Tag: health

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Wee Bit of Urban Paradise

Keeping to my goal of posting something each day, I share an outtake and humbly ask your understanding. I haven’t felt well most of today—and that is quite unusual for me, being someone blessed with hearty constitution. I suppose that my problem could be SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. But symptoms say otherwise. No fever or other markers manifest.

Please pardon my being brief on this fine Tuesday evening, therefore. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 on Aug. 5, 2022. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 28mm; 6:11 p.m. PDT.

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An AirPods Story

Today, my wife and I drove North to Del Mar for lunch with an old friend and coworker, who had flown out from the East Coast to visit her son and his family—newcomers to San Diego County for work (he’s a banker, which I guess explains the ease of managing the high rents).

The stories people tell that you wouldn’t imagine but seem so sensible after the surprise permeates. Our friend made a startling discovery when unpacking upon arrival: She had mistaken dental floss for her Apple AirPods, which case would be about the same size and shape as some brands (glad to know she makes tooth-care a priority). But couldn’t the confusion also be nothing more than one of those, ah, senior moments?

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Homeless Corner No More

Our Smart & Final shopping trips dropped from once or more every seven days to none over several weeks—until today (the store stocks a different, and pricier, cat food that’s not our preferred brand). Look what we missed, although I can say from driving by over the weekend that the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 testing site is a rather recent addition.

I am accustomed to seeing indigent folks hanging out on that corner; uh-oh, somebody won’t be happy about losing their spot. Perhaps the test site is meant to reach the many homeless who are frequent fixtures in that area of San Diego neighborhood North Park (along University Avenue between Mississippi and Texas streets).

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Let the Kids Breathe!

Seriously, San Diego Unified School District?  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates are back, starting yesterday. Students are required to muzzle up—uh, wear masks—once more. Because of the time of year, you might ask “Who cares?” Some kids are taking summer classes, then there are the year-round schools like Alice Birney Elementary.

Granted, Omicron BA.5 rapidly spreads. But the virus is unstoppably contagious—and that’s without factoring the science too often ignored by policymakers: Because of its small size, SARS-CoV-2 easily passes through most face coverings, like those that youngsters wear.

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Does Anyone Care Enough to Comply?

While my household has ample supply of masks, including environmental and medical N95s, I have absolutely no plans to cover up should mandates return—and looks like they will; in Los Angeles County, at least, and possibly here in San Diego, too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention returns both areas to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 high-risk category, which could lead to resuming face-covering requirements.

As of yesterday, according to official public health data that excludes Long Beach and Pasadena, 1,107 people are hospitalized in LA County—up from 606 about thirty days earlier. One-hundred twenty-nine are in intensive care, or about 11 percent of capacity. Daily Coronavirus deaths: Four, which is down from six on June 14. And that’s a health emergency enough to bring back mask mandates?

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WHO Dunnit? Sweden or the United States?

Yesterday, my wife and I read an essay that praised Sweden’s approach to combating SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. The prescient tome published two years ago, only about a month after World Health Organization declared a pandemic. The country chose not to shutdown, unlike many others across Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. Outside health officials, assisted by the news media, lambasted the plan: Keep the economy and society stable while letting viral spread quickly achieve herd immunity.

I wondered: How well did Sweden fair and how does the outcome compare to the United States? So, today, I moseyed over to the WHO’s website for a look. As of April 22, 2022, in Sweden: 2,498, 388 confirmed cases (e.g. infections), from which there are 18,689 deaths. Divide one into the other and you get a case fatality rate of .75 percent.

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Strike That: Nine More Class Days to Freedom

Is the timing deliberate or coincidental? March 11 will be the last day that California school students will may be required to wear face masks. On that date two years earlier, the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 a pandemic. Shall we just call the crisis over, with lifting of the order that compels kids to cover up?

Update, next day: On the morning news, officials from the San Diego school district held firm to masks—meaning students and staff will be compelled to continue wearing them. Reasoning: True that the governor has relaxed rules, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the county to be high risk and the organization’s guidance supersedes that from the state.

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Party Like Your Life Depends On It

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 oddities that I have seen, this sign might be strangest and yet most appropriate—punctuated commentary, whether or not the intention. The balloons suggest a birthday party, possibly for kids. You are welcome but be prepared for the consequences, especially if masks aren’t required. Meaning: You’re responsible for you.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:25 a.m. PST. Location: Somewhere along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

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Just a Reminder

This is what a pandemic looks like—only with body bags stacked up everywhere, assuming anyone survives to fill them. The Featured Image is a Halloween lawn decoration but nevertheless poignant reminder about what a viral apocalypse is and isn’t. I used iPhone 7 Plus on Oct. 31, 2017, near where Cleveland and Monroe meet in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/336 sec, 28mm; 12:05 p.m. PDT.

The reminder is necessary with so many people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) variant Omicron. Given the strain’s Measles-like communicability and the ridiculous amount of testing, which includes millions of at-home kits, the high numbers of positive infections aren’t surprising. Disruption of essential services and supply chains come from mandates that require the infected to quarantine, even when asymptomatic or mildly ill; citizens aren’t sicker just captive to public health policy. Nor are some overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms surprising, when news reports create climate of fear and primary care physicians or urgent care facilites direct those testing positive, or worried about having COVID-19, to ERs.

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I Don’t Long for Them Beyond Nostalgia

Go ahead and scold me for this being one of the most pointless of posts. But before changing my diet in July 2013—foresaking all confections  and largely reducing processed carbohydrates—MoonPie was among my top choices for cheap treats (I couldn’t find Devil Dogs outside the Northeast United States).

My wife and I passed by a massive display of the Double-Decker variety, in boxes of 24, for $9.49—that’s 39.5 cents each—at Costco Business Center today. Best price for the same thing from Amazon sellers: $23.79. That’s a helluva markup, if Costco’s considered more wholesale.

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California Brings Back Mask Mandates

The mass hysteria about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 and the public policy response brings forth a freshly minted mask mandate—from today until (at least) Jan. 15, 2022. Rising number of detected infections, coupled with fear about the Omicron variant, are major reasons for California’s restriction that applies to every public indoor venue and to all people—even the vaccinated. Am I supposed to feel relieved that the governor isn’t shutting down the state, like he did last Christmas? That we only have to cover our faces?

Not that there is any science to support the Omicron panic. Early epidemiology data from Southern Africa indicates that the new variant is considerably more contagious than the already highly infectious Delta. While infections rise, hospitalization and death curves are flat. Reported cases from South Africa, for example, are generally mild—and that’s in a population with relatively low vaccination rate (compared to the United States). But, as usual, the majority of news reports and guidance from the World Health Organization scare-monger about how terrible the variant could be—without presenting any data to support suppositions.

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The Omicron Variant

This post’s title, which also names the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) strain currently causing a global healthcare scare, would be better for a thriller-genre book or film about viral terrorism.

Cue the movie trailer: Six survivors. Keanu Reeves. Daniel Craig. Angelina Jolie. Regé-Jean Page. Kelly Marie Tran. And the esteemed Charlton Heston (appearing as a 3-D hologram). The Omicron Variant. The premise is so frightening that the screenwriters have each gotten three COVID-19 booster shots. You, too, will never think the same way about vaccines—and who gets them when supplies are lacking and the HAZMAT-suited stack body bags in front of your house. Oh, did we forget to mention that they’re empty and waiting to be filled—when your, ah, quarantine is over. The Omicron Variant. Who will survive viral armageddon?