Category Archives: Covid

the reign of terror

Here in Seattle, the Covid reign of terror continues.  The girls’ school theoretically lifted their mask mandate a few weeks ago but with a caveat – if anyone in the class tests positive, everyone has to wear a mask for ten days.  If anyone who has contact with multiple classes tests positive (like a teacher or aide), the entire school has to wear a mask for ten days.  What this boils down to is that the girls have had like three days of mask free school.  It just makes me so furious I want to break things.  Effectively, the school still has a mask mandate.

They are also still requiring PCR tests to return to school after illness (of any kind) which means a mandatory two to three day stay home if you keep your kid out for a cold.  Furthermore, they continue insane levels of surveillance testing – anywhere between one and three tests a week, depending on I don’t know what.  Isla will take at least five Covid tests this week alone since she was at home sick and had to take a couple extra tests.  (In addition to the PCR to return, an immediate lateral flow is required so they know whether to impose masks on everyone else at school.)  Isla has taken well over a hundred Covid tests.  Are we approaching two hundred for her?  I don’t know.  What a waste of resources!  My Dad has taken less than five, all but one mandatory before medical procedures / surgeries.  What kind of madness is it to test healthy low risk kids dozens or hundreds of times for a disease that poses little or no risk to them while high risk elderly adults almost never test?

Remember L’s field trip to Mt. Rainier that I had to get the extra PCR for (despite the daily rapid testing planned)?  Well, that was canceled because someone at the Mt. Rainier Ins.titute apparently got Covid.  I don’t know if the school canceled it or the institute did.  Either way, L didn’t get to go.

Meanwhile, outside of school, half the kids, including the ones we choose to hang out with, don’t wear masks and socialize freely and do sports and dance and have sleepovers and pass illnesses back and forth at will.  Everyone in our family has the same cold I’m sure that L’s best friend’s family are also struck down with.  (Ironically it originated with one of the little siblings; I’m pretty sure B has a crush on the boy from that family in her class.)  The Covid theater at school just becomes increasingly absurd.

And yes, I blame the Democrats for encouraging this nonsense.  Much as the overturning of Roe v Wade infuriates, alarms and honestly even frightens me, the Democrats nonsense is affecting our family negatively every single day.  To avoid Covid lunacy, we’ve changed so many aspects of our daily lives – changed the pool we go to (so I could get in the pool and be in the same lane as my non-swimming daughter), pulled L from the ballet school she was attending (to avoid virtual classes), applied to different schools (didn’t get in sadly), childcare decisions and on and on.  (Childcare here for the under 5s is completely and wildly unreliable due to covid closures.  I have a friend – a nurse! – who went to weekend part-time work because it became too difficult to manage canceling shifts due to daycare Covid closures.  Our governor also put out guidance advising eliminating all drop-in childcare – since you can’t have cohorts, and thus have different groups of kids mixing, which makes backup childcare even harder.)

another school rant

So, L’s school finally announced the end of their indoor and outdoor mask mandate, as of Monday.  However, this is the e-mail that I received:

The CDC and the AAP recommend masking indoors at school but does not require it. Therefore, FISW will recommend and encourage but will not require masking.

This is simply not true.  However, it is true that the CDC has failed to fully update their school recommendations webpage.  They have added a cryptic blurb at the top, but that’s it.  Talk about f*cking ambiguous messaging.  If you dropped an internet capable alien on earth right now, I doubt it could figure out the CDC’s position on school masking.  You have to go to here – which was very hard to find – to see their updated note that schools should follow community guidelines on masking.  The AAP national organization has updated its masking guidance here, but Washington state, as the e-mail suggests, hasn’t released a subsequent press release since early Feb.  Are we to conclude that they STILL believe all children should mask all day long in school?  I suppose so.  The whole thing makes me f*cking furious.

L is heading on a field trip to Mt. Rainier next week.  The fact that she is going on this field trip is a minor miracle.  It is the first non-virtual field trip since 2020.  However, I find it beyond absurd that I must get her a PCR Covid test 72 hours in advance.  Really?  You must be joking.  The sooner they end free PCR tests the better as people will feel less entitled to arbitrarily require them without rhyme or reason.  Mt. Rainier, in case this is unclear, is an outdoor destination.  Yes, they will be on a bus to get there – but with the same kids they’re with all day anyway.  I mean really.  Is this a joke?

