Showing 1 - 10 of 56 posts found matching keyword: covid19

I went grocery shopping yesterday. Walking in the door, I passed a sign very clearly instructing all customers that masks were required in the building, but I was the only shopper I saw who was wearing one. I hadn't realized so few people in my town could read.

Two weeks into February, Coweta County has reported already more deaths from COVID-19 this month than December and January combined. I know that death is a lagging indicator (by approximately two weeks), but I don't know how anyone can look at those numbers and think, "Now is the time to stop wearing masks!"

When I was a kid during the Cold War of the 1980s, I used to wonder how long people would stay in their underground fallout shelters after World War III before emerging to see if the world was once again inhabitable. The answer, I now know, appears to be not quite 2 years. After that, hey, radiation poisoning doesn't seem so bad.

One day, when we send people to Mars, will some significant percentage of the colonists decide that they've simply had enough and walk outside of their protective environments without masks? Is that what happened to the Roanoke Colony? "I don't care that it's snowing outside; I'm not putting on another pair of pants!"

Look, I get that wearing a mask sucks. *I* think it sucks. But so long as an ongoing pandemic continues to kill thousands of Americans — and several of my immediate neighbors — every day, I think I can do at least the least I can do to help prevent further spread.

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I don't feel guilty about watching Hallmark mystery movies, so I can't call these "guilty pleasures." "Comfort movies" seems a more fitting description.

108. (1967.) Sweet Revenge: A Hannah Swensen Mystery (2021)
Hannah the baker is my favorite of the Hallmark mystery series detectives, and I'm glad to see her return even in a silly, uninspired installment. However, I'm willing to ascribe most of the worst changes between this and her last appearance to COVID-inspired filming restrictions. If COVID is good for anything, that thing is scapegoating.

110. (1969.) Mystery 101: Deadly History (2021)
This series has long had some of the better mysteries (and sillier endings) of Hallmark's offerings, a trend this continues. It seems producers now want to establish greater connective tissue between installments — more time for romance! — that I'm not entirely sure works in the series' favor. I guess time will tell.

116. (1975.) Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Honeymoon, Honeymurder (2021)
Get a load of that that title! Can you believe anyone would name anything that? Ms. Teagarden is the nosy Ms. Marple wannabe that I love to hate. I very much look forward to the episode in which someone needs to solve her inevitable murder.

124. (1983.) Redemption in Cherry Springs (2021)
Another case where it seems that COVID limited filming conditions to a series of claustrophobic two shots. The core fault of this movie results from its attempts to break the Hallmark formula by making the mystery a missing person yet having the love interest/cop insist he should be the only one trying to solve the case. What a dick.

More to come.

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Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID*.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

*UPDATE: I've been sitting in the hospital room all afternoon, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more attentive. I should not impugn their Herculean efforts. The COVID era sucks for them, too.

UPDATE 2021-09-26: Today, Dad developed a case of hospital delirium and escaped from the hospital on foot. Full credit to the entire staff, including the nurses who were bowled over by a fleeing, bow-legged senior citizen and the security guards who peacefully returned him to his bed. I mention this so specifically because the hospital staff continues to do a great job under the most trying circumstances. (Personally, I would have let him just keep running, which is the best argument for why I should never work in a hospital.)

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UGA is playing their home opener today versus UAB. ESPN was late switching to the game, and by the time they did, UGA had already scored their first touchdown, essentially winning the game before any television audience was looking. Thus reinforcing why, if you really want to watch a football game, the best way to do it is be in the stadium.

Assuming it's not the middle of a pandemic.

This space intentionally left blank

Obviously, I'm not there. I told you why I wouldn't be going earlier this month. The statewide COVID-19 infection numbers haven't improved significantly in the past two weeks, and if you are wondering why, I suggest you take a look at the pregame pictures posted by the student newspaper, The Red And Black where the only people wearing masks*... are in the band. You know, the group of people who actually have to use their mouths.

*Ok, I admit it. I saw one person wearing a mask who was not in the band. So, yeah, technically I'm a liar, but I'm still not going to the game.

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Batman '66:

Bat-Shake!

Batman '21:

Bat-Bump!
via Tenor.com

What a difference half a century makes!

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Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!

A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:

On a roller coaster, we'd call this a bunny hill

And this is where we are in August 2021:

A pandemic so nice, we did it twice
source: worldometers.info

A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!

Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.

I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.

I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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Is there an opposite of 'soul mates'?

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I am now fully vaccinated (2 shots + 2 weeks), which, according to the CDC, means that I can resume my life as "normal" before COVID-19 reached American shores. But what if I don't want to?

I *could* drive to my friends' houses, assuming that I can find gasoline (which is not in short supply but is suffering distribution issues after too many of my fellow Americans succumbed to panic following news reports of possible problems and bought up all the available toilet paper gasoline). But I've never been enthusiastic about leaving the house, and I find I am even less so now, even to spend time with people who I theoretically enjoy spending time with.

I *could* attend a movie, as I used to do before the entertainment world ground to a halt. But my favorite theater couldn't survive the economic downturn and is now boarded up. Besides, what's playing? The number one movie in America is Wrath of Man, and I get to see plenty of that on the evening news for free.

I *could* go to a sporting event, such as a minor league baseball game. But the thought of being surrounded by a crowd of people has always made me anxious, and that was back when the odds were low that the people sitting on either side of me could kill me with their breath. Football season doesn't start for months yet. I've paid for season tickets; will I be comfortable enough to venture forth by then?

Or I *could* stay under the covers in my bed in my basement, where the world can't reach me. I think I like that option best.

POSTSCRIPT: I just waded through many, many, many websites worth of evidence supporting — but, as they are quick to point out, not conclusively proving (because the Chinese government has been so thoroughly opposed to any investigation) — the theory that COVID-19 is a human creation that escaped a lab in true Michael Crichton-fashion. All the more reason to stay indoors, I think, where those mad scientists can't reach me.

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Good news for the NFL draft tomorrow night. From NFL.com:

Rich white man defeats hug police!

But more importantly, do they want to hug him? No means no, Roger.

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To be continued...

 

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