Quarantine Notes: 4/8/20

Welcome to Quarantine Day 24. For me, anyway.

This morning started with an everything bagel from a local place, which my boyfriend went out and foraged for, and it was perfect.

I have both cats and the pupper keeping me company while I do the WFH thing this morning, and they’re all napping, so I guess today’s going to be an extra coffee type of day. I don’t know how I’m going to get anything done with all the snoozies happening in the home office.

Today’s notes below. I’m publishing first thing, but this’ll update throughout the day as I find new stuff.


🇺🇸 Bernie Sanders is out, which means Joe Biden is our guy. This is not my favorite result, but no matter what I think of Joe Biden as president, he’s a damn sight better than Trump, so let’s get all in. #Biden2020, folks.

🚀 Hey, nobody told me Star Trek: Enterprise was good. We watched the pilot on Netflix last night and it was amazeballs. Everybody said this was the worst Trek when it aired back in the day, and you were all wrong.

🦠 So it turns out they might have been using all those ventilators for COVID19 when maybe they shouldn’t be? This is kind of a developing idea, so grain of salt. Update: Here’s some more reporting on this issue. It’s at TPM again, but this is actually an AP wire story reprinted at TPM, so it’s reporting from a new source.

🇺🇸 Drafting off the #Biden2020 swing, here’s a story from Washington Monthly, “What If Trump Wins?,” detailing some of the hellishness we might be in for if Trump gets a second term. I personally don’t think America will survive a second term of Trump. Like, literally, I don’t think America will exist after 4 more years of Trump’s degenerative lunacy. I think we might Balkanize.

💭 I’m seeing a lot of local places come up with some really interesting ideas for keeping their restaurants open during the quarantine. For example, a local catering place switched to doing dinner orders Freshly-style. You call up and pick your favs off a menu, and they’ll deliver you five days worth of heat-and-eat dinner. Several other local places are doing fancy Easter dinner specials for delivery or to pick up. You call your order in and get dinner for four. It’s all a little on the expensive side, though. A lot on the expensive side, if you’re part of the millions who just lost their jobs and such. I wonder how popular all that is, and if any of it will stick around after the quarantines are over?

🦠 Talking Points Memo has been on this story for a few days now, but finally the big papers are picking it up. The Trump administration is seizing medical equipment that states have ordered, and redistributing it based on their own whims. (“Their own whims” are likely driven by profiteering and which GOP states have kissed their ass the most lately.)

💬 “if you’re falling into despair, just remember that over three years later, the dude who punched richard spencer still never got caught.” – @rininear

🍑 This has nothing to do with anything, but FYI, the G-spot is not real.

🦠 “Oregon: Good news (with a caveat)! We are starting to see the curve of new COVID-19 cases in our state flatten out, which means the STAY HOME order is working. If that continues to hold true, it will be a big step forward for the safety of our communities.” – Sen. Jeff Merkley

🍊 Meanwhile, Trump’s bloviating about opening the country back up again so he can kill more people. Really, Trump’s main problem is that we just aren’t dying fast enough.


That’s enough for one day. Go watch Enterprise, people, it’s good stuff.

Image credit: Joe Biden, by Gage Skidmore, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Quarantine Notes: 4/7/20

I’m just starting my 4th week of working from home, and I must say, I could get used to this. It’s quiet, people have to schedule a call with me so I’m not being pestered constantly, no one wanders aimlessly into my office looking for someone else… it’s pretty sweet. Also, there are pets.

Blogging has been difficult. The news is exactly the same except wildly worse every day, and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything we can do about any of it. The days are so similar that time blurs and runs together and it gets difficult to keep track of what’s happening when.

I’ve started taking little notes so I can keep track of things. Here are those notes.


🦠 Dr. Aaron Carroll writes in the New York Times, “How Will We Know When It’s Time to Reopen the Nation?” He offers four benchmarks we might be able to use to determine when it’s safe to start “reopening” the nation. They include, 1. hospitals being able to safely treat all patients without resorting to crisis care, 2. states being able to at least test everyone showing symptoms, 3. states being able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and their contacts, and 4. a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

🦠 New Zealand apparently wasn’t in the mood to fuck around with COVID-19. They slammed down a hella strict lockdown, and it seems to be working.

