Tag: health

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The Twilight Zone of Pandemic Politics

Some things go so oddly together that you must stop and regard them and wonder. Today, while walking along Shirley Ann Place in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, a “Recall Newsom” sign surprised me; it’s the first one seen anywhere here. My wife fixated on the Easter eggs hanging from a tree in the same yard. She missed the one thing, and I the other. Mmmm, what does that say about selective vision and being drawn to what interests you while having a blindspot for what doesn’t?

As strangely as the cheerful eggs and hopeful sign are juxtaposed, something else made the scene feel even more Twilight Zone-like: The house beyond with the American flag flew something different before the Presidential election: Old Glory with spray-painted BLM. Well, I couldn’t leave without photos, which were captured using Leica Q2. The Featured Image (warning: 27MB file), which is composed as shot, shows the street. The cropped companion brings the three elements together. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 12:25 p.m. PST. The other is f/2.8 and 1/640 sec.

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We Got Tested for COVID-19

The saga starts simply: On Feb. 17, 2021, Annie suffered tummy upset all day, along with loss of energy. By late afternoon, my wife had developed a fever of 37.8 degrees Celsius (100.1 Fahrenheit). Morning of the 18th, her body temperature had fallen to 37.2 C (99 F) before returning to normal and staying that way. But she felt crummy and lethargic. More worrisome: Low-grade fever is one of the signature symptoms of COVID-19—the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2).

Next day, the 19th, I felt off and started coughing; often. If not for Annie’s fever the story would end there, but the symptom shouldn’t be ignored. I checked our health insurer’s website, which indicated that COVID-19 testing would be free with a referral. Around 8 a.m., when the doctor’s office opened, I cancelled a 9 a.m. self-defense lesson with my trainer and called our physician, with whom the scheduler set up an 11 a.m. phone appointment. Who would guess problems would start there.

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Schwinn Time

This afternoon, I walked home through the San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest, where waits one of the many artifacts of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns. Schwinn stationary bikes are available for those locals looking to exercise outdoors, which is a periodic requirement depending on which way the stay-at-home order blows; sometimes indoor gyms are allowed to open, oftentimes not.

I have seen souls pedaling together during tandem instruction. But nobody rode the road to nowhere when I happened to pass by. Unfortunately, I carried along Leica Q2 Monochrom, which was supposed to effuse magnificent ambience in my nibble hands. But the scene was overly cluttered; in black and white the compositions are too busy, with little comfortable place for the eyes to naturally go.

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Life Before

A year ago, the Chinese government locked down the city of Wuhan for what would be 76 days in response to a virus later given name SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2); COVID-19 is the disease that results from infection. For some reason, perhaps then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial as distraction, I didn’t see news about China’s action until three days later. I immediately recognized the implications: Supply-chain disruptions being one—and another, as I told my wife: “Fear is the contagion”. That statement is even more true as the Novel Coronavirus crisis enters its second year.

We started stocking supplies—things we anticipated wanting but possibly would be unavailable if SARS-CoV-2 disrupted Chinese manufacturing and shipping, which later occurred. By early February, I religiously watched Prepper videos on YouTube in preparation for a pandemic—either real or result of widespread fear. Annie and I came upon an apartment we wanted to rent, which delayed our buying foodstuffs. On February 28, we chose not to take the place and finally starting stocking up. As such, we beat the long lines and supply shortages resulting from the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic (March 11); Trump proclaiming a National Emergency (Friday the 13th); and Governor Gavin Newsom closing California for business and ordering citizens to stay home (March 16).

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When You Can’t Serve People, Squirrels Must Do

The mom of Bruce, Guido, and Little—all of which appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series—put out a clever, cutesy squirrel feeder. There is a sad sweetness to the gesture. She can’t serve people—no thanks to California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s order prohibiting all restaurant dining—and last I heard her employer might join the increasing list of local eateries and pubs put out of business.

In this County, SanDiegoVille keeps a running list of the permanently shuttered since the pandemic’s start. I count 115 eating or drinking establishments, but more when accounting for businesses with multiple locations.. Uncontrollable spread of COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), demonstrates that forced closures are ineffective subduing the pandemic.

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Citizens are the True Symbols of Our Democracy

I wonder on this 92nd Martin Luther King Jr. birthday what the great civil rights leader would think about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. during 2021. Following last week’s U.S. Capitol breach during a massive rally of Donald Trump supporters, the District is essentially locked down ahead of the January 20 inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. A seven-foot high, non-scalable fence surrounds the symbol of American democracy, which may never be freely open to the public again.

