Coronavirus Outbreak: Part 2

You’re vaccinated. If I were you, I’d go.

I’m sensitized to mental health issues because it’s a baseline problem here, and has been for decades due to a severe lack of psychiatric care. Several friends, colleagues and I have had first degree family members die by suicide. My state and the one next door have the highest suicide rates in the country.

Perhaps this fact has contributed to what people who live outside this region might interpret as lax COVID restrictions. But death is the great leveler. A COVID death is a death, whether due to the virus or not.

And the same is true, I think, of all levels of stress caused by this virus, including the stress you’re feeling.

In the end, your family can’t thrive unless you do. It might seem selfish in the short run to take time for yourself, but I don’t think it is at all.

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Self care is really important. I say go for it, and look for ways to mitigate risks. Are you worried about shared air spaces like hallways and elevators? You could look for a one or two level hotel with stairs and room doors that open to the outside. Or you could even check out “glamping” - I was looking at a place on the cape that has these posh trailers which are basically high end hotel rooms (with bathrooms) next to a private stone patio with outdoor chairs, a fire pit, and a little picnic table. Maybe look for somewhere that has outdoor things to do? Like visiting gardens, or walking trails, or maybe a zoo.

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I did this back in November. It was 100% worth it. I chose a small local place that offered room service. I felt so refreshed afterward.

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I totally feel you. Back in January when we were back-to-back dealing with my stepdad’s death and then Covid going through half our household, someone from church gave me this lovely vanilla scented bath set. It’s still sitting there with the cellophane on it because when in the world would I be able to take an uninterrupted bath?

If this Disney trip in June falls through, I’m totally going to need to do exactly what you’re suggesting, because the Disney planning adrenaline is the only thing holding me together right now.

I really think it would be low risk. The reason the CDC is still discouraging travel isn’t the type of trip you’re talking about. It’s not even air travel, really. It’s the behaviors at the destinations (I’m looking at you, Florida bar-hopping spring breakers!).

After our road trip to Colorado last summer and our hurricane evacuation, I will say I feel the risk is generally a LOT lower with an Airbnb (standalone or townhome type) versus a hotel. If the price is reasonable, you could even pay for an extra night before you arrive to reduce risk even further, but we never went that far. We just cleaned all high touch surfaces upon arrival. (If you do take the extra night, be sure to advise the host so they don’t think you are a no-show.)

Try to pick an area with good take-out/delivery options, curbside groceries for snacks and whatnot, and low density outdoor activities. It would be very low risk.

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Staying in a hotel room has been shown to be relatively low risk. It’s really the getting there and back and whatever activities that people do when they travel that adds the risk, so if you can just drive somewhere and have yourself a little retreat where you basically stay in the room and have alone time then I would do it for sure.

Try to find somewhere that has contact-free check-in (or close to it), decline housekeeping, maybe go do some solo thing outdoors away from crowds if that’s your jam.

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4/7 White House Briefing
[Note: I also watched Biden’s remarks on 4/6, but it was pretty much all covered in the 4/7 briefing]

“Better days are on the horizon. We do believe a more normal Fourth of July holiday is within reach. But that’s nearly three months away. And as the President said, “The real question is: How much death, disease, and misery are we going to see between now and then?” …It is in our power to minimize death, disease, and misery. If all of us do our part, we can help save lives in April, May, and June.”

All American adults [Note: I think this is really 16+] will be eligible to be vaccinated beginning 4/19 at the latest.

[This is an acceleration of the previous 5/1 directive and all states are now on board. I found this state-by-state update that may be helpful:
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-by-state

CDC estimates that ~80 percent of PK-12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers had at least their first dose by 3/31.

Monthly School Survey Dashboard has been updated with February data:
https://ies.ed.gov/schoolsurvey/

Cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, but deaths continue to fall.

“Across the country, we are hearing reports of clusters of cases associated with daycare centers and youth sports. Hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults — those in their 30s and 40s — admitted with severe disease. Data suggests this is all happening as we are seeing increasing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants…Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B117 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States.”

Dr. Fauci’s segment was on duration of immunity. Key takeaways were that they now have data supporting immunity from both natural infection and vaccination lasts at least 6 months and an endpoint still has not been determined. Also, if you look at the graphs, the second dose provides a significant bump in response. (Dosage points are the up arrows.)

Q&A excerpts:
Q Acceptable daily case counts for reopening broadly?
Dr. Walensky: I think Dr. Fauci, over the summer, had been talking about case counts below 10,000, below 5,000. We’re at 62,000 today. In the context of vaccination, we still need to have our case counts be really low to stop circulating virus, to stop the emergence of variants, to stop hospitalizations, and ultimately, to stop deaths. I’m really encouraged by these decreased numbers of deaths that I believe to be an impact of vaccination, especially the vaccination of our elderly communities. But I think we’re way too high to be thinking that we’ve won this race.