(ETA: The kids are rapid tested once or twice weekly regardless, so the PCR is in addition to the normal rapid testing.)

But then, today, I got a permission slip for another field trip.  They’ve been making us sign permission slips all year long for VIRTUAL field trips which just makes my head hurt.  This one is non virtual but on school grounds.  Schools grounds are very small.  It’s not even clear to me where they’re going.  To the gym?  Why the hell do we need a permission slip for this?  It’s beyond absurd.

I was, however, pleased to see the nonsensical public transportation mask mandate lifted today.  The judge called it arbitrary and capricious.  I agree.  As a claustrophobe, I find plane travel unpleasant at best.  Wearing a mask makes it worse.

Now, if I could just shop for new glasses without a mask.  I went to the optometrist today, and I can totally get how the patient area where they’re checking your eyes is a medical area, but the front where you’re shopping for glasses?  They also clean any pair of glasses you touch, which makes me feel guilty about trying them on because then they have to go through this whole disinfection process.  The good news is that my eyes are almost holding steady.  I’m at -7.25 in the left, up from -7.00, but only marginally.  At this rate, I won’t go blind before I die.

rant coda

The thing with my frustration with Covid restrictions is that it gets stoked every day, often multiple times a day.  For example, today I received an e-mail with a bunch of Covid nonsense in it, including the following gem:

Additionally, as per our Covid protocols, valentines must be brought in on Friday, February 11th to quarantine before they are passed out on Monday, February 14th.

Does the CDC recommend we quarantine Valentines?  Why the hell are we quarantining Valentines?  When will this insanity end?  Every day I believe more strongly the answer is “never.”

Covid rant #492

The Seattle Times sometimes includes articles from the Washington Post.  You have to check the byline to tell, and usually I don’t, but two paragraphs in, it’s almost always obvious.  Honestly, the Washington Post makes the Stranger and Fox seem unbiased by comparison.

Today, there’s a particularly obnoxious article about the long overdue end to mask mandates in parts of Virginia.  First, let’s review.  Research shows that cloth masks do not reduce risk of Covid.  Surgical masks reduce risk by 10%.

And in Chesapeake, Va., on Tuesday, the first day her school district stopped requiring masks in accordance with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s mask-optional executive order, ninth-grade English teacher Amanda Lambert awoke unsure if she would go to work. Lambert was thinking about what her doctor told her: that, because of her blood-clotting disorder, she was unlikely to live through “the next round” of coronavirus variants if she contracted the illness and had to go on a ventilator.

So, does Lambert propose that students wear masks indefinitely so she can continue teaching?  Or is she hoping that Covid is going to magically disappear?  Does she realize that the cloth talismans some students wear have absolutely zero impact on her safety?  I’m sorry, it sucks, but if Covid is a possible death sentence for you, teaching is not a safe job.  It is not safe with masks.  It is not safe without masks.  It is not safe with mandatory vaccines.  It is not safe now, and it will not be safe at this time next year.   If I were Lambert, I would change careers.

In Chesapeake, mother Kasha Herek switched her child to home schooling this week after the end of required masking led the 9-year-old to fear going to school. In Virginia Beach, another mother — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to maintain her family’s privacy — said she has kept her son home this week after the boy started crying and asked if he was going to die at school.

I actually know a young healthy person married to another young healthy person with two healthy children who opted to home school said healthy children this year (after having them home all last year) because of fear of Covid and specifically concern her district would not mandate masks.  I think this is insane, and I really have nothing more to say about it.

And the parent who has warped her 9-year-old’s thinking so much that he thinks his classmates’ cloth masks are all that protect him from death?  That’s basically child abuse.  484 9-year-old boys have died since Covid started.  Seventeen of them died of Covid.  More children over four die of suicide than of Covid.  Parents should really consider that before they pull their kids out of school and/or tell them they’ll die if they don’t avoid their maskless friends.

