Halloween in the Time of COVID

So the latest word that I’m hearing from the CDC is that kids should not be allowed to Trick-or-Treat this year. Apparently, the concern is that groups of kids going from house to house is an ideal way to spread the virus.

I am afraid I must differ with them. Not that I am one of those nutcases who thinks the disease is a hoax or not as bad as it is, but for other reasons.

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Life under COVID-19

Things are very strange…. Well, I can’t come up with a proper word to describe it. But I doubt anyone can. We are living in Interesting Times, as the Chinese curse has it. Personally, I’m doing OK. I work for the county government, so I’m an “essential employee” in one aspect, and even though I only go into the office once or twice a week (there’s a lot of mail that still needs to be dealt with), my union is making sure I get paid. The days I’m not in the office, I’m “working from home” for payroll purposes.

I have been unemployed for some long periods before, so I’m used to doing very little. Unlike those times when I could go places and do things but I didn’t have the money, now I have the money, but there’s no place to go. I walk around the neighborhood a lot and visit the nature centers in my area for a hike when the weather cooperates. Have to get exercise somehow.

Keeping a routine is worthwhile. A bit of reading and housework in the morning, goofing off on the computer in the afternoon, a break for more reading and a walk before dinner, then more computer at night. One needs to keep a sound mind in a sound body. I feel a bit disappointed in myself that I’m not really using the time for self-betterment.

Shopping is odd. I live within a few minutes walk of two supermarkets, so there’s no reason to not pop over to one when I need something. I’ve got my mask (a bandana-type one that I hacked out of an old bedsheet), and I’m paying attention to the Six Foot Rule of Social Distancing. The real odd feeling is the internal debate I occasionally have. “Hmm. I know I’m running low on bar soap. Should I get the only package on the shelves – of a brand that I never get because it’s so darned expensive compared to other brands – or wait and hope another shipment comes in before I run out completely?”

I really wish a few other stores would open up, though. A hike through the woods is great, but my hiking boots (well, the right one at any rate) are coming apart. The upper is separating from the sole, so I dare not go out when the ground is muddy or soft. I’ve tried glue, but it doesn’t last. I do know that it’s possible to but things online, but my feet are of an odd size. I have to actually try on a pair of shoes before I buy them (the last time I got new shoes, I had to try on three pairs – all labeled with the same size – before finding a pair that fit).

Free e-books from The Gutenberg Project and Feedbooks are nice. Though I do wish there was an easy way to tell the length of an e-book. It’s annoying to curl up with my reader and settle in for a novel – only to find out it’s really a short story. Maybe I’m just not looking closely enough at the descriptions.

I have a few little panic attacks. “Uh-oh! I’m feeling hot and sweaty all of a sudden! Am I coming down with it?” Then I remember that I just had some hot soup….so….. Yeah, I’m going to be sweating a little. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

I wonder how much I’m racking up in overdue fines from library books that were supposed to have been returned six weeks ago.

Things To Do While Self-Isolating

The whole country is pretty much in a lockdown mode (and those areas that aren’t are going to be rather soon). People are being told to stay home, and keep away from other people as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

This is most likely a new thing for many people, but it need not be a prison sentence. There are plenty of things that you can do to keep your self occupied.

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Viral Response

Well, we’re in a mess.

To put it mildly.

Now, even if you’re not being directly or even indirectly impacted, it’s hard to escape the feeling of gloom and despair that has settled over much of the nation.

It’s times like these that we really could use a bit of entertainment to distract ourselves from everything. And the support that comes from keeping our social ties strong.

So what happens?

Communal entertainments (sports and the theater) are being suspended indefinitely. And we are being practically ordered to keep our distance from others. Just what we need…..

There are going to be a LOT of people wanting or needing therapy when this is all over.

Instead of being told to “socially distance” ourselves from each other (by barricading ourselves in fortresses of toilet paper and hand sanitizer), why aren’t we being told to wash our hands?

Soap conducts chemical warfare on the virus. The soap molecule (not a joke; there really is such a thing) is literally a dagger that hacks the virus to pieces. It has two parts – a “hilt” that is attracted to water, and a “blade” that is attracted to lipids (i.e. fats and oils). When soap mixes with water enough so that the hilts are firmly gripped, the blade cuts in to the outer membrane of the virus – which is made of lipids – and breaks it up as if it were a mere blob of grease on your dishes.

One can even do it in a lighthearted fashion, as they did in the state of Washington some years ago during the last flu outbreak:

Lord knows we could use any reason to smile these days…..

Hand Washing Music

The coronavirus – aka COVID-19 – has arrived here in the United States. It’s basically a type of influenza: it produces symptoms like the flu, it spreads like the flu…. And because of the way it spreads, the standard flu protocols are the way to respond to it.

There are three things everyone is stressing:

1. Masks won’t help protect you.

2. If you do come down with something, stay home.

3. Wash your $@#! hands.

The latter is the one that people really need to follow. Wash your hands often, with soap and water (hand sanitizer is OK – provided it’s at least 120 proof (60% alcohol)). And no light rinse; you’ve got to do it for at least twenty seconds.

So how can you time yourself for twenty seconds?

How about singing along?

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