A Better Day (Plague, Day 24, March 27, 2020)

8:35am Ian woke up just fine. So, I’m cancelling his doctor’s appointment; there’s no point getting a test for a basically healthy person and clogging up the system.

Many people tell me that they are asymptomatic positive or were positive sometime in the past couple of months. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew that for sure? If we all have the antibodies, we could all be going back to work, sending out kids to school, sitting in nice sushi restaurants (God, I’m craving sushi), getting our nails done, and letting housecleaners back into our homes. My kingdom for 1 billion tests.

Well, I went to bed thinking my day was going involve long waits in a car with a feverish kid. I’m recalibrating my day now. All good news. I think the order of the day will be exercise, write draft 1 of new opinion piece, and make the black bean soup. Thank god no hospitals.

In the evening, I’ll package up a massive set of 1944 encyclopedias that finally sold on my online shop. The shipping alone will probably cost about $100, but a customer was willing to pay it.

I will also load into the shop a bunch of movie books that I found in squat home in a working class community the day before we went into total seclusion. I love old eccentric collector homes. They are my bread and butter.

In the basement of that house, I found a book from the early 1800s. It was a vellum book. First time that I’ve seen one of those in a suburban basement. I’ll show you all later.

Meanwhile, with much less drama than yesterday, we’re continuing to work through plague life with work and school on computers, FaceTime chats with my parents, family dinners, afternoon walks, a little grouchiness with all this togetherness, the healing power of baked goods, and some help from the evening glass of wine.

I’ll be here all day. Happily. Will post some links soon.

12 thoughts on “A Better Day (Plague, Day 24, March 27, 2020)

  1. As to people believing they’ve had it…

    Our state has been testing. It seems that about 10 percent of people who’ve been referred for tests by medical personnel test positive. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring So, of people who fit risk categories in the opinion of clinicians (exposure, symptoms matching), only 1 in 10 are confirmed by a test.

    Of those confirmed cases, about 1% have died. That is right now, when hospitals are not yet overwhelmed (although I’m hearing from contacts that the hospitals are under great pressure.)

    I feel it is dangerous for people to feel that they have already had it, when there’s at least a 90% chance that they haven’t. They’re likely to take foolish risks, and end up spreading it to family and friends. It’s such a new virus, we’re still learning about it.

    For example, looking at today’s figures, older people are not more likely to get it. They are more likely to die from it, but between 350 and 440 people are confirmed in every age group except the under-19s. And the number of tests administered to that age group might be limited by the belief that under-19s don’t get it.

    Yes, if there were an antibody test that could be quickly and universally administered, that would help a lot to get this under control.


    1. Another problem–the Chinese may (emphasis “may”) be having “cured” coronavirus patients going from positive to negative to positive again.

      Of course, it may be that their testing is total garbage…

      But yeah, being able to test for previous infection is the Holy Grail now.


  2. Very sorry to hear about your uncle. And good news re Ian. I missed all the drama yesterday. I had a bad bout of brain fog all day and spent too much time wallowing.

    We allowed S to come home today. She is still on quarantine, but here. I feel the risk to us is low enough to be bearable.

    I love all book collecting/selling stories. I basically want all your books. But I really do not have the space.


    1. 🙂 I’ll have to blog about vellum books next week. 2 blog posts and a newsletter under my belt today. I have to start a rough draft for a publication and start the soup now. I’m going to do a lot of book stuff tomorrow, so I’ll get to it over the weekend.

      I have a sub-basement with nothing in it but some camping stuff and (now) Jonah’s college crap, so I have room for the books.


    2. Wendy said, “We allowed S to come home today. She is still on quarantine, but here. I feel the risk to us is low enough to be bearable.”

      That’s very nice!


  3. What with the first week of official homeschooling, I’m exhausted. I’m not done, either. I still need the 1st grader to do a final draft of an illustrated book report today. It’s “only” 3-5 sentences, but I believe it’s going to be a weekly ordeal. Then I need to scan all of her assignments for today and submit them online.

    I also had the experience of realizing today (Friday) that we were supposed to be doing mad minute math practice every day this week. I was just dutifully doing all the “Due Today” stuff on google classroom, which apparently doesn’t cover everything we should be doing. Oops.

    But at least I know how to use a scanner and a memory stick now. WOOHOO!

    The big kids are just about fully autonomous. We’ve now moved our scanner into the living room cause homeschool. The big kids are now mostly finishing up by around lunch time. (We have them starting around 9AM.) I haven’t seen a lot of grades yet, though.

    My husband’s work from home + homeschooling for 3 kids often = 4 laptops being used at once. That’s kind of nuts. Good thing we have a scanner! Also, good thing we have 4+ laptops! And my husband for tech support!

    Our first home haircut happened today. (My husband, with clippers and some help from the 9th grader for the back.) It looks OK.


  4. I saw yet another story in the news with an announcement of a distillery switching to hand-sanitizer production. (I’ve seen about 5 such stories so far involving different distilleries.)

    This had two twists:

    a) It’s our local distillery.


    b) The FDA has shut them down. The distillery hopes to start up again soon (as soon as the FDA gives them the green light), but man oh man the FDA needs to step on the gas, given that I haven’t seen any hand-sanitizer in the store for weeks now.

    I had previously seen a story where a distillery was being told that they needed to denature the alcohol used (using a chemical which is apparently not that easy to get right now) in order to avoid having liquor taxes slapped on their hand-sanitizer.

    Ay yay yay!

    On the bright side, the new federal stimulus bill has a clause lifting those taxes:


    In a previous discussion, I believer bj referred to the lack of masks in sufficient quantity as “market failure”. I think we need to qualify that a bit, as the production of stuff like hand-sanitizer or surgical masks or PPE or ventilators is not an area where you can just jump in and start manufacturing–there is a lot of government regulation involved.

    Meanwhile, nurses in places like NYC wear garbage bags to work.


    1. “the production of stuff like hand-sanitizer or surgical masks or PPE or ventilators is not an area where you can just jump in and start manufacturing–there is a lot of government regulation involved.”

      True, because there are plenty of sociopaths who will manufacture low-quality products to make a quick buck. Manufacturers would have been able to make these if they had been given more time, like say, when we first identified that this was a potential pandemic, instead of, say, insisting that this was nothing, that the numbers were beautiful and would be zero very soon.


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