Category Archives: America

Day 19 of Coronavirus Chronicles

“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.” –President George W. Bush

As I typed the title, it seemed impossible that I’ve been writing these posts for 19 days. Updates appear to indicate I’ll be typing them for the long haul. It’s hard to know when any semblance of normal will return which is something I cannot think about right now.

Today Lori, Gail, and I had a conference call to discuss our August vacation in Colorado. We had made reservations in January for two weeks at an historic lodging facility in the national park system. Today we made the difficult decision to pull the plug because, let’s be honest, all this virus stuff isn’t going to be over by then.

We were all three planning to meet in Colorado with our spouses, and I’m sadder than I realized I’d be at seeing that go down the drain. Mr. M and I were going to road trip cross country, something we did when we were younger and have been itching to do again. Now we know it won’t be this year. Well, on the bright side, look at all the money we’ll save.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous spring day with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. Leaves are pushing out on the cherry and plum trees but the three redbuds are just about to pop into full bloom, and the bright yellow forsythias were practically glowing in the sun.  Mr. M mowed. It’s April … of course he did!

I so wanted to head to the mountains but today wasn’t it. Bill was mowing and I had a pot of chipotle black bean chili on the stove so we stuck close like we’ve been doing. It was okay … between Bearing Drift, cleaning house, and mowing, we had plenty to keep us busy. A walk at sunset capped off the day before settling in to edit and prep posts for the Friday BD lineup.

Oh, and in the middle of the day Dr. Larry Sabato, Kyle Klondike, and Miles Coleman with The Crystal Ball at UVa’s political center held an interesting discussion of upcoming elections across the country and in Virginia that they live-streamed, so I plopped down to watch.

This morning the bad new came out that 6.6 million jobs were lost over the past week. Staggering numbers especially on top of last week’s 3.3 million which was staggering last week. Now we have historic highs … and it’s not over. There’s so much unknown that is causing angst with people because no one knows where this is going or where it will end.

Last night as I wrote my entry I said my stress had passed. Well, apparently it hadn’t because I woke up a little before 3am, wide awake. My brain must have been working while I slept. I went online and saw that Lori and Gail were also on. What?! It was 3:00 a.m.! So I texted on our group text, “What are you guys doing awake at this time of night?!”

Their brains were working overtime, too, and Lori’s husband was also awake and had actually gotten up because he couldn’t sleep. Not to worry about Mr. M … he was snoozing away throughout our back-and-forth texting. Lol. Ding! But I found it ironic and interesting the three sisters were of the same brain wave in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve been awake ever since. Talk about droopy eyeballs.

Numbers today from the Virginia Department of Health:

-Cases: 1,706
-Hospitalized: 246
-Deaths: 41

The numbers continue on the track of doubling about every four days. One of the advantages of having a physician as governor is that he can see into the virus’ conduct what we cannot. Apparently, his June 10 date for our stay-at-home is based on information that has available and, indeed, late today someone had a graph of the curve and the flattened curve, and both play out at or beyond June 10.

Health professionals began a discussion in the past day or so about the advantages of the general public wearing masks when they are out and about. You know, that’s something that I’ve wondered about from the beginning. They kept saying the masks wouldn’t do any good but it didn’t seem to make sense not to use one if you weren’t sick. Now they appear to be changing their minds so we shall see.

We have some masks that were in Mom’s things if we need them. Not sure we’ll be around people. But at least we have them, and we offered some to Matt and Valerie, too, because they don’t have any.

Meanwhile, Lori and Gail are both busy making masks. The needs in RVA are beyond what Lori and her sewing crew can keep up with … but they’re doing their best. She’s our Rosie the Riveter of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democratic National Committee convention date has been moved from July to August. I’m doubtful about August but what do I know?

A note to self: these updates are hastily composed. There are typos. (That’s for my editor self when I go back and read mistakes.)

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18

Day 18 of Coronavirus Chronicles

“… their new hoax.” -Donald Trump, February 28, 2020, at Charleston, SC, campaign rally, calling the coronavirus the Democrats’ new hoax

“It’s not the flu. It’s vicious.” -Donald Trump, March 31, 2020

This morning as America absorbed a new grim reality of what we are facing with the coronavirus pandemic, I am grateful to Mom and Dad — both children of the depression — who instilled in we three girls not only a strong work ethic but also a recognition of preparing to weather a storm, whatever it may be. “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”

We all three began preparing at the first mentions we heard in February of a possible tough flu situation. We replenished pantries and freezers as well as over-the-counter pharmaceuticals including Tylenol, the main drug suggested for coronavirus, soap, and whatever else we felt would be needed.

The new reality set in after yesterday’s press conference with updates about the pandemic. What experts have been saying for weeks/months seems to have finally settled on the White House and Americans or, at least, more than before. It was finally allowed to be said in blunt terms that under the best case scenario the predictions that 100,000-240,000 Americans could die. That’s the BEST cast scenario if we do everything right from now on out. Otherwise, it could be millions.

I have to pause at this point and breathe. And remind myself we live in America — most powerful country in the world. Are we still? Due to neglect and a lack of preparation starting in January, we are woefully behind the eight ball on safety equipment for health care workers, we don’t have nearly enough testing kits, we’re low on ventilators, and we are running out of beds and facilities to treat those who are sick. That’s not alarmist; that’s reality. I’m really tired of the laid back, you’re-over-reacting crowd acting that I see on Facebook.

I also appreciate those who are saying to turn to God. That’s nice and all … but God gave us doctors who are sacrificing by being away from their families and working long days to save people (and some are dying in the process). He gave the rest of us brains and coping skills and intellect to take care of ourselves and possibly avoid ending up as extra work load for physicians and hospitals. If we help ourselves, we are helping them.

Here’s the worst part of all: this surge is just starting. April is going to be long and dark as the surge begins to explode with cases of infected patients, and deaths. All we have to do is look at Italy and we get a glimpse of what could happen. We will be fortunate if it only lasts through April; from what I’ve read it seems we are in for months of disruption just to get through this first phase.

And then after this will most likely be the second wave of cases and deaths in the fall going into the winter as we wait for a vaccine to be developed. If we could get that before this time next year, we’ll be fortunate.

Some Republicans in Virginia are climbing on the conspiracy theory wagon of Governor Northam running our stay-at-home orders through June 10 because it is after the RPV Convention. First of all, politics is very low on the priority list these days. Second, that is ridiculous. Let’s hope we’re able to get out and about by that time; there may be a chance we go beyond. As to other states, it wouldn’t be surprising if they ended up extending their stay-at-home deadline. I’m glad to have a doctor in charge at a time like this.

More cases are occurring around us. WHSV TV-3 listed them all today in the article that said a second Little Debbie employee had tested positive:

Western State Hospital also confirmed to WHSV on Wednesday that a part-time staffer there has tested positive for COVID-19.

As of April 1, in our area, there were 2 confirmed cases in Augusta County, 10 cases in Harrisonburg, 9 cases in Rockingham County, 1 case in Page County, 8 cases in Shenandoah County, 1 case in Staunton, 2 cases in Waynesboro, 15 cases in Frederick County, and 2 cases in Rockbridge County.

Just to the east, there have been at least 21 cases in Albemarle County, 16 in Charlottesville, 1 in Greene County, and 2 in Nelson County.

Wednesday’s state website update showed one case in Augusta County, but no cases in Staunton. However, the Central Shenandoah Health District confirmed to WHSV on Sunday that there were two cases in Augusta County and one in Staunton.

It’s unclear why, days later, the state map does not reflect those locally provided numbers.

By this afternoon my tension has eased. We are as prepared as we can be and there’s nothing else I can do other than stay home. I’m not going out anywhere except to work in the yard, walk, and maybe a drive if we get stir crazy. Maybe pick up an order from Martin’s for perishables and fresh produce.

Today a couple of packages that came in the mail on Monday were freed from quarantine. One had the most adorable pair of shoes that I had been anxious to see and, sure enough, they’re adorable and fit! Mail received today is in quarantine until Friday. Overkill? I don’t care. We’re being uber careful.

This morning I learned that the Facebook friend from Philly who was sent by her doctor two days ago to be tested for Covid-19 was notified she is positive. She’s mid-40s and in good health. We are all wishing her well. She had been sick since Friday with headache, cough, body aches, dizziness, and tired.

I’m writing this to remember all these thoughts and feelings and everything else going on during this time. Here are the numbers released this morning by the State Health Department. The numbers have basically doubled in four days:

Cases: 739 to 1,484
Hospitalizations: 99 to 208
Deaths: 17 to 34

Everywhere now there are messages to STAY HOME. Even on the Starz channel today there was that message with an invite to STAY HOME with them and watch a movie. Lol.

Eyeballs are drooping. We are all in this together. Stay home.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17

Day 17 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Each morning the Virginia Health Department puts out updated numbers for Covid-19 victims. Bearing Drift’s Jason has been charting them. We have a little consult every morning on how the numbers are playing out and what it means … up, down, or flat?

This morning the news in Virginia wasn’t good. In 24 hours we had the largest single day increase since the start of the outbreak, up 23% in the number of cases since yesterday with a 21% increase in the number of hospitalizations. That included 1,250 recorded cases, 165 hospitalized, 27 deaths. The Charlottesville health area reported its first coronavirus-related death. The line on the chart is increasingly turning upward. At this point cases and hospitalizations are doubling about every four days.

Two new cases today in Waynesboro to add to the three already known in Augusta and Staunton. None of those have yet been included on the state health department report, as of Tuesday morning. We have cases around us; we just don’t know it.

