My Pandemic Year II: March 2021

Monday, March 1, 2021

  • US cases 28,659,784 / deaths 514,333
  • 50.7 million of us are now vaccinated / 7.7% of the population have both doses
  • CNN reports that vaccine distribution is expected to be 130 million doses by the end of March, 220 million by the end of May, 400 million by the end of July.
  • I’m no longer tracking case and death counts on weekends, so I’m only offering totals Tuesday – Friday.

I’ve been pretty productive 2 days in a row. It feels weird to be so efficient and have time on my hands that used to be filled with doom scrolling. Yay for reasonable news cycles.

March 2, 2021

  • US cases 28,717,558 (57,771 new) / deaths 516,476 (2,113 of us died today)
  • 500,000 people are now vaccinated in King County.
  • Our case rates are still double those in Brazil.
  • Texas and Mississippi lift their mask mandates and open businesses 100%.
  • CDC says a 4th wave is coming.

Biden forecasts that ALL adults will be able to be vaccinated by the end of May. He pushes teachers to the top of the list. Lumen Field (one of our sports stadiums) will become a mass vaccination site by mid-month. NW Hospital is now vaccinating and an elderly neighbor has received her first shot. Vicki and I are still waiting to be notified, but suspect we are on the list that got dumped a couple of weeks ago. We continue to scan several other websites for appointments.

March 3, 2021 Hybrid back to work plan emerges, threats in DC remain

  • Global cases 115,174,843 / deaths 2,559,472
  • US cases 28,786,710 (69,152 new) / deaths 518,345 (1,899 died today)
  • 52.9 million Americans are now vaccinated, 15.9% of our total population.
  • WA State cases 342,236 (799 new) / deaths 5,012 (24 new)
  • Only 10% of WA State residents have been exposed, which puts us at higher risk of infection from variants.

Less than 20% of NYC workforce has returned, vaccinination rates and school openings will be determining factors. 10% of workforce in San Francisco has returned. Utah has allowed 40% of their workforce to return but only half have come back. Hybrid work models are now being discussed, with 68% of employers and 55% of employees thinking a “FLEX model of” 3 days in the office / 2 day WFH would be the most workable solution to get people back to work.

In spite of the lifting of mask mandates in Texas, several major retail chains still require their workers to wear masks until they are vaccinated, and request that customers wear masks – Target, CVS Pharmacy, Best Buy, JC Penney, GM, Kroger, Walgreens, Macy’s, Toyota, among others.

Security is increasing in DC for possible militia plots that may occur tomorrow – March 4 is Inauguration Day as recognized by QAnon. Threats to Congress members doubled in 2020 and are up 93% in January-February 2021 compared to the same time frame in 2020. The threats are serious enough that the House voted on bills today so they can leave town tonight. Online chatter is targeting March 4 and March 6.

Pence writes an op-ed for the Daily Signal, attacking Democrats for the HR1 and S1 election overhaul bills, which Republicans say will guarantee that their party never wins another federal election. The bill includes vote-by-mail for federal elections, early voting, same day voter registration and automatic registration through the DOL (driver’s licensing). HR1 also makes political donations public.

Biden sanctions Russia over the poisoning and imprisonment of Aleksei Navalny. No word yet on sanctions on Saudi Arabia for the murder of Khashoggi.

In personal news, a knife tip that broke off in a package of frozen sausage last week (and that I thought I had trimmed away) showed up in the last swallow of my lunch, and nearly broke my tooth. I am so very lucky sometimes…

March 4, 2021

  • US cases 28,825,427 (38,717 new) / deaths 529,228 (1,883 of us died today)
  • 54 million have now been vaccinated, 16.3% of the population.
  • We are averaging 2+ million vaccines per day now vs 100,000 per day under the previous administration.
  • WA State expands vaccine eligibility. Marie is now fully vaccinated. Payne still waits for eligibility, I still search for an appointment.

The House has left DC for the rest of the week. Meanwhile, QAnon has also told their followers to stay home because “3/4/2021 is a media trap.” It’s a conspiracy within a conspiracy.

Four of Trump’s cabinet members were referred to Trump’s DOJ for corruption charges and possible criminal prosecution (Chao, Wilkie, Zinke and Acosta). It will be interesting to see what Garland does with that, now that Barr is out of the picture.

March 5, 2021

  • US cases 28,889,879 (64,452 new) / deaths 522,752 (2,524 of us died today)
  • Virginia opens 100% today.

The medical community continues to stress that the variants combined with the premature lifting of pandemic mandates will result in a 4th wave. I don’t think people are listening. The 1918 pandemic was more lethal in its second year – 2 million died worldwide, every day (55.5 million total).

