COVID-19: Part 23

April 20, 2020 10:21 pm
  • Quarantine Day 35
  • Crude Oil WTI futures are trading around $-25 today ($-37 when the market closed). NEGATIVE! That's insane. It was ~$60 in January. The entire oil market has just completely imploded.
  • More protests around the country by people demanding that shelter-at-home orders be lifted.
  • Late last week several S.F. Bay Area counties announced mandatory mask-wearing protocols when out in public, starting Wednesday.
  • Livermore cases: 30
  • Alameda County cases: 1,149; deaths: 41
  • U.S. cases: 746,000+; deaths: 39,000+

Oil futures have never gone negative before. There is apparently so much oil sitting around that no one has anywhere to put it, so now they'll pay someone to take it off their hands. I fully expect this will completely destroy the U.S. shale-oil industry which is relatively expensive process compared to other methods of oil production (obviously, no one can make money at negative pricing regardless of production costs, but it hurts even more when your costs are higher).

The rhetoric around the anti-shelter-at-home protests also appears to likely be a coordinated disinformation campaign or, at best, a thorough astroturfing job by some entity. Groups in several states all had websites up within hours of each other spouting the same narrative about "the cure is worse than disease" and urging people to go out and protest by blocking roads around hospitals and waving guns around. No legitimate sourcing is provided to support their claims, just opinions by random self-proclaimed experts. No disclosures are made about where the funding to create and run the websites are coming from. And hundreds of people are falling for it. It drives me crazy. Oh and with such insane signs as "social distancing = communism." I won't even begin to dissect that level of fear and ignorance.

I went digging around in the garage on Friday to excavate old games and toys from my childhood.

Limber Louie is still alive and kicking!

I also thought, and thought right, that an old board game "Dragon Strike" was out there. It's an adventure game, a simplified form of Dungeons and Dragons. I thought Heather might enjoy going on an fantasy adventure.

It's missing a few figurines, the dice, and the instruction manual (but had the adventures guide and maps). I found a scan of the instruction manual online, and it's easy to work around missing dice and figurines. However with a little poking around online I found someone selling the original figurines and instruction manual for reasonable prices. So I ordered replacements. And I ordered a set of dice from a dice company.

For the weekend we made do without the replacement parts though and on Saturday we all went on an adventure to slay the evil giant (well, Jess, Heather, and Corinne did, I was playing the Dungeon Master). And on Sunday we escorted the king through the valley, protecting him from an ambush. Heather is really enjoying it. Corinne is less able to maintain interest through the length of a game. And I'm finding it to be a fair bit of work to run the game, keep it balanced, have fun with the characters, and make up narratives to go along with things.

The Warrior and Wizard enter the cavern and are attacked by a pair of orcs, Dingle and Dongle.

I went to Safeway again tonight. The fridge is becoming noticeably bare and we needed a restock beyond what Contreras Market has to offer.

I wore one of the masks Mom sent. I augmented it with a strip of aluminum to form it around my nose and try to keep it from completely fogging up my glasses with every breath. It actually worked pretty well. (I used a needle and thread to wrap the aluminum against the fabric.)

I was hoping things would be looking a little better at Safeway, but overall they're about the same as my last trip. Some improvements though. There are no longer any limits on milk and bread, so I stocked up on both (we were pretty much empty on both). Eggs are in stock from a new supplier, but a little pricier and still limit 1 per transaction.

There was a very limited selection of pasta, but rice was in stock. Butter was in short supply, but there was cheese and yogurt.

They even had plenty of frozen hamburgers, which I wasn't expecting to find since the slaughterhouses are mostly shutdown.

The store aisles are now marked as one-way to help encourage social distancing.

More people were wearing masks now than last time, but not all. They'll be mandatory in Alameda County starting on Wednesday. Not everyone was paying attention to the one way signs, but most were.

I had a totally dystopian shopping experience walking down the baking goods aisle. I said to myself, "Oh, cocoa powder is in stock. Haven't seen that in a while, I better grab a carton, we're running low." Then I paused and thought, "Whoa, I totally just thought that."

Seeing the grocery store like that the first time was weird, but I think it feels much more disconcerting and weird now that it's been over a month and it's still like that. Your shopping list is more of a set of guidelines that you see how well you can meet. "Oh, still no brownie mix; maybe next month." So you regularly complete your shopping with a hodge podge of "well they didn't have X so I grabbed Y instead" and "I wasn't planning on getting Z, but they had a bunch of it in stock so I grabbed one."

Jess was kind of freaking out through the afternoon today. We're not running out of food by any means, but the fridge was looking pretty bare and we're making noticeable dents in our other supplies. The complete collapse of the oil market apparently piled on to that for no particular reason other than "what does it mean?!"

Then she spent some time reading a doctor's account of how some patients with COVID-19 experience silent hypoxemia. Which is basically when your blood-oxygen levels are low, but you don't even know it. Apparently some patients' lungs get compromised in such a way that they can still expel carbon dioxide, but aren't uptaking oxygen well enough. The sensation that we need to breath is due to CO2 build up rather than oxygen deprivation. So you don't feel out-of-breath, but you're actually in quite serious condition and deteriorating. By the time you end up in the hospital your body is basically shutting down due to oxygen deprivation. So, you know, more things to stress about!

I think she's doing better now that our supplies are restocked and she stopped reading about ways we might be dying without knowing.

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