OYL April 17

I found this sticker on a car a year ago. At first I couldn’t assign meaning to it. It looks like an animal lying on its back, feet in the air, giving a thumbs up and saying, “right on,” as though it’s just gonna take the blows and find a way to make peace with it. On second thought, this sticker might be relevant.

One Year Later, April 14, 2020. “Definitely signs of flattening curve. Definitely still people in middle America and in the rural, western states, jamming their middle fingers at the rest of us, and interacting as much as they want. There were so many Easter gatherings in churches in the Midwest it was ridiculous. Total cases in the US 554,849 and total deaths 21,942. Cases in Oregon 1527. But the hot spots are much higher: Cases in New York 188,694. New Jersey 61,850. Massachusetts 25,475. Michigan 24,638. Pennsylvania 22,833.  Louisiana 20,595. California 21,794. Illinois 20,852.”

585 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, which is 13% of the crew that has been tested so far. The first sailor died yesterday. Word is that the Census Bureau is not able to conduct normal operations. How unfortunate for a once-every-ten-years operation, that when it’s time to go count people for the first time in a decade, there’s a pandemic. I received my $1200 for the stimulus plan. Tara won’t qualify because they’ve never filed for taxes, but for some reason I did not receive any extra for Tara as a dependent. Not sure about Brynnen.

Weirdly, I never did receive any credit for Tara during 2020, even though I counted them as my dependent for that tax year and the previous. Then, in 2021, when I stopped reporting as “head of household” for 2020, and stopped counting Tara as a dependent, I received double the stimulus – I assume for my dependent. What the heck is going on in the Internal Revenue Service? It must be chaos there, trying to track everyone down and get the payments right.

The note about the COVID-19 cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was referring to the story I mentioned in a previous post. What the April 14 news said to me is that there was a significant outbreak on board and that validates all the fear they had and their desire to get off the ship.

It was funny for me in 2021 to be reminded of that phrase “flattening the curve.” Remember when people on the news said that all the time? I updated my facebook status back then to say: I wore a sports bra today. Just doing my part to flatten the curve.

April 17, 2020. “Wow. I missed three days. I guess the ‘Rona is getting old. It’s still the only thing in the news. The news is clearly reporting a flattening of the curve in the US. But while that feels like a relief, what that literally means is that we are at the top of a massive health crisis, and holding. As of today, total cases of COVID-19 reported by the CDC in the US is 632,548 with 31,071 deaths. That is so many. How many people die of the flu each year in the US I wonder? State of Oregon 1736 cases, 64 deaths. Benton county (where Tara lives) 27 cases, 4 deaths. Columbia county (where I live) 14 cases, 0 deaths. Cowlitz county (where I shop) 26 cases, 0 deaths. I’ve bookmarked CDC, Cowlitz, and Oregon web pages and moved them to my active tabs on the browser on my laptop.

Brynnen got his $1200 check. Dennis (Tara’s dad) is living on Social Security, and just got a bump in his payment because apparently Oregon decided to do that due to the pandemic. Jeff (guy I went on the date with) applied for a small business assistance on the stimulus plan, but hasn’t heard back yet and I heard on the radio that the program ran out of money yesterday. It was $2 trillion.

This report sounds so boring on the surface, but there is so much I see here. First of all, I had been diligently reporting each day in my journal, and this was the first time I accidentally forgot to write. And for three days! Clearly I had some pandemic fatigue. And no wonder; the news was always horrible and I was so exhausted from being afraid of the unknown for so long. Second, I’m listing how government assistance is helping different people in my life. Basically I was saying something like, “Everyone I know qualifies for aid.” That’s pretty significant.

Another thing that catches my attention is my curiosity for the first time of how many people die from influenza each year. I confess I never cared about this number before, maybe because the seasonal flu is always here and people have been dying from from the flu forever. The same thing is happening to me with Covid numbers. In April 2020, you see I was diligently reporting the totals, and thinking carefully about each number, how it changed, what it meant. Today, April 2021, I still occasionally look at the numbers. Those bookmarked tabs are still front and center on my laptop browser, but the information blurs together and means much less now. CDC says today the total official cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. is 31,231,869. And I’m all, “Wasn’t it pretty much 31 million last time I looked? I can’t even remember.” The numbers are so big and so persistent, and so consistently bad, that I’m not reacting anymore.

That’s the underlying message I see here. And it’s not pretty. COVID-19 statistics right now are worse than ever before, and I’m not even scared anymore. I used up all my scared already.

