Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Coronavirus Diaries 18

We’re in some kind of Sisyphus-type nightmare, aren’t we?

Seems like a couple of months ago we locked everything down and it seemed like we were getting a grip on the Covid-19 situation… to a degree.

The infection rate was stabilizing if not dropping and people seemed to be practicing social distancing. Masks, we found out a little later, were considered a great help in lowering the transmission rates and, as of the past couple of months, the wiser businesses have required any clients who step in their stores wear them.

Then things slipped.

The rates of infection are rising through the proverbial roof and the mighty United States, the envy of the civilized world, has shown itself to be far from ready to take on this particular fight.

As with so many things, the fault lies at the top.

I know, I know… its probably getting tiresome hearing me bemoan our “President”, but the reality is that Trump and his bizarre, uneducated, and irresponsible manners has for the past several weeks played down the COVID-19 situation and, sadly, so too have too many state governors.

When the states were “re-opened” there was this sense -incorrect, as it turned out- that perhaps we have turned the corner and could go back to normal.

Restaurants and bars opened in far too many places and without enough safeguards present.

In the end, too many people congregated too close to each other and, today, we keep seeing record numbers of infection rates. What follows, even more sadly, are deaths from this virus.

You can’t blame Trump for everything. I know that. I don’t blame him for this virus but I do blame him for his too blasé -bordering on criminal- attitude toward it.

He thought people wearing masks were dumb… and he even to this day refuses to wear one because, I can only guess, he feels it makes him look weak.

Or something.

This despite statistics and the professional immunologist advice that wearing a mask makes you less likely to contract the COVID-19 virus.

With someone as powerful as the President poo-pooing the notion of wearing masks, it was only nature that we’d see too many people doing the very same.

And they did.

And now we’re here, with the rates going through the proverbial roof with no end in sight.

I genuinely fear what’s coming next.

The economy has been severely hurt and if the rate of infection continues, it can only get worse. Europe is opening up but, given our infection rates, United States citizens aren’t allowed to travel there.

Can you imagine?

Our mighty country so far behind in dealing with this situation that we’re considered a danger for travel?

I don’t know what lies ahead but I genuinely wonder how much long responsible people in government are going to let this go on.

I also wonder how much longer regular citizens will have patience with this.

Are we in for another lockdown?

I have to admit, a part of me hopes this will happen.

But, once we do, will we again let our guard down and again open ourselves up too much and yet again find ourselves with far too many infections as before?

And so it goes…

This just can’t be…

I mean, please tell me this isn’t true.

Yes, tell me it’s “fake news”. Please!

Written by Bill Hutchinson and presented on abcnews.com…

Alabama students throwing “Covid Parties” to see who gets infected: Officials

The upshot of this article is even more frightening than the headline suggests. Read the whole thing, I urge you.

These are the first three paragraphs of the article:

Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties in the city and surrounding area as part of a disturbing contest to see who can catch the virus first, a city council member told ABC News on Wednesday.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students have been organizing “COVID parties” as a game to intentionally infect each other with the contagion that has killed more than 127,000 people in the United States. She said she recently learned of the behavior and informed the city council of the parties occurring in the city.

She said the organizers of the parties are purposely inviting guests who have COVID-19.

I mean, come on! This has to be a joke, right?

Please…?!

While its tempting to simply blame youthful stupidity, the reality is that stupidity seems to be all too plentiful these days.

“President” Trump refusing to wear a mask and still (still!) saying he feels the pandemic will miraculously “disappear”… even as our rates of infection are back to where they were when everything was first shut down.

The congress -sadly mostly Republicans- keep their mouths shut instead of screaming from the top of their lungs while citizens day after day die from this deadly disease. Many refuse to go to meetings with masks on because… I dunno… I guess its more manly to risk infecting other people?!

Is it so fucking hard for people to get it through their heads that, yes, the disease exists and that, absolutely yes, it can be deadly? And, sometimes when its not deadly, it can leave you with medical issues you may have to deal with for the rest of your life?

Is it so hard to tell people to please, please wear a mask and social distance?

Is common sense in such a limited supply?

I just don’t know anymore.

