My Pandemic Year: November 2020

November 1, 2020 – Dia de los Muertos

  • COVID-19 Global cases 46,427,615 / deaths 1,199,693
  • US cases 9,201,500 / total deaths 230,967

Seattle Center ran Festal virtually today. I watched the dancing and cooking, missed the block printing but learned how to make sugar skulls: mix 1 cup sugar with 1 tsp merengue powder, add drops of water (up to 1 tsp) until you can form the mixture in your hand. You can freehand sculpt skulls, but I want to find a mold for next year. Let the skulls cure for 24 hours before decorating them with colored Royal icing.

White House is installing a non-scalable 7′ tall perimeter fence around the entire grounds including the Ellipse. It’s like Trump has no plans to leave…

November 2, 2020 – All Saints Day

  • COVID-19 test positivity is now 6.6%, death rate in the US is 4%
  • New daily cases are up 16.7%, hospitalizations are up 13.4%
  • Trump is now hinting at firing Dr. Fauci after November 4 or so. He says doctors are inflating cast numbers in order to make money.

At 11:30 PM on the eve of Election Day, my gut tells me that the winner will take it by 306 electoral votes. I hope that winner is Biden.

November 3, 2020 – Election Day

It’s pouring rain today. I decide to leave my Dia de los Muertos banners up for awhile, but I dismantle my ofrendas. I need twinkle lights. The house is really dark now unless I turn on every single light.

The nation is on edge. Cities are boarding up their storefronts in anticipation of violent protests. The fence surrounding the White House is plastered with anti-Trump signs today. Trump predicts winning 306 electoral votes – the same number he won in his landslide victory over Hillary Clinton. He moved his victory party from his hotel to the White House earlier this week. He expected 400 people to show up, today the confirmed guest list is 250.

At 9 PM, the returns are not showing the landslide the Dems needed. Biden is ahead in the electoral count but Trump is trending to win. Most states are red in the popular vote. It’s not over till it’s over but I’m not optimistic.

November 4, 2020 – The vote count continues

  • COVID-19 US cases 9,394,282 (103,087 new) / deaths 232,742
  • Per capita cases – in North Dakota, 159 per 100,000, in South Dakota, 134 per 100,000, both are thought to be linked to the Sturgis rally. In WA State, 117 per 100,000.
  • In the US overall the infection rate is 27 per 100,000, nearly double from last week.
  • Trump told his supporters the pandemic would end today. Surprise!

Biden is now trending to win (at noon) but the vote count won’t be complete until Friday. I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to polls because they were wrong again. Trump is ordering recounts, and predictably makes a premature claim of victory. The Senate looks to remain deadlocked – crippling Biden if he wins, supporting Trump if he wins – a disaster either way.

November 5, 2020

Trumps speech today is so bad that networks are shutting their coverage off before it ends. Election results remain very close, with Biden trending. I’m trying not to hold my breath. Trump tries a third time to stop the count but his case is thrown out in federal court.

Steve Bannon is temporarily banned from Twitter and YouTube today after he posted a “heads on pikes” comments targeting Dr. Fauci and FBI Director Wray. Facebook takes no action.

The US officially withdraws from the Paris Accord this week.

November 7, 2020 – Biden declared President Elect

COVID-19 US cases 9,787734 / deaths 236,484 (3,742 deaths since Nov 5)

Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff, tested positive on November 4 but didn’t reveal that until today.

After pulling ahead yesterday in all but one state, Biden is declared the winner today by AP NewsWire. Biden plans to initiate a national COVID-19 plan, return to “following the science” and rejoining the Paris Accord. “We just need to hang on.” I spring out of bed at the news, with the first genuine burst of energy I’ve had in weeks, although it dissipates 90 minutes later.

Trump firings and agency closures continue. Pardons for self and others are pending. Biden supporters are dancing in the streets. Trump supporters are holding small rallies.

November 8, 2020

COVID-19 cases are now 50 million globally, 10 million cases in the US.

