A COVID-19 Log 5/n

“Everyone has lots of ways of feeling. And all of those feelings are fine. It’s what we do with our feelings that matter in this life.”

Fred Rogers, as quoted by Jay Inslee in Monday’s press conference.

This is the week where things settle in.

I’ve conditioned myself to not look at global or local case numbers every hour. I instead check about once a day.

I’ve hidden all of my browser bookmarks to news and numbers sites. I’ll go large chunks of time without checking in on the latest-most-extreme-important headline of the hour.

I still see plenty, and I’m still learning plenty, but I’m doing a better job of taking a step back rather than pretending I can do anything with the information I’m gathering.

Part of settling in is setting new expectations in my brain for how long we’re going to be in this current state. When I do spend time thinking about the what-ifs, I find myself spinning off a hundred different threads of possibility and assigning various risk scores to them. When will I be comfortable walking into a store again? When will I be comfortable sitting and having a beer across from someone again? When might it be okay to hang out in the back yard with a few people, chairs 10 feet apart? When will it be okay to give someone a hug?

I continue to be grateful to be in a rural area of a state that made changes earlier than others. If we didn’t have a large city like Seattle seeing rising numbers in early March, it’s easy to imagine the stay at home order being implemented a few weeks later and it’s easy to imagine the spread having that much more time to have an impact. Our county had 12 confirmed cases and has now shifted it back to 11. This probably means something more like 100 total cases, though we really have no idea.

I continue to be grateful to have a partner who is my best friend. While video chats are great ways to check-in with each other at a distance, not being able to actually see and sense physical behaviors in the same way can be tiring. Having actual long conversations in person with someone about what is going on and how we’re handling it has been healthy and helpful.

We’ve established a handful of walks that keep us active, but close to home. It’s nice to have our little system of primitive trails a couple blocks away. It’s also nice to dream about the day it will be okay to go off for a proper hike on a mountain somewhere.


During our Happy Prime lunch call on Friday, we talked about how quickly time is moving. It seems like things pause for barely a minute over the weekend. Then it’s Monday. Then it’s Friday. Then it’s the weekend again.

Michelle and I are at 24 days in isolation at this point and before we know it it will be May.


What else to remember?

Washington State did announce on Monday that schools would be physically closed for the rest of the year. Inslee did leave open the (very unlikely?) possibility there may be a chance for students to gather for a couple days at the end of the year, but stressed that staying healthy is most important.

WSU will not have physical class for the remainder of this semester or the summer, but is planning on in-person sessions in the fall. I’m sure planning is also moving along in parallel on what a full virtual semester or school year might look like next year.

What a different world it would be as a first year student to arrive at a virtual university. What a different world it would be as any student to arrive on campus in fall after a 2020 that has started like this.


It’s been 24 days since I gave blood, and I’ve effectively done nothing since, but it was still a little eerie to see that a Vitalant employee from the Spokane Valley donor facility tested positive after showing symptoms on March 31. Of course it’s all very unlikely, but there’s a chance the phlebotomists on our donor bus have a home base near that location. And there’s at least a small chance that someone who donated that day was an unknowning spreader.

All very low probability, but still very easy to see how quickly connected we can become across great distances.


Contact tracing is the latest term everyone is getting familiar with, including me. So far I’ve read the announcement by Apple and Google on their proposed method for contact tracing over bluetooth between phones. Around the same time I read this great cartoon that explains some of the possibilities for a “private” solution. Joe Kent published a nice technical breakdown of the Apple/Google solution.

What I found most interesting so far was a piece by Ross Anderson that covers how app-ifying contact tracing may not be the right answer.

In the pandemic, the public health folks may have to tweak all sorts of parameters weekly or even daily. You can’t do that with apps on 169 different types of phone and with peer-to-peer communications.

and

the rhetoric of terror puffed up the security agencies at the expense of public health, predisposing the US and UK governments to disregard the lesson of SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2015 — unlike the governments of China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, who paid at least some attention. What we need is a radical redistribution of resources from the surveillance-industrial complex to public health.

Emphasis mine. I want to read more along those lines, but it’s a statement I can connect with.

Stay healthy, y’all! 🥃

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