leads the world)
Total USA Deaths: 112,523 (leads the world)
Goodbye, until there is a cure!
Above, my 93-year-old mother knows how to stay safe!
My niece knows how to stay safe!
My artist sister knows how to stay safe!
I know how to stay safe!
February 13, 2021:
I had decided several months ago that I would stop making entries into this blog post, but so much has happened that I felt the need to make an update. The biggest news is that Donald Trump lost the election in November 2020 to Joe Biden. And Trump was pissed! he ranted and raved like a bloody lunatic, and even incited a bunch of his cult followers to riot and take over the US capitol. Five people died and Trump was impeached a second time. Of course, the imbecile GOP refuses to go along.
The second news is that there are now several companies that have developed a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus. Of course, it became a cluster f#ck because no one was ready for the release of the vaccine. Every day things change and more announcements come out from the same people that put out the previous announcement contradicting what they said then.
From the start of this blog, here are the totals for this epidemic (some months are missing and are probably listed above somewhere:
Date Number of cases: Deaths:
March 22, 2020 340,408 14,573
March 25, 2020 459,793 20,823
March 28, 2020 621,592 28,791
March 31, 2020 809,139 39,559
April 1, 2020 902,715 45,309
April 6, 2020 1,379,168 78,223
April 19, 2020 2,361,482 162,045
February 13, 2021: 108,892,142 2,398,090
It is obvious that we as a people have not done a very good job of controlling this epidemic. There are so many people who refuse to wear a mask, hell, there are people who refuse to believe that the epidemic is real. Of course, the irony is that those same politicians who refused to accept that the Covid virus is real were the first to get in line when the vaccine was available! Trump even pulled a stunt where he claimed that he got the virus but was miraculously cured at Walter Reed Hospital.
We are hearing reports that a large percentage of vaccines have been shipped but with the poor coordination by the federal and state government, compounded by the poor planning by the facilities that get the vaccine, like Kaiser, my medical provider, a huge percentage sits in freezers unused.
Above, me after a year of not getting a hair cut and minimal shaving
Kaiser is taking a huge publicity hit and recently I received a group e-mail from their president who cites the problems as “we have 3.5 million members in Northern California but only received 300,000 doses.” I cite that as deplorable planning. They have had one year to plan for the release of the vaccine, they should have found a way to get more doses instead of letting them sit in freezers!
Anyway, people are now doing whatever it takes to get the vaccine. I was able to get my first shot (it takes two, one month apart), at a Sutter clinic not too far from where I live. They had extra does at the end of the day and instead of throwing them away, they gave them out to people over 65. Nida was not able to get a shot because she is two months shy of 65.
Above, on February 9, 2021, me getting my first Covid vaccine shot, manufactured by Pfizer. Now I have to wait until March 2, 2021, to get my second dose. Then I have to wait another two weeks before it takes effect.
There have been many rumors flying around on the internet about what’s in the vaccine. Some rumors even suggested that the vaccines contain gluten, wheat, eggs, and even bee venom and live COVID-19 virus! Some have even suggested that Microsoft is adding a tracking chip to the vaccine to track us! All of that is simply untrue.
If you’re among the many wondering “what’s actually in it?” and, “is it safe to receive the injection?”, keep reading.
COVID Vaccine Ingredients
There are two COVID-19 messenger-ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines currently authorized for emergent use in the United States: the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. Conventional vaccines rely on weakened and inactivated pathogens or a fragment of the pathogen to trigger an immune response. In contrast, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines use a novel approach by which mRNA is delivered into our cells to provide the genetic instructions for our own cells to “temporarily” make a “specific” viral protein that triggers an immune response.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is made of the following ingredients:
mRNA – Also known as messenger ribonucleic acid, mRNA is the only active ingredient in the vaccine. The mRNA molecules contain the genetic material that provides instructions for our body on how to make a viral protein that triggers an immune response within our bodies. The immune response is what causes our bodies to make the antibodies needed to protect us from getting infected if exposed to the coronavirus.
There are rumors that mRNA vaccines will alter our DNA because the RNA molecule can convert information stored in DNA into proteins. That’s simply not true. It’s critical to note that the mRNA vaccines never enter the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is stored. After injection, the mRNA from the vaccine is released into the cytoplasm of the cells. Once the viral protein is made and on the surface of the cell, mRNA is broken down and the body permanently gets rid of it, therefore making it impossible to change our DNA.
Lipids – The following lipids are in the new COVID vaccine. Their main role is to protect the mRNA and provide somewhat of a “greasy” exterior that helps the mRNA slide inside the cells:
(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
Salts – The following salts are included in the Pfizer vaccine and help balance the acidity in your body:
monobasic potassium phosphate
dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
Sugar – Basic table sugar, also known as sucrose, can also be found in the new COVID vaccine. This ingredient helps the molecules maintain their shape during freezing.