Saturday, July 18, 2020

Covid cases in Connnecticut under control

Gov. Ned Lamont has worked tirelessly to ensure Connecticut is among the lowest incidences of Covid-19 cases in the nation. His tremendous leadership has helped our state become the model for America's battle against the pandemic. Only three sparsely populated New England states have slightly lower new infection rates.

I've chatted with a few Trump-supporting acquaintances recently, and even THEY complimented Lamont's handling of the crisis. For the Kool-Aid drinkers to admit THAT is really something!

We must remain vigilant and keep on using common-sense safety habits, such as wearing a mask anytime you're within six feet of other people and continuing to thoroughly wash your hands and use sanitizer. We aren't out of the woods yet, and judging how some other states are going, we will have to deal with this for many, MANY more months.

Which is the direct result of poor leadership. We all know whose fault THAT is!

Anyway, Keep Calm and Wear Your Masks!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lamont announces new Covid guidelines

Today new guidelines went into effect that requires anyone traveling to Connecticut from states that are currently seeing a huge increase in Covid-19 cases to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Connecticut is making the most progress in battling this pandemic due in large part to Gov. Ned Lamont's exceptional leadership and also the vast majority of state residents who take this crisis seriously.

A shocking comparison to other states with terrible leadership is Florida and Texas, which have Trump-loving pandemic-denying governors. Both states are currently experiencing a tremendous spike in new cases. The nation as a whole set a record yesterday for new cases.

But Connecticut is doing amazingly well. Stats from two days ago show our state leading the nation in reducing new cases.

The only thing I'd like to see changed with the new requirement is the option for someone coming into the state be tested within 72 hours before arrival and provide a certificate that shows a negative test result before allowing them to stay in a hotel, campground, or AirBnb.

Maine has enacted just such a law, and it seems to be working.

Under Keep Maine Healthy:

The State will allow adults who obtain and receive a negative COVID-19 test from a specimen taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival to forgo the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Maine. This test indicates that, even when coming from areas with a higher prevalence of the disease than Maine’s, such visitors are unlikely to have COVID-19 and to spread it to Maine residents and other visitors. Individuals may be tested in Maine, but they must quarantine while awaiting the results.

People who are not Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont residents must complete a Certificate of Compliance form indicating they have received a negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days, or that they have already completed their quarantine in Maine.
This Certificate of Compliance must be provided to check-in at all Maine lodging, campgrounds, seasonal rentals, and other commercial lodging, such as Airbnb. Visitors may be asked to furnish  proof of the negative test result upon request.

This kind of approach makes a lot of sense and I think our state would benefit from a similar program, rather than simply relying on voluntary self-quarantine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Not Out Of The Woods Just Yet

Latest stats (as of June 16, 2020) for Covid-19 here in Milford and in Connecticut.

Milford still has a very high percentage of fatalities per confirmed or likely case, running at roughly 12.5%. This is likely due to the outbreaks at nursing homes, which have an extraordinarily high death rate. But still...

Connecticut as a state is doing somewhat better, with a fatality rate slightly below 10%. Not great compared to the national average. I haven't figured out the reason for the discrepancy between the national fatality average of (currently) 7.3% and our 10% rate. One sure thing is that a second wave of Covid-19 is starting to burn through the populations of many states that had low rates of infection before now.

But that's nothing compared to the amazing progress so many other countries have made to both prevent the spread of the virus and control the hot spots before they get too big. Obviously the reason for this is the singularly horrible lack of leadership our nation is suffering under. Trump at first ignored the threat, then denied it, then called it a hoax, then claimed we controlled it when we didn't, then claimed he had a miracle drug that would end the threat, then simply lied and claimed the threat is over.

There IS a vaccine for the virus known as Donald J. Trump.

It is voting on November 3rd.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Profile in Cowardice

Last night there were hundreds of protestors gathered around the White House.

Instead of addressing the nation on national TV, our president pissed himself, turned off the lights, and hid in his bunker.

The photo says everything about the character of the man who is supposed to lead our nation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lamont orders Vote By Mail for 2020 primary

Today Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order allowing registered voters to vote by mail in the August 11th state and presidential primary.

The primary was scheduled for April 28, then postponed to June 2, and finally firmly placed on August 11. The Democratic National Convention begins on August 17, so the results of our primary will most likely award delegates at the convention.

Sec. of State Denise Merrill has said each registered voter will receive an application in the mail with a post-paid return envelope. After completing and returning the application, eligible voters will receive a ballot with a post-paid envelope in time for the election. Also, Merrill directed each town to have a secure dropbox available in a prominent location so voters can drop off their ballots in person without exposing themselves to public polling place workers.

Here is the link for a PDF file of the Governor's executive order.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Covid-19 stuff

I had my annual physical ten days ago. My doctor's office has been trying to keep semi-open during this pandemic, so I was able to get an appointment during their reduced business hours of 10AM-2PM.