What a crummy mood I’m in today. My work computer is slower than molasses and it takes me forever to accomplish the simplest of tasks. I’m having a terrible time staying focused. I’m generally resentful of the universe at large.

I’ve made zero progress on Charlie’s hats. I’m not fully happy with most of the work I’ve produced over the past 12 months, with the exception of Kate’s dress, which I scaled down significantly from my original plan. I still haven’t started the third element for that ensemble. Literally every creative project I’ve done this year, I’ve done over at least twice. I just cannot get back into my groove.

I read today about COVID-19 isolation causing ‘long term stress induced PTSD” which accounts for both the vivid dreams and procrastination that people are experiencing. “Procrastination is a way of handling stress by postponing projects and instead turning to those that are more comforting…” I could be a poster child for that.

The COVID relief package passes the Senate, after being stalled the entire day.

March 6, 2021 – I finally find a vaccine appointment

I visit the Ballard Locks for the first time ever. The locks and fish ladder viewing are were closed to the public due to pandemic restrictions, but the botanical gardens surrounding the locks were worth a walk around. I was especially taken by a China Paper Tree, with its pale, tennis-ball sized pompom flowers, and an absence of leaves. We drive around to the other side and discover a nesting area for herons, which keeps our attention for quite a while.

I finally find a vaccine appointment at a Fred Meyer in Ballard. I’m happy to find it but am alarmed that I cannot find one for Vicki – the entire appointment calendar filled in a matter of minutes. I’m also incensed that I cannot find an appointment in any of the 10 pharmacies in my more immediate neighborhood. I order an ORCA card for my impending bus commute. Payne and Marie pay a brief visit. I have another day of non-stop eating.

March 7, 2021

I’m totally amazed I didn’t gain 3 pounds overnight. I’m weirdly over-emotional and can’t pinpoint the cause. I spend the morning entering my February journal here, thinking that perhaps I am nearing the end of this project.

Vicki gets an appointment at the UW next door for next week, so we’ll get vaccinated at almost the same time after all. I check my alarm clock to see if it still works, and set it for 6:30 AM. In 2 weeks, I’ll return to my office for a couple of days a week (to start), almost 13 months after I left.

Biden issues an executive order to support voting rights, as HR1 stalls in the Senate.

I only had One Job To Do this weekend and I failed. Zero hats finished, 10 masks half finished out of the 50 I had planned to ship tomorrow. I will blame it on staring out the window for much of the day as our weather went from a monsoon rain storm, to sun, to sheet lightening and thunder, to hail, rain, wind, and sun. A whacky weather day.

Monday, March 8, 2021

  • US cases 29,044,109 / deaths 525,752
  • Cases in King County are no longer decreasing, which is a warning that variants may be taking hold.
  • COVID-19 variants may prevent WA State from achieving herd immunity.
  • A 4th wave is still expected.

The snooze button on my alarm clock no longer works. A panic attack ensues. I stay in bed an extra 15 minutes which is not a luxury I’ll have 2 weeks from now. I get up and try to address the panic issue with a list of things to look forward to at the office:

  • no lag time between emails and attachments
  • a faster computer and more consistent access to our file server
  • printing and scanning a document 5 minutes instead of 30
  • less mechanical frustration
  • a change of scenery

I plan to be back in the office on March 22. I won’t be fully immunized until April 13 – my mother’s 91st birthday. I’m glad I found appointments in Ballard but it would have been so much easier to walk right next door. I’m going to be mad forever about that.

It’s International Women’s Day. Biden’s relief package includes monthly guaranteed income for families with children (income based on per child). There’s no raise in the minimum wage but at least it’s a start.

It is reported today that Trump and Melania got vaccinated before leaving the White House. Trump announced at CPAC that everyone should get vaccinated. He had the power to press that message 2 months ago but failed to do so. In spite of that, 50% of GOP’ers continue to refuse vaccination. IMHO red states vs blue states will become the new measure of successful vaccine programs, and if death rates continue, red states might even turn blue. Perhaps some people wants to reconsider their non-vax strategy.

Five GOP senators have announced they will not run for re-election (Toomey, Shelby, Blunt, Portman, Burr). They’ve been labeled RHINOs by Trump’s base and don’t want to fight whatever he might have in store for them. I’ll never understand why the GOP continues to cater to their previous leader, when they could be making other choices.

March 9, 2021 – My first shot

  • US cases 29,099,393 (55,284 new) / deaths 527,854 (2,102 of us died today)
  • WA State reaches 2 million residents vaccinated, 10% of the population.

I wake up at 4 AM to shut off a beeping text message from OralB, who wants to advertise on my bike. But when I go back to retrieve the message, it’s gone, and there’s no record of the phone number in my call history. I now wonder if my dreams have taken a new physical dimension.

Today is my first vaccine. It’s only taken since January 13 to get to this point. I have a history of adverse reactions to vaccines, and I’m nervous today. I get jabbed at 11:30, the injection site is predictably sore immediately, with joint pain setting in 5 minutes later. I am handed a vaccine card and a flyer for VSafe – the CDC symptoms tracking website.

Since I have a history of adverse reactions, the tech asked me to sit for 30 minutes instead of 15 post-shot. I start a conversation with another woman who is waiting her 15 minutes, turns out she works at Pike Place Fish in the Market. I asked her how things were downtown, and learn that there’s a tent city in front of Kress Market (now closed), and directly across the street from my office. She said danger during the day is what it used to be at night, and you don’t want to be downtown after dark at all now.

Both the media and the medical community say that the worst is behind us and things will continue to improve if we don’t let our guard down. Vaccinated people can meet indoors maskless with others who have been vaccinated or who are at low risk (kids). Our next challenge will be in the Fall, when a resurgence is predicted.

“The pandemic has had a profound affect on society” but IMHO I don’t expect things to change much from the ore-pandemic status quo. I definitely don’t expect a ‘Renaissance” that followed the Black Plague, or a “Roaring ’20s” that followed the 1918 pandemic. There are too many political and societal issues to justify celebration in the absence of transformation, especially as the issue of inequality has found a place sharply front and center.

The Atlantic Magazine runs a story on “Grieving Our Last Good Day.” “Grief can manifest itself in anger, irritability, sleep disruption, anxiety, digestive issues…” Check, check, and check again. I’m glad I’m within the normal ranges of psychological / social impact, but it only makes the symptoms slightly easier to deal with. The article went on to stress the importance of recognizing anniversaries, even the dark ones, which I do.

Trump sends a ‘cease and desist’ letter to the GOP, telling them to stop using his name in their campaign efforts. He advises his supporters to only send money to his PAC (which he can use for whatever he wants, including his personal legal fees). The GOP pretty much laugh and toss the letter away, citing ‘free speech.’

Roger Mudd, news anchor and political reporter, dies today at age 93.

March 10, 2021 – Symptoms from my first shot

  • WA State cases 347,131 (789 new) / deaths 5,100 (23 new)
  • WA State hospitalizations 19,729 / 10.6% of the state is fully vaccinated.
  • US cases 29,150,069 (50,676 new) / deaths 529,079 (1,225 died today)
  • “Texans scramble for vaccines after governor drops mask mandate.”

My arm is still sore but the redness is gone and there’s no rash. The joints in my hand and elbow ache, and I’m more fatigued today than I expected to be. I start entering a daily report on the VSafe.gov site.

COVID-19 long haulers have now been labeled with “Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome” which includes anxiety, lower back pain, fatigue, gastro-issues, insomnia, rapid heart beat, chest pain, shortness of breathe. Symptoms present in clusters and usually occur up to 6 months later in those who were hospitalized. Now these symptoms are occurring in 1/3 of non-hospitalized people, with brain fog, memory problems and difficulty concentrating being added to the list. I remember thinking almost a year ago how no one was giving much thought to post-COVID issues and how that was going to impact our medical community and medical funding. It still isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

Brazil did not buy vaccines. Their president Bolsonaro follows the Trump play book and tells his people it’s a hoax, in spite of him having contracted COVID-19 a few months ago. He tells his people to wear masks and stop whining. They have a third as many cases and half the death rate of the US, but still…

The COVID-19 relief bill passes the House in spite of GOP opposition. Merrick Garland is confirmed as Attorney General in a vote of 70-30, five years after he was denied a hearing for a SCOTUS seat.

March 11, 2021 – A year ago today

  • US cases 29,283,988 (133,919 new) / deaths 530,713 (1,634 of us died today).
  • 64.1 million Americans are now vaccinated, 19.3% of our total population.
  • The Brazil variant was discovered in King County (Seattle area) today.

Today marks one year since I started working from home. My arm is still sore from my vaccination two days ago, and a headache is now getting much worse.

Governor Insee announces that WA State is moving into Phase 3 on March 22, allowing for 50% occupancy for indoor venues and 400 at outdoor ones, 25% capacity for stadiums. The move will be contingent on 30 or less new cases over the next 14 days and 3 or fewer hospitalizations over the next 7 days.