Coronavirus Diaries 17: Nothing To See Here

It’s one of the funnier jokes presented in the hilarious The Naked Gun:

The not so funny thing is that the Trump administration seems to have decided that if they can’t figure out the Coronavirus situation, their best strategy is to deny reality and act like its already done and the vaccine is just about here and, as Frank Drebin said above, “there’s nothing to see here.”

If only.

I truly don’t like to wade into politics that much and for the same reason I don’t like discussing religion. If people are perfectly capable of losing their minds over whether or not you like Batman v. Superman, then moving into the realm of religion and politics is just supercharging that nerve.

But, I’ll do so anyway…

At least in politics.

So, yeah, that seems to be the Trump message of late. Don’t worry about Corona. Absurdly, they state the only reason we’re seeing larger amounts of Corona cases is because of testing. If we eliminate testing, then everything will be fine and we won’t see those numbers (huh?!).

They plan to continue their rallies in closed off/indoor stadiums. They encourage people not to bother with masks (Trump himself seems allergic to them, I suppose macho-man thinks it makes him look like a pussy or something) and if/when those rallies come to be, we’re going to have a bunch of folk who feel Covid-19 is “fake news” and I doubt we’ll see too many of them bother with masks.

Which makes the fact that Trump and company are forcing people who do come to his rallies sign a contract which absolves them of getting sick or dying that much more hilarious…

…if it weren’t so fucking sad.

Yeah, I’m surly today.

We’ve got a guy in the White House who gassed peaceful protesters so he could do a stupid photo op in front of a church… where he looked like it was the first time he held a book, much less a bible.

This is a guy who is repeating stupid conspiracy theories about Martin Gugino, the 75 year old man who was pushed by police, and whom the police subsequently lied about what happened to him, claiming -until the video proved otherwise- he “tripped”…

It’s been reported the man suffered a skull fracture, brain damage, and is unable to walk.

But… let’s scream Antifa, amiright?!

Here’s the thing, though: It seems like Trump’s latest moves have exposed him to a very harsh backlash. His approval numbers are going down to historic (for him) lows. Polls in must win states are dropping and in some, he’s losing.

By a lot.

All this while Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, is essentially invisible.

Thing is: why should Biden do more than he is at this point?

The saying goes when your opponent is falling, give them space. Let them do your work for you.

Problem is: The election isn’t today. It’s in November, five months from now. An eternity in politics, surely.

Hopefully, Biden’s “down time” will allow him to sharpen his rhetorical knife and create a more powerhouse public machine to promote his candidacy.

At this point I’m at least cautiously optimistic that perhaps -maybe!- those people who voted for Trump because “what the hell, he’s better than Hillary” (as opposed to those who are still his most rabid fans, who will obviously vote once again for him) are finally waking up to what Trump is really all about.

I doubt very much there are many who did vote for Hillary Clinton who will now back Trump. He’s done nothing at all to make them want to vote for him… indeed, quite the opposite.

But again: November is still a long way away.

And it can’t come quick enough.

Please, don’t do as Trump. Wear your masks. You’re helping yourself, you’re helping others around you.

The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t through. It isn’t over. Magically thinking doesn’t stop it but wearing a mask might just help do so.

Please.

If not for your sake, then for your family members (elderly or not), friends, and co-workers.

Coronavirus Diaries 16: How Are We Doing?

Seems like a very long time since normalcy.

In the past week plus we’ve had the death of George Floyd which has touched a very raw nerve, leading to major protests and, hopefully, a re-examination of the way we police ourselves.

Lost, it seems, in all this furor was what led the police to be called on Mr. Floyd: My understanding is that he was at a store and tried to pay for items with a false $20 bill.

The man lost his life for $20, something so hard to get into your head that even the store that called the police on him have stated they wouldn’t have called had they know the over-reaction (to put it bluntly) it would have caused and have sworn off calling the police for any minor matters like this.

Its incredible, nonetheless, that someone lost his life for a measly $20.

While it is certainly possible the man knowingly tried to pass off the phony bill, its just as possible he received it in a transaction beforehand and innocently tried to use it.

