Friday, April 24, 2020

April 2020: Month Two of COVID19 in Southern California

Just dropping off some photos from my various essential trips out of the house (we are still under 'Shelter In Place' order, and so are to stay home except for short essential errands or to exercise in the immediate neighborhood).

The last week of March and the first week of April saw us hit with a series of soaking rain. Our road ways have gone quite holey, and the bike lanes full of gravel and other debris. There are a lot of downed trees, and not enough city public works crew around to get them all quickly fixed up.

Social distancing with people staying at least 6 feet away from each other is the rule, so stores are marking their floor with tapes to help people visualize how far a distance 6 feet (or about 2 meters) is. Many stores have also marked their narrow aisles for one-way traffic flow. I'm afraid not a lot of people are paying much attention to it, though, and there are a lot of salmoning against traffic.

It's also curious to observe that a lot of people seem to think that the virus can only go forward or backward, but not sideways, since they aren't staying 6 ft away from the people on their left or right... just in front and behind.

The paper products and the disinfectants shelves are still mostly empty all the time, of course. But now, so are the ones for pasta, rice, flour, and even eggs.

I'm grateful that I had a haircut in March, just before all the salons were shut down. It is now mid-April, and my hair is still short enough to not be too annoying during our first heat-wave of the year. Most of us are growing quite a mop over our head, though. I've really got to remember to beat everyone to the phone to schedule a haircut when salons are allowed to open again. Everybody will be wanting a hair cut at the same time!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

COVID19 time - Southern California

It's been raining on and off the last few days, a late season storm that somehow arrived to town just as I finally stopped coughing after 3 weeks of quarantine.

We are in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, of course, so when I started having sore throat - the usual first-sign-of-the-flu for me - back on March 20th, I went to the doctor and tested positive for influenza B. COVID19 test wasn't available then, as test kits were in severely short supply, and they were only testing people sick enough to require hospitalization.

It was a very strange 'flu', though. Usually I'd go down hard the first 3 days or so, and then get better once the fever breaks. This one just stayed a sore-throat bug with hardly anything else for 3 days, and then it went boom in my lungs and I became a lean and mean cough-'til-you-drop machine for 14 days. No fever, not much aching, but pretty hypoxic. Somehow, tho, it didn't manage to turn into another pneumonia (I had one from a true flu back in January, so I really wasn't keen on a repeat). I spent the entire 3 weeks mostly in my room and only came out to use the kitchen and the restroom when my roommates weren't in. A few doctor friends were keeping tab of me via email and private messages, though, so I was pretty well looked after.

Paper product and cleaning supply are still flying off the shelves, 3 weeks into CA shelter-in-place.
Anyhow, California seems to be doing quite well in sheltering in place and social distancing early on, so hopefully we'll avoid the sort of medical system overload like those that have been taking place in Italy or Spain or New York. Hopefully the many small businesses that have been mostly shut down (or scaled down more to doing only 30% or so of their normal business volume, like a lot of the restaurants are, can somehow survive the length of the shut down.

Special thank you to all the essential workers that are keeping the rest of us safe and fed and able to survive (the medical professionals, for sure, but also the sanitation workers, public transport operators, delivery folks, etc), and to everyone who are doing their part, and encouraging others to do the same, rather than indulging in paranoid conspiracy theories spreading and politicizing the shut down. It's times like this that we get to see how people act under pressure. I'm very lucky that most of my friends have been wonderful!

Oh, I've been asymptomatic for 3 days now, of course, and finally ventured outside for a short hike today, in between bouts of rain. Will hopefully get COVID19 antibody tested when it becomes available (I sure hope that this 'flu' was it, 'cause I really don't want to get another lung bug in a long long while). In the meanwhile, I'll keep operating as if I'm a carrier until proven otherwise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Not Coveting the COVID

Well, folks, even if you are super macho, have an impenetrable immune system, and don't care about spreading an infectious disease that can kill others (either because they have compromised immune system, or because they can't get access to life-saving medical procedure because all the ICUs are full and all the ventilators are already being used by critical patients) you still should practice social isolation now if only out of pure self-interest.

See, this is nothing like ebola zaire. Ebola has a hugely higher death rate, yes, but it is far easier to contain ebola than to contain this novel coronavirus. You can walk around with ebola in your system for up to 21 days before you show symptom, but during that period, you are not contagious and can't pass it to others. (I do hope you don't catch ebola, tho, that thing kills anywhere from 25-90% of the people that contracts it, depending on which strain you get). And, once you show symptom of ebola, everybody knows it and don't need to be told to run the heck away from you.

With this new coronovirus we're dealing with, people have had it and are now done with it without even knowing. You can walk around for up to 14 days being very contagious to others while feeling and looking completely normal. But, did you give it to someone who hasn't got the robust immune system to fight it in the meanwhile?

So, the self-interest part has to do with... getting this shut down over with as soon as possible. Because as long as new case of community spread of this thing keeps showing up, they're going to have to keep extending the shut down another two weeks... to be sure there's no asymptomatic coronavirus-thyphoid-mary's still walking around spreading the disease. The longer you keep not being helpful about avoiding contact with others so it can no longer spread and just run out of host, so to speak, the longer the shut down goes on.

We all want to go back to our normal social life. Help us all get it back soon (unless you fancy spending months rather than just a couple of weeks without concert, sport, shows, dine in dinners, bar scene, big wedding, yummy buffet, casino, library, etc).