I either have a sinus infection or coronavirus. Probably sinus infection, but I’m super grumpy just the same.
Yesterday was the first day of all of us working and learning at home, and it didn’t go so great. Steve and I had too much work to do, so poor Ian had to muddle through a million worksheets on his own. The math ones were easy, but all the rest involved lots of reading comprehension, which isn’t his strong suit. He sat at the computer from 8 until 5 yesterday.
Unused to working like this in a full house, I was snappy and less than productive.
Today, I have to try to finish an op-ed, a newsletter, and write 50 tweets before noon, because I promised Ian that I would help him with all his work today. I really want to be here, documenting events and chatting with y’all, but I have to be a mom, too.
This massive homeschooling experiment has me very steamed up, but that’s the topic for the op-ed.
Our entire area is under a state of emergency now. Schools, churches, bars, restaurants, sports fields are all closed. Only 50 people at a time are allowed in a supermarket, but we’ll be fine until Friday when the milk runs out.
We’re trying to keep ourselves amused and healthy. I went out for two walks yesterday. We did a Group FaceTime with my sibling and their families and my parents. FaceTime an oldie today. It’s super important for them.
Jonah finished off his last midterm yesterday, so he’ll spend his spring break with us and not his buddies. He isn’t so happy about that. We have told him to use this time for self exploration to think about long term goals and for self improvement in some way. We asked for a plan today. He isn’t so happy about that, either.
- Podcast — The Daily: Why This Recession Will Be Different.
- I’m totally impressed with the work of governors, particularly their regional decisions.
- Harry and Meghan screwed up.
- Buy cute stuff online.
more to come…. updated throughout the day…
Had to go to Urgent Care for antibiotics for a sinus infection (really. no fever) and then the pharmacy to get the meds. The meds are in the local supermarket, so I stocked up on the stuff we’re low on — milk, cheese, jalapeños.
It’s the first time that I’ve been in a public place in four days. Shocked at how many health violations I noticed with my new germ glasses. I had to take a shower when I came back.
The supermarket was shockingly crowded with people who didn’t give a fuck. Amazing. They had restocked their shelves, but were still low on eggs, disinfectant, and potatoes.
More shopping is happening online now. This time on Amazon:
- Time to touch up the roots
- I’ve decided that it’s high time that I learned make up tricks on YouTube, so here are two products that might help.
- I’m ready to lounge in comfy clothes and do some reading, after the past two weeks of craziness.
40 thoughts on “Plague, Part 14, 3/17/20”
Last night my daughter finally made it back on US soil. She decided at the last minute to leave Spain, which means it was also very expensive and nerve-wracking. Her first flight out of Spain was canceled, and she had to go to the airport and find a flight. She eventually went to London first, then back to the US.
I asked her about the screening procedures in Logan Airport, one of the limited number of airports that accepts passengers from Europe. She said they gave her a pamphlet and told her to take her temperature. She will be staying in a hotel for the next 5 nights, which will get her to the average number of days it takes for COVID-19 symptoms to show up. Then we will reassess. Maybe by that point there will be a test she can take. Who knows.
Glad to hear she made it back! Sounds like an exhausting ordeal, ending with an utterly useless screening process at Logan.
I have a friend whose daughter was supposed to get in from a college choir trip to South Africa last night. She will be self-quarantining in their house – fortunately she has a bedroom and a bathroom that is out of the way.
Reading comprehension is an issue for college students, too. When everyone talks about how great online education is, I always point that out – the great students are fine with reading everything (instructions, course materials, etc.) but the weaker students have more problems.
Yesterday I developed a pandemic-related research project for one of my classes, which they’ll be allowed to substitute for their final essay if they want. I may expand it to some other prof’s classes if they’re interested.
“I have a friend whose daughter was supposed to get in from a college choir trip to South Africa last night. She will be self-quarantining in their house – fortunately she has a bedroom and a bathroom that is out of the way.”
Yeah, we have a shared bathroom and the bedrooms are all upstairs next to each other. Hotel is the only way. I’m lucky we can afford it.
“Reading comprehension is an issue for college students, too. When everyone talks about how great online education is, I always point that out – the great students are fine with reading everything (instructions, course materials, etc.) but the weaker students have more problems.”
That is an excellent point.
Case in point: I posted instructions about online discussion, which I made as easy as possible. I wrote questions and asked them to answer 2 of them. And then I got this email from a student: “Hi Professor, I had a question regarding the weekly discussions. What exactly are we supposed to do? I’m confused on the concept of it.”
And then I got this email from a student: “Hi Professor, I had a question regarding the weekly discussions. What exactly are we supposed to do? I’m confused on the concept of it.”