Alex Trebek has died, age 80, after losing his battle with cancer. I am very fatigued and mildly depressed, in spite of the sunny day and good news from yesterday. I’m now concerned about the Electoral College being manipulated in December.

Trump is radio-silent today, retreating to his golf course. Twitter has flagged a third of his tweets as misinformation regarding the results of the election.

November 9, 2020

Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, has been fired. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing, has COVID-19 and is being treated with therapeutics at home.

Biden forms a COVID-19 task force and announces that vaccines will be free for everyone. In spite of Trump’s continued efforts, headlines are currently focused on Biden. I’m looking forward to Twitter crackdowns after January 20.

November 10, 2020

Dire warnings are issued in WA State and specifically King County:

  • WA State COVID-19 cases are 120,011 / deaths 2,482 (2.1% of the population)
  • US cases 10,241,488 / US deaths 239,618 (3,134 new deaths since November 7)
  • Global cases 51,375,050 / global deaths 1,270,167
  • COVID-19 vaccines are not expected to be available to the general public until June 2021.

SCOTUS is upholding the ACA so far, despite Trump’s efforts to dismantle it.

Over the past 24 hours, three officials in the Pentagon have been replaced by Trump loyalists. Some analysts surmise that the shuffle isn’t preparation for a coup, but rather a cover-up team for the Russia investigation.

So I try to breathe. I block Trump on Twitter today, his tweets have become repetitive. I work on hats tonight and need to get shipments together for tomorrow. My interview from this morning went well for Artist Sunday, I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

November 11, 2020 – Veteran’s Day

  • US cases 10,392,672, per capita rate is now 37 per 100,000
  • US deaths 240,198, we lost 580 people since yesterday
  • Texas hits 1 million COVID-19 cases – the first state to reach that milestone. They are running out of both hospital beds and morgue space, like NYC did this spring.

The GSA has not filed the certification necessary to provide the Biden transition team with the things it needs to operate. Transitional briefings are also not occurring. Biden now has 5 million more popular votes than Trump. Most GOP recognize Biden’s win in private but are enabling Trump in public in order to help him “keep face” as he pursues his court cases.

The shake-up at the Pentagon is now thought to have something to do with US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. On the Mall in DC, the first memorial to Native American Vets is sanctified. Hong Kong loses their democracy.

November 12, 2020 – COVID-19 3rd wave

COVID-19 cases in April were 31,000/day. In July – 67,000/day. Now we are over 127,000 case per day. Cities are going back into modified lockdowns (Seattle has stayed in a modified lockdown since March). States are moving towards mask mandates as 28 states reach +10% positivity rate. Mortality rates remain low (relative to cases) but hospitals are again running out of beds, staff and supplies. Trump takes no action as infection rates rise among White House staff.

Skewing the Electoral College has resurfaced as a news topic, but analysts state that Trump would need to convince 20 states to flip. In spite of those odds, it remains my greatest fear.

I’m so angry today. Just get this over with already. I can’t tell if Trump is serious or if he’s just trying to stay the center of everyone’s attention. I also can’t tell if I’m angry with the political landscape or at the complete disruption I have allowed it to create in my daily routine.

November 12, 2020 – Another COVID dream

Another angry day today, but probably from sleep deprivation. Last night’s dreams were horrific and is the only entry for this day.

I was in a place that might have been a crematorium, the setting was dark but more ceremonial than clinical. There was a bed surrounded with blue flame, and glass enclosed candles at the foot, which were intended to show us how quickly the process would go. We were told the process would be “near instant immolation” with very limited pain. I could not see the faces of the other witnesses, only that they were women, dressed in dark tops, belted over pants. My view was focused on the bed and the floor. There was no sound, but a heavy sense of concern, and hands went to mouths when the process started. The person being cremated was dressed in white, and had white hair, and did not appear to be anyone I knew.

The scene kept repeating itself and I couldn’t redirect or escape it. I couldn’t even physically move to get out of bed to break the cycle. It kept me awake the entire night.

