My Pandemic year II: January 20-31, 2021

January 20, 2021Inauguration Day, and a Brand New Year

I wear pearls today in honor of Kamala Harris, our first female VP. She is sworn in at 8:43 AM Pacific time, by Justice Sonya Sotomayer, the first Hispanic to sit on SCOTUS, on a bible that belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on SCOTUS. It’s a splendid First Day.

Biden is sworn in at about 8:50 AM as the 46th President of the United States, on an open air stage behind a wall of lexan. Fireworks in my neighborhood start five minutes later. Social distancing is put aside among the major players as hugs ensue on this long awaited day.

The day is filled with so much symbolism that I can’t even capture all of it. VP Harris wears purple because it’s the color of red and blue combined. Amanda Gorman, a young black woman and the first to be named Youth National Poet Laureate, delivers a stunning work (that will be the talk of the town for weeks). First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has chosen a work by a black artist that she and the President pause in front of for a moment of reflection. They proceed to a gifting ceremony in the Rotunda that usually takes place privately at the presidential luncheon. Gifts include the flags flown over the ceremonies today, presented by Senator Mitch McConnell. Later in the day, VP Harris swears in new senators Ossoff, Warnock and Padilla as her first official act.

It was fun to see the rest of the ceremonial stuff, including “The Signing Ceremony” in The President’s Room, which is only used for Inaugurations and some State of the Union addresses. I watched docent-led video tours of other parts of the Capitol that have been rarely seen on camera, and never to visitors. Virtual celebrations have their advantages.

The license plate on the presidential limo says, simply, “46.” The new year begins, with hopes that doom scrolling and stress eating will end. I was not expecting relief to be so utterly draining.

Trump departed from Joint Base Andrews at 5 AM Pacific time, on a red carpet, with a 21 gun salute and a gathering of about 200 supporters. I watch as he and his tribe board AirForce 1 for the last time. His final acts were pardons for Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, and 70 others, just after midnight. No family members were on the pardons list. It is reported that the Proud Boys have now disowned him out of disillusionment that martial law did not occur, and are telling their followers to not attend his future rallies.

COVID-19 vaccine shortages are resulting in cancelled appointments. Canada and the EU are having vaccine delays as well, so it must be a production problem.

  • WA cases 294,017 (2,041 new) / deaths 3,940 (no one died today!)
  • US cases 24,432,829 (186,599 new)
  • US deaths 406,001 (4,448 of us died today)
  • Global cases 96,829,359 / deaths pass a milestone at 2,073,938

Biden’s first Executive Orders start to erase the errors of the previous four years:

  • The US rejoins the Paris Accord and the WHO.
  • Institutes a mask mandate on all federal properties and intrastate transit.
  • Keystone Pipeline is revoked.
  • Drilling in the Arctic and national monuments is rolled back.
  • Construction at the Border Wall is stopped and ICE expansion is halted.
  • Muslim Ban is reversed.
  • The 1776 Commission is rescinded.
  • Executive Branch appointees must sign a pledge to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice.

I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead and that stress will probably return in some form, with renegades still sitting in Congress, and the fringe element that will always be among us. But today truly feels like a huge, collective weight has been lifted. I decide to take the night off, and return to to my projects tomorrow. I will wear pearls for the next three days.

January 21, 2021

  • US cases 24,626,884 (194,055 new)
  • US deaths 410,102 (4,101 of us died today)
  • Today is the 1st anniversary of the discovery of COVID-19 in Washington State.
  • The CDC forecasts that an additional 100,000 more of us will die in February.

Barricades in DC plan to start coming down this week. There are small, scattered protests in a few cities, including Seattle and Portland. Security in Olympia will remain in place “for the next little while.” McConnell continues with his power play in not allowing Dems to assume committee chairs in the Senate.

Today’s post-Trump news that there is no official Trump White House China Service. The process was taking too much time and money so Melania pulled the plug. She usually used the Clinton China. How utterly ironic, given how much Trump hated the Clintons.

NY upholds the lawsuit to dissolve the NRA. Parler loses their lawsuit against Amazon when a district judge rules that Parler was a threat to public safety on January 6.

And I cannot find a thing, or remember a thing, or focus on a thing. Is this post-Trump brain-dump? In spite of the happy day yesterday, I spend most of today in non-functional frustration.

January 22, 2021

  • US cases 24,817,934 (191,350 new)
  • US deaths 414,004 (3,902 of us died today)

Hank Aaron died today at age 86. He broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974.

WaPo breaks news of a coordinated effort to gas members of Congress once they were in the tunnels underneath the House and Senate chambers, and that it was organized by 3 vets (Navy, Army, Marine) who are all Oath Keepers. Just. Wow.

January 23, 2021

  • US cases 24,990,360 (172,426 new)
  • US deaths 417,382 (3,378 of us died today)
  • COVID B.1.1.7 , the UK strain, arrives in Washington State today (Snohomish County). It is now thought to be more lethal as well as more contagious.

Larry King died today, age 87, presumably from COVID-19.

We have fog this morning, after temps last night that were below freezing. Vicki and I spend 3 hours this afternoon, walking the Magnolia Bluffs and driving through Magnolia and Ballard. I spend the evening working on hats, and masks to ship to the Navajo Nation, and refrain from doomscrolling the news cycle.

I am retrospective tonight. I never allow myself to run out of things now, and wonder if I’m developing a phobia around that. I no longer beat myself up if I sleep in. I need more downtime. I’ve stopped talking to myself. My chest has stopped hurting. I haven’t been sick with respiratory issues all year, although other maladies have persisted. I plan to continue to wear a mask on the bus when I return to the office.

January 25, 2021 – Articles of Impeachment

  • US cases 25,291,320 (167,256 new) / deaths 420,965 (1,761 died today)
  • UK, South Africa and Brazil variants are now in the US. The UK variant is now thought to be 30% more lethal.

I try to sign up online for a COVID-19 vaccine but the system fails, so I’m back in the queue for a call back. (It will be the first of numerous fails…)

Articles of Impeachment will be hand carried to the Senate at 7 PM tonight. The trial is tentative for February 8. 5,000 National Guard members will remain in DC until the trial has ended. The fencing around the Capitol might stay in place for awhile.

Champ and Major, the Biden’s dogs, arrive at the Residence today. Janet Yellen is confirmed as the first woman to lead the US Treasury. Seattle finally approves a $4/hour pay increase for grocery store workers.

January 26, 2021

  • Global cases reach a milestone of 100,243,101
  • US cases 15,437,22 (145,905 new) / deaths 425,062 (4,097 of us died today)

Job losses in 2020 were 16 million nationally, 189,000 in Washington State, where the unemployment rate is currently 7.1%

The impeachment trial is now scheduled to begin February 9. The Senate GOP try to dismiss it as unconstitutional. The Dems are joined by 5 GOP but it’s going to be a tough job to get a conviction. McConnell is against the trial in spite of his earlier stance that Trump was responsible for inciting the mob on January 6. He flip-flops as much as he ever has and is completely unpredictable.

January 27, 2021

  • US cases 25,595,302 (158,074 new) / deaths 429,157 (4,095 of us died today)
  • The Brazil variant continues to mutate and is becoming a concern to the scientific community.
  • Dr. Gupta says COVID-19 will become like the flu, and we’ll need to develop new vaccines annually to deal with it.

Our apartment building was broken into this morning around 3 AM. Locksmiths are here, repairing the damage to the door. No break-ins to apartments as far as I know, but theft of packages in the lobby continue to be an issue. I’ve lost two packages now and no longer have anything shipped here.

DHS issues a national terrorism alert. The death toll from the January 6 insurrection now stands at 7 and includes two police officers who have died by suicide. 140 officers were injured. Several members of Congress (both Dem and GOP) now have extra security when they travel outside of DC.

January 28, 2021

  • WA cases 305,289 (1,825 new) / deaths 4,211 (44 died today)
  • US cases 25,756,796 (163,494 new) / deaths 432,971 (3,813 died today)
  • Global cases 101,409,081 / deaths 2,188,840
  • The UK variant is expected to become the dominant strain.
  • By the end of the day, the forecast is for 514,000 deaths by February 15.