Lumen Field will open Saturday. It was our field hospital a year ago but was dismantled without being used. They expect to jab 22,000 over 2-3 days this week, with 600 vaccinators working per shift. Appointments are open to all WA state adults in phases 1A/1B, with most of our office staff being eligible by April 22. I hope Payne is able to get in by April 13. Variants remain a high risk as restrictions continue to be rolled back. I continue to double mask even as I see most people outside my apartment without them.

Biden plans to double our order for the J&J vaccine, which will be targeted to homeless shelters since it is a 1-shot vaccine. He also announces that all adults should become eligible for vaccines by May 1, and his goal is to fully open the country by July 1, pending new variants and the [predicted] 4th wave. He encourages people to listen to Fauci.

Washington State is 27th in the nation with 19.3% vaccinated. Oregon is behind is at 32nd with 18.6%, Idaho is 44th with 17.3% vaccinated. The US average is 18.8%. We need a more efficient distribution system.

The COVID-19 relief package is intended to pump money into cities to restore depleted reserves, as well as pump money back into the general economy. The GOP still oppose the funding bill in spite of 70% public support for it.

March 12, 2021 – The Retrospective Stories Begin

  • US cases 29,343,530 (59,542 new) / deaths 532,400 (1,687 of us died today)

Today’s waking panic attack is brought to you by – – – ??? But my sewing room / office is toasty warm this morning, after having left the heat on all night. Too bad my laptop is doing nothing but spinning this morning and wasting my morning away. A cat fight erupts on my desk, my panic turns to anger and then quickly into another meltdown. Geez.

As WA State plans to reopen, NPR warns that Seattle will not be the same city we left a year ago. I am concerned about opening while vaccine appointments are still hard to find, especially in North Seattle or if you are not connected to the internet. People are dying within weeks of becoming eligible for a vaccine. I think opening March 22 is too soon.

Tim Douglas has closed the Dahlia Lounge permanently but plans to turn it into a Serious Pie (pizza). He reopened Etta’s (seafood) but is still evaluating Lola and the Palace Kitchen. All of them are iconic Seattle restaurants. The Slugger’s Bar at Safeco Field has stayed open, but the owner attributes that to the 11 other bars around him that closed, leaving him literally the only kid on the block. He has had 2 days off the entire year and sounded exhausted during today’s interview on NPR. The Cherry Street Coffee House has closed all but 4 of its 11 locations, and customers now need to be buzzed in to control crime and homeless populations.

Downtown has seen an 81% decrease in workers, and a 63% decrease in transit use. Recovery for the downtown core is expected in early 2022. I saw photos today of tents on sidewalks at Third and Seneca (a few blocks south of our office).

Today’s retrospects on the news are not doing me any favors. I’m looking back as well, at my anger over things I have lost and frustration with my lack of accomplishments and time poorly spent. I’m having really intense mood swings today about every 20 minutes, with another meltdown at 10:15 AM. I give up at noon and mark the rest of the day as vacation time. Vicki and I go for a walk, and some retail therapy at the new Home Goods, a TJ Maxx affiliate. By 4 PM I feel better but I’m deathly tired. I bully through the remaining masks, determined to accomplish just one thing today.

March 14, 2021“Don’t Look Back”

I still feel wonky this morning. A visit from Eric snaps me out of it, and I tell him of my plan to return to the office, two days a week, starting next week. I also receive an invitation to a small birthday party, which I accept. The other 5 people have been fully vaccinated and the house allows for social distancing. I plan to keep a mask on regardless.

Today’s mid-day break is a walk at the Rez and a pocket park that overlooks Golden Gardens Beach. The sound is filled with sailboats today. We keep our distance from all the young people who are not wearing masks, and stop to admire a car that is being bejeweled in well done paisley patterns over the doors. I ask the artist about it, and she says it’s her COVID year project. I told her it was great, and that I was jealous of her ability to produce art. When I told her I was a hatmaker, she said she had a lot of textile artist friends with similar complaints to mine. “Don’t beat yourself up over a year lost.” I was reminded of my favorite Turkish proverb: “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”

I’ve felt on the edge of a heart attack most of the day, except when I’m out of the apartment. My symptoms seem to be worse in the living room so I wonder if there’s some sort of toxin. The upstairs neighbor and her dogs seem to have moved out. The quiet is deafening.

