Covid case numbers are high here in San Diego, and all over California. After doing so well for so many months, we're now most definitely not doing well. Vaccinations are underway, but they won't come in time for so many people. I don't really have an explanation for what happened. Thanksgiving, yes, but our numbers were already headed up before Thanksgiving. Maybe people just got tired and let their guard down. I suspect we missed an opportunity by not giving people better advice about how to safely see friends and family outdoors. Our weather should have given us a great advantage, and I think we didn't use it as much as we could.
The message I pieced together from reading studies and advice from experts was:
- See friends and family outside and either distanced or masked. Be careful, but see people now and then because we're in for a long haul and we needed an approach we can stick with for a year or more.
- Try not to be inside with people you don't live with (or haven't quarantined to see).
- If you can't avoid being inside with people, wear a mask no matter how far apart you are and try to increase ventilation.
- If you want to be indoors and unmasked with someone, both parties need to quarantine for two weeks first.
- If anyone from outside our family needs to be in the house for awhile (e.g., the people who installed our heat pump), we go outside and open windows and run our whole house fan for 20-30 minutes after they leave.
- Surface transmission doesn't seem to be a major route, but since I follow the news from New Zealand where they traced a few cases to surface transmission I know it is a possible route. My approach is to continue to wash my hands frequently, try to avoid touching my face, particularly when out and about and touching other things, and to clean high contact surfaces frequently.
But I am not a public health expert, so I acknowledge that my rules may not be the ideal ones. I am also not an expert on health communication and risk reduction during a pandemic, so I don't know if something like my rules, clearly communicated from all levels of leadership would have been more successful than the "stay home, don't see people" message was. I also don't know how my more nuanced message would have worked out in our current political moment. Anyone who says there would have been an easy way to avoid the mess we're in has not been paying attention to what public communication is like right now.
Anyway, we're in the surge now and our hospitals and ICUs are full and it is a tragedy. I have a lot of thoughts about what we might learn from this tragedy in terms of preventing future tragedies, but they are not fully formed and anyway, that's not where I want to dwell right now.
So, on to the links. I don't have many because I've been spending most of my spare time finding gifts for people. Our response to the surge has been to avoid all unnecessary trips to stores, so shopping has been all online this year, which has been hard!
But here's what I do have:
Here is some concise advice from one of the experts I've been listening to:
Everyone must weak a mask indoors in public at all times when others are present. There is no safe social distance indoors. Many have become too complacent. Note that what worked a month ago will not work now as the virus is here now and more people are contagious. #COVID19 https://t.co/QU7jG4woUb— Kimberly Prather, Ph.D. (@kprather88) December 18, 2020
David Perry wrote a very good piece on how utterly we have failed our children. I think a lot about how this year is shaping the world views of my daughters and their friends.
Some good news: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial is fully enrolled. A third vaccine with a different modality and manufacturing path would surely help our supply issues. I hope for a successful trial.
In political news: I agree with this argument from Josh Marshall that we must not let bad faith behavior from Republican leaders trick us into wasting time on them.
Some things that made me happy:
What beautiful pictures:
Here are some photos that are sure to warm your heart ... nature's beauty on full display thanks to these short-eared owls and a very colorful backdrop. Short-eared owls can be found in Will County, and they prefer grasslands and open areas. (Photos courtesy of Monika Bobek) pic.twitter.com/1Hgnwku5gR— WillCoForestPreserve (@WillCoForests) December 16, 2020
O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song, and somehow I'd never heard Tracy Chapman's beautiful version of it.
Here's your bunny for the week:
Have a good weekend, everyone!