In Virginia Beach, a mother is sending frantic emails to her school board, begging them to reverse their mask-optional policy to protect the life of her 14-year-old daughter who has a heart condition.

Again, it sucks, but if school is not safe without masks for the 14-year-old, it’s definitely not safe with masks either.  Surgical masks make a small difference, if any.  Cloth masks are for show and have always been for show.  They are not magic Covid-germ repelling force fields.

There have been some decent articles in the news lately calling for the end of mask mandates.  But Democrats now identify with masks like priests with Roman collars.  In Seattle, it’s an identity symbol, a clear indicator to one and all that WE DO NOT SUPPORT TRUMP and we are not anti-CRT racists and we believe in “science” (but not math) and we will save the planet from global warming, etc., etc., etc.  There’s an awful lot of people on Team Science these days, but I think I’ll stick with Team Math and Team Common Sense.

From the Atlantic:

We reviewed a variety of studies—some conducted by the CDC itself, some cited by the CDC as evidence of masking effectiveness in a school setting, and others touted by media to the same end—to try to find evidence that would justify the CDC’s no-end-in-sight mask guidance for the very-low-risk pediatric population, particularly post-vaccination. We came up empty-handed.

To date, however, only two randomized trials have measured the impact of masks on COVID transmission. The first was conducted in Denmark in the spring of 2020 and found no significant effect of masks on reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second is a much-covered study conducted in Bangladesh that reported that surgical masks (but not cloth) were modestly effective at reducing rates of symptomatic infection. However, neither of these studies included children, let alone vaccinated children.

Do I really have to MOVE to get away from my children being masked from morning till night?  Isla is masks 9 hours a day, every day, with only a 20 minute break for lunch, during which time all students must face front, 6 feet apart, and are not allowed to talk.  Bri is masked at least 7 hours a day, 8 hours on Thursdays when she has basketball.  It is making me fucking crazy.  And it really seems like it is never going to end.  I am interviewing for jobs.  If I were to send Saoirse to daycare while I’m at work, she’s be required to wear a mask 8 or more hours a day.

I was looking into outdoor preschool pictures in Virginia, and the pictures of the little kids from 2021 outdoors having a normal school day made me want to cry.  My kids’ old outdoor preschool, which was an absolute gem, has shut down completely since March 2020.  There is another outdoor preschool in the area, but they require masks and a host of other Covid precautions, despite the fact it’s for 3 and 4 year olds and is exclusively outdoors.  It’s just so, so sad.  I honestly feel there are a lot of parallels here with Iran, when women were asked to wear the hijab as a very small sacrifice in service of the revolution and overthrow of evil Americans.  Forty years later, and they’re still making that tiny sacrifice.  I view leaders like Youngkin as heroes for standing up to the mask mafia.  It’s not easy when people accuse you of being a murderer for merely imposing the same rules as most European countries.  Yet, here, you’re regarded as some kind of extremist if you don’t mask your 2-year-old

Virginia is for lovers . . .

Most of Southwest and Central Virginia will be mask mandate free by Valentine’s Day.  The notable exceptions are Roanoke City (but not the surrounding county, where I am from) and Montgomery County, where Virginia Tech is.  These are also the only places in the area run by Republicans.  Basically, in order to ditch the masks, you need to have a Republican governor AND Republican local leadership.

There are so many things I agree with Democrats on.  However, for me, Covid restrictions trump all of them, even abortion restrictions, which are what brought me over to the Democrats in the first place.  I support freedom from Covid restrictions for the same reason I support freedom from abortion restrictions.

I was reflecting today on the fact that the school ended ALL extracurricular activities and has yet to bring any of them back, except virtually.  There have been zero activities for the kids organized by the school of any kind in two years.  Two. Years.  No sports, no music, no games, no outings or field trips.  It is a very unusual weekday when I don’t get some kind of communique from the school.  Today’s e-mail asked that “families please make every effort to limit social gatherings.”  Good thing I’m not very social anyway, I guess.

Bri starts basketball this week, and naturally we got a Covid e-mail.  An excerpt:

A prescreening checklist and waiver are mandatory for all participants.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have contact with a person who has or is suspected to have COVID-19 you will not be allowed to participate.

