COVID-19: Part 19

April 9, 2020 5:45 pm
  • Quarantine Day 24
  • Another 6.6+ million first-time unemployment filings.
  • Congress is discussing a 4th round of relief/stimulus spending.
  • The Federal Reserve announces another $2.3 trillion in new lending programs.
  • U.K. Prime Minister leaves ICU (still in hospital).
  • Livermore cases: 28 (new level of detail from Alameda County)
  • Alameda County cases: 681; deaths: 16
  • U.S. cases: 427,000+; deaths: 14,600+

Researchers report having found evidence suggesting the "5g causes COVID-19" conspiracy theory is being pushed by a state-sponsored disinformation campaign. And there are apparently enough people stupid enough to make such a campaign worthwhile.

I went to bed last night around 9:15 with a pounding headache. And then Corinne was up for ~3 hours in the middle of the night. I was sleeping poorly already, so that really didn't help. So I'm pretty tired today.

A package from Mom arrived yesterday containing some packs of Skittles, some microwavable popcorn, a container of sugar cookies, and some masks she made. I'll try to get a picture of all of us wearing our masks at some point.

Not much else going on. The weather was supposed to become sunny this week, but it's still been mostly cloudy and rainy. Now the nice weather is scheduled for the weekend.

COVID-19: Part 18

April 7, 2020 7:58 pm
  • Quarantine Day 22
  • Wisconsin continued with a Primary election today after the State's Supreme Court blocked the governor's attempt to postpone (after repeatedly trying to get the legislature to either postpone or move to mail-in ballots).
  • Without explanation, Trump used a bureaucratic move to block the appointment of the legally-selected head of oversight for the relief/stimulus disbursement program.
  • California has prepared/is preparing 4,613 temporary medical facilities throughout the state.
  • Seeing the curve flatten quite dramatically within the state, California is supplying medical equipment to help other states.
  • Alameda County cases: 602; deaths: 15
  • U.S. cases: 374,000+; deaths: 12,000+

I tried making tortillas last night. It was....moderately successful. I had trouble rolling them out thin enough while still being able to handle them. Also, shaping had some struggles. So they're very "handmade" looking. We'll use them for tacos tonight. I realized this morning I should have been rolling them out on my silicone mats, less likely to stick and even if they did I could have just flipped the whole thing over onto the griddle. Next time I guess.

Heather had a pretty solid meltdown this morning. Ostensibly it was because "Corinne was dancing, but I was dancing and I need to dance alone!" She was spiraling, so I carried her back to my bedroom and set her on the bed. She thrashed and cried for a bit and then broke down about not wanting to be stuck at home anymore, wanting to go back to school and see her friends and teachers, wanting to go to the park.

So we had a long talk about why we are staying at home. How it was helping keep people safe. How hospitals in many places don't have enough doctors or supplies to take care of everyone that's sick. So we're staying home so that more people don't get sick. So that the people that are sick can be taken care of until they're healthy again without more people showing up sick and needing help.

We talked about how there are lots of doctors and scientists all around the world right now working in their labs to understand the virus better so we can learn how to safely start leaving the house again without too many people getting sick at the same time. Working to develop treatments and vaccines so that people can stay safe and healthy. But until they figure those things out we need stay home.

We talked about how it sucks. It's not fun. It's inconvenient. It's boring. But we do it because it's important. And keeping people safe and healthy is more important than us being bored for a couple months.

We talked about how I expect that in May we'll start figuring out ways for people to be out of their houses safely because we'll have been able to treat all the people that are sick right now. But it will be slow because if we just all go out and start doing all the normal things then too many people might get sick at the same time again and we'll have to stay home again.

So maybe we'll be able to go to the park, but not the zoo. Or maybe we'll be able to visit the playground if we wear masks. I told her about going to the grocery store and needing to make sure to stay 6 feet away from other people. Those are the things all the doctors and scientists are trying to figure out so we can not be cooped up at home any more, but still stay safe.

It was actually (and somewhat surprisingly) a really productive conversation. And it was a conversation. She was asking questions and clarifying points, offering additional examples, suggesting what she thought the protective measures could be. It seemed to be really helpful for her to get that off her chest and process her feelings.

By the end she had calmed down and was feeling better and we started talking about what to have for lunch. Then she went to the game cabinet and got out "Pandemic" and asked if we could play that today. So she seems to be ready to jump right into helping people and finding cures. She's awesome.

After dinner Heather and I did play "Pandemic". We won! Though I modified it for an easier difficulty and even then we only barely won.

COVID-19: Part 17

April 6, 2020 6:09 pm
  • Quarantine Day 21
  • U.K. Prime Minister moved to ICU for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • New York prepares contingency plans for temporary, mass burials in city parks.
  • Alameda County cases: 557; deaths: 13
  • U.S. cases: 330,000+; deaths: 8,900+

Back to work again for me today. This begins my fifth week working from home. The last day I was in my office was March 6. This week is Spring Break so there will be even less structure for the girls since Heather doesn't have any school work to complete.

I had a mandatory, online, COVID-19 training to do for work today. It was mainly things like how the virus is transmitted and why social distancing can slow the spread. Also rules about being on site and who is allowed on site and where to get PPE if you are on site. Also who to contact if you or anyone in your household is diagnosed either presumptively or via testing.

I made bread yesterday and we delivered a loaf to the neighbors. Dinner was bread, apples, and cheese. It looks like we're doing that for dinner again tonight.

We played Castle Panic yesterday. The girls like it and it's still fun for adults too. It's really well balanced. I think every game we've played has always been down the wire as to whether we'll win or not. Jess set up a fort in the living room which is now the griffin cave (the girls have been on a griffin kick lately for whatever reason).

The modeling has been updated today. This week and next week are expected to be the peak throughout the Northeast. So it's going to be pretty bad out there. California is modeled to peak in 8-11 days as well. But it looks like the stay-at-home order has been working. The updated projections show a peak death rate of ~70/day with a total death count of less than 1,800; which is quite an accomplishment from the earlier modeling.

The modeling assumes existing isolation measures remain in effect throughout May and I don't believe it attempts to model what happens once those are relaxed.

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: