My Pandemic Year III: January 2022

If this title looks familiar, it originally covered the end of 2021. I have revised the last post to reflect that. This is the actual January 2022.

COVID-19

  • January 1 – US cases today are 54,859,966, US deaths are 825,816. Vaccination rate is still at about 62%. Cases in CA are 386% over two weeks ago, in WA they have increase 256% due to Omicron. I can’t even wrap my brain around these percentages.
  • January 3 – The US is averaging 410,000 new cases daily and has now topped 1 million cases. We now have the highest 7-day average case count in the world, but that might be attributed to our increase in testing. Seattle COVID test sites are turning people away after running out of tests. There is now a shortage of anti-viral medications in several states.
  • January 5 – The CDC shortens the quarantine period from 10 days to 5 and does not require a negative COVID test before returning to work. The move is met with skepticism and is thought to be more of an economic driver than a public health concern.
  • January 6 – US cases: 58,487,665 (up 89%) / deaths 833,987 (up 20%). Hospitalizations spike in King County (Seattle area) and are higher at the UW campuses than at any other time in the pandemic. Global cases are 300,095,481, global deaths 5,472,039. “A mild case for you can be a serious case for someone else.”
  • January 7 – The Washington State Medical Association asks Governor Inslee to declare a state of crisis due to staff fatigue and full hospitals. 10,000 Washingtonians have now died from COVID-19, and 47,062 are currently hospitalized.
  • January 10 – King County averages 3,323 cases/day, mostly in young adults. A Washingtonian is hospitalized with COVID-19 every 45 minutes. Though Omicron is not as severe, the sheer case numbers continue to overwhelm our health care systems.
  • January 11 – Washington Post reports a 56% increase in cases nation-wide, 20% increase in hospitalizations and 24% increase in deaths over the last week. US cases are up 36.9%, deaths are up 27.2% over last week. National hospitalizations are up nearly 20%, vaccination rate remains at 62.7%.
  • The focus now seems to be to keep essential services running, though I don’t know how they expect to do that with a massive contagion, even a mostly non-lethal one. Even the seasonal flu throws a monkey wrench into winter staffing levels…
  • The WHO forecasts that half of Europe will be infected in 2 months at the current rate (7 million new cases were reported across Europe this week). Staffing shortages continue to impact schools and grocery store shelves.
  • January 13 – Seattle Patch reports a 43% increase in Omicron breakthrough cases, with all but 2.5% of those cases among the unvaccinated. The wait time for a test is several hours and some test sites have closed due to overcrowding. The test site 5 blocks north of my apartment is always backed up to south of where I live (6-7 blocks total most days). Governor Inslee calls out the National Guard to assist with non-medical needs at hospitals and test sites in 4 cities in the state. We are closing in on crisis care mode.
  • January 14 – The EU tightens mask requirements to FPF2 grade on mass transit, and at theater and sports events, and will not allow masks to be removed for eating in public spaces. Italy, Spain and Greece also impose mask mandates for all outdoor spaces.
  • January 21 – Washington State is now seeing 30-35 deaths per day, vs the 14-16 daily deaths we had a few weeks ago. Carnival in Rio has been postponed to late April, due to the Omicron peak.
    January 23 – B.2 Omicron variant arrives in the US. It will be found to be no more lethal than “Omicron Original” but might be more contagious. Still only 62% of us are fully vaccinated. Half of the US workforce is still working from home.
  • January 24 – Lunar New Year celebrations in Seattle, along with symphonies and several plays, are rescheduled from January 30 to April 30 due to the continued Omicron surge.
  • COVID-19 is causing staffing shortages in rural hospitals and the trucking sector. Nurses are now being told to report for work even if they are COVID-positive and symptomatic.
  • January 29 – Long COVID is affecting about 1/3 of all infected people in the US. As I surmized months ago, this aspect of COVID-19 will have long term affects on our health system and ultimately our Medicaid Disability safety net.

CRIME in Downtown Seattle

  • January 1 – Assault with firearm involvement at 7:53 PM at the 1400 block of Third Avenue (where my office is). It’s one of 12 calls today as reported by the SPD on Twitter.
  • January 3 – Assault at 3rd & Pike at 4:16 PM.
  • January 4 – Strong arm robbery at 4th & Pike at noon today. Person with a weapon reported at 8:09 PM, trespass at 3rd & Pike at 8:13 PM. Ten incidents today.
  • January 5 – Fight reported at 3rd & Pike at 3:16 PM. There are 12 incidents today, mostly trespass.
  • January 18 – Six tents and a lot of trash return to Third Ave. I notify the transit police when one of the tents impedes access to the bus stop. The police arrive an hour later and clear the entire block. They are the only agency that will take any action.
  • January 19 – I get back from running errands at 2:15, just in time to see a major police response shut down the intersection at 3rd & Pike. It turned out to be a shooting at 2:10 PM. I’m really glad I decided not to go to the bank and Target on my errands, which would have put me on that block as bullets were flying. I was able to reach two colleagues who were also returning to the office, and redirected them to Union Street. Buses were stalled on Third for about 45 minutes. One was held at the corner, I later learned they were inspecting it for bullet damage. 5-6 shots were fired in an apparent drug deal gone bad. I end the day exhausted and frustrated with the environment I continue to work in.
  • January 25 – I get off the bus early due to a passenger who was unmasked and doing his best imitation of Tuvan Throat Singing (heavy exhaling) while flailing about. I just couldn’t take it any more.
  • There are clusters of tents, dead Christmas trees and a wall of luggage on Fifth Avenue across from Top Pot Donuts. Five more tents on Fourth Ave. Security guards at all the doors of Macy’s which has been closed for months. The security guard inside the T-Mobile store is armed. The one at Walgrens is still in full tactical gear except for the shield. Doors at nearby food joints are now boarded up, one has fresh hinges after an attempted break in last week.
  • January 28 – my neighborhood fills with smoke and there are 7 police cars and a fire truck on Stone Ave near my apartment. They have blocked an intersection and are aiming flashlights into the trees. Nothing showed up on police blotters or SPD Twitter.
  • January 30 – At least 5 aid cars responded to another episode on Stone Ave near my apartment, again nothing made the news. It’s really disconcerting to not know what is going on. It’s even more disconcerting to both live and work in such high crime environments.