🦠 The New York Times buried this surprising-but-not-really-surprising nugget about five paragraphs down in this article about that malaria/lupus drug Trump’s so hot n’ bothered about: “If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.”

👀 There’s this, which probably everyone has seen by now, but just in case you haven’t, “Wildlife is finally returning to Britain’s streets. Nature is healing 😍✌️

🎞️ #AvengersEndgame was trending on Twitter today because it’s Endgame‘s one-year anniversary and folks were sharing audience reactions to Endgame‘s big moments. Here’s the Mjolnir scene, the “I am Iron Man” scene, and the portals scene.

🚢 So you might remember that there was a Navy ship stricken with COVID-19 and its captain put out basically a public call for help because no one would help them, and then he got fired, and then he got COVID-19, but at least the ship got help, then the captain’s boss called the captain an idiot. Well, the captain’s boss just resigned, which is what you call it when you’re important but you still get your ass canned for being a sociopathic dumbass in public.

🇺🇸 So Congress passed that two trillion dollar spending bill, and they specifically mandated an inspector general to keep an eye on it and make sure it was spent properly. They did that mostly so Trump couldn’t get his sticky little hands on it. Well, Trump fired that guy. I give it three days before Trump tries to steal the stimulus money to build his goddamn wall.


All right, folks, that’s enough for today. More Quarantine Notes tomorrow.

Quarantine Notes

The last time I posted COVID19 numbers, it was two weeks ago. At that time, the US had 25,493 confirmed cases and 307 deaths. Today we have almost 277,000 confirmed cases and 7,406 deaths.

Two weeks.

I haven’t had a lot to say in the last two weeks. I’m not experiencing anything particularly unusual or interesting relative to this fresh hell we’re all trapped in, and we’re all compulsively reading the same news, so there’s not a lot to talk about.

I’m doing the work from home thing. My boyfriend’s laid off. The dog is so bored you guys. One cat is thoroughly tired of us being around all the time, taking up all the good chairs. The other is ecstatic because his people are always home.

I did manage to get a little office space set up for myself. I got my hands on a super cheap, teeny prefab desk, and I swiped a spare office chair from work the other day. It’ll do.

We had to venture forth into the wastelands to swipe the chair, a quest that took us to our downtown area, which was a tumbleweed-strewn* ghost town. We took the dog so we could walk her somewhere new for a bit, and even she was weirded out by how empty it was. She kept stopping to look around or standing up to peek in dark shop windows, hunting for the people, but there weren’t any.

We’re watching a lot of old TV and movies. I’m binging through Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I haven’t seen since it was originally on TV. That’s been weird and fun. We watched Hudson Hawk last night, and we’d kind of forgotten how bananas that movie actually was. We’re also reading a lot and playing a lot of video games. Just kind of killing time, y’know.

We’re bored and restless, but, so far, we’re a healthy bored and restless (knock on wood), so that’s fine. I am perfectly happy being bored and restless until this shitty, terrifying disease fucks off, however long that takes.

Good Reads I Found

Image Credit: Screencap from the Johns Hopkins dashboard.

* There were no actual tumbleweeds. It was just extremely empty.

'Restarting the Economy' right now is just a super, wildly bad idea.

Reuters: Trump suggests he may scale back closures soon despite worsening coronavirus outbreak

From the article: “President Donald Trump said on Monday he is considering how to reopen the U.S. economy when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious coronavirus is spreading rapidly and hospitals are bracing for a wave of virus-related deaths.”

The economy is basically shut down right now. Everybody’s out of work because everything’s closed. The United States has come to a grinding, screeching halt. Unemployment claims have blown through the roof. It’s… not good.

And Trump’s getting mighty twitchy about it because he thinks a good economy will get him a second term.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!,” Trump tweeted yesterday, in all-caps.