Virginia has received permission to cancel the 2020 SOLs. With no school since March 13 and students not returning for the rest of this academic year, this was the only thing that could be done.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, now has coronavirus. While watching Gov. Cuomo’s mid-day daily press conference today, he talked of his younger brother’s diagnosis, and chided him for having their mother over to his house several weeks ago before his diagnosis, fearing of his brother’s exposure while out doing his job.

During the press conference, Gov. Cuomo stressed individual discipline — it is up to all to do their duty to protect themselves, their families, and others.

There are still bright spots in a pandemic world. Last night we watched as University of Virginia 2016 grad Micah Iverson advanced to the next round of “The Voice” on Kelly Clarkson’s team. Micah was president of the Virginia Gentlemen, an a cappella singing group on Grounds.

UVA Today noted of Micah, “Iverson is a member of an extraordinary family. He is one of nine siblings who were all raised in Tokyo by their missionary parents. Not only that – he and four of his siblings are UVA grads, and one of his older brothers, Joel, was also a president of the popular a cappella group, the Virginia Gentlemen, when he was a fourth-year student in 2002.” We’re following Micah’s “Voice” path.

A volunteer army: RVA sister is sewing daily on face masks — designer face masks — that are being absorbed into the medical community. The army of sewers across the nation are plugging away at their sewing machines. JoAnn’s fabric shops is donating material already cut into strips. Kudos to all, and thank you.

Ford and GE have refitted their automobile plants to make ventilators for hospitals around the country. If that doesn’t sound like World War II, I don’t know what does.

Bearing Drift’s Jason has been videoing himself reading children’s books and it’s been posted on Facebook, much to the delight of his two little guys and others.

In Staunton the “Going on a Bear Hunt” scavenger activity for little folks continues, and last night the nationwide movement made NBC Evening News.

“The disease sets the timeline.” -Dr. Anthony Fauci

The very first thing I read this morning was a Facebook post from a doctor in Ft. Myers, FL (Justin Davis, Gulf Coast Medical Center) who had just learned of the death of a friend of his family’s who was, in his words, “… a young, healthy, family man. Gone too soon. Too close to home and things I hold dear.” Coming off a shift at the hospital, he continued by writing:

How much do you like to gamble?

Would you gamble with your life? Your Wife’s? Your Husbands, boyfriends, significant other?

How about your child or children?

Would you be willing to gamble that this year could be potentially your child’s last year to live? All of this based on your actions and choices made from your opinion about something you cannot fathom, or correctly comprehend.

Now let me add to that, it gets better.

If one of your loved ones does contract this disease and is taken to the hospital, guess who isn’t going to be sitting at their bedside while they are scared and alone? You guessed it, YOU will not be there with them. The hospitals are not taking visitors, and certainly not for quarantined patients.

That’s what a quarantine is. Alone.

Is that how you want your loved one to have to experience potentially the end of their life, alone and void of their family slowly and chronically dying off on a ventilator?

Then go ahead and gamble.

Gamble that you know better than those fighting on the front lines. Gamble your children’s future, or their future without even you. Gamble things are as benign as you think they are, and nothing will come of this.

I hope you’re right, I really do hope your right, but I’m not willing to gamble that nothing will happen if I just ignore the signs and the experts.

I can’t say this any clearer than I am right here and right now as a terrified Nurse, Husband and Father…


Alone. That’s a tough one. If Mr. M or one of my kids caught this and ended up in the hospital, I couldn’t be with them. They would be totally alone. If I caught it I would be alone with no one that I loved near me.

The news this morning was the continued lack of testing kits. Having those available plays into the “if we do everything perfectly” scenario that Dr. Birx mentioned when saying we could keep deaths down to 100,000-200,000, but only if things go perfectly. News alert: This thing isn’t going perfectly. Could we truly be headed toward a disaster that sees millions of deaths in this country over the next two months?

I maintain the entire country should have been shut down like they’ve done in Spain and Italy. A shelter-in-place order for every American citizen, every state, every city, county, and corner of these United States would have leveled the playing field as far as all in place at the same time. Facebook has a meme of a line of matches and, as the flame passed from one to the next, one match steps out of line. The fire stops at that point. Point made … and it shows why it would have been a good thing to do.

So Virginia hunkers down for the long haul after the governor’s executive order yesterday further restricting activity and as infection numbers and hospitalizations are expected to surge over the next three-plus weeks. Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling put it well today on his Facebook page:

Listening to President Trump’s press conference this afternoon makes one thing crystal clear … the next two to three weeks in the Coronavirus battle will be very difficult. Surges will be encountered in a number of heavily populated areas. Infections and deaths will escalate rapidly. We must each do our part. The best thing most of us can do is stay home and hopefully healthy, and say a prayer for those impacted by the virus and those who are working on the front lines to provide care to those who need it.

Or, as a millennial Facebook friend from Memphis said after people in her city ignored social distancing requests, “Memphians, this isn’t hard. Don’t visit people. Only leave your house for necessary items. Stay indoors.” She’s 30. She gets it.

We are in an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Our parents and grandparents made personal freedom sacrifices for four years during World War II.

It is our time. We can do this.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16

Day 16 of Coronavirus Chronicles

The news today that stands out the most for me personally is that my step-dad’s assisted living facility had its first diagnosed case of Covid-19. They are quarantined — have been for two or three weeks (seems forever) — and residents have been eating meals in their apartments. This creeping menace still got in. We shall see how things go. Across on the other side of RVA Canterbury, a nursing home in Henrico, has lost four residents to the virus, and more than a dozen others have tested positive.

Which reminds that Staunton City Councilman Erik Curren’s father died a week ago from Covid-19 at his home in Florida. Now Erik’s mother has tested positive. I cannot even imagine. He wrote about it today on his blog.

Because of coronavirus, the other big news today is Governor Northam declared Virginia a stay-at-home state like our neighbors Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The Executive Order began today and will run through June 10 unless rescinded or amended before that time, with the advisory to avoid all travel except for essential purposes.

You know, friends and family really do make the world go round. I am soooo blessed for the ones I have. As an introvert, I have always had just one or two really close friends, and then I have my two sisters. There are other friends when I make myself be an extravert (before retreating to my corner and recharging my batteries), and my close cousins … and my kids, of course. My best friend still is Mr. M even after all these years.

Today I talked with TX sister and a close friend and, with both, the main subject was this damn virus and what it is doing and how everyone is coping … and how our world has changed and how long it will be before anything returns to normal, if ever.

Coronavirus news continues to lead the headlines and is foremost in people’s minds. I keep using the Spanish flu of 1918 as a measuring stick to what we’re going through today, and the Colorado town of Gunnison’s experience with the Spanish flu as an example of how to lock down and quarantine a town away from the rest of the world to protect citizens. They didn’t lose any citizens in that pandemic.

In this article, it tells how the officials of Gunnison handled and saved their town. It begins:

In late 1918 the world’s greatest killer – Spanish flu – roared towards Gunnison, a mountain town in Colorado.

The pandemic was infecting hundreds of millions of people in Europe, Africa, Asia and across the United States, overwhelming hospitals and morgues in Boston and Philadelphia before sweeping west, devastating cities, villages and hamlets from Alaska to Texas.

Gunnison, a farming and mining town of about 1,300 people, had special reason to fear. Two railroads connected it to Denver and other population centers, many badly hit. “The flu is after us” the Gunnison News-Champion warned on 10 October. “It is circulating in almost every village and community around us.”

What happened next is instructive amid a new global health emergency a century later as the world struggles react to the emergence of a new coronavirus. Gunnison declared a “quarantine against all the world”. It erected barricades, sequestered visitors, arrested violators, closed schools and churches and banned parties and street gatherings, a de facto lockdown that lasted four months.

It worked. Gunnison emerged from the pandemic’s first two waves – by far the deadliest – without a single case. It was one of a handful of so-called “escape communities” that researchers have analysed for insights into containing the apparently uncontainable.

“Gunnison’s management of the influenza situation, one hallmarked by the application of protective sequestration, is particularly impressive when one considers that nearly every nearby town and county was severely affected by the pandemic,” the University of Michigan Medical School said in a 2006 report for the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. “The town of Gunnison was exceptional.”

Now it is the turn of coronavirus to race around the world, rattling governments and stock marketsand prompting a desperate scramble to contain and control. Tourists stuck in Spanish hotels, Italian streets eerily empty, schools shuttered in Japan, pilgrimages to Islam’s holiest sites banned, international sporting fixtures suspended – a multiplying list of measures amid confusion over how to respond.

The experience of a small town in the Rockies at the end of the first world war does not provide a failsafe blueprint for a different disease in a far more populous, and far more interconnected era. It does however offer tantalising nuggets about eluding a cataclysm that infected about a third of the global population and killed between 50 million and 100 million people.

Instead of face masks and anti-bacterial hand gels, Gunnsion relied on the guidance and authority of local newspapers, doctors and police – a trust in institutions that may now seem quaint – and on people’s capacity for patience. And on luck.

Read more at this link. It’s fascinating.

It’s interesting when something like this hits, and who takes it seriously, and who doesn’t. Young people think they’re invincible and want to continue with their social contacts. It’s up to parents to help them understand that this temporary sacrifice will save lives in the long run, and perhaps share with them the book, Diary of Anne Frank. The cramped and dangerous conditions the Frank family lived in hiding from the Nazis were a real sacrifice — no social media, no TV, no communication with anyone other than the small group hiding. They had to whisper during the day so they wouldn’t be discovered, had food rations, loneliness … I’m a broken record when I say we are so fortunate for the communications we have today with Facebook, phone, Facetime, Instagram, and whatever else is out there.