I’ve worked in places where we have received phony bills. Hell, I recall one person tried to pass off a $100 bill that was actually -believe it or not- a $1 bill which was bleached clean and then the $100 pictures were pasted on it. Thus, the bill would, if the clerk checked, come out as “real” even if the value of it was phony.

Other times, the person who tried to pass it to us was -we thought- genuinely shocked to see the bill wasn’t real.

And there have also been times where I’ve gone to make a deposit in the bank and found that among the bills we had for the business, there was one -usually a high value bill- that was phony.

The bank didn’t call the police on us and we lost the money and time spent writing where we likely collected the bill and, if we could recall who gave it to us. Understand, this doesn’t happen every week but in some 30 years of business I’d say its happened at least two dozen times. Not bad, I suppose, for the length of time, but it happens and it sucks and I wish people wouldn’t do it but to lose your life for $20?

No.

Moving along, we are also seeing some weird reactions.

“President” Donald Trump has been consistently doing the wrong thing, it seems, but its almost like we expect it from him now, so inept is his administration and he in particular.

It is disheartening to see looters setting fire to stores and robbing all items within, but it appears these provocateurs were a small number and, as time goes on, it appears they are being frozen out of the major protests which are -again it appears from watching the many news stories/perusing the internet- being led by people who don’t want these characters around them.

It is also disheartening to see some of the Police Officers and their overreactions, another number I fervently hope is very small when compared to the total number of people in the force.

Granted, no one wants to stand at the front lines and have people yell and curse -or worse- at them but some of the images we’ve seen, of officers abusing protesters who clearly weren’t doing anything that merited their overreaction, has been chilling. No one wants to see images of people bleeding or the aftermath of being hit with a rubber bullet and having their eye explode in its socket.

What has been heartening, however, is seeing the police officers who have shown empathy to those protesting or have maintained order without going crazy.

Yeah, I feel like there are more of them.

Reforms will come, I’m confident, because this time around we’re seeing almost everything filmed and no longer can a “bad apple” try to lie their way out of something ghastly they did.

Louis Brandeis is credited with writing sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants and, while he wasn’t necessarily writing about social movements, it applies.

Which brings us to the next thing, and its another depressing one: While one appreciates the peaceful protests and the changes they seek, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and I can’t help but think that in the next few weeks we are going to see a significant rise in people infected with Covid 19.

Perhaps the numbers won’t be so bad but I worry.

I really do.

We’re still in the middle of it, sadly, and the end doesn’t look to be in sight.

Yet.

That day will come.

Soon, I hope.

Coronavirus – Earlier Than Thought?

A while back and on March 26th I mused (you can read it here), that I, and many of the people around me, might have already been exposed to the Coronavirus already. From around early/mid January and through February, our business and many of the people working within it -including my father- caught a nasty bug that lasted weeks to get rid of. In my case, I didn’t suffer high fevers and cough but was really fatigued and completely wiped out at by the end of each work week, something I can honestly say had never happened to me to such a weird extent before.

Now, understand: I knew this post might come across as far fetched or perhaps even wishful thinking on my part. After all, if I and the people around me were exposed to Coronavirus, then we’d be immune to the virus and therefore, we shouldn’t have much to worry about it.

However…

That does NOT mean I’m taking things easy. Even if there is a possibility I was exposed to the Covid-19 virus and have “defeated” it, I have to assume I didn’t and keep myself self-isolated as best as possible.

After all, and as I said before, the first official appearances of the Coronavirus were far after January, so I have to be wrong, right?

Well…

I stumbled upon this fascinating article by Chris Persaud on The Palm Beach Post which states…

Coronavirus Florida: Patients in Florida had symptoms as early as January

The upshot of the article?

The novel coronavirus could have infected as many as 171 people in Florida as long as two months before officials announced it had come to the state.

The author of the article has examined new tests done on individuals within the state and determined the very first “positive” of the Coronavirus was found on a 4 year old Duval County girl who had the positive test all the way back on January 1.

The first “official” appearance of Covid-19 in Florida is currently listed as April 3rd.

Here’s the thing: It takes between 4 and 14 days for the virus to incubate in a person and they then get “sick”. So if this little girl had the virus on January 1, it is possible she was infected earlier than that, into perhaps mid-December.