November 13, 2020

  • US cases 10,607,221 / daily death rates are at about 1500.
  • Daily cases exceeded 100,000 over the last 8 days (184,000 today alone) and are expected to double in the next four weeks in the absence of a national containment plan.
  • California is the 2nd state to reach 1 million cases.
  • New cases are up by 30% in about half of the country. If 90% of the population wore masks, we could flatten the curve but the White House won’t make that call.

Georgia has now been called for Biden, giving him 306 electoral votes. Trump’s court cases continue to fail. “Four Seasons Total Landscaping Lawyering” has become a catch-phrase for failure. Trump is now focused on CISA, the cyber intelligence security agency in charge of overseeing the elections. Krebs expects to be fired soon for countering Trump’s election conspiracy theories.

November 14, 2020

  • COVID-19 US cases 10,888,372 / deaths 245,578. 5,383 have died since November 11.
  • North Dakota becomes the 36th state to issue a state-wide mask mandate.

Four GOP governors quash Trump/Giuliani attempts to subvert the Electoral College. SCOTUS overturns the DACA suspension and rules that Chris Wolfe was not legally appointed and therefore cannot determine policy. The White House is required to restart the DACA application process. A “Million MAGA March” brings a few thousand protesters to DC today.

November 15, 2020

COVID-19: There has now been a 70% increase in daily cases, and the US positivity rate is now 1 in 378 people. The death rate has increased by 23%. Seattle tightens up its lockdown mandates. Medical staff nation-wide are burning out. There is still no national containment plan.

Trump spends the day at a golf course. He says Biden won but refuses to concede. Giuliani is the lead on his legal team. 

I have made very little progress on hats over the last several days, but have managed to clean and cook. And consume a German chocolate cake, nearly in its entirety. I wonder why it takes so much chocolate to get near the point of feeling normal.

November 16, 2020

Trump seeks opinions on making an air strike on Iran. My gut told me a few months ago that he would try to “wag the dog” by starting a war in order to stay in office. He continues to lose court cases while continuing to say that he won. It is just nuts.

All eyes are now on Emily at the GSA who has not yet initiated the transition paperwork. It funds office, equipment, websites, emails, security clearances… and in its absence continues to hamper the Biden/Harris access to critical briefings and resources.

November 17, 2020 – Krebs is fired, one of many

  • Global cases 55,552,505 / deaths 1,336,793
  • US cases 11,342,495 / deaths 248,468 (2,890 since November 14)

Chris Krebs was fired today from CISA. Half of our military forces in the Middle East will be withdrawn by January 15, against the recommendations of NATO and Trumps top advisors, including GOP. Drilling rights are now being auctioned off in the Arctic Refuge. Trump’s departure strategy appears to be “light so many fires that the Biden administration drowns.” I would be pissed off if I wasn’t so numb…

Seattle prepares for a more severe lockdown. In March I stocked up for 30 days. This time I’m stocked up for 90+ days (fresh produce gets delivered weekly). I’m getting used to this survivalist mindset and am now developing a fear of running out of things.

November 18, 2020

  • US cases 11,485,176 / deaths 250,029. We’re averaging about 1,155 deaths daily.
  • The US has 3 million estimated carriers out of a population of 331 million. So, about 10% of us are thought to be infected.
  • Louisiana cancels Mardi Gras parades that were scheduled for March 2021.
  • Vaccines are expected to be available for first responders and high risk groups in December/January, but are still not expected to be available much before June for the rest of us.
  • 12 million people will lose unemployment benefits on December 26.
  • 50 million Americans are food insecure.
  • Congress adjourns until December 11 without voting on an extension of benefits and a second COVID-19 relief package.
  • I was expecting my stress / panic / anxiety level to go down after the election. Nope.

November 19, 2020

COVID-19: US deaths are now at 252,514. We lost 2,485 people today.

The White House is now messaging that Americans should go ahead and gather for Thanksgiving “because for the elderly, this Thanksgiving might be their last.” Scott Atlas, a new advisor on the Coronavirus Task Force (he’s a radiologist) will soon earn the nickname of “Atlas Shrugged” for the amount of disinformation he spreads.