Spain has run out of vaccine. Supply is not meeting demand on a global level. Most Seattle area vaccine clinics are booked through March, so it looks like I’m back to waiting until April/May in spite of being in an eligible class.

Drivers who were stranded on a Washington State pass during yesterday’s snow storm, got vaccinated by public health vaccine transporters who were also stuck. They went from car to car and offered shots until their vaccine was used up. No Shots Wasted.

Biden extends ACA enrollment from February 15-May 15, after the last administration had cut the enrollment period in half, to 6 weeks.

30,000 voters have reportedly left the GOP since January 6. Most are now independents and many of them are in swing states. They may still vote Republican, but the party affiliation may turn red states blue. Trump targets the 10 Senators who voted to allow the impeachment trial to proceed. Censure with a ban on holding office is now being discussed as an alternative to impeachment. Fencing around the Capitol Building may become a permanent fixture. There is chatter about a new insurrection on March 4, the date that conspiracy theorists believe Trump will be inaugurated according to some conspiracy theory I haven’t tracked down yet.

Cicely Tyson dies today, age 96.

January 29, 2021Utter fail in vaccine land…

  • US cases 25,923,061 (166,265 new) / deaths 436,624 (3,653 of us died today)

An emergency release of vaccines occured in the middle of the night last night at NW Hospital / UW, AND I WAS NOT CALLED. I thought I was on their call list but apparently not. I am absolutely livid. I could have been there in 5 minutes. Vicki and I are having zero luck in landing a vaccine appointment. I’m trying to be patient, and I hesitated at first to let teachers and essential workers fill appointments. But I’m nearing 11 months of home isolation and my patience is wearing pretty thin.

News breaks about vaccines going to VIPs and shareholders, while less tech-saavy 80 year olds are being left out of the loop or being turned away from appointments they had made. The distribution systems are not working. I’m on 2 notification lists and I’m not getting called. I’m mad as hell.

Governor Inslee is allowing some businesses to reopen, but with the appearance of the UK variant and lacking a vaccination, I don’t want to go anywhere. I wonder if I’m developing another phobia. I’ve extended my online shopping to Walgreens, a delivery of batteries is due today. I flash on those Venetian elders I saw sitting at their windows, never leaving their tiny rooms. I could leave mine whenever I want, but now I’m choosing not to.

The GOP is now saying that Trump should have consequences, but that it shouldn’t be impeachment, and the Senate shouldn’t take action. They would rather SCOTUS take care of it. Never mind that this is the Senate’s job!

I’m mad at everything today.

January 30, 2021

I try again to get onto the UW wait list and hope I got onto Children’s. But you never get a confirmation so it’s hard to tell. People are cutting in line for vaccines, mostly young, and white, and wealthy, and at the lowest risk. I feel like I’m shouting into the void and I’m not the only one. This is not working and no one can understand why the vaccine appointment process is so dysfunctional.

More news comes out about how badly the PPE supply was mismanaged in early 2020. PPE was exported but not traced, including 8,000 ventilators, while US medical facilities suffered extreme shortages. I shut the news off because I’m already angry about everything else.

Mom receives a jury summons in the mail. I try to respond to it online but the King County website is broken, like pretty much everything else is today.

January 31, 2021 the blog continues…

I had thought to end this blog today, but have decided to continue recording events until I can get a vaccine, and/or things turn to a new normal. Whenever that may be…

Trump’s entire legal team has withdrawn. CNN reports that he wanted them to focus on his rigged election conspiracy and that they refused to do so, preferring to focus on the constitutional questions of impeaching a president after he has left office. Focusing on election fraud does not address the article of impeachment for insurrection. Later in the day, 2 new lawyers step in, with 1 week to prepare. One was working with Epstein and represented Roger Stone. It’s not a stellar cast, but the GOP plan to acquit Trump anyway, so lawyers and a trial are thought to be mostly moot.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is now being heralded as the new poster child for the GOP. Dems are trying to expel her from her committees over incendiary comments she made January 6. Trump supports her and so the GOP remain mostly silent. I wonder what Trump holds over the entire party that no one is admitting to. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a political party in this country.

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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