So the rest of us are at the mercy of those who choose to ignore the governor’s executive order. The sooner all comply, the sooner we can get beyond the highest infection rate and watch the pandemic curve begin to flatten out, see less new infections, and begin to get out the other side of this plague. Because, until a vaccine is discovered and then widely distributed (which may be a year away), we are basically living in the time of the plague.

On the local level, Augusta County Library branches made the difficult decision to stop curbside service as of 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. It’s not worth putting the lives of staff and patrons in danger since Dr. Fauci and specialists predict the next two to three (or more) weeks will be the worst as numbers double, then double again, and then double again every two to three days. Again, staying home is a small price to pay to get us through this with the least people infected.

Dr. Deborah Birx said on Sunday that if we do everything perfectly that has been recommended to control this thing, we may get away with only 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. Wow. We’re not at the apex yet and the demand on health facilities and health care workers will get worse. In New York City it’s on overload in a way those of us not there can not understand. But we can see that we wouldn’t want to go through it.

She also said when a case is verified through testing, it means there is much more already in that community. It reminded of the saying that if you see one cockroach, you have at least 10. If you see 10, you have at least 100. And so forth and so on.

We have been such a pampered society for so long that I don’t think people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary that will curtail their lives. We are used to getting our own ways — of course we must get our own ways — and nothing anyone says will stop us.

So if those people continue with that mindset, we won’t be doing absolutely everything necessary and our death rate could climb into the millions. Wonder how many people we’re willing to kill just to go the park and hang out with friends.

Maybe I’m more tuned into this because of my asthma/bronchitis-prone lungs. My son has asthma so he is higher risk. We can’t see the virus so we have to imagine it’s everywhere. Here, we are extremely careful with cleaning and sterilizing in the house, in the car, and any packages that come into the house. I’m looking at a box that was delivered today that is quarantined in the far corner by the door. We are at the beginning of the most dangerous part.

Number one rule: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Wash them again. And again and again and again.

Number two rule: Stay home. I’ve seen that message circulating everywhere on Facebook.

Number three rule: When you come in contact with someone, you are now in contact with everyone they have been in contact with. And everyone those people have been in contact with. And so on and so forth. So your meeting with one person could be the equivalent of 50 — and any one of them could spread the disease that ends up with the one person you’re around.

It’s like Russian Roulet. Most cases are mild … but how much of a chance do you want to take that you could be that one case that ends up in ICU on a ventilator or, in some cases, life support, dealing with crushing chest pain, unable to breathe, and with the hope that you don’t have a heart attack or kidney failure. One doctor described Covid-19 this way: it shreds your lungs, shreds your kidneys, and shreds your heart. Yikes. I read that several weeks ago and it scared me enough to know I was going to do whatever it took to avoid it.

I’m so glad my kids are working from home and have themselves on self-isolation. They are taking it very seriously, too … and I don’t have to worry about them on top of everything else. Lol. Thanks, Kids!

My TX sister is in a hot zone. Her husband is working from home. They aren’t going anywhere. Texas is getting serious about stopping people crossing into the state.

The thought has evolved that, where they were saying you didn’t need to wear a medical mask if you weren’t sick, they are now thinking regular people should wear a regular mask (not the N95 medical mask) when out in public — grocery store or wherever. Makes sense to me.

Every time we have contact with the outside we reset the clock to 14 days. That’s the amount of incubation time for the disease.

Today a friend in one of my Facebook groups told us she had the symptoms so her doctor sent her for testing. We’re waiting to hear what she learns (who knows how long before she is notified of the results). She lives in Philly. Which reminds that one of the PEACH homeschool grads lives in Philly.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Leaders are saying you should stay home unless absolutely necessary to go out, whether your governor has ordered it or not. Health professionals are saying we all have to do our part to get us through this time. I’m doing mine.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15

Day 15 of Coronavirus Chronicles

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” -Philippians 4:13 KJV

Sunday morning and I slept late, again. I guess getting up so early on weekdays and staying up late a number of nights really drained me more than I realized. A cool breeze came in the window as I reached for the TV remote and turned on “CBS Sunday Morning.” At 10:00 Memorial Baptist had online church service from the sanctuary, and many other churches who are trying to keep their congregations safe right now did the same.

An early rain shower ushered in another beautiful day — 80 degrees and extremely breezy with filtered sunshine in the afternoon. Huge clouds are hanging along the mountains but no rain in the forecast. Thankfully, cooler temps are on tap the rest of the week.

The blustery breeze felt wonderful as we walked in the neighborhood this evening at sunset. Wish my sister was here to walk with me. As she walks along the James River, I’m walking in the shadow of the Appalachians. We saw neighbors on the far end of the street but no one was anywhere near us.

I waited until after lunch to turn on the news to see if there was any emergency virus news. There wasn’t. Thank goodness. But there has been news. Trump made a big turnaround by backing off his “churches will be packed on Easter Sunday” and the country will be open, to saying social distancing will continue at least until April 30. That was the right thing to do and it’s good that someone was able to get through to him.

During his press conference Trump seemed to accuse hospitals of over-ordering surgical masks because order requests had jumped in the amount needed. Has he not been listening to the news? He practically accused them of ordering and selling them “out the back door.” Health care officials are putting their lives on the line and working round the clock … perhaps he needs to put his attention on caring more about human life and less on veiled accusations.

Increased testing with self-swabbing is expected to begin being available this week to help with testing and isolating those who are infected. That should help in our woefully behind-the-times testing and diagnosing.

One description I heard about how behind we are in testing — they are testing only the “sickest of the sick” — was that it was like a surfer who misses a wave and then tried to catch up with it. It’s nearly impossible — and that’s what’s happening since America still doesn’t have enough kits to test everyone other than those who are the sickest. By that time it’s often too late for their survival.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he believes at this point in our battle against this extremely contagious disease that the virus will infect millions and kill 100,000-200,000 Americans.

Some churches went on as usual today with Sunday services, with one pastor saying to his congregation that scientists are talking about another wave of Covid-19 in the fall. He told those attending this morning’s service, “Let’s just plunge America into nothingness … when more people have died from the flu.”


Locally, we now have two cases in Augusta County and one in Staunton in addition to the Stuarts Draft Little Debbie factory worker who lives in Nelson County. We first heard of the three in Staunton and  Augusta this morning from a member of Staunton’s Faith Baptist Church who said on Facebook that one of their congregation was in ICU and two others were very ill. The Virginia Health Department notified both locations this afternoon of the cases.

Covid-19 continues to march across the country and today’s news announced the deaths of country singer Joe Diffie and singer-songwriter Alan Merrill (“I Love Rock ‘N Roll”). Singer-songwriter John Prine is in critical condition.

In the past 48 hours the New York City Police Department has lost one uniformed officer and two civilian employees.

I talked with RVA sister for two hours as well as a good friend this afternoon. It’s good to have those interactions at a time when most of us are islands. My sister and I were remembering how all heck started breaking loose with the coronavirus on Friday the 13th … March 13, 2020. How appropriate. We’re on self-quarantine, and professionals suggest America may need to be on lockdown another two to three (or more) weeks to basically stop the virus in its tracks, to stop giving it hosts to jump onto. Take away its availability to keep the numbers rising and victims dying.

So much bad news. On a lighter note….

I put the Last Elegant Bear in the other living room window today to join Theodore E. Bear for the Staunton “Going on a Bear Hunt” game. Abiner Smoothie is heir to four generations of aristocratic beardom and was Matt’s childhood friend after Gail gave it to him when he was two. She also gave him the book, “The Last Elegant Bear,” that had been published the year before he was born. Two bears are my limit for sitting in the front windows. Lol.

A new change for Mr. M and me is that we started taking our shoes off at the front door because we didn’t want to track possible virus germs in on the carpet. When we’re out of quarantine I’ll get a rug cleaning service in to professional clean the carpet — it’s been a year and a half since it was last done.

Tomorrow is Monday and I’ve got Bearing Drift to set up in the morning. It’s a normal thing for me.

I’m parking this here to have for later research: The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14

Day 14 of Coronavirus Chronicles

It rained overnight and a looooong rumble of thunder woke me before dawn … for about 10 seconds, then back to sleep. The gobble of a wild turkey then woke me after the sun came up, its persistent call coming through the open window from the woods behind the house.

It provided a welcome bit of normalcy familiar to the world I used to live in … but it only took a moment for my sleep-confused mind to come awake enough to remember the new reality of living in a pandemic world. What a difference a few weeks makes.

The ding of a message on my phone from one of my sisters was a further wake-up call. I slept two hours later than normal. The morning coolness and gray, rainy conditions gave way to warm temps and 78 this afternoon.

I caught myself stress eating this past week so have put the brakes on that. Apparently others have fallen into the trap, too. And sleeping … people are up at all hours of the night, unable to sleep as the stress of news and concern and uncertainty play in our minds.

Friend Kristin, a high school principal in Spain where they have been on country-wide lockdown the past two weeks, wrote today on Facebook:

It’s now been 2 weeks in quarantine. Em is doing great with her schoolwork, when she remembers to wake up, and I’ve been coming home for lunch to break up her loneliness a little.

We enjoy hanging out on the roof and we have a new fun game of watching the tractor fit down the street and then running at the last minute to avoid breathing the disinfectant spray. Nightly 8pm celebrations of first responders and sanitation workers continues.

Numbers continue to climb at a rate of around 8,000 cases a day. We are now at over 72,000 cases and haven’t leveled out even though we’ve been under strict quarantine for 14 days, I think soon it will level. I pray.

As expected, the numbers have exploded in the states and now the efforts that are being made are too little, too late, I’m afraid. I’m praying like crazy and just beg everyone back home to STAY HOME because it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

For all those people thinking it wasn’t real and saying nobody really knew anyone who had it, I’m sure by now you know it’s real.  That freight train has arrived at the station. Pray pray pray for all those who are sick and for those who are suffering other hurts during this difficult and stressful time.