Biden and Harris continue to be blocked from access by Emily at GSA. Some GOP members who see this as a problem are using back channels to try to fill information gaps for Biden’s team.

Trump now hints that he will not sign the legislation that would keep the government funded past December 11. He’s really taking this “settling scores” thing seriously.

November 20, 2020

  • US cases 11,900,015 / deaths 254,332. We lost 1,818 people today.

Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results continue to falter as the GOP continue to remain silent. He touts his accomplishments at the G20, but skips out early to go golfing while the rest of the world leaders stayed on task to discuss strategies for dealing with the global pandemic.

Another bout of insomnia, probably caused by police activity in the neighborhood. Vicki said a car was stolen nearby, and there was police activity at Home Depot (right next door). I pause to remember Chuck, who died 12 years ago today. I finally go to bed at 5:30 AM and wake up 4.5 hours later.

November 21, 2020

  • US cases 12,089,440 / (189,425 new cases in the last 24 hours)
  • US deaths are 255,899 / we lost 1,567 people today
  • There have been 60 million unemployment claims since March
  • 8 million Americans now live in poverty
  • 100,000 businesses have now shuttered permanently
  • A government shutdown is pending December 11. Trump has now raised vet benefits as a stumbling block to passing the omnibus bill and COVID relief.
  • Governor Inslee makes $135 million available to residents and businesses in WA State.

Biden/Harris now have 10 million more votes than any president in history. Biden has 51% of the popular vote vs Trump with +47%. Most states will certify next week and select their electors.

Trump’s legal team continues to try to get ballots tossed out. Their court case count is now 2 wins and 34 losses, some of those ‘with prejudice”, 0 cases showing fraud. Sidney Powell, one of the lawyers who is also a conspiracy theorist, has introduced an amazing stream of semi-consciousness: “Dominion voting machines have been rigged to flip votes in a scheme hatched in Venezuela by Hugo Chavez” (who died in 2013). MSNBC recommends breaking out the tin foil hats…

It’s ironic that the team is contesting the states where Biden has an insurmountable lead. Either they are complete idiots, or ‘fundraising for the legal challenge” is the bigger prize. Tossing out ballots would logically negate down-ticket GOP wins, but I guess that hasn’t occurred to them yet. These actions may also be imperiling the Senate runoff races in Georgia.

50 million Americans are expected to travel this week for Thanksgiving. CNN reports that medical staff no longer feel like heroes – they have become sacrificial lambs who are now treating their own in ICUs as COVID-19 takes its toll on doctors and nurses.

November 23, 2020 – A heavy news day around certifications

  • COVID-19 US cases 12,411,267 / deaths 257,651.
  • Cases in the US have now topped 100,000 a day for the past 20 days.
  • WA State now has 141,260 cases / 2,619 deaths / nearly 10,000 hospitilizations
  • The US is stocked up on ventilators but lacks the technicians to run them.
  • People are canceling their Thanksgiving plans now, although a million people still went through airports on Friday.
  • UPS pilots are now voicing concerns about deliveries being impacted by COVID-19 infections in their crews.
  • More vaccines are surfacing, so there’s hope for spring rather than summer/fall.

Sidney Powell has now been disavowed from Trump’s legal team. “You know you’re crazy when even Giuliani distances himself from you.”

Trump is trying to block certifications in key states. His ploy to warp the electoral college won’t change the results but will cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. There’s still not a lot of GOP pointing out that this affects Senate races as well as the top-ticket. Such actions also break state constitutions.

Calls continue through the afternoon for Trump to concede. He has now lost Michigan and Pennsylvania, and all viable routes to winning, and yet his enablers persist. At 3:15 PM, Emily at GSA finally ascertains the election and releases the transition resources for Biden/Harris. Trump takes credit in spite of GSA working independently from the White House. We now wonder if Emily will have a job next week.