Late in the evening, I gash my finger on a broken sewing machine needle, the 6th needle I’ve broken in the last 24 hours, including one that snapped and Did Not Fly into My Eye. Finishing the final mask, I condense my boxes of linens and stow my brocades and mask-making supplies away. Kate’s dress and another project move onto my priority project’s shelf. It feels like turning a page.

March 15, 2021 – A Toxic Find

I still don’t feel great. I’ve been lightheaded for 6-7 days now and a heavy chest which lightens up once I start to walk around. I gained 3 pounds overnight. I discover later this morning that the chair I spend my weekends in, has mildewed. The thing I am most allergic to in the world is mold, it affects me like a neurotoxin… so the cushion comes off and gets doused with spray bleach, and I move my office chair into the living room. I plan to move the big bentwood chair with its poisonous cushion to the curb late some night. And now I have a use for my office chair once I’m no longer WFH.

Another severe chest episode occurs this evening, just as I’m finishing a hat order. I can breathe just fine but the pressure spooks me enough that I prepare the hats and masks for shipping and leave everything lined up and clearly labeled on my ironing board, in case I don’t wake up tomorrow. GAH!

Monday, March 15, 2021 – Deb Haaland

  • WA State cases 349,425 (906 new) / total deaths are now at 5,123
  • US cases 29,494,095 / deaths 535,608
  • 71.1 million Americans have now been vaccinated, 21.4% of the total population
  • Global cases 120,187,100 / deaths 2,659,913
  • AstraZeneca vaccine shots are halted after it is discovered to cause blood clots.
  • A 3rd wave hits Europe, Italy goes back onto lockdown today.

I wake up late, with the same panic attack I went to bed with. An hour later I’m still waiting for my computer to finish its reboot. I brew some Tension Tamer tea to see if that will cut through this absurd wall of anxiety, and bag the cushion and move it to my shed.

A frat party at Duke University results in 180 COVID-19 positive tests, 200 students in isolation and 14,000 students in a 7 day quarantine. Those who did not attend the frat party are not amused.

A march in Seattle last night to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Breona Taylor’s murder resulted in 13 arrests and the temporary closure of the ferry terminal when protestors blocked the road with construction signs. A Starbucks at 2nd and Lenora and a store on 6th & Pine were also vandalized.

Deb Haaland became Secretary of the Interior in a vote of 51-40 at 4 PM today, and the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position.

March 16, 2021Pandemic Lessons Learned from the NYT

  • WA State cases 351,109 (654 new) / deaths 5,149 (14 new)
  • About 12% of our state is fully vaccinated.
  • US cases 29,551,691 (57,596 new) / deaths 536,980 (1,372 of us died today)
  • Moderna starts testing in children under the age of 16.

It is reported today that the EU negotiated a discount on the Pfizer vaccine to $15/dose, putting them behind the US who paid $20/dose and Israel who paid $35/dose. The countries who paid the most, get theirs first and are starting to recover. The EU also has a problem with anti-vaxxers. In China, 89% of the population will get jabbed, the US 75%. Germany 68%, France 59%, Poland 56%. Recovery is tied to the number of people who get vaccinated in any given location.

In the US, vaccine availability is increasing in areas where GOP’ers are not willing to get vaccinated. An increase in air travel and Spring Break opens the potential for another surge in cases.

The New York Times publishes a list of lessons learned:

  • Prepare for what you cannot see.
  • Put Science First.
  • Prioritize treatment and vaccine allocation.
  • The Feds – not the states – should be responsible for issuing mandates and the distribution of vaccines and PPE.
  • Clarify the messaging. It should come from one office, not a patchwork of jurisdictions.
  • Invest in public health.
  • Don’t treat certain ages and ethnicities as expendable.
  • Kids need structure and some social interaction in order to thrive.

Retirees who are looking for vaccine appointments for other people, compare the process to a gambling addiction (I noticed this when I was searching for an appointment for Vicki). There are too many barriers. The process can take an entire day or night. And once you find an appointment, you have to find a way to get there. The entire system was set up for the tech-saavy, mobility-abled, time on their hands population. It’s really pissing me off.

Seattle tentatively plans to reopen pre-school and elementary schools by March 29. Seattle expands its eviction moratorium to June 30.

Yaphet Kotto died today, age 81.

A Stellar Jay and a Flicker have joined the fray at the bird feeder. I have not seen the woodpecker for awhile now, sadly. My cats only warble at birds half their size now, anything smaller barely holds their attention.