Neighbors helping neighbors … there is a Facebook group that formed a couple of weeks ago to help people who need it, act as a community bulletin board and information highway for everything from what restaurants are offering takeout to which stores have just restocked to where Covid-19 testing is available. It is chocked full of information and keeps the communities in and around Staunton, Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft, Augusta County, and even Harrisonburg/Rockingham, informed.

Bear 1

Another community project through Facebook is “Going on a Bear Hunt” to help entertain little ones who don’t know what’s going on around them. It’s centered in Staunton for the local group — but there are bear hunts set up all around the country. The idea is to put a teddy bear on display in a window of your house or the front porch or somewhere else where it can be spied from the road. Then your street is added to a master list of houses that have bears waiting to greet the little scavenger hunters and, if you want, a picture of the bear looking out the window, or from the outside looking in at the bear, can be posted on the Facebook page.

Participation in the group is by invitation only so when I received an invitation from a friend and saw what it was all about, I immediately joined. Mr. M found Theodore E. Bear downstairs and we placed him in the living room window overlooking the front porch looking out to the street. Now he waits to see any little ones who come looking for him so they can mark him off their list and, late this afternoon, a car drove slowly past the house. Made me wonder if it was looking for Theodore E. Bear. There are about 200 families participating so far.

I think it’s neat that all the local libraries have left their WiFi on 24/7 (except Craigsville branch for Augusta County Library; we’re working on it). Staunton City joins Augusta County branches so that WiFi is accessible from the parking lots for students trying to keep up with studies, and others who just need internet access. I was told Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave is doing the same for those who want to use it from the parking lot.

It was stunning today — 78 degrees and the sun came out in the afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as warm and then it cools down again. Windows open, bringing the outdoors in.

The kids had my phone pinging this afternoon as they gathered online to play games and chatted with each other. Today was supposed to be the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K and we were all going to be at that. Instead, everyone sheltered in place and met online. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Love my kids more than life itself.

A.B. Stoddard has a good article in The Bulwark, An Open Letter to George W. Bush and Barack Obama:


An Open Letter to George W. Bush and Barack Obama

America needs your leadership now—more than ever.
March 27, 2020

Dear President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama,

The moment you have sought to avoid for nearly four years is here. We are witnessing one of the worst crises to ever confront the United States and one of the worst government failures in the history of the country you served and love.

Together, you have a collective 16 years as president, during which you dealt with a number of crises: the September 11 attacks, two wars, the collapse of the financial system, and the Ebola and H1N1 outbreaks. Faced with these events, you marshaled the vast forces of our government, trusted our best experts, told hard truths, led capable teams on complex missions to tackle these emergencies, and called upon our citizens to unite in patriotic spirit to ride out the storm together. Neither of you were perfect presidents—you both would be the first to admit that—and you each have your detractors.

But both of you knew what the job of the president is in times of crisis and how to manage the basic blocking and tackling of government responses.

President Donald Trump has now proven what many of us long suspected: He has not done any of this, because he cannot do it. He lacks the most basic capabilities required of a president in this moment.

America doesn’t just deserve better. We need better.

And you can help.

This is the time for you to join forces and publicly demand that the government create a plan to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

The United States is now a worldwide epicenter for the virus. We have outpaced the rest of the world even though we had a long lead time to prepare for it and were one of the last large countries to be struck by it.

But the scariest part is that we are leading the world in total number of cases and the wave has still not crested here: The pace of infections is still accelerating.

These are not political talking points. They are facts. Because COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live in or what party you vote for. In a pandemic, there are no red or blue states—only infected states.

These facts have developed for one reason and one reason only: They are the catastrophic consequences of President Trump’s leadership. He denied the threat the virus posed for weeks. He ignored months—years—worth of warnings and calls to action to move faster on testing capacity and to stockpile essential medical supplies.

And even now, with the evidence of his failure everywhere around us, President Trump continues to push for an arbitrary, dangerous end to the suppression measures which have been enacted by state and local authorities.

You both know that Trump’s response has failed and that continued failure could result in damage which will extend not for years, but decades, to come.

So it is time for you to step forward publicly, rally Americans of both parties to heed the recommendations of public health officials, and demand that the current executive leadership do better.

I know you are both loathe to do this and believe that former presidents should not criticize sitting presidents. Under nearly every other circumstance, that impulse is a wise one. But in this particular situation there is an ongoing disaster where a course-change by the current leadership could effect a material change in America’s outcome. And the only two men in America with enough moral and political leverage to make a difference are the two of you.

Please do not wait another day.

President Obama, you have tweeted encouraging messages about social distancing, which were clearly meant to counter Trump’s sudden case of Social Distancing Disgust. That was helpful, but not enough.

President Bush, you don’t tweet. (And God bless you for that. May you be a beacon to the world on this score.)

But what we need from the two of you is more than tweeting. We need you to publicly stand together and speak out.

Yes, we know President Trump will be dismissive of anything you recommend. As he said recently, he hasn’t reached out to his predecessors because he doesn’t think he would “learn much.” But it may prompt him, begrudgingly, to act—if for no other reason than to want to control the optics of looking like he’s doing something.

For now, Trump is basking in his mother’s milk—polling—which shows the public approves of his handling of the outbreak. These have convinced him that all is well. But what the polls don’t tell—and what the current numbers of diagnosed cases do tell—is what’s coming next.

President Trump plans to “revise” social distancing guidelines next week to “open up” economic activity in places he would like to classify as “low risk.” He has telegraphed that shelter-in-place restrictions—which seem to be working in slowing the progress of the virus—are a plot to defeat him at the polls in November.

On Wednesday he tweeted that “The LameStream media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope it will be detrimental to my election success. The real people want to get back to work ASAP.”

On Thursday he claimed that “the mortality rate is way, way down.” It’s unclear what he means by this—precise language is not his strong suit—because we don’t have a clear handle on the mortality rate from COVID-19. There seem to a number of deaths occurring from coronavirus-like symptoms that aren’t being classified as COVID-19 deaths because the patients weren’t tested. Further, the mortality rate varies by age and by access to healthcare. You are more likely to die from COVID-19 in a setting where healthcare resources are maxed out than if you are the only case in the hospital ward.

What we do know is that the total number of “official” deaths will soon eclipse the number of Americans killed on 9/11.

As that number continues to increase—including in states which Trump hopes to carry in November—he may reverse course and tell those “real people” to stay home instead of go back to work. You could help both to focus his mind and give him cover on this.

If Trump could be forced to focus more on the pace of infection, instead of the stock market, he would. But as our infection and death curves spike in the days to come, don’t assume that Trump can focus on the right data.

Neither should you not take comfort in the hope that those around the president will help him do what’s necessary. We cannot count on them. We have all watched as they continue to tolerate his purposeful negligence in this crisis—a combination of magical thinking, denial, impatience, political calculation, and lies.

The posture of the president’s abettors seems to be that he will get it, soon. But he may not, and waiting in hope that he will next week, or the week after, is a dangerous gamble.

What you—and only you—can do is outline a national plan of action, rally public support to it, and force President Trump’s hand.

You can determine the exact specifics of the plan by working with public health experts and economists. It would likely involve a national lockdown for some weeks—the final duration of which to be determined by (1) the infection data and (2) the completion of a nationwide testing system. The lockdown should probably not be eased until we have a testing regime that can easily identify infected people so that they may self-quarantine and also be running random sampling so that we can identify potential hotspots before they flare up. Also: The lockdown should probably not be eased until the supply lines of PPE and other essential healthcare materials are moving efficiently.

The intricacies of epidemiology may be too complicated for the average voter to grasp, but the basic plan for fighting the spread of an epidemic is not.

If you create a plan, and rally support for it among the general public, then you can create the a groundswell of support for it which can then carry Trump into executing it. This need not be done in an adversarial manner. In a perfect world, you two can do the work that he has not been capable of and then give him the space to take ownership of it.

Trump’s own current posture remains both foolish and inhumane. Trump recently remarked that state governors “have to treat us well” if they want help, as if he were a mafia don brokering the allocation of sanitation contracts between his underlings and not a president trying to save the lives of American citizens.

Meanwhile, governors in ravaged states are begging for ventilators that experts estimate we will need roughly a million of, despite the current national inventory of only 200,000. Public health officials also tell the New York Times that a centralized government effort is needed to “referee” the allocation of ventilators to places in the most need, as well as bidding for newly produced ones.

Yet while Trump signed legislation to invoke the Defense Protection Act, he has yet to trigger it. It is mystifying why he has declined to use the available power to supercharge our supplies in the face of such dramatic shortfalls. For instance, New York state requested 30,000 ventilators; the government, provided 4,000 of them. This week more than 100 former national security officials from both parties called upon President Trump to mobilize the law “to the full extent” to provide masks, tests, ventilators, and other critical supplies and equipment, stating the private sector “lacks the ability to process incoming requests, prioritize the most urgent needs and coordinate with other companies absent more concerted government involvement.” In spite of all of these urgent messages and requests and reports from the frontlines of our crushed health care system Trump still questioned the amount of ventilators governors are asking for in an interview with Sean Hannity Thursday.

Outlining a pathway to fix these critical supply chains should be part of your plan, too.

Both of you saw your predecessors working together in their post-presidencies to return to service: George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton not only raised millions for Asian Tsunami recovery but for the victims of Hurricane Katrina as well. When people were in need, Bush and Clinton stepped back into the public square to help.

Americans are in dire need today. And even though Donald Trump may not want your help, he can’t stop you from proposing plans and uniting Americans in shared interest to meet needs that aren’t being met.