Life@Home

  • January 1 – First advice from a stranger: “The need for rest is high when you’re operating in a constant state of high alert.” First advice from an acquaintance: “Your glass is half full of rocks [as you said]… but those rocks are diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds…”
  • January 2 – Toledo, my black Shopcat, is ailing and gets treats served in bed today. He has a serious downward spiral the next day, and I spend the next few days putting projects aside, and saying my goodbyes.
  • January 6 – Today is Twelfth Night which used to be my favorite holiday. I’m now adding it to my list of holidays I no longer celebrate. Thanks MAGA.
  • January 8 – After what I thought was my last night with Toledo, he walks to the kitchen at 5:30 AM and eats breakfast. He will continue to cycle through rallies and relapses through the rest of this month.
  • January 12 – I return to the office 4 days/week in spite of the current COVID-19 surge. I don N95 respirators for the bus commute, and every time I leave the office or my apartment. I’m still having trouble maintaining focus and motivation, and feel like I’m in a constant state of flux, like I’m waiting for the next shoe to drop.
  • January 15 – All the things I usually do on New Year’s Eve, got done today. House cleaned, trash taken out, dead plants removed from the front porch after the recent hard freeze. An orange mum that I bought for Dia de los Muertos has new growth, and my primrose never stopped blooming. Volunteer crocus are coming up in a patch of dirt underneath my window.
  • January 30 – Toledo holds his own. Every day he greets me is a gift…

IN OTHER NEWS

  • January 1 – wildfires in Colorado force 34,000 people to evacuate and destroys 1,000 buildings.
  • January 2 – The January 6 Committee continues to present findings that point to an organized coup led by Trump, and not the spontaneous event the MAGA/GOP cite. About 70 insurrectionists have been convicted and are facing jail time.
  • January 3 – The Washington Post reports 3,000 flights cancelled today due to weather and COVID. The January 6 committee reports that 725 insurrectionists have now been charged, 225 of those with assault, 640 with trespass.
  • January 5 – Trump cancels his press conference for tomorrow after being talked out of it by his GOP cronies. He reschedules it for his Arizona rally January 15. Merrick Garland speaks and acknowledges that he isn’t giving people the answers they are looking for. Capitol Hill is on high alert for the 1st anniversary of the January 6 Insurrection. Ultimately the day passes without incident.
  • January 7 – Today is Day 12 of daily flight cancellations, 2,000 cancelled today. All four mountain passes have been closed for 24 hours due to winter blizzards, and floods in Chehalis shut down I-5, effectively cutting Seattle off from the rest of the state. I’m glad I have developed FORO (fear of running out) and keep my cupboards well stocked now. Sydney Portier dies today.
  • January 13 – a Fake Electors scheme involving 16 GOP in 5 states surfaces as part of the coup attempt. The founder of the Oath Keepers is charged with seditious conspiracy for his role on January 6. Prince Andrew is disowned by the Crown, stripped of his title of Duke of York ahead of his legal battles in the Epstein sex crimes saga. He will enter court as a private citizen. Sirhan Sirhan is denied parole.
  • January 15 – Dense fog today and a tsunami warning for the West Coast due to an underground volcanic eruption near Tonga. The warning lasted for 12 hours, we had foot tall waves here, CA had 4′ tall waves as a result. No damage.
  • January 19 – Voting Rights Legislation fails in the Senate. Trump loses his final appeal and his documents start getting turned over by the National Archives to the Jan6 Committee. Supreme Court vote was 8-1, dissenting vote was by Clarence Thomas, whose wife was involved in the Jan6 insurrection.
  • January 21 – Meatloaf dies today, age 74, of COVID-19. An anti-vax, anti-masker who said “If I die I die.” Starbucks drops their vaccine mandate after the Supreme Court rules against Biden’s approach to the pandemic. I won’t be buying coffee at Starbucks any more, or gift cards for staff for their birthdays either.
  • Ivanka Trump is asked to voluntarily appear for the Jan6 Committee. Washington Post reports that Giuliani has been implicated as the planner of the multi-state Fake Electors scheme. NY Ag continues to work on their parallel case investigating fraud at the Trump.org after obscene levels of property over-valuation are brought to light.
  • January 23 – Washington Post reports that Trump was considering initiating the Insurrection Act to use military force to stay in the White House – just as I thought, only I thought he was going to declare martial law and postpone the election. His plan was to use the military to seize voting machines. Fortunately, no military branch would oblige him.
  • The US State Department orders families of diplomats to leave Ukraine due to Russian threats and military buildup on the border. NATO sends troops to the Ukraine the next day and the US puts 8,500 soldiers on alert.
  • January 29 – the Jan6 Committee subpoena’s the chair and secretary from each of the seven states that submitted a panel of fake electors to Congress and the National Archives. They are also under investigation by the DoJ.

Published by August-Phoenix-Mercantile

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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