Pandemic Diary #78 – i guess the pandemic is over

or at least, it feels like late summer of last year

but with more research + the boosters + “milder” but very contagious covid variant ripping through the population (thus killing more people than other variants), actually feel more confident &

i feel comfortable now doing way more activities. or maybe i’m just fatigued. and classes that my friends go to have run in person for a while now

in person – mixed feelings, hybrid good

— went to lab in allston today, at lunchtime the cafe was swarming with people, it made me feel very stressed out ! !

— and went to pierce to cowork in person last week for a few hours, and even walked around (again) crowded law school cafe

just… went into office to re-integrate into society, see some classmates again. if i’m willing to bike 30 mins into boston on a whim and get totally lost, i should be willing to bike 10 mins to pierce or 16 mins to allston, in particular, it’s basically a straight path with bike lane the whole way

(still, attended office hours on zoom, and anxiety cleaned my room / mopped the floor while waiting for prof to finish with another student. this is not possible in office hours if you are just in line to talk to the prof. hybrid is nice)

allston: went there to go to seminar in-person today (monday). actually, the speaker was on zoom and it was just the four of us in a room! got lunch coupon – for take out – encouraged to eat together (oops). theoretically everyone vax and masked. but actually building is completely open to the public 0:

another win for hybrid: didn’t really disrupt / feel awkward going in late, and could actually follow the talk the whole way while biking (zoom on phone)

still. didn’t say hi to classmates today – or go in to lab – felt overwhelming to try to interact with anyone other than the same old 4 or 5 people

— also went to yoga last friday – door was even closed (30F out). hepa filters and everyone masked (4 people, all vaxxed, in fairly spacious room). but still, more like 2 ft spacing than 6ft

https://www.microcovid.org/

harvard

the new engineering building is very nice looking. mixed feelings. good to have nice things. but does it pressure out the misfits and janky hackish projects? hopefully not. still – my friend points out almost anywhere you sit there is natural light coming in (reflectors on windows?). and wildflower grass balconies to work on, with outdoor outlets

pandemic now

just today harvard announced soon masks optional !

i’m sure it will change if cases rise again. still, shocking

(i bet my friend that social norms means most people at harvard will still mask, she thinks differently)

“only” 1300 deaths a day in the US now (7 day avg).

interestingly, the drop in cases is so sharp – the 7 day moving avg, is ~7x the number of daily (today)! 42k avg daily (avg across 7 days) vs 6k cases today today.

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailycases

now i’m going into the office, i’ll get tested weekly through covid. free through university. just pick up a kit (unmanned, just a box full of kits in several locations). self-swab (poor nose). and drop off at bins usually located next the kits (also unmanned). there’s a last pickup time, like fedex.

PCR turnaround ~18 hrs (fri afternoon drop off, sat morning online report)

tests available for $8 just about everywhere (target) without having to call around now. government stepping in and buying tests to make sure manufacturers have reliable demand to invest in test production. but is it only 4 free ones (per household) ever, or per month? not sure, but we did get our four free ones πŸ™‚ haven’t used any yet

pandemic changes in my behavior

nowadays i will walk 1 ft away from my friend (vax, boosted, tested weekly) outside and not be concerned even when unmasked

(nice weather lately, several days of 40F going up to high 50s !) — hopefully that means our gas bill is no longer $440/month

still feel nervous if I’m unmasked and others are also, and we are walking the same block 4 ft apart for a while

omicron seemed so contagious back when cases were going insane that i was back to my 6 ft masked bubble again (though tbf in georgia half the time the other person is unmasked) — remember stories of people catching it just from crossing the street close to someone for a few seonds

i remember looking up the generation time of omicron — contagious / can spread omicron again in some cases within a day ! vs delta was 3 days, original more like 5 days.

still remember in 2020 either party politely crossing the street when encountering other people around our suburb — some weird resonance with stories i heard about racism, yet same action is polite now in totally different context

parents are even considering air travel in a month — despite some pre-existing conditions. i guess probably it’s ok

i consistently don’t wear a mask in the stairwell now…

still run hepa filters whenever maintenance workers come over — usually they are unmasked

but mostly i run mine for white noise now lol

also feel alarmed to try and eat indoors with other people around. but maybe it’s fine if the spacing is large??? the idea of being unmasked indoors in a public space still makes me instinctively nervous

pandemic specific skills: mask sizing

today i actually tried briefly to find the size of masks that fit my face comfortably (medium) in black instead of white – kf94. doesn’t touch my lips & feels just the right closeness & molded to nose well.