Unlike congressional Republicans, who fear Trump and want to please him, you are former presidents of the United States. I suspect that at one point or another the two of you have discussed Trump and are likely of one mind on his administration. Over the last four years you have stayed silent on the subject, for many reasons—most of them good and wise.

But in the face of so much death and destruction—some of which has already happened; much of which is still to come—there are no good reasons for you to be quiet now.

America needs you. And even though he does not realize it, so does President Trump.

I wanted to remember the article below that was in the Atlantic so am posting it here so years from now I can refer back to it and see what the disease has done since this time. I talked with two RN friends today to ask if, from their professional points of view, this article was accurate. They both (independently; one lives in NC and one lives in FL) noted that it was a bit “dramatic,” said one, and took on a “sensationalist tone,” said the other — and that there were some things not yet proven about the cell attachment and stuff — but that basically it was true. Yikes. This will keep you awake.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13


How the Coronavirus Could Take Over Your Body (Before You Ever Feel It)


You call a friend and arrange to meet for lunch. It’s unseasonably springlike, so you choose a place with outdoor seating, which seems like it should be safer. As usual, you take all reasonable precautions: You use hand sanitizer, sit a good distance from other customers, and try to avoid touching your face, though that last part is hard. A part of you suspects that this whole thing might be overblown.

What you don’t know is that ten days ago, your friend’s father was a guest of his business partner at the University Club, where he caught the novel coronavirus from the wife of a cryptocurrency speculator. Three days after that, he coughed into his hand before opening the door of his apartment to welcome his son home. The saliva of COVID-19 patients can harbor half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon, and a cough aerosolizes it into a diffuse mist. As your friend walked through the door he took a breath and 32,456 virus particles settled onto the lining of his mouth and throat.

Viruses have been multiplying inside his body ever since. And as he talks, the passage of his breath over the moist lining of his upper throat creates tiny droplets of virus-laden mucus that waft invisibly into the air over your table. Some settle on the as-yet-uneaten food on your plate, some drift onto your fingers, others are drawn into your nasal sinus or settle into your throat. By the time you extend your hand to shake good-bye, your body is carrying 43,654 virus particles. By the time you’re done shaking hands, that number is up to 312,405.

One of the droplets gets drawn into the branching passages of your lungs and settles on the warm, wet surface, depositing virus particles into the mucus coating the tissue. Each particle is round and very small; if you magnified a human hair so that it was as wide as a football field, the virus particle would be four inches across. The outer membrane of the virus consists of an oily layer embedded with jagged protein molecules called spike proteins. These stick out like the protrusions on a knobby ball chew toy. In the middle of the virus particle is a coiled strand of RNA, the virus’s genetic material. The payload.

As the virus drifts through the lung’s mucus, it bumps into one of the cells that line the surface. The cell is considerably larger than the virus; on the football-field scale, it’s 26 feet across. A billion years of evolution have equipped it to resist attackers. But it also has a vulnerability — a backdoor. Protruding from its surface is a chunk of protein called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor. Normally, this molecule plays a role in modulating hormone activity within the body. Today, it’s going to serve as an anchor for the coronavirus.

As the spike protein bumps up against the surface of the lung cell, its shape matches that of the ACE2 so closely that it sticks to it like adhesive. The membrane of the virus then fuses with the membrane of the cell, spilling the RNA contents into the interior of the lung cell. The virus is in.

The viral RNA gets busy. The cell has its own genetic material, DNA, that produces copied fragments of itself in RNA form. These are continuously copied and sent into the main body of the cell, where they provide instructions for how to make the proteins that carry out all the functions of the cell. It’s like Santa’s workshop, where the elves, dutifully hammering out the toys on Santa’s instructions, are complexes of RNA and protein called ribosomes.

As soon as the viral RNA encounters a ribosome, that ribosome begins reading it and building viral proteins. These proteins then help the viral RNA to copy itself, and these copies then hijack more of the cell’s ribosomes. Other viral proteins block the cell from fighting back. Soon the cell’s normal business is completely overwhelmed by the demands of the viral RNA, as its energy and machinery are occupied with building the components of countless replica viruses.

As they are churned out, these components are transferred on a kind of cellular conveyor belt toward the surface of the cell. The virus membrane and spike proteins wrap around RNA strands, and a new particle is ready. These collect in internal bubbles, called vesicles, that move to the surface, burst open, and release new virus particles into your body by the tens and hundreds of thousands.

Meanwhile, spike proteins that haven’t been incorporated into new viruses embed themselves directly into the host cell’s membrane so that it latches onto the surface of an adjacent cell, like a pirate ship lashing itself to a helpless merchantman. The two cells then fuse, and a whole host of viral RNA swarms over into the new host cell.

All up and down your lungs, throat, and mouth, the scene is repeated over and over as cell after cell is penetrated and hijacked. Assuming the virus behaves like its relative, SARS, each generation of infection takes about a day and can multiply the virus a millionfold. The replicated viruses spill out into the mucus, invade the bloodstream, and pour through the digestive system.

You don’t feel any of this. In fact, you still feel totally fine. If you have any complaint at all, it’s boredom. You’ve been a dutiful citizen, staying at home to practice social distancing, and after two days of bingeing on the Fast & Furious franchise, you decide that your mental health is at risk if you don’t get outside.

You call up an ex, and she agrees to meet you for a walk along the river. You’re hoping that the end-of-the-world zeitgeist might kindle some afternoon recklessness, but the face mask she’s wearing kills the vibe. Also she tells you that she’s decided to move in with a guy she met at Landmark. You didn’t even know she was into Landmark. She gives you a warm hug as you say good-bye, and you tell her it was great to see her, but you leave feeling deflated. What she doesn’t know is that an hour before, you went to the bathroom and neglected to wash your hands afterward. The invisible fecal smear you leave on the arm of her jacket contains 893,405 virus particles. Forty-seven seconds after she gets home, she’ll hang up her coat and then scratch an itch at the base of her nose just before she washes her hands. In that moment, 9,404 viral particles will transfer to her face. In five days, an ambulance will take her to Mount Sinai.

Like a retail chain gobbled up by private equity, stripped for parts, and left to die, your infected cells spew out virus particles until they burn themselves out and expire. As fragments of disintegrated cells spread through your bloodstream, your immune system finally senses that something is wrong. White blood cells detect the fragments of dead cells and release chemicals called cytokines that serve as an alarm signal, activating other parts of the immune system to swing into action. When responding immune cells identify a cell that has become infected, they attack and destroy it. Within your body, a microscopic Battle of the Somme is raging with your immune system leveling its Big Berthas on both the enemy trenches and its own troops. As the carnage mounts, the body’s temperature rises and the infected area becomes inflamed.

Two days later, sitting down to lunch, you realize that the thought of eating makes you feel nauseated. You lie down and sleep for a few hours. When you wake up, you realize that you’ve only gotten worse. Your chest feels tight, and you’ve got a dry cough that just won’t quit. You wonder: Is this what it feels like? You rummage through your medicine cabinet in vain and ultimately find a thermometer in the back of your linen closet. You hold it under your tongue for a minute and then read the result: 102. Fuck, you think, and crawl back into bed. You tell yourself that it might just be the regular flu, and even if worse comes to worst, you’re young(-ish) and otherwise healthy. You’re not in the high-risk group.

You’re right, of course, in a sense. For most people infected with the coronavirus, that’s as far as it goes. With bed rest, they get better. But for reasons scientists don’t understand, about 20 percent of people get severely ill. Despite your relative youth, you’re one of them.

After four days of raging fever and feeling sore all over, you realize that you’re sicker than you’ve ever been in your life. You’ve got a dry cough that shakes you so hard that your back hurts. Fighting for breath, you order an Uber and head to the nearest emergency room. (You leave 376,345,090 virus particles smeared on various surfaces of the car and another 323,443,865 floating in aerosols in the air.)

At the ER, you’re examined and sent to an isolation ward. As doctors wait for the results of a test for the coronavirus, they administer a CT scan of your lungs, which reveals tell-tale “ground-glass opacities,” fuzzy spots caused by fluid accumulating where the immune-system battle is the most intense. Not only have you got COVID-19, but it’s led to a kind of intense and dangerous pneumonia called acute-respiratory-distress syndrome, or ARDS.

With all the regular beds already occupied by the many COVID-19 sufferers, you’re given a cot in a room alongside five other patients. Doctors put you on an intravenous drip to supply your body with nutrients and fluids as well as antiviral medicine. Within a day of your arrival, your condition deteriorates. You throw up for several days and start to hallucinate. Your heart rate slows to 50 beats a minute. When a patient in the next room dies, doctors take the ventilator he was using and put you on it. By the time the nurse threads the endotracheal tube down your throat, you’re only half-conscious of the sensation of it snaking deeper and deeper toward your lungs. You just lie there as she places tape over your mouth to keep the tube in place.

You’re crashing. Your immune system has flung itself into a “cytokine storm” — an overdrive of such intensity that it is no longer fighting just the viral infection but the body’s own cells as well. White blood cells storm your lungs, destroying tissue. Fluid fills the tiny alveolar sacs that normally let the blood absorb oxygen. Effectively, you’re drowning, even with the ventilator pumping oxygen-enriched air into your lungs.

That’s not the worst of it. The intensity of the immune response is such that under its onslaught, organs throughout the body are shutting down, a process known as multiple-organ-dysfunction syndrome, or MODS. When your liver fails, it is unable to process toxins out of your blood, so your doctors rush to hook you up to a round-the-clock dialysis machine. Starved of oxygen, your brain cells begin to expire.