[Note: One thing Dr. Walensky did NOT say that she usually does, is a reminder that death trends usually lag behind case and hospitalization trends. I am hoping this means they think that the vaccinations have taken hold to the point that the rising case and hospitalization counts won’t inevitably lead to an increase in deaths as they have in the past, but that may just be @Jeff_AZ’s optimism rubbing off on me. Still, the increasing hospitalizations and the ramifications for long term health impacts is concerning.]

Dr. Walensky also mentioned that the older adults still being hospitalized are those that are unvaccinated or very recently vaccinated.

Q Can you kind of clarify or qualify what does the finish line look like? What should people be looking for to know that we are approaching that? Since we know we’re not at it now, what does that look like?

Dr. Fauci: I don’t think it’s going to be a precise number. I don’t know what that number is. I can’t say it’s going to be “this” percent. But we’ll know it when we see it. It’ll be obvious as the numbers come down rather dramatically. And when they do, we’re going to wind up getting really, stepwise, much, much more towards what we consider approaching a degree of normality, which everyone really quite dramatically notices it. It’s on the way. Hang in there. [Please, please let it be by the end of May so I can feel really good about our Disney trip!]


On a personal note, DD20 and her BF got their J&Js today, so they’re done!

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Yesterday our department of health and gov. Announced that if we get to 70% of 16+ vaccinated by May 15th we can have proms, graduations, concerts, etc. I think it was a smart way to make it a challenge. If it happens June 5th (2 weeks later) is the start date for opening. There is still more vaccine demand than supply but it’s moving along.

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Where are you? Here near Rochester, NY proms and graduations are already going forward as planned.

Not near Buffalo. We are still on an endless holding pattern.

Still? I heard there were some legal challenges underway. Is that in your area?

DS’s college near Letchworth is having graduation, but they are spreading parents out around the campus to watch on screens. I start to get livid, but then I just start to cry. It’s like I’ve reached the place where I am defeated and can’t even sustain the disappointment. I can’t believe we are still getting such half-way experiences.

Local high schools are doing sports with spectators and having proms and graduations.

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It probably does not help that we are in a bigger school district. Sports have been happening, not sure about the spectators (I see lots of comments on FB about parents sitting in cars watching the sports streamed on their phone). The small schools are finding ways to hold proms and graduations following the state regulations. Last HS PTO meeting the message was basically “we are planning for all possibilities and see what happens”.

Yes, there are some legal challenges here. My school district is one of them. A local gym owner that made national news a ways back for suing the state on reopening (and won) is now suing the school district, County DoH, and the state DoE for reopening. From what I have seen reported, your area has been a bit more progressive with the openings than my county.

My oldest is a senior next year. I really hope she can have some resemblance of a normal senior experience.

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Our high school announced this year’s prom was cancelled yesterday. We’re in MA.

That’s rough.
My DDs prom is still on for 5/21. She isn’t going bc she’s basically Lydia from Beetlejuice, and “proms are lame.” But it is happening. :woman_shrugging:
I’m in NJ.

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Our schools are doing sports as well. We also found out our 6th graders are going to have their first real band concert of the year at the end of May. Each child gets 2 tickets for in person and they are live streaming. I have 2 kids in the band, so my parents will get to go in person as well. For us, that is a win because musicians have really been slammed this year. It was sad because it seems like the Covid issues have been an issue for athletes, but not the musicians in the school.

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Right now, graduation is a yes but I’m pretty sure that there will not be a prom. (My kids are younger, so I haven’t followed it closely.) There are school sports, but with pretty strict guidelines. I don’t think that in-person spectators are allowed. I’m also in MA.

My 6th grader is also in band and they have really lost a year and a half here. All of the ‘specials’ (band, art, PE, etc) are done remotely, 20 minutes each day on a rotating schedule (so he can go weeks without band). The core classes are done in person for about an hour each day. I understand the prioritization, but I have a kid who will never succeed in sports and I was really hoping he would thrive in band and this has been a real setback. Sports have been happening for a while…band, not so much.

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My kids have in person jazz band after school once per week, but they haven’t been able to do what jazz bands typically do, play in the community. They split up the regular band into 4 groups and they practice once per week. Sectionals are every other week. We also take them to private lessons. It’s frustrating because I’ve seen studies being done saying that with precautions (covers for instruments and social distancing) that band is a lower risk activity.

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That’s why DS22 decided to do his uni classes at home. It was bad enough that they all went back online, but when they canceled the orchestra, that was it. He came home. He can take his courses from 2000 miles away as well as he can from half a mile.

Sure wish we weren’t paying rent for an empty apartment but it’s been a weird year. Compared to the things some other people are going through, I’m not going to whine about that. Well, maybe a little.

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That is terrible. I am so sorry. My daughter’s middle school has continued to treat band as a class and she gets a few hours per week. We have also taken advantage of being able to do Zoom private lessons right now, which has been great (we couldn’t fit in lessons in her schedule before!)

The latest Financial Times tweeter thread has some interesting info - both good and concerning news.
(as usual.)

https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/1380512731456016385?s=20

To focus on some of the good news…down into the thread…

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