note to self, klaring medium dimensions:
imperial: 7.5 x 2.87 x 5.4 in
metric: 19 x 7.3 x 13.7 cm (190 x 73 x 137 mm)
length x (folded height) x (unfolded height)

(kn95 – haven’t figured out how to make it fit my face well, fogs up like crazy)

so specific — a long time ago i was too lazy even to watch a youtube video my friend send me about comparisons of different mask styles. just used non-medical surgical mask

microcovid

i keep forgetting the definition when i tell people.

We created the concept of the “microcovid” as a new quantitative unit for risk. One microCOVID is a one-in-a-million chance of getting COVID.

An activity that’s 20,000 microCOVIDs means that you have a 2% risk of getting COVID every time you do it. An activity that’s 20 microCOVIDs (or 0.002%) is relatively safe, as you could do it every week for a year and still have only accumulated about a 0.1% chance of getting COVID.

https://www.microcovid.org

wait so – 1 “covid” is then 1,000 microcovids = 0.1% chance of COVID.

aka same activity, weekly for a year is 50x = 5% chance of getting COVID over the year

Risk tolerance buckets: They run it per year

  • 0.1 % = 20 mCOVID / week
  • 1 % = 200 mCOVID / week — they call “standard caution” budget (1 in 100 people)
  • 3 % = 600 mCOVID / week – (1 in 33)
  • 10% = 2,000 mCOVID / week

ukraine / putin’s war

seems like war in ukraine will exist for weeks / months. the instability / having so much chaos and death rest in the hands of some old guy who is clearly out of touch with reality / bizarrely conspiratorial. wants to return to the glorious old days. terrifying to not appreciate the new world with the peace we all have —

this weird sense of international corporations and banking actually forming a common culture and jargon in all these countries, and with H&M etc. shutting down, day-to-day people finding themselves suddenly increasingly isolated

(also had no idea there was such strong misinformation in russia. the idea of shelling cities across ukraine — definitely not aiding some breakaway regions as was initially claimed…)

what is greater context? i don’t know anything about ussr. just following news updates for hours to procrastinate… but need to sit down and learn history

terrifying to watch normal cities get levelled, the idea of not trying to capture a city but just raze it to the ground.

consumerism

inflation — in some ways it’s just empowered me to be a little more decisive about purchasing things online. if the price is higher than the past — maybe that’s just have to accept, due to inflation, the value vs price is less certain

amazon, target, yamibuy — everything online nowadays. or do pickup.

but still often in person — will spend 30 mins in crowded market basket and not be suppppeerr stressed out somehow (compared to cafe). maybe just normalized grocery shopping

still, waiting in line at a crowded small boba shop — makes me nervous

it’s really nice that case counts are so low again. i feel like a period of time everyone was nervous about sore throat etc as omicron, but in the end everyone i know had something other than omicron

morbidity (serious illness)

nytimes morning briefing from end of Jan:

the idea of irrational distrust of vaccines, but from liberals (distrust that they’ll protect us) — esp. that for liberals, young people are more afraid than old people ! (from kaiser, https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-policy-watch/is-contact-tracing-getting-enough-attention-in-u-s-coronavirus-response/)

the dying of covid, given you get covid, according to some calcs (for our age group and given boostered) is less than likelihood of dying in a car crash on a random day

(https://www.qcovid.org/Calculation
https://www.immunisationcoalition.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/2022_01_25_Covid-risk-chart_logos_included.pdf
https://github.com/QCovid/QCovidCalculationEngine)

health

well i may not be comfortable in gym for multiple reasons. (shower??) but maybe i could aim for… 10 minutes of exercise a day?

right now we’re accomplishing 5 mins of stretches a day, which is not-nothing

thanks to the ankle sprain (got two weeks before thanksgiving, still recovering) i understand a lot more about how stretches can “target” muscle groups to decrease likelihood of injury, vs just general fitness

anyway, that’s it for now

postscript

forgot to add a featured image, maybe this mural of a dinosaur fighting a robot around inman sq will do