March 17, 2021 – St. Patrick’s Day

  • US cases 29,605,519 (53,828 new) / deaths 538,052 (1,072 of us died today)

Virginia Mason invites me to make an appointment, the 1st to notify me from the 5 waiting lists I’m on. I hop on to the PhaseFinder Tool to see if Payne qualifies, which he still does not, else wise I would have passed this invite on to him. Long hauler symptoms seem to be easing after being vaccinated, science doesn’t know why, but that could be very good news for long haulers.

James Levine, conductor for the Met Opera and the Boston Symphony, died at age 77. He died on March 9 but it was not announced until today.

I feel better today for the first time in several days. Vicki and I take 3 laps around the Rez after I get back from the UPS, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day later in the evening with a bottle of Baileys and stories in my kitchen.

March 18, 2021

  • US cases 29,665,202 (59,683 new) / deaths 539,663 (1,611 of us died today).
  • 22% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

Aplets & Cotlets closes after 101 years in business.

Six Asian women were among the 8 people shot to death last night by a 21 year old white guy who went on a rampage at 3 spas. Fingers point to Trump with his “China Virus” vitriol. Blacks and Asians now stand in solidarity against racial violence. The gun control conversations re-emerge once again.

March 19, 2021

  • Global cases 122,273,067 / deaths 2,701,213
  • Vaccines will open in WA State for ages 60+ by the end of March
  • Schools K-12 are approved to seat students 3′ apart instead of 6′. Middle and High schools remain at the 6′ mandate.

WA State is still receiving 110,000 fewer vaccine doses per week than expected. We expect 600,000 doses per week in April, but we’re still racing against variants and a 4th wave of COVID-19.

Of the women who were killed in the Asian Spa attacks yesterday, all but one were over the age of 44, and five were over the age of 50. The shooter blames a sex addiction as his motive. The white male police officer who headed up the news conference, said the shooter “had a very bad day” which prompted his removal as the spokesperson for this case. Eight other people had an even worse day and didn’t live to tell…

March 20, 2021 – A trio of celebrations

Today is the First Day of Spring, and Persian New Year, and Marie’s Venetian Birthday Party. Agnes had ordered coffee, tea, cocoa and biscuits from the Florian Cafe in Venice, and I brought Payne’s movie of their trip there. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

Borrachhini, a famous Italian bakery in South Seattle, closed its doors after 100 years. They specialized in wedding and party cakes and could not maintain their business during the lockdown.

March 21, 2021 – A Tourism Fail at South Beach

Miami’s South Beach declares an emergency and establishes an 8 PM curfew through April 12, after thousands of maskless people trashed local restaurants and engaged in street brawls. Governor DeSantis opened Florida as “an oasis of freedom” and now police go in with pepper balls to break up the ‘wall-to-wall people’ that reportedly extend for blocks. The problem isn’t even students; the crowd is mostly adults looking for lockdown release. There have been 1000 arrests since February 20, most of them from out of state. DeSantis and the Florida Tourism Board expected people to come and spend money at restaurants and local businesses but instead the crowds are just partying in the streets. I expect to see a new wave of infections in Florida around April 1.

The Lumen Field mass-vaccination site failed to take into account that Seattle is not bilingual for English-Spanish, and did not produce signage or informational flyers for the Asian languages that are predominate here (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese). It’s a significant oversight to add to the list of barriers in getting vaccines here.

I’m unexpectedly sad today. My best laid plans to wake up at 6:30 AM for the past two weeks, fell by the wayside about 3 days in. I now expect my first two days back in the office to be harsh ones. I’ll need to pack a lunch until I can survey the scene for meal spots, and pack my laptop and files, and probably pack some patience as well. Late in the day I use a sudden energy boost to do housework, remembering how nice it is to wake up on Monday to a clean living space.

Monday, March 22, 2021 – National weight gain figures

  • Global cases 123,662,286 / deaths 2,722,156
  • The WHO reports a rise in global death rates for the first time in 6 weeks.
  • US cases 29,865,597 / deaths 542,880
  • Demand for vaccinations outpaces supply by 1 dose for every 8 people who want one.

COVID-19 cases have increased by 13% over the past two weeks in those under the age of 50, with 30% being travel-related. Los Angeles imposes a 10-day quarantine for those returning from out-of-state spring break travel.

Dr. Vin Gupta says herd immunity will be measured in deaths and hospitalizations rather than case counts. The John Hopkins dashboard still shows the trajectory at modestly upward (no plateau).

Restaurants can now reopen at 50% occupancy, but those with less than 40 seats cannot afford to open. Many restaurants are waiting until their staff are fully vaccinated. IMHO no one wants to repeat the mistake from last spring, when restaurants restocked food and bars, and retrofitted for COVID-19 compliance, and rehired staff, only to shut down again 30 days later. July is the new target date for restaurants to reopen in Seattle.