Which means that my musings about the weird illness we experienced in early/mid January and through early February are suddenly not so crazy sounding.

Again, and as I stated in the original post: We have a tourist related business and we see a lot of people from all over the world. Suddenly, the notion we might have been exposed to the Coronavirus isn’t quite so far fetched.

Still, there isn’t a sense of triumph within me. There isn’t a sense that I’m “out of the woods”.

I haven’t been tested for anti-bodies and, given that I’m healthy at the moment I don’t want to waste any first responders’ time checking to see if I had the disease before.

They have more than enough to worry about with the actual sick!

Still, its an intriguing thought, if nothing else.

Oh Elon…

If you’ve followed me here for a while… yadda yadda…

Welp, you know I drive a Tesla Model 3. I’ve been driving since 1982/3 or thereabouts, my first car being a 1981 Ford Mustang. In the (too) many years since I first started driving, I’ve driven all kinds of vehicles, good, mediocre, and terrible.

But nothing –nothing– to my mind is like my Model 3. I’m absolutely floored by the car and the tech behind it. I love the car. Moreso: I’m positive I will never again buy another internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle ever again.

I love just about everything about the car and wish the other car companies would follow Tesla’s lead and jump on board the EV revolution… these cars are truly the next level.

But…

Man, does Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, make me sometimes scratch my head. He’s clearly a very sharp/smart individual. Getting a company like Tesla, much less Space X, off the proverbial ground and making them create such astounding things (cars and spacecraft) is nothing at all to sneeze at. It takes large investments and considerable brain-power (not just Musk’s, but employing smart people to make these things a reality).

The fact that he has potentially upended one industry -the automotive industry- and may well lead them kicking and screaming into the EV market is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Yet we get moments like this one, presented on gizmodo.com and written by Matt Novak, wherein we find that…

Elon Musk Tweets “Free America Now” as his Coronavirus predictions prove very wrong

Elon -I can call you Elon, can’t I?- Why dude?

Why would you go around saying things like this? I’m tired of being locked in. I wish we could go back to the way things were. Yes, I know Coronavirus isn’t, say, Ebola and that the percentage of people who contract it and subsequently die is a low percentage, around 3-4% and often those who succumb are elderly or infim…

…however…

In just a few months, we’ve had worldwide deaths linked to Covid-19 at 225,000. In the U.S., that number is as of April 29th an astonishing 61,421.

That’s a lot of fatalities in what amounts to, what, 2-3 months at most?

There are some indications that the self-isolation has helped the numbers come down, but there are many, including Musk, who clearly are itching to have industries/stores/etc. open back up to full.

I can’t help but wonder if maybe they feel the fatalities aren’t that big. But consider this: In one year between 3000 to 49,000 people may die from the flu. Pretty startling numbers but, again, this is for a year.

Covid-19 is simply a far more deadly virus and the idea of opening everything up, frankly, scares me.

We’re risking a lot more lives and the possibility of once again seeing a jump in infections and hospitalizations.

Do we really need that? Isn’t it safer to hang back, economically painful as it may be, to try to tramp this down as much as possible and/or hopefully buy time to develop effective treatments?

I know, I’m just another voice out there and a small one at that.

Someone noted that the self-isolation was like jumping out of a plane and pulling open a parachute.

We’ve slowed down the descent yet there are people who feel now they can release the parachute even though we’re not even halfway to the ground.

Might they be right?

Coronavirus Diaries 15: Staying Insane Edition

Ho boy…

After plenty of …uh… push back to this incredibly insane suggestion that people should somehow “inject” themselves with some kind of cleaner -Which, let’s be perfectly clear: WILL INJURE AND/OR KILL YOU!- “President” Trump now claims he was being “sarcastic”.

Here we have an article by Daniel Dale presented on CNN.com which pretty much debunks that claim:

Fact check: Trump lies that he was being “sarcastic” when he talked about injecting disinfectant

Of course, Fox “News” is trying to spin this but… its horrifying.

This is our “President”, and clearly he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about.

Worse, we haven’t, as President Obama stated, no clear path to dealing with the Covid-19 virus from the federal government… even to this point!