I told him how sick I'd been in mid-January with a suspected flu that was exceptionally rough on my lungs. I remember thinking as I was having a coughing fit and unable to clear my throat, "This is how people die from the flu!"

So I asked if I could get a Corona antibody test. Since I'd just had blood work, he called the lab and asked them to run a test on my remaining samples. He explained that they keep the blood available for five or so days afterwards in case more tests are needed.

I got the results back after the weekend. Negative for antibodies. Which means I simply had the flu.

I was oddly disappointed.

I'd been hoping for antibodies on the assumption that it may (no proof yet) protect me from re-infection.

And I was a bit miffed because I had the flu shot for this season. But I did read soon after I was sick that the shot, which was formulated months earlier based on what scientists think MAY be the flu threat, only covered two of the four strains that the Connecticut DPH website said were active here when I got sick. So I had a 50-50 chance of flu, and I hit the odds.

In other Covid news, here in Milford we've had 573 confirmed cases of Corona, with 68 fatalities. That's roughly a 12% fatality rate!

I don't know why we're having such a terrible time with this disease, when so many other towns and cities in Connecticut are experiencing much lower fatality rates, anywhere from 8% to 4%. But, it could just be a statistical anomaly.

Which is precisely why everyone has been screaming for more widespread testing! THIS is the sort of thing that will assist doctors and epidemiologists in battling the spread of Covid-19.

In other news, the Marmalade Ass in DC has started taking hydrochloroquine on his own. Apparently he's worried he may have been exposed, and he's hoping somehow he was correct about the drug's efficacy, although there's absolutely NO peer-reviewed studies that support this conclusion.

In my opinion, only GOOD things can happen when a morbidly obese man in his 70s takes a drug with widely known and dangerous side effects to ineffectually battle a disease which specifically targets people with his pre-existing conditions.

In fact, I think his doctors should double or triple his dose! You know, just to be sure.

Today at Walgreens we found 50-count boxes of masks for $30, so we bought one. The way we look at it, after the nation partially reopens over the next few weeks, there is likely going to be a second, even BIGGER wave of infections.

We want to make sure we're in a good position to survive other people's stupidity. After all, we wouldn't want all those Karens to miss their hair appointments!

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Time For Vote By Mail Is Now

Secretary of State Denise Merrill is pushing for a universal vote by mail option in Connecticut. This is something that's been LONG overdue, but I'm pleased that the idea is finally getting some traction.
"Connecticut has the most restrictive absentee ballot laws in the country, and the coronavirus has exposed how that restrictiveness can threaten our democracy," said Secretary Merrill. "The legislature can and should fix this permanently when they come into session in the summer by removing the most restrictive language from the statute."
Legally it looks like there is ample justification already in Connecticut law to make this possible, with one tiny exception. In a recent op-ed, Merrill stated the following:
In today’s situation, that more restrictive language in the statute makes it more difficult for people to get a ballot to mail in the face of the fear of a global pandemic. The Constitution reads “due to sickness” while the statute reads due to “his or her illness.” Those three words, “his or her,” in the statute but not in the Constitution, are the reason why we cannot vote by mail this November if we want to avoid polling places and a possible fall wave of the coronavirus.

The legislature can fix this for the short term very easily when they meet this summer to vote on budget adjustments and coronavirus relief. All they have to do is remove the words “his or her” from the statute 9-135, so that the language of the statute matches the language of the Constitution.
This seems easily doable, with the exception of the most vocal Trump supporters who will absolutely claim that this will lead to massive voter fraud. Which is a bullshit argument, for these following reasons:

1) Voting by mail has been successfully used for many decades by soldiers stationed overseas. There have been very, very few instances of fraud; and pretty much any time a vote was found to be questionable, it was usually because of an honest mistake and not part of a huge conspiracy.

2) If it was SO goddamned easy to manipulate an election through voter fraud, don't you think the powerful right-wing groups funding most of the bullshit tactics of Trump fans wouldn't enthusiastically engage in making sure there were MILLIONS of fake votes for their candidates? They wouldn't hesitate even one nano-second before creating a voting fraud cabal designed to take advantage of whatever imaginary voting loophole the conspiracy nuts think exists!

3) The main reason conservatives hate voting by mail is that it will ensure a much higher participation in elections. And THAT is their biggest fear! Why do you think so many red states are closing polling places in urban areas and enacting draconian voter I.D. laws? Because making it difficult or impossible for minorities to vote will only help their candidates. Republicans don't want anything resembling a fair election because they will get crushed! This is why Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on the bill to protect election security. McConnell would rather have foreign interference and foreign hacking in our elections if it helps keep his party in power.