My nerves are really fried now…

A hat order that was stressing me out, came out better after a do-over. I hope to finish Kate’s dress this weekend. I also need to find more light fixtures for this day office. In spite of the limitations, working from home has allowed me to listen to radio and podcasts, and be surrounded by my cats. I’m going to miss that when the office resumes normal operation.

I got out for a walk today but could only manage 4 flights of stairs at the hospital parking garage instead of my goal of 8. There must be 50 shades of dying green in the trees surrounding the cemetery. Colors seem more vibrant than usual on such an overcast day.

November 24, 2020

  • Global case 59,679,996 / deaths 1,407,542
  • US cases 12,589,229 / deaths 259,874. We lost 2,223 people today
  • WA State cases 147,537
  • Hospitalizations now outnumber ICU beds
  • Dr. Fauci now predicts 300,000+ deaths by the end of the year.
  • The new unsung heroes are those who have volunteered to be test subjects for the 3 vaccines, a study that will run for the next 2 years.

The official Christmas Tree arrives at the White House with a ceremony that seems archaic and cheesy. The White House, which has hosted super-spreader events throughout the year, is planning to host several indoor holiday parties. I wonder if “COVID-19 Denial” will be listed as a cause of death on death certificates.

Restaurants receive another blow as the outdoor heated ‘cabanas’ draw speculation that they are no safer than indoor dining. We are at risk of permanently losing 1/3 of our restaurants across the country.

11,000 journalists have also lost their jobs this year.

The Dow surges past 30,000 for the first time, attributed to the GSA ascertation. Biden continues announcing his cabinet picks, which The Hill says “signals a focus on repairing alliances and US standing on the global stage.” We’ll see how confirmations go in the GOP Senate.

Trump’s allies at Fox News start to distance themselves from his attempt to overturn the election results. He has packed the courts but they’re not supporting his efforts. Twitter continues to flag his tweets regarding the election.

And just when I thought my doom-scrolling had come near its end… Trump removes the US from the Open Skies Treaty (a Russian surveillance program dating to 1992) and is destroying the airplanes used to carry out those missions. He has also killed the funding for replacements. His ‘burning down the house’ tactics continue.

The last of my street-level neighbors is moving at the end of the month. I’ll be surrounded by empty apartments and I feel like I’m the last kid on the block. I’ve given up trying to forge friendships here since people only stay for about 6 months. The one neighbor I have socially podded with, needs to go into self isolation over the holidays in order to attend to an upcoming family matter. The holidays are going to be quiet here, except for the Roman Legion and their herd of dogs upstairs…

I’ve broken 2 sewing machine needles while trying to finish a face mask. I still have 5-6 hats and a dress to finish by December 15. But instead of sewing, I’m blogging. Writing has become the new procrastination when I’m not doom-scrolling. I should be relieved by Biden’s win but I continue to wait for the next shoe to drop. I’m tired and frustrated with being less productive and focused than I think I should be. It’s like the light at the tunnel’s end is just a mirage.

November 25, 2020

Pfizer will ship 6.4 million does of vaccine across across all 50 states in December. Governors will distribute it to health care workers.

Trump pardons General Flynn, who was awaiting sentencing for felony charges related to the Russia probe, and whom has become so rabid in speech and manner that he is barely recognizable as a US 4-star general. Trump continues to press for overturning the election. “Conclusion” (of election) replaces “concede” as the endgame term Trump can live with. His advisors are pushing him towards transition, not for the sake of the country, but for the sake of his personal brand. Because Every Single Thing Is All About Him.

Biden, in the meantime, gives a Thanksgiving address to the nation. Because that’s what a real president does.

My mail delivery this week comes with an offer of a Thanksgiving plate delivered to my door, if I end up spending the holiday alone. I have the very best boss.

November 26, 2020 – Thanksgiving

  • Global cases 60,719,579 / deaths 1,427,184
  • US cases 12,818,629 / deaths (cannot decipher my notes)
  • The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed 675,000 in the US and shortened life spans by 12 years. We’re over that halfway mark in half the time.
  • The first wave in 1918 killed 3-5 million globally, the 2nd wave in 1919 killed 20-50 million. Food for thought…

SCOTUS overturns NY’s ban on religious gatherings, Trump retweets and adds “Happy Thanksgiving!” Outside of social media, it’s nice to see mainstream media not dominated by Trump today. He’ll have to fight for market share.