That’s an email to ignore if ever there was one.
Jay wrote: “That’s an email to ignore if ever there was one.”
Alas, I ignore no emails. I wrote a long involved email including screenshots (I was thinking perhaps she was using the mobile interface and that’s what was causing problems) and I got this reply: “I think I figured it out, thank you.”
I’m truly grateful this is happening in my affluent 50s and not my broke 20s or 30s
Right. As a freelancer, I’m totally screwed right now. I”m not even sure if I’ll get paid for two weeks of work that I did for a online site. Luckily, Steve’s got a real job.
“She will be staying in a hotel for the next 5 nights, which will get her to the average number of days it takes for COVID-19 symptoms to show up. Then we will reassess. Maybe by that point there will be a test she can take. Who knows.”
That sounds very reasonable.
Glad she made it back.
So glad she’s home!
Ours touched down at Dulles half an hour ago. Now she has several hours of customs and immigration purgatory to get through and – back to her own bedroom! For days and days and days and days.
congrats. Which country was she in again?
FTR, it took 45 minutes max for my daughter to get through customs and immigration in Boston. Hoping for similar with your daughter.
fell head over heels for Glasgow.
We loved Scotland, but never made to Glasgow.
Laura wrote, “I either have a sinus infection or coronavirus. Probably sinus infection, but I’m super grumpy just the same.”
We’re also starting spring allergy season, so there’s that going on, too.
I normally feel like I’m dying for a few days in the spring.
“He sat at the computer from 8 until 5 yesterday.”
“Unused to working like this in a full house, I was snappy and less than productive.”
Have you tried noise-cancelling headphones? I’ve used them from time to time on such occasions. Not perfect when you’re used to total silence at home when working, but better.
“This massive homeschooling experiment has me very steamed up, but that’s the topic for the op-ed.”
I think what actual homeschoolers would say is that your school is making the mistake of trying to do “school at home.”
Still waiting to see what we’ll get from school when the current one-week closure inevitably gets extended.
“Only 50 people at a time are allowed in a supermarket”
“We have told him to use this time for self exploration to think about long term goals and for self improvement in some way. We asked for a plan today. He isn’t so happy about that, either. ”
I’m doing that with my guy, too. :-). He’s in 10th grade, so I’m not going to hold him to anything. But, he has a habit of asking kids like J the questions (i.e. if he met J, he’d say, “what are you going to do when you graduate? What are you majoring in?”, and I’ve decided he has to answer as well as ask.
College kid, though, I’m leaving alone. I was asked why, and, I said that she’s still in college. I will expect her to help out around the house (say, let’s consider this house a co-op in which she still has responsibilities). But, I am going to let her decide her own timing for her coursework. She has an official two weeks off first.
We need to negotiate some space issues. I’m going to suggest that the two schedule time in different spaces. They have their own rooms, and desks in the office I also use, but they have already faced off over sharing the basement space (which is the most private).
We ordered take out yesterday, which is still allowed. I chose the restaurant, a ramen place, because I heard they were offering free meals to <18 year olds — Chicken or Pork chashu dons, picked up between 11-1.
We ordered dinner and paid and picked up. Although potentially a risk, I'm still willing to do take out.
Friends posted a remote dinner party on FB (they both ordered from a restaurant, got dressed up, and had a zoom dinner party). A group of my friends did a google meetup last Friday, and hope to initiate another one next week. Another friend is hosting a Zoom "cocktail hour" to which she posts the link on her FB feed.
I am an extreme introvert, and have my family with me, and the internet, but I can tell that others are feeling the weight of isolation.
I’ve been waiting for this:
“As the pandemic rages on, there will be many difficult messages for the public. Unfortunately, the top-down conversation around masks has become a case study in how not to communicate with the public, especially now that the traditional gatekeepers like media and health authorities have much less control. The message became counterproductive and may have encouraged even more hoarding because it seemed as though authorities were shaping the message around managing the scarcity rather than confronting the reality of the situation.
The powers that be chose to gaslight us over masks, rather than telling the truth and ramping up domestic production of masks (both hospital and home grade).
This, and the subsequent story about ramping up production and the collapse of the market, are free market failures. It does not make sense to stockpile masks for a pandemic, because there is no free market incentive (and, if a provider tried to do so, they would make themselves uncompetitive in the market place) and, there might be no incentive to ramp up production, because the bubble could collapse at any moment. And, in a free society where you are supposed to be able to buy whatever you have the money to buy, there is no method of dealing with hoarding. Telling people they don’t need masks backfires, but, would it work to tell them that masks might help in certain circumstances but that there aren’t enough to go around and so they should be allocated to those who need them to do their jobs (which protect are help all of us)?
bj wrote, “Telling people they don’t need masks backfires, but, would it work to tell them that masks might help in certain circumstances but that there aren’t enough to go around and so they should be allocated to those who need them to do their jobs (which protect are help all of us)?”
