COVID-19: Part 16

April 4, 2020 3:33 pm
  • Quarantine Day 19
  • Alabama and Missouri finally issue shelter-at-home orders.
  • CDC recommends wearing any kind of cloth face covering in public, but please leave actual medical equipment for professionals.
  • Trump clarifies that he will not be following that guidance. A true leader.
  • Livermore schools will not return to campus this academic year.
  • Trump issued a DPA order to prioritize U.S. orders for N95 masks from 3M.
  • There are many reports that the U.S. is hijacking PPE orders destined for other countries (I have yet to find a reputable source on these reports).
  • There are people in the U.K. burning cellphone towers because they think 5G signals are spreading SARS-CoV-2 (or some equally stupid idea). They've also attacked maintenance personnel.
  • Trump continues to purge anyone in the government who isn't loyal to him personally; most recently the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (who approved the whistleblower report on Trump's illegal dealings with Ukraine for which he was impeached).
  • Alameda County cases: 510; deaths: 12
  • U.S. cases: 277,000+; deaths: 6,500+

Because apparently competence is seen as a weakness, Trump has apparently now put his completely unqualified son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of the White House's official response team. In his first press conference he had this to say: "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile, it's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use." Directly contradicting its officially stated purpose.

So, the new response is apparently to just gaslight the population. After he made that tone-deaf statement, they updated the government websites to use his language instead of what it previously said--that the stockpile was there for states to supplement their own resources.

I went to the grocery store last night to buy milk, butter, yogurt, etc. It wasn't as apocalyptic as it was two weeks ago, but there were still shortages and some products still not available. Eggs are now limit 1 per customer, but they're in stock. Plenty of bread and milk (still limit 2). Lots of yogurt and cheese. Limited cleaning products. A single bag of sugar hiding in the back of the bottom shelf. Even some pasta and rice. No toilet paper.

New signage for the mandatory social-distancing protocol:

They also had a audio message as part of their music loop to the effect of "Attention Safeway shoppers, we remind you that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend maintaining approximately 6-ft social distancing whenever possible…"

Busier than the last time I was there, but not crowded. Many people wearing gloves and/or masks. I wore nitrile gloves again, but we haven't fashioned up any masks yet to meet the new CDC guidelines.

On my walk yesterday I went up to the highway overpass, I-580 through Livermore, looking east. On a typical Friday late afternoon this would be bumper-to-bumper from about 3:30 until 7:30. Here's what it looked like at about 4:30pm:

Not completely empty, but pretty bare.

I was going to spend some time this weekend making face masks per the CDC guidelines, but Mom says she'll send some of the ones she's been making. Those will be better having been made by someone with actual sewing experience and an actual sewing machine.

It's raining today and I didn't get a flower picture on my walk yesterday, so no calming picture today I guess.

COVID-19: Part 15

April 2, 2020 5:48 pm
  • Florida and Tennessee finally issue shelter-at-home orders.
  • First-time unemployment claims for last week: 6.6 million
  • Some moron tried to ram a train into the naval hospital ship in Los Angeles (because "conspiracy"). Yes, it's exactly as insane as it sounds.
  • Alameda County cases: 373; deaths: 9
  • U.S. cases: 213,000+; deaths: 4,500+

I had a video-conference lunch with some friends from work today to help break the monotony of sitting in my closet all day. They seem to be doing well.

I made banana bread last night. We're almost out of apples and we're running low on milk. Looks like someone's going to need to suit up and brave the grocery store within the next day or so. I wonder if the stock has recovered at all since I was there two weeks ago.

The weather has finally turned sunny and is warming up a little. But it's supposed to rain again all weekend. So I won't get a chance to clean up the backyard for yet another week.

Corinne has been dressing up as Elsa from Frozen for the past few days. She wants to play "Anna and Elsa" which means someone else is Anna and Corinne walks around blasting things with ice and then you have to make her an ice palace (pillow fort).

Playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. are now closed:

I Am Not Enough

3:13 pm

The girls have lost:

  • School (Heather: 2nd grade, Corinne: Pre-K)
    • academic instruction
    • social interaction
    • physical exercise
    • music
    • crafts
    • I don't even know what else
  • Gymnastics class
  • Swimming class
  • Art class
  • Church
  • Playing with friends
  • Weekly trips to the library and park

I am neither capable nor qualified to fill all those holes. I wasn't even good at the basic lifing I should have been doing before all this. And now...

It's too much. It's like when they were newborns. I think there's something wrong with me that I didn't enjoy the newborn stage. I was crushed by the overwhelming sense that not only was I 100% responsible for this helpless creature, but I was definitely for sure without-a-doubt failing. No matter how much I loved them, or how hard I tried. I just wasn't enough.

At those times, it was post-partum depression, and meds and time and eventually getting to sleep a reasonable amount did wonders.

But now... The girls fight, I'm short-tempered because I feel like I'm being squeezed from all sides, all the time, for weeks now, and I'm supposed to shepherd Heather through her schoolwork, keep Corinne working on her letters and writing, do science experiments, involve them in daily chores, teach Corinne to poop in the potty (which I haven't managed in 5 years, so I already have an A+ there), get them outside, make art, some religious instruction would probably be good now that we're down to zero in that department, read together, get their bodies moving so they will actually sleep at bedtime, play games, referee arguments, help manage emotions, oh, and satisfy Corinne's insatiable demands for both food and one-on-one play.

And, of course, I have no right at all to complain. We're healthy. We have a safe, comfortable home to shelter in. We stocked up on necessary supplies before this all hit. Kyle is working from home. (And if you know him at all, you already know that he is...I'm too stressed to find good words. He's the best. I don't have to explain; you already know.) I have the luxury of being home with the girls during this. (We're all home, but you know what I mean. I'm not trying to work a full-time job at the same time as all the above, like so many people.) We have a yard for the girls to play in. There are so many resources available at this time to make this all easier, and we are using them. (The girls are in doing Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube right now.) Really, I don't think we could be in a better situation for all this. I have no right to feel as awful as I do.

But I do. I am not enough.

COVID-19: Part 14

March 31, 2020 7:43 pm
  • SF Bay Area extends shelter-at-home directive to May 3 and tightens restrictions.
  • Average U.S. gas prices now below $2/gal (the gas station I walk by regularly is at $2.79).
  • California state government says to plan for schools to not reopen before the end of the school year.
  • Alameda County cases: 294; deaths: 7
  • U.S. cases: 163,000+; deaths: 2,800+

The tighter restrictions in Alameda County include:

  • Closing all playgrounds, dog parks, climbing walls, and picnic areas.
  • Closing shared recreational facilities (basketball courts, golf courses, etc.).
  • Sports wherein people touch shared equipment must be limited to same-family games only.
  • Tighter restrictions on what "essential business" means.
  • "Essential businesses" must shutdown all non-essential activities.
  • "Essential businesses" must create and post a social distancing protocol.
  • No more than 10 people at a funeral.

It looks like the modeling I posted yesterday is being updated nightly. It's trending towards worse today.

Not a lot happening today overall. Corinne and I played hide-and-seek last night (me hiding, her seeking). She is suddenly a lot better at the game than the last time we played (which was probably a month ago or so). She remembered all my hiding places and would check them each methodically. She thought it was lots of fun to actually find me instead of wandering around the house until I made enough noise to give away my position.

Here's how our April is shaping up:

A flower from my walk today:

COVID-19: Part 13

March 30, 2020 3:59 pm
  • Temporary Hospital constructed in Central Park, NYC.
  • Navy hospital ship arrives in NYC.
  • National social-distancing guidelines extended through April 30 (no enforcement).
  • Alameda County shelter-at-home order extended through April 30 (has force of law). California's statewide order is indefinite.
  • Regular reports of various events centers around the country being converted to temporary medical space.
  • Dr. Fauci (public face of national medical response) estimates 100,000-200,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 (which would be a huge win over initial estimates).
  • Alameda County cases: 264; deaths: 7
  • U.S. cases: 140,000+; deaths: 2,400+

A note on those top-line numbers I've been giving on Alameda County and U.S. overall. The Alameda County numbers I'm getting from the website for the Alameda County Public Health Department. The national numbers are coming from the CDC website. There's a fair bit of variance depending on which tracker you use, so for those top-line updates I've been using, and will continue to use, those sources consistently.