The ‘hood is quiet today. Thinking about Mom a lot today. I make good progress on Kate’s dress. Dinner at Payne and Marie’s house was very traditional, served on good china with silver cutlery and the first meal I’ve had, seated at a table, in months. The setting resembled a Rockwell painting. Movies and pie end a nearly perfect day.

November 27, 2020

Turkey and sweet potatoes for breakfast!

  • Global cases 61,240,522 / deaths 1,437,199 (AM report)
  • US cases 13,090,757 (272,128 new) / deaths 264,858 (I think 1,307 since AM)

The top Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated today by Israeli operatives, US involvement is suspected. Any news like this out of Iran puts my nerves on edge.

Work continues on Kate’s dress. I break for a 30 minute walk that turns into an hour and a half. But it was filled with holiday lights, which will now be my motivation for twilight walks through the neighborhoods to the West. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these families are celebrating Christmas for the last time…

November 28, 2020

  • US cases 13,246,650 ( 90,757 new) / deaths 266,063 (1,205 new).
  • I expect to see spikes next week as reporting catches up with actual case and death counts from the holiday weekend.

Marie drops off some textiles, including lovely black denim which will be turned into NewsGirl hats. Kate’s dress is mostly done, I’m adding embroidery to hide flaws, and painting ivy on a hem facing so it’s blandness is less blaring.

Trump has now lost 38 of the 39 court cases, 2 of which were dismissed with prejudice, which prevents appeal. He has also convinced his base that the election was rigged. Now the GOP is trying to convince the base that their vote counts in Georgia for the upcoming runoff election. This is what happens when you feed misinformation to your cult.

November 29, 2020

  • Global cases 62,666,504 / deaths 1,458,333
  • US cases 13,374,162 (283,405 new) / deaths 266,838 (1,980 new)

Trump has lost the recounts in WI, PA and GA, the 1st presidential candidate to lose recounts in 2 or more states. Biden actually picked up more votes as a result of those recounts. I wonder if Trump is tired of losing yet. “Trump 2020” campaign signs are now being used as expiration dates.

November 30, 2020

  • Global cases 63,236,804 / deaths 1,467,987
  • US cases 13,541,221 (167,059 new) / deaths 268,045 (1,207 new)
  • US hospitalizations 93,000+ / ICU beds are now at 80% capacity
  • US death rate average is 1,600 per day, almost 1 death per minute
  • WA State cases 165,019 / deaths 2774 / hospitalizations 10,895
  • Household transmission is now the #1 cause of new cases

WA State will receive 2% of available vaccines, which are being distributed on a per capita basis. Our allotment will be enough to vaccinate 150,000-400,000 people, starting with health care workers, high risk first responders, and residents of care facilities. The vaccine is expected to prevent you from becoming ill but may not prevent you from passing COVID-19 on to others. Masks and social distancing will be required for several months yet.

Vaccine availability will be determined by storage capacity. We need 7,000-20,000 lbs of dry ice daily and we do not have this cold chain piece in place yet. Trump’s Operation Warp Speed budgeted for vaccine development but not for distribution.

Trump rushes to finish 450 miles of border wall by January 20 (400 miles are currently in place). About 2/3 of the US-Mexican border remain open, so that last 50 miles will barely make a dent. He also needs to finish his court cases by December 8. He has not proven fraud in the 6 states he contested, but he’s raised $150 million in the process, so it’s not a complete loss for him.

UPS shipments are taking 3 days longer than usual, which has shortened the time frame for my current hat orders. No stress there…

Published by augustphoenixhats

I'm a self taught hat maker, working in rescued textiles and found objects. My designs are inspired by my travels and historical studies. Learn more about me and my hats at https://augustphoenixhats.com/.

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