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Day #48: Listening to Experts

Seriously, I read an article this morning at breakfast, with so-called experts citing the US Food and Drug Administration stating it was unnecessary for people to wipe down delivery, or sanitise any groceries. Because, they assure us, there is absolutely no real risk of getting the virus this way. To quote:

We want to assure you there is currently no evidence of human or animal food, or food packaging being associated with transmission of the #COVID19.”

Please note the eye-rolling usage of the words ‘the #COVID19′, hashtag included. Bad English aside, there is nothing on this green earth that will make me believe in, or trust this institution ever again, given how trumpty has decimated these once lauded and deeply respected establishment. They’ve been gutted if not, eviscerated to the bone; like the CDC.

None of this is very reassuring, quite the opposite, in fact. So me and mine (discussing this) have no intention of changing the way we accept deliveries—leave them outside the apartment either on the floor (groceries are, after all, bagged) and packages on a small table we put out for this purpose.

We do bring them in afterwards, but leave them next to the front door. Packages are left 24 hours, for peace of mind, before being cursorily wiped. While important groceries (fridge/freezer items) are taken care of straight away. Soft fruit and veg, where at all possible, is rinsed under very hot water, and kitchen towelled dried. It has become routine, and far less stressful than the alternative.

This is because we are all too aware of what’s out there. And for our own peace of mind, given there are now two small pocket outbreaks in our vicinity: the hospital across the road—which has a long term care wing for the elderly, already has 19 dead. And upwards of 30+ more infected, including nurses and doctors. And next door to them, is a retirement condo complex, the Gibraltar. Who, we learned, have infected residents.

All way too close for comfort. So excuse me, if I wash my groceries and take precautions, I want our building to continue being COVID19 free. At least, as far as we know, there are no known cases within any building complex (six apartment blocks in total, all with underground tunnel access).

We also listened to an interview with the Chief Medical expert here, in Canada, Dr. Teresa Tam, warning people that we’ll be here, later this year when flu season rolls around, again, and that keeping our distance, and washing our hands regularly, habit for the foreseeable future, are key in the ongoing battle, not just against COVID19, but all highly infectious diseases including influenza.

This winter could end up being brutal.

So again, hope for the best but also, bear in mind, prepare for the worst, and stay informed from reliable sources.

Stay safe and take care.

Love,
Alex

And so, it begins: Day #47

Our provincial government, either under pressure from what I think may be a small but very vocal minority, have decided to start the roll-out now, and ease restrictions. They are letting kids—who most still believe to be less likely to get the corona virus or at the very least, only a mild case—and as of May 11, schools in certain area will open but, get this, on a voluntary basis. First kindergartens and junior schools, and then, later, seniors on up.

It’s not only mind boggling that they are going against sensible reasoning, this early, and sending the kids back to school as test guinea pigs, but on a voluntary basis? What the hell does that mean? Talk about confusing the hell out of everyone.

At yesterday’s government briefing the Premier said parents at the schools indicated could choose to send their kids back, full time, or not. There was little if any clarification of what he meant till everyone took to social media and called in the media, asking what the hell was going on. And then, the clarification was vague at best.

Parents could choose to keep children at home if someone in the household was immunocompromised, or elderly. And what? What about schools, now scrambling to find enough teachers willing to go back, who also might have children themselves, and or people at home who are in the at risk category?

And this, dear reader, is how NOT to ease restrictions. We’re are now going to have a couple of frantic weeks here, in the province, as people race to comply with the Premier’s wishes. And if wishes were horses, as my gran use to say, we’d all be trampled to death in the stampede. She certainly loved a good colourful metaphor.

So what does this all mean for so many? Beyond the immediate confusion, many are saying it’s too early (posts I’ve read online) and say they will refuse point blank to send their kids. But, if this is the start of the government getting everyone back to work, what happens when those parents need to return to work?

And masks? What about kids wearing mask? Are you kidding me? That’s like herding feral cats with the promise of sugared treats.

How do you physically distance kids in a classroom, and how many teachers are going to have to single-handedly juggle all this, and teach, while making sure little Louisa and Jean Luc have clean hands every 5 minutes, never mind, keep them apart at break times.

And we thought the health services were heroes!

Words fail me at the thought of how this is all going to work. And yes, I know what the alternative is. If we carry on staying at home for too long, what then? When the money runs out, and businesses are unable to get back up and running because of the downtime, and no one is buying from you, as a supplier of your doohickey.

I don’t know how much public consultation has gone on with community leaders and unions, behind the scenes prior to yesterday’s announcement. But reaction was certainly swift and condemnation loud.

The road ahead is one full of blind turns, cavernous potholes, and unexpected landmines that could quite easily do as much harm, as good, if this isn’t all thought our carefully, and in full consultation with the public at large.

And where you are, have restrictions begun to ease, and how are people reacting?

Whatever is happening in your part of the world, stay safe out there, everyone, and take care.

Love,
Alex

Day #46: Plan Ahead

As the days roll past, there’s one thing during this enforced stay at home that I am eternally thankful for, and that is, I got all my vaccinations updated last year. With the last shot for Shingles being administered earlier this year. Perfect timing? Maybe, maybe not.

What I do know is that I’m good to go with just about everything else Mother Nature might throw at me, right now, from yearly flu (shot done November) to hepatitis, tetanus/diphtheria, and shingles. And just to make a joke of it, I didn’t think I needed to update my cholera or typhoid shots at this time. Maybe I should have.

One thing’s for sure, as my mother said, I’m prepared for most eventualities. COVID19, however? Well, no one saw that coming…

Or, did they?