It’s the local Governors and Mayors that are dealing with this versus the Federal Government which, I have to say: I don’t know what they’re doing.

We hear about shortages of supplies, of supplies being snatched away from states/cities. We have a “President” who doesn’t seem to know or understand medicine, much less the numbers of dead and infected.

Nor does he seem to care.

Has he even once noted or said anything about the horror medical hospitals are facing? Has he expressed any sympathy at all?

What we get are increasingly ridiculous ramblings. What we got yesterday was a sure way to put yourself at risk of actually killing yourself.

How does one defend any of this?

If you’re a masochist, here’s some more, also from MSNBC’s Morning Joe show:

This is our leader, folks.

Coronavirus Diaries 14: Staying Sane Edition

I mentioned before that if there was one positive about this whole Covid-19/self-isolation situation its that I’ve been afforded much more time to devote to my writing.

This morning it occurred to me that I look forward to getting on the computer and typing away. The process allows me to take my own personal flights of fancy, moving away from the realities facing everyone.

While this is my own personal escape, I sincerely hope everyone else out there has found their own little hideaway to escape to, whether it be in catching up on reading, movies, TV shows, knitting, drawing, playing video games or board games, listening to music, playing your music, etc. etc.

Each day I do wonder when we’ll get out of this self-isolation and each day it seems to me that day lies further and further in the future.

Sadly, until there comes an effective treatment -a vaccine likely will not be ready until at least next year- we’re in this for a longer haul than anyone would like.

Oh, and to those who are spending this time reading my stuff, a sincere thank you.

It’s most appreciated and I hope to have a new book for you soon!

Coronavirus Diaries 13… The Inmates Are Getting Restless…

I suppose it was a matter of time but, as the heading above tells you, there is evidence all this social distancing/self-isolation is starting to make some people crack.

Sadly, we have a “President” who feel the need to use this to his advantage, so desperate is he to get re-elected.

First up, in Michigan some yahoos protesting against the supposed harshness of self-isolating decided to protest. Among other wonderful things they did was block access to a hospital with their barricade of vehicles.

Read all about it in this article by David Neiwert and presented on dailykos.com:

Fringe right closes down Michigan Capital with ‘gridlock’ protest against coronavirus measures

Thankfully, it appeared that no ambulances involved in an emergency situation were slowed/delayed in arriving at the hospital but it could have easily happened. Imagine you or a loved one desperate to get to the hospital because of some emergency (whether Covid-19 related or not) and you’re delayed by a bunch of idiots blocking the streets.

Worse, some of these protesters, like these…

People take part in a protest for "Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine" at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020. - The group is upset with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's(D-MI) expanded the states stay-at-home order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Weren’t following proper distance from each other.

The irony of this whole situation is that the self-isolation/social distancing measures were not created to screw with people’s freedoms. It is intended to keep people -even these people- from getting sick and spreading this disease around.

By doing what they’re doing, they’ve just endangered themselves and their communities.

All because they can’t handle being indoors a little more than usual?

And these same right wing heroes are the ones that bash liberals as snowflakes?

…Hmmmm…

Anyway, “President” Donald Trump added fuel to the proverbial fire by tweeting a bunch of shit about “freeing” Michigan and other places and…

…sigh…

You know what? You want to go out and hang around with people and don’t fear getting sick? You’re convinced the Coronavirus is a liberal scam? Then by all means hang out with your fellow extremists.

It’s Darwinian selection at its finest, I suppose. The only negative is that these fools may give the disease to others who did observe proper precautions. All because of their selfishness and carelessness.

*****

Speaking of which, over in my home state of Florida, our “Governor” decided to allow Jacksonville beaches to open though there are certain restrictions.

Welp, though there were plenty of people cheering and frolicking on the beach, these scenes, presented in this article by Lee Moran on CNN.com, sure do make me sweat…

Yup, here we got a bunch of people hanging around really close to each other, most without masks or any sort of protective gear.

I wonder how many new cases of Covid-19 are going to pop up in the next two weeks.

I suspect we’ll see a rise.

But, hey, at least these separate groups of people have the comfort of their guns and beaches.