If you are high risk, you may want to consider delaying participation at this time.

All participants and parent/guardians will be required to wear a mask at check-in and during the program. Participants will also need to have their temperature taken before joining the program each week.

At this time, we are not allowed to have spectators in the gym during the program. Because of COVID-19 protocols and the spike in Omicron cases, we ask that all parents watch from outside of the facility.

We have hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting wipes on-site. Staff have been trained and will be sanitizing the equipment regularly and enforcing distancing as much as possible.

Participants should come dressed ready to play and bring their own water as the water fountain has been turned off in the gym. Restrooms are open and will be available for use.

I think I hate the endless Covid e-mails almost as much as the restrictions.  One of the things I love about the rhythmic gymnastics is that the coach has never once mentioned Covid to me.  Maybe one time.  This is probably partially because her preferred language is not English and so a lengthy e-mail like the above would not be happening.  But still.  It’s a breath of fresh air.

Our pediatrician also contacted us to let us know they are out of tests, and that if your child has cold symptoms, they should quarantine for 5 days and wear a mask at all times for 10.  OK, whatever.  Maybe just buy some tests on Amazon, but they’re basically just quoting the CDC.  But I just love how they told us we should make our kid who hasn’t even tested positive for Covid wear a mask AROUND THE HOUSE for ten days straight.  I mean, who are they kidding?

Once those 5 days are up AND your child is fever free for 24 hours, you should limit your child’s exposure to others and make sure they wear a well-fitting mask. After those 5 additional days of diligent mask wearing (yes even at home),

Sorry, I am not going to make my child wear a mask for every waking hour if they have not even tested positive for Covid!

The surgeon general’s confusion, or mine

Is this a joke?

The United States has not yet reached a national peak of the omicron variant, the nation’s top doctor said, urging caution even as the explosion of cases has started to plateau in some areas.

“We shouldn’t expect a national peak in the next coming days — the next few weeks will be tough,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said Sunday on CNN.

Um.  It’s ALREADY peaked in terms of case numbers and almost certainly hospitalizations as well.  (Hospitalization reporting generally lags by a few days to a week in Seattle, and probably much of the country.  Reported hospitalizations will peak in the next few days to a week, but actual hospitalizations have likely already peaked.)  From WaPo:

(Note that the charts, by virtue of being 7 day averages, have a built in lag of 3.5 days.)

Shouldn’t the surgeon general know this?  It is pretty scary when the people in charge reveal extreme ignorance about what’s going on.

Also, does anybody else find it extremely ironic that rapid tests, after nearly two years, are finally becoming available now that . . . they don’t actually work.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have a stack and they’re better than nothing, but they’ve been shown to be less effective at detecting Omicron, especially during that pesky early infectious phase.

The latest numbers on vaccination aren’t exactly encouraging either.  We have 78% of people fully vaccinated here in King County.   But for the 30 days ending on 1/16:

  • 53% of cases are among the vaccinated (down from a peak of 70% – I kid you not)
  • 48% of hospitalizations are among the vaccinated
  • 56% of deaths are among the vaccinated

The last bullet is the most troubling I think.  My take is that the Covid vaccine is like the flu vaccine – better than nothing, and you might as well get it, because you never know.  It might prevent the flu or reduce the severity if you get it.  But you know, it might not.  The CDC used to report the flu vaccine, with an uptake of 50% annually, reduced flu deaths by 10%.  I can see Covid uptake annually being a bit higher, if everyone is eligible (including young children).  But maybe not.  Only 40% of people in King County have gotten the booster, versus the nearly 80% who got the initial vaccine series.

I think it’s very difficult to justify vaccine mandates based on these numbers.  Maybe for people over 50 or 60 for whom a 30% reduction in risk of hospitalization and death is significant.

But the data suggest that vaccine efficacy wears off after about 3 months, not 12.  I can see badgering my parents to get a booster every three months, but I’m not sure I would, given the extent of the side effects I’ve experienced on the last two shots.  (They had virtually no side effects on any of their shots other than a sore arm.)