And it will be much easier to vote, and will actually save voters time and money:
Secretary Merrill previously announced that all voters will be receiving applications for absentee ballots; those applications will explain the law in light of this interpretation of 9-135. As previously announced, the Office of the Secretary will pay for the postage for the applications, their return, the ballots, and the ballots' return, so that absentee ballots can be used without cost to the voters or the towns.

This is obviously the way to go. I look forward to seeing this happen.

Monday, April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Update

April 27th

Milford CT

Total confirmed cases: 443

Total confirmed deaths: 44

Fatality Rate: 10%

This is no bullshit.

If you get sick from COVID-19, you have a significant chance of dying!

Be smart.

Be safe.

Mask up and glove up.

And stay the fuck home!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Serial killer on the loose

I'm so tired of idiot conservatives going around saying COVID-19 is "basically the same as the flu"!

Today is April 20th. So far in Connecticut we've had 1,331 COVID-related deaths. It's up over 200 from the previous day.

For comparison, during the 2017-18 flu season, which was a particularly bad one, there were a total of merely 184 flu-related deaths here in Connecticut. We had more than that YESTERDAY alone!

And this pandemic is FAR from over! It's nothing like the flu.

Here in Milford, we've had 31 deaths, up 5 from yesterday. Just think about that. Five people who were alive in my little city yesterday are now gone.

Yet, today in many places around the country, conservatives held public rallies AGAINST the measures that are designed to keep people safe and alive.

This is insane!

Why are people so fucking stupid? Can they not comprehend that by suddenly pretending the pandemic is over will actually cause it to last MUCH LONGER? Instead of gradually easing restrictions as testing data shows a marked decrease in new cases, they want to throw open the floodgates and let life return to "normal" right away.

As if "normal" is something that we'll just magically get back to.

So, we'll probably have a minimum of six more months of necessary isolation before we can even think about restarting the economy. Which probably would have been half that if people would just LISTEN TO THE DOCTORS INSTEAD OF WACKY POLITICIANS!!!

Imagine if we reacted to these deaths as if they were caused by a serial killer instead of a virus. People would hide in their homes and take every available precaution to ensure their health and safety until the danger passed.

But our complete and total lack of leadership on the Federal level has guaranteed that this pandemic will last much longer and kill many more people than it should have, had it been handled properly from the start.

Actually, we DO have a serial killer on the loose.

His name is Donald J. Trump.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Sticking with the routine

Saturday morning, April 11th.

Day before Easter. We have nothing planned for observance. It's basically just another day for us.

The pandemic seems to be somewhat flattening out here in Connecticut. Which basically means the daily number of new cases has stopped increasing exponentially. It doesn't mean that this is anywhere near over. People are still going to get sick, and every day the total number of cases will continue to rise. We're still months away from even considering relaxing any of the current restrictions.

Our trip to Spain and Andorra scheduled for May 22nd is canceled. We knew it was going to happen, but we had to wait for Norwegian Air to cancel our flight in order to qualify for a refund. Otherwise, if we'd canceled our trip we would have only been eligible for a credit.

Basically, I'd rather have the refund because I'm worried Norwegian may file Chapter 11 and leave us high and dry. So hopefully they'll get us the refund soon. AirBnb allowed us to cancel with no penalty. They are refunding our deposits also.

Of course, our April trip to DC was canceled weeks ago. Amtrak gave us a full refund, and the pre-paid hotel is similarly going to give us our money back.

Now the only trip we still have planned this year is July 4th in Montreal. I figure there's not more than a 1-in-3 chance we'll still be able to go, but both our airfares and AirBnb are fully refundable if we cancel by June 18th. I'm sure the Montreal Jazz Festival scheduled for that week will either be greatly limited or rescheduled/canceled.

Work is still going reasonably well. Being dispatched from home and only running critical service calls means that I may only have to go out a couple times a week. But we're an essential service company, so we'll be fully employed for the duration.

We are taking every precaution when we go shopping once a week. We may stock up next time and get two weeks worth of groceries to avoid unnecessary exposures. Especially considering the supermarket we use has had a bunch of new cases recently!

The stress of this pandemic is starting to show. The fear of getting sick actually makes it harder to sleep. Every day I do a personal inventory to see how my health is. We're still going on daily walks, while using all necessary protection. I'm getting tired of the smell of alcohol and sanitizer!

The coming week will tell us a lot about where we're headed. Trump as usual will be clamoring to open the economy as soon as possible, probably causing a second wave of infections and another cycle of illness. But we'll also start hearing about some results of the latest viral treatments, and hopefully we'll get something that will slow or eliminate new infections.

Anyway, we're sticking with our new routine. It's basically life during wartime. We're all in the same bunker.

And something tells me that while we may return to some semblance of normalcy, we'll never get back to what we were just a few months ago.

Things will be different now.