You’re fluttering on the edge between life and death. Now that you’ve slipped into MODS, your odds are 50-50 or worse. Owing to the fact that the pandemic has stretched the hospital’s resources past the breaking point, your outlook is even bleaker.

Lying on your cot, you half-hear as the doctors hook you up to an extracorporeal-membrane-oxygenation (ECMO) machine. This will take over the work of your heart and lungs and hopefully keep you alive until your body can find its way back to equilibrium.

And then, you are flooded with an overwhelming sense of calm. You sense that you have reached the nadir of your struggle. The worst of the danger is over. With the viral attack beaten, your body’s immune system will pull back, and you’ll begin the slow, painstaking journey to full recovery. Some weeks from now, the doctors will remove the tube from your throat and wheel away the ventilator. Your appetite will come back, and the color will return to your cheeks, and on a summer morning you’ll step out into the fresh air and hail a cab for home. And later still, you’ll meet the girl who will become your wife, and you’ll have three children, two of whom will have children of their own, who will visit you in your nursing home outside Tampa.

That’s what your mind is telling itself, anyway, as the last cells of your cerebral cortex burst in starburst waves, like the glowing algae in a midnight lagoon. In the isolation ward, your EKG goes to a steady tone. The doctors take away the ventilator and give it to a patient who arrived this morning. In the official records of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll be recorded as victim No. 592.

We’re committed to keeping our readers informed.
We’ve removed our paywall from essential coronavirus news stories. 

Day 13 of Coronavirus Chronicles

This morning began with breaking news from Britain that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had tweeted out a video saying he had tested positive for COVID-19. Ironically, he had been one of those in the beginning who didn’t take the virus seriously, as noted in this New Yorker magazine article:

This time last week, the Prime Minister was resisting shutting down daily life, as most European governments already had. Even when the data suggested that the United Kingdom’s infection and mortality rates were on a similar trajectory to Italy’s, Johnson hesitated to close schools or enforce any kind of lockdown.

From the start, the British government has followed its own bespoke response to the pandemic—initially eschewing widespread testing, experimenting with the goal of “herd immunity,” and, in Johnsonian fashion, deploying a distinctive vocabulary to talk about the crisis. (Last week, on a conference call with business leaders, Johnson described a national plan to build more ventilators as “Operation Last Gasp.”)

But things changed last weekend, when, across the country, people ignored the government’s social-distancing entreaties and flocked to beaches, national parks, and cafés to enjoy the spring sunshine.

On Tuesday night, broadcasting from his book-lined study in Downing Street, a sombre Johnson ordered a three-week national lockdown to halt the spread of the virus. More than twenty-seven million people watched the Prime Minister’s address, making it the most popular event on British television since the wedding of Princess Anne, in 1973. As of 5 P.M. on March 26th, Britain had 14,579 known cases of COVID-19 and seven hundred and fifty-nine people had died.

Congress met at 9:00 this morning for three hours of debate before voting on and passing the $2 trillion bill that will help Americans who were suddenly out of work and companies that were shut down since coronavirus hit America.

People are being urged to stay home this weekend. Don’t be in crowds. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for people … are they not reading what is happening? Or maybe they don’t believe. Err on the side of caution. Look at what happened to Boris Johnson.

A big worry spot now is New Orleans where 1.1 million people crowded into the city to celebrate Mardi Gras. Now there are ill people and it’s spreading.

Today Mr. M and I worked outside in the yard. It got up to 76 degrees and was beautiful before clouds rolled in and, in the surrounding of flowers, birds singing, and lawn mowers going, if I didn’t keep up with the news I wouldn’t have a clue how bad this emergency has become in some areas of the country.

The problem is that those who don’t take it seriously are becoming among those who have caught it, as noted above again by Boris Johnson.  I don’t understanding putting yourself at risk like that.

Tonight friend Barb and I were texting to check in on each other. Interesting at a time like this … we are reaching out to those in our close circle of friends and family to be sure all is well. I’m concerned about them because I’ve read too many accounts of people who have caught the virus and the difficulty they have encountered battling the disease. None of us want to go through that. An RN who was caring for ER patients died. Other health care providers have caught it.

I had an Augusta County Library board meeting on my calendar yesterday. However, the board and director all agreed that we would not be meeting this week and have put it off until things settle down.  Most are self-isolating right now so no way were we going to head to Fishersville for a meeting. The library is closed down but they are offering curbside service at Fishersville and Churchville.

A photo collage of the spring flowering things in our yard, a reminder of what has given me solace. Spring.

Be well.

See also….

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12

Day 1, 2, 3 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Write it down.”

When I decided to start journaling during the coronavirus pandemic, we were on Day 4 of the most active time … but it began before that. My first entry was Day 4 and I’ve continued since but decided to add this beginning part so there would be no question that something was lost or missing.

The first three days were a blur of new reality, changes, executive orders, school closings, and so much more, most of which I included in Day 4.

The suggestion to write about your daily life during this time of crisis came from University of Virginia history professor Dr. Herbert “Tico” Braun who said, “Think of your children, your grandchildren, your friends down the road, who will ask you what was it like during that pandemic – “What was it called? Corona-something? You know, the one that was named after a Mexican beer … back then in 2020 or ’21. When was it?”

He continued:

If you are going to compose a journal of these times, make it something easy to do. If a journal becomes onerous, it does not work. You do not have to write or do things for the journal every day. Keep your writing and composing close by, so you can jot things down to return to them later. Jot things down, a few words here and there, but then compose them in full sentences.

When you read an article that you find telling, produce a link in your journal and write a few brief reflections. Include photographs, from the press and those that you take.

Many of us are writing today and producing our work on social media. It is an explosion. You can gather these voices, these experiences, all this creativity. They are all a record of our times. These voices are urgent.

How will we deal, socially, psychologically, with the increasing number of deaths all around us? Many are saying that around the globe our lives will not be the same again.

Since I write and research in my job at Bearing Drift, my posts will be a bit more “onerous” with links and such but that’s just because it’s what I do. It’s like doing term or research tables for a living; you’re just used to it.

This journal will be my thoughts and observations during these unprecedented times we are living through. If we come out the other side, we can look back and see the parts that will be forgotten over time. I should have done the same after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Be well.

Day 12 of Coronavirus Chronicles

The sun came out today … what a welcomed change! Southwestern bean soup went in the crockpot early this morning for easy dinner and then I was able to enjoy being outside for the afternoon. The sun was bright but the breeze was cool — I popped back in to put on a jacket — and went back out to take pics of the flowering trees and flowers.

Getting outdoors was therapeutic as I raked leaves from behind the boxwoods while Mr. M mowed a patch of grass in front of the porch that has gotten shaggy and trapped leaves. There’s so much work to do out there including clearing out flower beds, raking trapped leaves from other areas, and picking up a zillion sticks that broke off trees during the winter winds.

Today’s U.S. jobs report was bad … really bad … with 3.28 million filing for unemployment in one week.  It’s the result of all the stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other outlets closing to try and keep people home to stop Corvid-19 so it was expected to be high … but still kind of rocked you back on your heels to see it in writing. Seems that I heard last week’s numbers were something like 235,000. Meanwhile, the stock market closed up, I guess on the good news of the $2 trillion package to help bridge us through all the pandemic disruption.

Found this video (above) of a doctor who demonstrated how to disinfect groceries and fast food to avoid contaminating your house if virus germs are on it. We aren’t doing any pick-up/takeout food — don’t know who is working with the food — but a lot of people are using the drive-thru so he had safety guidelines to follow. Grocery store workers are now coming down with the virus and germs reportedly live on surfaces 24-72 hours, definitely something to think about.

Some have even suggested quarantining mail and packages. The last time I remember having to be careful with the mail was after 9/11 when anthrax was randomly mailed to people. So Mr. M retrieved the mail today with rubber gloves, and put the spam (we can have spam snail mail, right?) in the trash while quarantining the other. They’re in timeout for 24 hours. Lol.

I read way too many pandemic articles today, again. One talked about how health care professionals who are on the front line of this epidemic during this national emergency are updating their wills and funeral arrangements. Many of them are testing positive for the virus, a scary thought since so many don’t have the proper protection to work around such contagious patients. Interestingly, I updated my will last week. Isn’t it interesting how something like this suddenly adds urgency to such mundane things?

A fourth elderly patient died today of coronavirus at that Henrico rehab center where a couple dozen more have tested positive, reminiscent of the nursing home in Washington State where it went through like wildfire.

One good article today was this Ed Yong piece in The Atlantic (free access, no paywall for coronavirus articles) – “How the Pandemic Will End“:

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk.

In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come.

In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

If you have about 10 minutes go ahead and read the entire, comprehensive article. There’s much out there for those who want to know the reality of what we’re facing. If you don’t want to know, don’t bother reading.

However, you would be shocked to read first-hand accounts from health professionals in areas like New York and the tragic disaster they are dealing with day in and day out. It’s heartbreaking. People are dying. Not enough equipment. Confirmed equipment orders that disappear to other locations. Hospitals across the country are competing with each other. A hospital administrator in Florida who took out a loan in excess of $300,000 against his home to be able to buy testing kits. One of the governors called it a “Lord of the Flies” scenario.

Hard-hit hospitals are operating like a war zone and having to make do with less equipment than they need. Even face masks are running out as well as gloves and gowns. Today it was announced that hospitals were going to improvise with ventilators, currently in extremely short supply, by hooking up two patients to one machine. That is war-time medicine … triage.  It’s “Mash” in real time.

We are in a horrible time in history for our country. For those who want to have an intelligent conversation about the lack of action that helped us get where we are, I’m happy to have that discussion.

When this is written in history, it is going to put it all out there for the entire world to see. I’ll be the first in line when they make the movie. If I’m here. This disease has the very real possibility of taking out many of us, perhaps next fall if it makes a second round comeback like the Spanish Flu did in 2018 (see Why the Second Wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu Was So Deadly).