How longer before the next variant hits?  I read recently that Omicron did not evolve from Delta or Alpha.  And Delta did not evolve from Alpha.  I found this surprising given the predominance of Delta.  (Sorry, I’d have to search for the article.)  So perhaps the rapid spread of Omicron doesn’t suggest a new variant emerging sooner and we’ll get our 4 to 6 months of calm.  Though I’m sure it’ll stay a masked paradise here in Seattle with full anti-contagion regime in schools.

ETA – Tell your parents to get their booster if they haven’t already.  It doesn’t look like two shots is doing diddly-squat for hospitalizations in this chart from Scotland.  (The UK reports weekly – wish the US did this – without outcomes differentiated by vaccine status, and case rates have long been higher in the vaccinated than unvaccinated, no doubt partly due to test uptake.  But I was surprised to see hospitalization rates higher by a wide margin among the vaccinated but not boosted.)

The caption notes this is skewed by the over-70s, but this is what bugs me.  Does it really matter if the vaccine is effective for people in their 40s if it doesn’t protect the oldsters, who are overwhelmingly the people being hospitalized for Covid?  I mean, I’m glad to be protected by the vaccine, don’t get me wrong, but normalcy isn’t going to return until old people are protected as well.

Memory lane

This is probably TLDR.  But yeah.  So much water under the bridge and still the tsunami keeps coming.

I’m in Houston, and I have time on my hands.  I’m trying not to think of running 26 miles in a couple days and how much I miss my family, so I was looking back through my blog at early 2020.  I don’t think I’ve done that before.  I find it hard to think about that time and what we know now about Coronavirus being a never-ending nightmare.

From 3/13/20:

 I remember when we re-entered the hospital with S, I could barely imagine a single night on that tiny pull-out couch with H, with the incredible stress of fearing our baby would die and being a physical wreck myself.  And yet, we managed not one night but ten nights.  If I’d known it would be ten nights, I would have said I couldn’t do it.  But I could, and we did.  I hate to think how long this will last.  Honestly, I think it could be a long time.  The kids are out of school for six weeks at least, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’re out for the rest of the year.  That seems insurmountable.  Which, I suppose is why I, and we, just need to worry about today and maybe tomorrow.

How apt!  And yet, even then I wasn’t really imagining the extent of it.

On 3/20/20, I was already ranting about the insanity of people wearing cloth masks.  It only took the CDC 18 months plus the Bangladesh study to get on board:

Furthermore, I find the anti-paper mask rhetoric in the US irritating.  Paper masks do help prevent contagion, which is why Asian governments recommend them, including China and Korea, the only countries so far to actually control this thing.  My Korean friend is completely mystified by the anti-mask perspective in the US.  Buying them now may not make sense since medical personnel need them more, but I’m skeptical about whether medical personnel can just wear any old paper mask.  Furthermore, many, many people already own masks in their homes which they could wear.

From 3/25/20, the challenges of online schooling.  Saoirse was 5 months old and still on a very rigid feeding schedule, including nighttime wakeups, and I had to hold her for naps.  It was hard.

It doesn’t work quite so well with Bri.  She has about an hour of Skyping a day, and she needs someone to be sitting with her the whole time.  She also needs support from us for any “independent” work.  This is causing me a huge amount of stress, because I cannot put Saoirse down for naps.  She wakes right up, and if she doesn’t nap, she becomes hysterical.  It’s hard to work the feeding and napping (not to mention feeding myself and the older girls) around Bri’s needs.

On the endless worry.  For us, the calm before the storm – my complicated pregnancy and Saoirse’s hospital stay and early months – was not very calm.  We were very, very tired when Covid started. But I am thankful my anxiety stayed in check.  So far at least.

I have been coping oddly well mentally with the situation, but I am exhausted.  It feels like I have been in a constant state of stress since getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes last August.  Maybe since getting diagnosed with previa in June or July.  It’s just been one thing after another – previa, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum hypertension, Saoirse in the hospital for two weeks, three further weeks of tube feeding, months of measuring her food and weighing her all the time.  I honestly stopped worrying about her two weeks before we had our first death locally, and it was back to worryville at that point.  I just feel like I need a break, but there is no choice but to march on.