I have to ask that question, because this weekend, some of my reading material was research on infectious diseases—and epidemiology in general—something I’m looking into for an online project I’m writing about a colony based on Mars. How would they cope with an outbreak of say, the common flu?

Which, quite naturally, had me going down the rabbit hole, Alex in Research, reading up on Ebola, SARS and MERS to name a few. And it in turn led me to how these more virulent fast breading (and mutating) diseases are on the rise not just in Africa, South America, or China, but across the planet.

Anywhere and every time humans start to encroach too far into untouched areas (what’s left of any pieces of pristine jungle) or territories we haven’t fully explored (and thus, the implications of just what we might be unleashing) we disturb something that’s going to kill us dead. In that, we’re exposing ourselves to viruses and toxins that humans haven’t encountered before. And every time we do. The results are catastrophic … until, they’re not.

The only reasons we’ve over come so many deadly, virulent diseases is by diligent medical research, and WORLDWIDE vaccination programs.

Now, in the era of the ME ME society, and individuals who think the whole world revolves around their nombrils (belly buttons) we find ourselves treading in deep water and, on occasion, very hot water at that.

So while I’ve been looking ahead, and yes, preparing for what ifs in the way my mother would be proud of. Many who live in their own bubble that doesn’t include what happens elsewhere in the world, and probably, in truth, if I want to be really scathing here, don’t care either, are now reaping the rewards of their own base natures. Sadly, it is these small handful who are moaning the loudest about what the Government should be doing for them, while expecting those of us who plan and think ahead have to bare the weight of their selfish stupidity.

All of which, gave me the basis and foundation for how my own fictitious colony would cope and react to if an outbreak happened on Mars. First of all, they would be prepared. They would have a certain level of infection immunity built into the colony before hand. And they would most certainly have made provisions for having vaccines on hand for most contingencies.

So please, don’t be a ‘pantster’ be a ‘planner’, think wise, and think ahead where at all possible.

Stay safe out there and take care everyone.

Love,
Alex

Day #45

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 45 days already and that we’re coming into the last few days of April. It’s weird because March felt as long as a decade. It dragged out in comparison to how quick, or, seemingly quick, April has sped past.

I wonder if May is going to flash by too, as we linger in lockdown, or whether the local government here, like so many seem to be doing, and succumb to loosening restrictions, just when what we really need to be doing, is staying the course for a few more weeks yet!

Hell, if we managed to get through these last 45 days, another 30 will seem like child’s play. Though, I know of course, that for so many, it isn’t. Me? I really don’t mind the lockdown, as there’s not much difference in the before and after, except I have someone home and we can’t go further than the park outside. Not realistically, that is.

The talk started early about how the province might realistically start letting people back to some semblance of normal. And with each successive daily briefing we hear a little bit more floated. Ideas others are also suggesting. But, in truth, are any of them feasible, or is our government, like others, being pressured from all sides to do the unthinkable?

Just because things seem okay in China, where we still don’t know the full extent of what happened there, or the truth to numbers. It makes it okay to start reopening the economy. Just ask Singapore, who reported secondary pockets of infection. And then, there’s the question of how long will those who have recovered have immunity (if any at all) and how long will it last?

There are, I think, far more questions that still need to be answered before doctors and dentists, chiropractors and hairdressers get the go-ahead. It’s one thing to allow limited number of people into supermarkets, and pharmacies, but quite another for someone to sit in a chair at the dentist, or be manhandled by a chiropractor, in close contact.

I know I for one will not be visiting any of these, eh, services, any time soon. My hair can reach the floor before I visit the hairdresser. Not until I know it’s safe to do so, will I consider it.

Especially a dentist’s office, what this them going into my mouth with sharp instruments of torture! Are you kidding me?

So, will it be another 45 days of this? Or will people start herding on the beaches, and in parks, now the good weather has arrived?

I guess it’s one way to keep testing out this ‘Herd Immunity’ theory everyone loves to bandy around without (it would seem) actually understanding what herd immunity is. Not unless you’re trying to cull the ‘herd’ that is!

Herd immunity is when 9 out of 10 people have immunity or been vaccinated against a disease. And the 10 person falls ill but is unable to infect outside the circle because of the 9 that surround it, and thus, the disease doesn’t progress, but dies out.

Like all the other crackpot “remedies” floating around the internet, more people are likely to die, as not if this is how you are going to loosen restrictions.

All I can hope for is sound reasoning prevails, and that our government at the very least is going to tough it out a while longer. And you, what’s happening where you are?

Regardless of restrictions, stay safe and take care yourselves.

Love,
Alex

Today’s Aside

To Banana Bread, or not to Banana Bread!

But of course, without question, I have now become a banana bread diva. As me and mine are into making them on a regular basis. Another one made as of this morning, and filling the apartment with such a glorious smell. I would save you all a slice, but then, you would have to get in order to eat it. So I’ll just tell you later how good it tasted, okay?

So, the recipe for such a divine food of the gods? Easy … I separate everything into 3 bowls. Mashed bananas in one, flour, cinnamon and baking powder in another, and the butter and sugar mixture in a third larger bowl. Eggs usually in a glass jug.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ½ cup fine sugar
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 large soft bananas, squished
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs baking powder

How to:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350, and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Blend the butter and sugar in a bowl till white and fluff.
  3. Slowly add all the other ingredients till thoroughly blended, make sure not to over work the mixture.
  4. Turn the mixture out into the lined loaf tin, and bake for 1 hour or till golden brown on top and firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from tin and let stand on wire rack to cool.

AND STRAIGHT FROM THE OVEN …