Coronavirus Diaries 11

Saturday, nowhere to go other than a few places to stock up.

First, though, we do a little exercise, walking a few miles. Thankfully we have a nice park nearby and there aren’t too many people around.

We then proceed to Costco, intent on buying just a few things, but of course we wind up getting far more. Costco opens very early on Saturday, used to be 9:30 AM but now they open around 9 AM. I guess. We arrived just a few minutes after nine and there was a line of people already waiting to go in.

Since the last time I went to Costco, they now allow a certain number of people in at a time, then stop the line and make people wait for others to leave the store. Further, they have created a long line area which keeps people separated. You’re asked to stay behind your cart and its a prudent measure for sure.

Once inside, it was a breeze looking through everything and buying stuff for the week -or longer. Today they had both toilet paper and paper towels (!!) so we took advantage and bought. There is a limit, however, of only one of each per customer.

Mind you, we have enough for ourselves but we’re no hoarders: We bought extra a week ago for one of my wife’s co-workers who had surgery on his ankle and can’t get around too well… and was running out of toilet paper.

This week we bought for her parents (they’re elderly and are isolating almost completely) and they’re running out of the stuff.

It was also, I might add, the first time we entered one of these stores with both gloves and a mask. While I’ve made it a habit in the last week plus to wear gloves when out to a store, we decided it was prudent to go the extra step and wear a mask as well.

We weren’t the only ones.

The other thing Costco is now doing is only allowing two people to enter the store per membership card so my daughter, who accompanied us, headed back to my car and hung out there while we did our shopping.

I suppose that’s one of the good things about having a Tesla: There’s a lot of entertainment/video games to spend the time with there.

Regardless, we made our rounds, picked up a bunch of stuff and headed out…

…and stopped at Target.

Target is on the way from Costco back home and since it was still pretty early (maybe 9:40 AM by that time) there weren’t all that many people at Target.

Like Costco, it appears Target is also counting the number of people within the store but, at least when we went, it wasn’t very busy at all and entered without waiting in any line.

We had a few more odds and ends to pick up (including food for the pets) and, again with mask and gloves, we finished our major shopping and headed home.

On the way back, it occurred to me the reality of the situation is certainly becoming real to many.

As I mentioned, most if not all the people in both Costco and Target had at least gloves. Many also had face masks and, thankfully, they all kept their distances from each other… and we certainly did the same.

But a weird sense of paranoia does begin to enter one’s head, doesn’t it?

You’re looking around, making sure there aren’t people coughing and making sure the guy/gal just over there doesn’t get too close.

And if they do, even if its unintentional, one can get annoyed and stop moving and/or move away, grumbling about how careless these people are, especially if it seems they’re not being proactive in their social distancing.

Social distancing. Self-isolating.

Two terms that were -to my mind anyway- never used much if at all have become the terms of this era.

Now and again I like to think about how much longer this is going to go on.

In the last entry (you can read it here) I figured we would be self-isolating and social distancing into May and likely the summer months as well.

My opinion hasn’t changed much.

I strongly believe April is gone in terms of the possibility we emerge from this.

If -and its a HUGE if- some kind of medication/treatement is discovered that deals well with Covid-19, then maybe we start emerging from this self-imposed exile in May. But if not, add May to the list of months we’ll be practicing both self-isolating and social distancing.

Two full months.

I suspect by then we must reach a point where the virus has gone through most communities and the larger number of people will have been affected and -hopefully- most will be through with it and essentially immune.

Hopefully –hopefully– the number of dead will be on the low end of the estimates and we can perhaps start to emerge a little from this daze.

But, again if there is no clear medicine or treatment available, we may see June and July join in the exiled months.

As always, keep safe out there.

I know there are those -especially on the Fox “News” and in this current administration- that tried to soft-pedal the disease and make it seem like it was no worse than getting the flu.

They’re changing their tunes but we still get stories like this one, by Matt Novak and presented on Gizmodo.com:

Georgia’s Idiot Governor says he didn’t know people could spread Covid-19 without symptoms

Yikes.

Keep informed -and stay away from anything that uses the two word combination of “Fox” and “News” together and we’ll hopefully get out of this fine.

Hopefully!