I’m a little late getting back to this, but here are some thoughts:
1. The Asian countries that are doing the best dealing with Coronavirus use masking very heavily for normal people.Granted, we’re (mostly) not as dense as they are, our population is often not as old, blah blah blah–but it is a fact that non-healthcare provider use of masks has been an integral part of the successful Asian efforts. Meanwhile, non-masking countries are not doing so hot.
2. Part of the reason that the US does not have a lot of masks in circulation is that (along with the Chinese cutting off mask exports to us), the Chinese government also started frantically buying up masks in the US and around the world.
That article ran over a month ago. At the very least, that should have spurred efforts to increase US supplies–but just about everybody was asleep until a few days ago.
3. The time may come (God willing) where we still have coronavirus to deal with, but are sitting on a huge stockpile of surgical masks. If we get to that point and we have the masks and we want Americans to start wearing them in public, wouldn’t it be a good thing not to have poisoned the well with all of these seemingly authoritative statements about how masks don’t help stop transmission? If anything it will actually require a lot of persuading to get Americans to wear them in public, as it’s not yet fully socially acceptable.
4. How about some PSA videos truthfully explaining the details?
5. The trust of the public is a very precious resource. Using up the public’s limited attention and trust with transparent falsehoods just makes it more difficult to get trust and cooperation under difficult circumstances. Lack of trust is at least part of the reason that it’s been so hard to budge Boomers. People blame Fox and Trump and Rush Limbaugh, etc., but there’s a lot of blame to go around with regard to public health and media lack of credibility. How many non-Fox stories and statements where there on how coronavirus is not as big of a threat as flu, and how panic is more dangerous than coronavirus? A whole bunch.
6. One last issue: people have been very concerned about “panic,” but panic is why stuff is finally starting to improve right now with regard to US handling of coronavirus. We are a democracy, and our government will not do a lot of difficult stuff unless we tell them to do it, but unless we the people are aware of certain problems (like lack of face masks or ventilators or facilities to put the ventilators), we will not light a fire under the powers that be and make them fix the problem. Lying to the public about face masks being unnecessary short-circuits this process by preventing us from pressing our representatives for answers on their failures. A little bit of panic can be a very good thing!
This is a very nice piece:
I’m relieved to see that there is domestic manufacture of face masks–they’re simply overwhelmed right now.
And they are also dealing with the fact that if they overextend themselves right now, their businesses could implode once the crisis ends.
“Prestige Ameritech, for example, owns a limited number of machines that assemble, sew and shape the masks. A decade ago, it ramped up production in response to the swine flu outbreak by buying more machines and hiring 150 new workers.
“We made a really big mistake,” Bowen says of that decision. It took about four months to build the new machines, which are as long as a school bus and cost as much as $1 million.
By the time they were ready, the swine flu crisis had ended, demand vaporized, and Prestige Ameritech almost went bankrupt. “One day — and it is literally almost like one day — it just quits. The demand is over, the phones stop ringing,” Bowen says.
To make matters worse, the hospitals and medical supply companies suddenly had a glut of masks; they stopped buying for months.”
If you suspect you might have coronavirus, you probably should take acetaminophen for a headache, rather than ibuprofen. Some health people, such as WHO, are saying that ibuprofen might be a bad combination with coronavirus. https://www.dailysabah.com/life/health/who-reiterates-call-for-coronavirus-patients-not-to-take-ibuprofen
It is still debated, but why take a risk?
Don’t know. There seem to be competing theories.
The French have apparently (summarizing news stories) suggested avoiding NSAIDs, as they may interfere with the immune system.
I sometimes enjoy Caitlin Flanagan’s articles but thought that one was dreadful (I only skimmed). I don’t care that H & M are not carrying on the “duties” of royalty. They wanted to make a life of their own. They don’t get to chose the terms (any more than the offspring of any other rich person does). The Brits have their own version of a reality show which I care about as much as I care about the new reality show of the Busch family. Which is to say, not at all.
M & H rejected the reality show that Harry was born into in the hopes of a celebrity to their own liking. Will they be able to engineer it? Maybe not. But, maybe they’ll be able to live a life of luxury out of the public eye and be perfectly happy with that. Or maybe it will just be a life of ease. There’s no morality in that trade off and no reason for me to be interested. I see no big morals or reflections on society in the story.