Everybody had better hope they don’t have any kind of medical emergency for a while especially in the hardest hit areas of the country. You don’t want to have a car accident or fall and break a bone or have an infected tooth or any number of other scenarios.

These are the things I think about at night. My Fitbit says I’m not getting restful sleep. Do you think? I write about these things because this is my Coronavirus Chronicles with the memories that I want to remember about this time in history, and for my children to remember. As my Air Force veteran husband would say, it’s definitely a FUBAR situation … and if you’re military, you know what that means.

I mean, the Army is asking retired medics and nurses to come back for COVID-19 duty, and had positive responses from 9,000. The Army Corps of Engineers has mobilized and they are building/refitting hospitals around the country, converting convention centers or hotels or college dorms into hospital zones, and reengineering needed equipment as they help FEMA and HHS. They have peak deadlines for every state when this work needs to be done.

In New York they put the call out to retired doctors and nurses to come help … and thousands answered the call.

This is war. It’s easy to not realize that for those of us who aren’t in the hot zones. But with a little research and reading the multitude of articles out there in all publications, it’s easy to find out what is going on. I’ve never been a stick-my-head-in-the-sand kind of person so I’m not about to start now.

Here’s a list of the states and cities that have some kind of shelter in place or other restrictions for their residents.

My Dallas sister had one of those emergency announcements go through her phone today — the emergency being the pandemic. Dallas is locked down. These are the times I wish my family was more concentrated in one location.

Err on the side of caution. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. If it ends up being the best, then we should count our blessings that all the preparations worked in stopping this thing.

On Wednesday the Southern Baptist Convention, for the first time since World War II, cancelled the 2020 June convention. They’re taking this pandemic seriously.

Today’s movie for the last day of free Showtime was “The Front Runner” about Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign. I well remember that race. Our free Showtime ends tonight and today they offered free Starz through sometime in April so we’ll have movie access for a while longer. It helps fill my mind with something besides pandemic news.

My phone has been dinging this evening with texts back and forth between the kids as they line up a time to play online games together this weekend. We are very fortunate to be shut in at a time when we have all these social devices to stay in touch. Meanwhile, I need to load Zoom so I can “attend” a conference next week with Larry Sabato at UVA’s school of politics. The kids assured I’d love having it.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10
Day 11

Day 11 of Coronavirus Chronicles

In the changes that have taken place during this pandemic, one that is particularly noticeable is the number of TV news anchors who are now working from home instead of congregating in a central studio location. There is some lag time in conversations but for the most part it’s pretty seamless as anchors coordinate with each other across the miles.

Cases of coronavirus have exploded in New York so there has been much attention given to their overloaded hospitals and lack of supplies. There has been much discussion about the U.S. being caught flat-footed in this pandemic. Governor Cuomo is doing a remarkable job holding daily news updates, carefully walking viewers through the process with graphics and charts

News broke early this morning that Prince Charles had tested positive for coronavirus and has mild symptoms. Add him to the famous people list that includes Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

The Washington Post and New York Times have exhaustive coverage of coronavirus news that is free for everyone (no paywall). No matter what your political alliances are (and conservatives have made no secret of their disapproval of these two publications), they have large staffs of writers, researchers, and graphic artists who are able to pass along far more information than what is available from local newspapers. At a time of national crisis such as we are currently undergoing, that type of central information-gathering is not only appreciated but needed. Click on the above links to read in-depth information about what we are facing, what it will take to get us through this dire situation, and much more.

I used to be far more partisan when a Republican activist in GOP grassroots leadership. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized it was imperative that I research both sides of an issue and that required looking at the Democratic side as well as Republican. The more I researched, the more I stepped out of my GOP bubble and, instead of listening to only my side of the political aisle, I listened to the other. Compromise, a dirty word to many conservatives, is absolutely necessary as well as taking a pragmatic look at governing. Think of a married couple. Do you think one gets his/her way all the time? Of course not, and so they compromise.

There were mentors who helped along the way. My political colleague was pragmatic even though he was very conservative. He knew how to navigate between the factions within our party and work with them while working with our elected officials. I was the activist; he was a level-headed leader. I learned during that time that the best leaders strive to work with all. My state delegate ran as a conservative Republican but understood, and shared with me that as an elected official, he represented everyone, not just Republicans. That was not lost on me and added another component in shaping my political outlook. So I am today where I am. I share that because many conservatives absolutely refuse to read the Washington Post and NY Times but, by doing so, they are missing very helpful news outlets.

We woke this morning to rain and chilly temps and, though the rain let up during the day, the dark clouds and coolness remained. It was a lethargic day even though I was busy with Bearing Drift until lunch time. A lazy afternoon was spent watching a movie and taking a nap.

News shows were full of dreary pandemic news. Over 30 states are now on stay-at-home orders or are full of cities with such. A $2 trillion bailout package has been pretty much hammered out and will be voted on by Congress.  The governor Virginia ruled that elective surgeries were to be postponed until after the epidemic passes.

Our infection curve in this country is still going upward so we aren’t to the peak yet. Today reports were that Florida and Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, are hot spots with many new cases beginning to show up. I saw today where another elderly person died in a Henrico rehab center which brings that total to three, and apparently something like 17 residents tested positive. Powhatan had their first confirmed case.

Thank goodness my step-dad was able to leave rehab (in Henrico but a different facility) and return to his assisted living facility — from one lockdown building to another — so we cannot visit. At least he’s back in his familiar surroundings in his own apartment.

RVA sister plans to go over tomorrow to fill his bird feeders outside the window — he’ll like that. I’d love to be there to wave in the window at him and see his smile. He called this afternoon and sounded downright perky, which was good to hear. We talked for 30 minutes about everything.

It was a busy phone day, now that I think of it. Tonight one of our BD writers is working on a couple of posts so we are touching base back and forth with details and updates.

This was supposed to be the weekend for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K with my Nashville kids flying in tomorrow and staying through Sunday, and all of us were staying at RVA sister’s house, and all of them were participating in the 10K. We bagged it three weeks ago when this virus thing started building, and then the 10K folks pulled the plug a week later. I’d love to be spending the weekend with them instead of all of us being isolated in our own areas of the world.

Tonight’s movie on Showtime: “The Holiday” for about the millionth time. Lighthearted and fun, just what’s needed in these times. Only one more day of free access to Showtime which is probably a good thing because it’s had me watching more movies than I should … but it’s been fun.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 10

Day 10 of Coronavirus Chronicles

We had a fun day, Bill and I. At least it was sunny, a big improvement after several days of gray, although rain moved in tonight.  It was busy with much of the day taken up as I worked on Bearing Drift. I really need to start on my spring cleaning for the house, clean flower beds in the yard, and lots of other chores.

Probably the biggest coronavirus news today was that Japan has postponed the 2020 Olympics until 2021, something that was totally expected considering the virus is still ramping up in a number of areas around the world including the U.S.

Also this morning Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the British people to announce a lockdown of the entire country in an effort to battle coronavirus. See video here. It was an interesting speech that laid out in two minutes what was allowed. Apparently Johnson didn’t originally take the virus seriously.

All of this comes as Trump announces he wants our country to be up and on its feet by Easter Sunday — 19 days from now — with people back to work, businesses open. We haven’t even hit our peak yet in this country, and the way states handle it will determine how soon we start to “flatten the curve.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci was back at the briefing today … but he didn’t look very happy. Do you think the White House is crushing down on him because he has been bluntly honest in his assessments of the virus as it advances across the country? I hope not. It’s more comforting knowing his knowledge is there for the benefit of all of us.

Grocery curbside pickup: we are going to use Martin’s but hear the same is true with Wal-Mart — book ahead of time. The waiting time is four or five days before you will be able to pick up an order. Right now I have an appointment for next Tuesday morning for perishables and produce.

As always, people are questioning decisions being made for the benefit of all. I remember after 9/11 there was a group of libertarians who questioned everything President Bush did to help the country remain safe in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. More than 3,000 innocent people had been killed and all some wanted to do was criticize the president as he worked to secure safety because they were fearful of losing their rights.

My former House of Delegates member Chris Saxman’s afternoon radio show was on today for the first time since the coronavirus issue began, so it’s been a few weeks. It was good to have him back. “Wonder where Chris is,” I found myself asking as I went about my work. Well, today he was back with some timely conversation about current events.

Tonight I had somewhere to go and it struck me how empty the Staunton bypass was shortly before 7:00. As of midnight tonight non-essential businesses are to close for a minimum of 30 days. Here is the governor’s executive order with the list of what is allowed. That will empty the streets even more.

We watched another movie today. “Peggy Sue Got Married,” a 1986 film with Kathleen Turner, was one I had seen in the theater back in the day, and it was still good.

Now it’s going on midnight and I’m watching “Poms” with Diane Keaton (2019). I like Diane Keaton … but this wasn’t one of my favorite movies. We’re taking advantage of the free Showtime until it goes away Thursday.

Another day in the books during the C-19 pandemic of 2020.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 9 of Coronavirus Chronicles

What a busy day! It’s 11:30 p.m. and I’m just now making this entry so it will be short. My eyeballs are heavy and it’s been a long day.

Probably the most significant thing today was that Dr. Tony Fauci was not present at the late afternoon coronavirus briefing held at the White House. He speaks truth about what we’re facing, and now Trump has basically given the virus a timeline of when to be finished, and that’s that.

At a time when the worst contamination is still on the way, he is acting as if the next few days are the end of the epidemic. Since we have China and Italy as models to follow, we know we are most likely on our way to a huge outbreak of cases.