Apparently the new propaganda plan to cover for the Trump administration's failure to respond to this crisis is to blame hospitals. In a press conference on Sunday Trump suggested hospitals are reselling their supplies instead of using them to treat patients. What a tool.

The University of Washington has a website up providing modeling on a national and state level. Based on that modeling, California's going to do pretty well, likely as a result of the early action. New England, however, is going to have a very hard time.

This data suggests California still has 3.5 weeks to go before hitting peak infection. At peak it suggests ~100 deaths/day in California. Critically, from a statewide viewpoint, we won't run out of hospital beds. That, of course, may not be true of any particular locale within the state.

Here's New York's modeling:

They're looking at hitting peak in just over a week with shortages of hospital beds in the tens of thousands. Almost 800 deaths per day at peak.

Here's the nationwide modeling. It's going to be even fuzzier simply because having lots of hospital space in Wyoming doesn't help if the patients are in Florida. So it's only useful for the really broad strokes.

Notably none of these models are showing a second-wave effect. It appears that the modeling is specifically looking at resource-utilization under an all-other-things-being-equal scenario. It's not considering what happens as states begin loosening shelter-at-home directives or any other dynamic variables.

With that in mind, it represents a probable view of the near-term future but shouldn't be relied on for anything past the first wave.

As a nation, months to go still before anything approaching "normal" will be seen again. Even then, if the medical catastrophe is wrapped up, is the drastic economic effects to be dealt with. Almost $3 trillion in relief/stimulus passed into law already, but whether that will be enough is entirely unknown.

On Sunday I gave myself a haircut, with some help from Jess for the troublesome spots on the back of my head that I can't see. Shorter than I usually do, but it was the longest trimmer guard I had. Not too bad.

When I went to the store on the 21st there was a limit of 2 bread products. I bought a loaf of bread and a bag of bagels. We have some frozen hamburger patties, but no buns. So on Sunday I made hamburger buns.

I've never had a problem with over-baking the recipes in the book I've been using, so I put these in for the recommended time and figured I'd go from there. They ended up being a bit darker than I would have liked. The second batch I baked for 2-minutes less, but they were also a little too dark. Pretty good though.

Homemade bun, BBQ sauce and Miracle Whip, French-fried onions, cheddar cheese, beef patty, lettuce, pickles, jalapenos. Yum.

We spent some time outside during the afternoon on Sunday and the girls rode around on their bikes. Corinne is getting quite good at balance (no pedals yet). She continues to show her much more risk-accepting behavior compared to Heather--she shows little concern for wobbling or losing control. The neighbors were also out riding bikes and it was a stressful time watching low-skilled kids twisting around and past each other. There was one collision, but no injuries. After a little off-bike time Heather did some more riding by herself and manage to turn too sharply and wipe out. Took a bunch of skin off her knee. We had expected to be hearing about her inability to move on her own for days, but she seems to be recovering psychologically pretty quickly this time compared to the past.

Amazingly, Heather is outside back on her bike right now. That's a huge step for her in developing resiliency. When she rode into a the back of a parked car however long ago that was I think it was weeks before she would try her bike again. So this is actually pretty big for her to be getting over it this quickly. I think she's been making notable progress on handling her anxieties. Her emotional development may finally be catching up to her intellectual development.

Mom & Dad are on day 12 of their post-airplane-travel quarantine and so far doing just fine.

Heather and Corinne both had video calls with their teachers today. I believe they were both purely to let the kids see their teachers and the kids in their classes. A chance to break up the monotony of being at home all day every day. I don't think they were attempting to accomplish any meaningful teaching during the calls. Corinne got bored with hers pretty quickly. She was more interested in making faces at herself in the camera.