The American Psychological Association reports that the average weigh gain among adults during the past year was 29 pounds. Their chart was pretty remarkable:

  • 39% of men gained 37 lbs. / 20% of men lost 26 lbs.
  • 45% of women gained 22 lbs. / 17% of women lost 27 lbs.
  • 37% of Boomers gained 16 lbs. / 14% of Boomers lost 26 lbs.
  • 51% of parents gained 36 lbs. / 22% of parents lost 29 lbs.
  • 50% of essential workers gained 38 lbs. / 24% lost 30 lbs.

I’ve gained about 12 lbs., so once again, seeing national averages puts things in perspective and reduces my self-loathing, though I still need to get those extra pounds off soon. And those statistics for parents and essential workers is really frightening from a future American Health perspective.

Two weeks ago there was a mass shooting at 3 Asian spas. Today, 10 people died in a mass shooting in a grocery store in Boulder CO.

Georgia moves to restrict voting. It’s now easier to buy a gun than to vote there.

March 23, 2021 – My first day back in the office

  • Global cases 124,105,629
  • US cases 29,920,024 (54,427 new) / deaths 543,798 (918 of us died today)
  • 83.9 million are vaccinated, 25.3% of the total population.

My first day back was not so bad. The bus was very clean and there were only about 8 passengers. The boards have been removed from the windows of our building, though we are one of only 5 businesses still open on our street. The entire block on the opposite side of Third Avenue is shuttered, and Kress Grocery has has become a homeless encampment, tents and all. There are very few people walking around downtown, and the homeless ones seem too drugged out to be a threat. But I don’t walk on that side of the street now, and my head is on a swivel every time I leave the building.

I spent 2 hours manicuring plants, cleaning and taking stock of things. Six cases of soda expired in July. We’re nearly out of black pens and notepads. I’ve forgotten how to use the scanner function on the copier. My desktop computer and phone console went off network, rendering them useless. I’ll need to continue to haul my laptop to work until those issues get resolved. It was really nice not being tethered to a computer for 8 hours, and I ended my day with less fatigue than I expected. A coworker drove me home.

March 24, 2021

  • WA State cases 357,499 (960 new) / deaths 5,186 (3 new)
  • WA State hospitalizations 20,233
  • US cases 30,009,386 (89,362 new) / deaths 545,237 (1,439 of us died today)
  • WA State Dept. of Health is now averaging 44,165 vaccines daily
  • All adults in WA State over the age of 16 will be eligible for vaccines by May 1.

Morning arrived at 4:30 AM this morning, and signaled to the cats that it was time to play. My day in the office was very busy, taking inventory and decluttering some of the desks so I can do a deeper clean next week. My first bus ride home was an eye-opener, there were clusters of homeless tents in lots of unexpected places, including Greenlake Park.

The fencing in DC is starting to come down, although it will stay up around the main Capitol buildings. Roads will start to reopen which will make commutes there a little easier.

The 100 year old Executive Hotel in Seattle has been converted into a shelter for 140 homeless people. I hope to see more of that, given the number of vacant buildings we have downtown.

Gun control. I hope to see more of that as well. We have had 103 mass shootings in the US so far this year. We banned assault-style rifles in 1994, which led to a nearly 20% decrease in gun violence until it expired in 2004 and was not renewed by Congress. We need to renew it and expand it to include all automatic and semi-automatic guns (both pistol and rifle) as well as firearms that have been modified to be auto- or semi-auto firing. We need to ban large capacity magazines of over 10 rounds. We need universal background checks. Every civilian has the right to own a gun. No civilian needs to own a weapon that can mow down a mass of people in a matter of seconds.

March 25, 2021 – The Suez Canal is blocked

  • Global cases 125,391,735 / deaths 2,755,210
  • US cases 30,079,282 (69,896 new) / deaths 546,822 ( 1,585 of us died today)
  • 87.3 million Americans are now vaccinated, 26.3% of the total population.

A busy day that started at 7:30 AM and ended at 7 PM. Busy in the best of ways that kept me deleting news alerts from my email without even reading them.

Except for news of the cargo ship which has slipped sideways and has blocked the Suez Canal for 3 days. 150+ ships are now in a backlog queue. And Biden’s first press conference, which I listened to on NPR until I couldn’t stand the reporter’s inane questioning any longer. Media reports afterwards did NOT report what he actually said about his re-election plans, which made me really angry. No wonder people don’t trust the media.