From 3/25/20:

I will be shocked if schools reopen around here.  So when do things get back to normal?  I’m just praying we’re looking at 3 to 6 months and not 12 to 18 months.  And “normal” will likely be a major economic downturn.  But I’m trying not to think about that, yet.

If only 12 to 18 months had been true!  We’re at 22 months and counting and Seattle is at peak hospitalization levels – by a factor of 2.  Yes, Seattle has more than twice as many Covid hospitalizations right now as at any other time during the pandemic.  Previous peaks were the initial virus, Alpha and Delta, all about half of current levels.

5/3/20 – the bright side of Covid:

It’s hard to believe there could be winners in the time of coronavirus, but there are.  Saoirse is definitely a winner.  Instead of her sisters, who entertain and love her, heading off to school until 3:30 every day, they are home all day to keep her company.  It really is a huge win for her and for the sisters in general.  The bonding that happens between the girls and their baby sister every day is wonderful to see.

And:

When I do read the news, it seems to be all doom and gloom, and I get whiplash from articles predicting different outcomes.  I conclude that no one really knows.  

Yup.

5/18/20, on masks:

With that said, despite my previous blog post, I am very pro-mask.  I am just anti-cloth masks for medical professionals.  I think it is absurd that a medical professional should be asked to wear a cloth mask, and that it gives a false sense of security and/or excuses the powers that be in the hospital from doing what needs to be done to get proper PPE.  Cloth masks are not in any way proper PPE for medical professionals.

5/18/20, on Bill Gates and vaccines.  (Bill Gates has been very wrong about Covid, repeatedly, if you’ve read his blog.  Unfortunately, as he was much more optimistic than the way things have turned out.)

Bill Gates says things are not going back to normal until 70% of the world is vaccinated.  He estimates 9 months to 2 years to a vaccine.  Let’s call it 18 months.  We’re three months in.  15 months to go.  That sucks.

Reality: it’s been 22 months, and we’re nowhere near normal.  Except in Florida, I guess.

5/18/20, on schools:

I really hope schools open on some level next year.  I don’t think anything will be different in September than it is now, and I think teachers’ unions will fight reopening.

Yup, nothing was different, and as I predicted / feared, schools did not reopen.

In any case, the threshold for reopening is when new cases reach a level of 10 per 100000 on average cumulative over 14 days.  (in other words, no more than 10/14 cases per 100000 per day.)  Here’s why this makes no sense.  WA is attempting to ramp up testing and positive test percent is finally dropping a bit; we will be punished for doing more testing.  How does this make sense?  Per our DOH website, they think there are 10 to 15 people with Covid for every positive test, meaning they think we’re identifying less than 10% of actual positive cases.  Therefore, the number of positive tests is highly dependent on how much testing is done.  Reopening should be based either on deaths or hospital load (or both).  Not positive tests.

Furthermore, my projections (which admittedly are not exactly sophisticated, but are at least as accurate as IMHE for my county) show we will *never* achieve this threshold.  It’s just math, and achieving the threshold is certainly within the uncertainty, but I’m guessing increased testing plus decreased compliance is driving numbers to asymptotically plateau above the desired threshold.

Sadly, I was right about this, also.  We never did achieve that threshold.  The lowest we ever got was twice that level, and even summer 2021, after vaccines and before Delta was four times the target.

5/28/20 – vaccine predictions.  I don’t think I was far off, really.  The vaccine is a godsend, but it’s not very effective at stopping infection.  And the side effects, while practically nonexistent for some (like my parents), are troublesome for others.

Yes, a vaccine will help, but it’s likely the early vaccine may only be 50% to 70% effective, like the flu vaccine.  It may also have major side effects, like the smallpox vaccine, which may make it a difficult decision to be an early adopter, despite Covid’s severity.

My own perspective is that because we likely aren’t going to be going back to “normal” anytime soon, we have to learn to live with this thing.  That means deciding on an individual level what level of risk you can take.  It may make living in big cities extremely undesirable for years, maybe decades.  It sucks for those who are immune deficient or have asthma or who are already old.  For those of us under 50, it may make sense to get this disease sooner rather than later, though I personally think it’s worth giving the vaccine effort a year.