Of course, the idea that the “cure” is worse than the “problem itself” is predicated on the understanding that money is more important than lives. Because if we end social distancing and stay-at-home orders and re-open businesses now… Well, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people will die.

Experts – Dr. Fauci, other public health experts – are begging Trump not to end social distancing measures. But right wing businesses and politicians are getting spooked. And so is Trump.

Because, and this is key, to them, money is more important than lives. Their money, specifically. Not your money. If they cared about your money, they’d quit dicking around in the Senate and get a decent stimulus bill passed.

You’re home right now and you probably don’t have a whole lot else to do, right? This is a good week to call your congresscritters a lot, especially if yours is a Republican. Tell them to hold the line on social distancing and stay-at-home measures, because that’s what will save lives. Then tell them to quit pissing around trying to give money away to their rich friends and pass a real stimulus bill.

Stay safe out there, folks.

Yikes.

So, things have been a bit hectic and overwhelming the last week and a half. My workplace got shut down; we’re all working from home now. Fortunately I work in an industry where that’s possible.

I also work in an industry that’s being punched in the balls by COVID-19. Like, we’re fine this year. We already have this year’s money. Next year, though? 😬 One of my jobs Friday was to audit every paid service or program I used and see which ones could be cut, to save money for next year.

This is the first time I’ve ever done the “work from home” thing, so part of the general hecticity was trying to hammer out some kind of workflow. Also, I’m regretting ditching our office set up, now. Wish I’d saved a desk and chair.

We don’t have a “shelter in place” edict yet, but I imagine that’s coming sooner rather than later. Our governor did some kind of “stay safe, stay home” thing, but I guess that was like a PSA? Not a “shelter in place” order? Both the reporting and the “order” are a hot mess.

Good job, Kate. 🙄

Eh, I shouldn’t bitch. We’re all making this up as we go along, including the folks in charge. Although it’s worth noting that we wouldn’t be making it up as we go along if it weren’t for a certain orange turd in office who eliminated the whole apparatus President Obama put in place to deal with problems exactly like this.

For the next several months, I want you to keep that in mind. All the suffering and bullshit we’re about to deal with are solely the fault of Donald J. Trump and his stunning incompetence.

United States - COVID-19 - 5:15PM PDT - 3/21/20

At any rate, here’s a few resources to keep an eye on:

Image sources: Screencaps from the Johns Hopkins dashboard, showing the World (top) and the US (middle) for 3/21/20 at about 5:15 p.m. PDT.

GNU Terry Pratchett

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.” – Thief of Time

“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.” – Equal Rites

“If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards’!” – The Color of Magic

“HUMAN BEINGS MAKE LIFE SO INTERESTING. DO YOU KNOW, THAT IN A UNIVERSE SO FULL OF WONDERS, THEY HAVE MANAGED TO INVENT BOREDOM?” – Hogfather

“Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.” – Jingo

Link Dump: Covid19, the economy, & good reads

This has been a rough week. My politics crush, Elizabeth Warren, dropped out, leaving us with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom I’m exactly thrilled with as candidates. I mean, I’ll vote for whichever of them wins the primary, but they don’t exactly excite me or fill me with confidence. Maybe I’ll feel better after we find out who a potential VP will be.

At any rate, it’s Friday, a thing I am grateful for, because it has, indeed, been a rough week. Here’s all the reading I’ve saved up and/or dug up – lot of good stuff in here.

Also, because we deserve it, a cute and funny video at the end.

Covid19 News

One thing to know about covid19 is that the facts on the ground are changing fast as we learn more about the disease. What you knew yesterday may not necessarily be true today.

Here’s a few resources to keep up with what’s going on:

Economic News

Brief advisory: I don’t actually know a lot about economics. Here’s what I do know: the signs don’t feel good, recession-wise. I’m getting a wee bit nervous about it, y’all. If you haven’t been already, now’s a good time to start battening down what hatches you can, ’cause I think if covid19 doesn’t do anything else, it’s definitely going to make the economy shit itself.

Good Reads

Image credit: Newspapers, JonS on Flickr.