1.136 coding, mask, hair, tour, virus

Thursday, 4/16/2020

Exercise today was a three-mile walk in the afternoon. In the morning I did some programming, first testing, then documenting, the code I wrote yesterday. Love programming.

In mid-morning the front desk called to say I had a package. It was a small squishy one, the 5 yards of quarter-inch elastic I had ordered. Now I could complete my breathing mask made from furnace filter material. Just in time, too, the one little paper mask the door person gave me a week ago is getting pretty ratty. My new mask works, it’s fairly comfortable and I’m pretty sure it filters even better than the professional kind.

Also in the morning, after a shower, I got peeved at my hair, which is two months from its last haircut, and not looking like getting another one soon. Draw a line over my scalp from ear to ear: I am pretty much bald in front of that line, bar some scattered survivors, but back of it I have hair, and it is getting mullet-shaped. So I did what I told Chris I might do, when she called to postpone my last haircut appointment. I put the longest comb on my beard trimmer, about a 3/4 inch one, and ran it over my hair.

It took off about gobs of hair about 1/2-3/4 inch long. I was surprised to find that the hair from the back side of my head (where obviously I almost never look) is still fairly dark, unlike the hair that I see in the mirror, on the top and sides, which is gray-blonde. Had no idea. Anyway, I don’t have an incipient mullet any more.

I tried to log into Road Scholar. I suspect they are being slammed, because the sign-on process never completes. Enter name and password, click Login, and it just spins and spins. While watching their little busy-spinner icon, I looked at the top of the page and saw “click here for a message from the CEO”. Message, stripped of a lot of politeness about being with me in this difficult time blah blah, was that they have canceled all tours through the end of May. And they are considering June, and will inform us if we are affected.

I don’t see how they can not cancel at least my Switzerland tour. I found a Swiss news site telling about the Swiss government plan for lifting their lockdown. Per that plan, they would re-open lower schools starting May 8, and public buildings starting June 8, but that “depends on there being no significant increase in Covid-19 cases.”

Lots of luck there, guys. It’s kind of basic. There, as here and anywhere, barely 2% of the population has been infected. Maybe 5% at the very outside, if there is a huge number of non-symptomatic cases. Slice it how you like, there are contagious people in the community, and 95% of the people that those people meet, are vulnerable to infection. You take the lid off the lockdown, and it’s match, meet gasoline.

Kevin Drum is a reporter who has been charting COVID-19 deaths, country by country, for Mother Jones. In his latest post look at the graph for Switzerland. They are doing better than some, at 145 deaths per million population, but that’s not insignificant, and higher than in the US at this point. I betcha that between May 8, when they open the schools, and June 8, they will see a spike and delay the relaxation, if not return to full lockdown. I mean, every teacher and parent knows that an elementary school is an ideal distribution center for viruses. Kids bring viruses from home, swap them, and send them home with other kids. Give it one week for mixing and swapping, two weeks for incubation, around May 29 Switzerland is going to see a major spike in hospitalizations.

In nicer virus news, our daily report email from CH staff always lists the number of people in isolation with tests pending, and tests completed. As of today we have zero tests pending, nobody in isolation, and all six tests (5 of residents, one of staff) have come back negative.

This afternoon they held a staff appreciation ceremony. We residents watched from our balconies as the staff — spaced out at least 6 feet apart and wearing masks — formed up on the parking lot and had their names called out and got a goody bag of some sort, while everyone applauded. It was a very well-deserved thank you; over the past two months the staff have had their jobs realigned and responsibilities shifted two or three times, constantly adjusting to new rules and procedures, and always doing it with a smile. And with good results, see above about tests.


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