The real question for me is whether it makes sense for H and I to stay in Seattle, given neither of us are working here presently.  At what point to we leave this place that we love and move somewhere more rural?

And even in Spring 2020, I was wondering whether it might make sense to leave Seattle.  I love Seattle.  But I also don’t love it for many reasons having nothing to do with Covid, like distance from family.

6/9/20 – I still believe this 100%.

Frankly, I think our knowledge of coronavirus today is comparable to the understanding of cholera in the mid 1800s.  That is – speculative and with lots of major errors.  But, as with cholera, with a breakthrough likely soon.  Ish.

6/18/20 – I didn’t and don’t buy that it’s OK to socialize to protest for social justice but that otherwise you should stay in your house.  But I’m glad that I live in a country where, unlike Australia and parts of Europe, protests aren’t suppressed.  America is so unique in this regard.

In my opinion, the government has lost the moral authority to impose restrictions.  They’ve permitted gatherings of tens of thousands while simultaneously forbidding people to leave their homes and have gatherings of even five people.  Now, gatherings of five – FIVE – people are permitted but most everything is still shut down.  And leaders are issuing supportive statements about the protests.

6/23/20 – Yup.

I think we need to be very careful about assuming this is all “temporary” and we can just stay home for six more months and then be rewarded for our patience.

7/15/20 – Masks.  My support for masks really ended with the introduction of vaccines.  And WA state now advises that kids as young as 2 wear masks in child care.  Every child care center I’ve looked at locally mandates mask for ages three and up.  And now I realize that the anti-mask conservatives were right in 2020, and I was wrong.  What I didn’t understand or fathom then was that mask mandates would be for children, even small children all day long, and would be permanent.

It’s odd to me how conservatives are lining up behind a no-mask position.  I certainly appreciate why some people would find it troubling for the government to mandate covering one’s face.  For me, it’s uncomfortably close to the sexist policies in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim theocracies.  However, all indications point to masks being very effective, and it seems like a small imposition.  I feel like some states have gone too far – Pennsylvania mandates that 2-year-olds wear masks, indoors and out.  In my opinion, that’s over-the-top.  Others I think have not gone far enough – Texas only requires masks indoors if you’ll be within 6 feet of others.  I actually think Washington has found the Goldilocks policy for masks.  They’re required in all indoor public spaces but outdoors only if you’ll be within six feet of others.  They’re required for ages six and up and recommended for ages four and up.

7/15/20 – Jonathan couldn’t get a Covid test in 2020, and it’s still hard to get one today.  When are they going to figure out testing?

H just got back from NYC.  While there, he interacted with hoards of people, including lots in the hospital.  He was on two crowded flights and took multiple taxi rides.  He stayed in an apartment with his sister recently arrived from Houston, which is obviously a hot spot.  While I think it’s unlikely his sister had Covid before leaving Houston (though she does have an 18 year old son who probably doesn’t follow the rules), I’m guessing there was at least one Covid positive on her flight.  So, he decided to get tested upon his return.  To get an *evaluation* of whether a test would make sense would cost $100.  He decided not to get a test after all.

The beginning of my hatred to teachers’ unions and their continual desire to close schools.

Don’t get me started on the ridiculousness of all the teachers’ unions refusing to go back to work and claiming they’re worried about the health of the children.  The data strongly suggest children between 5 and 14 are at no greater risk from Covid than from the flu, and probably significantly less.  The risk to teachers and effect on community spread of opening schools are very legitimate concerns, but it’s such BS for teachers to claim they’re concerned about the health of the children.

Seattle public schools are currently planning on kids being back in school one or maybe two days per week.  The teachers’ union is refusing to even support this extremely cautious and conservative plan, so it’s extremely in doubt whether kids will get to go to school at all.

This is not college, or even high school.  Elementary school and middle school kids need to be in school.  Disadvantaged kids and parents will pay for this for a generation.

7/29/20 – My correct prediction that Seattle schools would stay closed through next summer.  (They did in fact open 6 hours / week for about a month.  But I was basically right.)

Since I started writing this, almost all Seattle-area public schools have announced they will be 100% virtual.  I expect them to remain virtual through next summer, given current numbers and what I know about vaccine development efforts.