Yeah, I skipped over this and just now went back and read the first part. A lovely introduction about Elizabeth’s courage in WWII has nothing whatsoever to do with the way the royal family has behaved, or the role it has played in England, in my (and certainly Markle’s) lifetime. They’re just another bunch of rich people.
Yes, the English are still attached to the queen, and that’s nice, but how much is she doing, for example, about the coronavirus? I’ve heard plenty about Boris Johnson but nothing about her.
Yeah, that’s the spin that Meghan’s publicist put on things. I’ll send you all the links to the better gossip blogs later. She was pissed because she quarreled with the family members and because she wanted to cash in on the position. The queen wouldn’t let her turn his position into a brand and make a profit off the political position. She didn’t like that.
Everybody is totally fine with Meghan and Harry leaving. Certainly, by this time, nobody in England even likes them anymore. But nobody wanted Meghan to use her connection with royalty to make a personal profit. That was the issue.
“Only 50 people at a time are allowed in a supermarket, but we’ll be fine until Friday when the milk runs out.”
7-11 is your friend! Also lots of pharmacies and gas station minimarts.
I don’t like working from home, never have, but I’m trying to make the best of it. I walk the dogs 4 times a day, and I’m trying new recipes. I hope they don’t close wine and liquor stores before I have a chance to stock up. If I have to work from home, I want to have a glass of wine or a cocktail in the backyard to give work and home separation.
I told my big kids about Laura’s son’s 8-5 schedule and told them that they will be very lucky if they wind up working just all morning at home. Hopefully, this will help them manage expectations. (We don’t have our marching orders yet, and are still officially just having a second week of spring break.)
At least one of our teens is looking forward to doing schoolwork more efficiently at home. I believe both have concerns that classmates who were marginal in math or logic are going to struggle a lot working from home and of course the 9th grader wonders how his chemistry class is going to work without labs. Given the 9th grader’s interests and expected career path, that will be a real loss. The 12th grader, on the other hand, will be thrilled to do a lab-less AP Physics 1.
The timing of AP exams is also an open question:
I feel like the May 20-22 “late” test dates are much too optimistic, but we shall see.
I hope you are feeling better! I’m waiting to finally get our college kid home later tonight. Her school was planning on staying open until Friday, but we got a message at 10 am this morning “If you are able, please get your kid home TODAY.” We did rock,paper,scissors and my husband won to do the 9 hours of driving to get there and back. 🙂 I’ll just be grateful to have us all under one roof!
As for the shopping, I’m strangely scared to shop for anything beyond necessities (food and books) My husband and I are both gainfully employed in good jobs – but this is all making me super nervous. my tendency right now is just to save, save, save. (except for food and books)
Kristen Nelson said, “As for the shopping, I’m strangely scared to shop for anything beyond necessities (food and books) My husband and I are both gainfully employed in good jobs – but this is all making me super nervous. my tendency right now is just to save, save, save. (except for food and books).”
It’s actually kind of hard to spend money right now. We’re spending money on food and household basics, books and kid entertainment/enrichment products, gasoline and occasional drive-thru Starbucks, but that’s almost all. We’ll probably add some weekly carry-out in a bit. I don’t want to book more summer camps (not knowing if we’ll be able to use it) and I really can’t book any summer travel.
I agree with the save, save, save.
Kudos to my employer. We had people overseas and when the announcement came out, they told them to get home now, expense not a consideration. A colleague told me he was awoken by his cell and someone pounding on his door because they didn’t just call cell phones.
They told him to go to the airport and start calling airlines on the way. First class was fine. Everyone got home.
This is very good:
“UK manufacturers such as Vauxhall and Airbus are planning to 3D-print parts for ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, as part of a “wartime” effort to build thousands of medical devices that will be overseen by a management consultancy.
“More than 60 companies began responding on Tuesday to a request from Boris Johnson, made during a conference call on Monday evening, to help produce 20,000 ventilators in as little as two weeks.
“The plan aims to harness the power of British industry to assemble machines, as well as lending high-level design and 3D-printing capabilities to help companies that already make ventilators to produce more.”
Here’s a blog post which will angry up the blood: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/03/bullshit-patents.html
This is also very good:
“The Pentagon is starting the process of activating Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) as part of the Defense Department’s domestic response to the spreading COVID-19 virus, USNI News has learned.”
“Two sources told USNI News that the idea was for the ships to provide relief for coastal hospital systems, with the ships taking on non-COVID-19 cases and allowing the hospitals to focus on the most critical patients suffering from the virus. The Pentagon also has extensive equipment for erecting field hospitals in addition to the hospital ships, but those facilities are optimized for trauma cases, with several beds close together, and not for infectious patients.”
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