“Roughly four times the number of American troops currently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined”—that’s 21,000—are protecting the U.S. Capitol and D.C. for the inauguration, Karina Zaiets, Javier Zarracina, and Kim Hjelmgaard write for USA Today. Alex Ward, first-hand reporting for Vox: “The seat of American democracy looks like a city under occupation”.

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You Can Ride During the Pandemic, Why Not Eat?

I am a big fan of public transportation, particularly subway and trolley transits. No argument from me: During the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—better known as COVID-19pandemic, public transportation is a necessary service that gets people without cars to the grocery store, pharmacy, or, if essential workers, to their jobs.

Something bothers me: If San Diegans are safe enough riding in an enclosed bus for, say, 20 to 40 minutes, why does California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom consider open-air dining to be risker and, therefore, is prohibited? I surely would worry much more about being inside a bus for any length of time, where riders feeling asphyxiated—particularly older folks who are more likely to be on board and are high-risk to catch COVID-19—pull down masks below their noses and even their mouths. Can you say super-spreader event? Because I surely can.

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Must Dark Chocolate Taste Bad to Be Good?

The answer depends upon your tastebuds and eating habits. In July 2013, following a diabetic health scare, I voluntarily adopted a low-carb, low-sugar diet—and the latter isn’t easy, given how much sugar is added to everything. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “For most Americans, the main sources of added sugars are sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods, desserts, and sweets”. I stopped eating all these things seven years ago. Granny Smith Apple is my main treat; dark chocolate is the other.

In a relatively recent change, the FDA requires “added sugar” to be included on a packaged food’s Nutrition Label along with the overall total—the remainder being naturally occurring. The amounts can be staggering. For example, in a half-cup (130 grams) of Bush’s Baked Beans (original recipe) there are 12 grams of sugar —11 of them added, for 22 percent of the daily recommended total of 50 grams if consuming a 2,000-calorie diet. But other organizations recommend much less intake. The American Heart Association guidance is no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men. Ladies, one cup of Bush’s would fill your daily quota.

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California’s Christmas Coal Stocking Stuffer

For a state top-heavy with liberal-leaning Climate Change crazies cruising electric cars and demanding the end of carbon emissions, California sure loves coal—as in stuffed by the truckloads into Christmas stockings. Governor Gavin “Grinch” Newsom assures plenty of blackened lumps this holiday, following his most recent order that effectively shuts down most of California and demands that citizens stay home and embark on nothing more than “essential travel”; how odd that trips for alcohol and cannabis are allowed, although I’d like to think that Santa regards them as naughty and worthy of a sack of curbside coal—seeing as how the lockdown order permits deliveries but forbids visits from the likes of Old Saint Nick.

Today marks the first full day of shutdown misery, which will last until at least Dec. 27, 2020. Driving through Ocean Beach this morning, I was struck by how many eateries and pubs had set up outdoor dining areas—some costing tens of thousands of dollars to construct. Now they’re useless monuments to COVID-19, colossal wastes of capital, and resounding lessons that trying to do the right thing for public health is the wrong approach when Governor Newssolini keeps changing the rules by which businesses operate during the pandemic.

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California Cancels Christmas

Reading the list from my previous post, Cali life might seem so fab that you’re ready to move to the Golden State. Cool your jets and read on first. Earlier today, Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom extinguished the light at the end of the holidays, by announcing even more SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19restrictions that assure Santa won’t shimmy down any California chimneys this Christmas Eve, even if wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. St. Nick Corp. isn’t an “essential business”, meaning one exempt from the onerous obstructions to living—or even breathing—under the benevolence of Governor Newssolini’s  auspicious authority.

Bigger than the new lockdown protocols is their nebulous nature. Newsom has organized the state into five regions, placing San Diego County with Los Angeles County, which has the greatest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (e.g. infections) in the United States. He expects that ICU capacity will fall to 15 percent within the next day or two, which will be the event that steals Christmas from Southern California, if not statewide. But he was downright dubious about when this would happen, although he could confidently say that once the trigger pulls, the new shutdown order would be in place for at least three weeks. Do the math. Santa ain’t coming this year!

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The Benefits of Living the COVID California Crackdown

Thanks to Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s dictates demanding that citizens stay home, California is now a fine freeloading paradise where taking responsibility for anything is a crime. But that’s okay, because his do-nothing principle is assured to protect us—locked inside our own living-in-paradise prisons—from SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19.

I have heard some commenters refer to the Gov as Newssolini, but anyone with more than two functioning neurons should see such insinuation insults the dictator. (Say, Mr. Mussolini, how’s the temperature in Hell these days?)