12 thoughts on “OYL April 17

    1. Yes! It’s the case here, too. I’ve heard it in the news and also from a couple friends who work in the health care industry that influenza cases are very low. Also, I have not had a cold or cough for a year now. I had no idea that wearing masks made such a big difference.

      1. Irresponsible. I am consistently surprised at how many people don’t realize they are sharing a planet with others, and behave accordingly. Derrick, I don’t know where I was when this happened, but I’m afraid I didn’t realize you lost your son only two years ago. You have had to grieve during a pandemic. I am so sorry. Hugs to you and Jackie. ❤

  1. ‘I’m not even scared anymore. I used up all my scared already.” I think that is very much a human reaction, Crystal. When the scary becomes commonplace, we stop worrying about it as much. It seems healthy, on the one hand. Fear freezes us. On the other hand, I think go the frog in the pan of water that is cool to start with and is gradually heated. He should be scared poodles and isn’t. 🙂
    Peggy and I were working on planting honeysuckle on the 17th. And I was reading Rollo May. I had copied what he said into my journal because I felt it was relevant:
    I’ve been surprised at how relevant Rollo May’s book on Man’s Search for Himself is relevant for today given how much has changed since 1953 when it was published. But his book is about change and the anxieties created by it. And the change has done nothing but accelerate. As May points out, anxiety is a human being’s “basic reaction to the danger to his existence and to some value he identifies with his existence.” –Curt

    1. That’s a revealing perspective to think about the pandemic: human adaptation to change. It’s always hard for us to adapt to something new and different, even when we are people who appreciate change. And the pandemic has changed so much, from attending school and work to our social lives moving to video, and us having to accept bad connections and people accidentally being on mute, because it’s the best we can do. It’s no wonder the whole globe has been staving off a meltdown for a year now. And the change has never stabilized, you know? Now I see why politicians and healthcare people keep bringing that up: if there isn’t a single, clear message that holds steady for awhile, people never get a chance to learn it and then stop changing, even for a temporary period. May singles out anxiety as our natural reaction to all this, and anxiety is bad for our health.

      1. The ability to adapt to change may be our best survival skill in this world of constant, rapid change, Crystal. Getting left behind is painful as we see over and over. And living in some mythological past can create all sorts of problems. I’d rather be on the front end of the curve instead of the back end. Still, I understand the value that conservatives bring to the table. “Bigger and better” is not always best. We need time to adapt and we need time to evaluate change. I doubt our world is going to slow down, however.
        Peggy and I were lucky in terms of Covid. Being retired (and with an RV) we had more options than most folks. Having each other and living in a beautiful area didn’t hurt either. We could be very careful and still come close to maintain our regular lifestyle. –Curt

    2. Interestingly, I just read in the NYT this morning an article about the exact thing I was describing: not being interested in deaths from flu because there are always deaths with flu. This article mentions how people, for example, don’t worry about the danger of auto travel, but fixate on the dangers of plane travel, when that is not logical if you compare the risk. From the article: “It’s a classic example of human irrationality about risk. We often underestimate large, chronic dangers, like car crashes or chemical pollution, and fixate on tiny but salient risks, like plane crashes or shark attacks.” The example that comes to mind right now is all the countries putting a halt on the J&J vaccine, when there’s about as much chance of getting a rare blood clot as there is of getting struck by lightning, meanwhile, there’s a statistically big chance of getting COVID-19 if you’re not vaccinated.

      1. Back in the days when I was centrally involved in the tobacco wars, I use to relate deaths from tobacco to the number of airplane crashes that would have to happen each day to match the number of tobacco deaths. Or I would relate tobacco costs to their own wallets. If they didn’t smoke, I would show how it impacted their taxes and insurance rates. How to make things relevant to people is always a challenge. –Curt

  2. Right, we have used all our scared by now. Now the question is how to continue our lives. On April 26th Italy should supposedly turn yellow and I can go all over Tuscany and even leave it to go to Rome (and to Slovenia in due time for the summer, that’s my general plan). But we will see, I don’t wish to be prematurely happy.

    That sports bra post, though, hihihi!!

    1. I do hope the restrictions are relaxed when planned. You need space to breathe! Are you planning to spend the summer in Slovenia? Is it cooler there during the hot months? Just going the distance to Rome would be such a treat: see new views finally, and get your neurons sparking again!

      1. I read this last as: “and get your neurons packing again!” Yeah, my neurons wish to pack! 😀 And yes, it is quite cooler in Slovenia, especially as it has mountains where you can escape.

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