On Facebook I’m seeing more and more people who have parents, friends, aunt, uncles, or someone they know with the disease. Some have lost loved ones … others share the stories of those who are battling it.

I’ve read first-hand accounts from people who have gone through it and how horrible it is, or others who have gone through it with light cases and were fine.

Senator Amy Klochubar’s husband is now ill with the coronavirus, battling pneumonia. She can’t be with him. That’s the thing. No one can be with their loved ones who are battling it because it’s so contagious. Patients are all alone at a time when they are surely frightened and definitely needing someone they trust and love by their side.

It was rainy and cold today — mid-30s this morning but warmed up to 50 and dry this afternoon. Dreary and gray outside.

I slept on the sofa last night because my brain was working overtime. The best thing I can do when that happens is turn on the TV and let the drone of voices lull me to sleep. Works like a charm — better than any sleeping aid you could use.

More states locked down today including West Virginia. Our own Governor Northam held a press conference this afternoon and said K-12 schools would not return for the remainder of this school year. We have at least three public school teachers at Bearing Drift, and they were all sad that they wouldn’t see their students anymore this year.

Life has definitely changed. We aren’t on lockdown but all non-essential businesses will close down as of midnight tomorrow. One of the Bearing Drift writers works in Roanoke and he was describing to me how empty the roadways were this morning. It’s the same story everywhere.

My RVA sister is at her sewing machine turning out medical masks as are her friends and people all around the Commonwealth.  Augusta Health here in Augusta County put out the call that masks were needed. I’m gathering all the information I can find to write a post about this new army of medical mask makers.

I’m always in awe at how Americans can come together during adversity, neighbors helping neighbors. I saw it after 9/11, and it’s happened after hurricanes, forest fires, and other adversities — and I’m seeing it again during this crisis.

Over at the writers have been busy. In fact, they have kept me on my toes editing and publishing which is good because we need the content for our readers. With so many out of jobs at the moment, I’d like to keep new content rolling as much as possible to give folks something to read.

My brain is so tired I can’t even think of what else happened today so I’m going to wrap this up. Not very informative … maybe tomorrow.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles
Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 8 of Coronavirus Chronicles

I went to bed at 11:00 last night and woke at 3:00 this morning with a brain working overtime.

Bill went to Martin’s this morning during their “senior hour” between 6-7:00 a.m. This will probably be the last trip to physically enter the store; we’ll try the online ordering for groceries from now on and then drive over to pick them up. We are self-locking down and staying home except if we drive the back roads to get out of the house.

I turned on the news and listened for about 30 minutes, then turned it off. Part of the reason I couldn’t sleep this morning was thinking about how much our lives have changed, all the things I need to do, and wondering what will be that one thing I’ve not thought of that will be needed somewhere down the line when we reach a point when things may not be available.

Today the governors of Ohio and Louisiana announced their states would join New York, California, and Illinois by sheltering in place. The city of Nashville begins that tonight at midnight.

Senator Rand Paul tested positive for coronavirus today after attending a senate lunch and being in the senate gym. He is now quarantined as well as Sen. Mitt Romney and a growing list of others.

Again I’m grateful for social media … texted with the kids and my sisters throughout the day. We all check in daily to be sure all are well adn to see if anyone needs anything.

My RVA sister began turning out face masks today, a needed commidity across the country and even in Richmond, and the Texas sister is getting ready to begin sewing them. Americans pulling together … it’s what we do.

Turning in early tonight. It’s been a long day….

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 7 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Woke this morning to read that singer Kenny Rogers had died. I read yesterday where someone’s dad died in Florida. Because of the pandemic, all funerals are small, family-only gatherings.

I’m so glad Mom’s not here to see what’s going on. But she would be able to identify to the extend of living as a teenager through World War II — she graduated from Thomas Dale High School in Chester on D-Day (no one knew at the time it was D-Day — pre-media days). Born in 1927, she was a little girl during the Great Depression that ran from 1929 until the late 1930s so she and my dad knew how to live on a shoestring. Until the day she died, she saved and rewashed plastic bags, Reynolds Wrap, and waxy cereal box linings.

I’ve stayed away from the news for most of today other than trying to watch the virus update presser at mid-day. However, I had to turn it off because Trump took over, again, and all I want to hear is accurate information from specialists.

It was interesting because I pulled up Facebook this morning and was on for a while, and then started to sign off … and didn’t want to.

So many friends were on and I didn’t want to leave them in this social vacuum we are just beginning to live in. So I stayed on most of the day. I often do that on weekdays while editing and posting on Facebook for Bearing Drift, and monitoring comments, and everything else. Today it ran in the background while I worked or read or researched. It even stayed on when I wasn’t at the computer.

But now I’m doing it for the socialization. It feels like everyone is in my living room, and we have been pretty chatty today. It’s nice to visit.

I work online from home every day as editor of Right now there are two posts I need to edit and publish on Monday, so there are no work disruptions at our house.

I still read far too many articles today about how bad it is, how bad it will get, what to expect, how long to expect it, etc etc etc. These are some of the articles I read:

-Washington Post: Anthony Fauci was ready for this. America was not

-Washington Post: U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic

-New York Times: Coronavirus Could Overwhelm U.S. Without Urgent Action, Estimates Say

-ProPublica: A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

-The Bulwark (Shay Khatari): The Petty President

-The Atlantic: You Should Already Be In Lockdown

-Huffington Post: Why You Shouldn’t Go To Your Friend’s House While Social Distancing

That’s just some of the articles. If that doesn’t stress you out, you may not be taking this pandemic seriously.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 6 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Virginia is in bloom. The flowers are smiling and trees are covered in blossoms. It’s hard to find anywhere prettier than Virginia at this time of year. It’s as if Mother Nature is sending us a “cheer up” bouquet, and it is definitely appreciated. I can’t stay inside. Nature keeps pulling be outdoors, and the blooming things smell wonderful.

Diversions are appreciated so I watched a movie – “Free State of Jones” – with Matthew McConaughey who played Newt Knight, a southern farmer who rebelled against the Confederacy during the Civil War. When we go against our own herd, the repercussions are intense. In the South, teaming up with Confederate Army deserters and escaped slaves was stepping way out of the norm in that society, and Newt Knight paid the price.

Hallmark Channel announced this week that they will run a Christmas movie marathon over the weekend. Amidst all the teasing, it will be a nice escape if we end up stuck in the house. It began at noon today and has been a nice diversion this evening.

All this coronavirus talk reminds of a tabletop board game the kids own that’s called “Pandemic.” Our mission was to save humanity. We all played as partners helping the areas of the world that were stricken, each player representing a needed specialist: dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher, operations expert, Contingency Planner, and quarantine specialist.

Working together with each other after diseases break out around the world threatening to wipe out a region, our goal was to discover cures for each before something devastating happened (by the draw of cards) that would wipe out the world and cause us to lose the game,

We’ve won, and we’ve lost. What I liked about that game was that we all worked together, pooling our talents and planning how to arrive at the outbreak area of the world with the resources needed to eradicate the fast-moving diseases. Got to admit my heart was racing while playing it.

Now we have the real thing. God help us all.

Today reminded that I love living in a small town. This afternoon when we drove past the Staunton Public Library, our daughter-in-law was walking to her car. We beeped and waved, then wheeled into the parking lot to say hello since we miss our kiddos in our new upside-down world.

We chatted for a few minutes, then gave air hugs when we left, and pulled out to head to the bank. “There’s Steve Landes,” Bill said as we passed the dry cleaners on Augusta Street. Steve, formerly in the Virginia House of Delegates, is now Augusta County’s Clerk of Court at the Courhouse.

When my kids were growing up, I used to warn them about a small town. “You never know who sees you,” I said. Sure enough, once when Matt was a teenager driving home, a friend was behind him in a 25-mph zone. She later told me, “Matt is a good driver,” and noted that he observed the speed limit.

When I told Matt about it, I asked if he had seen her behind him. He hadn’t. I reminded of what I’d always told both my kids about a small town and said that was a perfect example.

Growing up in RVA, I appreciate the anonymity of a large city. But the intimate feeling of a small town pulls me, too. So my kids split the difference. One lives in Nashville, and one lives here.

The stock market fell almost 1,000 today.

And Illinois joined California and New York State by imposing a statewide lockdown.

My sister Lori has fired up her sewing machine and is making face masks in response to a hospital in Illinois that asked for help. Even though the handmade masks won’t fit the standards of medical masks, doctors have said they would rather have those than nothing at all, so she has enlisted friends to help. They’re on a sewing mission! Neighbors helping neighbors….

Meanwhile, the projected number of victims continues to grow. I texted with the kids this evening and with my sisters throughout the day. Social media — texts, emails, phone, Facetime … we are so fortunate to have all these means of communication unlike years ago when isolation was, truly, isolating.

The worst is still to come with this virus. These are tense days. I wish our president would act more presidential and stop attacking reporters. It’s beneath the dignity of a president especially during a pandemic when nerves are already frayed. He says things that are blatantly untrue and opposite of what the disease specialists and experts are saying, and they are beginning to have to step in and correct what he has said.

These daily TV press conferences are to inform the public about the virus with the latest numbers, victims, projections … we are trying to understand what we’re facing. But Trump seems to feel it’s his spotlight and it’s still all about me, me, me. It’s not about him! It’s about Americans who are worried and scared and want to be assured there is competent leadership. Spreading what are basically lies — he is corrected and still adheres to what he said — is reckless.

It’s all inexcusable. There. I said it. Now my herd can distance themselves from me if they still agree with what he is doing. But I don’t.

Be well.

See also….

Day 4 of Coronavirus Chronicles

Day 5 of Coronavirus Chronicles

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