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.

Monday, April 06, 2020

The story of isolation so far

Today is Monday, April 6th.

This is a brief account of our life right now. It's by no means complete, but just some notes to reflect on this moment in history.

The oncoming COVID-19 crisis was apparent by the end of February. China had already shut down Wuhan and other cities, and reports of deaths from the virus had been coming across the news feed since January.

At first glance this seemed like nothing we haven't seen before. SARS and MERS seemed similar in that people, especially Asians, were wearing masks in public, especially in enclosed areas like on planes or in subways. Everyone assumed we'd get through this with common sense measures.

But COVID is different. It is MUCH more virulent, and incredibly easy to catch. Plus, it may infect a large percentage of people who, unknown to them, are shedding large amounts of the virus. A longish incubation period also helped spread the disease.

It really helped that Trump constantly underplayed the serious nature of the epidemic (it wasn't even acknowledged to be a pandemic until way too late). First it was a minor threat. Then a Democratic hoax. Then a two-week "time-out" was all that was needed.

By the time Trump and his cronies publicly acknowledged the seriousness of the disease, it had already spread beyond simple containment. This is a clear case of criminal negligence and dereliction of duty. But this matter will be addressed at a later date; if we survive this.

The very first instance of the virus affecting me was when I decided on March 3rd to get a haircut, since it was becoming apparent that soon we would have voluntary or involuntary isolation. It was a couple weeks before I usually get a haircut, but I'm glad I did.

The company I work for started changing policies right around that time. By the following Friday (March 13th) it was announced that on Monday only essential personnel would be allowed to come into work. Because my job is deemed essential by the state (I repair and maintain radio systems for first responders) I would no longer have to start my day at headquarters, but only go there to pick up parts or equipment.

So I am dispatched from home only in the event of emergency service, or if there is schedule maintenance at unmanned locations. For instance, we had yearly maintenance at a local town's radio system. Several sites are unmanned (if you ever noticed those little buildings at the base of cell towers, that's often where our equipment is stored) so I was allowed to service them. But at the main Police Dept. headquarters I was told to stay away until after the pandemic is over.

The weekend of the 14th and 15th was when Joyce and I started wearing gloves when shopping. It took another week or so for us to start wearing masks. Which we only have a handful of; two N95 masks and a half-dozen hospital masks, all left over from several years ago.

Fortunately we had plenty of hand sanitizer before this started. Also, I found a pint of 90% rubbing alcohol in the medicine chest, and also a quart of pure industrial alcohol in the basement. I filled a spray bottle with alcohol and placed bottles of sanitizer in our coat pockets and vehicles. And we had four or five boxes of rubber gloves from years of various projects laying around, so we're in good shape so far. Additionally, we have an old fashioned mercury thermometer and a fingertip oxygen/pulse monitor so we can set a baseline of our temperatures and oxygen metabolism while we're healthy.

And because my wife is such a resourceful bargain shopper, we began this ordeal with around 60 rolls of toilet paper. We still have about 30 left, but finally local stores are stocking them again in limited supplies, so every time we shop we pick up a couple rolls.

We're trying to keep social distancing wherever we go. In stores we try to get in and out quickly, and for the most part only essential trips. We haven't seen any friends since the 15th, except for a couple walks when they were at least six feet away.

Today, April 6th, there are signs that here in Connecticut we may be reaching the peak of new infections soon. That will only be a preliminary starting point on the road to normalcy. That is, if things every become normal again! Once new infections start to taper off, there will still be a need to isolate for at LEAST another month or two. My fear is that people will hear about infections going down and assume they can get back to their previous lifestyles, which includes public gatherings and a decrease in our current ultra-hygenic activities.

The 1918 flu pandemic occurred in at least two distinct waves. Once in winter/spring of early 1918, then again in August/September. Which proves that warm weather doesn't necessarily defeat flu virus. This could happen to us if we return to our previous habits too soon.

We have a trip to Spain planned for May 22nd. (UPDATE: It's the AirBnb deposits back, still waiting on Air Norwegian) So far the airline hasn't canceled our flight. There are encouraging signs from Spain that they have passed the peak. But still, it's not apparent when they will return to more or less "normal" life. We won't get a refund from the airline or our AirBnb unless they cancel, so we're stuck waiting it out. It's looking like we'll end up canceling, or they will. But this is a minor inconvenience compared to the thousands who are in hospitals fighting for their lives. We'll get over it if we have to cancel.

We DON'T know if we'll get over COVID-19 if we get sick.

And right now, that's the thing that matters.

More updates to follow...