March 26, 2021

  • Global cases 126,026,603 / deaths 2,766,824
  • US cases 30,155,046 (75,764 new) / deaths 548,067 (1,245 of us died today)
  • 89.6 million Americans have been vaccinated, 27% of the total population.
  • An oral medication to treat COVID-19 is reportedly under development.
  • King County continues to warn of a 4th wave.
  • Ebola has arrived in WA State. 14 ‘low risk’ cases reported.

WA State COVID-19 cases are not dropping, and are reportedly rising in King and Snohomish counties. People are letting their guard down and the spring break surge IMHO is probably starting to hit. COVID-19 hospitalizations are also rising in several states.

The ‘Ever Given’ is still stuck in the Suez Canal. 230 ships are now in the backlog queue. Global trade is now expected to be affected. It’s wild watching tugboats try to move a ship the size of the Empire State Building, the tugs look like VW Bugs in comparison. There’s talk about loaning cranes and supplying fodder to the 20+ ships that are hauling livestock. The dredging on each side, the potential disaster that could happen if off-loading containers at stem and stern cause stress to break the ship at center and dump its entire load into the canal.

My temper remains pretty short, and I start my weekend with zero motivation. After a 1.5 hour nap, I push myself out of bed and into the kitchen, where I convert aged fruit into a baked fruit crisp, and aging veg into a big stir fry. Rice cooked and individual helpings into the freezer. A shopping list made for the weekend. A fairly productive Friday night after all.

March 28, 2021

Syria is now rationing fuel as a result of the Suez Canal blockage, which is now on day six. the backlog now numbers 300 ships, and those who have not entered the canal are now taking the two extra week trek around the Horn of Africa. It’s a mess.

It’s a productive day, with taxes filed and an article for Mainly Museums drafted. I think my tight chest might be allergy related.

Monday, March 29, 2021

  • US cases 30,330,689 / deaths 550,003
  • WA State cases 362,385 (640 new) / deaths 5,226 (8 new)
  • 95 million have been vaccinated / 28.6% of the country’s population
  • CDC Chief Walensky warns of ‘impending doom’ as new cases rise to about 70,00 per day. She urges people to maintain precautions as states continue to lift mandates.

This morning was hard. I woke up with nausea and fatigue but still got to work on time. The elevator is out of order. There’s a black hoodie in the stairwell, and traces of drug use on our landing. Our office has been broken into again, for the 4th time in 2 years.

Half of WA State businesses have reopened. Restaurant Week will run the entire month of April and will include a “Buy a plate, donate a plate” feature which makes it pretty enticing.

The “Ever Given” is finally freed, with the aid of 10 tugboats and a high tide. The backlog is now 422 ships and is expected to take several weeks to clear.

March 30, 2021 – My second vaccine

The White House estimates that 90% of adults will qualify for vaccines by April 19, but WA State won’t meet that expectation before May 1 due to the lack of doses. We now are receiving 1 dose for every 10 people who want it. The medical community believe the 4th surge has arrived.

G. Gordon Liddy dies, age 90. My Il Divo video arrives, their concern in London with “Wicked Game” that I use as a de-stressor. My second shot was not as bad as the first, and nothing like Vicki’s wit significant issues setting in 12 hours after innoculation. I curl up with cats and Il Divo and hope for the best.

March 31, 2021

  • Global cases 128,791,500 / deaths 2,814,899
  • US cases 30,459,483 (128,794 new over the last 24 hours)
  • US deaths 552,033 (2,030 new over the last 24 hours)
  • WA State cases 364,486 (1,271 new) / deaths 5,247 (10 new)
  • 97.6 million are now vaccinated, 29.4% of the total country’s population

I wake up late, with mild pain and fatigue, and 2 pounds lighter. Insee announces that everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible for vaccination by April 15. I hope we receive enough vaccines to meet that demand.

Biden unveils his infrastructure package, which in addition to highways and bridges, also expands the internet, upgrades our electrical grid, replaces lead water pipes and addresses climate change. It’s very ambitious and looks to provide jobs like Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1933, which is credited with bringing the US out of the Great Depression.

The third mass shooting in as many weeks, this time in an office building in Orange County, CA. Four people died including a 9 year old, 2 were injured. The assailant knew his victims. “We’re returning to pre-COVID-19 norms…”

A Federal court voided Trump’s NDAs from 2016. Two police officers sue him for January 6. Investigations seem to be heating up on several legal levels.

Published by augustphoenixhats

I'm a self taught hat & mask maker, working in rescued textiles and found objects. My hat designs are inspired by my travels and historical studies, my masks from the textiles they are born from.

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